What Would You Do: The Lazy Employee

A service technician is having trouble with a staffer who has put in notice. Should he fire him now or let him wrap up his notice period? Industry pros share their thoughts:

The Question

Ryan Johnson
Suburban Pool Service | El Dorado Hills, Calif.

"Ok, I screwed up big time and it's costing me a lot of money and grief. I have an employee who's been with me eight months. He's actually been one of my better employees. However he gave notice a week ago, and I begged him to stay at least the entire month, since him leaving mid-summer would be a deep wound to my company right now.

The problem is, since he gave notice, he's hasn't been focusing. Several of his pools have turned green, and my other staff and I are constantly having to go back and fix them. I can't have this for another three weeks, and would rather he just leave now.

I know: When he gave notice, I should have had his last check ready. But I was more worried how we'd handle all the work we have right now and not thinking how his short-timers disease would affect business.

What do I do with this worker at this point? Am I stuck with him for the rest of the month, seeing that's what we arranged? Or should I fire him now?"




John Salvato
Diamond Pool & Spa Service | Boulder Creek, Calif.

"Sounds like he's finding out how hard it is during the busy months.
I don't think there is any way to fix that, but repay the favor by reducing his pay to minimum wage and cut back on his hours. Pull him from the route and have him clean the shop or any other dirty job you can think of. You don't have to fire him, but you don't have to let him destroy the route either. There's nothing that says you have to keep him at the same pay and the same job. Those are your customers and you have interest in them. He doesn't."

Todd Schaeffer
Splash Time Pools | Westminster, Md.

"Been there. You know and he knows you need him so he can pretty much get away with anything. Cut your ties and believe me, it will be way less stress on you. You'll eventually find someone with pride in their work you can train. Good luck."

Lorenzo Villa Jr.
JB's Pools and Ponds | Upland, Calif.

"It sounds like he's done. But if he still wants to accept the money, it's still his responsibility to do the work right. If that isn't happening, you need to have another conversation with him and just tell him, "Look dude, your performance says you've already left. I can't keep paying you for this."

RELATED: Shop Talk: What's the Best Advice You've Ever Received?

Bruce Sebastian
High Quality H20 | Wall, N.J.

"He gave you notice with you having the expectation of him maintaining the same level of service he has provided all year. If he isn't holding up his end, why should you?"

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