Episode 20 - The 3 Ways to Increase Your Local Small Business's Sales
Episode 18 - Why Your Small Business Needs a Sales Journal or Log

Problem Employees: Should He Hire First or Fire First?

In today’s episode: We answer a question from one of you! Tom is having issues with his team and needs to replace them but has no one to hire. What should he do?



Problem employeesHere are the Show Notes from the Episode: 

**keep in mind that show notes are raw and only highlight what is in the episode. Listen to the show for the full content**


Episode 19 – Q & A:  Dealing with Problem Employees in Your Local Small Business

Episode 19 of the Local Small Business Coach

Welcome back to the Local Small Business Coach Podcast, I am your coach Tammy Adams.

Today is Friday so that means it is time to take one of your questions.  This is actually my favorite episode each week.

Sure it is fun to share all the other knowledge and ideas to help take your business to the next level, but when they are your questions, I know it is an immediate need that one of you have and odds are, a need many others have as well.

So please, please, please, if you have a question you would like answered on the show, please either leave it over on the LocalSmallBusinessCoach.com website or email me at tammy@localsmallbusinesscoach.com.  Who knows, I might just pick you to be one of my free coaching calls I’m going to doing.

I have a few ideas that might be sharing soon on some free coaching calls I want to do. I might just pick our caller of the week and select a second one from those that leave a rating for the show as a random draw.  I’ll let you know next week what I decide.

I’m also thinking about possibly setting up a Facebook group that we all can share ideas, thoughts, questions, best practices, etc.

If you want to share your thoughts on this, leave me a message. I’d love to hear from you.  shoot me a message at tammy@localsmallbusinesscoach.com or leave it over on the LocalSmallBusinessCoach.com website.


Ok, so let’s dive into today’s question. It is from Tom.  Now Tom actually had a longer email so I’m going to highlight the jest of his question.

Tom runs a QSR, which stands for quick service restaurant. So these will be the dunkin donuts, fast food places, sandwich shops, ice cream shops, basically any place that isn’t really a full sit down restaurant but rather a pay and go or sit joint.

Now, Tom has been having issues with several members of his team. Their performances have been subpar. And since their hiring market is tough, he has put up with it longer than he probably should have. He would prefer to fire them but is afraid he would be force to hire more poor people just to have enough people. He is wanting some advice on how to handle this situation.

Tom, I can guarantee you that you are not alone in this challenge. You actually have two different challenges – The first is your poor performers and the second is not having a great hiring pool. The important thing to remember is, NEVER, EVER hold on to poor performers just because you don’t have folks to replace them with.

The longer you hold on to poor performers, the more potential cancer you allow to grow within your organization.  So it is critical that you address these performance issues quickly.  Now, please know, this doesn’t necessarily mean to fire them. It means, address the performance issues.

If you have been documenting their performance and you have been coaching and retraining and there is absolutely no confusion on where they stand on their performance then sure, terminating their employment is probably the right course of action.

However, if you haven’t documented anything and you haven’t been coaching and retraining them, then don’t you think you owe it to them?

Now, it will also boil down to what the issue is. If it is not performing tasks right, that is fixable. A really crappy attitude, not so much.  However, local small business coacheither way you need to sit down and go over what your concerns are and then document that conversation. Make sure there is no doubt in the employee’s mind what needs to change and what both of your commitments are to make that happen.

Arrange a training plan, assign them a mentor, outline clear next steps and expectations.  Part of your challenge is going to be, they will not believe you. Especially when you get a final warning. Why would they? If you have a pattern of holding on to poor performers or those with poor attitudes, why would they think it would change now?

You must draw that line in the sand and share with your entire team on the expectations and consequences going forward. You good employees need to know just as much that you doing something about it. They too will not believe you. You need to make them believers again.  Their attitudes have been suffering as well from having to deal with these bad apples.

When the time comes to make that final decision, do it! You must show that your words are more than words. That you will do all you can to help them succeed but you will also cut bait when they don’t perform their end of the bargain.

I’m a big fan of looking in the mirror first as a leader. Look to see if the poor employees are due to something you can help control. For example, maybe that employee with a poor attitude is someone who use to do a great job for you but they lost their fire when they worked side by side with folks who dragged them down. This is the cancer we don’t want to spread.


Ok, so that is the crash course on dealing with your poor performers, now let’s discuss the 2nd part of your problem. A poor hiring pool.

The first question is, is this poor hiring pool a community wide problem or just for your business? The reason I ask is, you have to ask yourself if you a known on the community as a great place to work? Maybe your lack of qualified people is due to not being a desired place to be hired?

Now, let’s assume that it is a community wide problem.  They key thing to remember In tough hiring areas is to ALWAYS BE RECRUITING. If a great candidate shows up, hire them! You may never get the shot again. Then performance manage those that need to go. Even if those folks get better you now have a win/win.

You can’t afford to let good folks slip through. When you know that you might be losing someone soon, start recruiting outside of your store. When you are out and about during the day, if you run into someone that you wish worked for you, then talk to them. Maybe they are looking for a new job. You never know.

This actually reminds me of a kids I ran into the past couple of years who worked over at our local Sonic. The first one was about a year ago. She was so happy and great with customers. Every time I went there, I was always impressed. I use to wish I still had my Baskin Robbins as I would have stolen her in a heartbeat. She was everything I wanted in an employee.

The other one was actually one of their shift leaders. Even though he was younger, he had a great attitude and came out to spoke to the customers about their visit. Whenever a problem arose with a food order, he personally came out to talk to the customer and resolve the situation.  Once again, I wish I had my store to hire this kid to be a shift leader for me.

So Tom, I guess what I’m saying is, make sure you are hiring before you need them.

Start your performance management. Put in place action plans for these poor performers and start to find their replacements. You might be surprised at how their performance jumps when they realize you are actively looking.

This goes for all of you. Never put up with poor performance. Yes, you want to coach and develop them, but you also need to not hold on to them when the time has come. Even if you have to run shorthanded.  You would rather be shorthanded with a high performing team then flat staffed with poor team.

Thank you for the question, hopefully by you sharing this challenge you are having, it helps other folks in the same situation.


Which is exactly why I encourage all of you head to LocalSmallBusinessCoach.com and leave your question for a future podcast.  Who knows, you might just get your questions answered and help many others at the same time.

So until next time, remember, if you like what we are taking about, then make sure to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode, if you love the podcast and what we are talking about, then please leave a 5 star review so other local small business owners know this is a podcast that they can’t miss.

Meanwhile, I wish you the best in your business and remember: Great Customer Service, coupled with Great business practices will set you on the path to Great Profits!

Bye for now…..



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Episode Show Notes: Episode 19 – Local Small Business Coach Podcast

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