Wednesday, August 01, 2007

To Discipline Or To Not Discipline......

The cycle goes a little something like this. You sign up a new customer. You promise that she'll be satisfied. Then you perform the work.

That's when the problems begin. One of the employees responsible for cleaning the house isn't into the job that day. It's hot outside. It's Tuesday. And it's the last house of the day. The employee just wants to get this thing over with.

So she goes through the motions. And of course, she makes some mistakes. And of course, your new customer is upset. She's thinking, "What kind of first impression is this? If they'll do this the first time, what will they do the tenth time?"

So she cancels the service. And then you get to deal with the employee. But here's your problem. You can't really afford to discipline the employee because you're afraid that she'll quit. Sure, she just lost your newest customer. But her two legs and two arms are prized possessions right now.

The reason is simple. Nobody else wants to work for you. If you discipline this employee, she may just quit. And if she quits, then you have an even bigger problem. Because you need her two legs and two arms. Without them, you're in big trouble tomorrow.

So you do nothing. No verbal warning. No written reprimand. No discipline at all. And of course, it happens again a few days later. And of course, you're forced to make the same decision.

To discipline or to not discipline.

There's an easy way out of this cycle. Give your employees a reason to care. Give your employees a reason to care about your job more than the job down the street. Because if they don't care about your job, then you can't expect them to care about your customers.

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