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DFW Area Landscaper
08-20-2007, 03:41 PM
Do you think it's a good idea to explain to your other drivers why you made the decision? Or should you just fire the bad apple and offer no explanation to the other drivers?

I fired a driver this weekend and my number one hand asked what was wrong. I just told him too many problems. I don't want my other drivers to be nervous about their job security. All of my other drivers are GOLD. They are the best. It's just that, if all my drivers acted like the one I had to fire, my business wouldn't even work.

Should I tell the remaining drivers that I am pleased with each of them and that there is NOTHING to worry about? I know when I was in corporate america, when I saw my co-workers being fired, it made me nervous and I eventually got out of there. I don't want my good drivers leaving me.

Advice appreciated,
DFW Area Landscaper

JB1
08-20-2007, 03:45 PM
another way of looking at is tell them why and then they will know better not to be doing whatever that was.

All_Toro_4ME
08-20-2007, 04:19 PM
I would tell them how pleased you are with their work. A little non-monetary motivation to your employees never hurts, and can only make for a more positive work environment.

rodfather
08-20-2007, 04:32 PM
You're the owner...what you did is your say and no one else needs to know, period.

DFW Area Landscaper
08-20-2007, 04:38 PM
Rodfather, you have several crews, from what I understand about you. Do you recommend I assure the other drivers that they need not fear for their employment?

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

rodfather
08-20-2007, 04:51 PM
Rodfather, you have several crews, from what I understand about you. Do you recommend I assure the other drivers that they need not fear for their employment?

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

I would not say a word to them. It is NONE of their business. They do not need to know the specifics of why you let that person go at all. That was between you and him. The only thing THEY need to do is concentrate on doing THEIR job the best way they know how.

I came from corporate life as well being the Director of Training for Hertz for many ,many years. I had dozens of employees that answered to me directly. Do you think everytime I either fired or promoted someone I told everyone else all about it and explained why?

DFW Area Landscaper
08-20-2007, 05:07 PM
Hey Rodfather, thanks for pointing that out. I won't assure the others that they have nothing to fear. If one or two of them quits me this winter, they quit. It'll be a little more of a pain in the butt, but I can deal with it.

Basically, I learned that this driver was cheating on his door hanger distributions and I came down easy on him. This was about 6 or 8 weeks ago, I'm guessing. I just confronted him about it and told him it was not acceptable.

His customer complaints were out of control and then there was another issue that came up so that was the "straw". But I fear it got back to the other drivers that I came down soft on cheating me with door hanger distributions. My sales calls from new prospects has dropped off pretty dramatically over the last month or so. I fear the other two drivers who also are distro'ing door hangers have started cheating a little too. Maybe this will set them straight if they're guilty too.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

rodfather
08-20-2007, 05:18 PM
I let all of my people know that NO ONE is immune and absolutely NO ONE is irreplaceable...including the crew chiefs. At any one time, I will have anyone of them in my sights and I let them know they need to stay on their toes. I am running a business and you are my employees...this isn't some social gathering or club we have everyday at 7:30 in the am.

Layoff? I would let everyone know why and the circumstances. Termination? Only two people know what went on, me and him. And I document everything very well in case the Dept. of Labor gets involved down the road with a complaint filed.

carcrz
08-20-2007, 05:49 PM
It wouldn't hurt to let them know how much they are appreciated though, regardless of the current situation.

rodfather
08-20-2007, 05:54 PM
It wouldn't hurt to let them know how much they are appreciated though, regardless of the current situation.

Agreed...but keep the issues separate. You tell your people they are doing a great job when they are doing a great job....not to quell their potential nervousness when a fellow employee gets canned for whatever reason.

JimLewis
08-20-2007, 09:44 PM
I have been running several crews for many years now. I don't necessarily see anything wrong with filling them in a little bit, if it eases their fears.

I wouldn't go into too many details, though. Just something short and sweet works well. Like, "Well, he was giving me some serious attitude and was very disrespectful. Thankfully, you've always been great. Thanks. Keep up the good work!"

That reassures them and also re-encourages their good behavior.

