It’s important to recognize and acknowledge the contributions made by your employees. You literally can’t do it without them, so staff members are indeed your biggest asset. At the same time, however, it’s also imperative that you effectively manage the risk generated by people you employ.

Technology, social preferences, and evolving professional standards continually change the business climate for entrepreneurs. Today, more than ever before, employers are exposed to high levels of risk, from the very same human resources they count on for success. From improper conduct to poor health and wellness, business entrepreneurs are the ones left out in the cold when employees falter.

Whether it’s your company’s cybersecurity or client relations, you need your staff on the same page, protecting the interests of your organization. Entrepreneur Middle East recently explored a few of the measures small business operators can take to mitigate risk caused by their employees. If you feel vulnerable to human resource threats, it may be time to adopt these common-sense strategies for managing risk exposure.

Play a Role Promoting Good Health

Physical, mental, and emotional good health not only rewards individual employees, but a healthy, fulfilled workforce also strengthens your organization, as a whole. There’s no doubt investing in employee wellness pays dividends, so embracing your role in employee health is a win-win proposition. On the other hand, failing to take on the responsibly can lead to high turnover, lagging productivity, and toxic work environments.

According to the Global Benefits Attitudes Survey, which polled more than 30,000 workers in 2017, close to 30 percent of respondents acknowledged they’d experienced noted levels of workplace anxiety, depression, and/or stress during the prior two year period. It is thought the phenomenon directly feeds a negative cycle that includes a revolving door of lost talent, poor productivity, high levels of absenteeism, and elevated compensation claims.

A work-sponsored wellness programs is one accessible way to engage and encourage staff to stay focused on their physical health. Additionally, some employers also contribute workout facilities and flexible time for staying fit.

Though it often takes a back seat to physical health concerns, mental well-being is equally important in the workplace. Progress has been made, but remains inadequate overall. Survey results indicate less than half of companies participate in stress management programs. You can take these steps to promote mental wellness at your place of business.

  • Sprout Funding logoEncourage mentorships
  • Provide resilience training
  • Educate employees about the signs and symptoms of mental illness
  • Realign job responsibilities to reduce employees’ exposure to stressful situations
  • Offer conflict management resources

Commit Your Company to Honesty and Transparency

The modern workforce not only expects transparency and ethical treatment from employers; today’s workers demand it. Without a progressive commitment to openness, you risk losing top talent to companies more closely aligned with their values.

Fairness and transparency are buzzwords throughout government and private industry, but how many organizations actually follow through with formal policies and practices encouraging openness? According to Wilson Towers Watson data, the share of companies with processes in place to limit bias and foster consistent performance reviews lingers around 50 percent. That means there’s as good a chance your employer is not doing enough, as the possibility the company for which you work is fully committed to fair and open policies.

Unfortunately for employers lagging in this important area, lack of fairness in the workplace directly undermines trust and builds walls between workers and management. Even companies with fair-minded notions sometime fall short enforcing their own policies. And management may not be aware of shortcomings; it is often employees who first encounter inconsistencies.

Misinformation is a big concern for employers that do not implement and enforce fair and open work standards. Craving insight on the job, employees without open access may turn elsewhere for information, which may not be accurate. Unaddressed, misinformation can leave employees disgruntled and unmotivated.

Targeted training for managers and progressive company policies can help you maintain a transparent flow of information within your organization. Your company’s compensation policies, for example, should help staff understand how their salaries and bonuses are calculated. Software is available, providing national analysis; the data can be shared with staff members to illustrate your commitment to fairness and transparency.

Strive to Lead by Example

As the above examples illustrate, managing employee risk is closely tied to company culture. When it’s time for you to walk the walk, employees expect ethical behavior and principled practices at the highest level of your organization. Failing to lead by example prompts staff to jettison similar values, believing what’s acceptable “up-top” is also permissible throughout the rest of the organization.

In order to mitigate employee risk, senior management must serve as the torch-bearer for other members of the organization, providing a benchmark standard toward which to aspire. It’s not enough to simply put forth high ideals for the company; leadership must also directly engage workers in a positive culture, based on clearly articulated expectations.

Educate Staff

The workplace continually evolves, so staff members naturally have diverse ideas about what’s acceptable on the job. With people of different ages and backgrounds on the payroll, it’s up to you to educate them about modern standards. Language and behavior that may have once been considered inane might now be offensive and unacceptable to members of the modern workforce.

Failing to promote and teach equality and respect within your organization can leave you vulnerable to legal action and other negative consequences. A training program outlining your language and behavior policies is one move in the right direction, helping staff grow more mindful of their actions and how they affect other team members.

From external threats to employee risk, small business entrepreneurs must navigate various professional hazards, to stay on track. Education, transparency, and a strong commitment to employee well-being are among the most effective ways to mitigate the risk associated with human resources.

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