Day Shelmire: Employees must wash their hands before returning to work | Business


I think we can all agree that we want restaurant workers to wash their hands after using the bathroom and before returning to work. We would be horrified, both as an employer and as a patron, if they didn’t. We hope that restaurant employees adhere to hygiene rules and regulations to keep the food we eat clean.

We’ve all seen the signs in the bathroom that say, “Employees should wash their hands before returning to work”. Truly? I always thought this reminder sign was absurd for two reasons. First, doesn’t everyone intuitively know that they should wash their hands after using the bathroom? And second, how can a restaurateur ensure that this important rule is followed?

The answer to the first question is that they don’t. Not everyone in my perfect world knows or practices good hygiene. The answer to the second question is, you can’t. There is simply no way to monitor and enforce some of the most important rules and behaviors in the workplace.

So when it comes to rules and regulations, how does a small business owner enforce the unenforceable and manage the unmanageable? These are puzzles that intrigue large and small businesses alike. Ultimately, employers need to do their best and trust employees to do the right thing.

I once had a boss whose pet peeve was that employees left dirty coffee cups in the sink in the shared kitchen. This boss installed a video camera over the sink, reviewed the incriminating videos he produced, and then shared the clip of the offending culprit with his employees for mockery and laughter. The impact has diminished, but so has the respect for the boss.

Ultimately, no matter how serious the violation, small attempts to openly humiliate employees to correct their behavior only demonstrates the employer’s lack of trust in employees and leads to employee resentment. This can lead to decreased workforce productivity, the loss of key employees, HR complaints, and in the worst case scenario, lawsuits.

The lesson here is that employees don’t like to feel suspicious, vulnerable and invaluable in their workplace. Trust, security and value are what motivates the best employees, in some cases as much as money. I’ve seen employees pass on better pay because they felt loyal to the small business owner who valued and trusted them as human beings.

So how hard can it be to monitor and enforce workplace behaviors such as safety breaches, poor sanitation, procrastination, long breaks, personal use of the job? equipment and credit cards, careless handling of confidential information, lax protection of trade secrets and other rule violations. monitored and enforced? While this is extremely difficult, there are steps a small business owner can take to reduce or even eliminate them.

Recruiting the right people, training them and instilling company values ​​are the first steps. Many small business owners, if they have been in business for a while, have some idea of ​​the types of people who will become good, trusted employees. There are no “perfect” employees, but with experience and good hiring and training practices, small business owners can come close.

At Joe Pine Coffee in Marshall, co-owner Geoffrey Davis got it right.

“We started by building a team that understands and believes in our company values,” said Davis. “One of our values ​​is ‘Experience is everything.’ Our team feels personally responsible for meeting and exceeding expectations to create amazing customer experiences, and we measure this by the growing number of loyal customers and the consistent great feedback on our team from online reviews.

Great employees will adhere to the values ​​of owners, who should lead by example.

“Employees are the hardest part of owning a small business,” said Katy Julian, owner of Chicken Row Market in Carthage.

Julian believes protocols should be in place to protect both the employee and the owner.

“The workplace should be where employees feel they have a stake in the property and know you care about their well-being as if they were family,” Julian said. “The greater the sense of belonging, the more proud employees are of their role in making the company successful at all levels. Of course, the line is fine and it takes work on both sides, but it is possible. “

Here are some good practices that will bring you one step closer to hiring quality employees with integrity and character who are more likely to follow the vision, values ​​and rules of the business owner:

Perform background checks – These are essential for any business where the employee will be in contact with the public or occupy positions where trust is paramount. Background checks can reveal a criminal background, verify a person’s identity, confirm if the candidate is legally authorized to work in the United States and more. Make it part of your hiring routine.

Require and verify references – Require candidates to provide at least three references and call each reference. While provided by the candidate for the job, these conversations can be eye-opening if you ask the right questions.

Train and communicate – Train new employees not only in the technical details of their job, but in aspects of the job that cannot be controlled. For employees to be motivated and productive, they need to be trained to know what their job is, what their responsibilities are and what is expected of them. Clear communication and training are essential. Regular recycling reinforces key behaviors.

Transmit the values ​​of the company – Continuously remind employees of your company’s values ​​and philosophy. Displaying values ​​in an open space will also strengthen them. Small business owners need to lead by example and follow their own rules and values ​​in order for their employees to trust them.

Manage while walking – One of the most effective ways to manage a workforce is to join them in their workspace and show them that you care. Rather than hiding in the shadows and spying on your employees, this technique is simply about being present, visible and accessible in order to engender camaraderie and teamwork.

Use checks and balances – These are critical operations that concern the quality of products and services or the management of money. In quality control, this means that the boss or the main employee is responsible for checking the work of another employee. When managing money or accounts, this means putting in place processes that will reduce the risk of theft or fraud, such as point-of-sale closing procedures, double signatures on checks or examination. timely and regular credit card statements.

Integrate open work areas – Closed offices for the boss, accountants and financial officers are necessary when concentration, privacy and security are required. Open workspaces for administrative staff, sales representatives and operations staff help promote a sense of teamwork, energy and motivation. They also reduce the possibilities of wasted time, fraud and other aberrant behavior in the workplace.

Engage with employees – A boss hidden in the office or completely absent can be a serious demotivator. “When the cat is away…” Unless a small business owner has a trusted and motivated substitute to run the business, there is no substitution for the owner. Small businesses whose owners are actively engaged in their business and with their employees have proven to be more productive.

Invite employees to be part of the solution – As Richard Branson says, if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business. And, employees are often the best source of ideas. Ask them how to solve the unmanageable management problems and they will create the solutions and be more likely to adopt them. Employees are the greatest asset of small businesses.

Managing the unmanageable and enforcing the unenforceable are as old as the business itself. The Bible contains many verses and parables concerning the good interaction between bosses and their employees. The bottom line is just this, treat your employees the way you would like to be treated like an employee, with respect, honor, inclusion and trust. Do these things and the unmanageable thing will be handled by your employees themselves.

– Day Shelmire is the director of UT Tyler-Longview SBDC, which covers Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Panola, Rusk, and Upshur counties in eastern Texas. Entrepreneurs and small business owners can contact their local SBDC for advice on how to start, grow or repair their small business. Call (903) 757-5857 for an appointment with an experienced business advisor.

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