In my last post I promised that I would take the employer’s point of view when they have an employee who thinks they are being screwed by the employer.

Now this is a binary situation: Either (1) you are not screwing your employee or (2) you are screwing your employee.

Your course of action is dependent on which situation you are in.

You’re NOT screwing them

Let’s assume for a moment that you are a compassionate, fair, straight-shooting employer.  If your employee is thinking you are screwing them then you have basically a simple course of action to follow: 

Sit down with the employee and find out why they think you are screwing them.  It always help to know exactly what the situation is before you take any action:

1.        In many situations the basic cause is miscommunication – the employee simply doesn’t understand why you are taking some actions and a simple explanation will clear the air and everyone will be able to get back to productive efforts.  Hint:  Identify the cause of miscommunication and make whatever changes are necessary to prevent them in the future.

2.        In some cases, your explanation won’t work.  This calls for more discussion.  As Stephen Covey states – first seek to understand, then be understood.  If you can work it out, then you are back to part a and everything is fine.

But if you can’t?  Now you have to make a decision – is it worth your time and effort to try to fix the problem or do you cut your losses and the employee.  This is only a decision you can make but if you decide to cut the employee, then make sure that you thoroughly document:

a.      What you have done including all the actions to resolve the issues

b.      Why you are deciding to cut the employee making sure that there is no reason that is based on a discriminatory action (sex, gender, age, race, etc.)

c.      What you are offering the employee to help them move on.

Remember the Washington Post Test – if your actions were reported on the front page of the local newspaper, how you would look – you want to look like what you are – a good, compassionate employer.  The employee is the one who’s being unreasonable.

You are screwing them

You are the arch typical capitalist described by Karl Marx – crushing the working class for your own ill-gotten profit with the assistance of the corrupt political class protecting you by the threat of force from the goons of the fascist police forces.  (I just love the communist’s descriptive language – after studying their systems, history and philosophies for 30 years I could be a good communist when the situation calls for it.)

  1. Now for the bad news – you are just a lawyer’s letter away from facing the loss of a lot of money and, possibly, your business.  Because you will have left behind a trail of what you have done and when it appears on the front page of the newspaper, you are hosed.
  2. This is a situation that requires massive humility – which you don’t have.  You will likely try to brazen it out – it won’t work.  Your competitors will be eager to let you customers know that THEY don’t screw their employees and if working with an ethical employer is important – and a lot of people think it is – then your customers should come to them.
  3. And get new employees?  Think again, because word is going to get around about just what type of employer you REALLY are – and the good employees will not come near you.  That means you will only get the losers who can’t get jobs elsewhere, which means you won’t get the productivity and innovation you need, which means that your customers’ experience will suffer, which means that they will go to your competitors real soon.  Which means that your business is hosed.

What’s the solution?  Change your behavior – NOW!!!!  Become the employer you would want to be employed by.  Yes, it sounds like the Golden Rule – because it is.  But it’s golden in another sense – good employees do better work which results in better customer satisfaction which results in more business at a higher profit which means you stay in business!

A physicist by trade, author by choice, a born teacher, a retired veteran, and an adamant problem solver, Frank has helped the White House, federal agencies, military offices, historical museums, manufacturers, and over 250 technology startups get stuff done, communicate effectively, and find practical solutions that work for them. In his spare time, he makes sawdust and watches Godzilla movies.