What should Simon do? Your answers
We asked you, in our Nov/Dec issue, to tell us what YOU would do if your best employee pulled a fast one by switching a door - for the best of all possible reasons.
By Robert Koci
In the Nov/Dec issue of Canadian Contractor we told the fictional story of Simon, the owner of a renovation company, whose site super James made what appeared to be some bad choices when it came to a door installation. You can read the story here.
We asked you to tell us what Simon should do to rectify the situation, with the best answer winning a $100 gas card from Esso.
We picked a winner and that response is printed in Canadian Contractor Jan/Feb 2015 print issue, but we were so impressed by many other of your responses that we decided to post them here.
THE ONE THING HE DID WRONG WAS CHANGING THE LABEL
“Keep James, compliment him on his effort, give him a raise. But reprimand him for the one thing he did wrong – changing the label. Tell the customer that you are sorry for the problem and will order a new door ASAP, but say nothing else. We all make mistakes. The mistakes of subcontractors are their loss, but we have to pay for those of an employee. For such an excellent employee, and one that tried way beyond the call of duty to correct his error at no cost to the boss, only a compliment is due.”
David Gale, Gale Windows & Exteriors
ASK JAMES WHAT TO DO. HIS ANSWER WILL TELL YOU!
“Sit James down, outline the immediate and overall problem including what most workers do not understand and that is business reputation. It only takes one dissatisfied customer amongst a hundred to spread bad will. A study was done years ago of why tabloid mags are so successful and that was because for a fleeting moment the average person has the ability to reduce someone’s social status which is generally elevated by that person themselves to a level that the person reading the article is most likely at. It makes their lives seem more tolerable hence the reason for a good business reputation.
Anyway, sit James down, explain to him in minute detail what he has done and THEN ask him what should do about the situation and James himself. James’s answer will tell you what to do!”
DLN Group Inc., David L. Nuttall
EXPLAINING TO THE CUSTOMER ABOUT THE SWITCH IS NOT IDEAL
“James’ door intervention backfired, and therein is a valuable lesson for him. But explaining to the customer about the laborious switch, although well-intentioned, is not ideal. Rather your intention to be above-board will shine through by replacing the door properly – with the manufacturer’s blessings. Switching the labels was definitely a poor judgement moment on James’s part, but Simon can save face and raise the bar of customer service and integrity by properly replacing the door. This is an opportunity to shine, not a moment to cower. Involve James in the process, so all concerned can see what grace and integrity truly look like.”
Eric, Habidex renos
TELL THE CUSTOMER THE TRUTH!
“Keep James, reprimand him, tell the customer and replace the door. James made a big mistake, but given his reputation for trustworthiness and loyalty in the past, he deserves another chance. So why tell the customer about the door? Well, it will be an uncomfortable conversation for sure, but if Simon doesn’t tell the truth he will have to make up a lie about why the door needs replacing. Now what if the customer somehow finds out what really happened? Simon’s relationship with his customer will be seriously compromised, along with his reputation. There is also another good reason why Simon needs to tell the truth – to set an example for James!”
Chris Lloyd Painting Ltd.
A SERIOUS HEART TO HEART IS NEEDED
“Sounds like James had the company’s best interests at heart, but swapping the label was a very poor judgement call.
S–t happens. My choice would be number six, with a serious heart to heart conversation. (Number six option read: “Keep James, reprimand him, but also tell him you value him as an employee. Don’t tell anyone and pay for the door.)
Colwood Electric Ltd
WHERE WILL SIMON FIND ANOTHER EMPLOYEE WITH THESE SKILLS?
“Keep James, reprimand him, tell the customer and replace the door. James was an excellent employee. It was Simon’s first chance at a holiday in ten years. James obviously has some great skills, built a new door on the weekend in his shop. Sure he made a mistake, but where will Simon find another employee with these skills? Far better to deal with the one you have and help him improve, rather than starting over from scratch. Tell the customer, of course. Be up front and promise to make it right. Everybody wins.”
Bill Bosch (Bosch Construction), Sturgeon County, Alberta