We all remember that iconic scene in Dickens when brave little Oliver asks for more gruel. Sadly, most of us also know that the request didn’t end up well for the little chap. As a manager, it would pay to remember Oliver when employees come knocking. Though they aren’t orphans facing a tyrant, that may well be how they feel. Asking anyone in power for a favor can be daunting, especially if they have a reputation for reacting badly.
But, you don’t want to do what Mr. Limbkins does and frighten the life out of your employees. You need them to know that they can come to you. All the better for ensuring their lives are happy ones. With that in mind, consider meeting staff in the middle when they ask for more from you, as it were. To help you, we’re going to consider three common employee requests, and how you can handle each fairly.
Holiday requests are by far the most common you’ll face. Staff often need time off, and some find it nerve-wracking just to be asking. As a general rule, you should offer leave to your team. By making a holiday diary accessible for all, you may be able to take a lot of the fear out of this process. Still, there may be times when staff need to breach their allocated hours or book time off with short notice. In these cases, your best bet is to do what you can. If you’re inflexible, it’ll damage morale. With your team member in the office, talk through the options for finding cover. If it’s not possible to let them have time off, consider whether you could halve their days, or let them work at home during that period.
Speaking of half days and home working, many staff now also request flexible work. That’s no surprise given how popular an option remote work is. In truth, there’s no reason to refuse requests like these. Of course, you would need to outsource IT Support or at least turn to Cloud solutions which made this an option. Once you have the tech in place, though, you could find flexible working suits you both. All you need to do is be clear you’ll require staff to come to the office for meetings and the like.
Last, come requests for promotion. Most bosses keep their eye on those considered as high-flyers. But, it’s not rare for someone who’s escaped your notice to come to you with a request for a promotion. Being kind here isn’t as easy. You can’t hand higher job titles to people you don’t consider capable. But, you should never knock a team member down straight away. Instead, take this is as an opportunity to help them progress. Sit them down and go over strengths and weaknesses, then explain what you would need to see in order to consider a promotion. Whatever you do, remain positive. This could well be a chance to turn average team players into your top dogs.
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