Circle of trust


As business leaders there are regulations and laws that control how you move an employee out of your business.  These rules were rightly put in place to curtail unscrupulous exploitation of people by some employers but the fallout means that good businesses who treat their employees well are often too worried about the potential ramifications to move an employee on when they have  broken their trust and are no longer an employee that they have confidence in.  This is hard when as an employer you are the one with the overdraft, the mortgage, putting in the long hours and taking the risk every day to build a business.

Over the years there is one lesson I have learned and that is that trust goes both ways.  Why should I put up with people in my business who are not trustworthy?  Why should I put up with their dramas that distract the whole team?  Why should I always keep giving and in return receive nothing?  Why? Because I am a business leader, and the law puts hurdle after hurdle in my way making it almost impossible to move on unproductive and untrustworthy people.

Team members, supervisors, leaders – it happens – their value to your business expires.  This is a fact of life.  Moving on is always easier when the team member calls it quits.  But we have all been in situations where they don’t make this decision because they are comfortable in their role, it’s too hard to move on, they fear they won’t get another job.  Meanwhile your business is carrying the burden of their employment.

I have a few thoughts on this:

  1. If trust is gone, I cannot come back from this. It’s in my DNA. So, I need to resolve it.
  2. If I can put my hand on my heart and know that I have been ethical, supportive, communicative and fair – then I will not invest more energy in trying to fix it.
  3. Full transparency and honesty is required. I have no problem telling a team member that I have no trust left, my respect for them is diminished and it’s time for them to consider their options.
  4. My decision is made so I now work with the team member to help them reach a similar conclusion.
  5. I accept that it may end up in a nasty situation and am ready to live with that. Sometimes the fear of a hefty pay out paralyses us, but when you weigh up the cost of a toxic team member who is not doing their job, is destabilising your team and eating into your energy, then sometimes it is better to pay for the problem to go away.  Having said that, if your processes are sound, you’ve kept notes and followed process, then it’s my experience that FairWork Australia are a reasonable organisation to deal with.

It’s always vitally important that you, as an employer, have lived up to your end of the bargain and have treated the employee fairly in all instances, but when the circle of trust is broken despite this, then it’s time to move that person on.