Last month I was hit in the face with this quote:

“Treat your staff like family, and in turn, they will treat your customers like family.”
~ Tom Krieglstein

To me, once you get below the surface, this seems like terrible advice.

Unless you come from The Waltons or Leave It To Beaver, how many of us have families that are not dysfunctional to some degree?

We need to treat our employees BETTER than family.

Families can be dysfunctional, and riddled with politics. Members can be impossible to fire or criticize, and many within the family dynamic have wildly unrealistic expectations and illusions of grandeur.

Instead, we should focus on people being members of the team. We set people up to have common goals, language, expectations, and accountability.

People within your organization want to be treated fairly. They want to know there is one set of rules and not a million exceptions that apply only to those on the inside. They want to be listened to, understood, and valued. They want to know their opinion matters, their work matters, and that they can grow and contribute.

Whether we like to admit it or not, most family-run businesses do not afford this to happen. There tend to be two sets of rules, one for family members and one for those who are not. Senior positions will likely be filled by family, whether they are qualified or not, and their authority cannot be questioned by those who do not share blood.

Politics tend to be an ongoing reality, and many decisions are not based on what is good for the business or its employees, but rather on what is best for the family members.

So why would you ever want to create a culture that treats people like family?

What if, instead, you created a culture where people felt like they belonged? That they mattered? Where they were valued, and their voices and opinions were listened to and acted upon?

Creating a  culture where people want to work towards a unified set of goals and realize their work will be rewarded and appreciated is vital to developing an organization that will be successful over the long term.

This is a place where employees know the brand’s story, believe in it, live it, and retell it to other employees, customers, and vendors alike.

It is a place where they understand the customer is the key focal point and work to create an ongoing customer experience that customers respect, value, and want to engage with.

Being part of an organization run like a dysfunctional family creates havoc, silos, disengaged employees, and leads to employees and customers looking for another option. (See the Great Resignation.)

We need to do better than treating our employees like family – we need to treat them like human beings.

People are worthy of respect, trust, and being cared about. We need to communicate our values and develop a culture where people live those values.

Wishing you success.

Connect with Ben HERE to develop and tell your story within your organization and create a team environment where together, you succeed, grow, and become more profitable.