Dealing with Growing Pains and Negativity in the Work place

Discussion in 'Articles & Tutorials' started by Kaligh, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. Kaligh

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    Aug 30, 2012
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    My question is on dealing with growing pains and grumbling in the workplace.
    I am co-owner w/ my husband, however, I am normally not there. He is. I work from home a lot and go when I can.
    Recently our small business has had to hire a store manager. We are growing and having a lot of change.
    Here are the 3 things that we have implemented since this May that have caused griping...
    1. No texting policy
    We have a shop that requires order filling.
    There was a LOT of texting and talking going on in the workplace (I'm talking constant. To give you an idea - I had an employee tell me to wait so she could answer her phone. A policy was obviously needed. It was out of hand.). So we have had to implement a no texting policy except for emergencies. They were obviously, not happy about that 1, but I've heard no further griping that has passed so far down the grapevine that it has gotten to me).
    Step 2:
    We hired a supervisor.
    Certain employees have not been happy about the addition of what was a formerly loosely supervised job requiring a weekly meeting to communicate and an occasional 1 on 1 meeting with him. Prior to this we did not have the resources for one. Having a supervisor watch over our employees has increased their productivity by almost 15%. He does not stand over them and watch them constantly, in fact he carries along w/ his work load and walks through the room multiple times a day. We have 1 particlar employee Employee A, who has vocalized her dislike for the supervisor. That seems to have calmed down some, but A still does not like the supervisor and has made that known to my husband and several other employees (which I consider to be a problem, inappropriate and cancerous).
    Step 3:
    Order Filling procedure
    Now, we (my husband and myself) have found a way to order fill that increases their fill rate by over 50%. I'm talking going from 30 orders per hour to around 70. Rather than fill the orders independently, it is a streamlined process and they fill them as a group. And again, the employee A is griping and explaining that its 'not fair' that she has to work harder and get paid the same (not to us, just to co-workers). (I've given this woman a 20% pay increase and several days of paid vacation w/in the year...she has been with us almost a year. After 1 co-worker (C) her rate went up by 25%. When I asked her what she was doing differently, she openly admitted that it was because C was no longer there, so she wasn't talking as much...). Another employee who is temporary thru. the end of the yr to get us thru the busy season (B) is also griping about this and I'm pretty certain he got it from employee (A). Another employee asked us if her hours were going to be cut (I'm not sure if she was involved in the grumbling or not, but I see this as a valid concern and I know she's overheard the grumbling). We told her no, we have PLENTY of work. We also have 2 other employees back there and I have heard of neither one of them grumbling, but I don't want it to start either.

    We try to be generous to our employees and reward them for making business improvements. For instance when another employee came up with a new process that improved the store, we gave her a permanent raise as well as a check card as a thank you. We do things like this regularly. We did not give them a raise to implement this system, because as I see it, it is a new policy that makes their job more efficient. In addition, we give them regular performance based raises. They are not working independently, but as a group. Had they developed this, or should they improve the current system, we would, obviously, reward them for it.

    I know that when dealing w/ growing pains,I expect a little grumbling. People do not like change, but how do you address it so that it doesn't become a permanent cancer?
    How would you deal with this situation? In particular, how would you deal w/ employee A? Would you address the order fillers as a group? Outside eyes and opinions would be appreciated!
    Thanks for the advice and lmk if you have any questions.
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  2. Mark T

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    Dec 28, 2011
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    Maybe you can add a human resource within your group so that someone can manage people well and know how to efficiently approach employees in a manner that they won't be offended or so.
  3. lwonnaco

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    Aug 23, 2012
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    Keep your no texting policy in place. You hire employees to do your work for pay, not get their own texting done on your business time. If you were to terminate that texter and go looking for another, you'd get 300 applications for the position and 90% have already learned to text on their lunch hour or after work. Make it clear that you have a zero tolerance for texting. Otherwise, your business phone will be ringing while your employee is chatting with a local radio station.
    On the new supervisor, here is what you do: get the entire team into a conference room meeting. Explain that you and the new supervisor are aware of the coming crunch in orders and that you want to recognize those who are going above and beyond. Tell them that the new supervisor is charged with "Catching An Employee In The Act Of Doing Something Right". For a month, do just that. Keep a log on who actually is exemplary. Create an award and call a meeting and present the award. All those who did not get the award get a training session with the person who won the award. This model works in that everyone wants the supervisor walking around looking at productivity.
    On the order filling procedure, turn the tables on the grumbling. Every Tuesday morning call a "Quality Assurance" meeting and get all the grumblers in with their comments. Log those comments up on a white board or somewhere everyone can seem them. Now post any and all suggestions to solve those grumblings. The reasoning behind this is that your grumblers feel that they are not being heard and/or listened to. That you are just throwing money at the problem and not solving the real issue. Put the real issues up on the wall and see if everyone now feels heard and listened to. I've seen this method work in warehouses, Wal-Mart and retail floor sales.
    First and foremost, when your coming grows it is not painful. If you pass on to the team that growing your company hurts, they begin to commiserate and "feel" the pain too. Growing your company is to be celebrated and you should display and pass on your enthusiasm. Success is hard to come by right now for many small businesses are in pain because they have no customers or sales. Become your own cheerleader for your business and show everyone how excited you are.

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