Originally Posted by Taylor Frost
I think it's worth explaining the reason for this inquiry in the first place.
One of my other cooks asked to not close the place up on a Monday night, which due to the way my kitchen is set up, left me with no other legitimate closer. I tried calling the person mentioned above multiple times and left voicemails, none of which were returned. It's not that he gets the preferential schedule that irks me. It's that he almost refuses to flex in order to help out one of his teammates but will frequently need exceptions made at the drop of a hat. Yes, he's consistent but that doesn't mean he's necessarily my highest value employee. On a couple occasions he's blamed mistakes made in the kitchen on other people and after light research I discover he's either wrong or covering his own butt.
I had to read my post to make sure I didn't say anything to propagate the comments about him being "a valuable asset". Remember, he had 2 managers before me, hence why this schedule was given to him in the first place. Don't assume he's some saint by working a shift that others are perfectly capable of doing. He just gets works ideal hours because he's the only person with children in my staff. Even if I required him to close, the LATEST he would be home is 8-8:30pm which for most cooks is pretty comfy.
We can only make recommendations and assessments based on the information you provide. In your original post, you may not have propagated the idea that this person is a saint or valuable asset but with the information you did provide, it was not hard to draw a line to the conclusion that this person was one of your better employees. Remember yourself, that we don't work with you or the person and have not had first hand knowledge to draw a conclusion. We are relying on our experiences and what we perceive and view as "similar situations" from experience throughout our careers to give advice. And for the record, it's hard to remember something when it's not been said.
What you recently explained is close to a 180 degree turn from what you originally explained. Now your painting a picture of an employee that is inflexible, unreachable and just an average employee that you inherited. If the person in question has had two managers prior, obviously there is some reason you all have kept him on. Don't let your frustration cloud your judgement. Also you need to realize, this person is not a manager nor are they on salary. The point is that this person has a job to support his family life and is not a person who's job is more his life. As a manager, you've chosen to be there all the extra hours and give the dedication for the job you hold, and part of that is covering shifts. It's not the responsibility of the employee to fill the shift and, in the end, the employee has the right to refuse or be unavailable if they choose so. Yes, there were many times I would be frustrated by the same thing and often I was the one that filled the shift. Yet, it was my job and I had to learn I couldn't let my frustration dictate how I approached my employees.
This person has brought things to you, probably the same things that were brought to the prior two managers and you have all decided to accommodate the requests. All the employee owes you in return is to be there during the agreed times and do the job per requirements and set standards. Nothing more and nothing less and extra is extra. Also, there is a difference between what a manager views as "extra" and what an employee does. No matter what, you've all chosen to honor the requests for family life and that's admirable and unfortunately, the standard that has been set. Yes you can start to change the standard and make his life more difficult. But that's your choice as a manage so if you do chose to go down that path, I'd have to say that's petty and weak, as a manager, if you resorted to that behavior instead of working through it.
Just one thing before I finish. Before you start knocking this person about those requests, have you put yourself in their shoes? I guess it's time to ask yourself some hard questions. I hate to be the one to break the news but this one is all in your court so here's a couple to get your ball rolling.
1. Do I have a family?
2. If I did , is this person doing anything different than I would if the situation was similar?
3. Is this really an issue or am I frustrated because this person holds the in your words "coveted schedule" and has a life outside the restaurant?
4. Is there no other employee available, and if not......found, that can be trained to fill the schedule gaps this person is not covering?
5. Have I looked at every option and solution to this situation. IMHPO and from this seat I can tell you there are more than you think and from what you've said.....have looked at.
6. Am I prepared to roll up my sleeves and help out until the position can be filled?
Edited by oldschool1982 - 3/25/14 at 7:07am