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Frustrated Business Owner Says He Will Go To Jail If He Has To Keep Dealing With Lazy Staff

Being Pushed Too Far...

Brent Childs has six job sites going and he cannot be in all six at the same time. He depends on his staff to "do their job" but he is worn down and at his wit's end. A long-time client of Metromedia Funding Solutions, and like many, he has become a friend. The call came on Tuesday morning when he just needed to vent. I answer the phone like I normally do, but Brent was not his normal cheerful self. The conversation starts "Rick, I am going to go to jail if I roll up to another job site and see this again," I ask him, what is going on and he explains to me how he has been through several site supervisors lately and he came to one of his job sites only to find his site foreman sleeping in the bucket of a bulldozer. The other three workers on the site were working but the person responsible for watching over them was getting a mid-morning nap. Brent proffers "Rick, I have so many staffing issues, people show up when they want, and the work ethic is that of a sloth." We were able to talk him out of getting into a physical altercation, I told him it is not worth it.

Brent is not alone. We hear this narrative from business owners in every industry. I told Brent to document everything and act accordingly to his H.R. policy. Brent has also been the target of several unemployment claims that were found frivolous but it cost him money to defend himself and his business.

But how do you deal with this?

It is hard enough to find help in the first place, but hiring the wrong help is not the answer either. You have to screen applicants better and it is better to hold out for the right person. It is easier said than done, especially when the open position causes hardship for you and your staff that is working but, putting the wrong person in place is worse. Several businesses have found that providing performance initiatives works, but that type of pay structure does not work in all businesses. If you have the ability to use a performance pay structure, you should. If you do not, it is time to get creative.

Here is one idea that worked:

Recently, we funded a restaurant that had the same complaint, and we sat down and discussed it. The owner of the restaurant could not do a performance pay because that does not fit his model so I recommended that he buys a $100.00 visa gift card and call a staff meeting. I told him that he should tell his staff that management would start noting people that are working hard and at the end of each pay period the worker with the most remarks would get the gift card. Every two weeks, it is a $100.00 visa gift card but what that did for them was worth writing about.

The workers came in and worked but, they made it a point to take initiative in their jobs allowing the business to see a better result. I told him to make notes when they suggestive sell items, do something without being told, and helping others that were struggling. He also made it a point that the only way they were eligible was they showed up on time for each shift without calling off during the pay period. So far it seems to be working and the additional 11% uptick in sales is not a bad thing either.

If you have people on the staff not pulling their share of the workload, you need to document that, and also start working on finding someone that will. Accept that this task will not be easy, and it is ongoing.

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