I am a young manager with only one year under my belt at a large company. I supervise a small group of  hospital food service employees who constantly rebel. It seems that no matter how many times I tell them they must ask permission to give a patient a non-menu item in our stand up, they do it. This is an issue to all food service industries, espically hospitals. I have tried to explain that this could hurt the children, but they do it anyway. How do you deal with rebelling employees? Help!

jonssmith3's picture

if any company do not agree on employees demand , then all employees do rebel for this agreement .


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RaisingCain's picture

You are telling them what not to do in the stand up.  Seems focused on the past to me.  Get focused on the next behavior by telling them what they can do.  And even better ask them to tell you what they can do in response to those requests.  Maybe someone has found a way to make the patient happy and not break the policy.

Also, to you give incentives for happy patients?  Do you penalize for unhappy patients?  Maybe your incentives are encouraging behavior that conflicts with policy....

RC's picture

 I fully agree with RC's comments

rhsanborn's picture

Have you listened to the basics casts? You didn't mention it in your post. Are you doing O3s and staff meetings? People do things for lots of reasons; A few were alluded to above. If you build strong relationships with your staff, you may find them very open to telling you why they're doing what they're doing. Or the behavior may stop altogether.

They may have had vindictive managers in the past where they would get in trouble for asking them every time. They may have gotten poor reviews when patients complained. Policies may not have been enforced uniformly, etc.

buhlerar's picture

Thought I'd already posted on this topic but obviously it's not here so maybe I didn't save my response.

I'll be honest -- based on your description, which obviously leaves out a lot of details, I'm not connecting the behavior (serving non-menu items) with the conclusion (they are rebelling).  Rebellion isn't a behavior you can observe, and if you focus on that conclusion you'll distract everyone involved from the main issue.  The point is, whether they're rebellious or full of compassion for someone battling a disease, the behavior is potentially dangerous.  So I'd suggest you drop the categorization as rebellion and focus on the behavior itself.

Now, it would be perfectly OK to give them feedback along the lines of "when you serve non-menu items after I've repeatedly instructed you not to, I wonder if you're intentionally rebelling against me."  Everything is true here -- they did serve the non-menu food and you may in fact draw that conclusion from their behavior.  But your conclusion could be wrong, so don't lead with that.  Of course, there may be more effective consequences to describe depending on the DiSC profile, etc.  I will say this: telling them some kid might die, while true, is a remote possibility (I'm sure you would mention if their actions caused serious harm so far) so describing the worst-case scenario might not resonate with them.

Again, I'm missing a lot of details that you see every day, so I'm not saying whether or not they are rebelling.  But I can think of possible explanations ranging from serial killer to Mother Teresa.  So beyond just giving them some feedback, you might take a step back and figure out why they're really doing this.  You might find there are some flaws in your current process.  For example, maybe the process for approving exceptions is so cumbersome that they won't bother even trying.  Or maybe the menu is so limited that many patients are often requesting exceptions.  Or maybe you could develop some set of pre-authorized substitutions so that they could make some decisions autonomously.

As others have suggested, all of this presupposes that you have done what you can do to develop good relationships with them.  So definitely make sure you're doing O3s, etc.  Clearly a good relationship will stave off rebellious behavior (and facilitate open communication if this is another thing entirely).

RaisingCain's picture

Looking and some very 'C' style response above I got thinking about an 'S' way to look at this; for balance in the universe.  And it hit me. You're not the one that has to look the patient in the eye and say no.  My comment before about incentives was correct by poorly targeted.  They are incentivized by the patient to break the policy.  Here is what I mean.  They build a relationship with them and are motivated to help (they, in one way or another, picked their profession).  Now, a person with whom they have a relationship, is asking for help; quite persuasive.

To sound a little pompous, I've found your answer (why they rebel?).  Their relationship (bond) with the patient and their desire to help is stronger then your demands to deny that help.  You may never stop it.

Here is what I think you could try.  Get out there and start handing out meals yourself.  Change the policy so there are some times when they can say yes and other times to say no (hoping to increase the no's). 

Tough one,


mjpeterson's picture

Why do deviations from the policy need to be checked ahead of time for approval?  Do you always say no?  If so asking for approval is essentially pointless anyways, and they would know this.  Are you the only one capable of making the decision about this, or can your staff they be trainied to understand when the non-menu items are acceptable?  Instead of prior approval, maybe reporting afterwards is also acceptable.