Manager Motivation

I need some advice on how to handle employees that are older than me and have been here longer than I have. My father started the buisness over 30 years ago and now I am running it for the past 4 or 5 years. I have two ladies that have been with us for about 23 years and 26 years roughly. Both of them over the past year or two have started having really bad attitudes and just not performing the way I feel that they should. I have tried talking to both of them on what I expect but they only change for a week or so and go back to what they want to do. I dont want to fire them b/c I will be out 2 full time employees and feel kinda obligated to keep them here since they have been here for such a long time. Any ideas on how to get them motivated again or have they been here to long and its no use?

I think a little “tough love” is called for. Bring them both in separately and explain that you understand that they have been here a very long time and you respect their loyalty but times have changed and so has management. They need to start working with you to help keep the business going in the right direction and not work against you. They are role models for every new employee you bring on and they need to step up too that responsibility. Tell them you have no intention of letting them go right now but you expect some cooperation in return. Tell them you will have a review in 90 days or so too sit down and see how things are progressing. You also should be having these employee reviews with all your employees to keep things going in the right direction. If they refuse to work with you then maybe it is time to move on. Just document the whole process and be consistant with how you handle situation as such.

If they employees work habits have declined, you do not have any loyalty to them. Talk to them and if they do not shape up, ship them out…


Your loyalty needs to be to the many employees you have that bust their tails for you on a daily basis. If these 2 employees are not showing any loyalty toward the business, you owe them nothing.

Sometimes fresh blood can be a good thing. Sometimes a veteran baseball player needs to go to a different team so a rookie can get a shot in the lineup!

I learned this from somebody wiser than me, but anytime I have to reprimand an employee, I say 2 good things that individual does or has contributed to the business before I bring up what they need to improve (if you can’t think of 2 good things the employee needs to go). Then when you see them working on what you told them to improve thank them for their efforts.

and rule number 2 make no employee irreplaceable, unfortunately in you situation, if one of them leaves, expect the other to leave shortly too. If they are doing stuff that no other employee knows, you better start cross training.

One of the hardest things about our business is consistantly being consistant.

I would have a meeting and document what the issues are and what the resolutions are. Include you will be having a follow up meeting in 30 days. HAVE THEM SIGN THE “MEETING” PAPERS EVERY TIME.

(always seems to make a difference when it is in writing) The next paycheck after the 1st meeting put a copy of the signed “meeting” and do it after each meeting. Use these at the next meeting to confront them on where the communication of expectation has failed. “What was unclear about the memo you signed and we went over last month?” (Very uncomfortable for them to see it right there in front of them)

In 30 days if things have improved consistantly have a review in 60 days then 90. If things are not getting more consistant it is time for you to move on.

As hard as it is to bring in new blood…the benefit is they are a fresh slate and can be trained how you want them to work and when they are not doing it you will realize over time there are some great fish in the pond just gotta catch them.

You are not going to have a one conversation magic word talk with these women…or any other employees it is constant and consistant. Always has been and always will be. :mrgreen:

You may also want to hire a new person in just to get the ball rolling…open the doors of training communication with all employees…since ya got a newbie.

Hang in there.