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Ever kept a bad employee for too long?4/9
I'm not talking about "I don't like the cut of your slacks"--I'm referring to a straight up, bad employee. Everyone has had one. We all know what they are.
What is behind this, I wonder? Is it pity? Fear of change? Optimism? Something else I haven't thought of?
On this-- as hippy dippy as I may be, I kinda like the military approach: Lead, follow, or stay out of the way. If you aren't doing one of the three, you have to go.
We have all kept a bad employee longer than we should have.
In my case, it comes from many factors: Timing is bad as we are very busy and no time to train a new employee, the bad employee that I know versus the one I don't and we sometimes feel bad for the person.
Do I have to include myself in considering this question?
I have, it's stupid and doesn't serve the employer or employee.
I am right now and reading this reminds me that I should do something about it. It has gone past the time that I cared about his inefficiencies and slow pace to were I have accepted. Thinking of it know this is terrible for business and for other employees to see. I know his family is in financial problems but that shouldn't sway me anymore.
Thanks Woodweb for bringing clarity to a ignored problem
"I know his family is in financial problems but that shouldn't sway me anymore."
I hear ya. This may sound crude but it's legit, I think... I know an odd old couple that owns a pizza shop in town. She's Eastern European--I have a lot of ties there, and it does mean something, in terms of life approach.
So they had the worst employee ever, delivering. After disappointing them for a year, he came in and asked for a raise, because he "has 4 kids". She looked him square in the eyes and asked "do I look like I #$%& your wife 4 times, without a plan?"
I kinda chuckle everytime I think about this one. It's pretty raw, but there's something there. How much can you ride the train for free because you set yourself up for failure? If you play ball, it's one thing--but if you cost everyone around you, it's another.
"Some of mine were fear, timing, family members, finding someone better, trying to meet the work load, not being able to figure out just who the bad apple was, disagreement with other managers on who the bad apple was, taking personal blame in that I did not train them properly or provide clear precise instructions, needing to consult my lawyer first, gathering documentation to make it stick, refusing to fire when angry and doing it later when I was calm."
That's it, isn't it? You were where my boss-pants people are right now.
I benefit alot from this website because I get an employee idea out and get an owner point of view back.
I think this particular employee point-of-view might be very important.
You know what it looks like when a terrible employee doesn't get fired, from another employee's point of view? Like it's impossible to get fired. That's way too much power to give to anyone when your name and credit is on the line.
I think that people have a general disposition on everything. IOW an angry person will be angry, a bored person will be bored, a cheerful person will be cheerful, an antagonistic person will be antagonistic.
Generally speaking an angry person or a fearful person or an apathetic person will always make thing worse. E.G.
I had an angry person who was once working on a cnc machine, changing a gear, he thought nothing of using a sludge hammer on the aluminum gear, as this is the nature of an angry person.
I once had a fearful person relentlessly sabotage my best efforts to find a new foreman as this was the nature of a fearful person.
I had a cheerful person ALWAYS try to make things better and no matter what had a positive attitude as this is the nature of a cheerful person.
That being said, the overarching decision maker is to define what their job is and determine some sort of metric that indicates what their production is. E.G. If he is an installer then how many boxes does he install. If he operates the panel saw then how many panels does he saw. If is an assembler than how many boxes does he assemble.
If you do not have a metric of how long these things should take then that is your first problem. The second is to communicate what is expected to him. The 3rd is get that level of production out of him.
I think the gut feel method is a bad way to go as it will bounce some keepers and keep some that should be bounced.
"the overarching decision maker is to define what their job is and determine some sort of metric that indicates what their production is. E.G. If he is an installer then how many boxes does he install. If he operates the panel saw then how many panels does he saw. If is an assembler than how many boxes does he assemble.
If you do not have a metric of how long these things should take then that is your first problem. The second is to communicate what is expected to him. The 3rd is get that level of production out of him."
Oh man, are you ever preaching to the choir on this one.
See, I think a whole lot of cooky people can have a place. For example--our door stainer. She's been at it for 15 years. Comes in everyday, on time. Does exactly that--stains doors. All day. Nothing else.
It's a thing of beauty really. She's a little cognitively challenged, and requires an occasional creative human resources approach--but that sure beats retraining every couple of months because the job is that boring.
She falls in the categories of "follow and stay out of the way".
Not everyone needs to be a superstar. But the mastermind needs a concise idea on expectations, and a solid SOP whe it comes to the run-of-the-mill stuff.
I've kept bad employees for all of the above reasons...
..one of them is the worry about changing employees during a 'busy time and not being able to keep up'. when i finally got rid of the bad apple during a busy time, everyone else was so glad for him being gone that we actually got the project done faster without worrying about the bad guy causing errors or issues, and they were glad to work a little harder to get it done for the simply enjoyment of not having the corrupt person around. Made me realize I should have gotten rid of them a LONG time prior, it would have helped everybody : employees, owners, clients, vendors, etc.
also being concerned about 'their hard situation' and letting them go would make their life harder.. well, realizing that everybody else who IS doing an excellent job is having their life made more difficult by the presence of the bad employee made me realize how unfair it was to keep him around at everybody's elses expense. yes, he may have had a 'bad situation' but it was also a situation he got himself into by his choices, and keeping him just brought us all lower.
positive twist: getting fired from our shop eventually led to help making better choices in his life. he was riding on the fact that he knew he could keep screwing up in life and be okay because he had a great job to prop up his bad choices. getting fired was probably the best thing for him at the time to make serious changes that he had been unable to change while making serious money.
"..one of them is the worry about changing employees during a 'busy time and not being able to keep up'."
This is huge, IMO. But as you said, I don't think people realise how much "dead weight" brings em down as compared to pumping energy into a newbie.
Just fired a guy who had been been making me angry since I hired him a few months ago. I didn't realize how much his negative attitude was poisoning the atmosphere.
He would tick me off, I would resolve to fire him at the end of the day, then I would cool off and change my mind.
The day after one unplanned absence, I came in early and forced myself to fire him by running his final payroll check. When he arrived the typical 15 minutes late, I had his check in my hand and no chance to reconsider.
The timing was bad, as we are very busy, but it's amazing how much more I like my job now.
Good stuff, Evan!
Keep wondering about the bad timing stuff. Seems akin to staying with a horrible spouse "for the children", and making everyone miserable along the way.
Maybe it's one of those "pull the band-aid fast" sort of situations?