My driver's are driving me nuts!

Please be patient, as this may get lengthy. I could use some guidance!! My company is a pediatric medical day care and we have vans that run in the morning to pick up the children and in the afternoon to drop them back home. The driver's shift is a split shift (much like a public school) and the hours are 6:30 am. to 9:30 am -- and again from 2:00 p.m to 5:30 p.m. The job description states to have these hours, drivers must clean their vans after every run to include disinfecting EVERYTHING and sweeping.

After we have monitored, none of my drivers are doing this and they have been counseled already. Their timeclock punches show they are clocking in on time and even clocking out later than usual, but have been seen on the internet, chatting, etc. OR we have no idea what they are doing at all and cannot account for the extra time.

It is not easy to hire drivers due to the unfavorable split shift and since we are contracted under Medicaid, their criteria for a driver is quite extensive. I'm actually lucky to find a qualified person. But the current drivers I have seem to me they are "stealing" time from the company.

One of my depatments wants to drop their status to Part-time, which they lose their benefits... the other departments want me to give everyone of them final written warnings.. and they have had previous notices.....

And when they are addressed and given notices, they unfortunately take their frustration and complain to other employees in different departments on how they feel mistreated and how ****ed off they are......... causing an uncomfortable working environment and undue stress to others....

My company cannot operate without drivers... It seems that they are almost indisposable... If I drop their status to Part-time, and tell them the hours are changing from 6:30 to 9:00 and 3:00 to 5:00, they will lose their benefits and most of them will leave the company.. leaving me in a serious bind.

I don't want to be taken advantage of or continue to let them just "do what they want."

Any and all insight would be greatly appreciated!


  • 7 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Tonia,

    The drivers may see the cleaning as "not their job" for all kinds of reasons, some of them related to the perception that it is beneath them as skilled drivers, etc. So, you may be fighting an uphill battle that just isn't worth it in the long run. I'm not sure how many drivers you have, but the following option might work for you.

    Hire 1-2 cleaning staff to clean all of the vans during the hours of 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and again after 5:30 pm. (Students and stay-at-home Moms are often on the lookout for this type of schedule.) Reduce the number of routes you have by one route and split that route among the other drivers so they are driving during all of their schedule each day. Depending on how many vans and routes you have, you may need to smoosh the numbers a bit to get this to work out. I realize that one driver loses a job, so maybe you could add a route instead if your business warrants the increase.

    First, you might consider having a heart to heart chat with the drivers to find out why they don't want to clean the vans. Given the vans are used to transport children with medical needs, the drivers may have issues with protective equipment etc. and purchasing the protective gear could be a simple and inexpensive solution. Also, you might consider presenting the above option to the drivers and see if they step up to the cleaning chore instead of risking a driver's job.

    If you decide to consider this option, be sure to get competent legal advice within your state before you proceed, particularly before you discuss it with the drivers.

    A couple of questions:

    Are the drivers unionized?
    Is there a supervisor who is supposed to monitor the drivers' to insure they complete all of their tasks including the cleaning requirement?

    I hope this helps.

  • Sharon, thanks for your input.. the drivers are not union.. and yes, our Director of Nursing oversees this department... I only have 4 vans and each one has a specific route.... adding or splitting directions is not an option as these children live in different areas throughout the state.............
  • Sounds to me like your drivers are holding you hostage. I would hold the meeting, listen to their input but ultimately they need to shape up or ship out. . . I think I understand the ramifications, , if you can't live without them then you may have to live with them as they are. I'd have a plan B and take my chances. They are not doing their jobs. Beneath them? We don't transport but have a fleet. . every driver is responsible for the cleanliness of their vehicle and they are disciplined if vehicles are not maintained.
  • . every driver is responsible for the cleanliness of their vehicle and they are disciplined if vehicles are not maintained.[/quote]

    Ditto. Cleanliness of vehicle is one item on our annual performance appraisal forms and is subject to disciplinary guidelines.
  • First, when you have a policy that no one is adhering to you need to review the policy. Talk to the employees who are not following it and find out why. If the policy is wrong or something else is going on, you need to correct it. However, if your policy is fine and you are just being pushed around, you need to take a different kind of action.

    In such cases a suspension can be very effective. It shows you mean business. You might even have to go so far as to terminate someone. But you will get no changes unless and until they drivers understand your position, including your determination to be fair and make EVERYONE follow your policies. Having said that, be prepared. It is possible they might all walk out. If I were you, since the positions are so hard to fill I would also start interviewing for the positions on the assumption that at least one or more of your drivers will go. If the drivers happen hear about it. they will understand how serious you are.

    Good luck!
  • The worst employee is the one who feels they cannot be replaced. Like Nae has advised, your first course of action is to remove the illusion from their minds that they cannot be replaced. Until you do that, I think its unlikely that you will make any headway here.
  • I just read an article about employees that are considered 'hard to replace' or 'irreplaceable.' The author pointed out that treating these employees differently can land you in court. If your drivers (who don't follow policy) are not in a protected class, and you force someone who is to follow the rules you are setting yourself up for a big law suit. And you will probably lose.

    Good luck!

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