The ABCs and 123s of Handling Human Resource Issues

Employees deserve to feel comfortable where they work – physically, mentally, and emotionally. For service providers, that workplace can change almost daily, rotating from a corporate office to a medical center to an industrial warehouse.

If you own an LLC, you know what a challenge it can be to manage people. It's not so much a science as an art and includes motivation, protection, and coaching. It can be a lot.

But it’s essential because when you have a star employee, you should cherish them. Finding and replacing someone like that employee again is almost impossible.

So, how do you advocate for your employees? Here are some tips:

People Caring for People

Owning your own business has many perks! But, as an owner, you’re also in charge of dealing with difficult situations as they bubble up (and you’re the one who needs to keep those situations from bubbling over and creating an even bigger mess).

There are two common issues you could encounter as a business owner:

1. A valued customer brings blames an employee for a situation that sounds uncharacteristically like that employee.


2. You have two or more employees who just didn’t get along and their disagreements put a job in jeopardy.

As a manager, and as a company owner, when a situation involving people occurs, your number 1 priority should be keeping an open mind and hearing everyone out fairly. The good news is that a great business owner has all the tools needed to combat these situations with ease and grace.

Because you are a manager and an owner of your company, your alliance is with the business itself. But you need to hear everyone out and keep in mind that your business will always reap benefits by doing right by people.

So, your first move when you have a human resources problem on your very real, time-starved hands is to listen, ask questions, and take in constructive feedback. Most people want to be heard and understood. Your job is to do this and more.

If there is a true situation and someone was wronged, you are the one who needs to fix it. So, on top of all your daily tasks, you must deal with a very human issue. Here are some guidelines on how to handle this:

The ABCs of Employee Advocacy

A. Always Listening: Emotions can run high, and stories can differentiate from person to person if an event arises. If one of your customers has voiced concerns about a service or one of your employees, speak individually to that employee and empower them to express their feelings and thoughts about the situation.

After de-escalation, you will be able to discern what truly happened and will be able to move forward.

B. Bystander Intervention Training: Empower everyone in your workforce to feel comfortable and safe speaking up for their colleagues when necessary. You can do this through regular training sessions on how to counteract an unconscious bias, access necessary resources, and most importantly, by giving them the tools they need to report any incidents they witness (or experience themselves).

By facilitating a human-centered relationship with all your employees, you may be able to get yet another side of the story in question. Your employees need to feel safe with you. Keep this in mind.

C. Cultivating Community: Through diverse, equitable, and inclusive leadership, your employees will feel valid and heard, even after a negative run-in with a customer or another employee. Community fosters resiliency, making it easier to get up off the ground and brush the dirt off our shoulders when times get tough.

Consider hosting a regular team breakfast, lunch, or dinner where your employees can connect individually so they feel more comfortable having each other’s back when needed or discussing incidents when and if the time comes.

The 123s of Next Steps to Take

1. Form a Plan: Devise a plan, train your employees on it, and make it easy for everyone in your team to reference or access it in times of need. You can rely on your past experiences and read some fantastic books on managing people. We like “Invisible Solutions” by Stephen Shapiro. It helps you see critical questions to reframe solutions. (Meaning, it gets you out of your head).

2. Get Feedback from Your Team: On at least a quarterly basis, come together to talk about situations that came up with customers over the last three months – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

How can you learn from the good experiences to improve the bad? Keep the conversation open and forward-thinking.

3. Equitable Culture: Remember that not all customers will treat your employees fairly or kindly. And thusly, all employees won’t treat each other with respect. As you move forward as a leader, remember that transparency is critical to forming trust and authentic connections with your employees.

If you want to learn more about successful ways to manage your staff and run a company in proven ways that work, find out more about an OpenWorks franchise! Franchisees have many learning opportunities to take advantage of to be the best business leaders they can be. Want to stay independent but want us to help you grow? Find out about our subcontractor opportunities. Work on a contract basis, no strings attached.

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