Field employees bring their own advantages to the team. You're able to reach out to customers outside the office in a personal way. However, they also bring a unique set of challenges that office-bound workers do not. In this episode, I will be interviewing a field employee specialist, Mr. Gian Adato. Stay tuned to the end where I share a tool to handle field employees easily.

Let's get started

Attorney: (00:00) Hi Partners, and welcome to the legal guide interview edition. In this episode, I will be helping you guys with issues that relate to field employees and to be able to help us out with that, I brought in a friend. A specialist who deals with field employees on a daily basis. He's my friend, Gian Adato, he's associated with Kustom360. Is that correct Gian?

Gian: (00:25) That's right.

Attorney: (00:26) Okay. And say hello to everyone.

Gian: (00:28) Oh, hi guys. I'm well thank you for having me and I'm smelling a really good time and discussion

Attorney: (00:38) Good, and what I plan to do Gian is basically I want the listeners and readers to just kind of sit in within our discussion. What I plan to do, I want to talk about some problems that our respective clients have encountered with field employees and what are some things that we were able to do to fix that for them and maybe we can share the solutions with them.

So, listeners and readers, I hope you will find this interesting. Gian, you want to start off with yours or…

Gian: (01:07) Sure. Yeah. Cool. Well, again, thank you for having me and it's going to be interesting discussion. Well, first, well I've been with the Kustom360 for almost three years and we've had a fair share of clients who have encountered problems with their field workforce.

Are you there?

But to begin with, they won't be approaching us if they didn't have problems with their field workforce. But basically, you know, there's this first instance that, their first problem is they want to effectively know if their field employees had actually been in the site or the account that they were assigned.

Attorney: (01:55) In other words, are they doing their job…

Gian: (01:56) Correct.

Attorney: (01:56) when you're not looking.

Gian: (01:57) That's right. That's right. So you know, nowadays they rely on Viber, on some messenger Apps, if they've actually been to the account, and they take pictures and Viber, which I know that these messengers, these messenger apps are kind of difficult to use.

And if you're, if you're a corporate company, and if you want to dig into the history and you know, and print all those information. So that's one thing. They, that's their major problem. You know…

What data can you use?

Attorney: (02:27) So you're saying that it's an issue how to compile information correctly. And aside from compiling, I think you also mentioned there are some issues with verifying whether the information is true in the first place.

Gian: (02:40) That's true.

Attorney: (02:42) Kasi it's very easy to say that "Oh sir, I'm here at venue A!" when in fact you're actually at the mall.

Gian: (02:49) Correct. Correct, it happens a lot. Yes.

Attorney: (02:50) It happens a lot. So, um, I don't think you can verify that with just the simple message.

Gian: (02:55) That's right.

Attorney: (02:57) Do you have any stories which you can share? Some clients who encountered these problems for the compilation of data and verification.

Gian: (03:07) Yeah. When for verification to start with, there's is this one client who has ten people in their field workforce. They go to the field and they have accounts to visit. For example, one user goes to Alabang. And then, the supervisor did a surprise visit and when he got to the account, the user wasn't there.

Attorney: (03:41) But he said that he was that time.

Gian: (03:42) But he said he was at that time. They went back to to do the normal or manual way of doing things like, you know, they have to call and you know, do verify and you know, these things are producing a lot of productivity and efficiency on their end.

There are legal implications

Attorney: (04:12) I can imagine your employee tells you that they are in one area and when you visit you, you suddenly find out that there's nobody there. It's an outright lie basically. And outright lies as far as I'm concerned, they carry legal implications.

Gian: (04:29) Correct, yes. And to handle it also costs them a lot, you know, in terms of expenses and in terms of, you know, of, budgets for the field.

Attorney: (04:41) Because technically the time of the employee who wasn't there was being paid.

Gian: (04:45) Correct. Correct. And speaking of that attorney, what could be legal effects or implications during these situations?

Attorney: (04:58) So you're asking me what would I have done if that employer was my client? First thing, the actions of the employee actually constitutes serious misconduct. For violating the rules. Saying that you're in one place, when in fact you're not. It can also become a piece of evidence for gross and habitual neglect if this, if this kind of behavior has been happening over a period of time.

Gian: (05:29) Repeated. Yeah.

Proceed only if you have evidence

Attorney: (05:31) In addition, it can also serve as a hunts for fraud or for fraud and breach of trust and confidence. So basically, that single the action can bring a host of legal effects ultimately leading into the three mediation of the employee. So it's that grave. However, the caveat is if, if this guy was my employee, the only consideration is I will proceed with case if I have evidence.

