I feel compelled to write about this today because I’m really fed up seeing hard working business owners being held to ransom by staff who just aren’t playing ball.
You may know my views on having staff. For me personally it just isn’t my cup of tea; before I sold my last company I had 12 people in my team and it wasn’t fun. I found the employment headaches too much, and it took me away from what I loved doing the most – being with clients.
But I get of course why many businesses choose to employ; it’s pretty hard to scale without bringing people on board.
But it can be a challenge dealing with staff, especially the difficult ones. And staff issues can take up SO much time, energy, and headspace, not to mention the sleepless nights.
All leaving less focus and attention for growing and strengthening your business.
And there’s always someone who seems to know just how to play the system, knowing exactly how far they can push you.
It happens more than you’d realise. Maybe it’s happened to you? I know I certainly had a terrorist in my last business.
Over the years I’ve seen what a heavy cost these issues can have, and how much they can put a business at risk. Which is why I really do consider staff to be one of the biggest financial risks in a business, as well of course as having the potential to be your greatest asset if managed well.
The costs of getting it wrong can be significant, and the disruption factor can divert valuable mental and emotional energy away from the important and strategic issues that will grow your bottom line. And problem staff member can disrupt the rest of your team, causing discontent and conflict.
And honestly, business is challenging enough without having your business attacked from the inside.
How to manage that risk
Now, I’m no HR expert.
But the main reason I see things like this flare up into potentially expensive, distracting and destructive problems is because action wasn’t taken when things first started going wrong with a particular employee.
I know, it can seem like employment law is stacked against you as the employer. But it is there to protect both sides, and if you act when things first kick off, you’ll either nip it in the bud, or you’ll have started a process that will help you manage things to the right conclusion for everyone.
I meet so many companies that have had a problem employee for years but have never said or done anything. And this makes it very difficult to suddenly say their behaviour is no longer acceptable. Sometimes the only way out is to pay them off, which can hurt a small business immensely.
The only advice I can offer here is this:
- Understand just what a risk your staff could be to your business if not handled well
- Know that by not acting at the time, you’re storing up a bigger and probably more expensive problem later on
- Engage a really good HR specialist – someone who can get to know your business and you can call for a pragmatic conversation
- Clamp down quickly on unacceptable behaviour – getting advice on the best way to handle each step
- Get a good HR system so that you can log everything – too many companies fail to log problems as they happen (and the following conversations or warnings) and then find they have very limited options for dealing with a problem – I recommend Breathe HR
And if you have something or someone you’ve been putting off dealing with, know you’re definitely not alone and DO SOMETHING TODAY – call your HR advisor and start taking action -before it becomes something bigger and more expensive.