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It’s that time of the year again. A time to ask ourselves: “Are any of our employee’s deadwood?”. All too often we hold on to someone who really does not fit our company. Winter is the perfect opportunity for pruning or getting rid of ‘dead wood’, and creating a healthier company. Do you really want to keep them on during the winter? The sooner we prune, the better. The longer we wait, the more costly it becomes. As we prune every year, there are a few helpful tips to ensure pruning goes smoothly.

  • Documentation is everything. Any warnings should be documented, even verbal warnings. All written warnings should be documented, dated and signed. Whenever possible, get your employee’s signature. File one copy and give one to the employee.
  • Managers and crew leaders MUST understand the importance of documentation. Role-playing of verbal warnings, written warnings, and documentation at your weekly meeting is important and helps to drive the point home. When pruning, consider an employee’s actions, words or behavior that are not in the interest of your company. Look for items in your company policy or manual which are being broken.
  • Pruning really demonstrates the importance of a company manual. Once an individual becomes part of your company, make sure they read the manual and sign off that they have done so. Do you have an employee manual in your company right now? If not, now is the time to start.
  • When dismissal becomes necessary, do not argue. Stick to your policies and procedures. At the dismissal of an employee, always have a witness in the room. Stick to the subject at hand. Show empathy. Remember, sometimes a simple verbal warning or documentation is enough to turn an employee into a productive worker again.
  • Prune once or twice a year and do it religiously. Keeping unfit employees over the years and years may be depriving your company of opportunities to bring better workers into your company.

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