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Managing employee ADD, Stoner-ADD in the workplace.

SeanKroll

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Oct 13, 2016
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Olympia, WA
It's striking me that so many of guys that will do ground work are sorta or wholly ADD/ ADHD, or have Stoner ADD to manage. This is a legal rec cannabis state, so the opportunity to get the most powerful weed on the market is available to absolutely everyone, as conveniently as liquor stores in other places.

My best tactic has been Call and Respond ("okay" is not what I consider Respond-ing) and giving them a little notebook in a ziploc (rain/ sweat proof, cheap, hard to break) and pen.

Seems that I can ask for one or two things from the truck, but three starts to stretch some guys.

Accidents/ near misses are very attributable 'not paying attention'.


I had a frank conversation with my employee, who is trying to better himself and his family situation with this carpenter union gig. I asked him yesterday if he has ever had his attention/ processing assessed. He told me (9 months in) he used to take ADD medicine. THAT EXPLAINS A LOT about work place challenges.



I'm a planner. I bid the job. I know when I bid the job, where/ how the rigs will be parked when we pull up, taking advantage of all factors, as possible. I know what tree to do first to make the next operation better and easier. I work the sun/ shade. Etc, Etc.
Plan the work, work the plan, ask how's the plan working! Is that so much to ask?

So often guys will change from an organized plan (you work over there on that task, taking the time it takes to do it right, not Quick Quick!! Real Fast!!) to what someone else is doing, like magnetism, especially when its something new starting (e.g. going from picking up brush to rake/ blow).




Well, the kid just got up. gotta go.



thoughts?
Strategies?
 

Mick!

TreeHouser
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Nov 4, 2013
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Location
South West France
Sean, you would drive me up the wall with your conduct if I worked for you (not now, as a younger man)

A little notebook and pen? That’d be straight through the chipper.
 

SeanKroll

Treehouser
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Messages
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Olympia, WA
What would you do Mick to avoid repeating yourself all day, rather than working the higher functions of your operation? I can't do both at once.

I don't need a notebook, unless I do. When I need to write things down, I do.

Do you only delegate on task at a time? I'd never be able to leave the shop or job and return with my priorities accomplished, not what they could remember, or felt like should be done (not knowing the whole plan).



Btw, hangover issues are less here, than some places, imo.
 

Burnham

Woods walker
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Mar 7, 2005
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17,440
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Western Oregon
I don't know the answer for your situation, Sean. In my prior to retirement life's work, people doing basically manual labor that failed to perform like you describe, didn't keep their jobs very long. I suppose that just isn't the way it is done any more.

I believe you are paying a decent wage, no? If more money buys better staff, could that be a path?
 

Dave Shepard

Square peg, round world.
Joined
Oct 28, 2007
Messages
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Location
Alford, MA
I feel your pain. I've been training three guys this spring who all fit this description. There is no hope for them. None.
 

CurSedVoyce

California Hillbilly
Joined
Jun 30, 2008
Messages
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Near Yosemite in CA USA
My type A personality conflicts with idiots that can't hold a thought or not even registrar a simple request to do a task. Like 180 out sometimes. So, my solution to keep my sanity is not keeping them on the team. The team is shrinking and I can always take on simpler solo work.
 

Nutball

TreeHouser
Joined
Apr 4, 2015
Messages
1,184
Location
Mt. Juliet, TN
Just a few thoughts

They need practice remembering. Tell them what to do, and quiz them frequently. Something like that might work. Maybe get started a little earlier and stand around having them come up with a plan for the days work. Then they might develop planning/problem solving skills, and they might better remember what to do and how to do it if it is their own idea.

Maybe a little incentive: whoever you see stand around the least, or least distracted gets a little bonus at the end of the day. It doesn't have to be necessarily the hardest worker phisically, as different jobs require different amounts of physical effort, but whoever seems most focused and busy. Try to find some method, and some affordable reward that makes trying harder a goal they always want to work for. Maybe make a game out of it if at all possible.

I get my fun out of tree work when things start becoming fast paced and when trying to find the most efficient way of doing things, of course always with safety in mind. I either want to work fast and continuously or not at all, it's hard to keep focused at a slow pace if that's what the nature of the work involves and if it isn't very engaging at the same time. I also have fun and take some pride in doing things right. After a while of practicing doing things with meticulous perfection and foresight, once can get a little OCD, then you back off and find the right level of attention to detail.

