Need some ideas to motivate employees to complete required daily paperwork.
June 27, 2012 9:24 AM Subscribe
I need advice as to how to motivate employees to complete their mandatory daily paperwork. Difficulty: tradesmen.
posted by mireille to Work & Money (24 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My husband and I currently employ 8 tradesmen in a welding and machining shop-- and we're growing. From the start it has been an endless frustration (requiring an unhealthy amount of babysitting) to get them to complete their daily paperwork.
A couple of examples:
Timesheets: If they're submitted at all, they're frequently incomplete. They also struggle to write down all of the material they've used on the work orders, which makes billing frustrating and often costs us money. We have had numerous meetings and each time they're better for a couple of days and then it rapidly goes downhill again. I have to constantly hound them-- and sadly, our shop foreman is the worst of the lot!
Vehicle Inspections: We have a small fleet-- the guys are required to do a safety walk-around check every time they drive a truck off of our site. This has been really frustrating to enforce, but needs to get under control now. We've thought about holding all keys in the office and handing them over after the form has been submitted, but we're a 24/7 shop and the trucks have to go out at all hours, so that's not feasible.
There's other paperwork too, mainly safety program-related, and that's just as much of an ongoing frustration. We need all of it completed in order to pass annual audits in order to maintain a certification required by most of our customers-- in other words, our ability to get work depends on it.
The urgency now is that there's about to be a pretty large increase in their required daily paperwork. We are currently acquiring two new major certifications and both have numerous forms that have to be completed on a job-by-job basis (and we'll be audited for these as well). One of the certifications is held to ISO 9001:2008 standards, if that gives you a sense of the required detail and level of importance. We are pretty concerned about how this is going to play out given the quiet resistance (or forgetfulness) that we've dealt with thus far, and if was was mission-critical before, it's about to be even more so very soon.
So I need some ideas as to how to get these guys to complete this paperwork each day with the least amount of babysitting required on my part. I know that the timesheets thing is a problem in many companies that bill by the hour (and when I worked in advertising I was one of the worst at it*), and I'm open to any and all ideas to ensure motivation AND compliance -- from both you employer and employee MeFites alike. What works to get you (or your staff) to complete paperwork in general? What methods have you seen in various companies that worked for them? Though I wish it weren't necessary, I'm inclined to find a positive-reward solution (prizes? contests?) but can't figure out what that would look like in practice. I am using timesheets as an example but like I said, there's a lot more coming their way so I'm looking for ideas for daily required paperwork in general.
Couple of details:
-- By federal and provincial law, I cannot withhold pay for not turning in timesheets (I did a bit of research in a moment of desperation).
-- We have already made it abundantly clear that paperwork is part of their job description.
-- Though it would be great, unfortunately we can't automate/computerize the process (say, where time is entered before the next job can begin) because of the nature of our business-- guys often switch back and forth between jobs as their priority levels are constantly shifting.
-- I try to make it as easy as possible for them-- all the forms are at the main paperwork counter in the shop and completed paperwork all goes in one slot for me to sort out daily.
-- These guys are highly skilled, immensely qualified, and educated/trained in their trade, but the reality is that only a couple of them completed high school and most of them are only marginally literate. I don't care about spelling and grammar here, though, and they can write well enough to fill out the necessary forms.
-- None of them have ever held a desk job and most of them leave household paperwork to their wives/girlfriends, so they don't have a lot of discipline or even necessarily the sense of urgency and importance associated with paperwork, and that's turning out (for me, so far at least) to be kind of challenging to instill in adults.
*Payback-- believe me, I know