Author Topic: Re: Coworker off probation - and now demanding we never complain again - UPDATE  (Read 9425 times)

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JacklynHyde

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I work online in a social services environment that I'm going to decline detailing, but know that our client require regular, one-on-one contacts from those who service them.  I'll call my coworker Shelly.  She works as support to me as two other coworkers (Kurt and Jane), but we're all seen as equals because her support work is so detailed, but I am considered the lead for the team due to my seniority.  The problem was, she didn't do her support work for the first two months she was placed with us, leaving us to scramble and cover for her so our clients didn't complain (as far as certain clients are concerned, Shelly and I take equal responsibility for them, so if they complained, they complained about both of us).  Her support work involves things that Kurt, Jane, and I are not trained to do, and we tried unsuccessfully to talk with her about keeping up with her tasks.  Finally, we lodged a group, formal complaint against Shelly.  She was placed on a Performance Improvement Plan, which, among other things, meant that all written communication had to carbon copy two of our bosses.  Shelly became extremely PA and made co-working with her difficult.

Fast forward to last week.  Shelly is officially completed her Performance Improvement Plan, but her work is slipping again, with open work sitting in her queue since November.  Per protocol set up by our bosses, I copied them on an email to Shelly asking her to catch up on the work that out of date.  She caught me on private messaging the next afternoon, complaining that she had stayed up all night and that I was getting her back into trouble.  When the four of us met online for planning, Shelly demanded that we no longer talk about her with our bosses and to come to her directly with problems.  This had been unsuccessful in the past, so I'm not sure how well it will work in the future.

My question, if you have stuck with me, is how to handle working with her in that future.  She continues to neglect her work, and is now partial to borrowing / stealing my material instead of creating her own that is tailored to our shared clients' more special needs.  She's let us know that the next big slip-up she makes, she will be fired.  It sounds like she wants us to cover for her.  I'm also worried about my coworker Kurt.  He is so frustrated, he is considering transferring to another team.  It wouldn't surprise me if he intentionally complained about something just to be rid of her.  How do I handle his concerns and frustrations?

Thanks in advance.  This is a bit of a doozy.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2013, 03:45:33 PM by JacklynHyde »

gramma dishes

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Re: Coworker off probation - and now demanding we never complain again
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2012, 09:26:46 PM »
Your bosses have made clear how they want things done.  She is demanding that you ignore them and do things her way.  If it were my job, I'd do it the bosses' way! 

She isn't doing her job.  Not only that, but she's trying to bring the rest of you down with her.   She SHOULD be fired. 

ChiGirl

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Re: Coworker off probation - and now demanding we never complain again
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2012, 09:30:11 PM »


Fast forward to last week.  Shelly is officially completed her Performance Improvement Plan, but her work is slipping again, with open work sitting in her queue since November.  Per protocol set up by our bosses, I copied them on an email to Shelly asking her to catch up on the work that out of date.  She caught me on private messaging the next afternoon, complaining that she had stayed up all night and that I was getting her back into trouble.  When the four of us met online for planning, Shelly demanded that we no longer talk about her with our bosses and to come to her directly with problems.  This had been unsuccessful in the past, so I'm not sure how well it will work in the future.

"Shelly, that request is really inappropriate.  If your work is unsatisfactory, we will handle it as we see fit."

Then report her.  Again.  And every time it merits reporting.

As for Kurt, you could encourage him to report his own frustration.  If he is thinking about transferring just to get away from Shelly, your bosses should know it! 

Dindrane

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Re: Coworker off probation - and now demanding we never complain again
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2012, 09:32:30 PM »
I think you do whatever it is your bosses have asked you to do. If that means Shelly gets fired, so be it. She knows exactly what it takes to keep her job (since she was put on a performance improvement plan), and she is capable of doing it (since she successfully completed said plan). The fact that she doesn't want to meet the expectations of her position is not your problem.

I think as the lead of your group, you should encourage the others to do the same as you -- do whatever your bosses have asked you to do and let the chips fall where they may. If Shelly objects to the three of you doing that, use whatever channel is most appropriate to alert your bosses. If Shelly tries to get any of you to cover up her unacceptable performance, same deal.

If she won't (or can't) perform this job at the level necessary, then covering for her only prolongs the inevitable and makes you look bad. Better for her to be in a position she's actually wiling/capable of doing, and better for you and your organization to have a person in her current position who is both willing and able to do the work as expected.


LeveeWoman

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Re: Coworker off probation - and now demanding we never complain again
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2012, 10:00:30 PM »
Why is this even a concern?


Deetee

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Re: Coworker off probation - and now demanding we never complain again
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2012, 10:20:25 PM »

Fast forward to last week.  Shelly is officially completed her Performance Improvement Plan, but her work is slipping again, with open work sitting in her queue since November.  Per protocol set up by our bosses, I copied them on an email to Shelly asking her to catch up on the work that out of date.  She caught me on private messaging the next afternoon, complaining that she had stayed up all night and that I was getting her back into trouble.  When the four of us met online for planning, Shelly demanded that we no longer talk about her with our bosses and to come to her directly with problems.  This had been unsuccessful in the past, so I'm not sure how well it will work in the future.

My question, if you have stuck with me, is how to handle working with her in that future.

Unless there is something I am missing you handle her exactly the way you are. Your bosses told you what they want and she told you what she wants. Your bosses wishes trump hers and therefore you continue following protocal set by the bosses and you tell her that until the bosses tell you otherwise that will be your plan going foward.