People rely on habits, try to form your guys some good habits until they stick.

Maybe they feel they're just ground guys as if that's some worthless position. I never want any ground man to say they're "just a ground man". Give people a little authority in decision making, planning and such. Maybe they feel certain tasks are above their pay. Maybe they don't get told a simple "good job" enough when they do things right. I know I tend to not say anythings when things go well because I expect them to. "No news is good news" type thing. But a simple good job goes a long way in self confidence.
 

Nutball

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It might be, but its an idea I've had for a long time. A guy I used to work for would give me daily bonuses, not like I needed any incentive
 

SeanKroll

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Oct 13, 2016
Messages
7,110
Location
Olympia, WA
No idea Sean, but not treating them like 8 year old would be a start.
So are you saying that giving them a successful strategy for life and work is treating them like an 8 year old? Teaching them a habit that is useful forever.


You have to realize, if they were doing what they should be able to do, then I wouldn't be repeating myself that way.


Burnham, $18-20 to start. Have paid $25. Would pay $30. Of course, that's for a safe, productive, reliable, skilled groundworker, male or female, not a groundie.



Mick, maybe a notebook would lessen the ammunition for your guys to tease you about forgetting things, as you've mentioned in the Running Jokes at Work thread.


Stephen, as you say, doing more solo work. Diversifying. Milling.

Machines never ask the guy with a tremendous more experience if he really wanted to use that sensible, well-thought out, concisely explained plan instead of whatever what going though its head.


Facebook, FOMO staying up to 1am, 94% THC oil doesn't help.



I can find guys all day, all night that won't last on the crew. I weed them out during the application process/ interview process, as much as possible.

You can't ask someone if the have ADD.


I guess I just should test them thoroughly at an interview, rather than talk and listen at the interview, and give them a try.



My body won't keep up for a lifetime of doing all aspects of treework.

My last project was no fine-cleanup, their son is back from college. I like that. The saws, mini, chipper, and stumper did most of the work. Most chipping on that job was machine-fed (by me, of course). Make some nice piles that the machine will feed, work efficiently, bang it out, impress the clients.


I'm not in business to cater to employees, rather to make money by catering to customers. If my employees want to invite me to work at there expensive property for hire, I'll be glad to do it how they want, at a day-rate, of course.
 

SeanKroll

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Olympia, WA
Or look or employees with an IQ higher than a fish.
Where?



An 8 year production climber from TB couldn't furnish a resume or work history. Like the title "production climber" denotes something. It means you're a tree company climber. I see bad climbers all over.

So many easy conifers, everyone thinks their the best. Hardly, from what I've seen.


Starting your own gig, illegal or on-the-books is so easy here, there are tons of little companies, a few bigger companies.
 

SeanKroll

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Messages
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Olympia, WA
Targets (and soon Walmart) entry-level pay is $13 an hour.
Do you have to follow their rules at Target? Do you get to do it how you want?


I'll pay what someone is worth, because they will make it back plus more. I have all the work I can handle without advertising hardly, don't answer my phone mostly, and have an excellent local rep. I don't have reliable, professional talent. My customers thing we are some ace team because they don't see how much I spoon-feed the crew to keep them from crushing stuff, or super-over-complicating stuff that is newb-to-one-year exp type stuff, when they have 'years of production crew experience'. That's how we work in really tight spaces without damage, like that bigger birch over the 12' tall rhododendrons and other plantings.



People lie like crazy during interviews. I catch them in lies in the process of application/ interview/ work.
 

biggun

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Apr 22, 2008
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Nesoddtangen, Norway.
Where?



An 8 year production climber from TB couldn't furnish a resume or work history. Like the title "production climber" denotes something. It means you're a tree company climber. I see bad climbers all over.

So many easy conifers, everyone thinks their the best. Hardly, from what I've seen.


Starting your own gig, illegal or on-the-books is so easy here, there are tons of little companies, a few bigger companies.
No idea Sean. It is your manor not mine. Do you not have an idea where to get staff? Poach some farming stock or someone with a similar work ethic.

I thought the ‘production climber from TB’ was pretty good? At least that was the impression you gave unless I missed it somewhere.
 

Dave Shepard

Square peg, round world.
Joined
Oct 28, 2007
Messages
4,419
Location
Alford, MA
Me: Did you do X?
Employee 1: Oh crap! I forgot! My bad!

