In this industry, EVERY second out in the field getting a job done counts.
In part one of this series called Challenges Electrician's Face On the Job, we discussed the biggest issue electrical contracting firms face right now: HIRING (you can read that here). The next big thing that can screw up an entire project flow comes down to the people just not showing up as they should, or when they do show up, they’re just not being as productive as they need to be.
This not showing up really comes down to a person having discipline issues. Unfortunately, this issue doesn’t pertain just to children (like two-year-olds), it’s something that some people take with them their ENTIRE lives. Now, it seems like this wouldn’t be an issue because we’re adults, right? We have to admit that’s wrong. It is a consistent problem that we’ve seen in this industry, that is, unless you have the RIGHT PEOPLE.
“Having your crew consistently show up on time and be extremely productive has become more and more difficult over the years.” - Daniel Stall, Project Manager
Having the “right people” isn’t always easy. You don’t know if someone is capable of consistency and being highly productive until you put them to the test. So there’s a lot of ups and downs in the hiring process (going back to part one in this series).
Smartphones have brought elements around productivity to the table via the new apps for project management programs, etc. that can be utilized to help project flow; however, phones can also increase the amount of time that employees spend on them and this can be precious time spent away from the job at hand.
These devices create distractions and have actually caused injuries to rise because there’s a lack of concentration. This is exactly the same issue you see with drivers using their phones… it’s just not acceptable. Using the project management app on the phone is great, but the social media apps are NOT, as well as the text messages that can’t be ignored (but should be ignored!).
Safety is KEY and being focused on the job is imperative to a team’s success in our industry.
Monitoring every second of an employee’s time on the job while they’re out in the field is not possible, but to help the show-up and productivity factor, it’s got to be said out loud that being in non-work apps/games/text messages while on company time is not acceptable.
Creating this no-bullshit rule is key and unless it has to do with the job that’s being worked on then it’s OK to not tolerate it. You’d think that this wouldn’t be an issue due to the “adulting” part, but it’s sadly a challenge that we’ve seen that’s gotten progressively worse over the years.
Privacy is important, but it’s got to be well-known to the crew in-field that time on the phone while on the job is spent doing things related to the job and the job only and they must limit all the other things until breaks, etc. It seems very common sense, but the biggest thing that your managers can do is make rules and make sure they’re known.
That way, when there are the “three strikes” or whatever HR rule that your company has created, then it’s very clearly documented as to what someone did not adhere to and you can move into finding someone who will show up and be a highly productive team member.