During the winter months, our business will slow down in one area and increase in another due to customer budget swings. This situation usually results in their being a significant amount of crews traveling from one district to another. While everyone is an Edko employee, there are some things that we should consider when it comes to out-of-town help.
A roadside in need of brush control.Keep it Legal
• Employees may not have proper herbicide application licensing, meaning you may have to make supervisory and/or proximity accommodations or make adjustments in makeup of your crews.
• Employees may not have proper licensing to drive your equipment (i.e. licensing for Super Duties, etc.) Again, you’ll need to make adjustments to your crew makeup to keep the crew legal.
• Some places you can turn right on red and some places you can’t. Some states have roundabouts and some don’t. Make sure you prepare your out-of-towners to accommodate the local laws to avoid unnecessary violations or accidents.
Job Specs and Scope of Work
• All utilities have different specs for their right-of-way widths based on geography and voltage. Make sure this is clearly communicated and understood by your out-of-towners. Having them reciprocate this on the JSA would be a good practice.
• Similarly, the scope of work changes by utility, Forester or even geography. Make sure you communicate what the target species and target tree/brush size is within the scope of the work.
• Different utilities can be more strict when it comes to safety. Whether it’s hard hats, shovels or a specific sized traffic cone, make sure the out-of-towners are equipped to work for your customer.
Treat them like your crews (which is hopefully good)
• Sure they’re going to be gone as soon as the job is done, but that doesn’t mean you should treat out-of-towners any differently than you do your own crews. Whenever a crew has a bad experience working for another district, it decreases their desire and willingness to help other districts in the future.
• Don’t reserve all of the ridiculously awful tasks for out-of-towners to accomplish. Believe me; they notice it and don’t forget.
• If you’re recognizing your crews with gift cards or taking them to lunch, include the out-of-towners.
• If they’re doing a good job for you, let them know.
Be hospitable
• Point the crews in the direction of a good place to eat. One of the things I enjoy the most about traveling with Edko and getting to experience food in other places. Use this as a simple opportunity make their time in your district more enjoyable.
• Put the employees in a decent hotel.
Give feedback to their home district
• Whether it’s praises, concerns or complaints, these should be communicated to the home district of the out-of-towners. This creates an opportunity for an employee to be praised or disciplined multiple times and gives the home district insight into things they may have been unaware of.
• Make sure you’re capturing these
In the end, out-of-towners should be valued. After all, they’re in your district to help you out, get you out of a bind or to further secure the success of your district. Plus, we all know that being away from home for extended amounts of time can be exhausting and stressful. Whatever we do, in the end, it’s a reflection on Edko.