We will be talking about how field employees accomplish and submit reports to the HQ as well as issues related to reporting.
Attorney: (00:01) Hi Partners and welcome to the Legal Guide interview edition. In this episode, we will be talking about another aspect of handling field employees. And once again I've brought along my friend, Gian Adato. Say Hi Bro.
Gian: (00:16) Hi Everyone what's up?
Attorney: (00:18) And Gian we will now be talking about another thing which usually comes up with your clients.
Gian: (00:24) Yes.
Attorney: (00:24) Would you like to tell us about that?
Let's tackle field reporting issues
Gian: (00:25) Yup, definitely. Well, its field reporting. We've talked about your personal management, you know, people are actually in the field last time and this time when you're in the field, what do you do? You also report and it's, I think it's really crucial to the operations. That's why we're going to talk about it today.
Attorney: (00:45) Not just crucial, but I think it's logical because a company is paying for your time, transportation and effort outside. I think it's only fair that the headquarters knows about what you are seeing and is what you are encountering and that's where reports come in.
Gian: (01:00) Yes. And it's a very like you said, it’s very also logical as well in a way because it's important to receive reports on time important to received reports period, and they know it's important also that our management receives a report completely, you know, and also on-time as well.
Attorney: (01:21) Accurately. I think I would like to add that.
Gian: (01:23) That's right.
Attorney: (01:24) It doesn't make sense to send the reports on time, but the figures and information are wrong and, and that might actually lead to more damages for the company because that the company would be acting on wrong information.
Gian: (01:37) That's right. And, I guess I can also tell you some instances and some experiences that we’ve had or I've had.
Attorney: (01:42) Please. I think our listeners would be able to learn from that.
Gian: (01:45) Right, and for example, there's this one client, they have massive operations in the country and…
Attorney: (01:42) Care to share what industry so that everyone gets context?
Gian: (01:57) Yeah. It's a retail industry, in the retail industry. So they have a, probably a hundred branches nationwide. And, there, there had offices in Manila and there's this one instance that there's a user or there's a field or a workforce in Mindanao supposed to send this report. It's a very, very crucial report.
Attorney: (02:21) And considering the distance…
Gian: (02:22) Correct.
Attorney: (02:23) … from Manila all the way to Mindanao.
First problem: did you send it?
Gian: (02:25) That's right. That's right. And, there were a lot of problems that they encountered with this one because first, they weren't able to receive the report.
Attorney: (02:35) At all?
Gian: (02:37) At all.
Attorney: (02:38) What did the employee say?
Gian: (02:39) Well, he said that he send it via courier.
Attorney: (02:43) Okay.
Gian: (02:44) And I don't know, it probably got lost in the way. And it's very, it's a very important, important report because it also contains, financial documents.
Attorney: (02:53) I'm almost afraid to ask, but yeah, for this particular instance, did the employee at least create backups or photocopies?
Gian: (03:01) No. That’s the thing no. They weren't able to create a backup for that. So…
Attorney: (03:07) So the originals were lost — with no way of reproducing them.
Second Problem: received on time?
Gian: (03:11) Correct. So it created a really huge conflict among them. And in receiving reports is already a thing, but you know, and receiving the reports on time is another thing, so that created a lot of reports and problems as well.
Attorney: (03:32) So problem number one, whether you receive a report in the first place, problem number two is whether you receive it on time.
Gian: (03:39) That's right.
Attorney: (03:39) From your experience, what sort of timeframe are we looking at? What time frame should the reports come in?
Gian: (03:45) Well…
Attorney: (03:46) A day or two?
Gian: (03:47) Yeah. It should be that way. I mean, ideally, yes, but you know, in our experience it depends on the industry, there are companies…
Attorney: (03:56) On average, how long would, would a good lead time?
Gian: (04:00) Well, they would, they would receive it in a weeks’ time and then…
Attorney: (04:03) that's reasonable?
Gian: (04:04) Yeah that’s reasonable for them in their standards, you know? And…
Time is of the essense
Attorney: (04:07) But as you said, depending on the industry for their particular industry that was acceptable.
Gian: (04:12) Yes.
Attorney: (04:13) But there are certain industries wherein that may be unacceptable. Let me give you an example.
Gian: (04:19) Sure.
Attorney: (04:20) No need to go far: try the legal realm. Yes. We have to be able to get reports immediately, especially if there's a report… supposing a decision comes in…
Gian: (04:32) Right.
Attorney: (04:33) And the field employee was the one to pick it up or deliver it. I don't know, whatever the circumstance. But time is ticking for us usually it’s 10 to 15 days, but within that time you have to start drafting.
Gian: (04:46) Correct.
Attorney: (04:47) So time is of the essence. So for us, the timeliness of a report or the submission of something is very crucial. And if it happens for us, it's, it's not a big possibility that it can also be relevant for other industries as well.
