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How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)

 
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Old 05-21-2016, 07:31 AM   #1
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How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


Had to fire a new guy today.

We are a painting and remodeling company that does only residential work. We are a very small shop. Been in business 22 years.

I'm getting very frustrated. I used to be able to hire 10 guys and get 8 good ones (not all at once, meaning only 20% wouldn't work out and you could see that on the first day) Now its 1 good one out of 20.

Here is my biggest problem(s) and I don't know how/what to change.

I can teach almost anyone to be a good employee, carpenter/painter etc. We all move at a different pace and learn things differently. If the effort is there, I have all the patience in the world as long as we are moving forward.

I cannot teach them how to be a good person, not have a tremendous ego, teach them what it means to have a job, understand what ownership is, understand what responsibility is, understand a chain of command, understand that this is a job and we have work to do etc.

This guy had 6 years of "experience" it was clear from the first day he had painted before maybe under someone, but was a helper at best and thinks hes an ace. Normally this wouldn't bother me I've had this many times before, however in recent years they refuse to change and learn. It is similar to the problem with some journeymen (old dog new tricks) but with them its only about a week for us to come to an understanding of how I want things done.

The younger generation (under 35, I'm 41) CANNOT TAKE DIRECTION CRITICISM, INSTRUCTION etc. They are offended that their work is not the best I've ever seen and may have to learn something. He actual told me he doesn't need to know anything about the painting end ("cuz he got that") just what to paint. Any attempt at direction or teaching was met with contempt, and resistance.

So my overall question after this rant is the following. How do I very nicely tell these new employees the following, and how do I train/enforce action during the training process.

What I want to get across:
I'm glad you are here to work for me, a few things this is my business not yours. I am ultimately responsible for everything, if something is wrong, my phone will ring and I will have to fix it so you will do everything to my satisfaction and my way. This is not negotiable, nor will it ever be. Do not ask do not plead your case, do not explain to me where I am wrong, you do not have a say in this ever at any time. I expect you to be here at 8am ready to work and you are expected to work till 4. Expect this every day. Get the hell off your phone.

I feel that family is the most important thing in life, if there is something going on with your family please let me know and I will do everything in my power to accommodate you and help you. Other than that keep your personal life at home. I do not care and will never help you with giving your friend a ride, getting your girlfriend's car inspected, helping your brother get a new cell phone. Stuff like this should have absolutely no impact on your ability to do work between 8 and 4.

When it comes to the work do not ever say to me EVER, "dude that will be fine" or "that's how I've always done it and its cool" or "I did that and it's fine" or "I don't have to do that its ok" I will be more than happy to teach you all of our processes, the skills needed to do the job and what is expected of you. I expect you to learn these processes build on them and do this every day. These systems have kept us in business for 22 years and have kept all of our customer's happy. When you can say that about your business, then you get to have an opinion.

It is not in your power to decide weather or not what I am teaching or saying to you is warranted, correct or justified. It is that's why I am telling you. I know more than you, please accept this and stop trying to explain to me how I don't understand and am wrong about what I see. Mouth shut, ears open.

Finally, if you ever begin a sentence with "I am not being paid enough to......" don't finish the sentence, get in your car, go home and I'll mail you your check. We will never talk again.

Fellas, pretty please with sugar on top. How can I have this conversation nicely so people don't leave crying?
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Old 05-21-2016, 07:46 AM   #2
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Re: How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


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Fellas, pretty please with sugar on top. How can I have this conversation nicely so people don't leave crying?
I wouldn't.

I'm not "politically correct". I tell it like it is so there is no confusion over the intent of my message.

That doesn't mean you have to be rude or nasty or mean. But what it does mean....you don't have to worry about sugar coating or feelings.

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Old 05-21-2016, 07:52 AM   #3
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Re: How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


Half the stuff you tell them they don't care.

They don't care that it's your business, or that you have to pay to fix things, or that you get a phone call in the middle of the night.

