ICS Magazine

Getting the Most Out of Your Employees

October 12, 2009


Are you being held hostage? Is a crime taking place at your business and are you the victim? Unfortunately, this is probably the case for a majority of carpet cleaning businesses.

As a business coach, one of the biggest issues I see is that owners are held hostage by employees who keep the owner in a constant state of fear and stress. As a business owner, I can attest to this problem stifling my own business for years. Chances are you have experienced some of the following scenarios:
  • He is a fabulous technician who can do a great job cleaning but he can’t up-sell a thing.
  • She is really good in the office but she just won’t do what I tell her to do and insists on doing things her way.
  • He is a good technician but he always gets to work ten minutes late.
On and on it goes. Recently I have heard some really disgusting tales about technicians from some of my clients. One owner told me that he has a problem with a technician because the technician spends too much time texting on the job. Just the other day an owner told me about a technician who started getting tattoos all over his body and who was using offensive language in front of the customers. Owners must decide to deal with the pain their employees are causing. There will be pain in either decision. Unfortunately, most owners make the decision to accept long-term pain over short-term pain. Long-term pain in this case seems not as painful as short term but it never goes away.

In not dealing with the problem and letting the employee stay, the owner has made this decision because they don’t want to deal with the short-term pain of firing someone and then having to find and train a replacement. The short-term pain is very painful at the time, but it goes away and hopefully fixes the problem with a new and better employee.

A business will never get to a turn-key level if it employs low performing people. It is as simple as that. One thing positive about this bad economy is, there are plenty of good people looking for work, and there is no excuse having a bozo for an employee.

Low performers must go. You know who they are. This is how to deal with them.

Bring them into the office and tell them what they have been doing wrong. Unlike the middle and high performers, they receive no praise. Give them examples of what they have been doing wrong, and tell them they have 30 days to improve and correct their mistakes. Tell them you will be watching them like a hawk. At the end of the 30 days, one-third will move up, one-third will quit and one-third will be fired. Middle performers need to be praised and coached. They can be influenced by the low and high performers and you want to see them move up. Most employees are middle performers.

High performers want and deserve praise and they want to show off their abilities. It is very important to rid your company of low performers because the high performers will become disgusted at seeing the low performers getting away with bad performance. It is important to remember that you promote what you permit.

Once a company is rid of the low performers, the work atmosphere will change and the high performers will begin to take more and more responsibilities in the business. As this process continues, more can be delegated and, eventually, you can live the American dream and have others successfully run the business. Firing people is never pleasant, but I have never heard of anyone firing an employee too soon.

Don’t be held hostage in your own company and decide today that you will not tolerate anymore long-term pain. You owe it to yourself and to your middle and high performers to establish a work atmosphere that is pleasant and profitable.