Should He Stay or Should He Go?

  • Provided you can prove ownership, post an ad on Craigslist, the worlds largest fencing operation, seeking that item and see what you get. Once you connect, turn it over to the authorities (school or police) and your problem may be solved.

  • I am lacking one vital piece of information in Eric's story. Does he apply himself to his work? It is already stated that he is OK at what he does, and implied to be useless at everything else. That's OK; I.T is such a specialised field that many people are consigned to the one job anyway. The salary he's on is Managements fault. Always start low with the promise of performance based promotion. The problem as I see it is the effect on the other staff member's morale. The situation has all the classic ingredients of a problematic employee...a flounce who has a financial safety net from Mummy and Daddy, who gets paid a fortune for performing a trivial role(Managements fault), and on top of it big notes himself all over town. Would I fire him? If he doesn't apply himself to his work, go through the motions guilt free to get rid of him. If he does apply himslef, put him through a program of personal development. In the meantime, just hope he doesn't cause good people to leave the company.

    🙂 What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know, it's what we know for sure that just ain't so....Mark Twain

  • [font="Tahoma"]It would be wrong to fire him. The article puts across that he does a fine job at what he does. There's no mention of him being a extremely hard to get along with guy, he isn't destroying all relationships in sight. He just asks dumb questions, and maybe doesn't have what it takes to be a manager, but who cares. If he's doing the job he needs to be doing, and will do the things he doesn't like to do if you tell him he has to, then he's fine for the position.

    To expect him to be perfect and never ask a dumb question, and like everything he has to do is crazy.

    Firing should be for incompetent people or 'nasty' people (who crap on other people).

    I sure wouldn't want a manager that would fire me for asking dumb questions,

    I wouldn't last long.

    And not everybody needs to be management material to be a good employee.[/font]

  • Regarding "management track", I personally don't want to be a manager of more than a small group and might not take a position where I was expected to move into a larger management role later. Not everyone, as has been pointed out, is cut out to be a manager. I think it's an unrealistic expectation to hire someone for a management track if they don't have previous successful experience as a manager, there's just no telling how they'll turn out. Hire them, get them through the probation period, then see if they have what it takes to be a manager: interpersonal skills, organization skills, the ability to do project planning and management, maybe budget management, etc. Not everyone can do that.

    Me, I hate meetings and love working with equipment. The deeper you move into management, the further away from that you go. Sort of not calling the drill sergeant Sir: "I work for a living!" 😀

    Having said that, and working towards my weekly quota of arguing both sides of an issue, a person not moving into management can be a promotion bottleneck to others. Some organizations have a strict hierarchy: if you are only allowed X number of Analyst 3 positions, someone has to vacate an Analyst 3 position through promotion, transfer, or quitting, for an Analyst 2 to move up. So if an employee was expected to promote out of a position into a management position, they could be holding back their co-workers.

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    [font="Arial"]Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information upon it. --Samuel Johnson[/font]

  • [font="Tahoma"]Another thought:

    maybe he asks the dumb questions instead of looking up the answer because he'd rather talk to a human being sometimes than look up the answer on a machine.

    I think the manager should use the opportunity to answer the really easy question as an opportunity to interact.[/font]

  • I think it's not so much that he asked dumb questions, but that he is getting paid a lot more money for his level than co-workers who work more independently, and are there for the meetings, etc. So even though he gets his work done, there is resentment among the co-workers, which can be bad for morale.

    If his salary matched his abilities, there probably wouldn't be a problem, but Evelyn was desperate, and hired him at too high a salary, and then didn't manage expectations for his work ethic, etc. So I go along with a lot of what has been previously stated: Give him a review with specific points on what needs to be improved in a specfic time frame, and then follow through. Make it clear that Eric is responsible for his future at the company. if he doesn't want to do it, he can move on, or be assisted in moving on.

  • Why wasn't there an option to help him find another role that he is better suited to?

    I've managed poor performers before, if the performance is lacking because of attitude not skill, then performance management plans can be effective in telling the person to pick their game up, if they don't, then firing for this reason is acceptable.

    However, if they are not suited to the role, and the blame for this sits squarely on the Employers shoulders for failing to properly assess the candidate, then the Employer should take responsibility for their stuff up in hiring this person in the first place, and look to help the person into a role more suitable, even if this is at another company. I've inherited two poor performers that I did this for. They shouldn't have been hired in the first place. Now, because the hiring manager made a bad judgement call should we be firing these people and throwing them out on the street without an income? No, treat people like they are people first and foremost (they had families and financial responsibilities that come with it), recognise where the fault occurred, and move to rectify the cause. This is leadership.

    Firing someone in the example given is a cowardly/weak manager's way of doing things.

  • I enjoyed this repost just for the reminder of Phil's excellent post The Septic Tank[/url] on the first page of the comments. Quite brilliant, I really must trawl through some of his old posts again.

  • Well, I'm relieved to say that, now I've reread the thread, I still stand by my original comments.

