Hiring first employee: Strict work schedule or flexible, and other questions.
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  1. #1
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    Default Hiring first employee: Strict work schedule or flexible, and other questions.

    Im finally nearly to the point of hiring my first employee. Reality is that I should have months ago, but I have been kind of dreading it and had to get some things in order before I pull the trigger.

    Of the many questions I have, one is whether I should just come up with a work schedule that works for me and have them adhere to it, or work with them to ( slightly ) accommodate them? If I had multiple employees I would certainly understand a strict start/stop schedule. ( because otherwise it would cause issues-cant please everyone ) But as a one man shop I am here the vast majority of the time, and can/do work whenever necessary. ( been 7 days a week for most of this year )

    But I do plan on growing and dont want issues as I ( eventually ) hire more people.

    I will say, my personal opinion is strict schedule, something like 7am - 3:30pm ( 30 min unpaid lunch )OT after if available. But I do not want to work based on my opinion. I want to operate in a way that separates my company from the typical shop to attract better employees. But I have been around long enough to know that the wrong people will take advantage of that and cause issues.

    Its a bit of a fine line to walk.

    Looking at it now that I have typed it out it looks kind of stupid, but bear with me, any useful input appreciated.

    Thanks

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    In my experience, with multiple employees you need a strict schedule. You know the old saying, " Give them an inch and they'll take a mile"


    But, with employee #1, you're probably going to be asking a lot from him, so some flexibility is in order.

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    Pay a fair wage to the right person. Plan a sensible interview and if you've never hired before find someone that can help.
    Always sensible to find out where he's previously worked. Ask if it's OK to phone them. Often it's not so much what is said as what isn't. A specified max trial period (in writing) probably is a good idea too.

    The numbers of hours worked isn't IMO crucial. It's how much that gets done in the time taken. Some like OT, some don't.

    Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Dickman View Post
    You know the old saying, " Give them an inch and they'll take a mile"
    There's an even older saying "Do unto others as you'd have others do unto you".

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    I would assume a good machinist could make $30 an hour, 2 weeks vacation to start, and very low cost family health insurance if they went to work for a large employer. So you have to ask yourself, why would they want to work for me? What benefits do you plan on offering? If you can't offer the same as a large employer, I would look for someone that has a wife with a good job working for a large company that he can get her benefits. Since you are a 1 shift shop, you could be flexible with working hours. Or you could become known as a slave shop where you are a stepping stone for employees to get better jobs elsewhere.

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    What do you want?
    I did not start my company to show up at 7 am
    Yes people can take advantage
    They can also be loyal to a person who treats them well

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    Quote Originally Posted by gustafson View Post
    What do you want?
    I guess thats the question.. You HAVE to be there when they are there,
    at least until you know you can trust them with a set of keys.

    So, I don't think you have any choice but to be flexible... Because
    they are going to have to be flexible with you..

    Finish a job up on Tuesday afternoon, and decide to take Wednesday off, then
    they are also taking Wednesday off... If you work half way through the night
    and sleep in, then there goes that 7am start time...


    As always, some are going to try and take advantage... And, quite honestly,
    those are the people that you DO NOT need or want.



    My helper isn't married and has no kids, so she's pretty flexible, she's not
    a morning person, but when I need her at 7, she's here at 7... When I don't
    need her here at a specific time to do a specific task, she's here at 8, even
    when I tell her to just sleep until she wakes up, no alarm and take her time..
    8 on the dot. She doesn't take advantage at all... And she's only called
    out twice in a year and a half... I consider myself very lucky.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Dickman View Post
    ..... " Give them an inch and they'll take a mile"
    Oh yeah. Particularity in a one/two employee setting.
    You might find it best to start very strict and then move to more flexible once they prove themselves.

    I am all in favor of flex time and as stated it's the work done not the time card to the minute punch but I have learned to make the first 90 days tough as hell on new hires.
    This is against my nature but I've found it absolute necessary and I have to remind myself of it in cases.
    Sort of like boot camp or running the gauntlet.

    If you start out too soft you will never be able to reverse it and they will take advantage of this and not understand what is happening when you do have to put the pressure on.

    Think a bit like the employee.
    If your boss is a hard ass and then later backs off, all is good. If it goes back to hard, still ok.
    If your boss is a nice guy and at some point has to be a hard ass you think you are getting the short end of the stick and get all pissy.

    Every employee is an individual, they all are different and need or deserve different ways. But you know nothing about this at the start.
    Once you get employees you become mentor, teacher, guide, or sensei along with old school production foreman.
    They likely won't think the same way you do.
    It's a bit different role to play.

    Right now is also different that the last 10 years here in the US and managers/employers have not seen this for a while.
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    Oh yeah. Particularity in a one/two employee setting.
    You might find it best to start very strict and then move to more flexible once they prove themselves.

    I am all in favor of flex time and as stated it's the work done not the time card to the minute punch but I have learned to make the first 90 days tough as hell on new hires.
    This is against my nature but I've found it absolute necessary and I have to remind myself of it in cases.
    Sort of like boot camp or running the gauntlet.

    If you start out too soft you will never be able to reverse it and they will take advantage of this and not understand what is happening when you do have to put the pressure on.

    Think a bit like the employee.
    If your boss is a hard ass and then later backs off, all is good. If it goes back to hard, still ok.
    If your boss is a nice guy and at some point has to be a hard ass you think you are getting the short end of the stick and get all pissy.

