Follow These Steps to Define the Duties of Your Service Technicians

Employee performance plans help your crew members reach their career goals and provide the best service for your customers

Follow These Steps to Define the Duties of Your Service Technicians

Jeff and Terri Wigley

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Two questions this month deal with the issue of employee performance plans. This is a very important topic, and we highly recommend that you have plans in place for all employees. As the well-known business management consultant Peter Drucker once said, “What gets measured gets improved.”

Performance plans are necessary to clarify communications and expectations between management and the employee. Plans are indeed the measurement tool in which outstanding performance is rewarded and advancement is earned. Plans are also needed to protect the employer if poor performance leads to termination.

Question: Could you make some general suggestions about information we should include in the performance plans for our route service technicians? We have long thought that their job is to properly service units and to provide excellent customer service. Please help us to expand upon these principles.        

Answer: These suggestions are general in nature, and you must tailor the requirements to the specific needs of your business.

Over the last several years, the Portable Sanitation Association International has surveyed PROs as to the major job responsibilities of the route service technician. While these individual job descriptions were confidential once received by the PSAI, an overall job task analysis was completed on this data and five areas of responsibility emerged. These areas would be a great starting point in developing a performance plan for your route drivers. We would recommend taking each area and listing specific tasks necessary for the job that can be measured. The five areas of responsibility with examples of requirements are:

Transportation and Logistics – Pretrip and post-trip inspections of the service truck, operating the truck in a safe manner in accordance with traffic laws, completing the route in a timely manner, placing units and equipment in areas where they can be serviced and proper disposal of waste.   

Servicing Portable Sanitation Equipment – Proper cleaning of the units and equipment, identifying problems such as overuse or equipment damage onsite and resolving such issues, and wisely managing supplies such as deodorizer, toilet paper and paper towels. 

Safety and Hazard Management – Using proper personal protective equipment (PPE), spill containment procedures, accident and incident management, and safe driving.

Recordkeeping – Completion of service information once a unit has been cleaned, truck inspection reports, and accurate and timely reporting of hours worked.

Professional Demeanor and Conduct – Positive feedback from customers, a clean record regarding customer complaints, a “team player” within the company, and an overall positive attitude toward the job, customers, co-workers and management. In this section, you could include other work attributes such as reporting to work on time, adherence to company policies and maintaining a clean service truck and work area at the office.

One additional job responsibility could be added as a catchall to cover unforeseen job tasks. That description could read “other duties as assigned.”

Once all job responsibilities have been determined, share the performance plan with the employee to elicit feedback and then schedule the performance review as you deem necessary. Many PROs will do a 90-day and a six-month review on new employees, with annual reviews after that point. Again, this review process will vary from one company to another. Our experience is that it’s a good thing to be consistent once your company has established a timetable for reviews.

All of the information shared are merely suggestions to initiate thought, conversation and discussion about the job responsibilities of a route service technician. As correctly stated in the question, “properly servicing units and providing good customer service” are the foundations of building a strong and descriptive performance plan, and perhaps some of these suggestions listed will help in this process. 

Question: We have developed descriptions of the necessary tasks for each of the jobs in our company. How can we now assign value to these tasks to measure performance?  

Answer: Once you decide how you will evaluate performance against various job descriptions, communicate this information to the employees, be consistent in your evaluation methods and use as much factual data as possible in the evaluation process.

The simplest method of evaluating performance in a performance plan is the “yes-no method.” The manager evaluates each job responsibility and the employee either does the task or does not. While functional, this does not delineate the employee’s level of accomplishment. For example, yes, they do a certain task, but do they do the minimum or do they far exceed in that area?

Another method is “relative performance.” To prevent the shortcoming of the yes-no method, here the employee is evaluated along a range of performance. Examples on this continuum would be consistently does not accomplish, occasionally accomplishes, consistently accomplishes, occasionally overachieves and constantly overachieves. After evaluating all job responsibilities in this manner, an overall rating can be obtained with “consistently accomplishes” describing a situation where the employee is doing the job as described.

“Point accumulation” is another method whereby the employee is given points based on achieving certain objectives. For example, if an employee is consistently on time, they would receive a certain point value for that job responsibility. If they were late on some occasions, a smaller point value would be assigned. At the end of the review, a total score would be calculated against preassigned targets. For example, an employee with 90 or more points on a scale of 100 would receive the top pay increase available.      

“Weighted average” is another method based on point accumulation, however, the relative importance of the job tasks are taken into account. For example, in the first question of this column, five job tasks were determined to be important for the route service technician. Perhaps these five tasks are determined to be 75% of the job in terms of time and importance. The point values here therefore comprise 75% of the total score. Perhaps the remaining 25% would include responsibilities such as not being late for work, keeping a clean work area in the office, being a team player and volunteering for extra work. This method gives the best overall description of the employee’s performance.


FINAL THOUGHTS

We can only make suggestions based on our experiences. Use this information as a guide, and work to personalize your performance plans based on the unique circumstances within your company. As a final reminder, present the performance plan to the employee well in advance of the actual review, schedule the reviews on regular schedule, be consistent in evaluating all performance and use as much empirical data as you can to support your evaluations. Performance plans are a necessary and valuable tool in training and maintaining good employees. 



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