Ep #111: 5 Warning Signs an Employee Isn’t Going to Work Out

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Today we’re talking about some warning signs to watch out for when you’re hiring a new employee. You’ve probably experienced some, or all, of these. And out of desperation, you may have found yourself making excuses for them or overlooking them. So I’m here to validate that these really are warning signs that an employee isn’t going to work out.

What you’ll find in this episode:

  1. Why someone who is late to an interview is a warning sign.
  2. Why you should have everybody do an assignment before you hire them.
  3. It’s a bad sign when someone calls in sick when they first get started with you.
  4. Why someone who immediately starts making excuses and justifying it is another red flag.
  5. How overall dismissal or tone deafness is a warning sign.

Featured on the Show and Other Notes:

  • Registration is open for, How To CEO. If you are a female entrepreneur leading her own business, trying to figure out how to deal with all things “team” – like hiring, firing, holding people accountable, having difficult conversations, getting work done through others, delegating, dealing with difficult employees, how to coach versus how to manage – go to howtoceoregister.com.
  • Come connect with me on Instagram here or on Facebook here.
  • Let me know what questions you have or what you think at hello@krisplachy.com
  • I’d be honored, if you find this podcast of value, if you would write a review. Then DM me on Instagram or Facebook or email me at hello@krisplachy.com and let me know it was you. Then we’ll send you my favorite books list!

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Podcast Transcript

Hey, I’m Kris Plachy, host of the Lead Your Team podcast. Running a million-dollar business is not easy. And whether you’re just getting started with building your team, or you’ve been at this for a while, I’m going to bring you honest, specific, and clear practices you can use, right now, today to improve how well you lead your team. Let’s go ahead and get started.

Hello. Hello. Welcome. Welcome to the podcast, Lead Your Team. I’m Kris Plachy. I’m so glad that you’re here. We are having so much fun watching how the CEO registrants come in. Registration is open for, How To CEO, go to howtoceoregister.com, if you are a female entrepreneur leading her own business, trying to figure out how to deal with all things team. Hiring, firing, holding people accountable, having difficult conversations, getting work done through others, delegating, dealing with difficult employees, how to coach versus how to manage.

We cover it all, y’all. Not to mention our amazing special guests that we have featured in this round. We have some of our favorites, always returning, Ali Brown, will be speaking live to our fabulous clients. We also have Dr. Camille Broussard Wise, who will be reviewing conscious inclusion, diversity, equity, and inclusion. How to really integrate that as an entrepreneur in a way that aligns with your vision and who you are and your values. I have to say one of the things that Camille brings to our conversations that I find really powerful and unique is this very broad scope, relevance, and sort of academic insight. Michelle Arant, who is the amazing coach on my team is also going to do a very special hour with our clients on how to really integrate an operations manager. She does that work for me and has learned a tremendous amount.

She was a COO for a different founder before she worked for me. So she’s going to talk all about how to really be that implementer for you as the founder CEO, which is going to be so powerful for you. Tanya Dalton, who is absolutely a nationally recognized productivity expert, she has written a gorgeous book called, The Joy of Missing Out. She has a beautiful business filled with powerful productivity tools for entrepreneurs, and it really, she … and she’s just amazing. I’ve had the benefit of meeting Tanya, working with her. I actually spoke at her mastermind and she is a member of the trust that I’m also a member of with Ali and she brings in an incredible amount of insight. So I can’t wait for you to spend time with her. Jody Moore, who is a Master Certified Life Coach and the owner of Jody Moore Coaching.

And she has a gorgeous business where she does weekly coaching to help mostly moms and women really build, but she’s also got some really other exciting things going on. And she’s built a gorgeous business and she’s going to talk all about, like her challenges and her successes as a CEO. I think you’re going to really find her message so powerful. And then lastly, we have Julie Simpson, who is the CEO of Resource IT, and she’s a woman that I met when I used to speak for Microsoft years ago. Talk about a powerhouse, she has a business, she’s in England. She is an absolute dynamo and has an incredible amount of energy and enthusiasm and spark. And I know she will just dazzle all of you with her brilliance and how she’s built a very successful, beautiful business over the past many years, being a woman in the STEM industry.

