Bridging the Trust Gap Between Small Business Owners and Employees

Mar 27, 2018
| Kenneth Pearson
Trust Gap Between Small Business Owners and Employees

The relationship between small business owners and their employees is often a difficult one to navigate – one which is frequently strained by the miscommunication of expectations.

Business owners can sometimes create an unrealistic expectation that employees must fully commit their lives to grow the business.

Consequently, employees can be left confused about their job functions, which creates frustration and can quickly lead an employee to become disgruntled.

When these situations occur, they can cause tension in the workplace that can impact productivity and revenue. Realistically, the business owner/employee dynamic may not be to this extreme, but tensions do arise because of a lack of communication and resources.

In this post, we will explore five suggestions to aid in gaining trust and bridging the gap between small business owners and their employees.

1) Having an Objective HR Representative

When a business owner hires or outsources HR functions, it is important they understand what those functions entail. The HR representative is just that – a representative for both the business owner AND their employees.

Their main function is to interpret and enforce the rules and regulations, and ensure the business maintains HR and employment law compliance. They are not there to serve the business owner’s interest – a common misconception frequently perceived by the employee.

In fact, for a business owner to gain employee trust, it should be well-documented that the HR representative be considered a separate entity in the workplace – one who acts as the voice of logic and reason.

2) Implement Electronic Surveys

It is easier than ever to create electronic surveys for employees to complete. By using a platform like SoGoSurvey or SurveyMonkey to create custom surveys for employees to air their concerns, the business owner enables these employees to have a voice without having to feel as though they are being examined under the microscope.

By implementing an employee survey, business owners provide a simple solution for the employee. Further, by having the results recorded and analyzed by an HR representative, the business owner demonstrates their willingness to be open to critical feedback and suggestions.

3) Be There for Your Employees

Simply stated, it is important the employee be aware of the business owner’s presence, and not only to render employee mistakes, but to provide positive encouragement. The business owner should step out of their office to greet their employees when they have the opportunity and maintain a positive demeanor.

Employees want to witness the business owner working on the front lines with them whenever possible. Employees also want to know they have management support with customer-related issues.

If an employee asks, the business owner should be forthcoming (to a comfortable extent) with information not work related. If business owners are accessible and visible to their workforce, employees are more likely to become trusting and seek their assistance/advice if there is a serious work-related concern.

4) Create Team Building Initiatives and Activities

Choosing to operate a business is a strenuous career. Every transaction must be regarded, every business interaction monitored. It can be difficult for the business owner to maintain a positive disposition when every transaction can be the difference between success or failure.

Regardless, it is important for the business owner to create a positive work environment for their employees. One way to do so is to implement an effective team building initiative. This provides the business owner with an opportunity to get to know their employees beyond the work environment, as well as boost employee happiness and engagement.

5) Take Employee Concerns Seriously

Whenever there is an employee-related concern, it should be taken seriously. Therefore, it is imperative business owners be well-aware of all procedures as they relate to Human Resources.

More importantly, the business owner should be diligent with these concerns. Employees want to know they have someone who is willing to protect their interests. By referring an employee to HR, the business owner demonstrates his/her willingness to take the employee’s concerns seriously by voluntarily guiding the procedural process to the appropriate department.

Doing so helps to create a team atmosphere – one in which the employee does not feel as though they must take on the world alone. As a result, employees feel more comfortable in the workplace. By taking their concerns seriously, business owners gain the trust of their workforce and build stronger employee relationships.

Trust Is a Cornerstone of Successful Small Businesses

By taking these five suggestions into account, small business owners can begin the process of bridging the gap that can exist between an owner and their employees.

As a result, the business owner creates a better work environment for not only the employee, but for themselves as well – an environment which can prioritize the encouragement of creative collaboration and mutual respect.

What’s the difference between co-employment and employee leasing? Check out our eBook, Co-Employment vs. Employee Leasing: The Differences Brokers (and Clients) Should Know, to learn more about how different they really are!

Co-Employment vs. Employee Leasing