Archive | Fortune RSS for this section

Is It Weird to Let a Former Employee Come to Your Company Party?

I just got word an employee who we let go a few months ago is attending a company party as a guest of one of our current employees. Should I allow this to happen?

First, let’s make sure we have all facts. For starters, are employees allowed to bring guests to this party? And is there a definition of “guest”- i.e. a spouse or significant other? Is there a limitation on the number of guests an employee can bring? Assuming that the former employee meets all these requirements, then it’s tougher to prohibit him from attending. Read More…

Should You Try to Keep an Employee Who Has Another Offer?

A valuable employee just received her raise less than six months ago at her annual review. Last week she came by my office and said she has an offer from another company who would pay her about 10% more than she was making with us. I would hate to lose her. Do I match the offer?

While no one is irreplaceable, losing a valuable employee is a big hit to any business, particularly a smaller one. It will cost to find and train a new person. And the absence of a significant portion of your workforce brought about by this employee’s departure would hurt output and customer service. Just remember, this isn’t personal. It’s business. By looking for another job while still working for you, your employee is demonstrating that she’s going to do whatever’s best for her and her family and there’s nothing wrong with that. So there’s also nothing wrong with you doing the same. Read More…

Why Non-Compete Agreements Aren’t Worth the Effort

Should I be making my key employees sign non-compete agreements?

A long-time salesperson leaves you and goes to work for a competitor. He brings with him all of your customers and pricing information. Suddenly, your competitor is taking away business from you. Catastrophe! So how to solve this problem? A non-compete agreement, right? Maybe.

I have lots of clients that make their employees and contractors sign non-competes. And I admit my company has a non-compete clause in our agreements with our contractors. But shhh, don’t tell anyone: there’s almost zero chance I would pursue this. Read More…

So Your Employees Are Taking Home Office Supplies

I’m aware that a few of my employees are bringing home office supplies. To me this is outandout stealing. What do I do?

There is a long, storied history of employees who have stolen office supplies, and you’re going to fool with tradition? You’re not the first business owner to go through this and you certainly won’t be the last. Taking home a few extra sticky pads isn’t exactly a capital crime.So unless you’ve got someone walking out the door every week with a MacBook or a copy machine, I wouldn’t let it trouble you.

 Still, I do recognize that leaking this stuff is an expense and the expense can mount up over the year. And yes,technically it’s stealing. But there are two simple ways to combat this.

Read More…

Why You’re Not a Jerk for Firing a Longtime Employee

Frank has been with us for more than 20 years. He works in the warehouse and has done a good job for us. I like him. But, to be honest, for the work he performs I could easily replace him someone younger and … cheaper. Would it be wrong to let him go?

And the costs are rising, right? You’re increasing Frank’s salary every year, at least by the cost of living. And that’s not all. You’re contributing to his healthcare and his 401(K). He’s earning more and more vacation each day that he’s working for you. And as he gets older, you’re increasing the risk that he will cost your company more – maybe he gets injured or needs financial assistance because he’s not putting enough away for his retirement. Sure, he’s got experience. He’s proven. He’s a known card. But he’s costing you. And you know you can get the same job done by someone else for less money. Are you a heartless cad if you let this guy go? Doesn’t loyalty count for anything? The guy’s given you 20 years of his life, and you’re just going to cut him loose? You must besome kind of awful person. Read More…

How Far Business Owners Should Go to Keep Customers Happy

I run a restaurant, and Saturday night is always our busiest. Last Saturday, we were completely full. That morning one of our very best regulars called me and pleaded for a table for four people because she had her family in unexpectedly from out of town. She said she knew it was short notice, but pressed me to accommodate. Unfortunately, I couldn’t, and I knew that she was not happy. Did I make the right decision?

 You did.

For starters, I sympathize. Anyone who runs a business doesn’t like to admit it, but our biggest and best customers usually get priority treatment. I’ve more than once rescheduled jobs and redirected products targeted for other orders to my better customers in lieu of others.While growing your business with new customers is important, there is nothing more important than serving your existing (and best customers) first. We learn in business school that it’s much less expensive to get work from our existing customers than to find new ones – and it’s true. Treating those customers better and with preference – even if it’s to the detriment to other customers – is commonplace. Read More…

What to Do About an Employee With a Drug Problem

My employee has a drug problem. He said he had it under control. But now he’s missing time again and others have noticed a change in behavior. He’s a good guy and does good work (when sober). So what do I do?

It doesn’t matter where you’re located, what your company does and how many employees you have you’re likely to run into this issue at some point in your managerial life. In fact it is estimated that 70% of the approximately 14.8 million Americans who use illegal drugs are employed. Your employee’s problem may not be a full-blown heroin addiction, but it could easily be a substance abuse problem on a lesser scale. And whatever the scale or the substance this will be something that will affect your business. Read More…