I’m lucky enough to work with a lot of good-hearted contractors. What I know is contractors in general, despite the skewed view of the media to the contrary, want to do the right thing for their customers and their community.

Nothing is 100%, but the majority of the contractors I have worked with over the years have been good people. Many of them run a faith-based business that not only serves company and customer, but an even higher purpose and goal.

All of which I feel doesn’t get enough attention by mainstream media.

That said, there is a time when over-reaching to do good by a company can be problematic.

An example is when you choose to hire the down and out or those who have gone astray, and that’s because it can all backfire. Hear me well, I do believe in second chances, but within reason.

The place to start is to ask yourself the hardest questions: “Would I feel comfortable with this person serving my own home if my kids were home alone?” or “Would I be comfortable with this person driving one of my vehicles and knowing my own family might be out on the road driving or crossing a street?”

If the answer is no, steer clear of this whole area.

You may also want to ask yourself, “What repercussions are there for me and my company if this person with a negative history does wrong?” It’s a great topic for debate as there are no absolutes.

What’s not up for debate is that a wrong consequence can sink a company. If you’re still inspired to take on these types of challenges when you recruit and hire, you have to go much further in being attentive to any falling off the wagon in a very proactive way.


Dealing with the fallout

One of my clients recently hired a person who had a troubled youth and was trying to reform his ways. My client prides himself on giving second chances, but this time he wasn’t diligent enough in staying proactive as I had instructed him to be when it comes to all his employees.

He knew the troubled past of this recruit, but ended up hiring him anyway. That’s because my client participates in a training program to help people get their life back together. He felt he was doing a good deed, and he was.

But then this person messed things up big time!

This was not just the staffer who went wrong, I also feel my client is at fault too. That’s because my client found out too late that it was the new hire’s fifth Driving While Intoxicated/Impaired (DWI) offense and he had stockpiled 15 tickets. When the employee was pulled over by the police, they called the owner because he had to give information about where he worked or they planned to lock him up.

My client met with him the next day, during which the employee confessed that his addictions still plagued him and that he had dropped out of his support group, but he pledged to do better in the future and begged for another chance.

I let my client know that this was a serious violation of everything that is in the manual and what is taught during recruiting, hiring and orienting that I saw no wiggle room. And I reminded my client that it’s a good lesson for next time — to be proactive by running ongoing DMV checks on all licenses for employees driving company vehicles, just like it says in his management manuals. We should know way before they get pulled over that there’s a problem.

Remember, good habits can very easily fall away!


Changing the ending

Ultimately, there should be good policies and procedures on alcohol and drug issues at your company. They need to be reviewed by either a good labor lawyer or a good human resources company because there are a lot of legal issues to account for, not to mention the potential black eye if and when something goes wrong.

One thing I try to do is get all my clients, including this one, to commit to an ongoing random alcohol and drug testing for however long someone is in their employ. It was something I was sharing because way back when, at our company, we didn’t do this but I realized we were playing with fire in people’s homes as a heating company, and we had to be clean and sober. That meant that we, the owners, would need to also submit to the same random drug testing … and we did. We did offer assistance to those who came forth proactively to seek our help because it was too critical to give just anyone a pass.

And although I believe in second chances, I believe you must go the extra mile to do it right. You don’t wander into a dangerous precedent. It’s scary to think this employee was driving like this and it wasn’t discovered until too late.

Doing good can end badly if you’re not willing to be super proactive and overzealous in paying attention to the affect it can have on your company, your customers and the rest of your staff.