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need advice with employee issue...

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posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:15 PM
Last month I hired a girl to work in my store.
Normally it's my husband who does the interviews and decides who we hire, he has much more experience in 'human resources' then me.
But this time, mostly due to lack of time, I did it. My husband thought it would be a good experience if I learned to do interviews and decided who was the best candidate for the job.
So I saw about 15 people and about 4 of them seemed good candidates right away, they had 'people skills', sales experience and so on.

Then, at the last day of my interviews this girl walks in without having an appointment. She heard we where looking for an employee and was wondering if she could still have an interview. She didn't even had a resume with her.
My husband would have sent her home and told her to send in a resume, then we would call her to make an appointment. I on the other hand took her to the office and did the interview (don't ask me why, I could have sent her away easily)

This girl, let's call her 'G', didn't have sales experience, she is barely 20 years old and already has two small children. She said she didn't have a resume because there was not much to write in it. She dropped out of school and had cleaning jobs ever since. Her way of telling me she was the best person for the job was by saying that all she needed was a chance to proof herself.

She reminded me of myself at that age: school dropout, crappy jobs and no one who even wants to listen to what you have to say, let alone give you a chance! No one who would even try to recognize the potential I had. I myself did eventually get my chance because I was very lucky to be in the right place at the right time and that got the ball rolling for me.

So... I decided that I was going to give this girl 'her' chance to proof herself and hired her.
My husband couldn't understand why on earth I chose her, while there where at least 5 other excellent candidates. I made up all kinds of excuses for myself like: she didn't learn habits in other jobs yet so we can still shape her to our working methods. (this is true I guess). Or, she's still young and not as demanding, plus we don't have to pay as much as we would have to pay for an older person (which is also true)... but the bottom line is that there is absolutely no sane reason for hiring her and let's face it, she wouldn't have gotten the job in any other place.

3 Weeks later it's clear that she is very polite, organized and good with the customers, she learns fast and both me and my husband think that, with enough training, we can really turn her into a good saleswoman, which is exactly what G wants to become. Even when her two little kids got sick, she showed up in time, had arranged a babysitter and it didn't cause us any problems. She handles everything better then could be expected. So far so good, it seems to work out.

Now that you know the basic story, let's get to the 'issue' in my thread.
The first two weeks G seemed all fine. Well she is all fine, except for one thing...
From the 3rd week however we started to notice that she doesn't seem to care much for 'personal hygiene'.
To say it blunt: she smells like sweat (really really smell bad!) and doesn't brush her teeth (and I don't mean she skips one turn) and her hair is often greacy....
also, she burps... unashamed when we all can hear it (this is not neat for a lady), and... she often leaves a 'mess' in the toilet.
Not wanting to go into depth on that lase one, but I personally had to 'teach' all my young male employees that the toilet brush is there for a reason, I showed them, like a mommy, how to use it! Yes they all had to laugh loudly with that but they do use the brush now! lol
anyway, G, as a girl, doesn't seem to care how she leaves the toilet, one would expect a girl to care about these things....

And since I hired her myself... my husband said that it's my problem now.
So I have a problem: I need to tell my employee to use deodorant, wash her hair and brush her teeth before coming into the store.... and mentione the toilet thing...
I have no problem yelling to the young men who work for us to pull up their pants and wear a belt because I don't need to see their funky green underwear, or tell them to wear clean cloths (most of them are around the age of 20 and some tend to get sloppy sometimes, which is normal for that age group... but they are learning, lol).
But to tell someone that their personal hygiene needs improvement is something else.
She probably isn't even aware that there is an issue and as a young woman she will feel hurt or embarrassed when I talk to her about it.

How do I deal with this?
How can you make a person aware of this problem without causing harm?

pls no jokes, this is very serious. I notice it, so my customers notice as well and something needs to change asap... I just don't want to hurt people. I'm a store owner, I sell stuff and do my accounting.... I'm not trained to handle delicate issues with employees (and when I started that store 6 years ago I never expected to be working with employees in the future, it just got to big for my husband and me to handle alone, to me it's scary sometimes).
My husband on the other hand is fully trained and has much experience from previous jobs... and now he has an amazing good time seeing me ''handle it' ! *sigh*

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:21 PM
Would the adequately skilled and with resume applicant who may have gotten the job receive different treatment?

Would you fire Barry Opportunity should his breath stink, as opposed to his talents?

Not sure why you're asking.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:25 PM
How do you deal with this? Well it's easy.

