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Employee mistakes

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by El Framo, Sep 30, 2002.

  1. El Framo

    El Framo Guest

    What methods do some of you out there in computerland use when an employee continues to make mistakes. We're not talking huge mistakes, just the kind that boggle your mind as you say,"And just how long have you done this?".
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  2. Emibub

    Emibub PFG, Picture Framing God

    When I had employees whenever somebody would continually make the same mistakes over and over again when taking orders I wouldn't let them finalize an order without having somebody else coming over to proofread and remeasure. That at least would make the offender more cognizant of what they were doing.

    As far as production issues, nobody ever advanced to the next level until they were competent in the first level. Some people are better at certain tasks than others and I would try to match the right person with the right job.

    Then there are some people who just simply don't have what it takes, and they just need to be streamlined out. Good luck.
  3. Dermot

    Dermot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Re-train them or get rid of them.

  4. El Framo

    El Framo Guest

    Thanks for the info guys. It's always nice to have a shoulder to cry on.
  5. gemsmom

    gemsmom SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I keep records on file of employee mistakes. What it was, the date, and how much it cost the business. From day one. I also record if they are late for work, or any infraction. It is also a good idea to make notes if you have to "talk" to the employee when a problem comes up. Date it, and have the employee sign. It is also a good idea for employees to do the same thing if they have a problem with their boss. These records may come in handy if you have to get rid of someone, or, for the employees, if you feel forced to quit.
  6. Lance E

    Lance E Member

    Just yesterday I had an incident involving the misuse of a tape measure and a lack of foresight, in fact it seems to becoming more and more common for measurements to be taken incorrectly in the workshop at the moment. This will result in a "coaching" sesion with individual staff covering the "measure twice, cut once" principle. These sessions will be signed off on the training register, if it is not the first time such action has been taken for the same reason then a verbal warning will be in effect (this is accompanied by a letter of notification of the warning which stipulates the reason, all dates of relevant training and most importantly the corrections that need to be made). If I feel that my point is not getting across I have been known to give a staff member or two the rest of the day off (on full pay) to consider their ability to do the job.
  7. Jana

    Jana SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Pam, how does your system work for your employees? Do they appreciate or resent it? I was getting anxious just reading about it.
  8. gemsmom

    gemsmom SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I get along very well with my employees, but I am the boss, and I do act like one. Some shop owners forget this (we do after all, work in a close, friendly atmosphere). If there is a line drawn at the start, I find employees react much better when a problem has to taken care of.
    Records should be kept by both parties, for the protection of both. If my employees do a good job, then there is nothing to keep track of, or the file will be so small, it doesn't even matter. If someone resents it, then that is the employee I should probably worry about.
  9. PurplePerson1

    PurplePerson1 SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    I am sure Jana wrote what she did because of me. Our former owner kept a "naughty box" of everything each of us even minutely did wrong. It was held over our heads and caused us all to make more mistakes, sometimes major ones, because we became so paranoid. We became masters at concealing mistakes, even to the point of using other shops' dumpsters to destroy evidence.

    I am way overly conscientious and although I passionatey loved my work and am good at it, it drove me over the edge. I attempted suicide.

    When I got out of the hospital, I found out that a lady a couple months before I got hired did kill herself.

    I think there has to be a better way. Our owner now, does not hold an honest mistake against us. She retrains as necessary, is firm, but forgiving when it is appropriate and hard when she thinks it is not appropriate.

    Marie was one of our group, who originally had to deal with the naughty box. When I got out of the hospital she suggested that she and I get rid of the boss. We devised methods to slowly make our boss crazy. It worked (and was fun) and Marie bought the business. Now of course, I must balance between Marie as old friend and cohort, or Marie as boss. I give her the boss status.

    However, now that I think of it, I could drive her crazy (but I don't want to own a business).
  10. jframe

    jframe <span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><

    Jana and Purp have shown us the other side of the mistake. They are 2 honest
    and dedicated employees who, I am sure are called upon to do any and
    everything in the store at the drop of a hat. Such is the world of framing. It
    breeds mistakes. Mistakes by both employees and employers.

    I've been on both sides. Bosses make colossal mistakes, way bigger than
    employees, I know this to be true. One mistake on something you just know
    will sell and hundreds of dollars sit wasting in the store. That's a mistake.
    An error in judgment. You might even get fired if you were a buyer in another
    situation. But you are trying to improve your store, bring in more revenue so
    you rationalize it. :eek:

    Employers are pushing yourselves to the max, questions, opportunities,
    judgment calls come at you faster than you can answer, it is the same
    problem with the framer. What other business can you think of where an
    employees are expected to hop from one job to another but still perform
    flawlessly? In any other business an employee would just be appreciated for
    being willing to jump from manufacturing, to sales, to housekeeper, to
    shipping and receiving clerk, to creative director, to purchasing, to customer
    relations in an instant. Well that is why people make mistakes, including
    employers. [​IMG]

    It's enough to make your head spin, and yet it is a wonderful exciting feel
    good business. [​IMG] Yes, you're going to get a dud employee occasionally.
    You're going to get one who steals from you. You're going to get one who
    doesn't show up to work regularly. You'll get some with poor hygiene
    habits. There are lots of worse people :( than those who make mistakes
    because they are overworked and happy to be that way because they love
    the business.

