What to Share with Your Employees
Most interior design businesses are small, usually with less than 20 people working in a firm. Many of those actually have just one or two employees. In companies that small, it's important to be open with employees, to foster good will and to create a fabulous working environment. Being open with employees is a great way to do that. BUT - you have to be careful not to OVER share. So how do you balance that- and what should you share? I'm glad you asked!
1. Some Financials
Of course you don't just open your books to any employee. But knowing some general financial information can help your employees see the bigger picture. If there are problem areas, like in expenses, making them aware of that can give them the power to be part of the solution. You can also motivate them by giving them benchmarks that will help them win bonuses or commissions. So a general "here's how we're doing" every month helps them feel like they're part of your team.
2. Company Successes
Always, always share those milestones and successes with your employees! They are the engine that's helping you succeed and they need to share in the high-fives and celebrations. Be sure you TELL them that you couldn't do it without them, and have a little fun with each success, no matter how small. You could have a big Starbucks delivery when you've finally finished a huge studio clean-out. Or you could take everyone out to the best restaurant in town when you've signed a BIG client. Just be sure you're sharing the excitement and the fun!
3. Employee Handbook
Even if you have ONE employee you need to have an employee handbook. It gives them the rules that they need to live by, and lets them know where they stand. It should cover things like what they wear to client meetings, what they can share on their personal social media, what your office policies are, and more. And you should go over it during their annual review each year, just to be sure you're still on the same page.
4. Processes and Systems
It is SOOO much easier to onboard a new employee when you have all of your processes and systems nailed down. You can hand them the documents to review and give them a great roadmap for how you run your business!! But remember that those things should never be set in stone. Let your employees have a voice - if they see something that's changed or needs to be modified, be open to listening to them. And make changes where they need to be made! Your employees are the ones who will help your company stay on track, so let them review and renew those systems.
5. Impactful Information
Employees definitely need to know about anything that impacts them and their employment. That would be things like layoffs, new employees, changes in benefits, etc. Some of those conversations might be tough, like talking about possible layoffs, but no one wants to be blindsided. They would rather have a heads-up. And when new employees come in, other team members might be nervous about how that could impact them and their jobs. So be sure you onboard with current employees, too! Be as transparent as you can, and allow employees to ask questions. They'll feel much more reassured when they understand that you're doing your best for them.
Now, we get into what not to share...
1. What NOT to Share
In a small group situation, it can be hard not to let the lines blur between being coworkers and being friends. As a business owner, you have to be especially careful about that. Do not overshare with your employees - especially deeply personal info. First of all, it's just the WRONG thing to do. But you also put your employees in a really awkward position when you overshare. And don't encourage oversharing on THEIR part, either. Of course you want to steer away from gossip, especially about other employees, your clients, or any tradespeople that you work with. And you DEFINITELY don't talk about other people's salaries, benefits, or other info. Remember that you're the CEO, so keep things friendly and professional!
I mentioned how important it is to onboard a new employee in a couple of those tips. So I'm going to make that part SUPER easy for you with my FREE Guide to Onboarding a New Hire! Just download it here!