A semi-productive employee destroys a $2,000 tool by hoisting it improperly into the back of his truck. He knows how to do it right, but he didn’t this time. In these times, when labor is hard to find, do you fire him? If not, what do you do?
I would see how his attitude is toward making it right and give him the "Three Strike” rule.
East Coast Drywall
No sense in keeping an irresponsible employee in any time ....
Fire him. $2,000 is a bit too much, and it shows how much disrespect he has by knowing better and not doing so.
Assuming that the employee is above average in all other aspects and is a consistent contributor to the bottom line, I have used the following as a motivator:
Usually the damage or loss of equipment is much less, in the $ 300 to $400 range. I explain to the employee that the company operates on a 10 percent margin. Based on the cost of the damaged equipment, we are now going to do the next $3,000–$4,000 (10 x cost of the loss) worth of work without profit, or for free.
I use the incident to pose the question, "Any ideas on how we can recover the loss?” Firing the employee is a lose-lose proposition. Then you have to replace him, additional costs there. If the employee is a consistent contributor and conscientious as well, oftentimes the employee will recognize the fault and give the 110 percent required to recover the loss.
RIN - BUHR Construction Corp
Keep the employee, but have him pay for the repairs or replacement of the tool.
Griffin Insulation & Dyrwall, Inc.
Florence, South Carolina
Let the employee choose his destiny, sit him/her down, go over the mistake made (in detail), and let him/her decide whether to pay for the tool or leave the company.
B-Dry Systems, Inc.
San Jon Inc.
New York, New York
This moves the "punishment” factor from the hands of the employer and puts it in the hands (and pockets) of those who use the tools. The employees suddenly start caring about all the company’s equipment because damaging or losing it will cost them money—not the company.
- Calculate the amount of money spent last year on lost tools, damaged tools and damage done to customers’ property.
- Post the number for all employees to see.
- Tell the employees that it will be given to them at the end of the year, after deductions.
- As damages or losses occur, simply post them and deduct from the total.
- At the end of the year, pro-rate the money compared to hours worked, and give it to employees.
He should be fired, but that’s almost impossible. The employee has the employer by the ------ in the construction market today.
I suggest you work out an arrangement for the employee to pay for the repairs or replacement. If he is not interested, you don’t need him because he will only cost you more than he is worth. And, it will send a message to the rest of your employees about taking care of the employer’s equipment so you, the employer, can afford to continue to pay their salaries.
Upstate Stucco & Stone, LLC
Greenville, South Carolina
Of course you hang him up by his fingertips and laugh at him. Seriously though, this is a hard question to answer. On the one hand, if you have set standards in place about destroying business property, then follow that. On the other hand, If you don’t, then you'd better make some and stick to it. Run them through your agents and lawyers and accountants and any other advisers you have before doing anything. But the bottom line is dooooo something, or else you'll set yourself up for lawsuits galore and lose more money that doesn't come easy to any of us. Preventative measures in anything always win out. If you can imagine it happening, it probably will sooner or later.
Durham, North Carolina