Solution Saturday: I Don’t Get Paid to Do That
I am trying to deal with individuals who continually say I don’t get paid to do that. In addition to that, they are never satisfied with bonuses received.
When I emailed you, I was dealing with five employees who refuse to do anything extra unless they get paid extra. For instance, we do regular maintenance every 60 days, I had asked the day shift to do half and asked the night shift to do the other half. One gentlemen on the day shift was great. He did the maintenance with no help from his colleague. Night shift came in and said we don’t get paid for that.
The one individual who chipped in and helped also volunteered to do some other work. I made the mistake of paying him and now everyone wants paid to tighten a screw.
Last year each guy received a $1500 bonus. This year things were tougher and checks were only $1250. As we look forward to 2018 it’s going to be way tougher. This is at best a breakeven year, if that.
We have between 15-21 employees depending on the time of year. They have an hour lunch and can leave when they get their assignments done. They usually get to leave early.
Your email gives me the sense that you care about employees and conflict is difficult for you. Frankly, most of us don’t like conflict. But fear of conflict causes leaders to avoid tough issues. Three alternatives come to mind.
Alternative one: Change their job descriptions.
Why would anyone volunteer for extra duty if it means they have to stay at work longer? You wrote that when employees get their work done early, they get to leave early. Doing extra work means they don’t get to leave early.
I understand that leaving early is one way to motivate productivity but it seems like it’s doing the opposite.
The idea of leaving early is a great reward if it happens occasionally. If it happens most of the time, it’s an expectation, not a reward. Job descriptions need to change if employees regularly finish their jobs early.
You mentioned a 60 day maintenance routine. Could you add maintenance to their job description?
Changing descriptions is uncomfortable. However, if 2018 is going to be a tough year and your employees routinely leave early, it’s time to explain the situation and ask them to contribute. (I would not advise this if they were already working overtime.)
Make “extra” work part of the job. You might say, “I know this is going to be difficult for you, but we are changing job descriptions. If this is unacceptable to you, we’ll work to make your transition out of our organization as comfortable as possible.” (You might want to run an ad in the paper for new employees before implementing this change.)
Apologize for paying someone for extra work. You made a mistake. It’s best to acknowledge it. Your employees have the wrong impression and you are one reason they have that impression.
You might say, “I want to apologize for giving you the wrong impression. When I paid “Fred” for doing maintenance work, I was showing appreciation. I realize now that it set a wrong expectation. I’m not doing that anymore.”
This is going to sting. It’s frustrating to hope for painless solutions to painful situations.
- Be kind.
- Explain your goals.
- Ask for input.
- Make your decision.
- Deal with the consequences.
Alternative two: Explain your goal and let them design alternatives.
Gather the team. Explain what you need from them. Explain why it’s important. Ask them for suggestions. Generate three or four options and choose the best one. Or have them choose, as long as you don’t compromise on what you need them to do.
Alternative three: A combination of alternative one and alternative two. Perhaps you keep final decision-making authority. Or, you define the partnership and they decide if it’s for them.
Question to explore: What kind of relationship do you want with employees?
It feels like you want a partnership.
- What does partnership mean to you? Your employees?
- How do partners treat each other?
- What do partners do for each other?
If you want a partnership relationship, how might you involve your partners in the process of defining the relationship? Design the relationship together if it’s a partnership.
You have my best,
PS I hope 2018 turns out to be better than you expect.
What suggestions might you offer Frustrated?
*I relax my 300 word limit on Solution Saturday.
Dan, has hit the solution spot on!
Some questions may be who is the bargaining unit such as Union and non Union representation ? Is there a corporate policy with written job descriptions?
If the pay is hourly or salary? The scenario when the work is done they may leave leans towards salary.
So if negotiations are needed to get the job done, then negotiate with all parties involved.
If you have the authority to assign tasks and change job duties, time for change if financial gains are needed to add duties, work them out.
Thanks for adding some questions and suggestions. I get a “just do it” feel from reading your comment. 🙂
Yes sir, Im here to work, what do we need done.😊
Once people realize it will be a tighter year they will either start looking for new jobs or offer ideas to grow/improve the business if they really care about their jobs and the company. Those that don’t want to put in the extra effort will need to go. I really like the solutions outlined above.
Thanks Agnes. I appreciate you stopping in today. How will we care for each other is one aspect of partnership. Perhaps we’re uncomfortable talking this way in business. The alternative – how will we not care for each other – is ridiculous.
Most job descriptions include the statement “…other duties assigned.”
It sounds like one or two people can do the required maintenance–so alternate who is required to do the maintenance every 60 days.
Change the incentive—team goal. Once all the work is done for that shift all employees get to leave at the same time. But note every day there will be some additional tasks added to the regular work that needs to get done. lf
Talk to the guy on the day shift who volunteer. What motivates him. What can you learn from him about ways to motivate the others.
Brilliant Paul. Spread the extra work around. Also, love where you’re going with trying to understand motivations. Others may not have the same motivations, but understanding people is part of leadership.
Great discussion in light of the changing expectations of the current workforce. With the cadre of millennials making up the new and emerging workforce, there is a very different yet pervasive expectation that we should be cognizant. It is a workforce of “transactions”. We are hearing and seeing the new-age dialogue where nearly every conversation in the workplace is one of a transaction.
A large part of the evolving dialogue is one of “entitlement” without having done the work or even with a history of work or life experience. As such, you have the behaviors and responses shared in the today’s scenario. It is imperative that we learn the mindset and expectations of the emerging workforce if we wish to be successful in the future. Remember, their orientation is not one of working with people. But more of working with “things”. When referring to things I am referring to the most common behavior of people living through cell phones and social media versus meeting others and engaging with others in meaningful and constructive dialogue. It is a different world and they have been programmed in ways that may seem offensive to those of us that have been in the professional world for a bit.
It makes me a little nervous. Okay, very nervous.
Ensure job descriptions have the “…other duties as required/needed…” statement.
The guy that volunteered? What drives him? Is he just more interested? More flexible? Why? Can you build off him?
At the same time, don’t take the piss: if you want people to do more with/for less, or pick up other “menial” (seeming) tasks, make sure you’re seen to be equally flexible.
Finally, keep this in mind: if your customer comes to you and wants a shorter deadline and a chunk off the price, you’ll get to a point where it isn’t worth doing business with them. This applies both ways to you and your staff. Everyone needs to feel like they’re winning the game.
Zig Ziglar always said, “If you do more than you’re paid, there will come a day where you are paid more for what you do.” Money will not fix an entitled heart. I say this from struggling with my own issues of around being dissatisfied and lacking contentment.
Great post Dan, this is an unfortunately common issue which I’ve also come across. Great advice!