Hiring, Disciplining and Firing

hiring, managing employees

This article might be titled “Opportunity, Dilly-dallying And Failure.” Allow me to explain. Hiring is an opportunity to add new strength to your business, address nagging problems of underperformance and bring in new energy and ideas.
The need to discipline someone who is breaking the rules frequently leads to dilly-dallying. This should be no surprise because discipline is an unpleasant responsibility for many managers. It is often easier to dream of magic solutions to problems with rule breakers than to take necessary action.

Firing usually results in failure rather than an easy shortcut to a personnel
problem. There are many reasons to fire someone, but regardless of the reason, neither the employer nor employee wins.

In order to avoid the pitfalls associated with lost opportunity, dilly-dallying and failure, this article offers tips to help managers deal with the challenges of hiring, disciplining and firing.

Hiring Great Employees Means Asking The Right Questions

Hiring has more impact on a company’s success over time than any other human resource action. Business failure almost certainly will come from repeatedly hiring employees who cannot complete the tasks they were hired to do and lack self-motivation and ambition, as well as the passion for advancing their careers by being valuable to their employers.

Successful hiring starts with building a reputation in the community as a good place to work. A good reputation opens the door to great employees from among the community’s pool of best people.

A manager should start the hiring process by determining what the business needs from the next people to be hired. A vacancy or newly created position provides opportunity to add an asset that can have long-lasting and helpful influence. There is more than one method for building a pool of applicants. Each employer needs to experiment and be creative before making a choice.

Interviewing is by far the most common method employers use to determine which applicants to hire. Small and family-owned companies are much less likely than large ones to have well-trained interviewers. Planning, training, preparation and careful follow-through, however, can be highly valuable to interviewers in any size business, as well as for managers who occasionally conduct interviews.  
Pay careful attention to these questions when planning the hiring process:

• Who will be on the interview team?
• Where will the interviews be held?
• Which questions will be asked?
• How will the interview time be used?
• How will the interview results be summarized and reported to the people making the final choice?

Behavioral interviewing has been found to do the best job of getting to know applicants and determining which ones are most likely to thrive as employees. In behavioral interviewing, the emphasis is on an applicant’s past behaviors as an employee. Here are some examples of behavioral questions:

• How did you resolve conflicts between co-workers when you were a supervisor?
• Describe an equipment problem you have solved in the last year.
• How did you go about solving it?
• What has been your most important accomplishment in your current job?

Avoid interview questions that may elicit a rehearsed answer, ask for an opinion rather than an experience or fact, can be answered yes or no or have an
obvious answer.

Be sure to listen carefully, avoid outside interruptions of interviews and discussion of minor side issues and pay attention to what is said, in addition to what is not.

When offering someone the position, make a written offer that includes simple, clear language after having made an oral offer. Show enthusiasm and optimism for the person chosen. Help them see that you are offering a career opportunity, not just a job.

Progressive Discipline Helps Staff Change Problem Behaviors

The goal of discipline is to create an environment where disciplinary action is rarely needed. Hire and develop self-disciplined employees. Then, take steps to
prevent disciplinary problems from developing, such as making sure everyone knows the rules and believes that the rules will be enforced fairly and consistently. When discipline is needed, use methods that have been proven to be effective, practical and legally defensible.

Progressive discipline is one of the most common ways of dealing with an employee who is breaking company rules. Four steps are typically included in progressive discipline, each more severe than the previous one: verbal warning, written reprimand, suspension and discharge. An employee is given the opportunity to change his behavior at every step in the process. The goal is for employee to change his problem behaviors, not to build a case for firing him.

It is possible that an employee’s behavior is so problematic that immediate firing is justified and legally defensible without a progressive discipline process. Some examples of these gross misconduct cases include intoxication at work, theft from the employer, false information on an application form and unexcused absence for four consecutive days.

Fire Fairly To Avoid Legal Repercussions

Some reasons for having to fire someone include:

• wrong person hired
• lack of orientation and training
• communication issues
• chronic underperformance
• persistent rule breaking
•  an incident of gross misconduct

There are no winners when an employer must fire an employee. When firing someone is best for the company, however, consider how to do it fairly, how to minimize negative impacts on other employees’ morale and how to avoid legal action charging the employer with wrongful discharge.

Legal and defensible terminations build on actions by both the employer and employee before the firing. A well-documented paper trail is essential. Firing someone should not be the result of an emotional outburst by a supervisor or manager. Careful preparation should be designed to remove as much emotion from the decision and process as possible. Review the facts. Is there just cause for such a severe action? Is there due process? Who will do the firing, when and where? Who will attend the termination meeting?

Although lost opportunities, dilly-dallying and failure are common outcomes when hiring, disciplining and firing, every manager has the opportunity to avoid dilly-dallying and failure and turn hiring into their most important human resource management strength.