I get my new guys on-board with my techniques and methods by showing them how to do things correctly. Not telling, directing, demanding, or belittling.

One of the first things I teach them is how to sweep, we all know how to sweep right? Well here is a broom and 60 seconds, sweep up what you can. Then I get the broom for 60 seconds. Why did I sweep twice as much area with a cleaner finish? Because I've been sweeping for decades. Do you like sweeping? No? Well sweep like I do and it'll take up much less of your time.

Do you know how to roll up a water/air/hydraulic hose? Oh yeah, here, roll this up. Ok now how come when I roll out the hose I rolled up it's not all tangled up?

You have to fully explain to them why you do things the way you do with lessons learned in the past. Make the stories funny or at least interesting so they remember.

I explain to people that if you think your going to come in here as a rookie and be an MVP it's just not practical. All the stuff I do it's from years of doing it, it's going to take a long time to trickle down to you guys.

Even the best athletes and actors of the world have coaches, helping them get better everyday. Are you serious when you tell me that with 6 years of experience your the best tradesman out there? There is nothing out there to learn? There is only one way to do things?
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Old 05-21-2016, 10:27 AM   #4
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Re: How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


It's easy. You just tell them goodbye. You give them a week of work and instruction on how you want things done. If they can't manage to figure it out in a weeks time you no longer need them. Goodbye.
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Old 05-21-2016, 10:33 AM   #5
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Re: How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


This can be an issue with any age. I talked to one guy that only had problems with the older people - same thing, they knew it all and knew it better.



I always tell people that I have a system, and I can't tell how well it's working or where it can be improved if people don't follow it exactly. It's part of being a team....
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Old 05-21-2016, 10:44 AM   #6
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Re: How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


It does seem as though the young guys are "getting old" at a younger age. One thing though that I have found is that sometimes I actually learn something from the new school kid (usually the smart kid). I don't think its the young guys. I suspect you hired somebody that just turned old, too quickly, and hasn't been humbled enough to learn that there is always room for improvement.

I too hate the expression "I don't get paid to .....". If you are in this work for the $, its the wrong field.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:35 AM   #7
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Re: How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


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It's easy. You just tell them goodbye. You give them a week of work and instruction on how you want things done. If they can't manage to figure it out in a weeks time you no longer need them. Goodbye.
Exactly. I don't micromanage my employees. Here is what needs to get done, here is how I would go about doing it but regardless this is how it needs to turn out.

And off they go.

It's up to them if they are assigned another task or handed a final check.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:48 AM   #8
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Re: How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


I think you have to shovel through them until you find someone that can be passionate about their work. Sooner or later, you'll find those people. Not all kids today were raised by morons. (a lot are though)
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Old 05-21-2016, 12:19 PM   #9
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Re: How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


A lot of kids were raised by computer games and TV.
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Old 05-21-2016, 01:50 PM   #10
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Re: How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


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It does seem as though the young guys are "getting old" at a younger age. One thing though that I have found is that sometimes I actually learn something from the new school kid (usually the smart kid). I don't think its the young guys. I suspect you hired somebody that just turned old, too quickly, and hasn't been humbled enough to learn that there is always room for improvement.

I too hate the expression "I don't get paid to .....". If you are in this work for the $, its the wrong field.
My least favorite employee phrase, and my reply:

"That's not my job!"


Your right, it's not, here is your final check.
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Old 05-21-2016, 02:16 PM   #11
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Re: How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


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My least favorite employee phrase, and my reply:

"That's not my job!"


Your right, it's not, here is your final check.
That's also my least favorite co worker phrase.

Mostly because it leads to me lugging shingles up a ladder while three guys are sitting on a roof.
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Old 05-21-2016, 03:06 PM   #12
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Re: How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


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Originally Posted by shesbros View Post
Had to fire a new guy today.

We are a painting and remodeling company that does only residential work. We are a very small shop. Been in business 22 years.

I'm getting very frustrated. I used to be able to hire 10 guys and get 8 good ones (not all at once, meaning only 20% wouldn't work out and you could see that on the first day) Now its 1 good one out of 20.

