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Quit Micromanaging Your Staff

Micromanagement can be detrimental to staff morale; how do you ensure goals set for your team are met without breathing down their necks?


Micromanagement — whereby managers observe and try to dictate all of their subordinates’ work — could be harmful to an organisation.

Firstly, it could degrade employee trust — with managers continually breathing down their subordinates’ necks and watching their every move like a hawk. It sends a message of “I don’t trust you.” It takes away precious time from managers, especially if they are prominent leaders in the organisation, such as the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer, or Learning and Development Lead in the company. 

Granted, there are some scenarios where a high-touch management style is welcomed. For example, urgent projects that require close monitoring, teaching new employees with little to no experience, or managing staff that are careless or lack initiative. But extreme micromanaging wastes time, since time spent documenting what employees are doing can be used to strategise for the business or innovate new solutions.

On the other end of the spectrum, managers in a fast-paced field such as hardware companies in the consumer electronics industry barely have time to keep tabs on their employees’ performance. They have to ensure that their sales channels are activated and supported, ensuring that their distributors have good product knowledge and the suitable collaterals to sell their products. This gets even harder with remote working arrangements. How do managers supervise to accurately appraise, reward and nurture their subordinates?

Instead of needing managers to track an employees’ every move constantly, here are some alternatives that could get the job done without putting staff on a micromanaging leash.

One-stop platforms to measure performance and engage

A slew of platforms and tools out there can help managers and human resource professionals better measure employee performance, even remotely. This is important in the consumer electronics industry because product life cycles are very short, and timelines are tight and continuously evolving. 

Despite hectic schedules, managers still need to pinpoint good performance to recognise and reward appropriately. Digital platforms allow easy input with standardised metrics to let employees and managers keep up with a high transparency and accountability level, all without breathing down employee’s necks. 

Make use of objectives and key results (OKRs) to determine if staff have met their individual or team targets. Such platforms have room to measure other employee statistics such as leave or sick days, create and implement training and e-learning, allow for 360-degree employee reviews and HR tasks such as payroll, onboarding and benefits.

These records, organised in an all-in-one platform, remove the need to micromanage on trivial tasks and free up time in meetings to focus on meaningful conversations. 

Automated onboarding without overly high touchpoints 

Big consumer electronic companies typically use mergers and acquisitions of smaller companies to expand. Ensuring that new staff fit into the company’s culture and understand your company’s mission and values is very important so that they don’t feel alienated from the current team.  

To that end, managers tend to think that having high touchpoints is essential. But that takes away precious time on value-adding tasks. Instead of regularly checking in on new employees, an automated onboarding process that incorporates gamification can make the process fun, yet impart useful information. 

This also helps the new staff feel immediately included and welcome even as other teams and departments are heavily involved in business-as-usual tasks. After the onboarding session, other managers and team members can arrange for separate team bonding and 1-to-1 catch-up sessions.


Better engagement and communication tools

No man is an island; neither are companies, their managers and staff. Teamwork is critical for an organisation’s progress, especially cross-functional teams to help solve complicated problems, ideation for new products, or bring the latest consumer hardware from conception to consumers.

If you thought that micromanaging could help you communicate goals to your staff better, think again. You’re only telling your employees what you want, without genuinely listening to them. Instead of walking down this one-way street, a better way could be to foster a spirit of collaboration.

Project management or collaboration tools that allow managers to overview the number of projects, project progress, deadlines, timelines of task completion can help you keep track of everything ongoing without needing to check in with your staff every five minutes. Managers are also able to assign their subordinates’ tasks and be updated on the progress. 

Naturally, when all work-related information is communicated through these tools, which allows for discussion threads for individual projects, this builds communication without flooding employees’ emails.

Rewards marketplaces to automate rewards

Like how loyal customers of a brand or service get to earn points and reap the rewards, there are also rewards marketplaces for employees that can automate their incentives for a job well done.

These rewards marketplaces can be customised to align with company objectives, doling out rewards and incentives to motivate employees to meet a goal or target. These rewards marketplaces not only gamify employee rewards and recognition; it can deepen staff engagement through birthday wishes, appreciation notes, holiday greetings or even promote a culture of wellness within the organisation.

In return, managers get access to real-time engagement statistics, track effectiveness of spot employee engagement campaigns, effectiveness/practicality of targets or objectives, and more. This could increase a company’s profitability and productivity while reducing staff turnover.

One rewards marketplace with a difference is BI WORLDWIDE’s employee recognition programme, DayMaker. The global employee points-based rewards marketplace offers a wide variety of motivating, customisable award options for employees; in addition, BI WORLDWIDE also has platforms that focus on the channel, and even customers — they can take their pick from tangible rewards or exclusive experiences.

It is also a known fact that companies with frequent staff recognition — managers and employees alike — have higher retention rates. Having a rewards marketplace could also motivate staff who aren’t inspired by mere words of appreciation, promotions and money, but by concrete rewards and incentives to work towards. 

DayMaker also helps companies celebrate their long-standing and most dedicated employees with a comprehensive service anniversary reward programme, called DayMaker Service Awards. 

A BI WORLDWIDE client in the consumer technology sector shared that before they implemented a platform like the DayMaker Plus, spend was siloed and all over the place with no reporting, governance or oversight. With the programme and marketplaces set up in 130+ countries, the company was able to offer culturally relevant offerings. 

The client later upgraded to DayMaker Platinum to enhance applications, such as employee nominations, and offer custom reporting to staff to capture more data on rewards and recognition. 

Earning employee trust first 

Earlier, we mentioned that micromanagement could diminish employees’ trust. While an organisation needs to hire trustworthy individuals that can be relied upon, the converse is true as well — employees need to feel empowered by and confidently trust their managers’ leadership to excel.

A survey conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management revealed that almost half of employees felt that autonomy and independence were significant contributors to their job satisfaction. Research has shown that satisfied employees were more confident and productive, which benefits a company’s bottom line.

Trust within a company could have additional positive effects. It could increase staff engagement and loyalty for the organisation, encourage them to realise their full potential in their work, enhance collaboration and innovation, decrease stress and burnout in the workplace, and employees’ resistance to change or to accept new initiatives rolled out by the management.

In the fast-paced field of hardware in the consumer electronics industry where competition is fierce, trust empowers employees to speed up day-to-day decision-making processes. They would naturally devote more energy to their work, develop groundbreaking innovations that could have a global impact, and be collaborators and communicators within tight-knit teams working on an upcoming key product offering.

Having trust in employees could make or break a company in the consumer electronics industry. To that end, replacing the need to micromanage with practical and comprehensive solutions can foster a culture of trust between employees, managers and the company. 

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