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How to Treat Your Employees Right

-- 2011-01-25 8:00 am --

Small business owners spend a lot of time and effort looking for ways to cut corners and find ways to add a few dollars onto the profit margin. What they overlook is their most valuable assets: their employees. If employees aren’t happy working for you it really doesn’t matter how much money you’re making or how much work you’re generating. Disgruntled employees can sink the best of ships with waste, poor attitudes, and discourteous customer service. Though you can’t fix everyone, here are a few tips on how to make your good employees even better. After all, happy employees are what makes your business a success.

The first thing to remember when relating to your employees is that respect is a two-way street. If you expect someone who is working for you to respect you as the boss you’re going to have to give it back. Mutual respect invites your employees to be loyal to you as opposed to just giving the job lip service when you happen to be looking. Respect begins with how you view your employees. Each one is an important person, a valued part of your organization, and someone you never talk down to.

Ask anyone what he or she expects from the boss and the answer is almost always “be fair”. This means that everyone is treated the same, the rules apply to all employees equally, and favorite employees aren’t allowed to soak up the advantages of a good relationship with the boss through manipulation or dishonesty. Other employees may not say anything but rest assured, when the workplace isn’t fair and the rules don’t apply to everybody, they all know it. Fairness also means disciplining rules violations or even firing when appropriate.

The best wages and benefits packages possible are great motivators. Not all small businesses can pay well and even fewer can afford to provide insurance for health, dental, and vision. Employees know what you can afford to give them for an honest day’s work without seeing the books. They might not be on the dollar but it doesn’t take a genius to know when he’s only scraping by on what he takes home and the boss is off vacationing in Europe or living in a mansion. A big discrepancy between your benefits as the business owner and what you pay your employees is a sure-fire disaster waiting to happen. Pay as much as you can. You’ll be loved for it.

Everyone wants to know what’s going on. Trust your people enough to be honest about the financial status of the business and where the business is heading. Good employees will help make things happen that you want to see.

Last but not least, go the extra mile. Give an office party once in awhile. Touch base with the janitor to see what he or she might be needing. And it doesn’t hurt to smile.
The overall principle of employee/boss relationships is simple. Treat your employees the way you want to be treated.