1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Not to worry. Check out the archived thread of the Q&A with Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns, and the LawnSite community on the Franchising Forum.

    Dismiss Notice

difficult worker

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by lawn, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. lawn

    lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 344

    Hi all, here is my dilemma:

    We have a worker who has been with us for 6 years. There are 2 workers plus the me, the owner. This worker is passive aggressive. He owes us money for rent and taxes. We have been very generous. Do we fire his ass and take the loss or do we put up with this? Is there a third option? Any behavioral managment tips? He is a good guy but over the years there has been increasing tention between us. We have sponsored him to be a legal resident. I am tough but fair.
    One of many situations is that he talks back to me, and he does not finish the job, he can cut a back yard but not the front. I think he is looking for trouble so he can play offended and walk away without paying us back
    What should I do guys?
     
  2. garrettlawn

    garrettlawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 94

    Wait till pay day and let him go. Hold the check and dont give him pay and just eat the rest.
     
  3. THEGOLDPRO

    THEGOLDPRO LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,223

    Fire him. I mean come on who mows half a yard
     
  4. chris638

    chris638 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 149

    I have had a similar problem in the past. Without knowing the entire situation, I would say you were too passive and generous in the beginning without being firm with him. I like to treat my employees very fairly, but you have to be firm with him. Take him off to side, tell him that you will start taking the money out weekly to cover the debt he owes you. Tell him that if he doesn't like it to hit the road. One thing that works really well for me with my guys is I make up job expectations and they are docked if they don't meet that. For instance, if any employee is late more than once a week I reduce their pay by $1.00 an hr. for that week. Give him the same altimatum. The next time he decides he only wants to do something halfass, tell him he will be docked a buck or two an hour. You can be friends with your employess as long as they know you still sign the checks.
     
  5. xpnd

    xpnd LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 378

    Eat the loss, let him go and learn. There is a reason the military has a punitive policy regarding fraternization between officers and enlisted. It simply doesn't work. As the owner you should always be doing the least amount of work and you should always be the first one back in the truck cooling it down while the employees are finishing the work. You shouldn't be eating lunch with them everyday. Make the difference known and don't be embarrassed about it.
     
  6. xpnd

    xpnd LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 378

    Not paying me for the time I'm late is fair. Punishing me by docking my pay all week will cost you more in equipment repairs than you are saving trying to teach me not to be late. You do not screw with a man's pay. Have you ever thought of sending the chronically late employee home with no work for that day. If you are my employer, you can not motivate me to do anything you want or to any standard you set. It is impossible. The only option you have to motivate me is to change the environment that I am working in so I become self motivated. An employee is chronically late. Send him home but don't dock his pay. That will get his attention.

    I don't know about you but my customers don't pay me for poor work. If my employees do poor work they are sent back out the second time, a third time if necessary, and a fourth if I am pissed and want to make a point with them. These trips are in addition to the next days work. Since I don't get paid for poor work, I do not have the money to pay them until it is done correctly. I make this crystal clear on the first day of work each year. I do not have a problem with poor quality work and I don't have to screw with my employees pay.
     
  7. chris638

    chris638 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 149

    Since I implimented that rule in the Spring of 2006, I've had one out of 25regular employees get docked $.50 an hour for that week. He was a cronically 5 minute late guy. After that hasn't been late once and still get the quality work. If you send him home a day, you are punishing yourself by reducing your labor force for that day. Not to mention your other employees that he usually works with now have more work. Not saying it works for everybody, but it certainly works well for me. What do you think you are doing by sending him home? He isn't working, he isn't getting paid! Docking him $.50 an hour for a 40 hr. week is $20.00. Sending home a $10.00 an hr. employee for the day cost him $80.00. Your screwing with a man's pay by 4 times the amount.
     
  8. (wi) Roots

    (wi) Roots LawnSite Member
    from 9
    Posts: 152

    Documentation, Place everything down on paper. Have him read it and sign that he fully understands for the discripencies. While talking to him talk about the behavior and not the person. It's useful if after he understands what the problem is that he states in his own words what they mean to him. In this way you will know if what is coming out of his mouth is an understanding.
    As an manager for a local company (No longer employed with) I had to stay within the laws concerning employees. To much to mention, nevertheless, how I handle it was Verbal/warning, Verbal/written, Written/time off to reflect and if not resoved let them go. But, the key is Documentation.
    Now, why is he becoming a problem? When I was confronted with a problem as you are their was in my findings several possibilities to the reasons why an employee was not preforming to his/her potential: They are, 1. Lack of knowledge, training or education (here I am implying on the job, requirements).
    2. No feed back, Was I giving the person some rope for safety, let them know how they were producing, were they achieving their production goal company goal? 3. Equipment, was the equipment meeting the task? ( I can't tell you how cheap my last employer was, the equipment was frustrating to work on and to use) 4. Product: was our product not perfoming and were out technician getting rubbed by the customer for our lack of product performance? 4. Are they having trouble at home. I guess I could go on and on but, Their must be some clues as to why he is behaving the way he is, maybe a good sit down will shead some light. In closing just remember Write it down! Good luck, tell us how it goes?
     
  9. xpnd

    xpnd LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 378

    You got my point but at the same time did not get my point. There is a difference. Being sent home for being late after the crew has departed is the direct result of the employee's action. "You know what time you're supposed to be here, the crew left, I'm sorry but there is nothing I can do about it." I didn't cause the man to be late. He created this situation not me and each should suffer the consequences of their own actions. I am not punishing him but he is punishing himself by being late. If I send a crew out one man short, the work load is not reduced however the missing man's pay is divided between the ones that did work. If all the work gets done, I made my money so they can make their money plus the money for the guy that wasn't there.

    I guess you could say my crews are on flex time. As long as they don't show up before 7AM, I really don't care when they start. I'm not out there so if they want to start late and work late, that is fine with me. It is there life not mine.
     
  10. GreenN'Clean

    GreenN'Clean LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,512

    You say you sponsored him as a legal resident? So is he an illegal? If hes talking back to you and doesn't respect you as his boss then let him go. If he gets away with bossing you around now then he will always do it....
     

Share This Page