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Employee Mistakes

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Lawnut101, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,260

    How do you guys handle employee mistakes? One of my guys spilled fert a week or 2 ago, and now there is a dead spot at one of the condos. He didn't even tell me about it. They called and told me. How would you handle this? I haven't confronted the employee about it yet, but this is bothering me. Would you make him fix it for free? Or just tell him next mistake he's done? :hammerhead::hammerhead::hammerhead:
  2. wvaughn7

    wvaughn7 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 219

    You cannot make an employee eat any cost to you that is illegal. You also cannot cut his pay in any way. That being said you will just have to eat this one yourself. Take it as a lesson learned and make it know that he needs to tell you when this stuff happens or its game over for him. Everyone makes mistakes and some people think they will automatically be fired if they tell you they did something wrong. Let all of your employees know that it is better to tell you than to hide it and most will start doing so.
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  3. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,782

    I don't have any employees, but have had in other businesses in the past. Ideally, an employee should never be afraid to tell the boss he goofed up, because, well, we all goof up from time to time, and this is an example of how it would have been much better if he had informed you immediately after the fact so you could have taken action before it became an issue with the property owner.

    Every employee has to be evaluated over time, and sometimes, people just aren't suited to the job, but I never liked the idea of telling someone "one more mistake and you're fired", because I'll absolutely guarantee you that if someone is scared of losing his job, he will make mistakes because of the stress, and when he does, you'll be the last to know.

    I'd tell him that I was, of course, upset about the mistake, but was more upset that he didn't let you know there was a problem because it makes you look bad. I don't think having him fix the damage for free is appropriate, and probably not even legal.
  4. LawnGuy35

    LawnGuy35 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 159

    Tell him something along the lines of, "we're all human and we all make mistakes, but when you do make a mistake on the job, I need to know about it right away so we can address it, learn from it, and move on."

    Not sure how the laws in your state work, but make sure you write a report about the incident. Doesn't have to be a book...just an explanation of what happened, that you addressed it with him, and that he understands he needs to tell you about stuff like that right away in the future. Then have him sign it after you've discussed it, and give him a copy and keep the other for your files.

    The reason is, because if you fire him and don't have any documentation as to why, he could (again, could) slap a wrongful termination lawsuit on you.

    Also, incidents like that should serve as a reminder to bring your employees together from time to time and talk about work-related issues, the importance of reporting mistakes right away, safety issues, etc.
  5. willowick

    willowick LawnSite Member
    Messages: 104

    One thing I've learned in business is that assigning blame is useless. Work towards fixing the problem and the steps towards preventing it going forward is good business.

    Ask your employee how it happened and what could have been done to prevent it, then make that employee the one that implements and enforces the change. If they do a good job at it, give them a small spiff.

    Your job is growing grass...as well as yourself and your workforce.

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