Don’t Be Limited By These Employees
In an ideal world, you’d only have to deal with one big recruitment drive, and never have to worry about your staff again. People would only apply for roles which they really suited, and would become a valuable addition to the company straight away. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world! No matter how diligent you are, your company is going to have at least a few bad employees. Here are some of the most common problems which arise from these employees, and what you can do to iron them out.
First of all, you may have employees who simply don’t fit in with the brand image you’re trying to create. This is mainly a problem with staff in a customer-facing position. However, members of staff who don’t mesh with the company culture can be a threat regardless of their position at your company. Let’s say you were running a high-end fashion store. You wouldn’t hold onto a member of staff who kept saying “sick” and “awesome” when customers were asking about products. They’ve got the right idea, but they’re not exactly going to make a lot of sales! Conversely, you might be running an indie ecommerce site that sells affordable hipster-esque clothing. You wouldn’t want your staff here to talk about beanie hats as if they’re diamond-encrusted cufflinks. Before you begin to hire staff, you need to have a clear idea of your company culture, and how you’d like your staff to fit in with it. Try and screen for any clashes in the interview stages. Also, it’s a good idea to run a probation period of at least one month. Use this time to scrutinise any new recruits, and let them go if needs be.
Another common issue that arises from employees is what some HR managers call “the disappearing act”. It may be hard to remember as a business owner, but life goes on outside of the workplace. You’ll probably have a few employees whose personal lives have a detrimental effect on the way they perform at work. I remember hearing one story about a business owner who had an employee who was involved in a car accident. They were given a long time to recover from their injuries, then came back to their regular rota. Months later, they were turning up late, leaving early, and sneaking away from their desk at odd hours in a working day. The CEO tried repeatedly to meet with the employee and discuss the problem. After they kept dodging these, the business owner eventually had to fire their wayward worker. This is just one scenario which you could run into with your staff. I’m not saying that you need to be some callous, evil Mr Burns figure. However, you should know when to be sympathetic and when to be hard. You’ll have times for both, believe me. Make sure your HR department is well-oiled and vigilant about any blotchy attendance. Use an absence management system to see how much absences are costing the operation, and don’t wait too long to act upon it. Be sympathetic at first, and help your staff with their problems. If the issue carries on, however, let them go.
Finally, hiring mavericks. Often, if business owners are trying to create a dynamic, open culture at their business, they’ll look for employees with a distinctly proactive nature about them. Sometimes people like this can be a fantastic addition to the company. However, many of them will be mavericks who will actually end up costing you money, rather than making it. Having an energetic employee is fine, but make sure this doesn’t go unchecked and develop into rebellion. If you allow one member of staff to ignore policies and regulations, then it will breathe life into a blasé, unruly company culture. Even if your maverick is making you a massive amount of money, allowing them to carry on breaking the rules is never a good idea. This isn’t a bad buddy-cop drama, as great as that would be. Whether it’s little things like forgetting to call a customer “sir”, or more serious offences like drinking on the job, make sure you crack down on any rule breaking before it becomes a huge problem. It may not seem like letting a few people slip through the net is a big deal. It may well be the start of one though!
Have a talk with your HR management, and scour your workforce for these kinds of problems. Staff can make or break a company, so HR isn’t something you can afford to ignore!