Some people have no issue cheating customers or their employers. If they think they can weasel an extra dollar for themselves through dishonesty, they would gladly do it. This blog is not for those people.

If you actually are interested in developing as a professional with integrity, this blog is for you.
Integrity doesn’t mean you are perfect. It won’t prevent you from making mistakes. It won’t mean you are always highly motivated and naturally skilled. It means that you are honest and fair, and doing your best.

forklft technician
The field service technician will have plenty of opportunities to exercise integrity.

There will be mistakes to own, when it would be easier to hide them. There will be dishonest practices that some may try to engage you in. There will be times when you don’t feel like giving fair work for the wage earned. Integrity will not stop doing the right thing when it stops feeling like doing the right thing.

But how do ethics and integrity affect the Forklift Professional? What do you do when things go off the rails.? How do you deal with unreasonable customers? In many ways, but let’s explore several specific areas here.

1. Honesty

Pretty basic at first glance: Don’t lie to your customers, coworkers, or management. But it goes deeper than that. Honesty also entails taking the high road in parts issues, scheduling, etc. I can recall telling a former coworker that I was overbooked and unable to meet a scheduled service. She promptly picked up the phone and told the customer that parts were delayed in shipping. Yes, the net result was the same for the customer (delayed service), but the attempt to put to put the blame on an anonymous shipper instead of owning it was flat out dishonest. (By the way, don’t let someone else lie for you…. If you don’t make it right, you’re just as guilty).

Honesty pays off anyway. Example: I used to maintain a fleet of forklifts for a large warehouse store. At the end of one day, I went to the office to get service reports signed off. A new department manager had started reading through them when another manager stopped by and told her that “You don’t need to read his reports, just sign them”. That was not a license to do poor paperwork. That showed me that integrity was noticed, and also made me want to be extra sure to maintain that trust.

2. Fairness

Your customers and your employer both have expectations and objectives. They both deserve fair value for the money they have invested in you. Does this mean that you absolutely cannot do anything personal between  8am and 5pm? No. you may need to take a call from a spouse, or send an email that deals with your personal finances. But be respectful, use your lunch and break times when possible, and make up any lost time so that your employer/customer gets the value he deserves.

What about not overselling a job? Try to keep the perspective of what YOU would do if the invoice was coming to your mailbox. 

3. Moonlighting

Not familiar with the term? It means taking work from your employer by secretly offering to fulfill the customer’s needs on your own time, and undercutting the cost. This is not exhibiting integrity or respect. Does this mean not ever doing “sidework”? No. Your employer does not own your abilities 24/7 (unless he pays you 24/7!), but he does have a right to expect your consideration and respect. Many technicians have a personal clientele, and most employers understand this, but if you are in doubt, check first. Usually there is room for a good “middle of the road” solution. For example, maybe there is a type of equipment that your employer does not normally deal with. That may be an area to make some extra coin without undercutting your employer. Or perhaps there is something complimentary, like additional services or products that can actually provide extra value to your employer and customer. For example, if your company sells forklifts, maybe you can sell on-board scales. Or if they sell racking, perhaps they could use someone who does warehouse floor finishing. Be creative, but be thoughtful.   Again, the rule of thumb is to try viewing it as if you were in the other set of shoes.

Well, what are your thoughts? Have you seen good or bad examples of technician ethics or employer ethics? Share in the comments section below!

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