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Employees making the same mistakes

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We have employees that just continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. My husband is too nice and has not given them any consequences. So naturally, how will they ever learn? I've tried to put processes in order and to create some sort of accountability. But nothing seems to work. What would you do?

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Unfortunately I ran into the same problem early on as I first started hiring employees. I was too nice and almost treated them like they were friends. You must be strict and adhere to the rules you put in place (unless, of course, you create a rule that you later on realize isn't appropriate). I started letting my first employee show up a few minutes late here and there without any mention, then it soon became an every day occurrence and the other employee followed suit. I had to set them both down and tell them I was serious and next would be a write up. Since then, both employees are on time or early. Every once in a while they show up a few minutes late, but I let it slide. Sh!t happens some mornings...

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Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened. My husband let the problem employee get away with too much from the beginning. since he has been with us the longest, new employees look to him to be the example and it really sets the wrong stage for them. I'm trying to convince my husband that the employee is toxic for our business but he won't let him go.

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Yea, it's weird how that works. If you have 1 employee, he sets the stage for all the following new hires... I would sit the employee down or take him out to lunch and just be honest.

 

Something like 'Look, when you first started here, we were a small shop that wasn't that busy. Since that time, we have grown to a larger business and our customers are starting to expect more from us and so I have to expect more from my employees.' Let him know you would love to keep him around and let him grow with your business, but he needs to realize that the new employees look up to him. If he can't follow the rules, disciplinary action will follow. I wouldn't be rude or strict about it, almost play it off as if your hands are tied (really, they are tied. Your customers expect a certain level of service from you, your employees must realize that.)

 

That's how I handled it at my shop and it has worked so far. It's not fun letting employees go. Even if you are afraid of being painted as an 'evil and greedy boss', you can always explain that it costs you more to fire someone, find a replacement, train the new hire, additional taxes with new employee, etc. It really is in your best interest to keep the employees you have (seriously, ask whoever does your taxes).

 

My 2 cents, good luck. Sounds like you're having growing pains which is a good thing.

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Fit, does tour shop have an employee handbook, and/or a company policy and procedure book? There must be written structure for there to be any possibility of compliance and enforcment. Having no consequences means the techs will do what ever they want, and that is unacceptable. Get a written policy, get them to sign off on each page and then enforce it. I like doing it like this, 1st time is a private verbal warning, 2nd is offense written and includes both the 1st and 2nd in a recap and the 3rd is written and the employee is fired. You must have written policys, or you will never be in control of the company.

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I'm in the same situation. My tech goes home for lunch, when he started coming back 5 minutes late I didn't say anything. Then it became 10, then 20. Finally I put my foot down and he was surprised and got defensive on me. Its my fault because I let it go for so long. To be honest I didn't really pay attention until he was taking an hour and a half. He knows he's not going to get fired so I'm going to change his monthly bonus to be dependent on punctuality.

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He knows he's not going to get fired

 

And why is that?

 

If you're not going to fire him, just track how much time he was late, then hold his paycheck that long after 5 on Friday... 2 hours of hanging out in the shop waiting on a paycheck might help him understand how you feel.

 

I would get serious about the punctuality though. As you add more employees, everyone will show up late if they see others getting away with it. Your story sounds just like what I went through. 2 minutes went to 5 minutes went to 10 minutes and so on.

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Yes, we do have a handbook and I've gotten all of them to sign off on it. The problem is my husband let this lax behavior go on since the beginning (he hates confrontation) so when I started working with him 2 years ago, I put the handbook in place, along with many other things, to try and create structure. Well, it's been 2 years and I'm still fighting with the same employee. Another issue we are having is that the same employee wants more money. We pay him salary plus commission. He has a warped perception of what it takes to run and keep a business alive. He thinks the money we make just gets put in our personal pockets. He has no idea of the overhead and inventory we have to keep paying into. I've even gone as far as showing him in our books where our money goes. He still doesn't get it.

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Fit, You have the right idea. However leadership REQUIRES confrontation from time to time. Someone is going to be in charge and if you do not do it, the technicians will be running the show. You have to be fair, fire and most important, consistent. I have taken many a chaotic situations and developed structure. Letting this go on only encourages all your employees to do as they please. Tacit approval feeds the monster.

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I would just start using the time clock correctly. If they didn't already ask me to take extra time, and I didn't approve it prior I would deduct it from their paycheck if they get an hourly wage. If they are flat rate deduct it from their time that way. If it keeps happening, double it, then triple it, but write them up first with the consequences added to it. Have them sign it. I doubt it will last long. Good Luck!

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I like the take out of pay plan/bonus program. I give 1 late for the month. 2nd time 50% deduct, 3rd time 100%. You can do this on hourly, weekly commissions, month end bonus etc. Works well most of the time.

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