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New staff member has cocked up and I suspect it's due to lack of care rather than not understanding; is my plan for tomorrow morning okay?

(29 Posts)
Hannah1984567 Sun 22-Nov-15 19:56:02

Trying to be vague but am feeling sick with nerves, please can someone let me know if this path of action is reasonable?

Staff member new to my team but not to the field of work. They have done similar tasks before. Huge project due on Friday. The first two days of this week are being spent at a trade fair. They go to this every year, it's the highlight of their year. All other competent members of the team are going. Everyone in my team has enough work to occupy them until Friday's deadline, finishing their own bits of the project. We are cross-checking each other's work and I picked this person knowing they have form for lack of attention to detail.

I have spent 8 hours this weekend looking over their work (to put into context, checking other pieces has taken two). It's riddled with errors, gaps and not spotting crucial pieces of information. At one stage they had put "????" into a spreadsheet they assured me was complete, but is in fact half empty. I have trained them in their job,they also came with a huge amount of preexisting knowledge. I am forced to conclude they've spent a goodly proportion of the last four weeks fucking about (have been keeping half an eye on this, also knowing they have form). I have corrected most of the work in draft but do not have time to put it into the final document - doing this will take a few hours and I will be working overtime myself this week to cover the work I didn't do this weekend thanks to them.

I am proposing to pull them aside before tomorrow's fair starts and say that I've concerned, having looked through the document, that we need to have a review session about their calibre of work after Friday, that I have checked everything but there is some work to do and I don't have the time to finish it and then ask them how they want to resolve it. I am not allowed to ask people to work overtime, but realistically it's overtime or they leave the fair early. I think they are going to kick off and I know they filed a grievance against a previous manager. I don't think anyone else in my team should work overtime to cover for this person.

No one in HR will be in before I see this person and I need to tell them first thing so that they have a choice to leave early if that's what they want. Is it unreasonable to insist they finish their work even if it takes them outside contracted hours, when they have had less work than everyone else and everyone else has already finished to the agreed standard? I feel so sick,I've only been managing them for two months and they came with a huge hazard warning from the previous manager. The rest of my team are a dream!

Hannah1984567 Sun 22-Nov-15 19:58:22

Sorry I should say, the rest of their week is already planned out and I already had to say last Friday that if they were threatening not to compete work this week (which they have threatened) then the fair had to go, at which point they magically found the time for everything they need to do Weds to Fri but that does mean Weds to Fri are now full without this additional work.

Seriouslyffs Sun 22-Nov-15 20:08:39

Aargh. I feel for you and that's why I'm happy to stay a lowly drone
The 'no paid overtime' thing complicates matters hugely. And I think you can use it to your advantage by emailing them and whoever line manages you, explaining the situation and saying that you won't talk to him until you've discussed it with them.
You can email them now and then stop thinking about it.
Enjoy your evening. brewwine

Seriouslyffs Sun 22-Nov-15 20:10:05

Sorry emailing them should be emailing HR

IrenetheQuaint Sun 22-Nov-15 20:13:50

Do they absolutely have to be at the fair? If not then just get them to stay in the office one or both days to sort it.

Or turn the problem over to them and ask how they can sort this situation out.

Hannah1984567 Sun 22-Nov-15 20:25:07

Thanks for your replies. They don't have to be at the fair but I don't feel I have the authority to ask them to leave unless they outright refuse to volunteer for overtime (although I probably do). I'd rather they worked a few hours overtime. Most annoyingly there are parts of the project that are completed to a better technical standard than I can achieve and the project is compiled of lots of these technical tasks. So they can do it,and do it better than me, but I suspect the second they knew someone else was doing a final check they just stopped trying.

DoreenLethal Mon 23-Nov-15 06:28:41

I Would have emailed it back to them saying it is unfinished and needs to be sorted by wednesday morning even if it means missing the fair.

whirlybird42 Mon 23-Nov-15 06:38:22

I think I would have too. Spell out the issue and ask them what their resolution would be.

Then get them on a performance improvement plan or start logging all incidences so you can manage them out if need be.

I bet the rest of the team hate this too. Nothing worse than carrying a lazy arse.

IguanaTail Mon 23-Nov-15 06:41:15

Agree with Doreen. But word it that "the final deadline is Wednesday. Feel free to stay in the office during the fair in order to get this completed within office hours if you wish". That way he can choose (presuming it's a he) or he can go if he is going to do overtime, but the deadline is there.

I think once the work is in you do need to have a review of hos work standards but get the work in first before you mention this or he might refuse or feel a sudden grievance come on in advance of the deadline which won't help at all. One thing which would be fair, given the debacle you have had to sort out in your own free time, would be to insist on a weekly (or twice weekly) update meeting for the next project where he brings his work along to see you. It's utterly ridiculous that you would need to have to do this but you could couch it in "work support reviews" - it might save you the stress of him not doing the work and having the 8 hour stress weekend.

