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The Ten Commandments for treating your employees
by Jay Gutman
2016-08-26 09:10:46
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emplo01_400Business school professors say business is about getting your client “drunk.” That’s the politically correct way to say that business is about getting your client to cheat on his wife or to do something that would deeply offend his boss, like gambling with company funds. Or perhaps business is about getting your client to do something illegal, then blackmail him or her into excessive orders.

Any business can be a political organization with internal arms races. Some want to get that promotion, others think their friend or cousin would be more fit for the teacher, translator or secretary position you currently hold. If you’re the boss, you will have that employee come up to you and say “I think Tracy (your secretary) came late this morning, and she looked pretty hung over.” One thing leads to another and you grow suspicious of Tracy, before Tracy quits. That when that same employee will come up to you and say “you know I have someone great for that secretarial position.” You guessed it, that employee started rumors so you could hire a person they recommend.

So if you’re in charge, here are the ten commandments for treating your employees.

1. Make your company a gossip-free environment

Tracy drinks, hire my cousin instead. That’s what happens when you allow gossip at the workplace. Center water-cooler conversations around company growth and getting work done.

2. Do something immoral or illegal, and you’ll be blackmailed

Your employees will try to lure you into evil. Don’t date employees, don’t misuse cash, don’t commit a crime.

3. Be suspicious, but use the three strike rule

Are your employees getting the work done at those business trips? Are employees using the funds properly? Check the facts, but don’t overdo it.

4. Don’t offend your employees, or they’ll backfire

Mishandling a project doesn’t make someone “incompetent.” Suggesting a bad idea doesn’t make someone incompetent. Disagreeing with you doesn’t make someone incompetent. If you call your employees anything negative, directly as in “you’re incompetent” or indirectly as in “let me take you to a Clippers game” will lead your employees to try to show you what incompetent really means. When it doubt, teach them how to get the work done.

5. Your employees need space

Ever wonder why those secretaries keep resigning? Maybe that’s because they share an office with three, four, five or six other employees. When overcrowded, employees start communicating with each other rather than with the clients. And even when they’re talking to the clients, they’re really talking to other employees.

6. Come up with a plan to retain your employees

The first year your employee will be around, he or she will be in their learning phase. One day they’ll come to work rigid, the other a bit too relaxed, one day they’ll do a great job, the other they’ll rest on their laurels. It take about a year or two before they become comfortable at what they’re doing. If you have no plan for employee retention, your company staff will be running around like a bunch of clueless people, which doesn’t reassure clients.

7. Lead by example

If you don’t show up to work for no reason, employees are going to start not showing up for no reason. If you yell at employees, they will yell at your clients. If you use signs rather than language to communicate, they’re going to use signs rather than language when communicating with clients. If you don’t give clear instructions, they won’t know what to tell the clients.

8. Know what the job market is

Every now and then your employees will hint that things are better at such and such company. They are going to say that some companies pay more, have a more relaxed attitude to work, allow workers to come late and party at night or have no dress code. How much profits are those other companies making? Who are those companies dealing with? Facebook deals mostly with students and young workers, so partying like students and showing up to work with slacks and a hoody can be acceptable. If you’re selling cars or jewelry and your clients are mostly middle-aged, middle-class workers, you probably want to have a suit on and show up to work on time.

9. Expect to get from workers what you pay them

If you pay workers close to the minimum wage you will probably get close to the minimum wage quality of work. If you don’t pay your interns and ask them to design your website, don’t expect your website to be top-notch. The lower the wages, the more your employees will under-sell your product to your client, because they unconsciously don’t want to help you make more profit than they are getting in wages.

10. The commandment that will be repeated twice: keep all conversations with employees 100% professional at all times

Thinking outside the box is great, but it’s a better idea to keep conversations with your employees inside the professional box. If you invite colleagues or employees for coffee, you want to restrict the conversation at the project or task level. Discussing your employees’ character, personality, private life or mistakes will lead those discussions to spread. If an employee complains about another employee’s character there are probably two reasons: lack of space or wanting to bring someone else to replace that employee.

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