Supervision of Employees

Course CodeVBS104
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment
Learn to Better Supervise Your Employees
Improve productivity, harmony and  sustainability of a workplace; by having staff who cooperate better, are more satisfied in their job, and are less likely to do things that could be disruptive to the business.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to the Nature and Scope of Supervision
    • Functions of supervisors
    • Structures and Heirachy in an Organisation
    • Organisational Flow Charts
    • Responsibilities of a Supervisor
    • How supervisors fit in an organisation
    • A Supervisors Tasks
  2. What is a Work Place
    • Personnel Departments
    • Unions
    • Employment Law
    • Contracted responsibilities
    • Managing Discrimination
    • Staff Liability
    • Elements of a Workplace
  3. Human Relations and Better Communications in the Workplace
    • Influence in the workplace
    • Formal Authority
    • Rewards and Punishments
    • Importance of Knowledge
    • Leadership
    • Understanding Power
    • Familiarity between Supervisors and Subordinates
    • Managing Aptitude in Subordinates (Status, Prestige, Loyalty, Security, Friendship, Personality, Workload, etc)
    • Business Writing Skills
    • Using Memorandums, Letters, Emails etc..
  4. How to Motivate Employees
    • Using Internal Incentives
    • Using Environmental Incentives
    • Practical ways to Motivate Subordinates
  5. How to Organise a Work Place
    • Developing Good Work Habits
    • Planning Work Shedules
    • How to Establish Priorities
    • How to Improve Results
    • Project planning and Management Tools
    • How to Organise a Work Environment
  6. Problem Solving
    • How to Solve Problems
    • Decision Making
    • Types of problem, solvers
    • Different ways to solve problems
    • Involving Others in Problem Solving
    • Classic Problem Solving Method
  7. Dealing with Grievances while Maintaining Discipline
    • Levels of discipline (reprimanding, fixing, blame, formal warning, removing privileges, termination of employment, legal action), Increasing self discipline, Introducing Change to a Work Place
    • Giving Orders
  8. Recruitment and Induction of New Staff
    • Conducting a Job Interview
    • What is Successful Interviewing
    • Understanding Resumes or C.V's
    • Training Staff
    • Procedures Documentation
    • Employment contracts
  9. Understanding Work Place Safety
    • Cost of injury and illness
    • Duty of Care
    • Dealing with Accidents
    • Managing manual work safely
    • Using Protective Gear
  10. Interaction Between Employees and Management
    • Worker participation
    • Report writing
    • Staff meetings
    • Reasons for meetings
    • Leading meetings
    • Problems with Meetings
    • Documentation for Meetings

How To Manage Staff?
Staff must be organised to achieve maximum productivity. Staff supervision becomes more complex with growth. When a manager only needs to supervise two or three people, it is simpler to oversee all the different facets of their work. As an organisation gets bigger, it becomes increasingly complex to manage human resources simply because of the greater diversity of roles, personalities, and factors involved. This is when delegation and a clearly-defined staff structure become important.

Most organisations manage their staff using a traditional triangular hierarchy – with a company director at the apex, a small number of senior managers directly below, followed by a larger group of middle managers or supervisors overseeing the larger pool of workers at the lowest level.

In recent years, many organisations, including some of the larger public amenity horticulture industries have adopted newer management systems.

Competency-Based Management/ Teams-Based Management

Competency based management aims to determine and control productivity of teams within managed expectations. This is done by ensuring work teams understand what is expected of them, monitoring their performance, identifying sub-standard competencies in individuals, and attending to those identified deficiencies.

  1. Consider all factors related to a competent work force
  2. Communicate these considered factors to the workforce
  3. Ensure that staff understand what is required for them to be considered competent through discussion of ideas and efficiency.
  4. Targets are set to aim for (though these should be flexible to meet individual differences).
  5. Work is monitored and any significant variation from set targets will be considered and action taken.

If an individual is identified as being short on competencies required, there are a number of possible solutions, including:

  • Training/Learning/Education
  • Changing work tasks (either within the same team, or moving to a different work unit)
  • Dismissal

Time management is essential to efficiency of a smooth work day.

Communication between departments is also critical in any large organisation. Communication between individuals is just as critical in small organisations or work teams as within a large organisation.

If there are two people in an organisation it is deemed a team, and the better the team works the better and more efficient and enjoyable the tasks become.

It is not only important that employees are competent to undertake tasks, but in a team work situation, personalities must be compatible. Ensure the personality fits in with their method of working. Compatibility on a social level is not the same as compatibility on a work level. People who socialise well together may in fact distract each other when working together.

Good managers should continually be looking for:

  • individuals who could be promoted or take on new responsibilities within the company, should the need arise
  • training needs that are required
  • how to get the best or better out of each worker

Managers themselves have to be able to communicate well, listen to what is being said, and efficiently run a company.

Mentoring is a good example of more efficient communication and understanding at all levels.

An annual review of all members of staff enables both parties to discuss how they feel within the organisation, ambition, and goals. This is a far cry from the bullying tactics that were used in many workplaces not so long ago.

Changes in the workplace

In the late 20th century considerable changes in legislation caused organisations to consider and comply with safer work practices. Training schemes and licensing were put in place to enable amenity work to be carried out safely and to an acceptable standard in both public and private areas (gardens, parks, streetscapes, woodlands, etc).

Communication via the Internet and email has opened up new and more efficient ways of purchasing goods and controlling stock. Other benefits are that supervisors, middle management and senior management are able to access information and communicate with industry peers in a more efficient manner.


Some business schools say that the maximum number of people under direct supervision should not be more than seven, for the manager to be efficiently managing all aspects of work. The solution to managing staff in larger organisations is task delegating. This can include supervisors, team leaders, and co-ordinators.

Fundamentally, there should be a relationship between the amount of work and the amount of staff available to do the work. However in the global economic state at present this is not always an option, therefore delegation is of paramount importance. It is a manager’s job to choose the right people to lead a team, and to ensure employees are appropriately trained to enable the company to work efficiently within their scope.

Prioritising tasks

It is only natural for anyone from the manager right down to the lowest subordinate to do the most attractive work tasks first, and leave the least attractive until last. If this approach to work persists, almost inevitably certain undesirable tasks are continually delayed, and perhaps never carried out.

All managers need to recognise the fact that the importance of undertaking any task has little or nothing to do with how attractive it is. Good managers must be objective and learn to prioritise work tasks in order of their importance to the stated aim of the enterprise in which they work. Any good business, or public enterprise, will very likely have a clearly stated “mission statement”.

Managers should be familiar with, and keep reminding themselves of what the mission statement is. Decisions about what task should be undertaken first, should be in accordance with the task which does the most to contribute toward this mission statement.

Organising tasks and work schedules

Job tasks need to be broken down and analysed regularly to see whether improvements can be made in work organisation. The manager should consider what proportion of man hours is spent on tasks regularly undertaken by staff. It may be more feasible to use contract labour to do some of the work, or perhaps employ less skilled labour to do other work. All of the possibilities should be considered, and regularly reconsidered.
Staff must be assigned tasks best suited to their skills. (However, it is important to provide variety...if staff become bored or disenchanted with their jobs, efficiencies will suffer.) Staff changes cost money and, for this reason, it is important to try to keep staff satisfied. When an employee is replaced, not only is there additional book work, the organisation is faced with the cost of finding and training a replacement.

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