Dealing with employees

OK I want to hear from business owners about how they deal with employees who kinda think they know every thing & or think they are know it alls. My 1st situation, I have an employee who is related to a very best friend of mine, she is in her late 20’s, she is great as an employee, she follows direction very well, except for a few things, in fact I think she is one of the best employees I have besides my stepdaughter, the only thing that gets to me is that she is a hugh “busybody”. I try very hard at making sure I treat her as an employee & not as a friend, I have told her a few times not to sell customers anything that is not on the menu, for instance I continously come up with new items & ask my employees to taste them & I turn around & find that she takes it upon herself to sell it to customers before I even have a chance to cost it out, also during my transition of switching suppliers, my new supplier has been bringing me samples, she turns around & uses them on customers food, she has also took it upon herself to talk to the customers about certain items that I maybe switching and has them try them & gets their opinion with out my permission. It just kinda burns my ass that she does this, so I have mentioned to her to stop,
2nd thing is, I have a habit of putting up notes about reminders on certain things, then I get notes back telling to to stop treating them like children to just talk to them, even though I do speak to them face to face they do forget certain things so thats why I post notes around as reminders.

So am I just over bearing as an employer or am I doing the right thing. I feel that is my busineess not my employees.

Frankly, she is NOT a good employee at all. She sells things that haven’t been priced? Tells you how to treat employees?

She probably thinks of herself as your pride and joy, because of the personal tie to you, and thinks you won’t cut her down. You have to. It’s not a good situation. You have to give her a chance to redeem, probably, because of that tie, but she needs to be given a probation period to redeem herself. If, in the next 90 days, you have no problems with her going around your back, or talking back, or using product out of turn, fine. Be sure you try some things which won’t impact your business much, such as a 10 count pepperoni instead of 14 count, or a slightly different blend of cheese, or a different brand of cheese. Be sure to validate quantity you got, how much you used yourself, and if there is a difference, call her on it. If she admits to having used that product, she is gone. Give fair warning, but she is trying to run your business, and she doesn’t think you will stop her.

I totally agree with you, My husband has said the same thing. Yeah I really need to put my foot down, but like I said I have told her on certain situations to not do it or to stop, it just erkkkss me that she is such a busybody. I hate to say it but loosing her would put me in a hugh bind as trying to find someone who has work ethics like her, she is the type of person who does not need direction, I can actually schedule her at nite so I can go home, I have faith in her to make everything on the menu without calling me at home to ask. I have dealt with alot of kids in & out of here & thats what this type of job attracts is kids. She does not complain about hrs or pay (right now) haha, she knows that things are a struggle right now.
Yeah the items Im getting in from my new supplier are new items, because the old supplier carried different brands. Thats why I have been trying things myself before passing them on to my customers. I actually have my cheese situation fixed, my customers love it. Just now trying to get pepperoni & a few other items straight with my new supplier
What is you opinion about leaving notes around for the employees as reminders???

But, you can’t trust her. That’s the problem. Without supervision, she’s making product that you haven’t established. She doesn’t make everything on the menu, she makes things that aren’t there (using your test products.) Now, if she’s doing that only with customers who you know and are willing to help out by critiquing the product, that could be one thing. But, not without your permission!

This is a tough situation, sure. Many operators should rightfully be envious of your having such an employee. Still, if she is doing things you don’t want done, in a way you don’t want done, there is a huge problem.

I’m glad it’s not me dealing with the situation! :wink:

Im agreeing with everyhting you say, yeah it is a tough situation, thats why Im posting it so I can get someone elses opinion, I thank you for yours, my mother who is my busniess partner thinks Im a little goffy for posting notes the way I do, she does not work in the store, and is only in when I need her to help out answering phones or I am short handed on certain busy nites, she has not had to much input on the other situation

I think the way you are defining GREAT in your description of your staff member needs to be clarified. A great employee would not put you in the position that you are in. I would be willing to bet you used that term because she shows up for all her shifts, she has the ability to complete all the tasks required for the position, and she does the work with competence. Those are qualities we all want to find in our employees. The problem is the other aspects you have share.

Do you have an employee manual? If not you need to write one.

If you do, does it spell out the expectations you have of your staff?

There should be a section about proprietary information (recipes, suppliers, etc). If it is there you need to enforce it.

If you would like a copy of a generic employee manual I would be willing to send you one.

Debbie this is a very hard situation as you are being pulled in different directions because she is a good employee at times and a close friends relative… and you are thinking as a friend and not an OWNER. It is great that she actually takes the initiative and tries…it is just not the right way to do it. Just a side story…we once had an employee decide that we needed more salt in one of our soups. She took it upon herself to double the sodium in a 1000 gallon batch all by her little self. She went to the prep cooler and told the staff they had shorted the salt on the prep pallet that we pre-weigh all the dry items on and being salt and having pallets on hand…nobody really questioned it. It wasn’t until the soup was cooked, bagged, and frozen…that our onsite lab ran samples through the computer and WOW! Just a little salty. It was a cheese based soup that is a custom recipe for a restaurant chain down south and every batch has to be exact. Mainly because of nutrition lableing issues. 1000 gallons now for sale to employees only…at 10 cents on the dollar. Attached was a note about saltiness!