IguanaTail Mon 23-Nov-15 06:46:47

Did you highlight the mistakes you found by the way? This could be something worth showing to HR when you get advice about moving forward. He's being a lazy dick and thinks he can get away with it. Don't spend time feeling worried about how he is treated because he doesn't give a shit about how your weekend has been spent doing his work for him. Like you said, when you put your foot down he magically was able to get work done last week.

KenDoddsDadsDog Mon 23-Nov-15 06:50:43

Agree with the others - don't discuss a review of their work before you have it complete . Otherwise you're looking at a sickie / distraction .

LIZS Mon 23-Nov-15 07:02:23

Return it asking them to check this was the final version as it appears incomplete. Remind them of Friday deadline and ask to review with them by Wednesday in case they are unclear of expectation. Any queries they can speak to you at the trade fair. I'd get this deadline out of the way before suggesting the overall situation needs addressing.

noblegiraffe Mon 23-Nov-15 07:06:20

You're worried he's going to file a grievance about you which means you are pussy-footing around him. The guy's a dick so will probably file a grievance whenever you pull him up on his inadequacies. All you can do is make sure requests are reasonable so when he does kick off he looks like the dick he is and your arse is covered.

Giving a deadline of Wednesday for completing the work is reasonable. Micromanaging his workload from now on is reasonable.

Duckdeamon Mon 23-Nov-15 07:10:48

I wouldn't mention the performance review until after friday, but I would set out all the errors and omissions and give them until wed to fix all of it, meaning that they would have to leave the trade fair today. This isn't unreasonable since the project deadline is Friday, and better than implying that the team member should work overtime.

Bigpants4 Mon 23-Nov-15 07:30:47

I would email her first, then meet with her. She can't make a complaint if you don't tell her to do overtime and if she kicks off it's easier if theirs a paper trail. Something like

Dear X, I've been going through various people's work in preparation for Fridays deadline. This weekend I checked yours and have highlighted many parts that need to be amended. Obviously I'm not allowed to ask you to do overtime, so you will need to complete the work during work hours as a matter of urgency. Please meet me at 9.30 to let me know your plan of action.

Bigpants4 Mon 23-Nov-15 07:33:39

Or yes just email it back saying its unfinished and it needs to be completed by Wednesday 10am

Fizrim Mon 23-Nov-15 07:38:03

I would assume what the problem is before you've spoken to them - I think it's fine to say that the work should be completed by Wednesday and wait until after the project to discuss why the work was incomplete (perhaps in a more formal meeting). I would certainly engage with HR if you are raising performance issues to make sure there is a paper trail in case further action is needed later (especially as it sounds as if it might!).

Hope it goes well for you today and the project is completed on time!

tribpot Mon 23-Nov-15 07:46:29

I think you also need a backup plan. A sudden sickie and/or grievance claim for bullying seems likely, can you speak to previous manager to see what he/she thinks will happen next? The main issue now is to get the work complete so the whole team's work isn't brought down by this one lazy arse when the deadline arrives on Friday.

I would mentally set yourself a second deadline - if the work isn't done correctly by, say, Tuesday, you will need to assign it to other people for completion.

Given this is a massive project and you didn't want to stop staff from attending this trade fair, I would have set the deadline for completion of everything as last Friday, so it all has to be out of the way before they get to go to the fair. That way the remaining days of this week are contingency, it sounds like the whole thing is right down to the wire and any absence or delay is going to kill you this week. Not much help now I realise, but hopefully for next time.

Kampeki Mon 23-Nov-15 07:51:15

I agree that you need to highlight the problem, reiterate the deadline and turn it over to the staff member in question for a solution.

However, I am concerned that you have put a lot of identifying detail on this thread, so perhaps you should ask Mn to pull it.

Managing people is difficult, and it can be very stressful when you're new to it. flowers

IguanaTail Mon 23-Nov-15 07:55:29

Don't tell him what you're not allowed to do. Let him choose. He didn't give you the choice about the extra work you had to do over the weekend.

IguanaTail Mon 23-Nov-15 07:59:00

You can bet your mortgage he's been having a lovely weekend while you've been doing his work as well. angry

eddielizzard Mon 23-Nov-15 08:23:17

tell them you've checked their work and there is still a lot that needs to be done. their deadline is wednesday. the trade fair is secondary to this work being done. make that absolutely clear.

then wednesday if it's not done you give them a disciplinary warning. check with hr today what the exact procedures are. explain problem and find out what you can do.

you can't be held to ransom by the threat of a grievance though. they're not performing and you have a responsibility to the company and your team to sort it out.

DoreenLethal Mon 23-Nov-15 08:24:29

The backup plan is the work the OP did this weekend; send him back his original spreadsheet not the one you have been amending.

StealthPolarBear Mon 23-Nov-15 08:27:32

Agree with eddie

Fizrim Mon 23-Nov-15 09:57:18

Arrggh, just come back to this and my earlier response should have been wouldn't, not would! Let them tell you what the issue is (I am not saying you are wrong, but let them give you the reason.

As you are so close to the deadline, I would be tempted to hand over your list of issues with his work (the one that identifies all the wrong/missing bits) so they can at least be done in time, then use that as a reason for scheduling more frequent checks on the next project.

What role do they have at the trade fair?

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