5 Phone Behaviors of Employees who Need to be Fired

Based on my experience with dealing with people over the last so many years, I have identified the following phone behaviors that should raise a red flag about the ethical values and personal responsibility of an employee. A manager can use these phone behaviors to identify the employees who need to be fired or got to be replaced:

1. Getting a Missed Call or SMS from your Contact and not Responding Promptly

Typically an employee who gets a missed call or SMS from office and does not respond within  reasonable time (say) of a few hours to a day is again indicative of disorganized behavior or a tendency to avoid responsibility.   Repeated missed calls where the bell was ringing but is not responded. Or repeated SMS sent, with no acknowledgement or a reply are indicative of a major ethical issue. Sending a small one word message such as “OK” or “BUSY” or a small phrase like “Will call later”  does not take more than a few seconds but greatly reflects on your personality. If you can not do this immediately, then you need to inform in some reasonable time that you are busy and will call later or respond later. However, the messages and missed calls going into a black hole with no response is a very dangerous sign to watch out for. If an employee does this too many times and when confronted comes up with all sorts of lame excuses should not be tolerated. 
Often the excuse that they come up with is a lame excuse such as not having credit or being ill. If one is receiving a number of missed calls and sms and is not responding even after a day, and the excuse is not having credit then this excuse should be intensely pursued and confronted. The excuse of not having credit can be easily rectified by using someone else’s phone and sending a message that for such and such reason I can not respond. Similarly, “being ill” is also a lame excuse. Unless you are in coma or unconscious, you can always instruct someone who is taking care of you to simply respond to all the sms/missed calls from known numbers that you are ill and will respond later. 
In the presence of junk spam messages or when a person is too much busy, he may not respond promptly. At times busy people do miss the SMS, however, responsible people do go over there SMS’s and respond even if they are a day old. In my experience, greater the responsibility of a person, greater is his promptness to reply to messages/missed calls from known contacts. 

Note: Some people do have a policy of not responding to unknown numbers or not responding to so many interaction channels like Whatsapp, Linkedin, Facebook, Tango, Viber, Soma etc. However, their policy should be clearly stated and the behavior should be consistent. It can not be that you respond some times and then you switch off at others. When contacting a senior person, first introduce yourself through a regular channel like sms and email asking for the permission to call or asking to use some other channel.

2. Not Changing the Phone Behavior Even When Reminded

An employee who does not change his behavior about item above and the three items below, and continues to exhibit the same behavior is not a reliable person. If that person on your confronting him had stated that he will change the behavior and does not and continues with his erratic behavior, then this employee must be fired promptly. He will create huge issues for you later on. Trust me. I have seen this too many times. It is better to be stern the first time and get this thing out of the door.

3. Too Many Cell Phone Numbers (SIMs) and Too Frequent Changes

In Pakistan, people can easily switch buy different SIMs from different vendors and can easily switch between them. If an employee carries more than 2 SIMs (cell phone numbers) and frequently switches among them, then this is indicative of a personality who wants to hide. This person gives different numbers to different sets of people so that he can easily vanish and disappear. This is often done by those who need to pay some liability or need to do some work for someone. They either block the number of the person who owes them something. Managers should watch out for a person who when found to be using multiple SIMs will make a lame excuse of having forgotten to tell the manager that he has switched. 

4. Phone not Charged or Not Responding for a Long Time

Employees whose phones are not responding for a long time or are not responding to several days is also indicative of a personality who is not organized or not willing to reform. Employees when admonished for this behavior should reform, but if they do not then it is better to let such employees go. If a person can not keep his phone charged and online means that he is disorganized and can pretty much not do anything. 
Please note that this may happen also when the person is out of the country and the roaming is not available or too expensive. But, the person, if on roaming, gets an important message and it is too costly to respond, then can always use whatsapp or email (if wi-fi) is available to respond. How this is too infrequent and while calling senior executives is a much more frequent occurrence. However, all such messages should be reponded when the person gets back to country. A message being replied even after weeks is indicative of a highly responsible person. 

5. Changing a Phone Number and not informing those in Contact List

An employee who changes his number and who does not inform the organization and the manager should again raise the flag. Courtesy demands that when changing a number, you should inform  everyone in your contact list especially those with whom you frequently talk about the change.  Changing your number and not informing is a cardinal sin and should indicate to the manager that the employee can not be trusted. 


Please note that my bandwidth on the existing email and sms channels is already full. I have no time to respond to individual such channels that seem to sprouting up everywhere such as at Facebook, Research Gate or other websites. I can not respond to all these channels, and I have stated that. My policy on Facebook clearly states that I only respond to messages on email and sms.

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