This doesn't happen very often, though. Most of the time, my guys know very well why someone got fired. The only question I usually get is, "What took you so long?" LOL.

LindblomRJ
08-20-2007, 10:17 PM
Depends on the situation. I have seen co workers shown the door. Details on the termination are kept confidential. Thats the way it should be handled.

txgrassguy
08-20-2007, 10:48 PM
Ah, come on Jim, your being too nice.
Here in Texas us owners explain to the employees that survived the firing squad that if they want their jobs they had better run while we are reloading.
I whole heartedly agree with Rod, the only two people that need and deserve to know the cause for termination is you (the owner) and the terminated employee.
Quite simply by explaining to the other employees ANY reason for the termination , you have just violated the section of the Labor laws covering employer/employee confidentiality.
And opened yourself up to a big hurting if the terminated employee claims a foul to the Texas Workforce Commission.
I have faced this issue many, many times throughout my years running crews, both building golf courses and now as a business owner.
What I did was hold mandatory meetings, usually right before pay time, to address performance issues, recognize employees who were performing well and field complaints/concerns/suggestions, etc.
At no time would I ever entertain questions why an employee was terminated.
Your management style and daily interaction with your crews should be sufficient to alleviate any fears of termination, and if it isn't, well than the knucklehead was up to something he didn't want found out anyways.
Once more I agree with Rod, no one is irreplaceable.

topsites
08-21-2007, 01:22 AM
I wouldn't give details, but certainly I don't see anything wrong with reassurance.
Maybe something like 'that guy just couldn't hack it' instead of 'too many problems...'?

Ah, come on Jim, your being too nice.
Here in Texas us owners explain to the employees that survived the firing squad that if they want their jobs they had better run while we are reloading.

:laugh:

swingset
08-21-2007, 02:21 AM
It wouldn't hurt to let them know how much they are appreciated though, regardless of the current situation.

Correct. I've never worked for someone who kept my work habits to themselves (in other words acted as if not only I did no wrong but no right) for very long.

It's a rotten work environment, no one wants to wonder how they're doing, or where they stand.

If someone sees it any other way, then that's a person I'd never work for.

You have every right to keep your motives to yourself, but if you let your other workers fear needlessly or wonder if they're doing things right, you are a shitty boss. Period.

HS Football Rules
08-21-2007, 05:41 AM
Two things jump out at me..confidentiality & employee morale.

If you have a small operation, everyone knows each other and what
he/she is doing or not doing...but confidentiality is still mandatory.

Employee morale is easy if you're a straight shooter and don't
play favorites. Each employee should know what company standards
are, and how you enforce them....time will bear this out.

So, when termination time comes along, a simple.."Joe was
terminated for not meeting company standards".. should suffice.

All of this has regional implications.....generally speaking...if you
have an active job market..employee "relations" takes on a
different dynamic..holding on to key peoples becomes more
difficult..........if jobs are scarce....then it is an employers market.

JimLewis
08-21-2007, 01:53 PM
Ah, come on Jim, your being too nice.
Here in Texas us owners explain to the employees that survived the firing squad that if they want their jobs they had better run while we are reloading.

Well, that's well and good if you have a constant labor force of trained employees readily available to you at any given time. I don't. Here, it's next to impossible to find a reliable American who has any experience and it's fairly difficult to find immigrant hispanics with the right experience. Sure, I could replace any one of my guys in a day or two. But his replacement would know maybe 5% of what the guy that I lost knew. So talk is cheap. But the reality is different for some of us reading this post. In reality, many of us can't afford to be so cavalier with our employees.


I whole heartedly agree with Rod, the only two people that need and deserve to know the cause for termination is you (the owner) and the terminated employee.

It depends on the circumstances, I think. It's easy for an employee to look good in the other employees eyes. They only see him at the shop in the mornings and he probably brags and overstates how good of a job he's doing, how happy "his" clients are, etc. And as far as the other employees can tell he's always had a good relationship with you, the owner. Then one day he's just randomly fired. It's only human nature to start to question what the heck happened? And of course, wonder if the same thing is going to happen to them. So easing their fears with a simple statement like I made above serves both the company and the employees' interest.

