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Don’t get bogged down by poor staff relations!

April 18, 2011 | By Bruce Hourigan | No Comments

Have you ever walked out of a business and felt covered with toxic ooze from the in-fighting among employees? Or by the way the owner clearly favored one staff member over others? Or there was so much gossip and negative chatter that you just wanted to put your hands over your ears and hum so you couldn’t hear it?

Whatever you see and hear in your company, customers are also witnessing. Profitable businesses need staffs where employees are held to equal standards, where gossip isn’t tolerated, and where owners and managers know when to step in to ensure a positive experience for clients.

  1. Be consistent. This is why it’s so important to have an employee handbook, explaining duties, breaks, etc. When it’s in writing, everybody knows what’s expected. Don’t play favorites. Enforce rules consistently.
  2. Keep it about business. Sure, there are employees you like more than others. That’s called human nature. Your employees aren’t necessarily your friends. Evaluate performance based on, well, performance. Whether you like someone’s car, boyfriend or music choices has nothing to do with how they do their job. Unless something personal is interfering with job performance, keep it out of the conversation.
  3. Don’t get dragged into gossip. Almost everybody likes to gossip. It bonds us together as we find common gripes. As the boss you must stay above this to keep your credibility. And when you talk about employees behind their backs, you are not only betraying trust, you are playing favorites. Rise above. When you hear employees gossiping – whether or not you are invited to join in – ask them to stop. Gossiping is a surefire way to breed negativity in your business.
  4. Handle situations as they arise. Yes, it’s easier to “let it slide, just this once.” When you do that, you’re setting a precedent, for that employee and for the rest of the staff. “If I was late last week and it wasn’t a problem, why should it be an issue today?” “If Mary didn’t empty the trash, why are you upset that I’m not doing it?” If you see it and it violates the rules or isn’t up to your standards, say something. Let employees know where they stand.
  5. Know when enough is enough. When you’ve spoken to an employee about rules violations, given written warnings and offered suggestions for improvement, it may be time to consider a separation of employment. Don’t go it alone. Check with an attorney to ensure you’re doing it by-the-book. That’s usually not an easy choice to make. Once it’s done, frequently, the whole staff will breathe a sigh of relief – and you will, too, when you’ve moved on.

A client’s experience is based on more than just the quality of the specific services received. Do everything you can to ensure that the atmosphere in your company is inviting, friendly and welcoming. Difficult conversations should not be held in front of clients. Visiting the salon/spa/medspa is a respite for your customers – give them the peace they desire and deserve by keeping the drama out of your business.

Categories: Business Builders

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