Gian: (05:00) Yes. And attorney I want to talk about, I'll talk more about that, it's the timeliness of reports usually is very important, especially if they have KPIs that they did that they do.
Attorney: (05:12) Yes.
Gian: (05:15) Well what if there, for example, for that case they weren't able to receive it at all. Is that, is there, is there a probable legal implication with that?
Attorney: (05:25) Sure. Let's tackle it. Let's role-play as if this were my employee. No, no this was my client.
Gian: (05:31) Okay.
Attorney: (05:32) I'm the lawyer for the company and this employee's involved in that incident. The first thing I would probably look at was the letter really sent. So I will probably look for evidence that it was sent via courier. Usually, when they send it via courier there's a delivery receipt…
Gian: (05:50) Correct.
Attorney: (05:51) … or the proof of payment. So I will probably ask the employee to present that to me because I need to verify whether it was sent in the first place.
Gian: (05:59) Okay.
Attorney: (06:01) Why? There is a need to attribute where the failure came from. Was it from the employee or was it from the private courier?
Gian: (06:08) Right.
Attorney: (06:09) Now if it's the employee was indeed was able to send it, he's all clear. As far as I'm concerned, he executed his duties to the best of his abilities and that exonerates him.
Gian: (06:19) Right.
Attorney: (06:20) I will now turn my attention to the private courier. The best way would probably be to refer to the tracking number and see where the package is or, or whether it was delivered. Was it delivered in the right place? Did someone received it, they should be able to keep track of that.
Gian: (06:37) Right, right.
Attorney: (06:38) So assuming that the problem was with the private courier, then the field employees in the clear. But let's take the second scenario: what if the employee could not prove that he actually sent it? Maybe it was a case of negligence. That you forgot to send it. He just said, “oh, I sent it to the private courier.” But he can't prove it. Then that made a lead to a case for disciplinary action more probably suspension or termination.
I'm the courier
Gian: (07:08) Attorney can I ask you something about from my own experience because I was also a field employee before. I've been traveling a lot in the country before and for example, this actually happened. I was the courier.
Attorney: (07:24) You were? Okay, okay.
Gian: (07:25) I mean, so we were two people in the field. We were in Mindanao and there's this one of report or financial or documents that were sent via myself. I mean, now I have to go back to Manila the next day, but my colleague has to stay. So the reports were with me and I kind of lost it along the way.
Attorney: (07:46) Wow. Okay.
Gian: (07:46) So, only, I mean these are the important documents. I mean it's actually happened before and I can't remember what happened, but in situations like that, are there any, any things that you can be afraid of in terms of legal effects?
Attorney: (08:04 ) Well you have to look at the possible damages that the company might incur as a result of your negligence. As a general rule under the law, if an employee causes damage to an employer, the employer is actually entitled to recover the damages from that employee. For example, you were issued a company laptop and you lost the laptop.
Gian: (08:25) Right.
Attorney: (08:25)The company has the right actually to recover the cost of that laptop from you.
Gian: (08:31) Right.
Attorney: (08:32) Because you, by losing the laptop, caused damage to company property.
Gian: (08:37) That's right.
Attorney: (08:37) In this case, I would have to take a look at what kind of damage was incurred by the company as a result of you losing those papers. I don't know what the papers were.
Gian: (08:47) Right.
Attorney: (08:49) Would the papers require additional manpower to be able to be reconstructed? Was it, did it cost the loss of a contract or a deal for the company? I don't know. It's the, it's the company's job to find that out.
Gian: (09:02) And I'm sure this happens a lot.
Attorney: (09:04) I would assume so, we have to make allowances for human failures at some point. And when, when you have a volume, a number of documents which are being carried from place to place by humans, it's not the far off possibility that a number of them would statistically be lost or be damaged. So going back to your question, can the company punish or penalize the field employees? Yes. To what extent? Depending on the damage that the loss of the documents has caused the company.
Gian: (09:44) Attorney, I just remembered, I'm not sure if it's an entirely new, you know, a topic, but I, I think it's kind of related as well. We've talked about reporting. We're talking about reporting right now and we're using the laptop as a medium of reporting. And you know, if a field user is using his or her own laptop in the field.
Attorney: (10:07) Personal?
Gian: (10:08) No. It's company-issued.
Attorney: (10:09) Company issued? Okay.
Gian: (10:12) What if — or it actually happened a lot before.
Attorney: (10:15) Not to you?
I lost it!
Gian: (10:16) Not to me, to my colleague. What if I lost my company-issued laptop with all the reports in the field while I was doing my work?
Attorney: (10:31) Let's be specific. What's your question?
Gian: (10:33) My question is what could, I mean, what is the, what could the company hold against me? Um, you know, I was just doing my thing. I was just doing my report in the field, but I lost my laptop somehow and probably due to negligence. I don't know, probably due to, well in my case, in my colleague's case before, I was absolutely speaking from experience. He, he lost his laptop and he just forgot about where he put it.
