Bad attitude dragging the team down

Pizza maker of 4 years turned sour. Great work ethic, team player, etc. I’ve only been in business 5 years so he’s basically been with me since the beginning. Last year he’s turned miserable. Burnt out. Tried giving him more time off and that didn’t help. He’s probably the best pizza maker I’ve worked with in my 15 years in the industry, but I have never seen such a miserable person. Do I suck it up? Or suffer some short term struggles for long term solution? I already know the answer- just looking for some support! love this page

As you say in the title, he’s dragging the team down. Get rid of him and you’ll see the team respond. My guess is the short term struggles will be shorter than you think. Someone else is likely to step up and take over his role plus more.

Sometimes those in positions like yours have a hard time having “difficult conversations” but you need to…

After 4 years I’d give him the opportunity to right the ship. Detail what you’re seeing, ask what might be the cause of his unhappiness, listen, and offer to help in a reasonable way; but also explain that if the attitude doesn’t change you’re going to take the necessary steps to remove him. Those steps: Next is written warning, followed by a week’s suspension, with the next episode after that resulting in termination.

Everyone’s one the same page. There’s no doubting you’re serious. More than enough opportunity to turn it around. Write everything down and then you’ve plenty of documentation to challenge an unemployment claim.

I am exactly in your boat. I tried giving him more money, that didnt work. I tried to give him less hours, that didnt work. I havnt been able to really do anything about it because I cant seem to find anyone that can replace his skill. He can handle anything thrown at him, but you can see he just doesnt care. I also tried giving him 10% bonus of profits, still nothing. I think when you get like this, its time to move on. This business will eat you from the inside out. I dream of the day we have machines or robots to do the job, its sad to say, but the work ethic these days are crap. good luck to you

In a situation like that a couple of years ago I gave the employee $1000 severance and showed him the door. We had a good conversation. I thanked him for the good work he had done but told him that for both of us there needed to be a change. It was a respectful conversation not an angry one. That was it.

What has HE said?.. issues, personal, where is he coming from? What changed?
May, in fact, be time for him to go- maybe it can be resolved but… I doubt it.
I’ve had some people over the years that had me on eggshells… &^%$ that.

Everything everyone said makes so much sense. And walking on eggshells for an employee is an awful feeling I refuse to have ever again. In a quick update, I gave him one last shot. Gave the ultimatum: You can take your paycheck and leave immediately, or we can start fresh right now? I was amazed at how receptive he was, and so far so good! And although I am extremely skeptical I think it’s worth a shot. Thanks for all of the insight everyone.

ALWAYS worth the shot. If it works, win-win, if not… you don’t have to wonder. Fingers crossed.

Just out of curiosity, why did you give him a severance? I am more concerned that if I got rid of my “manager” he will collect unemployment and my rate will go up.

I gave it to him because he did a good job for a long time. Being fair to people is more important than my “rate”. If you are firing the employee what is the point of trying to screw them out of unemployment? In the end, having your employees see that you treat people with respect and fairness, including those you let go, will pay you far more returns than weaseling out of obligations.

Regarding unemployment: It does not work that way. Your rate is determined by your overall experience factor. One claim does not make much difference if any. If you have a lot of claims one more will not make a difference. If you hardly ever have them one claim will not increase your rate.

Additionally any severance paid is an offset and reduces their claim.

By the way, he never claimed. I still see him around town and we have had a couple of civil conversations. He even shopped in my retail store for gift for his dad. All in all a far better outcome than some disgruntled former employee bad mouthing my business around town and to other potential employees.