Here is my biggest problem(s) and I don't know how/what to change.

I can teach almost anyone to be a good employee, carpenter/painter etc. We all move at a different pace and learn things differently. If the effort is there, I have all the patience in the world as long as we are moving forward.

I cannot teach them how to be a good person, not have a tremendous ego, teach them what it means to have a job, understand what ownership is, understand what responsibility is, understand a chain of command, understand that this is a job and we have work to do etc.

This guy had 6 years of "experience" it was clear from the first day he had painted before maybe under someone, but was a helper at best and thinks hes an ace. Normally this wouldn't bother me I've had this many times before, however in recent years they refuse to change and learn. It is similar to the problem with some journeymen (old dog new tricks) but with them its only about a week for us to come to an understanding of how I want things done.

The younger generation (under 35, I'm 41) CANNOT TAKE DIRECTION CRITICISM, INSTRUCTION etc. They are offended that their work is not the best I've ever seen and may have to learn something. He actual told me he doesn't need to know anything about the painting end ("cuz he got that") just what to paint. Any attempt at direction or teaching was met with contempt, and resistance.

So my overall question after this rant is the following. How do I very nicely tell these new employees the following, and how do I train/enforce action during the training process.

What I want to get across:
I'm glad you are here to work for me, a few things this is my business not yours. I am ultimately responsible for everything, if something is wrong, my phone will ring and I will have to fix it so you will do everything to my satisfaction and my way. This is not negotiable, nor will it ever be. Do not ask do not plead your case, do not explain to me where I am wrong, you do not have a say in this ever at any time. I expect you to be here at 8am ready to work and you are expected to work till 4. Expect this every day. Get the hell off your phone.

I feel that family is the most important thing in life, if there is something going on with your family please let me know and I will do everything in my power to accommodate you and help you. Other than that keep your personal life at home. I do not care and will never help you with giving your friend a ride, getting your girlfriend's car inspected, helping your brother get a new cell phone. Stuff like this should have absolutely no impact on your ability to do work between 8 and 4.

When it comes to the work do not ever say to me EVER, "dude that will be fine" or "that's how I've always done it and its cool" or "I did that and it's fine" or "I don't have to do that its ok" I will be more than happy to teach you all of our processes, the skills needed to do the job and what is expected of you. I expect you to learn these processes build on them and do this every day. These systems have kept us in business for 22 years and have kept all of our customer's happy. When you can say that about your business, then you get to have an opinion.

It is not in your power to decide weather or not what I am teaching or saying to you is warranted, correct or justified. It is that's why I am telling you. I know more than you, please accept this and stop trying to explain to me how I don't understand and am wrong about what I see. Mouth shut, ears open.

Finally, if you ever begin a sentence with "I am not being paid enough to......" don't finish the sentence, get in your car, go home and I'll mail you your check. We will never talk again.

Fellas, pretty please with sugar on top. How can I have this conversation nicely so people don't leave crying?
It's not how you have the conversation but when...

Set the standards you expect at the beginning of their employ in an employee orientation... explain to them you developed these standards over 22 years of being in business and it's what you're known for... therefore, it's non-negotiable because it's the metric by which you measure success in your company... so no matter what you may have been taught or have learned before

What would be even more effective is if you had one of your current employees (if you enforce standards with existing employees to the point you trust them with orientation of same, they'll get the message up front) whose been with you for a while and who does follow the standards give the talk and then introduce you and then you add on your qualifiers of being a team player... as a team everyone does all the jobs from sweeping to prep to clean-up... but who does what and at what time is managed by you based on the needs of the moment...

If they aren't meeting standards after this, a sit down to reinforce addressing your specific concerns and then if they don't realign, time to move on... just a reality of the employment world...

An effective way to get someone one board long-term that you want to keep, is to reward them when they get it right or go above and beyond... that reward can take on many forms and if done in public will generate a mentality and group of like minded individuals...