Leave a Reply

More From Labor...
Lavandula 'Meerlo' (Sunset Western Garden Collection)

March 3, 2015

Why You Will Still Grow Today’s Big Perennial 10 Years From Now

What will be the next big perennial? Breeders say it takes more than a splashy plant to distinguish itself in the market. Therefore, the question is not what will be the next big perennial, but rather what perennial performs well enough in the garden to have staying power in the market for years to come.

Read More

March 2, 2015

Avoid Surprises On The Delivery Dock

A call in advance about problems with a plant shipment to a retailer you supply goes a long way toward customer satisfaction.

Read More
Janeen Wright

March 2, 2015

Deliver Plant Quality That Trumps Price [Opinion]

The industry's goal is to have loyal customers who return to the same plants time and time again, not because of price, but owing to a plant brand that shouts top-notch garden performance and is synonymous with excellence, which gives them the secure knowledge that their investment will be worth every hard-earned cent.

Read More
Latest Stories

December 9, 2014

Immigration — Obama Acts Without Congress

On November 20, President Obama announced a series of executive actions on immigration policy, which are already proving to be politically divisive, and many Republican legislators say this unilaterally "poisons the well" for reform. In AmericanHort's view, that dire prediction need not be the case.

Read More
USDA Logo

November 17, 2014

USDA Names First Liaison For Veterans Interested In Agr…

The new Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison position will coordinate ongoing USDA support for active duty military and veterans.

Read More

September 26, 2014

GROW Perspective: Government Compliance Issues On The H…

Lack of focus on human resources can sink your ship

Read More

September 26, 2014

Great Things In Store For North Creek Nurseries

With a brand new greenhouse in the works and lean flow manufacturing boosting its bottom line, North Creek Nurseries ventures into a new era of growing for its customers.

Read More

September 11, 2014

Is Lean Flow The Competitive Edge You Need?

If you’re feeling worked to the bone, cramped for space or starved for profits, now is the time to look into lean flow.

Read More

July 22, 2014

Proposed Worker Protection Standard Changes You Need To…

The comment period for the proposed Worker Protection Standards ends on August 18, 2014. Find out how the proposed changes will affect your greenhouse operation.

Read More
Laura Drotleff

July 8, 2014

Consider Hiring Non-Traditional Growers To Secure Our I…

Your operation can benefit from hiring returning veterans, professionals changing careers and non-traditional students, in addition to horticulture graduates. Where have you had luck recruiting?

Read More
SAF Congressional Action Days 2014

February 20, 2014

Healthcare Law, Immigration Reform Are Top Priorities F…

The event, being held March 10-11 in Washington D.C., will bring together horticulture industry members to lobby members of Congress to revisit legislation that is important to the industry.

Read More
E-Verify

October 14, 2013

E-Verify Website Down During Government Shutdown

Recent visitors to the E-Verify website came face-to-face with the same message they see on other government sites: Closed.

Read More
Robin Siktberg

April 19, 2013

Speaking With One Voice On Immigration Reform (Opinion)

I am from a family that holds widely divergent political views that are hotly debated at gatherings. My mother was once chairwoman of our county’s Republican committee, and my father cast his first presidential vote for for Franklin Roosevelt. My husband and I have agreed not to put political signs in our yard — ever — because they would just cancel each other out. You get the picture. So, it was with a great deal of interest that I attended the Society of American Florists (SAF) Congresssional Action Days in March to see government in action. I’d been to Washington before, but only as a bystander, never as a participant. Despite the cliffs and sequesters, I still believe the process works — maybe not as well as we’d like right now, but more than ever, we, as citizens, need to make our voices heard. The briefings before the event and […]

Read More

April 16, 2013

Agriculture Agrees on Immigration Package

The struggle to achieve immigration reform took a giant step forward late Friday, when an agreement was finally reached on the framework for agriculture’s portion of the comprehensive immigration bill. The Senate “Gang of Eight” is drafting the bill, which may be introduced as early as Tuesday. “Society of American Florist (SAF) members who attended Congressional Action Days (CAD) and helped lobby for immigration reform can feel proud of their work,” says SAF’s Lin Schmale. “Keeping Congressional attention focused on floriculture’s needs will continue to be of critical importance. We are delighted that the negotiators have reached agreement, and commend them on achieving what is truly a great success!” After weeks of often very intense negotiations, agreement was reached Friday between the Agriculture Workforce Coalition (AWC), of which SAF is a member, the United Farm Workers (UFW) and the key senators involved in the process, on the details of agriculture’s […]

Read More

March 7, 2013

Anyone Can Automate [opinion]

Automation of production lines and greenhouses is typically thought of as something that is only an option for bigger growers, but that's not necessarily the case. Greenhouse Grower presents some realistic automation options for every size of operation.

