When you start to run a business, you do need to think about your employees. Unless you are running your business as a solo entrepreneur, you will have employees who you are responsible for. You have to be prepared for this, you have to know what your responsibilities are in relation to them and your business. If you don’t know your responsibilities, it’s easy to run into everything from legal disputes to lost employees and even a hit to your business reputation. You don’t want that so let’s figure out where your responsibilities begin and where they end. But first, let’s figure out exactly what this relationship is.

Is It Friends, Family Or Purely Professional?

Have you ever heard of the saying that you should never go into business with family? Well, that’s because it’s lonely at the top, but enough cliches. The fact is that when you run a business, you will be the person responsible for hiring and firing. Now, you can pass off this role to someone else, but ultimately, everyone knows who is making the decision. So, you can be friends with your employees, and you can even treat them as family. But remember, you do need to be comfortable with letting them go.

Some employers think – okay, but if I have to fire them it will be because they’re not providing the level of work they should, right? Maybe, but don’t forget that’s not the only reason for dismissals. If you have to downsize, you could still need to let workers go even if they’re doing some excellent work for your business.

One of the ways to avoid this would be to hire freelancers who are always on small contracts that can be bent and broken however you like. However, some employers are desperate to build a strong, loyal, relationship and you can’t really get this with freelancers because they know they always have one foot out the door.

Inside Work

Now, let’s take a look at the responsibilities that you have for employees. This is mainly based on premises liability. Basically, it’s important to be aware that if you are running a business office or building, you are responsible for anything that goes on there. For instance, if an employee is injured in your business, then you will be accountable for that injury unless it was their fault. But even if it was, you’ll then need to prove that they were to blame. This can be a long process, and that’s why the best choice is to make sure that your business is safe in the first place.

It’s important to be aware that this doesn’t just refer to physical issues. Running a safe work environment involves everything from dealing with issues of bullying to harassment and prejudice. None of these issues have a place in your company, and you should consider adopting a zero-tolerance policy.

It’s also important to be able to keep a check on how your employees are feeling at work. It’s crucial that you can essentially get a temperature and make sure that you handle issues when and if they arise throughout your business. By doing this, it’s less likely that a small issue will blow up into a major storm that needs to be dealt with. You can do this by using an automated HR service. With an automated HR service, you can send easy to answer surveys to employees that will take five minutes for them to fill out. These surveys can tell you everything you need to know about your workplace and whether there are any issues with employees that need to be handled.

You might have realized by now that there’s a loophole here. What if you are running a business from home? Then you won’t have any employees on your property, and for the most part, you’d be right. You don’t have a legal responsibility to deal with their issues and help them, but does that mean that you should take this path? Not necessarily.

Helping Employees Out Of Work

When your employee day ends, that too is where your responsibilities come to a grinding halt. As soon as they walk off your premises, you are no longer obligated to help them with issues that aren’t caused by work. But that doesn’t mean that they should wipe your hands of the issue because it’s likely that a problem at home is causing issues at work. They might be struggling to concentrate, not maintaining productivity and it could even impact their level of service.

Now you might think that the best option is to cut this employee free, but there are a few reasons you shouldn’t do this. First, you don’t know whether it’s an issue you’re responsible for causing the problem, so you need to investigate. Second, you could lose a valuable or even crucial worker.

Now, an employee could be dealing with a range of issues, and it will be up to you to decide how far you want to go and how much you want to help. You could, for instance, find an employee is in trouble with the law, and you’ll need to decide whether to post the bail bond. They could be dealing with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Do you send them to rehab and help them get back on their feet? There’s no definitive answer here, and it really depends on who they are to you and how important they are to your business. Some employers will go further than others to help people who they see as part of the family.

Don’t forget though that helping even when you’re not obligated to can boost the reputation of a business and guarantee you are the type of employer who people want to work for. Everyone wants to work for someone who will have their back at a time in need and won’t close the door to their office at the end of the working day. It can certainly be beneficial to be more than an employer to your employee.