You’ve watched the hidden camera shows in amazement as one employee after another disrespects his or her boss by engaging in unethical and often, illegal, behavior. You shake your head in disbelief that the employers can be so careless in their hiring practices and swear up and down that it will never happen to you. Before you get too self-righteous, consider this. A study conducted by University of Cincinnati criminal justice doctoral student, Jay Kennedy, revealed that “While 64 percent of small businesses have experienced employee theft, only 16 percent of those reported the incident to police.”
What that data means is that there are people in your community looking for employment that have stolen from the companies they have worked for and never been prosecuted. If their background check comes back clean and you decide to hire them, they could potentially be a liability for you and your company. If you don’t want to lose everything you worked so hard to build, you’re going to have to pay careful attention to your words and actions as an employer.
Employee theft occurs whenever employees have no respect for their employers. They stop caring about the job they’re in and start doing things that could potentially sabotage the company. Remember the Target security breech from late last year? Do you want to be left cleaning up the mess and footing the bill because of your poor hiring strategies?
To avoid disaster, you need to know what type of behavior causes discontent in the workplace. Here are ten easy ways to lose the respect of your employees quickly:
- Play favorites. If you fail to criticize certain employees but have no problem counseling others, you’re creating a potential monster that will need slaying later on. No one likes to be treated unfairly.
- Fail to set clearly defined goals. There is nothing more frustrating to a self-starter than to not be given targets and deadlines to reach. Playing catch up because an employer couldn’t make up his or her mind is frustrating.
- Refuse to announce expectations but act disappointed when tasks are not complete and jobs are not done well. No one likes a flip flopper. If you care about what is going on in the workplace, you delegate tasks appropriately. More importantly, you follow-up and provide guidance whenever something goes awry.
- Show up to meetings late. It may be your company but there is nothing that spells trouble more than a chronically late boss. Be mindful of your employees’ time the way they are mindful of yours.
- Put them off in favor of texting, checking social media or talking on the phone. Give your employees your undivided attention. If you’re too busy to do that, ask that they come back later so you can have one-on-one time without interruption.
- Pass them over for a raise and advancement in the company. Everyone should have an equal opportunity to excel. Set up a rewards-based promotion program with clearly defined goals and specifications so you won’t be red-faced when someone calls you out on playing favorites.
- Overstep boundaries. Under no circumstances, should you do things that make your employees uncomfortable. Do not ask them to disregard their personal, political or religious beliefs, EVER.
- Express your disappointment in performance in an aggressive manner. The people that are working for you are adults and they do not appreciate being screamed at or publicly shamed in any way. It doesn’t matter how angry you are about an incident that happened, keep your cool, watch your words, and be specific about what has caused you to feel disappointed in your employee’s performance.
- Lie about the job, pay or atmosphere of the workplace provided. Be honest the way you expect your employees to be with you. Don’t exaggerate the benefits of working for you unless you can deliver results regularly.
- Fraternize with some employees and ignore the rest. All too often, employers become friends with employees outside of work. Although these relationships are inevitable, they’re strongly discouraged. No one likes to feel left out. If you invite some people over for a barbecue and fail to mention your plans to other, you’re playing favorites and slowly creating an atmosphere of discontent.
Respect is earned not required. It shouldn’t be expected. Once your employees can see that you’re a good guy or gal, things will go smoothly. For the time being, however, your employees can get to know you by asking questions, sharing goals and customer experiences, and by cultivating a level of understanding that involves both parties, who have an interest in your small business’ success.