Again and again. As if feeling bad about forgetting somehow makes it better. I train order of operation. This first, then this, then this, always.

Me: Why are you powerbrooming something I've just powerbroomed in front of you?
Employee 2: I feel that in order to work as a team, we need to have autonomy.

No, we need to pay attention and work the plan.
the
Me: We don't need to blow the leaves on the lawn, just the ones out of thre beds on to the lawn. I'm going to vac then up with the mower.
Employee 3: Doesn't remove ear protection or idle the blower. Smiles, nods, continues blowing leaves across lawn.


They show up every day and work steadily, but one should never mistake activity for progress.
 

Mick!

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Nov 4, 2013
Messages
10,019
Location
South West France
I wonder if, over the myriad of similar posts from you regarding people you hire, do you ever think that you might even be partly responsible?
 

SeanKroll

Treehouser
Joined
Oct 13, 2016
Messages
7,110
Location
Olympia, WA
Just a few thoughts

They need practice remembering. Tell them what to do, and quiz them frequently. Something like that might work. Maybe get started a little earlier and stand around having them come up with a plan for the days work. Then they might develop planning/problem solving skills, and they might better remember what to do and how to do it if it is their own idea.

Maybe a little incentive: whoever you see stand around the least, or least distracted gets a little bonus at the end of the day. It doesn't have to be necessarily the hardest worker phisically, as different jobs require different amounts of physical effort, but whoever seems most focused and busy. Try to find some method, and some affordable reward that makes trying harder a goal they always want to work for. Maybe make a game out of it if at all possible.

I get my fun out of tree work when things start becoming fast paced and when trying to find the most efficient way of doing things, of course always with safety in mind. I either want to work fast and continuously or not at all, it's hard to keep focused at a slow pace if that's what the nature of the work involves and if it isn't very engaging at the same time. I also have fun and take some pride in doing things right. After a while of practicing doing things with meticulous perfection and foresight, once can get a little OCD, then you back off and find the right level of attention to detail.

People rely on habits, try to form your guys some good habits until they stick.

Maybe they feel they're just ground guys as if that's some worthless position. I never want any ground man to say they're "just a ground man". Give people a little authority in decision making, planning and such. Maybe they feel certain tasks are above their pay. Maybe they don't get told a simple "good job" enough when they do things right. I know I tend to not say anythings when things go well because I expect them to. "No news is good news" type thing. But a simple good job goes a long way in self confidence.
Thanks for that thoughtful answer.

From what I am told by my employee, the exact types of safe work-habits I require are what that they are going to test him on at his Union Carpenter's Apprenticeship test (safe, effective work habits, basically, specific to the job, such as how to haul buckets of nails up scaffolding, how to carry 5 studs or plywood). They have very specific ways they require things to be done, like they know what their doing and how people get hurt or damage stuff, from experience, and only want workers who can safely produce and work on crew-team, not in their head on their own team.



I'm always building them up in front of customers, giving thumbs up, Good Jobs, Atta boys, and pay them better than local for lots less risk of serious bodily injury (I could tell you stories about local death and injuries!).
I do expect them to act like they aren't dum stick draggers. They need to be a chipper operator, not a guy dragging the sticks and shoving them in (watch the temperature in the summer, fuel, blow off the radiator, use the right engine speed range)



Also, I clearly tell them what went wrong when thing went wrong, and how we will keep "moving forward" (which is basically what I already went over with them before each operation-e.g. I'll face-cut and backcut the limb, you let it fall away from me, so you don't hit me with the limb).

Mostly, I just self-rig, it's way easier on everyone, safer, too, until it gets big.

Simple to plan things and follow plans, so guys don't get injuried. Swingdude lost his finger to the first knuckle recently, because his employees frigged up. My employees have f*cked up and hurt me before, nearly killed me, nearly blinded me, doing stupid shit.





Nobody will outwork machines. Too many guys thing they kill it by dragging big branches all day, because that's all they've ever done. I don't want someone who is a brute, I have an "Ogre". The Ogre does most of the work, anymore. I rarely have two guys. I can keep one guy and me safe, well enough.


I'm forever telling guys to take a break, drink some water, eat some food, and when you're ready, I'll have something ready to delegate to you to do, as I have a plan.


