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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a very serious problem in trying to get workers whom I pay by the hour and whom I hire to get any work done. I cannot stand there and watch them all day. Is it an absolute necessity to watch workers and to instruct them constantly in what needs to be completed? I believe that they are all just milking the job as soon as I leave. What suggestions do you have on how to solve the problem. This is costing me great losses financially. Is that the name of the game? Just see how little work you can get done in the day and get away with it? Is hiring Sub-contractors the only solution? Should I presume that because I am a female that I will be severely abused under the presumption that I do not know as much as a man who hires help?
 

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It shouldn't be a presumption on anyone's part. I would say it's best to be hard nosed about it and fire some people or get out there and show them how to get it done. For most men in construction it's a great motivator to be shown up by a woman. Or you could figure out how to pay them by the piece - difficult in construction but great for getting the job done :)
 

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Welcome to one of the tightropes of business. Hourlies are the toughest to deal with and watching them may seem the only way to ensure that they are working but it's not.
People work for a variety of reasons. Money is usually #1, having a job, a sense of belonging to something, respect, etc. vary by employee.
Most men will assume that you do not know as much as them and may even resent working for a woman.
That being said, let's whip this workforce into action. I have used the 'employee of the week' tactic. Pick the employee with the most output, however meager that may be, and on payday single him out in front of everyone and hand him a nice crisp Ben Franklin. Hard work = more money.
You need to get more respect. Fire somebody. Pick your biggest slacker, preferably someone that hasn't been around long enough to collect unemployment, and on payday hand them their final check and tell them that they don't need to show up on Monday. The word will get around that you mean business.
Temper this with a lunch day. Pick a day once a week, two weeks or a month and show up with enough KFC for everybody. Lunch hour is not strict this day, sit, eat and converse with your employees. You will learn a lot.
Care about them. Do you know their spouses names? Kids? What they are doing? Nothing breeds loyalty like walking through the site and being able to say "Hi Bob, did Billy win his soccer game last night?". This only works if you are sincere.
The people that work for me understand that they are a part of an extended family, we help each other as needed. Mostly, I offer tax free money when their times are hard and they work 12 hr. days when my times are hard. If someone needs a new roof, they buy the materials at my cost, I supply most of the tools and 3/4 of the crew shows up with family. Our current roofing record is 2400 sq.ft. in just under 6 hrs. done prior to the Superbowl. It cost me less than $2000.00. Steaks, burgers, hot dogs, beer, wine and all of the trimmings. Some of the best money I'll ever spend.
 
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Fire the losers and use the saved money to hire a foreman to work with them and supervise them. We run multiple crews and I can say hands down when ever a foreman leaves the job site for whatever reason production drops dramatically. A foreman is a must if you can not be with the crew. Make sure the foreman has no problem keeping them in line.

I remember one time I went to a job site and was pissed at the production they were obviously milking it and all I did was casually mention it to the foreman. I came back 4 hours later and they had almost finished the job. I still don't know what he had said to them. ;)
 

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Grump is right, although a lot of the advice above is good, I think you need to start by finding a good foreman. A good foreman doesn't always have to be a hard ass either, he just has to know how to move the good manpower and cut the bad apples out.
Bob
 

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The company I work for is very forgiving.. when they hire someone it's typically for a good length of time. The problem is the employees really have to jack something up to even be considered for firing. Stemming from that we get quite a few really good hands that end up quitting because they're working their butts off right next to a guy that's a slacker in the true sense of the word.. yet they get paid close to the same thing. While I can't argue with the success of this company (70 years in business - 2 billion annual volume) I do argue frequently about the quality of people they hire.
I believe there has to be a thorough cleaning of the culls every once in awhile. It not only helps productivity but also moral within the company. In the district I work in larger projects are slowing down so we've started bidding on smaller projects - and when you go from 130million to 1million dollar jobs you have to have the "A" team to make any money. It never happens though - because the couple big jobs have all the good people and don't want to let them go.
Anyway - just a little ranting on my part... I felt it kind of pertained to this subject.
 

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LOL Hatchet, you just defined a Chicago union worker.

Hatchet I am with ya. I almost quit yesterday. These are the things we want to deal with until we become the boss. I could go on an on bitching, and you know I usually do :)
 

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LOL.. This company used to be union - and they seem to have kept the mentality with them. I don't mean to bash unions - but it seems to me like it just breeds laziness. Our workforce has it way better than union workers anyway - better wages and benefits. I could rant all day too Grumpy. :)
 

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I know this reply is a little late, but I've always found the easiest thing to get a guy to step it up is to change his hourly wage to piece work rates. When he goes from a $500 check down to $200, he either gets the message or the writting on the wall.

The way I see it is if a guy is calling himself a journeyman, than he should have no problems keeping fairly close to the amount of work that I put out. I don't expect guys to do the amount of work in a day that I do, but close. I've been trained by the old timers when I got in the lathing trade, (metal framing) and drywall. I was expected to hang 10 sheets an hour for 10' stand up. I can't make a guy put that kind of board up in a day, but if he's busy all day and gets fairly close, and his work is clean, than his pay is not an issue, but when I get a guy who says he is a journeyman and is putting 4-6 sheets an hour, WITH his partner (this only = 2-3 sheets per hour) than I know that he's full of something.

Hope my 2 cents helps.
 
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