Staff are a bit like customers, if they like working with you they'll recommend others work with you too!

When good systems are in place, your staff know exactly what to do.

If they're following a system then they can feel confident that they're doing the right thing by the company and not trying to guess their way through it. They'll also know when they're pushing the boundaries and/or doing the wrong thing. When you mention the things they're not doing or doing wrong you're just verifying the rules and they won't take it personally.

I've even had times when a staff member wasn't following the system, bending the rules and generally not being a good team member, where they've actually thanked me for a reprimand and for bringing them back into line! This may sound strange but sometimes people like to be managed and guided when they're off track. Most people have the self awareness to know they're off track and it won't be a surprise to them.

If people aren't happy within their job they only have 3 choices:

  1. They can have a chat to their boss about the things that are bothering them. (So that problems can be solved or compromises can be made).
  2. They can leave and find a new job.
  3. They die in the job. Basically they do the bare minimum required, they don't make any effort to improve or help other staff, the company, customers or anything else, they just clock in and clock out. Often this person won't talk highly about the company or the people he works with - and very often will cause trouble by complaining about management to other staff members. They'll have a negative attitude about almost everything the company tries to change or implement.

Note: Number 3 is often the worst kind of employee you can have.

You need to be constantly on the lookout for this type of person. They can create a bad company culture in your plumbing business in a relatively short period of time. (They're the bad apple in a barrel that will cause the other apples to rot).

BUT.....sometimes if approached the right way - like taking this person for a coffee, sitting down and just having a friendly chat, pointing out that you're getting the feeling they're unhappy with something.....well the results may be different than what you think. 

Having a chat gives them a chance to voice their concerns directly to you. This gives you the chance to fix a problem if that's what's required, or bring things to a head. This may mean that you point out to the team member that you can't, or are unwilling to, change things for various reasons and that if you can't work together in harmony than it may be better for them to work somewhere else. Note: this is not firing them, it's simply pointing out that if things can't be the way they want them to be in their current job, it may be personally better for them to find a job elsewhere that caters more to their needs. e.g Site work - where the start and finish times are more regulated. Or the the type of work they like to do most, or are best at. Play to their strengths and achieve better work satisfaction.