As President of Paws PR, I spend my days giving business owners and non-profit managers advice on how to raise awareness of their products or missions. My focus is developing integrated campaigns using marketing, media and social media to build companies. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about every company and nonprofit’s most valuable asset: their employees.
I started my career as a producer for NBC News and after a one-year stint at a PR firm, moved on to spend 7 years as Vice President of Media Relations at the ASPCA. In my working career I have had some wonderful managers who have mentored and helped me grow. However, like many people, I have also worked under the leadership of some individuals who had absolutely no business managing staff.
As a small business manager, I took all the lessons I learned over the years of how to treat employees and made a best practice policy for myself to ensure that I never made the same mistakes. Am I perfect? Of course I am not. But I do the best I can to take care of my team because my team members are my company.
It doesn’t matter if you are a startup company with interns and part-time staff or a successful, thriving company with thousands of employees – how you choose to lead and treat your employees will have a direct impact on your bottom line.
An employee who is treated with respect, mentored and knowingly appreciated will always give much more back to their employer.
- Treat your team members how you would want to be treated on the job.
- Get involved. If you notice an employee is not getting their job done, before flying off the handle, give them an opportunity to explain what’s going on. Foster open communication – it will go a long way!
- Create an environment where it’s ok for staff to ask questions and come to you with problems. Don’t be the boss that people want to avoid.
- Be generous! Remember birthdays and show appreciation for your team at the holidays. A little kindness goes a long way!
- Speaking of holidays, be kind! Unless you’re running a veterinary clinic or other life-saving business, do you really need to have your staff work Christmas Eve and other holidays?
- After a recent storm in NYC, a friend told me her company was making all employees use personal days because they could not travel in to the office due to icy roads. Like most people in 2014, my friend was perfectly capable of completing her responsibilities from home on her computer and phone but not provided with that option. Be flexible!
- Be a mentor to junior level team members. I am always surprised when a colleague complains about the work results of recent college graduates. We all know there is a vast difference between the theory we learn in school and the application we learn on the job. It’s your responsibility to train and mentor employees!
- Ask your business partners for constructive criticism. I do! It can be uncomfortable at first to hear negative things about yourselves, but how else do you grow?
I’d love to hear from other like-minded small business owners. How do you value and appreciate your team?
Tweet me @PawsPR ~ Patricia