How transparent should you be in running your business? What information should you share with your staff?
I’m all for transparency in business, but then on the other hand maybe not every aspect of your business needs to be made public. It’s a tough line to walk when we want to be seen as an open and transparent employer; however there are occasions where employees don’t need to see or hear everything.
Here are three to consider:
This is always a touchy subject in any company and needs to be conducted with the utmost discretion and respect, regardless of the nature of the disciplinary action. Let’s face it, most staff members know who the performers and slackers are. Preserve the dignity of the employee and make sure all disciplinary action is behind closed doors. If someone is leaving and doesn’t know it, do it in a down time of the day to limit the exposure for a departing employee. Your response to other staff members should be firm, fair and final: ‘John no longer works with us and we wish him every success in his career.’ Rumors and gossip my run wild for a few days, but it’s not your job to fuel it in the name of transparency. It is your job to keep a professional, well-functioning team in place to ensure your profits are maximized. Any untoward distractions can keep your staff members from performing at their very best. And please, disciplinary actions should never be discussed with your customers!
Diversity and politics
While we embrace a wildly diverse workforce in the hospitality industry, it is not a venue for you or your team members to discuss politics and world affairs. Many of our employees may share some of our company values, however the workplace is not where you should be extolling the virtues of one political party or system over another. This would run true at the civic, regional, national and international levels. What may seem like a very innocent comment by some may be highly troubling or even offensive to others. Watch what loose comments float around and get a handle on them if necessary.
Keep your wealth at home
This can be a matter of optics more than anything else. As a restaurateur, you have spent countless hours, not to mention thousands of dollars to build the restaurant you have. Employees don’t always understand the cost and effort that goes into your time and financial commitment and may see that hot new Mercedes as a bit over the top. Don’t give your employees an opportunity to say how stingy the wages are so you can afford to buy a hot new sports car. Flaunting it may backfire on you.
Keep it professional and you will have the respect of those around you. Remember your goal is to keep an effective team as professional and profitable as possible and not send them packing to your competitors.
Be professional and share with your staff only what you need to. Transparency in business is good – but only up to a point.
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Mike has worked across Canada as a food and beverage professional and currently divides his time between writing and teaching people how to start and run their own businesses.