What Is The Currency of Employment?

By Christina Suter on Nov 05, 2016 at 06:18 AM in Business Issues
What Is The Currency of Employment?

One thing that's important in an industry is establishing and maintaining a clear line between you, the business owner, and your employers. While it's natural to want to be friends with the people who work for you, it's important for the health of the business that you choose to be friendly instead of being friends. It's natural for us as entrepreneurs to want to be friends with our employees because we’re all personable people. However, as the person in charge you must remain mindful of the difference between being friends (meaning becoming their friend) and being friendly (maintaining a professional, kind, and friend-like relationship). 

Your employees and independent contractors relate to you similar to the manner that a child does to a parent. You pay them, you provide their financial stability, so, they are dependent on you. If you are a business owner who divulges too much information, whether about the business or your personal life, you run the risk of crossing boundaries. Think about the kind of boss you are, are you inclusive when it comes to information sharing? Even if you are spewing information off-the-cuff about the business, you are including employees in conversations that you shouldn’t. From the employees’ perspective, they will begin to lose faith in the stability of their job when know that much about the business.

Employees seek feedback; whether it is in the form of approval or disapproval, you are their boss and they want to know how they’ve done. As their employer, be sure that you provide clear, balanced, and distinct feedback, a mix of both approval and disapproval. Your employees dedicate part of their life doing work for you and your business; they want to know that they’ve done a good job. Your feedback to them is part of them finding job satisfaction and pride; offering feedback, in balance makes for happier employees.

It is also important to understand that your employees want consistency in their job tasks. They want to be given and asked to do tasks that are within their job description, work that fits the job for which they applied and were hired to do. They applied for their position because they thought they would be a good fit for the position, so they want to be set up to succeed. They also need consistency so that they can pace themselves. So, when you ask them for things outside of their job description, their talent, or their strength, you have begun to cross a boundary. When this occurs you will begin to notice some red flags, pushback from them, complaints, and they will dismiss your requests.

Don’t blur the lines of employer/employee; remain friendly without becoming their friends. Be mindful of the currency you use and allow as business professionals. In your personal life, when you are in a friendship, you trade tasks because you are friends. You may babysit for friends, help a friend move house, or even hang out at parties. At work however, the currency of employment is trading the tasks your employees perform for money. Employees do a job and perform a task and you give them a paycheck in return. If you cross the boundary and allow friendships to form instead of just being friendly, expect to begin to see the boundaries disrespected and see relaxed employees who come in late, leave, early, and act casually. If you treat employees like friends, and have them to do things like listen to your personal problems or pick up your dry cleaning or kids, they will expect the same treatment in return.