When there are two guys, safety seems go plummet. Guys want to work where the other guy is working, doing what the other guy is doing, watch while there isn't room for two people to work, so they can alternate working.
Plan the work, work the plan goes out the window. Guys get talking, rather that paying attention to working, and will be pitchforking by the other guys face, like 2' away...'I was helping with the tarp'.


At least trees act predictably, by comparison.
 

SeanKroll

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Joined
Oct 13, 2016
Messages
7,110
Location
Olympia, WA
I wonder if, over the myriad of similar posts from you regarding people you hire, do you ever think that you might even be partly responsible?
Yes, Mick, I expect people to show up and work the right way, not the foolish ways that others have endangered them. I am very direct and to the point. I don't let them run the show. Someone has to be the project manager when there is not a level of experience to be able for people to work independently and effectively. Lots of guys just want to get paid for showing up late, unprepared, not listen, etc.

"well, I'm used to..."
"well, I thought..."

DILLIGAS? No. Maybe someone is used to running into the dropzone when the work is suspended overhead 40' and waiting for it to get down to them, but that's STUPID, and what I generally will get if I don't make them wait and focus on safety first, middle, last, always, etc.



Few guys want to show up on time, prepared, focused, and present.




I just had a piece pop off a speedline and drop. Obviously I keep people out of the danger zone, so it was not a problem. If I had left them to their own devices, well...????





Mick, have you been injured by employees? Had injuries on your job sites? Hurt someone? Who was responsible for it?



I almost killed a girl in a Closed camp-ground, felling trees, as she ran though. I was in tall brush, over head-high, banging over a tall, backleaner, my boss spotting. She ran thought, looked at him, iPod in ears, slowed down a bit while looking at him, kept running and the tree came down behind her. Woulda crushed her. I've had logs swung into me. My rope fed into the chipper, blasted by chips from a dummy changing the chipper chute from where it was supposed to be, to where he thought, for no reason,. he should adjust it (never trained to) to be pointing elsewhere. Didn't lock it. The discharge chute swung with next blast of chips, blasted right in my face. Well, full forestry faceshield and glasses, so I'm not blind now.






The last employee I had was full-ride academic scholar in college. He was easy to work with, safe, followed instructions well, learned a ton, and was very thankful for everything I taught him about treework, decision making processes/ risk assessment, and leadership. He's going back to the US Forest Service one notch higher up the leadership-trainee ranks for wildland firefighting. Another guy somehow got onto a USFS Hotshot crew for his first season after working with me and learning a lot.
My old supervisor, who was a pro, he and I got along fine, kicked major ass and took major names. Easy peasy.
A former soldier, Army Ranger (special forces) trainee, zero problems. Almost like he listened to what was asked, and did it. No whining, no safety issues, no bs. A man, not a man-boy.
A short-term guy, a firefighter in training locally, zero problems. Punctual, prepared, safe, hard-working, attention to detail. A man, not man-boy.

I don't have problems with competent, punctual, safe people.




The good ones are hard to hold onto, as they are going places in the world.


Most smart people don't want to do physical work, that is mostly grunt work.
Most good people don't want to work with tweekers, drunks, cons, scumbags, etc. Too many people have this perception of tree guys in the US. One timber-faller answered an ad for doing storm-work, and specifically said such, and asked about the employees.
The wildland firefighter had the same concerns.

VERY UNDERSTANDABLE.
Don't know how it is in your neck of the woods, or back in England.

Maybe laborers are the same all over.




What about all these ADD diagnoses amongst laborers in the US tree market? Seem like that's what we have to choose from, mostly.

Can't pay attention, don't think they need to pay attention, or some from Column A, some from Column B.
 

SeanKroll

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Joined
Oct 13, 2016
Messages
7,110
Location
Olympia, WA
No idea Sean. It is your manor not mine. Do you not have an idea where to get staff? Poach some farming stock or someone with a similar work ethic.

I thought the ‘production climber from TB’ was pretty good? At least that was the impression you gave unless I missed it somewhere.

Not Tyler Durden, another guy.

Tyler's resume was in part his history of treebuzz posts, and simply put up some good details, PG&E California utility doing crispy pine work along powerlines for 2 years where people died doing that work, big crane pics, showcasing his gear. He has a truck and chipper of his own, and knows how to take care of people's stuff.

He's home-based in TX, not looking to move.


So easy to be a small tree-co. Like he and I are. I have been at it longer. He's up off the ground in biz after moving back from California. Family ties and kids.
 
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