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Old 05-20-2012, 08:59 AM   #1
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New Employee


I just hired some summer help about two weeks ago. He did not have much contracting experience, but seemed eager to learn, when I interviewed him a month ago. He is in College, and comes recommended from a friend about his character. When I interviewed him, I only had a couple projects lined up this summer, but hired him mainly to give me a hand in building my house, and helping with Radon mitigation installation jobs, I average 3 a week. Since then, I have picked up more and more work each week, to the point that with my Radon installs, I should be booked till August if working by myself. So the past two weeks, I have been trying to teach him small things that he could do that would be helpful and were not to difficult. I am running into 2 issues that I need to correct, if he is going to be of any help this summer. First he has no attention to detail, the work is really sloppy. I have had him touch-up paint on some projects, and he has tracked paint, left drips, ect. I have made him go back and redo the work, but it is not much better the 2nd time. The 2nd issue is he does not seem to have any ambition. I don't know if I am expecting to much but after two weeks on a job, there are some things you should pick up on and be able to handle without being asked everyday. I am sitting down with him Tuesday to discuss things, and try to salvage this and would like any advice on how to address this. I really do not have the time to try to find someone new and he does show up on time, and is flexible on hours. Am I expecting to much? How would you handle this situation?
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Old 05-20-2012, 09:32 AM   #2
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Re: New Employee


It takes time for young guys to understand the need for nitpicky attention to detail. A good heart-to-heart every so often is usually necessary, particularly if he isn't working alongside someone who leads by example.

As for being a self-starter, in my experience there's not a whole lot to be done about that unless the reason is a lack of self-confidence. That comes with time.

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Old 05-20-2012, 09:40 AM   #3
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Re: New Employee


He's in college

His mother still washes his underwear

Yes, your expecting too much

Keep him as a laborer and hire someone with more experience
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Old 05-20-2012, 10:49 AM   #4
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Re: New Employee


I am trying to think of things that I can have him work on where he can gain confidence, and a better understanding of the construction industry in general. I pushed all the work back a day this week so Tuesday, I can go over things with him, and give him a better idea of what is expected. I thought I had made myself clear a couple of times, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt and try this one more time on Tuesday.
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Old 05-20-2012, 11:39 AM   #5
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Re: New Employee


Just ask him straight out. Are you here to learn or just get a paycheck. And if you are her to learn, why isn't it happening?
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Old 05-20-2012, 01:30 PM   #6
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Re: New Employee


With the younger guys in college you really need to focus on one flaw at a time. If you just sit down and let him know your whole business thrives on attention to detail, it is what sets you apart from the competition, he should learn to respect that and should quickly learn to make it a habit.

As much as baby sitting hurts, tell him your going to shadow him all day and really get on his case about detail. He should learn after a good days work what to expect. Then for the next week, really praise him when he is doing good.

Tell him your going to be watching him this week, if it doesn't improve you will need to find someone else. I have found that letting the younger guys work on one problem at a time really helps them learn more and not be stressed that they are terrible employees.

Unfortunately, young people need real world experience to learn how to survive, school (college or other) does not teach them real world skills.

Also keep in mind and maybe let him know, there are thousands of hungry contractor and laborers out there that would love to be employed.
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Old 05-20-2012, 01:39 PM   #7
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Re: New Employee


If he is a college kid, he is just thinking of this as a way to make money for the summer. He is thinking that he will do this, but once he has a degree he will be making soooo much money that he won't need to do menial labor anymore.

This is just a blip on his radar. Hire someone who has or wants to make a commitment to the trades. I've known a few college students/teachers who are really good at the summer construction gig, but they are few and far between. Most just figure it is barely a step above flipping burgers for them.
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Old 05-20-2012, 03:15 PM   #8
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Re: New Employee


It's the person! My boy works for a co. that builds OC1 race boats that cost 4,200$ to 4,400$ and it's all about the detail! He's had this job scene the 10th grade and likes his work.