You guys make it sound like it's easy to just fire and replace employees on a whim. I think that kind of attitude is reckless and often counterproductive. I've often been on the verge of firing a worker and ended up being able to work things out and keep the employee. Then a month or two later, I think to myself, "Dang. I am really glad I kept this worker. There's no way we could have done this current project on time and on budget with someone new."

Not that any given employee isn't expendable. They are. I can replace any one of them, given enough time to find a suitable, well qualified replacement. But in the middle of the spring or summer, there isn't that kind of time. We have to keep moving and keep te ball rolling. Finding a qualified employee with little time is difficult enough. Then training him to use our equipment, getting him to know our route, all the short cuts to get through the city, the specifics about each customer and how they like things done - those things aren't easily replaced and take a toll on your bottom line.

So protecting your relationship with your employees and easing their fears is a smart move, IMO. I don't think you have to spill your guts and explain everything that went on. But a quick reply like I stated in my previous post tells everything they need to know, eases their fears, and keeps them wanting to work for you rather than thinking of jumping to another company when they see the opportunity.

Quite simply by explaining to the other employees ANY reason for the termination , you have just violated the section of the Labor laws covering employer/employee confidentiality.
And opened yourself up to a big hurting if the terminated employee claims a foul to the Texas Workforce Commission.

That's odd. Here in Oregon our labor laws are different. We can fire anyone for any reason at any time, except for a few things like you can't fire someone for being pregnant, for matters of race, or sex. But otherwise you can fire anyone and you can even tell everyone about it if you want. I am not sure how the great conservative state of TX got so socialist all of a sudden. But when Oregon has more lax labor laws than TX, that should worry you a little.

Your management style and daily interaction with your crews should be sufficient to alleviate any fears of termination

Well, I'll agree with that for the most part. Most of my workers feel very secure and know I wouldn't get rid of them. But there are circumstances that can come up and make them question what they thought was true. When another employee gets fired for seemingly no reason, and YOU won't even bother to give them a clue as to why, that understandably gives them reason for concern.

I guess to each his own. I just value my employees more than most perhaps. Call that being too nice or whatever. But I can't afford to be callous.

Envy Lawn Service
08-21-2007, 02:07 PM
I would tell them how pleased you are with their work. A little non-monetary motivation to your employees never hurts, and can only make for a more positive work environment.

I agree with this statement.



All I would say is that ol' crewleader screwed up and got himself fired.

Then then the above quote applies.



The only time any sort of details should be discussed is if the infraction was something warranting that the firing be made an example of...

HS Football Rules
08-21-2007, 08:06 PM
Quote:.."That's odd. Here in Oregon our labor laws are different. We can fire anyone for any reason at any time, except for a few things like you can't fire someone for being pregnant, for matters of race, or sex. But otherwise you can fire anyone and you can even tell everyone about it if you want. I am not sure how the great conservative state of TX got so socialist all of a sudden. But when Oregon has more lax labor laws than TX, that should worry you a little."

This statement makes no sense to me.

Having employed workers in California (admittedly liberal) and Texas (conversely conservative)..one fact is common to both. Human resource matters are private and confidential. Period.

Class A and B offenses are handled differently, Class A being terminable on the spot, Class B offenses warrant a record of corrective actions including
verbal & written warnings. Terminations for performance without documented
corrective actions leave the employer exposed to wrongful termination suits, having to pay unemployment insurance etc.

Shoot from the hip if you want to...but a wise employer would know their
labor laws forwards and backwards.

JimLewis
08-21-2007, 09:09 PM
I don't know where you got your Class A and Class B examples from. But regardless, in my state, I can say to an employee, "Jack was fired yesterday because he was disrespectful to one of our clients. " and I am well withing my legal rights and as long as that is an honest statement, the fired employee will not have any case in a court of law. There is nothing illegal about making such a statement nor does it open me up to any sort of liability.

If you're saying you have laws in TX and CA that prevent you from making the above statement, even if it's true, then you indeed have much more liberal laws there than we do here.

Olylawnboy
08-21-2007, 09:54 PM
Great posts by some of the old timers here. You young-uns should keep this thread in your mind. You will have to deal with this problem as you grow.