When moving into an employee management role, everybody, and if not everybody then at least most of us, make mistakes, sometimes glaring mistakes that come back to haunt us. However, mistakes are there to learn from, and anyone who wants to become a good and possibly highly regarded people manager will strive to learn from them. Here we provide a few tips that if you take on board should help you achieve your goals and become the best people manager you can be.

1. Be truthful and honest

Nobody wants a liar as their manager. Deceiving your employees or being less than honest will demotivate them and make them feel insecure. Keeping them informed of any changes that may affect them, and answering their worries and concerns honestly, will make them feel valued and a respected member of the team.

2. Be positive

Both positivity and negativity are highly infections in any work environment. As a people manager, you should focus on the positive side of the coin. This applies even if you disagree with what’s coming down from above. That isn’t to say that you should break the honesty rule stated above but always focus on the plus side. Never forget that you are the boss.

3. Avoid micromanaging

Team members will appreciate being allowed to get on with the job without too much interference from the boss. Unfortunately, some managers can’t help but get involved in the detail, which frustrates the staff and leads to resentment. The more responsibility you give them, the harder they will work. Try to encourage them to care about what the business aims to achieve.

4. Be brave and learn to delegate

Delegating is both an art and a science and is much more complicated than you think. As you carry the can for others’ mistakes, the tendency is to hang on to the reins. Instead, trust your team to make decisions for themselves and provide adequate support. It’s a matter of finding the right balance – you will find you get better at it with practice.

5. Give praise where praise is due

A good people manager praises his team when things go right and takes personal responsibility when things go wrong. So always be generous with praise when praise is due and supportive when things go wrong. That’s not to say that you should avoid criticism, but do it discreetly, privately, and positively when you need to criticise.

6. Absorb the pressure

When you are under pressure from above to achieve project goals, try to absorb that pressure rather than pass it on to the team. Of course, you should inform them of the situation and encourage them to make an extra effort but do it with kindness and encouragement rather than cracking the whip.

7. Don’t overwork your team

They say that when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and while this is to an extent true, it can result in overwork, decreased productivity and potentially burnout. Knowing when somebody is working too much can be challenging to spot, but always encourage your staff to take time off when they need it and always take their allocated leave allowance. Leave management is an essential facet of managing people.

8. Develop a feedback culture

Feedback is crucial in any well-managed team. Good managers develop a feedback culture in which everyone is equipped to give and receive feedback to their colleagues and bosses, including you. Honest feedback is a great way to develop as a team and for you to grow as a people manager.

9. Know something about everyone

One of the best people managers the author has come across made sure that he knew the name and something about every employee who worked for him – over two hundred people. He worked hard on it, and it paid off. We all liked him, relished his visits, and were determined to work a little bit harder for him.

10. Be your best

Why not, every morning, decide that today you will be the very best version of yourself? Make that promise to yourself and keep it. The positivity you will create will not only make you feel so much better about yourself, but it will also rub off on the members of your team.

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When we were bootstrapping LeaveWizard, our annual leave planner online product, we needed to work as consultants to fund our growth. During that time we gained a lot of experience in hiring for a variety of organisations of different sizes and industries. While hiring for clients is often restricted by rules dictated by them, at LeaveWizard, we are very much free to design and improve our own hiring process.

For a number of years at the start of our journey, as a bootstrapped startup, we had very little funds and couldn’t even dream of hiring other people to work with us. Eventually, as our holiday planner began to grow, we reached a threshold that allowed us to bring in others to help us. We had made a number of less than perfect appointments until one day we realised that we needed to change our approach to hiring.

Thinking about the people we would like to work with, we figured out that CVs and online profiles and even feedback from past customers add little value and tell us very little about the candidate.

Here’s our brief evaluation of the different tools we knew about and had considered

  • CVs and online profiles could be good to gain an initial idea about the skills the candidates say they have. Very often the information on such documents isn’t reliable and has to be validated.
  • Feedback from their other customers or past employers could be great, however the key phrase here is “from other”. We don’t know these others, we don’t know what their values are, and we don’t know what their standards are. So feedback can only serve as an initial indication of whether the candidate would end up on the shortlist for the next stage.
  • Interviews are great and they do add a lot of value, however they require time commitment usually from a few of us. Interviews are a lot about judging communication and fit as well as capacity to handle the work. Interviews are not perfect and selecting someone on the basis of an interview is still a big risk. Even more so when you work with limited resources.

