Managing employee relationships at professional carwash businesses

Managing employee relationships

Essential insights to ensure a thriving business built on trust and professionalism.

As a carwash owner or operator, you know the success of your business largely depends on your employees. They are the backbone of the operation and their skills, talents and dedication are crucial for achieving your goals.

But, how can employers ensure that their employees are motivated, engaged and productive? One of the most effective ways is by building strong relationships based on trust and respect.

Separating family with business

In the workplace, it is common to hear people talk about their employees as if they are part of their family. Managers and business owners often use this phrase to describe the close relationships they have with their employees and to express a sense of caring toward them.

Although this approach can create a positive and supportive work environment, there are risks associated with treating employees like family. That’s why it is important to remember that employees are not family — they are employees.

Here are some other things to think about:

■  Do not play favorites: In today’s business environment, you must treat employees fairly and equally. Allowing one employee to do something but not another can be misconstrued as unfair practice. That is why most carwash companies have developed handbooks specifically designed for their businesses. Turning a blind eye to fair treatment of employees could leave you facing legal action, not to mention disgruntled employees.

Do not take it personally: Accidents and injuries can happen anytime and when they do, they can lead to workers’ compensation claims. You cannot take it personally. They are not taking action against you, even if it feels that way. If an employee is legitimately injured, take the time to make sure that help and treatment is available. However, if you believe that the claim is bogus, there are avenues to fight the claim.

Set boundaries: Treating employees like family can make it harder to set professional boundaries. When employees feel like they are part of the family, they may be more likely to share personal details about their lives or seek support for non-work-related issues. Although it is important for employers to care about their employees’ well-being, it is also important to maintain professional boundaries and keep personal and professional lives separate.

Remember, it is a business: Finally, treating employees like family can create legal and financial risks for your carwash because you may be more likely to make informal agreements or verbal promises that are not legally binding. This can create confusion and uncertainty around such issues as compensation, benefits and job security, which can ultimately harm your business and create legal liabilities.

Striving to create a culture of respect, accountability and professionalism that not only values diversity, but also maintains clear boundaries between personal and professional relationships, can help keep everyone on the same page and reduce risks. 

Sam Furno has been in the carwash industry for more than 24 years and is a former full-serve owner/operator. He is first vice president with Alliant Insurance Services and leads the Western Carwash Insurance Program (WCIP), established in 1994. WCIP is part of Alliant, among the top 10 largest insurance brokerage firms in the nation and offers carwash insurance programs throughout the U.S. Feel free to contact Sam at [email protected] or call direct 916-715-9667.

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