Are your employees your friends?

As a business owner, you have a responsibility to look after your staff and ensure your company is running smoothly. After all, your entire purpose is (usually) to make a profit from the services and products you offer, and your staff need to work efficiently in order to make that happen. As a result, many business owners (especially modern ones) make it their goal to interact with their employees to a point that they could be considered friends.

As a result, many business owners (especially modern ones) make it their goal to interact with their employees to a point that they could be considered friends.

After all, your entire purpose is (usually) to make a profit from the services and products you offer, and your staff need to work efficiently in order to make that happen. As a result, many business owners (especially modern ones) make it their goal to interact with their employees to a point that they could be considered friends.

This close relationship usually has many advantages. It creates trust between you and your employees, it becomes easier for them to speak their mind should they have any concerns and it also makes the office environment a lot more casual, friendly and inviting. This sounds fantastic, but there is a line that should never be crossed.

If your employees are too comfortable with you, then they might become a little too relaxed at work. They might start being late with handing in assignments, they might start to call in sick more often and they may even come across as being inappropriate in a professional environment such as a trade show or public event. While it’s never a bad idea to get to know your employees, it takes an experienced leader in order to draw a line when necessary.

One of the most difficult things about being the boss is finding the right balance between professionalism and friendliness. How you treat your employees will ultimately define your office culture, and it could have a huge long-term impact on how you operate your company. If you want to make the most of your relationship with your staff, then here are some things to consider.

Drawing the line between friend and employee

Everyone knows that it’s difficult to scold an employee when they’re your friend. Perhaps one of your managers becomes a close friend but they routinely screw things up for the rest of the company due to their negligence. You need to be firm and professional in situations like this. If the manager starts to become lazy at work or take advantage of your friendship, then you need to remind them that you’re also their employer and their job is at risk if they don’t meet your expectations.

If you don’t think you can be firm with people, then you’ll shouldn’t become friends with your employees. Many people depend on your business for their livelihood. You’re paying salaries for people that work hard and put their faith in you, and you can’t let your friendship with someone else in the office affect the trust that others have.

Before you invest in a long-term friendship with someone at work, make sure you both talk about the consequences that could happen. Let them know that you are still their boss and you will give them hell if they screw something up at work. Let them know that you will also comment on their performance if it’s lacking, and make sure they understand that, if worst comes to worst, you will fire them for the sake of your company.

Controlling your employees before they get too rowdy

Employee trust can be a fantastic thing. It helps to bridge the gap between the boss figure and their staff, and it can also improve productivity at work. However, if you give your employees a bit too much trust then you might suffer when they do something questionable that you are liable for.

One classic example of a situation that could go terribly wrong is a staff party or business function. With the promise of alcohol, food and entertainment, you shouldn’t be surprised if one of your employees gets a little too rowdy. Perhaps they drink a little more than they should have, or maybe they end up driving home while under the influence because you didn’t designate a driver. Whatever the situation may be, you have to control your employees and remind yourself that you are liable for their mistakes as long as they’re under your command.

The last thing you want to do is contact a DWI attorney to help your employee because they drank a bit too much last night at a staff party. Those are serious offences and if they’re not dealt with properly, it could not only leave a stain on the employee’s record, but it could negatively affect your company’s image as well. In times like this, it’s good to prepare an attorney to bail your business out of a potentially nasty situation.

In short, just remember that you are responsible for your employees. If they get a bit too rowdy because you’re friends with them, then understand the consequences that could happen as a result.

Favouritism is a nasty thing

Your workplace is a location that mixes many different personalities. As a result, you’ll usually find it easier to speak to certain people than others. This could start friendships, but it’s always good to remember that no one likes favouritism. If you start giving certain employees more important roles just because they’re your friend, then no one in the office will take you seriously. Everyone will see it as clear as day if you’ve been chatting and laughing together in the office, and you’re going to receive some backlash if you treat people differently.

If you’re going to be friends with your employees then be friends with all of them. Don’t single out certain people to create an awkward environment in the office. Treat all of your employees equally so that they don’t feel left out. Morale is important in the office, and it can only be built if you encourage all of your employees to work hard and treat them all with the same level of respect. Playing favourites can be a dangerous game that you don’t want to get involved with, so keep your distance unless you are confident that you can give everyone some of your attention.

So to summarise, it is possible to be friends with employees, but only if you understand the risks associated with it. It can make your entire office culture more friendly, but it’s up to you to decide if the risks are worth the benefits.