Back to topic… you need to sit her down and lay the law here. If she is so interested then let her assist you with the new items. Set a time to experiment and get customer feedback. Busybody types are a pain at times but also a great source of info at others. I know you do not want to hurt your relationship with your friend but you also need to manage your business in the most effective way. Try being a little more forceful and if she still does not understand…put it in writing as an employee write-up and have her sign off on the understanding of what is going on. She is not 4…she is an adult. Sometimes the truth has too hurt a little. You could always use Brads stick from the other thread! :stuck_out_tongue:

yes that is what I need to clarify as in great employee.

I do have a hand book that I just actually put away after the first year I opened, becuase I only have had family working ever since. I figured with family I really did not need the hand book, BUT now that I really only have my “stepdaughter” working here besides this other person and my mother, I will get it out and go over it with the “BOTH” of them, this way she does not feel I am only pointing fingers at her, my stepdaughter does actually know her boundries when it comes to me, usually when I have anything to say I always give my stepdaughter heads up, so she knows whats going on, she has always had my back in all certain situations.

No one has really gave an opinion about me posting little notes around as reminders, what is everyones opinion on that, am I the only employer that does this?? These notes are basically reminders about certain things like cleaning, taking phone numbers not just last name when orders come in, prep that needs done for the day, things like that.

Thanks all for your thoughts & input, I will step up & put my foot down & get the hand book back out

Debbie, any samples or items you don’t want sold, bust out that little note sharpie and label clearly WARNING: DO NOT USE!!. Make sure it is sealed tight, keep some duct tape handy. This may make employees rely on their conscious and be suspicious of quality or contamination and hopefully not use. As far as the little reminder notes, I must say I am extremely guilty of this too and still don’t 100% support them. I like to think of them as more of a last ditch effort to get something done the right way. Most of the time, employees might do the task right the first one or two times, but then get numb to the notes or just visually used to the notes being there and no longer act on them. After managing several businesses for many many years, I will tell you nothing quite works like a formal sitdown with the problem employee. This has to be in a quiet place at a designated time. Not in the kitchen or in passing out the door. There is a lot of psychology to this type of thing. First and foremost, it is easy for people to evaluate this situation at face value and either say get rid of her she sucks or lay the law down, but clearly it is not that simple. You have an indirect personal relationship with this person and she is also someone that you can work with as it does seem that she has the business’s best interest at heart. Just from your post, it seems as though she cares enough about the business to develop rapport with customers and genuinely care about their feedback. As owners and managers, we can’t just simply throw out every employee we have because they are flawed in certain areas. It is our duty to work on developing them in problem areas and then re-evaluating down the road to see if a resolution is made. First thing to do is sit her down and ask her why she does those things. Give her a chance to give feedback, don’t just scold. Be polite but stern, but find out why she is doing this, why you want things a certain way, then come to a mutual resolution to solve the problem. You could try initially posing the problem and then asking her for feedback on how to solve it. You would be surprised! Most employees will tell you exactly what you want to hear, but when they say it, it is more meaningful to them and they feel like they are part of the solution. When employees think they are more involved in the process, they take more ownership. So don’t lose the sticky notes, just don’t rely on them, they won’t replace a personal one on one interaction. They just convey to employees that you don’t have enough power to deal with them personally, so you let a note do it and also that you don’t trust them when you are not there, so you manage through notes.

Qfcmike, crazy story about the salt in the soup. That is a ballsy move with a gallon of soup,let alone 1000. Can’t imagine someone would take it upon themselves to overstep the development team and risk ridiculous amounts of money in food cost, labor, and customer retention. Wow!

These sort of employees drive me mad, they are so good at most things and think you got a potential manager but then they do work that I am not happy with. I don’t think I have ever managed to mold any employee into the perfect ideal. You have to take the bad with the good, keep the real important stuff that can’t get leaked to yourself but give her a bit of insight on other stuff you don’t mind getting out. (It shouldn’t be this way, you are the boss but we have to deal with people and their personalities)

A lot of these people just want a bit more responsibility, so you could give her a project to keep her pre-occupied such as developing new desserts/cookies, come up with combo deals, design new specials board etc. depending on her skills. (We made one staff, head of food tasting, he loved it).

As for the notes, I would use sparingly. Shop crews are not big and you should be able to have one on one chats and use the notes to really highlight something that is very important otherwise they just will get used to them and get less important. For sure, have permanent reference sheets(we have a job list for when its quiet to work through) for everyday stuff.