i have a question. How far do you guys go to keep your guys from being unemployed through a slow time? here are some of the things i have tried, and i would appreciate your comments:
1. preventive maintenance work on shop equipment and service trucks.
2. in-shop training programs and proficiency improvement "tests".
3. letting guys take vacation days in advance of their actual "earned" date.
4. offering other work, such as painting, minor carpentry work, and , when the weather is right for it, operating my snowplows, (i have 2).
5. calling other contractor acquaintances in the area, and asking about any "temp." or "part-time" work my guys might do for them, until my work picks up.
6. contacting the local union hall about temp. work assignments for those who are qualified.
i've tried all of these, and, at this point, i may not have a choice but to start laying guys off next week. i hate to do that, because i'm taking the chance that i might lose some of them permanently, if they go somewhere else.
Gramps, If I was one of your employees and you had gone to such lengths for me, I would come back, I would be thinking this guy has done all he could and must be someone that I would want to work for again.
I do not have any answer for your question, my point is your guys must know you're in a tough spot and should not be upset that you must let some go, you have done what you could, when times get better you will take them back.
Good Luck Bob
Bob Badger Construction & Maintenance Electrician Massachusetts
#22407 - 02/22/0310:36 AMRe: keeping your employees working
Gramps, It sounds like you and I have the same philosiphy about employees. I feel like when I hire somebody, I owe them a full 40 hour work week. So if we're slow I'll let them strip down the vans and completely reorganize and restock to make them more efficeint when work picks up. We just got a new shop and it needs to be organized next chance and we need to add more outlets and lights in it too. Most of my guys appreciate the dedication I have towards them and will work any hours I need (they also love overtime), but I wish they all did.
#22408 - 02/22/0304:57 PMRe: keeping your employees working
Gramps, Don't forget Habitat for Humanity. If they have a project going in your area I'm sure they would appreciate the help. Plus, it's tax deductable. We've done this in the past as well as volunteer work at a community youth center remodel. It does everyone involved a lot of good plus it is good advertising. Any donated material and/or labor to a non-profit organization is deductable.
#22409 - 02/22/0305:02 PMRe: keeping your employees working
Gramps: Sounds like you're doing all that you can. Have you inquired of your men, if they were "off" for a week or two, if they would come back?? I know what you're saying, trying to "find" something to do sometimes is hard. My guys had two days out this week, (Mon & Tues) for snow. Heck, I don't own a plow! I've been fortunate, 17 yrs, no lay-offs... but it's getting awful quiet...... John
#22410 - 02/22/0305:49 PMRe: keeping your employees working
thanks guys...i do appreciate your comments...and especially the one about the "habitat for humanity" thing. i havent thought about that one. you know, one of the big reasons i started this company, was because i got tired of working for "unappreciative" employers who liked to "crack the whip" mercilessly and had no thoughts as to their employees well-being. i got really tired of being man-handled, treated like a dog, and continually worrying about whether there would be another wiring job for me to go to, once i finished the one i was on. it played hell on my family's security, planning for some kind of future, and dedication to my employer(s). i silently promised myself, that, as an employer, i would try to do better by my employees. and thats why i struggle with the issue of having to lay someone off now.