You lay down the law. And if the law isn't followed you fire her.

You can outline verbally or better yet in a letter what your employee requirements are. And make sure you send this to all your employees so that there is no accusations of discrimination.

You need to be firm but can be understanding.
Maybe she's not doing well and is struggling at home with her kids.
Emphasize that she needs to be professional. But try to work with her as much as possible.

But if the changes don't occur then she need to understand she can't work for you anymore.
And make sure you keep record of any of these interactions and file them away in her personnel folder.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:26 PM
I would approach her on the issue as being part of her career choice, wanting to be a sales woman and not as a personal issue. Maybe telling her in order to be a successful sales woman that appearance and hygiene are an important issue in the eyes of the customers that come into your business. She seems like she is a hard worker,responsible and mature in doing the right things to have money for her two children. If she is the way you say she is then she may want to make the changes for her career to better her children's life's. I would approach it that way, hope this helped a little.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:27 PM
As the business owner, you have the right to require your employees to dress and act a certain way to maintain the image your business wants to project. If I failed to meet my company standards, I would be fired. The least you can do is give her warnings to clean up. Perhaps you and your husband could issue a company letter to employees expressing how you expect your workers to dress and carry themselves while at work. Make it a policy. Repeated failure to follow company policy will result in termination

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:27 PM
reply to post by GypsK

Employers have the absolute right to implement and enforce nondiscriminatory, consistently
applied dress and grooming standards. Yet, many employers are reluctant to take on dress and
grooming issues, despite the lack of appropriate business attire in the workplace today, while
others simply require employees to wear uniforms.

A corporate dress code should further a legitimate business purpose and incorporate all
applicable health and safety standards (e.g., protective clothing, headgear, goggles, masks, or
close-toed shoes). Both the policy and the consequences of noncompliance should be communicated to all affected employees. Any such standards must be consistently applied to preclude
discrimination claims that the dress code has been more aggressively enforced on women or a
particular minority group.

In addition, Title VII and state anti-discrimination laws require that employers reasonably
accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs of its employees by, for example, allowing affected individuals to wear religious attire — such as a “hijab” or headscarf — at work. These
requirements must be granted, unless the accommodation would create an undue hardship on the
operation of the business (i.e., unless the accommodation imposes more than a negligible economic or non-economic cost, diminishes workplace efficiency, infringes on the rights of other
employees, jeopardizes workplace safety, or violates an applicable collective bargaining agreement or other legal requirement). Courts have also required employers to make accommodations
for non-obtrusive dress requirements even if doing so violated a company dress code or, in
some cases, altered a company uniform.

It all comes down to business needs. For example, an employer is not obligated to accommodate an employee’s request to wear a long robe or long skirt on the assembly line, where
loose garments might get caught in heavy machinery and thus pose a safety hazard. Nor does
a health care employer have to tolerate untrimmed beards, flowing hair or headdresses if such
affectations are incompatible with the business, such as in a hospital or restaurant. In an office
environment, however, employers have been sanctioned by the courts for forbidding religious
dress or head coverings, long hair, beards, or religious symbols

Let me know if you need a policy.

Bottom line.... She is an employee, not saying anything will only hurt your business further. I'm not sure what your specific state laws say, but you probably cant terminate her based on this reason.... UNLESS you implement a specific policy that addresses this issue.

I'm a Human Resources Director so if you have any questions PM me

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:29 PM

edit on 6/22/2011 by Klassified because: Redacted. Nevermind.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:31 PM
reply to post by GypsK

You sound like a sensitive woman and you likely share this trait with the lady you hired.

My advice is to be as professional as possible and treat her like you would want to be treated.

Sure, it might hurt a little bit to hear it, but she will be better once she does.

Kudos on giving her an opportunity.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:32 PM
reply to post by GypsK

I would just be straight up with her about your issue, tell her she need to do those hygiene type things and if she needs help on how to properly use them give her some instruction and maybe even provide her with some supplies of that nature. Also explain the reasons why ie.. the effect of sales and employees that she is working around. Just be blunt but nicely blunt and in the end it will probably help her kids from being sick as offten. I would bet that she would appriciate the results just as much as you would. Peace

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:34 PM
Easy one,

Say you have had some complaints by customers.

Everybody including you sign a personal hygiene pledge.

Tell all staff, the first time you will be sent home.

There will be no second time.

DO NOT call her out. She might very well get the picture.

Good Luck...

