Sunday, May 12, 2013

Natural Consequences of Employee Misbehavior

I've heard this question a hundred times. "What do we do about someone who's a good employee, but regularly misbehaves, like not turning in complete documentation with an order? They never fill the form out completely. What's the penalty for that?"

Of course you could try fining them - dock their pay. You might run into wage and hour problems with that, and you'd probably be surprised at how high the penalty would have to be to get their attention.

Here's a brilliant consequence that a member brought to a Chief Executive Boards International meeting.

Call him into your office. He'll quickly figure out this is not trivial. Say, "Jack, it seems you've again turned in an order without the configuration form completed." Jack will give you his traditional litany of excuses. You say, "Well, Jack, we know if we try to process an order without the configuration form completed, it causes delays, mistakes and diving catches when we find out what the customer really wanted.

"So, Jack, you and I are going to fill out the form together." Jack will be stunned. This is important enough that you'll take the time to do it with him? Jack says, "I'll get the information together and get back to you." He's hoping you'll forget about it.

"No", you say, "Jack, I'm going to be waiting here while you go get the information you need to complete the configuration form. If you can't get it together by the end of the day, I'll be here waiting for you tomorrow." Now Jack gets it. This is important.

As you can imagine, this only has to happen to Jack a couple of times -- consistency is critically important -- the same thing happens to him the next time he turns in an incomplete order. He'll either get tired of being your new best friend or he'll get his orders documented before he turns them in.

This is a form of employee "tough love". Don't let them off the hook. Set up very uncomfortable consequences, whether monetary or not, for behaviors you want to change. Their behavior will change.  

If you have an example of consequences for employee misbehavior that have worked for you, please click on "Comments" below and share them with others.      

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Terry Weaver

Chief Executive Boards International
Chief Executive Boards International: Freedom for business owners & CEOs -- Less Work, More Money, More Freedom to enjoy it

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