Offer Solutions to Combat Negativity

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Sep 25, 2013

Dear Barb:

Please give me some advice on how to approach my owner about a situation that is getting worse. I’ve been a recruiter for a little over a year and I’m now the top producer in our office. I work with people who have 10-plus years of experience but don’t make 10 calls a day. All they do is talk about why people are not hiring and how our candidates are all impossible. It’s getting harder and harder for me to tune them out. I question why my owner just doesn’t fire people who are not producing. You always say our owners are in business to make profits, well three of our employees haven’t done that for months and they are still here.

When I tried to say something before to her, she told me to focus on my own desk and not on other employees. I don’t want to quit, but I can’t stand the negativity of my co-workers. If they’d quit complaining and pick up their phone, things could be so much better. As an owner, I’m hoping you can tell me what approach to use.

Frustrated in LA

Barb Responds

Dear Frustrated:

I appreciate the fact that you obviously care about your employer and realize you have co-workers who are not adding to her bottom line. If one of my recruiters approached me and said, “I have some ideas that could increase profits,” they would definitely have my undivided attention. Your opinion is also more valuable because you are currently the top producer in your firm.

Rather than complain about your co-workers, provide suggestions that would help your owner. Show her the benefit of setting minimum standards, setting daily result numbers and never erasing goals (instead, add them to subsequent months). Something as simple as setting minimum standards for sendouts and holding people accountable will either improve the performance of your co-workers or they will quit.

It sounds like your owner is kind and probably remembers when your co-workers were making her money in the past. Unfortunately, this type of loyalty can put an owner out of business.

You could also suggest that anytime someone makes a negative remark, they put $1.00 in a jar that will be donated to charity. That stops negative remarks very quickly! Try a new approach focused on the benefits to the owner to implement some changes and I believe she will be very receptive.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS

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