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Hiring and Firing: Terminating Your Bad New Employees

firing bad retail employee

As a retail consultant, I’m often asked what is one of the best practices from successful retailers. It’s simple.

They get rid of the bad employees sooner. Termination is just part of the retail hiring process.

An employee’s first 30 days are going to be their best so don’t settle…

Your new employee is going to be at their best during your thirty-day probationary period. This is where you must show the new employee that you inspect what you expect.

If you start out as their friend, you’re sunk.

Your retail management style is on trial here, and they will find out what is acceptable by how consistent you are at enforcing your standards.

If your new employee is late on day two, realize she is testing you. Make clear to her what your tardy policy is, and that if it happens again, she’ll be gone. If she breaks the policy twenty days later, fire her; she won’t magically get better.

I know that sounds tough but here’s why hiring and firing is so important to your retail business….

Your other employees are watching you.  If she gets away with it, so will they.

Why else would you let them go during the first 30 days? If they snap at a customer, they are gone immediately. If you find them constantly talking to other employees, distracting them from their work, let them go.

If you tolerate any of it during the first thirty days, I guarantee it will only get worse. One bad apple does indeed spoil the barrel.

Make the first month the toughest month with regards to scheduling. They are “low man on the totem pole” so making allowances for their scheduling needs comes after everyone else.

Schedule a new hire’s first shift after they are fully trained for a busy Saturday. You want to see if they come in dragging after a busy night on the town. If they do, they should quickly learn they can’t.

If they do it again, you need to have a talk. “Don’t you realize that you can’t stay out late the night before and be ready to work at 9 a.m.?” If they do it again, they are gone.

If they call in sick with no replacement lined up, as you taught them, they are also let go.

At a hotel they scheduled new housekeepers on Sundays -the morning after being sold out. If they couldn’t get all their rooms cleaned like the other housekeepers, their boss would have a talk. If the new housekeeper didn’t speed up, they were gone.

At a tire store the trained new employee started on Monday when all the problems from the weekend needed to be dealt with.  Their manager didn’t make them be the only one dealing with all of the customers, but the manager did need to see if their people skills were great, or not.

Don’t worry, there are plenty of retail employees who work well with rules, standards and boundaries.  They are the ones who will lead your business to higher sales.

Again, the idea is to get them used to your standards, then everything else will be a breeze.

Yes it costs a lot to hire and fire an employee but you have to weigh the cost of losing customers if they stay.

retail business booksTo learn more about hiring and firing employees pickup a copy of  The Retail Doctor’s Guide to Growing Your Business (Wiley.)

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Posted by Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor on July 9, 2012.

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2 Responses to “Hiring and Firing: Terminating Your Bad New Employees”

  1. Valerie says:

    I had an employee that after the first month announced he had a prior commitment with another job and that for the following month he would be off, and then he could resume with us.
    He was confused as to why he didn’t have a job when he came back!