We started to think a little bit more about what we want from our future colleague. Think about how it would feel when they are working with us. Using our imagination fuelled by what we’ve learned about the person never felt like the best option, especially as we’ve had several failed attempts.

We listed what we are trying to establish during the recruitment process

  • Can this person complete the standard work we expect them to do with a good quality level? For example, if we were hiring a support analyst, could they handle an actual support request from one of our leave planner customers, from beginning to end. Or if they were a software developer, could they take a small feature, explained by us in our usual way, and progress it through to completion with the right level of quality.
  • Does this person communicate well with the rest of the team? We are a fully distributed, remote, async team. Being able to communicate well over chat rooms and online calls is rather important in our world.
  • Does this person have the right attitude towards problem solving and learning? Being a small team we often work together to solve complex problems and even more often we have to pick up and learn new skills.
  • Will this person be a good fit for our team? Even if we are satisfied with all of the above, we cannot progress with people who are unable to adopt our values – authenticity, honesty, friendliness and helpfulness.

After some consideration we decided to try an approach in which the last step involves paying (at least) the two top candidates to perform a day or two of work on our team developing and looking after our holiday tracker app. This allows us to see them in action, see the quality of their work, and understand how they work and how they behave in our team. The obvious downside being that we have to part with some of our limited funds.

We didn’t think that this step could guarantee 100% success, we were only hoping that it would increase the chances. Our experience so far however is 100% success.

Here’s our process in full

  • Start by agreeing on a description of the role. Our existing team must agree where this new person will be sitting in the team and what would the expectations from this person be.
  • Review profiles of people based on their skills, communication and feedback from past customers or employers and create a shortlist.
  • Invite the people on the shortlist to apply for the job
  • Review the list of people who have applied and evaluate them based on several criteria depending on the job. e.g. for a software developer we might be looking at – experience with the required technology, language skills, previous project relevance , feedback from other customers.
  • Schedule online interviews with the top 3 or 4 candidates.
  • During interviews, evaluate technical and communication skills and vote to decide if they can proceed to the next stage.
  • If fewer than 2 are good enough then go back to inviting more people to apply.
  • If we have at least 2 that are deemed good enough then offer them a small fixed time (or cost) piece of work that is relevant to the actual role. We explain that this will be paid by us and is the last step in the process.
  • Provide enough information for the tasks as per our usual process. There is no need to do more than the usual as this will create a less than realistic scenario for them.
  • Allow the candidates to ask questions and ensure they have a quick way to talk to us and get their questions answered.
  • At the end of the period evaluate the work the candidates have done, how they communicated, what questions they asked during the process and how early and how often did they seek feedback.
  • Finally, make a decision. If we can’t approve at least one of the candidates we go back to Inviting more people to apply for the job.

We have used this process multiple times to build up our holiday planner team, and all hires since we started using it have been successful. For clarity we define success as someone staying in the job for at least 2 years. One might question the fact that we are paying 2 or sometimes 3 people to do a piece of work which may not end up adding any value at all. And at first glance, yes, this looks rather inefficient. However, our experience shows that it massively increases our chance for success.

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We all love something that is free. Even if we don’t really know what it is, the fact that it is free makes us want it even more. It could be something as random as a household gadget the local supermarket is giving away, or a free dessert on your birthday from your favourite local restaurant. The point is, it’s free and we want it, so in our mind, it has value.

But does it really have any value? Typically if someone is giving away something for free, it means that they either don’t want it anymore because it is broken, or that is has such little value that it doesn’t matter if they give away a thousand of them.

Is that true about every free offer? I mean, there has to be something that is both free and has value, right? From time to time, you just might happen upon a free offer that does provide you with a service that can be useful to your business. Unfortunately, the free trial isn’t the full version of their service so you never really get to experience all they have to offer. This is where our misconception about free things lies. What others see as valuable, we might not see the same way.

The Best Freebie Of All

While many freebies that we find in today’s world, really aren’t free at all and they offer little to no actual value, there is something that is free and that can change the way you do business. It’s a freebie that is worth thousands and it is only from LeaveWizard.

For a limited time, LeaveWizard is offering a free trial of our exclusive enterprise-level leave and absence management platform. This free trial can make a difference in the daily operations of your small to medium or enterprise level business and help to streamline your leave and absence process. In fact, our free trial of the LeaveWizard enterprise-level leave and absence management platform has shown its worth to business owners throughout the UK and they have all signed up for our paid service.

