You are a parent and little Johnny is 9-years-old going on 14. Does Johnny know how to behave when he goes to a restaurant, movie or arrives at a friend’s house for the night? What about when he is home? Is he respectful, does he make his bed each day and/or keep his room in order? We all know that is the way Johnny “should” behave. But, does that just happen, or did it take years of training? Right, it took years of training and sometimes he still didn’t do what he is told.
When that happened, there were probably consequences. Johnny is punished in some form and told for the 27th time what is expected of him. Eventually, with consistent reinforcement of the family rules, Johnny grows up to become a mature young man, respectful of others. The end product was not achieved by simply hoping Johnny grew into a fine young man. It took years of setting rules, reinforcing those rules, and providing negative consequences when the rules were not followed. It also included plenty of positive reinforcement when he was doing a great job. It was a process based on the parent’s overall objectives.
Technicians, and for that matter all employees, are just like Johnny. Rules need to be created, recorded, explained, and reinforced in order for employees to meet the owner’s expectations. Things like filling out paperwork properly, understanding the dress code, and keeping trucks or desks clean. What are your policies on drugs and what are the consequences if a random drug test is failed? Do your employees understand the basics of what holidays they get, how vacation time is earned, and what exactly happens if they do not show up for work on time?
These things should be spelled out in black and white in the form of a written Company Policy Manual. Every employee must be required to read the manual and to sign off on the fact that that have read it, understand it, and agree to live by the company policies. The owner, like Johnny’s parents, must then provide consistent consequences if the rules outlined in the Company Policy Manual are not followed.
In today’s world, a detailed Company Policy Manual is a critical document. It is not only the basis for expected behavior as an employee but it also spells out the process of firing an employee. Again, like Johnny, your employees cannot be expected to conform to the company rules if they don’t know what they are.