I’m just back from a conference in beautiful Amelia Island, Florida. An attorney specializing in representing employers was first up as a speaker. One thing he emphasized is his ‘ABCDE’ philosophy to help employers stay out of trouble. What is ‘ABCDE’? Always Be Consistent & Document Everything.
Many controllers manage personnel. If you do and you manage more than one person, chances are you may have an employee you depend on more than another. You find yourself giving them important assignments and tasks because you trust their ability. Soon, you’re having lunch with them. That’s when trouble can start. The issue of fairness is likely to arise sooner or later. You may find yourself faced with disciplining an employee you have socialized with or even worse, one who accuses you of playing favorites. Are you being consistent with all the employees under your supervision? Do you know how supervisors reporting to you are treating their employees? Do you think your employees feel they are receiving fair treatment? You can be sure they are watching, some more than others.
Based on my experience as a controller, the best way to keep conflicts from erupting is to meet with your staff on a routine basis, even if you have a staff of one. Face to face communication has a huge impact on behavior and attitudes. But know when to address issues privately with an employee versus in a staff meeting.
Finally, as the employer attorney so correctly pointed out, employees don’t really leave their job because of the company, they leave because of their immediate supervisor. As controller, know your areas of influence and try to emphasize how important it is for everyone in a management position to follow their ‘ABCDE’s” and treat their employees as they would want to be treated.