I have an employee that's been with me for two years. He is my highest paid employee, by $1 to $3/hour. He also the youngest.
He is frequently 3 to 5 minutes late but the other 4 guys are 3 to 10 minutes early. Although he had 6 years experience in a previous shop and 2 with me, he makes mistakes that don't fit his experience level. In all other aspects he's a great employee. I've had two meetings with him about being late and had to threaten termination in regards to running the saws without safety glasses. My gut tells me to give the option of taking a wage in line with the other guys or moving on to something he can get out of bed on time for. Any advice would be appreciated.
I take it your gut is your instinct, which is based on a number of factors. Listen to it, but also apply the facts and numbers by which you run your business.
A few minutes late is not as disruptive as many other possible drawbacks can be, but should be addressed and never accepted.
Cut his pay, and tell him he will get the old pay for every week he arrives consistently on time. Not just running through the door at one minute til, but having arrived early enough to find that aggravating pencil and tape measure and a quick trip to the john, that waste another 10 or 15 minutes. On days he is late, he gets to stay late, the same amount of time. Yea, someday has to stay to make sure that happens, but I would do it for the principle of the thing.
It is hard to lose a good employee, plus it sounds like he may have distractions in his thinking, if working below the level you expect. The world is a very distracting place, and we actually make a big point out of keeping them out of our workplace. Many come from the home and the family, so these are tough ones to try to figure out. Talking is a good place to start, it helps both of you. Digging deeper can get messy and time consuming, but may reveal if the guy is worth putting more effort into. If corrective instructions are ignored or not followed, that will tell you a lot. Always a tough one, dealing with this stuff, good luck.
What I mean by pay in line with the other guys is putting him at a wage equal to the guys who get here early and don't need reminders on the safety stuff. He is currently 1 to 3 dollars more than the other guys. I have 4 other guys.
This is a really tough question. I deal with this all the time. The problem is my gut tends not to deal with things until it is too late. If you can spare him, you may give him the ultimatum and one last chance. Otherwise he is hurting team morale, not getting work done when you need it done, and a liability to your busines. Start your search for his replacement now. Easier said than done. If you can't spare him, I suggest talking to him and seeing if you can somehow compromise on schedule, and find a better set of glasses for him.
I must say I really like Mitch's answer to this too.
I have a guy that's been with me for 6 years. He began arriving 5-10 mins late consistently for a month or so. We had a talk about being on time but it didn't seem to help. He did it a few more times and he got a "write up" (it's really nothing but that kind of thing seems to shake someone up). He came in on time for a month or so afterward. Then he got comfortable and the problem started to reappear. One day he overslept and arrived two hours late.
I told him that since talking things out didn't seem to work we were going to try something different. He was due for an evaluation in a couple of weeks and I knew he was expecting a small raise. I told him that he would need to be at least 1 minute early to work for 100 consecutive days until he would be eligible for a raise. Everyday I had to sign off that he had been a minute early.
At that point he started trying. He would rack up 30 to 50 signatures and then his old habit would kick in and he'd run in a minute or two late. He'd come in the office and I'd shred his signatures and hand him a clean sheet. It took him a year and a quarter to complete the 100 consecutive days!
It's been a year since he completed that and he now shows up 10-15 minutes early EVERY DAY. Our little experiment forced him to develop new habits.
You don't train showing up on time, they have it in them or don't.
I dealt with this BS from a 40yr old man with 4 kids, and tried it all- adjusting MY schedule to fit his, write ups, take the whole day off when late, ect.
Finally had enough and fired him one morning- best move I'd made in a long time.
Cut his pay and he'll have the chap ass or injure himself (undiagnosed back injury).
Loosing a good hand means you now have an opportunity to replace him with someone much better. You - and your other employees - deserve the very best. Raising the bar will have a positive effect on all.
If you look at it as a problem to replace him, and it will be, you will be slow to change and you will accept less than you are capable of. If your customers feel that way, then they will go on to that other shop with lower value work.
If you think you can change him, go ahead. But at the same time interview for his replacement. Given a list of things to work on, and seeing his potential replacement in the building may do the trick.
But I would be inclined to replace. Some of the best people I have ever worked with replaced those I was slow to give up on.
These conversations get me to thinking, but between a time clock, safety habits and having people clean up, you can learn a world of information about the type of person you are dealing with. Any time you are having to try and force behavior in these three areas, your work production is probably suffering. As a manager, you are definitely spending time repeatedly dealing with a problem that doesn't need to exist. Like Jim said, some things you can not train. I prefer teaching people to make shutters, not teaching them how to behave.
I feel that cutting his pay is not a good move. I think that you will create an employee that cares even less. Why should he continue to do the same level of work done at the higher wage but at a lower wage? What is his new motivation? If anything, you have created a demotivator.