    Employees need training and retraining, their minds do get boggled. When I've been cutting and making frames for weeks then I have to stand in for the fitter, I can hardly remember where the tools are :confused: , and I used to do that very job Then, just when I start to put on the dust cover I get called out front to help with sales, then I have to cut a fillet and give it back to the matter and go back to fitting, :confused while answering the phone because the sales staff is busy and calling to see if a supply is still out of stock. And yet, I come back and do it everyday. I'm the first in and often the last out. Do I make mistakes? You bet your boots. Do my employers get vacations without being bothered by store emergencies? You bet. Do they get long weekends at the drop of a hat? You bet. Do they go to trade shows without having to call in to the shop? Of course they do. Do they worry about the store when they have to be out making sales calls? Nada. Do they have to worry about who is going to open the store when they have to make an unexpected stop on the way to work? Sure, they know I'll be there, on time (usually an hour early) every day. Do they worry about doing the daily closing out the credit card transactions, closing the computer out and backing up the daily info if they are running late on a sales call? No, I do those things too. But, do I make mistakes? What do you think? I'm not even the only employee, there are 2 others besides the owners. We are all pushed to the max but we keep coming back for more.

    Does all that sound familiar to anybody? Both employees and employers need to try to understand the pressures each has on them. There is a reason that people like the executives in huge corporations get paid monster salaries. They are being paid to quake in their boots and take it standing up, smiling with an air of confidence and well being. Is that what we want picture framing to be about. Didn't some of us escape from that environment?

    Jeez, hope you take that the way I meant it, and that it's not offensive. ;)
  11. Rebecca

    Rebecca SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Oh my gosh Purple, that's a terrible story!

    You poor guys were probably working for a sociopath! Thank heavens I've only met one (that I know of), but some conservator friends of mine got entangled with one in an archives association and wow, can one person ever wreak havoc. They're only about 1% - 3% of the population, but what incredible damage they can cause. I am so sorry this one entered your life, and so glad you came out the other side and got rid of her. Good for you and Marie!

    As for mistakes/unexpected events and just plain old life, my signature sums it up for me!

  12. Jana

    Jana SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    No, she wasn't a sociopath, I don't think! She was thrown in a managerial position and didn't have a clue. The box was a way that she could somehow maintain control. (I worked with her, but not for long - didn't know about the box then.) By the time I had started working there, the other two had started their 'mutiny'.

    I think it must be very hard to be a manager/boss. It takes certain skills and talents, diplomacy being one of them.
  13. CharlesL

    CharlesL PFG, Picture Framing God

    We own our own frame shop. We don't aspire to be millionaires. We, on the other hand, aspire to make a comfortable living, and be happy. There's absolutely nothing wrong with aspirations. I certainly don't mean to imply that.
    This 'boss' vs 'employee' thing has reared it ugly head before. I hate to see it again. I started out on a farm, running a tractor when I was about 7 yrs old, in 1956. Continued to do so until I went to work for BellSouth in 1970. Due to additional training, and the need for moving employees around, I worked for a dozen bosses. ALL my evaluations were 'more than satisfactory'. I scored outstanding on the almost hundred schools I attended. For 30 years. Was I the PERFECT employee? Probably not. There is no such thing. Did I do my job? D@mn right! The various bosses would give me/us an assignment, and then go forget about it, because they knew it would be done, and per specs. You haven't SEEN 'specs' at a frame shop, even FACTS, until you've seen the 300 volumes of Bell System Practices, delineating every detail of every job, and the incumbent specs that job was supposed to meet in order to be accepted.
    I broke my leg in 8 places in 94. Did they write me up? No. Did they try to fire me? No. Sh@t happens. To us all. I retired in 2000, after 30 yrs service.
    We DID have some megalomaniac bosses, as have been described here. Like Purp says, when one WANTS to be the BOSS, there're ways of letting them be just that. Their phone can ring all day. Customers can be referred to them because 'it's a really expensive job, and, after all, I HAVE been written up, so I don't want to make another mistake, particularly with your valuable artwork.'
    I think it's a give and take thing. The boss gives and takes, as do the employees.

    Websters says: meg-a-lo-ma-nia 2: a delusional mental disorder that is marked by infantile feelings of personal omnipotence and grandeur
  14. PurplePerson1

    PurplePerson1 SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Boy do I appreciate all that has been said. I am definitely the employee Jframe has described. I think I live in the frame shop and do everything in whatever order it happens.