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:39 PM
Basically, I think you hve an opportunity to talk to her as part of a review after she has been wth you for a few weeks. Take the chance to tell her how well she is doing, how pleased you are. List some good points etc. Then talk about how all employees must meet dress codes etc. bring it up that way. Also, make sure you talk about all staff in general not her specifically. She will get what you are saying. With the burping, deal with it as it happens. Wait until you are about when she does it and just say in a fiendly way - Oi! Not in front of customers please!

Don't take these things to her as problems, go to her with the posative praise she deserves for her good work. These are not problems, just a few housekeeping issues to help her fit in to the team.

Remember, this is just some more help you are giving her. If she can solve these issues she could become your number 1 worker. It could launch her career, change her life.
That is how I would deal with it. Meeting about performance, Posative, honest feedback, and then - Oh, by the way, dress code, company immage, we all must brush up etc.... clean hair clean teeth every day same as the rest of the crew please....

Good luck,

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:41 PM
Just to be clear:
I don't want to fire her, I don't think this is even a good enough reason to fire someone when he or she is good at the job.
All my other employees are male, the only reason for that is because there are much heavy weights to lift. Dealing with men is different then dealing with woman, especially young woman.

I guess I could apply the same question to anyone with bad hygiene... how do you tell your best friend he stinks?
Only in my case it's an employee and it's expected of me to keep a professional relationship with all the rules that come with that.

I became self employed because I couldn't stand to work withing a hirarchy system, I couldn't stand it to work for a boss.... and now I'm the boss. Mostly I leave the 'bossing around' to my husband... he loves to do that anyway, but me on the other hand I just want to get along with everyone and they do respect me for that. As long as they do their jobs all is fine, no problems so far.

But telling them they need to clean up, knowing it can be embarrassing for the person... I don't know how to do that. So that's what I'm asking.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:44 PM
reply to post by GypsK

simply put, I'd call her in for a meeting and explain, kindly, that being a sales person includes more responsibilities than just showing up and trying to sell. You have to be well mannered and polite. Compliment her on her strong points before bringing up the hygiene issue and that as a sales person you are directly dealing with customers, and even if you don't think so, your appearance and hygiene do make a difference.

If it helps you could also say that customers have mentioned it, so as not to be the bad guy in the situation, and explain some tips as to how to overcome the issues.

What I would be worried about, hearing the background, is that the hygiene issue is less about lazy (bathroom aside) and more about poverty. At the very least the employee should arrive at work clean.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:44 PM
reply to post by Klassified

Thanks, that's a very good idea... adding an article to the rules and have them all sign it could give her the hint.
I think I'm gonna start by doing that, whatever happens, it doesn't hurt


posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:46 PM
Explain it to her exactly as you did to us. If you can't, give her the link to your OP. You did such a good job at being gentle, understanding, and compassionate in your OP, I'm sure everything will be ok with that warmth of yours.

One more suggestion: Call a meeting with her and your husband. Ask your husband to please sit with you and tell him he does not need to say a word, nor does he need to handle the problem. Ask him to just be there for your moral support. You will feel more brave to confront her, and she will be less likely to argue back or make a fuss (you have strength in numbers).

When I first came into puberty, I had no idea I smelled musty from my under-arms until someone else told me. I remembered people always making "smelly jokes", but I never got the hint. I was in that condition of offending the noses of those around me for an entire year. It took a blunt cousin to say, "hey man, you stink, go buy some deodorant." Though embarrassed, I was glad he told me.

edit on 6/22/11 by Sahabi because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:59 PM

Originally posted by phishyblankwaters
reply to post by GypsK

What I would be worried about, hearing the background, is that the hygiene issue is less about lazy (bathroom aside) and more about poverty. At the very least the employee should arrive at work clean.

Yes I wondered about that to... and about her two little children as well.
If she doesn't clean up, not only as an employee, but as a young woman should in general, in what state are her children going to school?

thanks for the reply and the advice

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 01:04 PM
reply to post by GypsK

I've been in business 25 years and here's my advice......

Your business is your bread and butter. Employees at the front line have to make a good impression at all times.

I'm assuming this young woman is on a probationary period of 3 months? During this time you can fire her without cause...she's not suitable for the job in customer service. I'm afraid you are not going to be able to change her habits no matter what you say. She has to go immediately. Another month from now it's going to spiral down even further. I can already see whats coming for you if this young woman stays on. It's not good.

