Employee Issues

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JimLewis, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Well, as I said in a previous thread we've grown a great deal this year. We're up to 16-17 regular employees (depending on the week). And as we grow I find that our biggest problem is NOT finding qualified employees, NOT getting them to work hard, NOT getting them to show up regularly. The biggest problem is getting them to friggin' get along with each other!


    The mexicans in particular seem to have some crazy pecking order that nobody understands. Depending on whether you are from Mexico or Guatamal and even depending on which state or area you are from in Mexico and then it also depends on seniority, age, experience, and apparently just how big of an ego you have.

    So the constant complaint is "Jose is making me do all the hard work and thinks he's better than me while he does all the easier stuff."

    And I'm like, "Well no crap! Jose has been here for 2 years and has 6 years experience and you just came over the border 3 months ago. Get over it!"

    Anyway, just ranting......
  2. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,219

    make your own pecking order bring everyone together and say im the HNIC but under me is juan then salvador then jose then roberto and so on
  3. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 1,624

    I agree with DBL. Make your own pecking order. Give a couple of guys a supervisors title and the rest go by time with your company and work ethics. U set the order. If they dont like it tell them there's more mexicans coming over the border every day. Then take there green card and send them out with your truck with no plate on it. See how long it takes them to be shiped back!
  4. Lawnaholic

    Lawnaholic LawnSite Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 103

    LOLOL. Some people might not understand that. That's too funny!:laugh: :laugh:
  5. jsf343

    jsf343 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,786

    hahahahahahhaahhah:laugh: :laugh: or HCIC:laugh:
  6. Evergreenpros

    Evergreenpros LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,154

    Have a defined rank structure, even have pins or some other insignia on their uniforms to show leadership. Works wonders. If you leave it up to them to decide who's senior (no pun intended) everybody will have a different answer as to who is who.
  7. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    You have no idea how correct you are, they are worse than a bunch of old women.

    Marty Grunder is a kind of green industry Tony Robbins. I have seen him speak and he has a guy in his group that understands this pecking order he explained it briefly in a tape set. The guy is and old fellow from El Salvador he also owns a LCO in the mid west somewhere.

    I'm sure Marty! has more info on this subject. He is in Ohio and his speaking company is called "The Winners Circle" If you are going to employ large groups of brown skinned fellows, it would be worth your while to educate yourself on these matters.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    Jim, we had this same exact problem at the old place I worked for. Actually the dialect of Spanish varies significantly from country to country, so it does help to note where they all originate from.

    And yeah, they seem to not grasp certain concepts, such as the guy with 5 years experience and a driver's license is likely to get paid more than the new guy with no license. Some of them...they just don't understand this. Also seemed like if you fired one, the next day the one's brother and 7 cousins would quit...never understood why someone would willingly unemploy themself because their relative did something stupid and got fired. :dizzy: :hammerhead:
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Ummm. It's a little more complex than that.

    First of all, you must be under the assumption that I haven't already set my own pecking order. I guess you assumed I just threw 16 guys together and told them to go to work. But no. I have actually defined everyone's position. I make it clear to them what their position is going to be, who their immediate supervisor is, and who the supervisor of that whole group is (e.g. construction forman or maintenance foreman). It's not a lack of establishing a pecking order that is the problem.

    Also, your statement about "there's more mexicans coming over the border every day" isn't really a good response either. First, that's not totally accurate. Where we live, even though we have a heavy hispanic population, most all of the good ones already have jobs. They get and keep jobs quickly here. One of my crew leaders just had a relative come over from Mexico 2 weeks ago. He told me if I needed another worker to let him know. By the time we needed a worker - a week later - the guy had already found full time work somewhere else. So it's not like there are an abundance of workers to be had here. There aren't.

    Furthermore, this attitude of "fire 'em and hire someone new" isn't really a good one either. That used to be my attitude 5 years ago. As evidenced by my threads here on lawnsite 5 years ago. But one thing I've learned over time is that experience is extremely valuable. And while I was firing guys right and left for so many years because of things I considered legitimate reasons, I was also losing experienced workers. I eventually learned that it is sometimes better for me to keep someone who is causing problems, and fix their problems, than it is to just fire them. Because more often than not, when you just fire them, you end up replacing them with someone who also has "issues" but less experience. And not just landscape experience in general. But experience working with you and your company and doing things the way you like them to be done. All that experience is lost and takes months or years to teach the new guy.

    I think it would help to reiterate the pecking order from time to time. But I also think it's more complex than that. There are other cultural differences at play that just get in the way. So much so that I've had good workers just up and quit because they couldn't get along with another mexican from a different area. It's weird.
  10. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    Hi Jim,
    Are these issues taking from the bottom line? I guess what I am saying is that is your work and quality of work suffering because of personnel issues? Are you losing money because of it?
    i don't understand the cultural and regional differences of the Mexican people but I think that if your key people know that the problems are causing monetary problems something may change. Sort of like the peer pressure thing. I don't have employees but I am a supervisor with the fire dept and I am just grasping at any idea I can to help.
    Are you having major issues or are these things that seem to be annoyances? You have to have at least one confidant in the masses to help you out. If you don't you have to recruit one. Easier said than done.
    I do understand the problem of regional differences between people. I don't think the EEOC will let you hire based on which region in Mexico someone comes from but mayby that is something you can look into in the future. I would find one guy in the group that can tell you why this is happening and ask for some tips. Good luck and let us know how things are going in a while.

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