Your customers will always notice when you do the right thing. If the situation isn’t big enough to make the news, they’ll hear about it from your employees. Doing the right thing means not sacrificing the wellbeing of your employees when confronted with controversy. It means supporting your employees when they’re injured on the job. Most of all, doing the right thing means maintaining a high level of integrity regardless of what it might cost.
No business owner wants to lose money, especially since business insurance rates are on the rise. When faced with tough situations, it’s better to maintain your integrity than fight to save a few bucks.
Here are several ways to do the right thing when financial consequences are a real possibility:
Support employees who refuse service to their harassers
Most customers are wonderful and treat employees with respect, but every once in a while, an unruly customer goes too far. Like this D.C. man who spat a large sip of water in a coffee shop manager’s face.
The natural response from employees and even supervisors is to refuse service to an unruly customer, but sometimes there’s backlash from upper management. Sometimes business owners don’t want to lose sales or risk that person bad mouthing the business. Those consequences are inevitable when you side with an employee, and siding with them is the right thing to do.
When your employees are disrespected, abused, threatened, or otherwise harassed, they need your support. Yes, you’ll lose that customer’s business, but what’s the loss of a few bucks compared to the wellbeing of your staff?
Stand by employees when they file workers’ comp claims
When an employee files for workers’ compensation, be willing to help them through their situation. They’re probably terrified of getting fired, demoted, or retaliated against. Even when an employer approves their claim, those fears can be present.
An injured employee might wonder if their claim was approved to avoid a lawsuit. Those fears aren’t unsubstantiated, as many employees do file lawsuits when their claim is denied. Some denials are legitimate. Legal experts at RBR explain that claims are often denied because the employer wasn’t notified within 30 days, the claim provided incomplete information, the injury occurred off the job, or the employee failed to follow doctor’s instructions.
Other denials aren’t legitimate, and are an attempt to avoid the costs and avoid taking responsibility. Sometimes illegitimate denials are a matter of money, other times it’s reputation, but often it’s a mix of the two.
Your injured employees need your support
You don’t want to see your team members injured, but it’s tough when you’re facing a financial consequence resulting from their injury. Hopefully you’ve purchased workers’ compensation insurance so you’re prepared; it’s mandatory for many businesses.
Requirements vary by state and industry, as well as the size and structure of a business. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) provides a state-by-state guide to the requirements for obtaining worker’s compensation insurance. If worker’s compensation insurance is mandatory for your business and you’ve skipped it, you could face fines, lawsuits, and criminal charges.
It’s difficult to take responsibility for something you didn’t directly cause, especially when the incident becomes newsworthy and everyone is talking about your brand. Denying responsibility or passing the buck isn’t going to make you look good. People understand that accidents happen, and taking responsibility doesn’t mean you’re guilty. It means you’re owning what happened and taking the necessary steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Let go of employees who aren’t a match for the team
This one’s tough. When you’ve got an employee who does their job well, but doesn’t get along well with others, the right move is to let them go. You can try to work on the situation first, but chances are, the dynamics won’t change.
What’s right for the team is often at odds with what you want. If one employee is dragging the rest of the team down, they aren’t working out, no matter how good they are at their job. Supporting your employees means making decisions that work for the team. If you’ve already got a wonderful team, it shouldn’t be hard to find a replacement.
Consequences aren’t always “bad”
There are consequences to every decision you make, and they’re not necessarily bad. They’re part of the choices you make. Accepting the consequences for supporting your employees is a noble effort, and sets an example of integrity for your employees and other businesses.