Operators who have inventory controls might require each driver to be accountable for their collections, then they must be able to check out each week, (cash expected versus cash collected). This goes in the policy manual. In my experience, operators won’t get the total dollar amount, because that is impossible to attain, however, they should have a number that they can live with as close to 100 percent as possible, just don’t tell them the number. Drivers should be striving for 100 percent and owners can deal with what actually comes in on a per route basis. One last item in the policy papers, depending on what part of the country the company operates in, operators should include an inclement weather policy in the event of snow storms, hurricanes, etc.
Once the employee has filled out the forms and been given the policy manual, there is still one more piece of paper that remains important. Make up a form with the date and name of the employee on it followed by a short sentence that says, ‘I have read and understand all the policies that are required of me while employed.’ Have them sign the paper in your presence, you sign it also, make a copy for them and put the original in their file. Later, when least expected, that piece of paper could become priceless.
Dismissal forms and unemployment
There are a number of other forms, covering various things that can happen during the course of running a business, but if I could recommend just one it would be the employee warning form. This would be used when management warns an employee about something that they are doing against policy, but not a cause for immediate dismissal. Again, the manager must date the form, write down what the infraction was and whatever resolution was agreed to by the manager and the employee. Both sign the form and put it in the employee’s file for future reference. If the same infraction continues, the operator will have a paper trail for dismissal and for using in an unemployment hearing.
Speaking of unemployment, remember that you pay for their unemployment benefits, not the government, so fight every time you feel an employee was dismissed legitimately. We fought every one of ours and in 43 years, I can count on one hand the number of times we lost. I’ll share something with you. Even though we caught employees stealing, we never used that as the reason for dismissal. Our wording went a bit like this: “The employee was unable to check out for whatever reason and being able to check out is a condition of their employment as per the company policy.”
If theft is used as the reason, be prepared to answer a lot of questions from the unemployment officer, like who else has keys to the machines and who checks the cashier. When the operator has to answer that the supervisor, mechanic, owners, etc. also have keys, the case is pretty much lost.
In the end, keep good records, update as needed, be as organized in the office as in the field, stay focused and don’t react to anything without some thought process. If a decision can wait a day then sleep on it to be sure it’s the right one. Remember to use any and all resources available to help you understand the law and the policies you will be making and enforcing. It’s the safest way to avoid employment headaches in this world of increased litigation. Don’t forget NAMA, as they were a great help to us when we first put our policy manual together.