So I’m super excited for her to share with you. We also have Emily Sandberg, our CFO coming to talk about money, which I know we all need to hear more about. She is my CFO and she has changed the lives of so many other women. And lastly Ann Barnes, who is a consummate CEO, she has built and founded her own successful businesses. And now she is part of the process of where you go in as a CEO, she goes in and she flips a business and makes it ready to sell. So our special guest experts just are amazing. And it’s an incredible opportunity for you to touch other wisdom from other women.

So today I want to talk with you about some warning signs to watch out for, and sort of validate, I guess, for you also that you probably experience these and don’t know what to do. And so, listen, I’ve been at this leadership jam for about 26 years and while there’s always an exception to any rule, right? I do feel very confident in sharing with you that these are those warning signs that I think you need to … that if you’re like so many of my other clients, you feel them pretty deeply when they happen. You’re like, wait a minute. Is that right? But then you dismiss it and you make up for it, or you tell yourself, there’s … you talk yourself out of thinking it’s a problem. Or you make justifications. Or you feel desperate and you need help, so you sort of overlook things and it doesn’t work out.

And so I just want to tell you what I have watched over time and have seen so many clients struggle with. So the first one might seem really obvious, but I really want to emphasize to you. So number one is, before you even hire them, someone who is late to an interview. Are there exceptions to that, maybe, a train derailed and the freeway was closed. You know, whatever it is, could be. But I still say, if someone really wants to work for you, they’re going to be on time. And so of course you always have your own discretion and there’s like I said, there’s still an exception to any rule, but people who are late, are usually late people.

Because they don’t have the experience or the skill set to plan to be on time, which I know sounds pretty elementary, but the truth is, and you all know who she is, because we all have that friend who is always late. And the problem with that is it’s so much of a challenge for everybody else, when you’re the … right, like being the person who’s late is a thing. So I would really, really reconsider before you even get going, if they’re already late.

Number two, before you hire them, I think you should have everybody do an assignment before you hire them. Some sort of project that demonstrates the skill set you need to hire for. So let’s say you ask them to do that and they do a bad job. It’s not what you want. It’s not what you expected. It’s not how you outlined the project, or it’s also late. They didn’t follow directions. That is an immediate warning sign. That is a no. And here’s where it gets challenging though, is because you are like in love with the candidate. You think they’re amazing. Oh my gosh, they’re perfect. I love them. But then they do a terrible job.

But you talk yourself in to wanting to hire them because you like them so much. No, listen to me, no amount of liking someone is going to make them be the amazing employee that you want them to be. You can like them and go to wine with them. You don’t have to hire them and pay them money, for a result they’re already showing you they can’t deliver on. Okay. And here’s how you know, if you have more than one person do that project, and one person does it really well and the other person doesn’t, you know that your instructions were good. They just didn’t follow them. Or they’re not capable of it. That is a no, I would not move forward. Stop, right now, before you hire them.

Number three, people who call in sick already when they first get started with you. This is the … this to me is the no, right? Like, listen, are there exceptions? Of course. I remember when I got my very first job, like six months in, I got vertigo. My first case of vertigo, if you haven’t had it, you’re lucky, if you have, you know how debilitating that is. I had to miss like a week or more of work and I was convinced I was going to get fired. And I was so scared. So I know that happens to people, but listen, for the most part, people who call in sick, you’ve got to really start to watch that. Like I had one woman once in 90 days, her grandmother, her uncle and her aunt and her mother or something crazy, everybody died of a heart attack. I’m like, listen to me. I think we’re, we got too many heart attacks happening all at once for one family. And it wasn’t, she made it all up. Okay.

So your tolerance, and this is … I just had this discussion with a client yesterday. Because she’s like, “But she’s so good. She’s so good at her job, but she keeps calling in sick.” I’m like, “No, she’s not good at her job.” Attendance is a part of participation, is a part of productivity, is a part of performance. No, do not compromise. This is your kingdom. Your queendom you’re building expectations by what you tolerate, you are reinforcing what you want in your company, by what you allow. People who are late and absent are not helping your business be successful. And you can love them out the door.

My love, you do not have to be mad, hate them, resent them, all of it. You can love them and just say, “This is a no, I love my business and myself and my other team members enough to let you go, because this is not serving my company, and your tardiness and your absence is burdening the rest of my team. So it’s a no.” People call in sick, right away. No. And at the very least you should not be letting them call in sick and still paying them. You’ve got to use that PTO, if they even have any, otherwise you dock their pay.