Read More

February 22, 2013

Common Objections To Mechanization In The Greenhouse

The first thing I would say about automation is start somewhere. Even if you go with any type of sprinkler or overhead irrigation system that is stationary and not a boom system, start somewhere. Get your feet wet. Get comfortable with the fact that you are starting to rely more on machines and not people. One of the biggest hurdles we have is with small and medium size growers. They will say, “It’s going to make my growers lazy.” My response to that is, “At the end of the day, that’s a management problem. That’s not an equipment problem.” What you need to worry about when you get new machinery is making sure everyone understands why you are buying machinery. If the boom systems or any automated overhead irrigation systems are making your growers lazy, that’s not because of the grower. That’s because the grower is worried about his job. […]

Read More
SAF Members Bring Flower Power To Capitol Hill

February 22, 2013

Immigration Reform To Help Greenhouse Labor Issues

Right now The Society of American Florists is getting ready for Congressional Action Days. We ask our members to fly into Washington, D.C., and travel around the Hill, meeting with their specific members of Congress about the issues we think are most important to the industry right now. It gives our members an opportunity to carry their messages to their members of Congress. This is really important because you can say anything in Washington as a lobbyist, but it has to be backed up by the people out there running businesses. We are grateful for the people who come in and carry that message around the Hill. It is also a great opportunity for business owners to connect with their members of Congress. Lobbying For Immigration Issues One of the issues we will be taking to the Hill this year, as we have for the past ten or more years, […]

Read More

February 8, 2013

A Day In The Life Of Lobbying For Floriculture

ANLA’s Craig Regelbrugge is fighting for floriculture. As ANLA’s vice president for government relations and co-chair for the Agriculture Coalition For Immigration Reform, Regelbrugge is on the front line working toward policies that benefit our industry, such as immigration reform. So what’s his day like? Here’s a report from Washington D.C. on a day in the life of Craig Regelbrugge.  You can do your part by attending and supporting events like SAF’s Congressional Action Days, March 11-12, 2013, in Washington D.C. Here’s Regelbrugge’s report: After four years of trying to get a large boulder rolling uphill, there is motion and momentum. Now, it’s about directing that motion. And sustaining the momentum. Let me give you a quick ‘day-in-the-life’ description of the daily grind, and a few thoughts about the road ahead. • I awoke yesterday to a ‘Marketplace’ interview on NPR of Colorado Senator Michael Bennet. He’s one of the […]

Read More

February 8, 2013

The State Of Labor In The Greenhouse Industry

Ask any grower for thoughts on the state of labor today and you are bound to get an earful. While some people blame government crackdowns on immigration, others point the finger at lazy, over privileged Americans who would prefer not to get their hands dirty. But, there is one thing everyone agrees on: It isn’t getting any better. Although organizations like the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) and Society of American Florists (SAF) lobby year after year in favor of reforms to make it easier to hire foreign-born workers, the process is a slow one, and growers can’t afford to be shorthanded during peak production times. Some companies have implemented mechanization or automation to fill their employee gaps and lower payroll costs. Technology presents a viable option for those able to achieve a timely return on investment; however, it is easy to overinvest and rack up unnecessary debt. Operations […]

Read More
Carole Barton

February 7, 2013

Prepare Your Greenhouse Operation For Potential Immigra…

Immigration is once again in the national news as bipartisan efforts to address the issue are suddenly a priority in Washington. No matter what direction a potential agreement takes, chances are that greenhouse and nursery businesses will be impacted in some fashion. That was certainly the case during the last significant round of immigration legislation at the state level following the 2010 elections. Alabama, for example, passed regulations in 2011 that mandated strict enforcement of immigration standards and required employers to use the eVerify program to ensure the legal status of prospective employees. We spoke with Carole Barton, co-owner of Barton’s Greenhouse and Nursery in Alabaster, Ala., who adapted to the new regulations in late 2011 and 2012. She described how they managed through the changes and offered some advice for other growers who might find themselves in a similar situation. GG: When we met at Greenhouse Grower’s GROW Summit […]

Read More

January 31, 2013

Two Steps To Hiring Future Growers

When looking ahead to the future of greenhouse operations, one issue that concerns me is that of trained grower managers. To play off one of the most overused terms from late 2012, I believe that we are facing a “growers cliff.” The History Of The Grower Shortage Not to age myself more than necessary, but I do remember the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s when students were graduating from universities trained in greenhouse operations. The numbers of students were growing at such a level that all growing operations’ needs could be filled. In the dawn of the new millennium, however, the situation began to change rather dramatically. Between the tech boom, multiple economic downturns, increasing college costs and low starting-pay levels, we are encountering an overall lack of interest in the profession.  As a result, there seem to be fewer and fewer students graduating each year with an education based on […]

Read More