Sneaky Employees??

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by mattfromNY, Dec 26, 2006.

  1. mattfromNY

    mattfromNY LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Central NY
    Messages: 1,582

    This year I will have a full time employee, and I am just wondering what kind of tips you seasoned vets can give us newbies about what to look out for with "sneaky" employees. An example: A guy I know works for another outfit, and was telling me when he is plowing his route, he sometimes gets flagged down to plow a neighbors driveway (just this one time kind of thing), he'd tell the guy $20.00 cash, plow, collect the $$$ and never turn it in or tell his boss, he'd pocket the cash:nono: . this kind of annoyed me:hammerhead: , knowing he's using the company truck, insurance, etc. to pocket some cash. What other circumstances can you guys think of to watch out for???
  2. jsf343

    jsf343 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,786

    Stuff like that!!!:nono: I think it is very important to have rules set in stone so they know what is right and wrong. (though they should know already!) lay out clear expectations for you rigs, your equipment,the route, breaks, lunch, all that stuff. Unfortunately I am not going into as much detail as you would probably like but hopefully you get the idea. Plan, plan, plan!

    ED'S LAWNCARE LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 361

    Employees will try to get away with anything that their employer will let them.

    I'm not cynical, but practical. In 20 years in manufacturing I have supervised alot of employees, and the one major thing I have learned is you have to follow with your employees. Note I said follow up not check up, following up is making sure the things you set forth for them to do, that they have done it and done it correctly. Checking up in my opinion is trying to catch someone doing something wrong.

    In the green industry we call a group of employees working on a particular project "crews" in manufacturing we call it "teams". I like teams better I am the leader and I team build with my team. To build a successful team I try to follow these guidelindes.

    1. Proper training including cross training (very important)
    2. clear outline of rules and their consequence if their not followed
    3. follow up on their work progress (don't ever assume)
    4. Implement a personal development program. (This will show
    where they are now, where you want them, and how you will
    help them get there.) This can also be tied to a raise review.
    5. Feed back, set up situations where the "Team" has to
    brainstorm to solve a problem. This will get them working with
    each other, and working harder for you.

    This may seem complicated, but it's your business you can make it simple. It's easy to bark out orders and demand they are followed, but when you build a strong team you will go thru fewer employees and your work will flourish. I might add with a whole lot less stress.
  4. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 3,065

    IMO, BE A PR!CK and they either will be too afraid or respect you enough not to screw with you or the company. I've seen this in action, or just find the right guys. Luckily my work ethic is a good one so I never had to see the results that other's have gone through when I was working for some one else. Just finding good quality people is a start, surprise inspections while plowing, just them seeing you coming will deter a lot of "extra curricular" activity. Be a boss thats active in the field as well, just dont sit behind a desk and hope for the best. Plowing is a lot more tough to try and keep track of vs. finding out a 1300lb mower is missing.
  5. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 1,624

    Remember your the boss not his friend. You have to think of these things before he does them. Like I've seen hundreds of gallons of gas go into cars and even boats. As an employee not in a supervisors roll I would not say a word. I never did it myself but have seen it many times. Carma. Now your example with plowing let him know before the first storm every year that if he is caught plowing non customers houses for cash and you find out he's fired on the spot. Again I've seen it many times and your not going to stop it 100%. They see it as 2 quick pushes and $20 in there pocket. I see it as broken irrigation heads, torn up lawns, knocked over light post, stuck trucks, and even an accident backing out of unfamiliar driveways. Employees who get to comfortable with you will steal/borrow anything. Round up, fert, fuel, small 2 cycles, and tools. You have to put a little fear in them and let them know the consequences from the beginning. Like I said at the beginning your there boss not there friend. You can be friendly but don't let them lose the respect you deserve.
  6. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,986

    Yes, you have to be a boss, not a friend, though I have noticed that friendship may come later with good employees, but that is AFTER they have earned your trust, and you have earned their respect. My crew knows that honesty is right at the top of my requirements, they know that dishonesty will get them the boot faster than anything except maybe recklessness.
    I couple this with trying to make working for me very desirable, and rewarding real effort. I will buy lunch for my crews everyday. I reward excellence with praise and things like gift certificates to restaurants and shows. When an employee has worked hard and earned my trust, they enjoy many privileges and wouldn't do anything to jeopardize it.
  7. Clear-Cut

    Clear-Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 481

    i like this approach. hell if i knew i could get a free dinner at a nice restruant i know it would make me work that much harder.
  8. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    I have been a manager/team leader in several different types of jobs over the past years. I've overseen quite a few new employees who come in to start a new job.

    LawnTamer hit it on the head. You gotta be a certain way in the beginning. Not an all-out jerk, but you don't smile, don't joke around, none of that. Don't make the employee feel at ease with you. Make the employee scared of you, through your demeanor. After a while, you can loosen up after the person proves themselves, and reward the hard workers.
  9. DoetschOutdoor

    DoetschOutdoor LawnSite Bronze Member
    from S. IL
    Messages: 1,818

    I dont have any employees but like someone mentioned, I think showing up to job sites unannounced will keep them on their toes and from doing those "sneaky" things. When we used to work at the carwash during high school, there was always ways to make a little more and the boss only lived 10 seconds from the carwash so he was always stopping by. This unpredictable schedule always kept you looking out for the boss man.
  10. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,201

    Have to agree about being an active boss, check on employees letting them know you care about the work being done. Don't check up on them check on job progress and I have to agree also about the extras. I dont buy my employees lunch everyday but if we are working a big job or longer than usual day then I do. I also give bonuses on jobs that come in ahead of time. Respect is something earned not given let your employees know you value them and as time goes on the respect you want them to have for you and your company will come. Good employees are hard to find and when you do treat them good and they will do the same to you.

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