Tips For Managing Multiple Teams in Multiple Locations
Whether you’re a regional manager of multiple locations across the state or just opening a second location across town, managing multiple hourly teams in multiple locations is an entirely different challenge than just one location. Not only do you often have more employees to keep track of, but also each location will become its own culture and have its own needs based on the clientele from that area. Ensuring that the needs for all locations are met and that each location is successful takes more careful planning and often a greater time commitment for the manager. Here are some tips for managing multiple teams in multiple locations.
Keep Procedures Consistent
Multiple locations may come with their own set of necessities, especially if the locations are drastically different layouts or if they serve different purposes, but keeping your base procedures consistent across locations is key to creating a situation that is much easier to manage. Keep the employee handbook consistent across all locations as well as training and shift structure. Keeping these base procedures consistent across the board makes it easier to assign your employees to pick up a shift at a different location in a last minute pinch without additional training.
As manager of multiple locations, you may be more involved with one location than the others, but you should still maintain a regular presence across your multiple locations, whether that means visiting each location at least once per week, or if that’s not possible, holding a regular conference call with shift leaders to makes sure everything is running smoothly and to show them that you are there for support. This means more intentional effort on your part to reach out and create regular communication since you won’t have as many opportunities for an “Oh by the way…” feedback moment. A location where your managerial presence is not consistent may become overly relaxed on store procedures, which could result in a loss of sales. Visiting each store regularly keeps employees on their toes and also shows that you care about taking the time to personally make sure each location has what it needs to thrive. Don’t be afraid to take full advantage of technology to maintain a presence at each location. If it’s too much of a hassle or too far for you to commute between locations on a regular basis, take advantage of video chat services such as Google Hangouts or Skype to easily stay in touch with various locations.
Let Go of Micromanaging Tendencies
While it’s important to maintain a presence at each location, it’s impossible (not to mention frustrating for everyone) if you attempt to micromanage across all locations. As your business expands, you need to be able to trust your employees and hire assistant managers or shift supervisors who can help you manage each location when you are not around. Creating a solid structure among your employees so that they have someone to go to for day-to-day questions and small issues that may arise when you’re not around will take some of the pressure off of you as manager. It can also create a greater sense of responsibility and dedication among your employees.
Encourage Friendly Competition
Having multiple locations gives you as a manager the chance to solidify a team environment at each location. Schedule your employees at different locations every once and awhile so that they become familiar with your employees at other locations and then encourage friendly competition for most sales in a month. You could even create a “bracket-style” competition within each store so that playoffs are between winners of employees from different stores (think: barista competition, checkout speed competition, or table prep competition). Keeping things fun and friendly helps your employees better cooperate to making managing a bit more easy (and fun).
Use an Employee Management System
Maintaining schedules is more difficult than ever when you’re dealing with multiple locations and more employees to go along with them. As such, it’s imperative that you use a scheduling and management system that is user friendly for both you and your employees, keeps everything organized, and makes adjustments easy and instant across all locations. When I Work is an easy-to-use app that makes employee scheduling easy and sends notifications and reminders straight to their phones so they are alerted immediately about any changes or messages about their shifts and which location each shift is at.
Your job will be much more stressful if you don’t delegate the bulk of your work (before you manage multiple locations) to other people. When it comes to the day-to-day duties at each location, these are things that your employees can handle. Assign tasks to different people and make sure that your work is based on larger, overarching tasks, rather than location-specific tasks. It may feel like you’re shucking your responsibilities, but it will truly make managing multiple locations easier for you as well as your employees if you are not overwhelmed and if they can have more internal control over their specific locations (set within the regular procedures you set for them, of course).
Communicate and Share
It’s important that you spread information across your locations evenly and simultaneously. No one can be left out of information if you want to manage effectively across several locations. Choose one main method of communication and stick to that so that no piece of information is missed such as a newsletter updating everyone to new procedures or information that is pertinent to the company as a whole.
Do you manage teams in multiple locations? How do you make sure everything runs smoothly? Share your tips in the comments section below.