9 Ways Staff Will Take You For Granted – if you let them

You’re a good manager – fair, not too emotional and you care about the staff.

But over time they’ve taken more and more for granted – feeling entitled to extra favours, and assuming you make so much money it doesn’t matter. Why did this happen, and how can you make a change?

For most people (like your staff), if you don’t give them rules and reasons why things have to be done a certain way, they will make up their own. If you don’t provide guidelines, they’ll ask someone else, or base decisions on what they did in the last job – and many of these assumptions will be wrong.

Here’s a hit-list based on businesses I’ve visited – do any of them need your attention?

  • Left-overs taken home. Funny how there’s always extra left over when that’s allowed. Food safety regulations might be one way to close down this lurk, or just a change of rules related to a ‘food cost review’. I’m all for offering staff meals, but not take-outs – a clear Theft Policy may be needed.
  • Endless roster swaps. No one loves organising this, and it’s very easy to let people make fixes and changes themselves… and fairly soon there’s chaos. Swap to online rostering where it’s handled digitally with much more control. It still needs ‘parental supervision’, but the process is much easier for everyone online. What do the rules say now?
  • A staff drink at the end of a busy shift has turned into a free-for-all. Toughen-up the policy on ringing up staff drinks, or take a deep breath and go dry at the end of the night. Either way, a written Drug & Alcohol Policy will help to standardise the rules. Staff drinking and smoking is often the elephant we don’t want to look at.
  • Lateness. Texting ahead that you’re ‘running late – sorry!!!’ does not make it OK. Is it time to give someone an official warning? Everyone knows who the offenders are, and wonder why it’s tolerated. See the Memo example.
  • Mobile Phone Use. Where do we start with this?! It can be brought under control, even though for some staff it’s like taking away a child. Share the rules and make sure there is secure storage for phones not being used. Do you have rules set out clearly?
  • Scrappy grooming – you’re told it’s the modern way. For men, the daily shave now seems to be optional – hey, if you’re growing a beard, let it grow. But if you only bother to shave every third day, it will now have to be daily. Your staff manual may need more explicit guidelines, with pictures and clear examples of what is OK and not OK. Discreet facial studs and rings are also common, but our role is not to alarm the customers – do you need to tighten up on blue hair, big rings and crazy studs? It’s not ‘discrimination’ to restrict appearance that turns off your customers.
  • The place is untidy, and it’s not busy. The famous slogan ‘time to lean is time to clean’ needs regular reinforcement – what’s the standby list? Develop your list of Jobs for When It’s Not Busy and have it on the wall.
  • Coffee for the boss? I met a cafe owner recently in her own business and she had to wave down a staff member to order coffee for us – not a good look. Some staff are thoughtful, some are not – the standard instruction should be ‘if I’m meeting with a visitor the closest server should always ask if we’d like a beverage’.
  • Playing off partners and managers like they do with their own mum and dad. As kids, we all knew who to ask for certain things, and when. Same happens in a business – you don’t need a 10-page Policy on everything, but there need to be clear written directions to give certainty. If you and your partner have been played, put a list together and write up the standard response. Maybe just for you two, or put it on the noticeboard.