Most restoration business owners give a lot of thought about who their next hire should be. Do I add a construction manager, a collections administrator, or a water technician? Who will make the biggest difference for my business?
The greatest impact on company capacity and productivity may not come from your next hire, but from the person you need to fire! “In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins creates a lasting and memorable metaphor by comparing a business to a bus and the leader as a bus driver. He emphasizes that it is crucial to continuously ask “First Who, Then What?” … leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.” Restoration companies are not all that different one from another irrespective of size or location.
You need the same administrative support services, the same essential roles comprising both mitigation and construction divisions, and most companies include a sales division too. Pretty much the same … the same seats belong on the bus for every restoration company. The bigger question is, “do you have the right people in the right seats?” In nearly all restoration company’s the answer is, “No!” Who Needs to Get Off Your Bus? Nearly every restoration business has employees who really need to go. Do you have employees about whom you feel or say:
- They just don’t fit
- They have never gotten onto the bus with the rest of us
- They regularly underperform even after repeated efforts to coach, train and redirect
- They are constantly complaining and causing problems with other employees and negatively affecting morale
- They have a bad attitude that doesn’t seem to improve
- They disrespect their supervisor, and oftentimes me too
- They cut corners and try to get away with doing less than the minimum required
- They just don’t seem to fit our values or the culture of our company
- They frequently ask for more money, but aren’t even doing the minimum required
- They cause more trouble and drama than anyone else in the company
- They hurt our company’s reputation
- They have lost our company customers
- They have lost us too much money
These are employees that don’t do their job well and create problems within your company. You should help them off the bus and replace them right away. Many owners hold themselves hostage over these problematic employees. They think, “what would I do without them?” “We have too much work to let them go.” “I don’t like having them around, but I don’t know what I would do if I fired them. I would have to assume their jobs for the time being and I don’t want to do that.” Have you ever felt like you were a hostage in your own company? Have these fears prevented you from taking corrective action allowing problems to fester and employees to underperform?
There is an idiom that represents our tendency to keep the devil we know than opt for someone we don’t know. We choose to stay with the familiar than assume the risk of the unfamiliar. I hope in reading these words you see how ridiculous and defeating that tendency is. In my company my wife and I would at last conclude that an underperformer, trouble-maker, or complainer was not going to change their ways despite our repeated efforts to coach, train, and redirect. We agreed with one another “this person is fired.” We’d make no announcement but simply put into motion a process to replace the person.
We backed off and ceased our efforts to change the person’s behavior, and quietly began our search for their replacement. When ready we announced the separation to the employee with immediate effect. Out with the old and in with the new, all in a single day. Depending on the circumstances we typically provided a two-week severance to the outgoing employee. It was always better to make the firing immediate than to give or accept a two-week notice. This approach did several positive things for us:
- We never considered ourselves hostages in our own company. When we decided, it was final. The pressure was lifted, recruitment began, and work went on as normal until we were ready to make the change.
- We didn’t live with the underperformer or trouble-maker beyond a reasonable effort. Their negative impact was mitigated by helping them get off the bus and out of our company.
- The process was a regular reminder to others that if they were not a contributor they too might find they needed to get on someone else’s bus.
- We did the right thing by our employees by protecting them from the bad apple, and by demonstrating our core value “that people matter” by removing the negative influence of the poor performer.
- Our employees considered us fair and reasonable owners and respected us for the staffing decisions we would make.
- It was clear to all that doing what was best for the business and those we serve was always our most paramount concern.
Are you asking the wrong question? Getting the wrong people off the bus may do more to change your business than who you are going to hire next. What do you think about that … and what should you do about it?
Reference: 9-Month Coaching Plan – The Business Transformer – Double, Even Triple Your Business in 18 – 24 Months http://growmyrestorationbusiness.com/successes/