    However, there is one point I didn't make then that perhaps I should have. Some time ago, I heard tell of an employee who wasn't providing the results, and a manager who spent a good couple of years trying all sorts of different tacks to try to change things. In this case, it ended in the manager laying cards on the table, saying he had tried everything he could, and that he now had no choice but to let the employee know. The employee's reaction was one of shock because he felt he was doing his utmost to hit the targets set in the improvement plans, reviews and so on. Moreover he was utterly angry and rightly said that if they'd had this conversation a lot earlier, he wouldn't have wasted a couple of years of his employment life mistakenly chasing something he wasn't suited for.

    In short, we have to remember that terminating someone's employment - if it's appropriate - isn't always viewed badly by the departing person. As managers, we should do our best to make the best choice for all concerned, and assumptions often cloud that.

    Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat

  • After reading the entire article, I'm left with the impression that this guy is smart enough and can be personable when he tries, but he sounds like a "Millennial" or "Generation Y" type who was hired because he possessed (or claimed to possess) some in demand IT skill but is still wet behind the ears. He's like raw iron that needs to be held to the fire and beaten into a useful tool.

    The problem is that his manager indulges him too much. My advice would be to give him a performance review (or just a sit down talk), explain that he's not performing up to par, and then spell out expectations and boundaries for his job description. Afterward, throw him into a high profile project where other managers will have a chance to evaluate him as well. Let him either sink (supplying a pretext for firing him), or he can swim and grow up in the process.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • Maybe Evelyn has moved on because SHE was promoted due to incompetence. I've had only one manager in the 30 years that I have been working full time that did timely and regular performance reviews. So many managers view them as an unnecessary evil. How can one manage employees properly without them?

    That doesn't excuse Eric. He's still a problem. The way to fix it is to do an immediate review, and corrective action plan, one that puts him on notice that his current performance is not acceptable, but which gives tangible ways that he can improve that performance. Chances are that it will not be effective long-term. But, at least it's the beginning of the end if it comes to that.

    His mediocrity is likely evident to his coworkers. Putting up with it is poor for morale, and a waste of company money. If he doesn't improve, remove him and replace him with someone with a better work ethic and interpersonal skills. It's easier to train technical skills, that personality traits.

    When I worked at Intel in the 90's there was definitely a philosophy of hiring the processor, not the program. Good processors are capable of running many different programs, but programs can't be easily fixed to solve a different task. In other words, hire good people, even if they don't have the complete set of technical skills. If you hire just for the technical skill, you have limited flexibility, and have to deal with the Eric's of the world.

    [font="Verdana"]Please don't go. The drones need you. They look up to you.[/font]
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  • After reading the article, I chose the path of giving Eric another chance through the use of a performance plan. Mainly because it didn't sound like a formal review with a performance plan had been attempted. I have worked with some Erics who thought quite highly of themselves regardless of their actual delivery. Luckily I was not in a management position. However, as a coworker you still get rubbed the wrong way when you see someone getting away with a lot and not living up to their title (or salary!).

    No matter how much of a jerk that sort of employee is being, they deserve the chance to change things. Having their faults and a plan in writing and signed by both parties puts everyone on the same page and clears up any potential HR issues should a firing occur. Plus, even semi-competent workers have business knowledge that cannot be replaced immediately by outside hires. So unless there is another person in the company who has the business knowledge and the technical knowledge to replace him, I think it is usually better to try and work with who you have first.

  • document. Put him on a PIP (performance improvement plan) and if he continues as is, get rid of him.

  • I hate to have to say it, but folks - this topic started almost 3 YEARS AGO !!! It's already had pretty much everything there's likely to be said about it, said about it, AND said again in slightly different words, probably several times over. Just today's posts all seem to say almost exactly the same thing, with just a slightly different set of words. Might I suggest some new topics be created instead? It's kind of a serious waste of time to get several new e-mails because you're signed up to get updates on a given topic, only to find out the thread is years old and the current comments pretty much repeat what's already been repeated several times over. Just trying to re-read the entire thread means 8 pages of posts to go through, and that's way too much time to spend on just one unless you are brand new to the thread. Just try to realize that posting what amounts to the umpteenth repeat of previously stated concepts, really doesn't do anything for anyone, and uses up disk space and bandwidth that might be better used for other topics. End of rant...

    Steve?(aka sgmunson)?:) 🙂 :)?
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  • Looks like a fairly junior manager screwed up at recruitment and was too wet behind the ears to use performance review and if necessary performance improvement programme to fix the problem; and maybe incompetence started at the top, since despite not picking up and correcting this she ended up promoted to somewhere where she can maybe do some more damage.

    Why don't managers understand that continuous informal performance appraisal and taking whatever action that appraisal suggests is needed is an essential part of their jobs? It's even more important in companies that have a formal 6-monthly or annual performance appraisal process than in those that don't, because the formal process is generally locked into a straightjacket of excess formality and resented by everyone except the HR gurus.

    However, that doesn't answer the question; what to do with Eric. I would go for a formal performance review and if that review determines it is needed then a performance improvement program; that may lead to resolution in one of several ways: it may cause Eric to perform his current job in a manner that causes less dissatisfaction and resentment amongst colleagues and managers; it may discover that the problem lies not in Eric but in the way management and colleagues treat him, so that improved management solves the problem; it may lead to identifying job changes that would improve the situation; or it may lead to firing Eric because he is not performing to the standard required.

    Now I'll go and read the remaining pages of the article.

    Tom

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