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Small Business Problems Rarely Differ from Big Business Problems

July 26, 2017

Laura L. Rubenstein

Often times as a small business grows it runs across several big business problems. One of those is training new managers. Managers are often selected because they were great employees and it’s assumed that great employees will make great managers. However, the managers are often unaware of the laws that can get them and your company in trouble.

Without a solid foundation of training, bad habits can form that could potentially put a growing and profitable business in danger. For example, managers and team leaders who fail to document issues or investigate charges of harassment or unfair treatment can leave businesses exposed to avoidable and expensive litigation. Even when intentions are good, without the proper training, new managers can inadvertently start a chain reaction of events that can easily wind up in court.

Because of this, it is important to train incoming managers with a set of best practices they can fall back on to ensure that every situation is handled effectively and as professionally as possible. Although you can't train for every situation, it's a good idea to center any training around a foundation of honesty and directness. Make sure managers know to be honest with employees, give praise and encouragement when appropriate, but also not to be afraid to explain where there might be areas for growth.

As a business owner, pay attention to the details of managers’ interactions with subordinates, emphasize they must maintain professionalism. Often times, close collegial friendships develop at work.

Those in management roles need to be taught the importance of strict adherence to company policies, especially those that relate to work hours, workplace accommodations, and consistent treatment. Most litigation arises from unpaid overtime, failure to provide to discuss accommodations and mishandling reports of harassment.

It's important as your business grows to protect it from costly and avoidable litigation. Developing a thorough corporate policy as well as setting aside time and financial resources to train new managers on your policies is a step in the right direction. Start with crafting a handbook that has fair and reasonable policies that your employees can understand and respect.

For more information about workplace training or help with company policies, contact Laura Rubenstein at lrubenstein@rkwlawgroup.com or (443) 379-4013.

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