Spring Cleaning The Ranks

Jim Luff
Posted on May 19, 2010
Do you have employees that have become stagnant? Sometimes you need to clean the house and that means showing people to the door.
No one likes to fire an employee. It is traumatizing for both the person doing the firing and the person being fired. But, in the course of business, it is a necessary evil. Terminations can occur for a variety of reasons, from a dirty drug test or DMV point count that justifies termination, to poor performance that cannot be corrected.
When I say, “Not correctable,” this means that you have usually tried through training, discipline and progressive documentation and action to correct ongoing problems but either the employee doesn’t care enough to change or they don’t have the mental capacity to hold the job they are assigned to.
In the case of a frequently tardy chauffeur, I can tell you that if you don’t fire him, your client will fire you without any kind of meeting or discussion. It may be the  first time or the third time he is late with a given client, but you cannot allow one chauffeur to start systematically destroying your business because of tardiness. In this business — we are not late, ever!
Then there is the chauffeur that has become the prima donna of the company. We all have one. He has been around so long and knows so much and is so “valuable” and feels you can’t function without him and so he can leave a car dirty, refuse an assignment, and short-cut procedures thinking he will always have a job with the company. Such employees can really hurt you. They are like a cancer in the company, telling everyone else what they get away with. When you send a longtime employee down the road, you can get some serious mileage. It shakes everyone up. They are usually left in shock. They are stunned and bewildered when a longtime employee is fired. It clearly sends a message that absolutely no one is exempt.
I recently posted on my Facebook page that I was looking for seven full-time chauffeurs and three part-time chauffeurs. My phone was blazing from staff members wanting to know why. I explained to each of them that many people were not meeting my expectations and therefore I was looking for replacements. You would be amazed just how much mileage I received out of that move alone. It was not intended to be a scare tactic. I am serious about hiring 10 new people. However, only five of those will survive the training process. A quarter of them will decide the rules and regulations here are too strict and will quit during the 40 hours of training. I will determine that another quarter of the class doesn’t have what it takes to properly represent us, and I will be left with five people.
I don’t want to say that I clean house every time spring rolls around. But when people get complacent in their jobs and no longer put forth their best professional behavior, it is time to go for the good of the entire company.
— Jim Luff, LCT Contributing Editor

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Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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