Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Don't Let the Government Run Your Business

" The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help." --- Ronald Reagan

On the Orange County primary election ballot is a proposal to guarantee earned sick time for employees of businesses of Orange County.  The proposal states that, "Orange County will adopt an ordinance providing that employees of businesses in Orange County earn up to 56 hours of sick time each year unless the business provides more- with pay required only in businesses with 15 or more employees as defined - to seek medical care, recover from illness/injury, care for a family member as defined, or use when necessary during a public health emergency, with such ordinance enforceable in court."

The ordinance is not needed.  In fact, the ordinance should have never made it to the ballot, (but that is another story and one that reflects unfavorably on our current Orange County Commissioners).  Businesses that already provide benefits for its employees are doing all that they can to attract the best talent in town.  Those businesses that don't, lose talent.  That is called competition in a capitalist market and one that has worked wonderfully for one hundred years.

Several states are going the way of government controlling how businesses operate.  In San Francisco (shocking!), Vermont, and within the Federal Government, part-time employees have the "right" to request schedules that revolve around child and elder care, school, and other activities outside of the business.  At this time, business owners are not required to conform, but they are required to listen and take such scheduling into consideration.  Government is looking over the shoulders of those business owners.  Business owners are waiting for the next shoe to drop.

While these may seem like harmless intervention by Uncle Sam, it is only a foothold into much more control to come.  To stay out of the spotlight and be told how to run your business, here are few key points or reminders to keep Big Brother at bay:

1.) Be nice -- Businesses with the greatest reputations of treating people respectably are simply doing the right things on a continual basis.  The smart players begin treating people right before the hiring phase begins, constructing want ads and holding job fairs in a way that attracts the best talent available.

The niceness continues after the team members are on board with generous compensation, great training programs, and fair benefit packages.  Simply treating people nice does work and helps to increase productivity and boost the bottom line.  Make sure your management team is being nice and follows your core business values and principles.

2.) Be prepared -- Unfortunately, groups will persuade government officials to force businesses to do things like offer mandatory sick time because they do enjoy a handout.  Some things you can't fight, but others you can prepare in advance for.  Things like having great policies in place and communicating those to your team members works wonders.  Keep everyone on the loop regarding new laws, regulations, and upcoming changes.  Communicate over and over again the direction the business is taking and what and why the business offers what it does.

3.) Be Vocal -- You, as the employer, still have rights, at least still in the state of Florida.  Times they are a-changin', but you can make a difference.  First, get really involved in your industry associations.  Every industry has some supportive organizations that provide a voice on your behalf.  Some are stronger than others, but all are worth getting involved with.  

Second, stay in tune with what your local government is doing.  Write or call your local representative to let them know how you feel.  Be prepared to offer solutions and not just complaints.  When they do something right, let them know by dropping a note or calling them.  The key is to stay in touch.

Finally, let your team members know what is happening in your industry.  Give them periodic updates in case they don't know and let them know how you will be addressing in issues that may affect them or your business.

You don't need or want government interference. Adopt these pointers today to protect your employees and your business.

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