How do you perceive your staff?How do you perceive your friends?

Are you a small business that has employed staff for some time?

What is your relationship with those staff? Are they your friends or do you keep it strictly professional?

When running a small enterprise having staff that are reliable and that you can trust is essential. So in order to build that trust, inevitably friendships will develop. Many business people are ordinary folk who are just trying to make a living so do not need the savage tongues of the Dragons or Alan Sugar.

The perception will be that being friendly with your employees will keep them happy and motivated which can only be good for business.

Not necessarily!

What about discipline. Are you too busy talking to pay attention to customers or is the culture too relaxed as a result? Without structure and a bit of pressure employees are not motivated and the friendlier you become there is the danger of being taken advantage of.

What if you need to lay off staff? Recently I learned of a lady who was selling a business that she had run for ten years because it is not giving her enough profit to live on. Further analysis showed that she was paying two staff carrying out basic roles 20k each. This is not uncommon, soft business owners paying staff more than they pay themselves. Ideally one should be laid off or a pay review should be carried out, but she would rather walk away from all her hard work than upset people she classes as friends.

What about confidential information? If you have the type of business that requires strict confidentiality of your clients, are you more likely to share this information if you have a friendlier relationship with your staff?

Would it be better to have a virtual team? A team that you can call upon when needed. This means you do not have the ongoing costs that come with operating staff, you have a more distant and professional relationship and they are more motivated to do a good job, because usually they are also self employed.

I would love to hear your views on this, do you have staff, do you find it hard to maintain boundaries? Why not leave a comment below and join in with a “Virtual” chat