Even in the best of job markets, when your staff is small every person you add can have an oversized impact on your budget, your firm’s culture, and its productivity. So, as you grow, what can you do to attract and hire the right employees and retain those you may already have?
The short answer is trust. Showing it, earning it, and making the honesty that supports it part of your processes and culture can help foster success. Here’s how.
Along with the skills essential to the position, look for people whose level of honesty, work ethic, and passion align with yours and the culture you are building. When employees care about the quality of their work and how it gets done, they become allies and advocates for what your firm does.
Lead by Example
Look at your company’s practices. For the people who work for you to follow those practices, everyone, including you, should be accountable to your firm’s values and standards of conduct. If you cut corners, your staff could view that as permission to do likewise. That can undermine customer service, vendor relationships, and sales as well as create staff turmoil. Ultimately, it can cost you at the bottom line.
You may have put your life’s savings into your company, but the people who work for you have hitched their careers and family finances to your success. They need transparency. Studies find that the more transparent a company is about its business prospects, goals, and finances, the higher the regard its employees have for it.
Protect Your Reputation
Social channels and review sites make it possible to eavesdrop on clients and employees. Sites like Glassdoor.com can provide some insight into what employees, job candidates and clients are saying about your firm. Many review sites offer anonymity, so those posting are more likely to be honest with their feedback. Paying attention to complaints in particular—unfounded or not—can help pinpoint actions and policies with the potential to tarnish your reputation.
Trust but Verify
As you add staff, you are likely to encounter twin risks. The first comes from micromanaging the talented people you’ve surrounded yourself with. The other risk is trusting too much.
Set yourself and others up for success by investing the time to create procedures and guidelines that make it hard not to be honest and trustworthy. Doing so will help you build confidence in your staff and, by default, verify it’s well placed.
- Make use of bank products and services designed specifically to protect your accounts from fraud.
- Maintain dual-verification systems so that the employee who sets up vendor accounts is different from the one who approves invoices and the person who prepares payments is not the same one responsible for making them.
- Take inventory of assets and products regularly to discourage “slippage.”
- Refrain from giving open access to data—electronic and paper based. The inconvenience can help keep your firm’s information secure.
- Require receipts for all employee-submitted business expenses, even from yourself. It helps with the audit trail but also discourages any unintentional or purposeful misuse.
When it comes to being a good employer, honesty really is the best policy. It leads to a level of trust that can fuel your growth, build your reputation, and, ultimately, reduce unnecessary and unexpected costs.