Experiencing work place drama is never fun, especially when you’re the boss. You must balance a fine line between resolving the solution without getting yourself too involved. This can be especially tricky for small business owners who don’t have much management experience or the luxury of having an HR department. Here are some tips for resolving work place drama quickly and cleanly.
Know Who You’re Hiring
Choosing the right people to help you build your company is one of the most important decisions an entrepreneur can make. You can’t just think about how well they will fill a position; you must also consider how they will fit in with the rest of your employees.
When you’re interviewing possible employees, ask how they get along with their current co-workers. Also ask their references if they’ve had any issues with co-workers or managers in the past. If it comes down to deciding between someone who fits the position perfectly or someone who fits in with your company culture, you’ll have to decide which matters most to you.
Have A No-Tolerance Policy
In order to avoid any issues that might arise, enact a zero-tolerance policy on work place drama and make it clear to every employee. This might seem a little extreme, but you don’t want to set a precedent for employees to cause problems and not expect any consequences. A new business is only as strong as its employees, and discord among your team can hurt your growth and reputation.
A good starting point is to give every employee a list of unacceptable behavior, along with the procedure for handling office drama and any possible consequences. Set up an anonymous box or online form where employees can bring any issues to your attention, and have an open door policy when it comes to hearing your employees’ frustrations or complaints.
Have Regular Check-Ins With Your Employees
Entrepreneurs can get so buried in their business that they forget to focus on their team. Often, office drama happens when employees feel that they’re being mistreated or disrespected, either by management or their co-workers. An open door policy should relieve a lot of these feelings.
You can choose to align these meetings with performance reviews, or you can make them a little more informal and treat your employees to a one-on-one lunch. This setting might make them feel a little more comfortable around you, which could allow them to open up more about any issues they might be having with co-workers. Make it clear that your goal is to help everyone be happier and more productive.
Take Immediate Action
If (and when) an issue arises, it’s important to take immediate action. Speak with the involved employees separately and get their version of events. Once you know the full story, you can take the appropriate action. Just make sure you’re addressing the root of the problem, not any surface issues.
One of the less appealing aspects of owning a small business is handling office drama, but it’s an important task for entrepreneurs to take on. If the above steps don’t help you resolve a problem, seek guidance from a professional mediator.