Checklists Make Experts Better and Bad Employees Passable

Atul Gawande in his TED talk stated “Checklists make experts better.” I added and make bad employees passable. 

My buddy trains retail employees on how to sell and use Fitbits.  He was recently at a major big box retailer talking to some employees about their products and conducting some training.  One employee wasn’t paying attention and my friend asked him why he wasn’t paying attention. He stated “didn’t the employee want to learn more so he could do a better job and take better care of the customers.“

The employee’s answer was “I don’t care!!!” There was actually a curse word in his reply. 

As my buddy was telling me this story I was like this is one of the reasons that we built OpsAnalitica.  The reality is, for most of our multi-location clients. They work with some employees who don’t only, not care, they don’t give a sh*t. They are there until something better comes along and they are gone. Think I’m a pessimist, look at the turnover numbers and tell me I’m wrong.  

There are some very important realities we need to face as managers.

  1. I’ve never found a way to make an employee who didn’t care about their job start caring about their job. 
  2. You aren’t going to train your way out of this.
  3. We are trading an employee’s time for our money, that is the extent of our relationship.  

A lot of people who have been in that hiring position, including me on a million occasions, has been duped by the future employee who interviews great because they want something.  

When they get into work, their true colors come out.  

What is the answer? 

  1. Though I’ve never been able to make an employee who doesn’t care about their job care. I was able to make employees who didn’t care about the company care about their fellow employees, so they did what they were supposed to do because they didn’t want to let the team down. 
  2. You can’t train people to care. You can do all the right things, explain the why, explain the how, explain how it benefits them. It doesn’t mater.  People who don’t care, don’t care.
  3. Once you understand your employee employer relationship, this is a transaction, time for money. It makes it easier to manage people who don’t care.  If we are honest with ourselves, we don’t deserve more loyalty. Companies preach a big game about loyalty but lay people off all the time, because of quarterly numbers. 

The key to getting the most out of employees who don’t care is to try #1 but realized that #3 is true and implement #4.  

  1. Systems and Accountability. You need to implement an Operations Management solution like OpsAnalitica. Spell out directly what each employee is responsible to do on their shift and most importantly hold them accountable to doing every task every shift. 

Without number 4 you are wasting your time and the employee is going to win, they are going to get over on you.  With number 4, with checklists and effortless accountability you can work that employee who doesn’t care, their entire shift. You can tell them exactly what to do, set expectations, and hold them accountable to doing everything correctly every shift. You can ride that mule til it drops.  

One of two things is going to happen, the employee is going to realize that they are trading time for money and they will do what you ask them to do because that is the path of least resistance. Or, they will quit. Either way you win.  

When managing employees that don’t care, or any employee, you want to get an ROI from them.  You want to make sure that the money you are paying them is resulting in work, sales, customer satisfaction, etc.  

Most importantly with an employee who doesn’t care, you want to make sure they don’t cost you customer satisfaction.  That is a cost you can’t afford to bare.  

The reality is a large percentage of our employees don’t care about their jobs. They are never going to care, and we shouldn’t care either as long as they are doing their jobs and we are keeping them busy their entire shift.  

If you would like to learn more about how OpsAnalitica can help you get complete control of your operations, collect valuable operations data to make better decisions. Please click here to schedule a demo.   

Tommy Yionoulis

I've been in the restaurant industry for most of my adult life. I have a BSBA from University of Denver Hotel Restaurant school and an MBA from the same. When I wasn't working in restaurants I was either doing stand-up comedy, for 10 years, or large enterprise software consulting. I'm currently the Managing Director of OpsAnalitica and our Inspector platform was originally conceived when I worked for one of the largest sandwich franchisors in the country. You can reach out to me through LinkedIn.

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