How to manage employees

Business Toolbox: HR

I’m an electrical contractor – how should I manage my employees?

Managing people is a key part of any business – but it can be one of the most difficult aspects of the job. We put your questions to our experts!

In this Article:
If you’ve got people, you need to manage them well
We put your questions to our experts
Got a question to pose? Send them in and we’ll get answers!

Our HR Expert:

Sharne Lategan, Sharne Consulting

Q: Two of our electricians are constantly ‘at’ each other. How can we get them to play nicely? 

Sharné Lategen of Sharne Consulting says:

Unresolved and continuous conflict in the workplace is a psychosocial hazard under the various Mental Health Codes in each state. It is also a tell-tale sign of an unaligned and disconnected workforce.

When two employees are constantly ‘at’ each other, what is a business to do?

The best step is to have an independent expert facilitate a roundtable discussion. In instances of conflict, it’s likely that both parties have unexpressed needs or triggers that require acknowledgement. This is difficult to achieve when there are two people who want to be heard and are not there to listen.

An expert will actively listen to both, and often the process of feeling heard and understood is enough to calm the nervous system and de-escalate the matter.
An expert will also identify their respective unmet needs or triggers, which opens the way for collaborative problem-solving of the root cause. A good expert will explain the negative impacts the conflict has on one another and on the broader team.

By speaking to each employee’s larger value framework and humanity, significant progress can be made.

If an independent expert is not a viable option, online courses on conflict resolution and communication styles may prove beneficial. This will allow the two employees to understand themselves and each other better. The goal is connection and intrinsic buy-in to the larger organisational goal of harmony.

Our HR Expert:

Ben Tucker, Manager at People 2U

Q: How can we establish a culture of performance for our electrical team members?

Ben Tucker, Manager at People 2U, says:

First of all, set key performance indicators (KPIs). It’s a universal way to set targets and goals that are clear. I suggest defining KPIs specific to electrical work, such as project completion time, accuracy of installations, adherence to safety protocols, and client satisfaction ratings. By regularly assessing and measuring employees against these metrics, you’re bringing performance into the everyday, rather than leaving it to a six or 12 month review meeting.

The second thing to help build performance is to motivate through training – but not only training you provide, encourage your team to source and book in their own training. This helps show their motivation to the industry and to their own growth. Consider training programs and workshops tailored to the specific needs of electrical team members. Encourage participation in industry certifications, seminars, and skill-building exercises to enhance technical expertise and keep abreast of industry trends.

Creating a good culture can drive performance too. Have social team-building activities like a BBQ or sausage sizzle or morning tea. Motivation and performance doesn’t just come from the top – colleagues also have an important role to play. Small, inexpensive social gatherings during work hours can keep good staff longer and ensure they are more motivated to meet their goals.

Finally, publicly acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of contractors who excel in their work. This recognition can be in the form of awards, certificates, simple appreciation emails, or publicly praising them on social media. Call them and their value out – it not only gives them a boost, but demonstrates the performance and attributes you value to teammates, too.




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