Employee – Employer Relationships: Should You Befriend Employees? Entrepreneurs Weigh In

Is befriending employees a recipe for success or disaster -- here's what ten entrepreneurs had to say about it.

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6. Befriending employees makes business more complicated.

” … A business needs to be viewed as a machine, composed of systems and people. Just as in any machine, you need to be able to replace faulty parts on occasion. Essentially it is difficult to fire a friend. Furthermore, someone is far less apt to take orders from someone they regard as their friend. Things need to be accomplished well and within certain time constraints; without that the business cannot function …”

– Alexander Cross, Founder of Law Offices of Cross & Associates: @Obiclone

7. Employer — employee relationship are a double-edged sword.

“Treating your employees as friends is a double-edged sword. This can create a level of comfort that is not conducive to producing optimal results in the workplace. Finding the perfect balance of camaraderie and leadership takes the finesse of an intuitive soul embedded with a clear vision.”

– Tekoa Hash, Co-Founder and President of The Teknique Agency: @tekniqueagency

8. Treat employees even better than your friends.

“I believe you shouldn’t treat your employees like friends, you should treat them better. Oftentimes, friends have an underlying understanding that you have their best interest at heart [and] that those values can be communicated without words or rewards. Employees aren’t like that. They should be encouraged, publicly acknowledged, rewarded, or disciplined when appropriate. If you want your employees to exude your company’s values, you must begin by exemplifying them.”

– Simon Tam, Founder and Director of Marketing of The Slants LLC: @SimonTheTam

9. Befriending employees breeds a sense of false entitlement.

“Employees should not be treated like friends. If you do that, you are opening the door to them assuming an entitlement attitude towards your business. In other words you are tinkering with abdicating your authority as boss. This also applies to friends you have brought into the business. When I brought a friend in, after a year he wanted a share of the profits and became resentful when he didn’t get it (even though he was being paid well). Remember, you are taking all the risks, financial and otherwise, and it’s your vision; don’t let existing or developing friendships cloud that vision.”

– Sandra Holtzman, Founder and President of Holtzman Communications, LLC: @sandra615

10. Treat employees as mentees, at first.

“Trust is important. At the start of employment, employees should not be treated as friends but as mentees who should be respected and carefully guided. After time has past the employee–employer relationship can organically progress, as trust is built, to resemble more of a friendship or partnership, but friendship cannot occur without first establishing trust.”

–  Adeshola Akintobi, CEO of Best Face Forward Cosmetics, LLC: @BFFMAKEUPSTUDIO

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Photo: Gant

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