September 4, 2012

Do You Have Energy-Sucking Employees?

By Paul Bieber

First, let’s define what this is.  It is an employee who causes disruption in your glass company, taking time away from others.  This can be done by simple malingering, or more commonly, the employee is in the wrong job.  In this case, he holds back the entire work team causing delays and problems.  This employee may not be doing this intentionally.  It is probably a bad case of putting the round peg in the square hole.

When you observe this employee, or get feedback from a foreman, don’t blow it off.  Take the steps to train this employee, or make a change in work assignments so that he is able to contribute to your company. 

Does he sap the creative strength of your leaders by asking unneeded questions?  Don’t let this happen to you.  He may be a nice guy, but you do have a business to run.  Take him aside and explain what your concerns are with his work.  Offer to place him in a different area where his skills may be better used. 

It is certainly better to salvage the employee and make him productive. If you transfer him to another department, don’t let the manager feel that you are passing a problem to him. Explain that you feel the employee is basically good, but needs to find the right job. Give the manager all the support you can, but listen to him. If this manager finds the employee is draining from his department, it is time to move on.

I think this is the hardest thing an owner or manager has to do, in any company.  Letting someone go because you are unhappy with his job performance and the employee doesn’t understand.  It’s easy to fire a guy who steals from you, or comes to work drunk.  An economic lay-off happens.  Inevitably, you will have one employee who drains energy more than contributing to the health of the company.  And this may be an old friend’s son or a cousin of your Aunt Mary.  I know it is not easy.  But you have to take this action to preserve your company’s health.  If you’ll feel better, give a severance package, or offer to pay for medical insurance for a while, but be careful about setting a precedent for other people you fire.