Gian: (05:59) That's what I'm going to ask actually.

Attorney: (06:02) What the right evidence would be for this particular case. Well, number one I would ask the employer who found out that he wasn't there for an affidavit. Basically let's recount what you saw, what happened after. And that would serve as the primary piece of evidence. However, it would be better if it were supplemented by other pieces of evidence.

CCTV is useful

For instance, if I can ask for a CCTV footage from the client's premises, wherein it would show that the agent wasn't there at all the entire time. That's one. Number two, I can also ask for affidavits from people who actually saw where the employee was, whether he was in the mall or visiting someone else.

That's another piece of evidence. But I think the best kind of evidence would be some sort of tracking information, which shows where the employee where the employee was at the time. That would be a solid case, if ever.

Gian: (07:05) Right. I mean, I'm just, you know, going for all of what you've just said or it takes a really difficult. Going through all those or deal means to be really difficult time for companies, you know, and very also expensive for them to just to go through a lawyer. But in your experience, you've also encountered such?

Boss who sees what her field employees were actually doing

Attorney: (07:27) Oh yes. You know the monopoly on problematic field employees. Let me tell you about something recent. Let me tell you this is something that my client encountered. Same thing: surprise visit. I think that's where a lot of these stories start.

So the employer was driving somewhere and she remembered, hey, I have a client who lives nearby here. So she decides to stop by now it's just for a casual visit just to say hello, no agenda there. Going through the gate, entering, she sees their company delivery truck there. So she was wondering at this time of day, this delivery truck isn't supposed to be here.

Gian: (08:14) Well, being the owner I got, I guess he knows, he knows every detail of the…

Attorney: (08:18) Yes. So it was a shock to her. So she walked towards the delivery truck. And then guess what she saw?

Gian: (08:26) What did she see?

Attorney: (08:27) Two of their delivery guys, they placed a hammock under the delivery truck and they were relaxing…

Gian: (08:35) Oh my God.

Attorney: (08:36) .. .in the middle of the workday.

Gian: (08:37) I don't want to be in her shoes for that day. I could imagine the horror of seeing it.

Gotcha!!!

Attorney: (08:42) You can imagine how angry my client was. She was thinking, "Here I am going through the hoops and visiting our clients and here. And here you are. As far as the office's concerned, you're supposed to be on the road going to the next client!"

Gian: (08:59) Yeah. And she must be thinking, I mean, how often that they do this and what about my other trucks? And what about other employees? I mean, they could also be possibly doing the same thing.

Attorney: (09:11) That's true. So I agree with you. The first thing she thought was, "If this is happening to this particular delivery unit was how often has it been happening? How long has it been happening? Is it happening to the others?" Because she has a fleet of delivery trucks — around twenty. So can you imagine if all of them were, you know, sleeping in the middle of the day?

Gian: (09:34) Yeah. And you know attorney, that is one thing and the other thing is dealing also with the client that they've been stealing, you know, products from, I mean…

Attorney: (09:42) Oh we have that, in my particular case, fortunately, they weren't stealing. They were just stealing time…not actual products. Do you have something…

How long are you doing your job?

Gian: (09:52) Yes, yes. Well, I don't want to divulge too much of the details, but there was this client who tried our system and when they employed our system, they were able to monitor their field workforce via the system. And when they did, they found out that their employees in the field, they're actually stealing, some products.

Attorney: (10:21) Products naman this time? So aside from stealing the time from the office, they are stealing products? Hindi na nakuntento? So what happened there? How was it resolved?

Gian: (10:35) I'm not sure if it's just resolved at this point, but I think the first of all they did that they suspended operations they suspended the company. I mean I think they fired all the employees.

Attorney: (10:45) It's basically they gonna audit of everything?

Gian: (10:47) Yes, yes. They got rid of them. And, so imagine the impact of, you know, these small problems with field workforce or just the impact of this one department that you're handling in your company, in your business. You know…

Attorney: (11:06) I would like to stress it's one.

Gian: (11:07) Yes. it's just a single department…

Attorney: (11:10) But the effects are far-ranging.

Gian: (11:12) Yes, that's right.

Attorney: (11:13) Gosh, okay. So, so I'm happy to know it's not just my clients encountering these kinds of problems, even with your client tell they're encountering the same problem.

