Staffing > Merchant Voice

Need good employees? Be a good employer

Hiring and managing employees is among the most challenging tasks of business owners. An employee-employer relationship is much different than a social one. You’ll spend many hours a day together. You might develop a friendship or, depending on the day, be a helper, teacher, advisor, and even an authority figure.

But employers should never forget that the relationship is about business. We need to divorce our emotions when necessary.

But employers should never forget that the relationship is about business.

A common conflict is when an employee wants to leave. What should owners do if they discover an employee is looking for another job? I have seen many forum posts where business owners react badly. Some feel betrayed. But that is never a good idea. How an owner responds will be noticed by other employees and will likely impact the business.

My reaction is always positive. I do everything I can to help someone leave.

Try to help

Think about it. Employees must do what is best for them, not your business. So if they believe it is time to move on, trying to stop them is rarely a good idea. Helping them can bring significant advantages to you and your business. An employee who wants to leave will often be distracted and have lower productivity. It can drag down others.

If an employee has scheduled an interview with another company, I’d rather he tell me about it and book time off, instead of calling in sick. After the interview, I try to ask how it went, who he saw, and how he feels.

If I try to help, perhaps it will earn the goodwill of the departing employee. The other employees will observe and (hopefully) think that I’m a good boss. Most importantly, I will know early on that I need a replacement.

I can potentially involve the soon-to-depart employee in drawing up a job description. I might even promote it from within. No one will know better what the job involves and the type of person who can best do it than the current job holder or me. I can use this to my advantage.

Moreover, knowing which company is considering my employee could provide valuable business intelligence, such as what the company is planning or helpful recruiting ideas.

As a business owner, I expect commitment and loyalty from all my employees. But loyalty is a two-way street. To receive loyalty, I must be loyal.

There will inevitably come a time when we as employers realize that it is in an employee’s best interest to move on. Do you hold them back or help them grow?

Retail businesses depend on employees. Employees interact directly with our customers via the phone, in person, or online — or indirectly via the purchase or warehouse departments. Good employees — who go the extra mile — can make or break a business. And a good employer can attract and keep good employees.

Richard Stubbings
Richard Stubbings
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