Contact LeaveWizard

To learn more about the LeaveWizard enterprise-level leave and absence management platform, contact LeaveWizard today and see how our innovative platform can save your company or organisation time and money.

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In today’s post pandemic world, time is incredibly underrated. It seems as though most business owners are far too busy making up for the time they lost during the pandemic and extended lockdowns that they have forgotten to take time for themselves and their employees. While this isn’t entirely their fault, it is still an industry wide issue that must be addressed if any business is going to stay afloat in today’s changing markets.

So, why do I say that time is incredibly underrated in today’s post pandemic world? As we focus on getting things done and getting ahead, we don’t factor in the time it takes to do these things. We just look at the end goal and do whatever it takes to get there. And, while this might seem productive, it is actually costing your business money that, like time, you won’t get back.

Employee Absence And Leave

Prioritising your time and that of your employees is important as it will not only lead to increased efficiency and productivity, but it can also increase the sustainability of your business or organisation for the long term. One of the best ways that you can do this is to focus on your leave and absence management.

The pandemic has given us reason to focus on our health more and more and this can lead to an increase in employee absences and extended leave requests. When a small to medium or enterprise level business becomes bogged down with employee absence and leave requests, it can get behind in other areas of the business’ daily operations. Fortunately, there is LeaveWizard.


LeaveWizard is an innovative new online platform which streamlines the enterprise-level leave and absence management process, making it easier to accommodate requests regardless of the size of your business or organisation. Offering a wide range of easy to use features, just about anyone can easily calculating annual allowances and tracking staff leave and absences. LeaveWizard is a paperless online leave system which uses an online leave planner to save your business time and make it easier for your employees to request leave.

Contact LeaveWizard

To learn more ways that LeaveWizard can save your business or organisation time, contact LeaveWizard today and see how our innovative platform can save your company or organisation time and money.

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Every employer needs to make sure that their staff is getting the right amount of holiday that they are entitled to, and to keep track of who’s in the office or out on leave for any given day. There are some great leave and absence management tools available, including our own LeaveWizard tool, but what if that’s too much for what you need? Our Free Holiday Planner could be just what you need.

Keeping track

If you run a #SmallBusiness, or are in the growth stages of your #NewBusiness, all you really need is to track days off for your small workforce. Reports, online applications and approvals, multi-site setups, and all the other features of a full-service leave and absence management system might be a lot more complex than you need. The cost of holiday management software can also be an un-needed stretch on the budget of your small or growing business. If you find yourself in this position, then don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

Created by the leave management experts at LeaveWizard, Free Holiday Planner Excel, lets you track holidays and sickness for up to 50 employees absolutely free of charge. Since 2012, over 10,000 organisations have taken advantage of this free, easy-to-use, Excel-based absence management template, with no commitment and no hidden costs.

Professional, Simple, Free

Designed to be easy to use, and avoid the complications of many holiday management tools, Free Holiday Planner XL shows you holidays and sickness, for your team in one place, and you can even add a custom leave type to track. The template allows you to record both full and half-day absences. All you have to do to take advantage of this fabulous free tool is subscribe to our newsletter, and then each year you will receive the download link for the latest version, free of charge and directly into your inbox. You’ll even get access to our support forum, to help with any issues you encounter.

A step beyond

For businesses that need a little more, but still aren’t ready for a full annual leave management system, we also have Leave Planner XL PRO. For a one-off purchase of $14.95, this powerful Excel-based tool lets you track leave and absence for an unlimited number of employees year after year with no further purchases or downloads. The Pro model also lets you track staff overtime, days off in lieu, and other, customisable absence types depending on your business needs.

Incorporating the Bradford Factor, a powerful analysis tool for spotting patterns in sickness absence, Leave Planner XL PRO makes a perfect intermediate step between the Free Holiday Planner and a full leave management system. The Pro version of our XL holiday tracker is reusable, meaning that a single low-cost purchase can meet your absence management needs for years to come. We’re so confident that you’ll love the Pro model that if you’re not completely satisfied we’ll refund your purchase, with no quibbles and no time limits.

Running a small business or new business comes with many stresses, leave management needn’t be one of them. Check out the Free Holiday Planner Excel today for free, and see how simple administering staff holidays can be. If you are interested in our XL PRO version please contact us.

#annualleave #AbsenceManagement #NewBusiness #FreeHolidayPlanner #Startups