I agree with the write up routine, then termination. The other people in the shop know the problem because they see it. They probably think that you are playing favorites with him and that is why he can be late and not follow all safety procedures. I believe that if you do terminate him, the attitude in the shop will improve, others will step up to replace some of his work and your life will be better. It might not seem like it would be better but you will be surprised when you don't have to keep chasing 1 person for little things that you shouldn't have to.
Next time he is late, change his start time to fifteen minutes later than normal and his quit time also fifteen minutes later. (he can start sweeping the floor when the others are going home) Tell him when it gets to be an hour he will be gone.
I worked briefly at someone else's cabinet shop when I first came to town. It lasted about two weeks before I realized there was no future for me there.
I had come from self employment in another city. I can remember my first day. When break time came I was almost finished with what I was doing and said "I'll be right out!" The foreman got ahold of me and said "Stop what you are doing exactly at the bell!"
This didn't make any sense to me then and still doesn't. All this did was cause me to keep one eye riveted on the clock so that I was always in a good stopping point when the buzzer rang.
At my shop the guys come in plus or minus 10 - 20 minutes from when they are supposed to arrive. If we have a delivery or pickup scheduled they are expected to be there on time but otherwise this flexible schedule is a perk that doesn't cost me much and that they appreciate immensely.
For what it is worth I also always give pay raises when merited. If someone is doing a good job for me I want them to see the money for it. These raises are never less than $2 per hour.
I set this rate bump as a modicum based on an earlier work experience. While I was in college I worked in a restaurant kitchen. I liked my job. I made sandwiches, washed dishes and was the general gopher. The waitresses who included me in their tip renumeration always got their plates first.
One day the manager came in to tell me what a good job I was doing and told me I could expect a 25¢ per hour bump. I thought about that for exactly one minute then quit. Here I was, doing the great job you just praised and this was worth two bits an hour?!? As I recall, I told him if all he could pay me was another 25¢ the company obviously needed the money more than me.
On the other hand I would immediately terminate anybody who did not wear their safety glasses.
Bottom line ..... if he's 10 minutes late, does he stay 10 minutes longer after quitting time?
If not, is it because he can't, or is it because he won't?
IMO, there's nothing wrong with being ten minutes late (on occasion) .... **** happens. If it's cronic, then the overview changes. If you have no mechanism in place for him to stay at work a little longer, you need to revise your setup. If he bails exactly at quitting time and there is a mechanism in place, you need to get a time clock.
I bet if he punched in and punched out, and got paid to the minute, his behavior would change
For two or three minutes late I think you have more of a problem than he does. How is the traffic in your area? I have Been working a job about 30 miles away for a while, and some times the trio takes 40 minutes, sometimes it takes 2 hours.
When I still had a shop, I was thrilled if all the employees showed up within a 10 minute time frame.
I would be more concerned about the safety issues that timeliness.
Some good advice here already, one other thing to consider though....it's not always easy to replace a "relatively" good employee. In my area everyone is busy and even the half decent guys are getting paid well as bigger shops need the help.
If it were me and I wanted to replace him, I think I'd find and hire the replacement first. Once your sure it's a good fit then you can safely lose the other guy.
I have always felt that salary is a one way street. Can go up but can't go down (even if it justifiably should go down!!). The effects on morale and productivity would be too great.
I'm personally a real stickler for getting in 5 minutes early. In the past I have given flexible hours but the mindset of the guys and girls I have hired...they just can't sem handle it. I don't know whether it's too much to handle managing your own hours or the power goes to their heads and they take advantage. Also consider they are a team, a lot of us strive for production flow or LEAN manufacturing that requires everyone to be doing there job in tune and on time.
Whilst I'm sure it would work for others. A rigid timeframe gives my guys something to work to. If there late I don't take a thing of it. They know that if it's on occasion it's fine and they make up the time themselves. If it becomes more than on occasion we sit down and talk about it. If they are late on a day which they really need to be early for, delivery, early installation they will certainly hear about it!!!
If I have ever issued a written warning for something in my mind that employee is already gone and it is just a process of getting them out the door. I am a small shop thought and I imagine this mentality changes with greater size.
Here is how i deal with employees being late. I have a policy that if you are not ready for our morning meeting when the bell goes off at exactly 7am you lose your 2-15 minute breaks for the day. I still legally have to give them a lunch break but they clock out for that. They really don't like to work through break when everyone else is joking and smoking. Seemed to work instantly.
Being late, Not being safe, and poor attitudes are contagious. No room for any of that in this business. The way I see it an employee should care enough about their job to get up 5 minutes earlier to make sure they are on time. If not, find one you do care about. And if they don't care enough to be on time you don't want them there anyway.
Click the link below to download the file included with this post.
I post a Now Hiring Ad for everybody to see and when I have a interview I make sure I walk him threw the shop for everybody to see.Then when my late employee ask who is that I tell him Your replacement if you dont start showing up on time.
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