Attorney: (11:01) Okay.
Gian: (11:02) And the reports are all, we're all there. What could the company or what legal implications…
Attorney: (11:11) I'm seeing two aspects here. Okay. First off, it's the same. What sort of damage would the loss of those reports cause the company? So same thing with lost physical documents…
Gian: (11:20) Right.
Attorney: (11:21) But there's another layer here. You're actually exposing the company's information to third parties.
Gian: (11:27) Oh right. Yes, correct. Correct.
Attorney: (10:30) The first thing I would look at here is were precautions put in place by the employee and at least you put in a password, so as to prevent third parties from gaining access for the information. Were the files stored in a cloud as well? Where they backed up? There are data privacy issues which are, are involved here, especially if that involves, you know, client lists, client data, emails, phone numbers. So there's no easy answer here. I have to be honest. It will have to be taken on a case to case basis, I don't know the extent of the damage.
Gian: (12:15) But of course the company can, has the right probably to deduct all the lost properties that had lost by the employee?
Attorney: (12:24) As far as the physical assets are concerned? Yes.
Gian: (12:27) Okay.
Attorney: (12:28) Yes, because the employee was the one who caused the damage.
Gian: (12:33) Right, right. Whatever he was doing at the time. And yes, it's still under…
Attorney: (12:37) But another thing I would like to add this, I would take a look at the circumstances where the laptop was lost.
Gian: (12:44) Right.
Attorney: (12:45) Was it a certain sort of negligence? Was it as a result of things beyond the employee's control, such as, you know, theft? Was a police report filed to reflect that theft and that's proof that the laptop was indeed stolen and not lost?
Gian: (13:02) And the reason why I ask is because I think, I just speak for myself but you know, a lot of our listeners can, can relate to this situation because then, you know, I've with experience with also of handling also field workforce sending reports actually is easy, you know. It's easier to send reports, but with you having that kinds of a big laptop with you, you carry it every day in your field.
Attorney: (13:28) It might be impractical?
Gian: (13:29) It is very, my very impractical.
Attorney: (13:31) It will be better if you, you didn't have the same, a similar ability to submit reports, but in a smaller package and I think your, your application is able to do that for your clients, correct?
Gian: (13:44) That's right. That's right. I mean, um, I think that's, that's one of the things that, um, we kind of get rid of in a way. Uh, we don't need to bring a certain, uh, laptop, uh, you know, a big laptop in the field. You can just use your smartphone to do report, report in…
Attorney: (14:00) Its included in the application, kustom360.
Gian: (14:03) That’s right. I mean they can just easily download the app on their smartphone.
Use this instead of a laptop
Attorney: (14:07) Okay. So for our listeners out there, for legal guide listeners, we have a special treat for you guys. If reports are a big concern for you, whether you want your field personnel to submit it and submit it on time, uh, you might want to check out kustom360's application and as I said in the last episode, Gian is it still free for my listeners?
Gian: (14:31) Yes, absolutely. They can use it for free for 30 days.
Attorney: (14:35) 30 days. I think 30 days would be enough for you guys to experience how easier it will be to manage your field employees' reports.
Gian: (14:44) Definitely.
Attorney: (14:45) Where can so let me give the link. You can sign up for kustom360's application at www.legalguide.ph/kustom360
That's Kustom with a K. I'll put the link down below. So Gian, thank you so much for sharing your insights regarding reports. Anything to add? Are you good?
Gian: (15:07) Okay. I'll be good. I mean it's really important because nowadays we're shifting to a digital way of doing things. So I would really highly recommend, you know, shifting from manual to digital in terms of reporting.
Attorney: (15:20) If you can minimize the failure points…
Gian: (15:23) That’s correct. That’s correct, and also the pain points as well. That I’ve been legal effects on you know on negligence, or and so.
Attorney: (15:53) And in the cost. It costs money to send things via courier.
Gian: (15:37) Yes it’s absolutely true. Yes.
Attorney: (15:39) Digital has democratized the way we share information.
Gian: (15:43) That is correct.
Attorney: (15:43) It almost costs close to nothing to send things via online.
Gian: (15:48) Yeah. And just to add to kustom360, it's like I just said attorney it digital, you can receive it real-time. Um, you know, there's real-time reporting…
Attorney: (15:58) no need to wait 1 week?
Gian: (15:58) No need to wait 1 week, you just have it in a minute. The moment that you shall report it from the field.
Attorney: (16:05) Fantastic. So guys, if you want to try that out, it's www.legalguide.ph/kustom360 with a K and I will post the link below. Thank you so much, Gian.
Gian: (16:17) You're welcome. Thank you very much for having me. Thank you attorney as well.
Attorney: (16:19) Okay. So for the listeners out there hope we were able to simplify this topic enough for you to be able to help you make better choices. See you soon.