In too many Alberta companies, I meet owners, managers and supervisors who put up with underperforming workers. They put up with workers who are negative about everything, don’t do their jobs correctly, hassle other employees and take advantage of their employer. These are the workers that should have been whacked a long time ago. And the longer they are there the more difficult and costly it becomes.
So how is firing/dismissing/laying-off/de-employing/whacking/insert euphemism/ a lean concept? First something has gone wrong, that person should not be with you. This however is Alberta and staff can be impossible to find so chances have to be given. The two Toyota tenets of lean are “Respect for the individual” and “Continual improvement”. If you have one worker slacking but still getting paid and 5 others doing a full job and the slacker is not being rebuked or fired how respected are the other 5 workers? This is the part of the employment equation that gets too often overlooked. Too much effort is put into trying to correct the bad apples that no one notices the good ones give up or move on. And as the good ones leave the bad apple often becomes more valuable in the eyes of their immediate supervisor and the circle becomes vicious. In this situation “Continual improvement” can barely happen if at all.
So what to do about it? Take the advice:
So when do you whack someone? The moment you think, “Hey, this one’s not really working out.” The minute the notion enters my mind that I have to fire someone, I don’t hesitate. I don’t give the person three, four, five months to improve or change. Because I’ll tell you something else that’s unpopular to admit: problematic employees never change.
Yes it feels crap doing it. Yes it can be mine field if you are not set up with good HR policy to follow. Two things to remember. One you will feel fine the next morning and the only question you will have is why you did not do it earlier. Second you have a greater responsibility than that individual but to all the employees to ensure the good and the continuation of company.
Post script, if you need a good HR consultant to get the whacking done email me and I can forward some names I trust.