What to do about a hard working loyal stupid employee ?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by The Happy Gardner, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. The Happy Gardner

    The Happy Gardner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    This problem is driving me batty. I have this 23 year old kid that is as hard a worker as you could ask for, but, he's just not smart enough. If I work him with a group he runs to each task. He gets more done than anyone else because he works so hard and he's never late.
    The problem is even doing a repetitive task like lawn maintenance he can't seem to remember everything. I have gone as far as make him a check list and he checks things off he didn't do. It's not dishonest its dumb. :cry:
    My system doesn't call for a second person full time as I run 1 man trucks, the only option is to have him work full time with me ( I'm the only full time 2 man crew ) and I to old for that.

    LLMSERVICE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 96

    How long has he been with you?

    I gather from the last sentence of your post you run one truck with a helper and he is on his own. Perhaps graduate your helper to run on his own and take this fellow as your assistant for the time being to train him.

    If he is loyal, honest, hard working and doesn't break equipment, its worth investing in some mentoring rather than toss him out on the street right away. If he costs you in lost contracts resulting in poor work or damages equipment consistently, you'll have to make the difficult decision to terminate but it sounds like he's got a lot of positive attributes.

    He could simply have a learning disability. Perhaps set some performance measurements for him to meet and give him feedback. I'm not sure how labour laws are in your parts but its good to document issues and show that you've communicated them and made reasonable efforts to correct the issue. It could save you the trouble of a wrongful dismissal accusation.
  3. the scaper

    the scaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 690

    He sounds like a decent guy with some good positives (trainable monkey). Just work on correcting his negatives, and put his positives where they will benifit you best. If this is to no avail then just tell him work is slow and you're gonna have to give him a swift kick in the ass on the way out the door! :)
  4. Stephen M.

    Stephen M. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 192

    He sounds like a guy I used to employ who had A.D.D. with dislyxia. They can do tasks, but the mind wanders and its hard for them to be consistant.

    My guy was let go because he kept screwing with machine adjustments so they would run at higher rpms than specified. His dad thought he could get me for disability discrimination, but it wouldn't hold water because I didn't fire him on that reason. The guy was let go because he wouldn't listen to being told NOT to mess with the machine rpms and he kept ignoring my repeated requests not to.

    Be careful on this one. In alot of states, their premise is the "should have known" garbage even though as employers, we can't ask about medical problems. What ever the case is, document, document, document to CYA. Even in a state like WA where the employer doesn't need a bonified reason, that right has been abridged and tipping toward the employee. The last thing you need is to run up against the Americans W/ Disabilities Act to screw up your day.
  5. richard coffman

    richard coffman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 341

    I'd have a one on one in your office with him at the end of the day. I wouldn't go off and fire him, I'd just talk to him and find out what's been going on with him. listen to what he has to say before you give him a good pep talk. let him know that's he'a a good worker, but you want to see him become more responsable. I'd let him know that your business is there to give a service to your customers and to make money. him forgetting to do this one job task or another costs your company time and money, if not loosing a client over it. I don't think giving him a raise will make him any better. let him know that he needs to work hard at remembering tasks with his job and show improvment or he'll need to find other employment elsewhere. remembering the tasks needing done is part of the industry standard.


    Richard/Owner :D :D :D
  6. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    I had a problem like that with someone 2 years ago. I gave him two warnings, and then finally I had to let him go. He would just constantly forget little stupid things that made a huge difference. It was driving the other crew members nutz
  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Where in the NW are you? He didn't used to work for me did he? He sounds very familiar! ;)

    Maybe you could take the checklist thing a bit further. That is, tell him that there's been a problem with things being checked that didn't get done thoroughly. And explain that instead of just going back to the truck and checking off everything, he needs to actually go around the property and check and see that each thing REALLY got done, before he checks it off. Tell him to pretend he's inspecting someone else's work. Tell him you love his enthusiasm and really want to keep him and you're hoping this will help.
  8. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    Give him a chainsaw and see if he takes care of it himself?

  9. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,938

    Is stupidity considered a medical problem now?
    I could drug-test an employee, and fire him for not passing, or not taking, the test. (Though it reeks of "guilty until proven innocent"). Can I do the same with an intelligence test?
  10. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,995


    management is the ability to work around peoples shortcomings and place them in environments where there strengths work to your advantage. But without a larger pool of employees to dilute his inabilities you may have no choice but to get a more rounded employee.

    But the bottom line is not to give this person responsibilities you know he can't handle. Just begging for screw ups.

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