It is common for me to hear from a new client that they and the candidate have agreed on terms of employment. After speaking with both sides, there is ambiguity to what was discussed and what was processed and what is agreed to.
How do you prevent ambiguity along with keeping both sides on amicable terms? The same way you do when you are signing up a new project. You outline the terms, and you manage the agreement. Both sides. When you are willing to pencil what you agree to it not only brings clarification, it shows your integrity through a willingness to document your words. Talk is Cheap!
The construction industry is filled for the most part with good intention, hard-working individuals both from the employer and employee side. Too often the perception of what is expected and the reality of what is received from both the employee and employer side are construed from the initial interview especially when it comes to compensation. Once someone is working for you, the relationship can go south quickly if the employee’s perceived expectation is not in line with the reality of what you can afford to or are willing to do as an employer. Offer letters outline the terms to employment. If done effectively, they will include the results desired for at least the first year and also how the person will be compensated; the benefits included and when and if that compensation may change with time.
The offer letter should not be out of sight, out of mind once executed by both parties.
An offer letter is a document to be referred anytime there is a question to what was agreed to and the time frame it was agreed to happen within. Be as detailed as you can to the terms.
If the bonus is discretionary, then it should be listed discretionary.
What should be included with the statement of discretionary bonus is when it will be considered and when it will be paid. Is it annually at holiday time, within 30 days of project close-out, over time with project milestones or how and when do you pay it?
The same holds true for benefits.
What is offered. When is the employee eligible and what portion does the employee pay and what part does the employer pay. Travel costs. Does the company pay mileage or provide an auto allowance? If an auto allowance, when is it funded and is it taxable? If mileage, how is it calculated and when is it paid.
Outlining something as simple as business travel costs up front allows for the employer and employee to both understand their obligation in making it fair for one another. A construction professional may be willing to travel, but if the cost of gas and wear and tear on their vehicle starts to eat away at their paycheck the willingness to do the travel may get overridden by their unwillingness to assist in the cost.
Too often we see employees seeking to make a move because they did not get an offer in writing and it becomes a who said what situation and becomes uncomfortable to discuss. We require all the employers we staff for to provide an offer letter before the future employee resigns from their current position. The offer letter helps us also when we get the call inquiring about a term. We can refer to what they agreed to and have a business discussion verses and emotional discussion.
As John Maxwell says “Disappointment is the gap that exists between expectation and reality.”
Take time to outline the terms of the offer in writing. It will pay off. We have an offer letter template to help you below, and we are a phone call away if you want our help with the process.
Suzanne Breistol on behalf of the FLCC Team!