Best of luck... 8^)

Last edited by KAP; 05-21-2016 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 05-21-2016, 03:22 PM   #13
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Re: How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


All in all, it's a reasonable conversation to have. You are the boss, it's your company, you have every right to want things done your way. You can be firm without being a prick. You have to respect your employees if you want them to respect you.

On that note, saying "I know more than you, please accept it" is a horrible idea. First off, that won't always be the case. Several times I've worked with carpenters and other tradesmen who could walk circles around their boss from a skill perspective. And even when you *do* know more than the employee, they'll know it, whether or not they admit it.

If you insist on saying something like that, phrase it in the perspective of the business. "I've been running this business a long time, and I've found success in doing things a certain way. I understand that there's more than one way to do things, and I don't want you to think that the methods you've learned are wrong, but I'm going to teach you my way of doing things. Consider it another "tool" in your "tool box". Every new technique you learn makes you that much more valuable to me and any potential future employer."
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Old 05-21-2016, 05:23 PM   #14
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Re: How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


One guy I was working with for awhile came running over to me in a panic and said, "I can never work for this guy, after what he just said to me!" So obviously I asked, "What did he say?" His response...
"You're fired!"
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Old 05-21-2016, 05:42 PM   #15
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Re: How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


Quote:
This guy had 6 years of "experience" it was clear from the first day he had painted before maybe under someone, but was a helper at best and thinks hes an ace. Normally this wouldn't bother me I've had this many times before, however in recent years they refuse to change and learn. It is similar to the problem with some journeymen (old dog new tricks) but with them its only about a week for us to come to an understanding of how I want things done.

The younger generation (under 35, I'm 41) CANNOT TAKE DIRECTION CRITICISM, INSTRUCTION etc. They are offended that their work is not the best I've ever seen and may have to learn something. He actual told me he doesn't need to know anything about the painting end ("cuz he got that") just what to paint. Any attempt at direction or teaching was met with contempt, and resistance.
So I have to ask, was the way he was working not giving the quality of work you wanted.

Or was he doing in a way that wasn't the way you wanted it done?

I'm asking because what I run into with starting in a new company is that even if I did something before I have to relearn it all over again because the way I was taught isn't the way they do it.
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Old 05-21-2016, 06:29 PM   #16
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Re: How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


This, too, is a point to consider. There's a considerable difference between wanting him to do it a different way because his way doesn't meet the standard of quality you've set, and wanting him to do it a different way because the way he does it isn't the way you do it. It's rare in construction to find only one method to accomplish a task.

Obviously with lower level employees who may not yet possess the skill to do everything you want them to, this wouldn't be such a big deal. The way you teach them will be the first technique they learn. But for more skilled craftsmen, who've settled on a technique that works for them, in my opinion you'd be wise to let them be, provided they're meeting the standard of quality. Timing also comes in to play, but a smart contractor will let speed slide a little as long as things are getting done properly.

Requesting a man who possesses that skill to change his ways just because they aren't your ways is going to cause friction. It's also going to slow him down while he gets accustomed to it, and you risk quality suffering as well.

Besides, nobody knows everything there is to know about their trade. You never know, an employee might end up showing you a new technique that you prefer.

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So I have to ask, was the way he was working not giving the quality of work you wanted.

Or was he doing in a way that wasn't the way you wanted it done?

I'm asking because what I run into with starting in a new company is that even if I did something before I have to relearn it all over again because the way I was taught isn't the way they do it.
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Old 05-21-2016, 08:15 PM   #17
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Re: How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


I'll chime in on paint as an example. Everybody better doing it the same way, or there WILL be differences in the final product.
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Old 05-22-2016, 08:14 AM   #18
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Re: How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


Guys,

Thanks for all the responses. They have helped out already gathering my thoughts am moving forward. I will follow up on some of the questions all at once. I like to update things sooner but I was working all day cleaning up what happened Friday.

