Fire Everyone - When It's Time To Clean House

What we can learn from stealing employees.

A look at what we can learn from stealing employees - and when you know it's time to clean house.


Two years ago, one of the restaurant groups we handle the marketing for approached us about a major problem they had discovered.

Employees had been caught red handed in a gift card scam.

Here's what was happening.

The employees had failed to turn in gift cards that some customers redeemed.  They instead reloaded the gift cards on the gift card terminal.

Because the gift card terminal wasn't tied to a point of sale system, they were able to load the cards without having any real money tied to the account.

Then, when customers would pay with cash, the servers would swipe the gift cards for the amount of the bill and hand in the gift card receipt to the manager - pocketing the cash.

Another restaurant group we market for found a similar line of theft going on - to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.

They disciplined their staff.  And kept everyone.

Is this the time for tough love?  Or is this the time to FIRE EVERYONE?

The Culture Of Jerkiness

Let's think for a second about the dealership in Massachusetts that uploaded the video of the staff berating the delivery driver.  It wasn't just an employee.  There was a manager involved as well.

How your employees treat ANYONE while on the job isn't just a reflection on THEM.  It's a reflection on the business.  And when this type of attitude is supported by management, it means that your business is now creating a culture of jerkiness.  (Side note: spell check shockingly hasn't identified "jerkiness" as being a misspelling - so even Webster agrees on this.)

So what do you do?  Discipline the manager?  Let go of one employee to set the example?  What about all of the other employees that played a role in creating this culture?  When is it time to FIRE EVERYONE?

Stifling Innovation

I'll never forget the morning meetings at one of the companies I worked for.  The whole idea of the meetings was to brainstorm and come up with some creative, outside-the-box ideas.  It was great - conceptually. 

But here was the problem.  Those outside-the-box ideas by some of the employees were NEVER considered.  Why?  They were different.  And sometimes "being different" means that you risk failing.  But guess what?  Sometimes, when you're not failing, you're not innovating.  As a result...the company ALWAYS lagged behind the competition.  Nobody on the team challenged the norm.  Everyone accepted as Gospel what the overpaid middle management team said was the way of the world.  And so when there's no innovation...and there's nobody challenging the lack of it time to FIRE EVERYONE?

Booty In The Break Room

Here was an unusual situation.  We worked with a client who had a big sexual harassment issue on their hands.  Here's what happened.

The female employee who lodged the suit was hooking up with two of the managers - at the same time - in the break room.  

Her coworker - a good friend of hers - filmed it, at her request.  SHE posted it online.

Then she asked for a raise and was denied.  Not because the booty was bad...but because it turns out she was a pretty lousy employee.

She cried sexual harassment.  

Is it time to FIRE EVERYONE?

Calling Out Sick For Payola 

Then there was THIS friggin' guy.

Big wig manager at one of our corporate clients.  He was offered an all-expense paid trip by a vendor to NYC - including dinner in the theater district and a Broadway show.

He asked the big boss if he could accept it.  The big boss said absolutely not - it was a conflict of interest.

The manager started running his mouth to other managers.  Three weeks later, he called out sick - but told the other managers WHY he was "out sick".

Here's a little secret.  If you're going to pull a stunt like that, don't "check in" on Facebook at the theater the day you call out sick.  Or post a picture of you with the vendor out at the restaurant sipping some Veuve.  Moron.

Because guess what?  You may think you have your privacy preferences nailed down...but people talk.

No managers ratted - they were laughing about it to each other when the big boss walked into the office.  They tried denying knowing anything.

So when is it time to FIRE EVERYONE?

Why Businesses Don't Fire People

There's of course the obvious reason - you've got a heart.  You know that the guy you are going to fire has a newborn baby or some issues paying the mortgage.  And so you allow him to steal from your company because you don't want to screw over his family.  But guess what?  He's screwing over YOUR family.

Then there's the whole issue of fighting unemployment claims.  One of our clients fired an employee because he came back to his showroom and found it closed in the middle of the afternoon.  She was curled up asleep under her desk...passed out drunk.  He fired her.  She fought for unemployment.  Said he was mean to her.  Gee - I can't imagine why he would have been "mean" to her.  She won.

Go figure.  

Then, of course, there's the whole issue of needing to find replacement staff and go through the expenses of hiring them, training them, etc.

I get it.  It's not cheap.  It's not easy.  But just has to happen. have to FIRE EVERYONE.

Top Reasons To Fire Employees

You're not the only one wondering what justifies firing an employee.  Here are some of the top reasons why employers fire employees.

1.  They catch them in lies repeatedly - or the employee lacks the integrity to represent the company properly.

2.  They catch them stealing from the company - either products or TIME.

3.  The employee doesn't fit the culture.

4.  The employee can't do the job.

5.  The employee violates terms of conduct or company rules.

6.  The employee can't keep commitments.  

7.  You're getting customer or vendor complaints.

8.  Productivity is down.

9.  You catch them planning a mutiny of your business.

10.  Morale is down.

Remember - in today's job market, for every employee you have to fire for sabotaging your business...there are ten great employees out there who WANT to help grow your business.  It makes you ask yourself this: when is it time to FIRE EVERYONE?

What are your experiences?  Why have you had to fire employees...or why have YOU been fired?  Share your stories below.