What if you have an employee who was once a conscientious worker but has fallen into bad habits? You should have policies on missing work and coming in late, and make sure everyone has a copy. Make sure to enforce these policies.
When there is a big change in an employee’s work habits you should try and find out what the problem is. Maybe it is a stressful situation at home like an illness or death in the family. Employees often feel uncomfortable discussing their personal lives at work, frequently reasoning that they would be let go if the company knows about their problems. It is certainly their right to keep their private lives to themselves, but it would be a shame if they lost their jobs when open communication with their manager about the reason for the change in work habits could have prevented it.
There aren’t many countertop shops that can afford a human resource department, so that job falls to the manager. If you have created an atmosphere of trust and communication at work there shouldn’t be many problems that can’t be solved with a little effort.
To minimize the effects of the issues that can arise in a shop, remember these simple rules:
- You are the leader, so act like one. Take charge of situations with a cool head.
- Show the proper respect to your employees and it will be returned tenfold.
- Use your policies to your advantage.
It is what you do during a crisis that defines you as a manager, but you don’t have to go it alone. There are many resources at your disposal, including association networks, online resources (like the ISSFA bulletin board), books and conversation with other successful managers. The most important advice I have received is from one of the most successful managers I know, my boss. He said, “You’re the manager now. Do you know what that means? It means you are now the servant of the shop.” A manager’s job is to make everyone else’s job easier. I try to remember that every day.
About the author:
Jon Olson is the production and operations manager for Sterling Surfaces in Sterling, Mass. He has been a solid surface fabricator since 1982 and can be reached at email@example.com.