    I am always there early and most of the time leave late (except when I have piano students coming).

    I never deviate from my schedule, unless Marie asks me to change.

    I can do everything in the shop, and Jana and I do, do everything in the shop.

    I love framing. It is my life. I want to please and I want to do a good job.

    I still get stressed, but not to the point of death. I have a reason to come to work.
  15. gemsmom

    gemsmom SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    PurplePerson, That was a distressing story. I do think your employer was carried away to the exteme. I am certainly aware that everyone makes mistakes. I have made my share, to be sure, and I tend to be very forgiving. Frankly, I get madder at myself than I do my employees, because I figure I should know better.
    I didn't say this before, so I will add this now. I had a bad experience with an employee early on in my business. It was nowhere near as serious as yours, but it taught me to keep records as I feel necessary.
  16. Jana

    Jana SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hi Pam, I know the part about being hardest on yourself when you make a mistake. Thanks for explaining your reasons. I knew there was a softer side.
  17. Framing Goddess

    Framing Goddess SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Jo, you have absolutely the best perspective. You are uniquely able to see and feel both sides of the employee/employer dynamic. I always look forward to your insights on thes topics.
    And you're right, I make the biggest, baddest booboos of anyone in my shop.
    But I will say one thing- it really helps to be a hands-on boss because you see all the elements that led to an employee mistake. The reasons WHY it happened are important. I have seen employees make mistakes because of being rushed (it IS unavoidable in this biz,) because of incompetence (lack of training?) or health problems. But it is very hard to see someone goof up because of a foul attitude or because they bring their home troubles to work with them on a regular basis or because they are hungover or (worst of all) because of carelessness... especially when it comes to dealing with a customers' property. Mat boards and glass can be replaced, but to carelessly do damage to someone elses treasure makes me nutsy. This is one of the hardest parts of being an employer- refining this judgement-deciding what is forgiveable and what is a deal-buster. I have been in this gray area many many times and it never gets any easier and I still don't know if I have made the right decisions. I do tend to act slowly and lean towards forgiving and I sometimes wonder if a swift action on my part would have been better. I may never know.
    edie the barelycompetentboss goddess.

    Jo, P.S.
    If you ever have the burning desire to live in Cleveland, I would give you a job like Right Now. ;)
  18. RumGrumbler

    RumGrumbler Grumbler in Training

    I do not make mistakes. I measure everything! three times. Others make mistakes because they assume. I remeasure what you measure. I need control of my working environment to provide the highest quality. Visitors, lighting, music, work flow, tools, and cleanliness are my responsibility unless you (the employer) intercede. I do not answer to my co-workers, I answer only to you and I have never been "written-up".
  19. Jana

    Jana SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Welcome to the Grumble Rum. You've never made a mistake at work? Not even a teensy weensy one? I guess I'm having trouble with that concept. I wonder if there is anyone else on this BB who could say the same. I'm just being realistic.
  20. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    The only mistake I ever made was getting addicted to The Grumbler
  21. B. Newman

    B. Newman SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm not addicted. I can quit any time I want. Yes I can, I can. [​IMG]

  22. jframe

    jframe <span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><

    "The only mistake I ever made was getting addicted to The Grumbler"

    That's funny Bob :D , somehow, coming from you, I can believe it is the truth.

    EtheFG, you are so right! A bad attitude is such a disgusting problem isn't it?! Hungover is just not acceptable, and you can add to those two those who call from jail saying they will be late. Good grief! I know your shop would be a great place to work, and I love your warped list of things you don't do.

    I think this is a good subject to discuss. Good, quality employers and employees
    should be in the business as a team. Just like any team, some members will be better at certain tasks than others, and they will have to pick up the ball when they are called upon. Just think of it as Michael Jordan and the Bulls. He couldn't have done it by himself, and he's the first to admit it. He carried a heavy load and worked the hardest for it, but it still took all those other exceptional pros to win the championship. Think of Phil Jackson as the accountant, attorney and financial consultant (or banker) all wrapped up in one.
  23. JPete

    JPete <span style="color: red"><b><i>Charter Member</i><

    lol. I think Rum must be self-employed. Welcome to the grumble, just may prove to be your fist mistake!
  24. PurplePerson1

    PurplePerson1 SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I don't mean to keep this going, but I have had e-mail's that others have attemped and completed suicide, because of pressure about making mistakes, while they are working themselves to the bone. They couldn't keep it all together with so much pressure.

    This tells me that we must choose our battles and put things in perspective and do the most important things first and then do the rest as we can. We must also allow bosses to rant and understand it comes from thir pressures. It is not all personal and if we get fired, there are other jobs out there. Plus if we get fired we can collect unemployment. If we quit, we can't.

    I have copied and printed Jo's response. It really put things in perspective.
  25. El Framo

    El Framo Guest

    Wow, I now have literary indigestion. Too much to take in,cannot funtion system is shutting down....
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