Always short list to 3 probabilities and trial them for 3-5 days each then put the best choice on probation for 3 months.

Note: A resume is an absolute must these days; without one, you have no references to check and if there are no references to check....that should ring a red bell. Keep in mind...would you allow a complete stranger in to your home without knowing who she is or where she's come from? Your business is like your home!!!

Don't waste your breath......SACK HER, do it now!

edit on 22-6-2011 by bluemirage5 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 01:07 PM
reply to post by Sahabi

I would'nt ask the hubby to sit in with her because the issue for now is personal hygiene and that would be too confronting and pose problems.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 01:27 PM
Well, you have a few options and most have been posted already. In your situation this is what I would do:

I would either hold a meeting and discuss dress code, store and bathroom cleanliness and say it has gotten laxed and you need to remind them or if you don't feel comfortable doing that then you could say a few customers have not necessarily complained but have made comments about personal hygiene of employees.

What I thing is the most appropriate but you probably won't want to hear it is to address her in private but do it in a positive way and something from your heart since you obviously want to help this girl but you aren't helping her if you don't say something. You could say...'G, I'm really not sure how to address this issue since I've never had to deal with it before and I really, really like you and you remind me so much of myself and I know it's hard when people don't give you a chance and I can see potential in you. Having said that, in order to be a successful sales or any kind of associate, you need to look the part to a degree. I would like to ask if you could make sure you are using good hygiene since you are the face of my store. Things like bathing, hair and personal etiquette (burping) are all a part of the professional world that people come to expect a certain level of. Maybe since you've only had cleaning jobs or jobs where you didn't have to work with the public, you've never had to consider this but I feel I must address this issue.

Something like that ..otherwise what is going to happen is it is going to fester inside you and you will either fire her or explode when you can't take it anymore. There is no reason why someone who had the desire and skills necessary to open her own business and get it to the point of hiring employees due to business growth can't address her employees to make it better for all. You can do it and maybe, just maybe your husband is right and this is one more way you can grow in professionalism as a small business owner. After all, would you want to jeapordize what you've worked so hard over one young girl's hygiene?

Congrats on your success!

edit on 22-6-2011 by dreampsi because: spell

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 03:26 PM
reply to post by bluemirage5

I appreciate your advice, but I'm not going to fire her.
She has a trial period of 6 months, as is standard here in Belgium... and even then we can't just fire people for just any reason, even though the current issue would be a valid one if nothing changed after adressing the issue with her.
Believe me, if in time nothing changes then we won't have another choice as to terminate the contract, but I really want to give her the chance to improve herself before I fire her.

Before we worked with payed employees, we worked together with high schools who would send us students two days in the week to get a practical training in our store. They cost us nothing, worked as a normal employees and in return received professional training in a real time work environment.
The problem with these kids was that they often didn't want to go to school anymore, came from poor families and had nothing to go for them, most didn't even want to learn anything when they first started out with us.
I had 3 students. The first was hopeless and we eventually put him to work in the storage room because he couldn't deal with people, but he did his job there... now, 3 years later he still is unemployed. Sad story.
But the other two changed in the time they worked with us. One of them still works for us as a student in weekends and school hollidays. He went from an unwilling 18 year old to a 21 year old that went to get his highschool diploma and is now in college getting his degree in computer progaming.
I love it when that happens, seeing kids developing their full potention is what makes it worthwhile.
When they come to work for you at such a young age, when they are already considered young adults, they still haven't learned how to stand in the real world... and with their background their real world isn't really looking good. I always feel obligated to give them a chance and help them out, I can't help that about myself. The workplace becomes a solid thing in their lives, they build a routine, learn to handle the money they earn, they get solid ground under their feet, something they didn't get from home.
I don't know if you understand where I'm going.... but that's why I choose them, those who really need the chance to become more. And for those kids, having a good training in sales and becoming a professional is more then they gave themselfs credit for.

I'm their boss, they know that and they always do what I ask of them (in a non-bossy way)... but I'm also the person they turn to when something is wrong.
My husband, he's the bossman, he's the tough one who makes up the rules, they won't go to him personally but rather go through me. They respect him though, but different.

That said, my husband would probably agree more with you then with me on this issue.... he has the power, if he wants to he can fire her asap. But he also sees what I'm trying to do for these kids and that it has often turned out to be a good thing.
And considering that he leaves it up to me (to clean up my own mess as he says, although I know that is just talk), if he saw real danger to the store in it he would not let me keep her.

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