There's a right way to do things

Gian: (11:24) Earlier, you also mentioned Attorney that, I mean the time that they're stealing, because one of the problems with also been encountered by our clients are how long they actually stayed with a client.

This truck usually a problem with their productivity. For example, we have FMCG (Fast-moving Consumer Goods) clients, they're Promo-dizers supposed to, or I think the supervisor's supposed to be in an account for 30 minutes or an hour, and it's the maximum damage supposed to be there.

And you know, what's been happening is they've been staying there for four hours and maybe till five hours. So their productivity is very low. Um, they're supposed to, you know, they are supposed to visit four to five accounts in a day.

Attorney: (12:11) And your problem as an employer, how do you enforce?

Gian: (12:16) I know. And that's the issue. That's one of the big, big, big problems of our clients. And I'm not sure if there's some legal implication with that. I mean…

Performance Evaluations

Attorney: (12:27) there is, it goes to performance and the way we deal with that is we take it up during the performance reviews. So how many, what's the quota? How many accomplishments are you supposed to have every single day. And then we, we take the actual results, compare it with the ideal and there, that's your performance evaluation.

What's the legal effect of that? If you continuously fail the performance evaluation from an employee disciplinary standpoint, that may be tantamount to a gross and habitual neglect, which again can lead the suspension or termination depending on…

Gian: (13:08) is there like uh, a number of uh, times should it for example, well how many times and have to particularly do it before they actually been suspended for something.

Attorney: (13:19) It depends on the performance metrics that you set in place. Usually what we do is we take a look at the type of work with a client and we establish that along with them because one of the requirements under the law is if you impose certain standards, they have to be reasonable and relevent and realistic.

Actually I have three articles on. If you're interested in setting company policies and requirements, you can just search that on my blog.

Gian: (13:49) That's great.

Attorney: (13:50) Yeah, the titles are "The 3 R's of company policymaking." It's be relevant, be realistic and be reasonable. You might want to share that with your clients as well

Gian: (13:59) Yeah. Sure, absolutely.

Summary

Attorney: (14:08) So just to recap everything, I think we've covered a lot of ground. We both were able to tell our listeners about our respective experiences with problem field employees. And just to recap what we've learned so far.

Number one, there is definitely a problem if you're unable to monitor. Next, the best kind of evidence is objective evidence. And what kind of objective evidence are we looking for?

Number one, it can be an affidavit from eyewitnesses. Number two, it can be mechanical evidence such as us a CCTV footage, but the best kind of evidence is something that is reliable and is accurate such as GPS coordinates or tracking information on where the field employee actually went through during the day.

And finally, the last point that we want to point out is there are dire consequences for a field employees trying to manipulate the reports and the times saying that they were in a certain place when in fact they were not because these violations can actually lead to the suspension or termination of these employees.

Use this tool

Attorney: (15:15) Guys, Gian, I was lucky enough to be able to convince him to help out my listeners and readers. We want to offer you guys something if you are interested in monitoring or tracking your field employees. We came up with a specific program for listeners of listeners and readers of Legal Guide.

Gian is in charge of a propagating kustom360. It's a mobile-based application that you can deploy to your field workers and you just install it on the phone. And what happens is it's able to track the trip of the employee from the time that they leave the office all the way to the time that they go back.

What it can do for you

The good thing is it supplies you with reliable information, how much time they went to the client, what was the travel time and whether they were able to visit all of the venues as they state in their reports. If you want to try out the application, you can do so for 30 days– absolutely free. Gian is that correct?

Gian: (16:22) That's right. That's right. Thank you Attorney Erwin.

Attorney: (16:24) absolutely free guys, you just have to go to www.legalguide.ph/kustom360. That's kustom with a K– 360.

Gian: (16:36) That's right. And I just, just, just to add to that Attorney Erwin thank you very much for having me. I guess this is going to be not just today. I mean it's not going to be the last because…

Attorney: (16:49) There are so many problems with field employees. I don't think we can fit that in one episode, I'd like to have you back for another one.

Gian: (16:57) With just talk you have reminded me of a lot of problems that we've had. And um, I think what this tells us that field workforce maybe just one department but could really affect the whole organization or business.

Attorney: (17:11) In other words, they matter.

Gian: (17:13) They really do.

Attorney: (17:14) So I hope you guys were able to get the lot out of that. As Gian said, we'll be tackling other topics related to field workers and I hope you enjoyed this one. Hopefully, you were able to simplify the law for you and to help you make better choices. See you soon.

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