The next one is people who immediately start making excuses and justify it. You can see that in their first week, because I like to have my clients build a 30, 60, 90-day plan. And that’s part of what you would do with us in How To CEO, is learn how to do that. In that 30, 60, 90 day, we start giving them assignments and things we want them to have done. And if they’re already in that first 30 days, first two weeks making excuses, “Oh well you didn’t tell me how.” Or, “I didn’t know how to do this.” Or, “You didn’t ask me.” Like, they’re just, they really do believe it’s someone else’s fault that they couldn’t get their job done.

That is a big warning sign. That’s an indication of someone who would just not take responsibility or ownership. And I think if I were to hear one thing from my clients, a frustration of the people that they hire is a lack of ownership. So if they’re already demonstrating that and it’s two weeks in, it’s a no, that’s a behavior that I would advise an entrepreneur who does not have a tremendous amount of resources and time, to not try and change someone.

We want the people who are all in, like, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t know how to do this, so I took a crack at it. I don’t know if I did it right. I hope I did.” Or, “Oh my gosh, I don’t know how to do this. Can you help me? Can you sit with me? Can you send me a video? Can you show me where I can go to get the resources in need?” Or, “I don’t know how to do this. So I Googled it and I figured it out. I hope I did it right.” Versus, “Oh, you didn’t tell me, so I didn’t do it.” Because nine times out of ten, you’re not going to tell them what to do, because you’re so busy.

And then the very last one, is something that I’m just calling sort of overall dismissal or tone deafness. I’ve watched a lot of my clients hire people who come in and are immediately dismissive of current processes in the company. Almost like insulting in a certain way. Like, “Oh, you guys still do it that way.” Or, “Oh, you should really be doing it this way.” Like, so people who bring in sort of that mansplaining, woman-splaining behavior, they know more than everyone else. That’s a huge warning sign. And here’s why. Usually again, exception to every rule, usually people who need to dismiss what’s already in place and make themselves look like they know how to do something better, actually can’t deliver.

They’re good at talking about it, but they don’t deliver on it. And that’s what you have to be really thoughtful about. You as an entrepreneur need producers, you need people who are willing to roll up their sleeves. So, as you get that more and more clear and you see that, like if you have somebody who comes in, I know you can feel them, when they’re like, “Oh, I don’t know why you would do it that way. We do it this way. This is the way I’ve always done it.”

I want you to … there’s certainly times where people come in and they give you different advice. And it’s like, “Oh, that’s really powerful.” But if it’s happening right away, they want to change your company right away. Sometimes they want to change their job description. They want you to pay them more money. They see … people do really interesting things when they first start. Those are all absolutely noes. Any person that starts to question your leadership is concerning. Especially right away. They don’t have permission yet. You know, when we first start a job, our job is to be a sponge and just hang out and kind of check everything out first, before we start saying how we think everything should be different. So I know that warning signs can be a bummer, because you’ve just hired someone and you’re excited about them.

But I do believe in the philosophy, hire slow fire fast. And if you have somebody who is late, is absent, is not following through and making excuses, or is sort of blaming the business and sort of insulting the business in the way it does its work, I would strongly encourage you to have your red flag up and to start looking. You don’t have to tolerate that in your company. You are worth more, your business is worth more. Your team is worth more than that. If you want the dream team, you cannot settle for average, and you have to be willing to go through that, to get there and listen to me, it’s so worth it. Once you have the unicorn team, the team that is exceptional, impeccable, brilliant, it’s all worth it. But your settling is going to keep you and the rest of your team members who are the unicorns, small and frustrated.

So I’d love to share more and more about that with you. You know, that’s what we do in our weekly office hours calls. As we talk through these challenges that all of my clients are having. It’s an incredibly valuable time for you to clear out your own thinking, get some insight from me and even from other women and share back then a new plan, a new strategy. There’s always another way, but sometimes we have to create space to allow those new ideas to come in. So again, this is my invitation to you to join the, How To CEO program. I’d love to see you there. I’ll talk to you next week.

One more thing before you go. In a world of digital courses and online content, I like to work with my clients live, because I know that when you have someone you can work with, ask questions of, and meet with, you’re so much more likely to get the success that you want. So head on over to, howtoceolive.com to learn more about our very exciting, very exclusive program. Just for female entrepreneurs. We’ll see you there.

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