These boats dominate the races over here and around the world
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Old 05-20-2012, 03:27 PM   #9
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Re: New Employee


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Johnson View Post
He's in college

His mother still washes his underwear
WOW, this kids mom travels to his college dorm to wash his underwear??
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Old 05-20-2012, 06:40 PM   #10
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Re: New Employee


I've busted my butt at every job I've ever had (starting with landscaping when I was 14.) Some people are hard workers who always give 110% and some people can't even grasp the concept. I'd steer this kid toward government work and find somebody else for his position. It will make your life so much better (I'm speaking from personal experience here!) and will give an opportunity to somebody who actually deserves it. Good luck!
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Old 05-20-2012, 07:04 PM   #11
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Re: New Employee


thats not a fair criticism,people grow in to things
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Old 05-20-2012, 07:34 PM   #12
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Re: New Employee


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thats not a fair criticism,people grow in to things
At age 19-20, my oldest boy was pretty worthless. Went to college, wasted his time and quit; he'd rather make sandwiches at Panera's.

At 22 he joined the Air Force, was top of his class in boot camp, top of his class in meteorology, and has recently pulled a couple of Airman of the Quarter awards, unheard of for someone just out of training.

I think aliens are responsible.
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Old 05-20-2012, 08:11 PM   #13
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Re: New Employee


thank him for his service [pending or not] for me please
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Old 05-20-2012, 10:27 PM   #14
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Re: New Employee


I have always busted my a$$ whatever job I had. I have a masters degree and spent summers doing various jobs, but always gave it my all, even if I knew I did not want to make a career of it. I had a bad feeling the first day, when I told him to go out and get a decent pair of safety toe boots. and the next day he told me his mother got a cheap pair at payless. I am getting less done trying to think of things to keep him busy on things that I am comfortable with him doing.
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:18 AM   #15
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Re: New Employee


maybe your not a good leader?
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:35 AM   #16
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Re: New Employee


You've got a business to run, and it sounds like you're spending way too much time on him. Everybody needs to get fired at some point. It's a valuable learning experience that can really shape you....or not, but that's up to him.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:58 AM   #17
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Re: New Employee


Sounds as if this guy is not a natural, however, if you think he is a good guy, that simply doesn't know better, then you need to be there even for the simple details until he can do the task without supervision. You catch more flies with honey, so I would be encouraging him as well.

It's possible that you think he is working too slow, so he is just trying to keep up, and in the end, you get sloppy results. Who knows? If I were in your shoes, I would think this isn't a good fit because, this helper is going to go to college at the end of August, so all the energy spent on training will be wasted.

that late teen age to thirty is a rough stage
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:05 PM   #18
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Re: New Employee


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Struble
thats not a fair criticism,people grow in to things
I agree. It takes time. Work with him teach him WHY not HOW.
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:36 PM   #19
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Re: New Employee


He is in college and this is probably not what he plans on doing the rest of his life so your priorities are not the same.

Put it in his realm of life expectations by taking whatever he is going to college for and incorporate the work/life lessons involved. Let's say it's computer programming...

"Newbie.... I understand that you are in college working towards your degree for computer programming. Well, even though this seems like a job that's not that important, and is more of a paycheck for you, it is actually more important than you think. The way you approach the way you do this job set's a pattern in life. Attention to detail is one of them and this is especially true with work that you don't like to do, because if you can do a great job with the things you don't like to do, you will EXCEL at the things you love to do. I have a master's degree not because it was easy or because I liked all the classes or the time it took to get it, but because of hard work and determination to succeed. Everyone's dream job has aspects of it that they don't like, but they still need to be done and done well because everything is connected. For example, I love this job, but I hate sanding. But I know how important it is to do a good job at it because it affects the final product.

So when I show you how to do something, it's not because I just want to do it to get it done, it's because I OWE it to the customer to do a good job in the same way a computer programmer owes his employer his best effort when programming. If he does a lousy job programming and doesn't fix the bugs, do you think his boss is going to look at him as someone who cares about what he is doing or not? It's the same when it comes to painting... I showed you where it needed to be done again, and that was your chance to "fix the bugs" in the paint job. I hired you because I see a young man with character. ANYONE can paint, if they take their time to do it right. Experience takes care of getting it done faster. So while time is important, I want you to focus on doing a good job the first time when I give you something to do, because it takes MORE time for me to explain it again and to do it over again. I am more interested in effort and results than I am in speed. Experience gives you speed, but CARING about what you do and the hard work and effort you put into something, give's you a living."


Then realize he IS a green horn, but he will ultimately meld with your expectations or it's time to find a new newbie...

Best of luck... 8^)

Last edited by KAP; 05-21-2012 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:34 PM   #20
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Re: New Employee


wow kapwhere did you pull that gem from?

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