The Grinch Who Stole Company Goodwill

The Grinch stole Christmas and its goodwill towards men.  I’m mixing my metaphors, I know.   I’m also trying to make a point.  I get questions, lots of questions, about attitude, as in, “Can I fire this employee for bad attitude?”Maybe, maybe not.  So here’s the skinny – though maybe that’s not the best word this time of year! If by bad attitude you mean a person’s political opinion, religion, or some other non-work related reason that is not a violation of company policy–then no, you can’t fire them!  Yeah, sure, Texas is an employment at will state, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have to pay unemployment insurance or risk a wrongful termination action.  “I just don’t like ’em” is not a reasoned and valid termination cause.  

What about that sourpuss employee? The person who is rude, makes snide remarks designed to cause dissension, and who berates and derides a co-worker in front of others?  Or the Moaning Minnie, who subjects everyone to her misery by regularly announcing how unfair it is that she does all the work, slams drawers and doors and communicates with the ugliest possible tone?  These attitudes lead to high stress, in-fighting and high turnover.   All of these negatively affect productivity and take enormous amounts of time and energy to fix. There is a remedy to these bad attitudes; it’s called an internal customer service policy.

An internal customer service policy should be written and enforced.  We demand our employees treat our customers well – why wouldn’t we demand the same for each other?  Co-workers don’t have to be best buds, however, professionalism and good manners should be the expected standard.  Remember the Golden Rule: “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” The employee who is treated with respect is more likely to extend the same courtesy to others.  Manners matter!

And guess what – the best example is set at the top.  Actions count!   Praise in public, criticize in private! So, write an internal customer service policy and follow it yourself.  Insist that everyone in your business follow the policy.  If an employee violates the policy, follow disciplinary procedures up to and including termination.  Define bad attitude in an unemployment insurance hearing with specific incidences of bad customer service and reference your internal customer policy.

When you feel like Atlas carrying the world on your shoulders, we’ll carry some weight with you.  Want to discuss, moan or query regarding personnel issues?  Participate in this blog.  

Cally Graves is an Industry Liaison between business, workforce, and education.  She has 35 years of experience in workforce development, primarily working with employers in Houston, Texas and the Gulf Coast region.      

2 Responses to “The Grinch Who Stole Company Goodwill”

  1. 1 gregg dourgarian January 3, 2009 at 6:35 am

    Great points to remember Cally, tx! fyi got here cuz u guys are first on a search for ‘workforce solutions’. Congrats.

  2. 2 Tim Lopas December 29, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Here is one of my favorite attitude quotes!

    “For Success, attitude is equally important as ability”

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