Strategies: Long Term Staff Relationships Matter

The passing of time does interesting things to long-term relationships. A comfort level settles in as both you and the employee get to know and understand each other’s personalities and behaviors. More importantly, all those little quirks - the positive and those annoying ones - become familiar and even anticipated. And this higher level of familiarity can, and often does, cause the leader to dial-down the leadership attention that long-term employees still need, require and most of all, expect.

Here are a few no-compromise strategies to ensure that you’re not taking long-term employees for granted:

  • Low maintenance doesn’t mean “No Maintenance”: Loyal, productive, and trusted long-term employees are truly a blessing for any business, but they cannot run on autopilot. Formal, thorough and scheduled performance reviews are a must. Like any employee, they need and want to know how they’re doing and where they can improve. Most of all, they need your attention and affirmation that they’re appreciated. Here, a little regular maintenance goes a very long way.
  • Maintain your leadership perspective: Your comfort level, familiarity and relationship with long-term employees can interfere with your ability to communicate what needs to be communicated. Simply put, allowing the line between leadership and friendship to become blurred can make fierce conversations even more difficult on both sides of the relationship. It is essential for no-compromise leaders to say what needs to be said - and hear what needs to be heard.
  • Avoid the double-standard trap: This one is simple. Allowing favoritism, special privileges and different standards for select employees is an invitation for contamination to infect your culture. And you’re probably compromising this most basic leadership discipline now. There can only be one standard that all employees, including you, adhere to.
  • Tap their brainpower: Long-term employees know your business and the work from a different vantage point then you. Share responsibility with them in their area of expertise. Give them projects to work on. Assign them as mentors for new team members. This quote by Jack Stack says it all, “With every pair of hands you get a free brain.”

These simple no-compromise strategies can ensure a more fulfilling and productive relationship with long-term employees. They will also prevent contamination from infecting your culture because you’ll never take any employee for granted. Everyone wins.


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About: Neil Ducoff is the founder and CEO of Strategies. Since 1993, Strategies has been transforming salon and spa businesses into dynamic, profitable, and sustainable team-based cultures. Neil is a business trainer, coach, keynote speaker and award-winning author. For more information on Neil and Strategies, go to You can email Neil at [email protected].