I have only said "I know more than you." To a very arrogant, very green young guy. It was done for many reasons. I have been lucky enough in the past to employ people much better than me doing what they do. Ironically when they left, we parted on good terms, they all do their own thing now and we keep in touch. None of them have employees because they can't take the stress.

I try not to micromanage anybody. I know there is more than one way to skin a cat. What my problem is, is huge problems with quality and attention to detail. What I mean is I don't care how you fold the drop cloth, but they will be stacked neatly at the end of the day. I don't care which way you work around trimming the room but your joints will be clean and tight.

My complaints and frustration Friday were not "you guys should have worked right to left" they were more of the "There are missed spots everywhere, there is paint everywhere. This was done in a careless manor and the place is an embarrassing disaster"

The source of my consternation is the place I have to start with some of the new people is so low I would have laughed about it or not bothered with them 3 years ago. Now they are the only people I can find. I guess you have to start somewhere.

Its the being told I am wrong and being argued with about work that is beyond substandard that is frustrating me.

To make a comparison, its like a guy telling you he has been running marathons for 10 years and at the beginning of the race you find out not only does he not own sneakers but he can't tie his shoes. But he does know how to walk so that should be fine. Whats the problem?
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:02 AM   #19
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Re: How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


I think that your #1 issue is that you need to have some systems in place that you follow to the letter. (e.g. an employee manual, a procedure for submitting time, dress code, conduct policy, etc.)

They don't respect your business as being a "real" company so no matter what you tell them, they think that they know of a better way. For instance, someone could have plenty of experience with cooking because they did it in their kitchen at home for several years. When they take a job at McDonald's or Burger King, none of that applies. Their systematic methods of cooking burgers and fries is what the employee is expected to do and there is no variation or negotiability in the process.

That said, the employee respects the organization and the structure and as a result the employee does exactly what the manager tells him to do without any backtalk and accepts criticism. Take that same employee and give him a job at Tom's Burger Trailer where there is no visible structured system and that employee will come to work every day with an idea as to how he should cook the burgers. He drives Tom crazy because Tom is steadily losing money while the employee wants to play, "Master Chef" with the ingredients.
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Old 05-22-2016, 09:40 AM   #20
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Re: How To Handle New Young Guys. (pulling My Hair Out)


Quote:
Originally Posted by shesbros View Post
Guys,

Thanks for all the responses. They have helped out already gathering my thoughts am moving forward. I will follow up on some of the questions all at once. I like to update things sooner but I was working all day cleaning up what happened Friday.

I have only said "I know more than you." To a very arrogant, very green young guy. It was done for many reasons. I have been lucky enough in the past to employ people much better than me doing what they do. Ironically when they left, we parted on good terms, they all do their own thing now and we keep in touch. None of them have employees because they can't take the stress.

I try not to micromanage anybody. I know there is more than one way to skin a cat. What my problem is, is huge problems with quality and attention to detail. What I mean is I don't care how you fold the drop cloth, but they will be stacked neatly at the end of the day. I don't care which way you work around trimming the room but your joints will be clean and tight.

My complaints and frustration Friday were not "you guys should have worked right to left" they were more of the "There are missed spots everywhere, there is paint everywhere. This was done in a careless manor and the place is an embarrassing disaster"

The source of my consternation is the place I have to start with some of the new people is so low I would have laughed about it or not bothered with them 3 years ago. Now they are the only people I can find. I guess you have to start somewhere.

Its the being told I am wrong and being argued with about work that is beyond substandard that is frustrating me.

To make a comparison, its like a guy telling you he has been running marathons for 10 years and at the beginning of the race you find out not only does he not own sneakers but he can't tie his shoes. But he does know how to walk so that should be fine. Whats the problem?
Ok, the bar is lower today. But, that is an obstacle that can be overcome. As long as there is a desire to learn more. Sure new school thinks they know it all. But I believe, that's to cover up some insecurities.

Old school or new school, if one thinks they can't be taught anything, well, then, it's time to part ways. If we aren't learning something new, it's time to change work.

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