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performance improvement

(4 Posts)
bonnieweelass Sat 22-Oct-16 14:22:38

I've name changed and changed a few small details in case anyone recognised me. Sorry it might be long but I'd like some advice on what I can do.

I have worked for my current company for 15 years, since graduating from university. Its public sector so good pay, good benefits, good holidays and job security etc.

For 14 of these years I worked at the same grade. Initially I really enjoyed my job and it took me all over the local community. Things changed when I came back from maternity leave about 5 years ago. I was the same grade, same pay, but my role was now entirely office based and I was moved to another team.

I found this new role boring, not very challenging and my team were horrible. I got falsely accused of stealing, excluded from social events, criticised in front of the whole team.

I have health problems which have gotten progressively worse. I ended up in hospital due to this bullying affecting my health and I had to seek legal advice but whilst things improved a little bit, I decided I would actively look for other roles and try to develop myself.

My company do a 'sponsorship' scheme where people can be sponsored by the company to undertake external learning. I wanted to do a management postgraduate degree. Others were accepted but year after year I was not, because 'there's no business benefit' to me doing it. So instead I tried to develop myself through external volunteering and cheap evening classes.

Last year I saw an opportunity on our intranet for 1 year. It was recruiting 4 employees for a specific type of work related to the volunteer work I was doing. I nearly didn't apply, convincing myself I wouldn't get it but I did apply and got one of the positions. The other 3 positions were filled by one internal and 2 external members of staff.

It is a level above what I am doing now and its a much more challenging role. I am very busy and I take a lot of work home and do stuff in the evenings and at weekends at the detriment of my family life. I simply have to try to keep up with all the reports, paper work etc I need to do. My role involves working with external organisations which I haven't really done before - I have to keep them happy but they have often unreasonable demands. Similarly I have to work with other departments on projects and it can be quite hard to get them to give up their time etc to help me.

I have had to seek advice from my manager quite often regarding how to manage these difficult external and internal partners, as its all very new and I do not want to damage the company's reputation. I have had 2 clashes with other internal departments which did not make me look good but in my defence my wider team have had similar frustrations with these departments.

The role has been extended from 1 year to 18 months for all of us. we don't know what will happen after December. I'd like to be kept on rather than go back to my old team but I no longer think this will happen.

With regards to my health there have been a few things I have struggled with as a result of my health, one thing in particular I have been asked to do that I simply could not do without adjustments. It led to lots of meetings where it was very much emphasised that it was ME who had to fix it.

They all knew when I started 15 years ago what my health needs were but due to this thing I need to do that I can't do, it seems they are now doubting my ability to do the job overall.

At my performance review yesterday my manager told me that she had concerns about my performance. She doesn't think I am working at the level I am at, I'm working instead at my old level and I need to realise I am in a new role now. She said I need to stop asking her for help and advice and manage problems on my own. She said the same problems keep reoccurring (without saying what these problems were) and that if I didn't improve I would be put on a Performance Improvement Plan.

Now I do ask for help and will try to do this less although in my defence, after 14 years of doing the same kind of job and receiving NO training to progress, I think its unfair to expect me to know everything, especially when I haven't done any partnership working before.

I also really think this performance improvement thing is linked to me giving them a hard time over my health restrictions. Especially as I found a copy of minutes on a meeting about it (easy to find as it was saved on staff intranet) where they discussed lots of adjustments for me but rejected them all without discussing with me.

Of the three other people who started at the same time as me, two have become good friends. One is now leaving the company for a better paid role and is outraged at what I'm currently experiencing. My other work friend is actively looking for work due to struggles with the work/life balance and difficulties working with other departments, she is also shocked at what happened in my meeting. Both are critical of the company but they were both external candidates so maybe not as under pressure as I am.

Sorry this is so long, I just want some advice on my next steps and my rights. I'm torn as to whether to speak to my union rep. The union were totally useless when I had problems in my last team and I think if I went to the union there would definitely be no chance of me being kept on in this role. I really like the role but apparently I'm not good enough at it.

Thanks for reading this far. Any help appreciated.

OlennasWimple Sat 22-Oct-16 15:40:02

Yes, go speak to your union rep. Even if they aren't great, they are better than nothing especially if this ends up going down the formal disciplinary route.

Ask for another meeting with your manager to discuss performance, and ask her to specify instances where your performance hasn't been up to par. Frame it that you want to learn in order to improve. Try very very hard to not be defensive, but listen carefully to what she is saying. Thank her for the meeting, say that you want to address her concerns but need time to digest the information and would value meeting again in - say - two weeks. Tell her that you were disappointed to see the details of the consideration of adjustments accessible on the staff intranet, that you want that rectified immediately and you would welcome discussion of the item(s) that you feel would make the most difference.

Reflect really really hard on what she has told you: is it true? What can you do to address her concerns? What support do you need from her?

Discuss this at your next meeting. Agree a regular meeting pattern to discuss performance and improvement.

Think what you want the outcome to be. Do you want to get really good at this role? Do you want to move sideways to another? Re-grade to a different role?

bonnieweelass Sat 22-Oct-16 17:13:53

thank you, I want to get better at this job and stay in it, rather than move down a level again to my old job.

flowery Sat 22-Oct-16 19:58:56

"At my performance review yesterday my manager told me that she had concerns about my performance. She doesn't think I am working at the level I am at, I'm working instead at my old level and I need to realise I am in a new role now. She said I need to stop asking her for help and advice and manage problems on my own. She said the same problems keep reoccurring (without saying what these problems were) and that if I didn't improve I would be put on a Performance Improvement Plan."

I'm not really sure what you're asking? Are you saying you disagree with your manager's comments? If you've been doing the role almost a year it's reasonable to expect you to be able to do it pretty independently by now. They've not put you on any kind of formal process yet- you've just been given fair warning.

If you need additional support or training, ask for it. If you need clarity about what is expected of you, ask for it. If you need more details about where you are going wrong, ask for specific examples.

It doesn't seem like most of what you've written is relevant really tbh.

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