    Every employee is an individual, they all are different and need or deserve different ways. But you know nothing about this at the start.
    Once you get employees you become mentor, teacher, guide, or sensei. They likely won't think the same way you do.
    It's a bit different role to play.
    Bob
    Per Bob's point. I worked through this. Used to be (a couple jobs ago) coming in at 6:10 and working your hours until 10 after was fine. For a few years actually. Then all of a sudden it wasn't. Punched in at 6:04 and you were LATE!! and didn't start getting paid until 6:15. This was a one shift small shop. Of course deleiveries were to be made and all, but nothing soo time sensitive as that, I know, I ended up supervising that shop a couple years later. Anyways, it always felt like the "late rule" was just because he (the owner) could.
    Also, a little off topic, when you run a shop like that man talk about a cluster when the clock got changed!! A couple minutes fast or behind would fu&* everyones schedule...

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    Quote Originally Posted by converterking View Post
    I would assume a good machinist could make $30 an hour, 2 weeks vacation to start, and very low cost family health insurance if they went to work for a large employer. So you have to ask yourself, why would they want to work for me? What benefits do you plan on offering? If you can't offer the same as a large employer, I would look for someone that has a wife with a good job working for a large company that he can get her benefits. Since you are a 1 shift shop, you could be flexible with working hours. Or you could become known as a slave shop where you are a stepping stone for employees to get better jobs elsewhere.
    Here just about all an employer has to think about is how to attract and keep a good employee. Just about everything you list is standard so requires no worry or thought on behalf of the employer.

    Work-Life Balance - the Danish way
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Dickman View Post
    In my experience, with multiple employees you need a strict schedule. You know the old saying, " Give them an inch and they'll take a mile"


    But, with employee #1, you're probably going to be asking a lot from him, so some flexibility is in order.

    While I agree with your first statement I disagree with the second. This is the best time to start a discipline to your shop. The " Give them an inch and they'll take a mile" is correct, it's human nature for most. Whether people believe it or not, employees want discipline in the shop, it makes them feel as if there is more job security. JMHO YMMV

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    If you're looking to hire someone really good and retain them for a long time then pretty much anything you can do to make their work life better should be done. Things like flexible work schedule are free/cheap so they're an inexpensive way to improve retainment.

    I think about this in a certain way: finding a new employee and training them on your work practices takes a set amount of time (both yours and theirs) which means that hiring someone has a concrete 'cost'. Failing to retain the employee just means you have to pay this cost again.

    I have seen workplaces where retainment wasn't emphasized, so they would pay that cost over and over. If an employee said they wanted to resign, the answer was 'ok', not 'what can we do to retain you?', regardless of the quality of the employee. Paying an extra couple of dollars an hour or changing work schedule to retain a reliable employee is completely reasonable when you compare it to the cost/uncertainty of hiring someone new.

    Set trial periods are a good thing. I like the idea of setting more strict hours during trial period, to get an idea of how they work, and to make building access easier. Then after the trial period give them keys and relax the hours so you have 'core hours': time you're both expected to be in the shop so you can communicate and coordinate, then leave the details flexible.

    If you find someone you really like you might also simply want to discuss this with them during the interview process. Maybe that person likes the strict structure of set work hours, or has issues setting their own schedule consistently and would prefer to set their hours to yours...

    Regardless of what you decide I think the emphasis should be on trying to find someone really good and keeping them pretty much forever. Probably a certain amount of discussion with the employee themselves is needed to make that happen.

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    Follow a fixed work schedule, yourself, and expect the same from an employee. You can always be flexible on requested days/time off.

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    My answer would depend on whether you are a job shop or make your own products. Also what kind of machinery you have. Also are you hiring a top notch guy or a trainee?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild West View Post
    While I agree with your first statement I disagree with the second. This is the best time to start a discipline to your shop. The " Give them an inch and they'll take a mile" is correct, it's human nature for most. Whether people believe it or not, employees want discipline in the shop, it makes them feel as if there is more job security. JMHO YMMV
    I can see why there is often a ditch between employer and employee. If an employer can't trust employees then either wages are way too low or there is a lousy hiring technique.

    Do US machinists tend to be criminal or lazy?

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    We work 7:00-3:30 M-F.

    Nothing more, nothing less.

    I would expect anyone I hire to do the exact same thing.

    Nothing more, nothing less.......your call.

    You in, or are you out?

    Later,
    Russ

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    Quote Originally Posted by wrustle View Post
    We work 7:00-3:30 M-F.

    Nothing more, nothing less.

    I would expect anyone I hire to do the exact same thing.

    Nothing more, nothing less.......your call.

    You in, or are you out?

    Later,
    Russ
    I sense Danish influence in your method LOL

    OT. Slots is no longer brewed in Kolding but old habits die hard so I still buy them.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails slots.jpg  

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    From my experience, "flexible" is kind of a bogus idea. Most of the time the company "flexes" the hours to suit their needs and expect employees to take it. When the employee want to "flex" things, it's suddenly a problem.

    Just like how 4 tens never works. It just becomes 5 tens, or 6 tens.

    Then you get laid off...

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    Quote Originally Posted by wrustle View Post
    We work 7:00-3:30 M-F.

    Nothing more, nothing less.

    I would expect anyone I hire to do the exact same thing.

    Nothing more, nothing less.......your call.

    You in, or are you out?

    Later,
    Russ
    Who the heck is this guy?

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    Default Is th work soemthing you can assign prices to ?

    Is the work something you could assign prices to ?

    Piecework would make supervision easier IMHO.


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