As for Kurt, as long as he is only reporting the truth encourage him to report. Honestly, who do you want to lose Kurt or Shelly? By discouraging Kurt from reporting you are sending the message that you value Shelly more than him.

(And don't worry that you are costing Shelly her job. Shelly is costing Shelly her job. The only thing you are doing is making sure the job gets done)

PastryGoddess

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Re: Coworker off probation - and now demanding we never complain again
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2012, 11:03:08 PM »
Her PM was way out of line and really should go into her personnel file.  Can IT get a transcript of those chats? 

cicero

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Re: Coworker off probation - and now demanding we never complain again
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2012, 03:48:55 AM »
why are you covering for her or considering covering for her?

your bosses have made it clear how things should be handled - and that is how you should handle them.

she should not be PMing you - and you should not respond to the PMs. your bosses told you how to communicate - follow their protocol. *you* are not getting her in trouble; she is doing that on her own.

remember - your clients should come first. they are the ones who deserve to be served professionally and competently 

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Nora

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Re: Coworker off probation - and now demanding we never complain again
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2012, 03:49:13 AM »
Tell her nice try, but no.
Just because someone is offended that does not mean they are in the right.

bonyk

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Re: Coworker off probation - and now demanding we never complain again
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2012, 05:57:19 AM »
You didn't make her stay up all night.  She made herself stay up all night.

"Shelly, just like you, I must follow the protocol our bosses set up." Repeat as needed.

Venus193

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Re: Coworker off probation - and now demanding we never complain again
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2012, 06:36:50 AM »
Your bosses have made clear how they want things done.  She is demanding that you ignore them and do things her way.  If it were my job, I'd do it the bosses' way! 

She isn't doing her job.  Not only that, but she's trying to bring the rest of you down with her.   She SHOULD be fired.

This.

MissRose

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Re: Coworker off probation - and now demanding we never complain again
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2012, 07:26:29 AM »
There are too many people these days out of work that are willing to work and yet this woman still has a job? Makes me shake my head.  Then again in most work places, there are a few people who do the bare bones amount of work, are attendance issues, and/or have attitude issues and yet still remain employed.

That woman should've been handed her walking papers and out of a job.  I am sure there is someone out there that would be willing to work without issues reported by the OP.

Queen of Clubs

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Re: Coworker off probation - and now demanding we never complain again
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2012, 07:57:25 AM »
Your bosses have made clear how they want things done.  She is demanding that you ignore them and do things her way.  If it were my job, I'd do it the bosses' way! 

She isn't doing her job.  Not only that, but she's trying to bring the rest of you down with her.   She SHOULD be fired.

This.

I agree.  Shelly can demand all she wants - she's not the one who pays your wages.  As for Kurt, if he wants to complain about Shelly and her attitude and demands, I'd let him go right ahead.  He's a far more valuable employee than Shelly is, and it's not like he'd have to lie to show how bad she is at her job.

camlan

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Re: Coworker off probation - and now demanding we never complain again
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2012, 08:27:23 AM »
It might help if you separate the personal from the professional. The personal is Shelly, the person you know, asking you to save her job.

The professional is doing your job, doing it well, having happy clients and following the rules set out by your bosses. Which rules include copying them on emails to Shelly.

So look Shelly in the eye and tell her you are just doing your job. "Shelly, I am not trying to get you in trouble. I am following the protocol our boss set out for us." Let her make the connection between the fact that the emails only happen when she messes up at work.

And do urge Kurt to follow the protocol as well. The only way the Powers That Be will know that Shelly is not doing her job is if your team tells them that. That's why they set up the protocol in the first place. They don't want a slacker on your team any more than you do. Part of your job is to let them know when a team member isn't performing satisfactorily.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Margo

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Re: Coworker off probation - and now demanding we never complain again
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2012, 08:45:12 AM »
Quote
When the four of us met online for planning, Shelly demanded that we no longer talk about her with our bosses and to come to her directly with problems.  This had been unsuccessful in the past, so I'm not sure how well it will work in the future.

If you are following protocol set by your boss, then I think you need to remind Shelly of that. Say "Shelly, I know you've said you want us to come to you diorectly, but as you know [names of bosses] have told us that we must copy them in on requests,. so we will habve to continue to do that."

If you wanted to, you could also redirect the reposisibility to her but suggest ways to keep on track - e.g. "I review each of my files at least once a week, and if there is anything outstanding for more than 7 days, that's when I'll foloow up. Why don't you set yourself a 5 day reminder when you get a referral / see a client - that way, you can keep track of what is due and let me know about any issues before they get to a stage where I need to chase you, as at that point, I don't have any choisce about copying Boss in on the message."

That way, you are *not* taking responsibility for her timemanagement or organisation but you are being helpful and costructive, and you are making it very clear that your hands are tied so far as keeping your boss in the loop. If she argues with you then at that point I would reiterate this in an e-mail and bcc it to Boss. They need to know that not only is she failing again, but that she is trying to cover it up rather than addressing it.  If you can, I would also see whether you can speak informatlly to your boss about the conerns that Shelly's behaviour is affecting the team, the strian it is putting on you, and your fear that it may drive other temam members away if it can't be resolved (I would not specifically mention Kurt unless you speak to him first, and he is happy for you to do so)

If that doesn't work, I would be blunter  "I'm sorry, Shelly, you're asking me to go against what our Boss's specific instructions, which would put my job and my professional reputation on the line, and you're aking me to  help you cover up your problems with doing your job.I can't do that."