We have tried to get him to stop using the internet excessively. He spends a lot of time on job search sites and online chat rooms. He even made us wait in our meeting whilst he finished an online chat. Should we fire him?”
Absolutely yes!!! He has only been with you for 7 weeks but has already shown his true colours. If he isn’t trying to do a good job now, then it is only going to go downhill!
What worries me is this employer using the word “try” regarding internet usage. If you don’t want an employee to spend so much time on the internet, tell them so. They have no “right” to be on there. They also have no right to absolute privacy. So if you had an employee who, heaven forbid, asked you to wait whilst they finished an online chat, then you should stand right next to them and read over their shoulder. The computers are provided for business, not personal use.
If the employee is using a laptop, it is even easier. When the children have been asked to do something, and are still on the computer five minutes later, then I simply go over and close (or do I mean slam?!) the lid down. Computer sleeps, kids know I am serious, everyone is happy.
You don’t need to be quite as assertive with employees, but ask them for their attention and then tell them that you require their attention. Not when they are ready. Now.
We have had similar questions regarding texting. “How do I tell them to stop texting?” Exactly like that. “Please stop texting. Now. Do it on your breaks, not during working hours.” If they keep doing it, speak to them about it 3 times, then take them into a private room and emphasise how important it is that they stop. If they STILL continue, then a disciplinary meeting is in order.
Don’t just tell them once to not do something. Tell them up to 3 times informally and then use a more formal way of getting the message across. As Yoda said “There is no try, only do”.