You’re probably aware that when you hire people for your business, you incur liability. But there’s one employee you might not think about being a liability. It’s the person who’s been there from the very beginning, taking care of the business, shepherding it and building it from the ground up.
Surprised? So are most people. When an employee is doing something to hurt the company, it’s usually easy to see. But it’s harder for owners and CEOs to see when their own actions are creating risk for the company.
Owners are employees too
At WhyHR, we work with a lot of companies: bigger companies, smaller businesses, companies who are just starting out and those who’ve been in business for years. Regardless of size, one of the most common things we see is companies struggling to adjust to change as they grow—and that starts at the top.
We focus on employees being a liability, but business owners and CEOs are also employees and can be liabilities too. When you’ve been your own boss for so long and have been able to act however you want, sometimes it’s hard to adjust to working with other people. Some owners have a sense of entitlement while others simply have a lack of understanding of what’s happening in their business as it grows.
The importance of an outside voice
Everything flows downhill in a company. A leader sets the tone for the entire company, and if you’re not getting it right, neither will your employees. They see the bad behavior when it happens, and it concerns them. But in a small company, employees may not feel comfortable talking about an issue they have with the owner, especially if the culture says the owner doesn’t have to follow the rules.
That’s why an outside voice is important for every business owner. You need someone who will say, “Hey, straighten up and pay attention to this.” You need someone who will tell you the hard truth, and you need to listen when that happens. You might not realize it in the beginning, but that outside voice is an essential part of every business.
For some business owners, that outside voice is a mentor or fellow business owner that they admire. For many of our clients, we’re that outside voice. We’re there for the employees, but we’re also there for the owner to help them see their own liability and work to reduce that risk. Our consulting services are a great way to get that trusted, non-judgmental, outside voice that can help you improve.
A happy, productive workplace starts at the top, with the CEO or owner. Make sure you’re not ignoring the biggest liability in your company.
Looking for a trusted advisor who will tell you the truth when needed? Contact WhyHR today to talk about how we help companies reduce risk and grow strategically.