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When is it Time to Let Someone Go?

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Feb. 18, 2021—It's tough for managers and operators to determine when an employee issue becomes insurmountable. 

Firing an employee is a last resort, and it's an unpleasant experience for all involved. For operators, it also means that another hiring process is on the horizon. One hopeful sign is that data from the Operator Survey show that tech tenure is creeping upward, however slowly. The average tenure was 1.9 years in 2000 compared to to 3.8 years in the 2020 survey.

But when there is an issue, it's so helpful to have guidelines to help show the proper course of action. That's why it was great to have Roxi Bahar Hewertson on a recent podcast episode. She's a consultant and expert who wrote a book on this very topic. Here are some of her signs that an employee is on the wrong track.


Not Playing Nice

Quick lube shops are team environments, and the dynamic between employees needs to be as smooth as possible. While it's normal to have some discrepancies and differences, operators should be on the lookout for employees who are maliciously or intentionally slowing down progress.


Loss of Trust

Bahar Hewertson says that this is a root cause of many terminations. Dishonesty, policy breaches, irresponsible service and other actions lead to this loss of trust. Even if an employee is not playing nice, they might still find a role on the team if they're trustworthy. But it's much tougher without that element.

"You could have a person who doesn't get along well with others, but you still trust them," Bahar Hewertson said. "But if you have no trust, that really cuts to the core."


Shifting Blame

At the heart of this issue is the inability to take responsibility for actions. Team members need to be held accountable, particularly when efficient service relies on a strict set of processes.

"You can tell that in a person when you're trying to give them some feedback to improve their performance," she said. "And it's always the customer's fault. Or it's Joe's fault, or Sally's fault."



This might involve some of the other traits, but the idea is that you'll know real insubordination when you see it. The actions will stand on their own, Bahar Hewertson says.

"If I ask you to follow this policy for safety reasons and you refuse to do it, we've got a problem," she said.

Particularly in the realm of safety concerns, the wrongdoing must change immediately. If not, that team member might be on a short track toward termination.


This is just a summary of a great conversation NOLN had with Bahar Hewertson. If you haven't yet listened, check out the episode of The NOLN Podcast here.

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