Facing Up to Firing: No One Gains When People Give Less Then Their Best

By Paul Feeney Managing Director, Sanford Rose Associates - Wayne | October 28, 2008

Some employee acts are so offensive that immediate response is in order. Your employee handbook enumerates them: theft, fraud, insubordination, sexual harassment, etc.

Others fail to rise to that level of concern, yet, like small cancers left untreated, begin to poison the organization. Those latter acts may be committed by otherwise likeable employees and, in fact, may be difficult to pinpoint. (Did Mary really mean to do that?) Yet you know, and the employee knows, that mischief has taken place.

Worse yet, the entire organization knows and is watching to see how you deal with the issue. Most employees want to feel good about themselves, their jobs and their place of employment. Bad actors disrupt that vibe and cause a sense of unease. Their peers are hoping that you will take corrective action and will be in your corner when you do. However, if the offender gets away with his or her transgression, then others may begin to root for the offender.

Not all of the following characters appear in any given workplace, but chances are that any sizeable organization has at least one or two:

The Obstructionist.

This individual has an endless list of reasons why something can't be done; e.g., it's been tried before and didn't work, customers aren't ready for this big a change, we don't have the necessary resources or time, we lack the information we need, etc. People who are hostile to new ideas or change often have a high sense of insecurity about their own abilities and would rather hide in the status quo than be exposed by taking risks. Of course, basking in the status quo means eating the dust created by competitors as they gallop ahead.

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The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.