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HR Advice needed, please help me(15 Posts)
Name changed for this due to being a work/hr issue.
I'm a Manager in a large organisation, currently managing 11 full time employees. One particular employee is a complete nightmare to manage, has had multiple Managers all having similar issues with him. I started managing him 4 months ago and it became very clear within a few weeks that he was not capable of doing his job. I started to "manage" this and he has had extra support during this time. I've recently started a formal performance improvement plan, this has not gone down well with him even though I have explained it is not a punishment it is a way of me providing the extra support/coaching he needs to do his job.
He will regularly speak to my line Manager about how unhappy he is within my team and asked to be moved a while ago but this has not happened due to restructuring reasons etc.
Today, in a conversation with my line Manager he has made a comment about feeling suicidal being in my team, obviously this was brought to my attention and on advice of HR and due to our welfare policy I requested a welfare meeting with him to discuss this and see if he needed further support. During he said that he felt that I was not good at my job, was unsupportive and that the other 10 members of my team all felt the same way. To say I was shocked is an understatement as I have never had this feedback and pride myself on having a good working relationship with all of my team members. I left the meeting (there was another manager present) due to being really upset. I have spoken to another manager, not my line manager, who suggested I take the rest of the day off.
My question is that, where do I go from here? Do I request a meeting with HR to discuss these allegations? What do I say? I have MH issues myself and this has really knocked my confidence. I'm really lost to know what to do next, I don't feel that I can return tomorrow and carry on. I've also really embarrassed myself by getting upset so now the whole department knows, as they could see I had been crying, that something has happened.
PS I am not in a union as the company does not recognise them.
Please help me and sorry for the long post.
"During he said that he felt that I was not good at my job, was unsupportive and that the other 10 members of my team all felt the same way. To say I was shocked is an understatement as I have never had this feedback and pride myself on having a good working relationship with all of my team members."
Look at the context. It doesn't seem very likely he's being truthful. More likely he is lashing out because he is not enjoying being managed.
"I left the meeting (there was another manager present) due to being really upset. I have spoken to another manager, not my line manager, who suggested I take the rest of the day off."
Why take the day off? I get that it wasn't nice to hear that, even from someone with a clear agenda. But why did you need the day off?
"My question is that, where do I go from here? Do I request a meeting with HR to discuss these allegations? What do I say? I have MH issues myself and this has really knocked my confidence."
If you want a meeting to discuss what he has said, it should be with your own line manager, not HR. They don't sound like 'allegations'. He's expressed an opinion (biased) that you are not good at your job, and are unsupportive. I wouldn't count either of those as allegations. I don't know how good you are at your job, but based on your post, you're definitely supportive. He's just pissed off!
"I'm really lost to know what to do next, I don't feel that I can return tomorrow and carry on. I've also really embarrassed myself by getting upset so now the whole department knows, as they could see I had been crying, that something has happened."
I understand you have MH issues, so I get that hearing something negative might be more upsetting for you than for others. But if I were talking to someone without MH issues, I'd say not feeling you can return and carry on because a pissed-off difficult and disgruntled member of staff you are managing was less-than-complimentary is a massive overreaction.
I get that's how you're feeling, but I think you need to hear the context that that feeling is not normal. I imagine sometimes it's difficult to know whether your reaction to something/someone is justified, or whether it is a result of your own MH issues.
I would suggest speaking to your line manager, explaining what has happened, and asking whether he/she has any concerns about how you are managing staff/whether any further complaints from anyone else
normal have been raised. I'm sure the answers will be reassuring.
If you are really concerned about how other members of staff view you, you could meet with the rest of your team just in the course of normal one-to-ones, ask how things are, whether there is anything you can support them with, or whether they have any concerns.
Unfortunately as a manager, with 11 people reporting to you, and dealing with difficult staff members being managed more firmly because of a performance/conduct/attendance issue, you're going to get negative reaction sometimes. It's par for the course. You know how good your relationships are normally, don't let one disgruntled person undermine that.
Anyone who says ‘everyone thinks or feels a certain way is probably a bully.
Imagine the conversation ‘winge moan winge X is rubbish at her job ... moan moan ‘
Colleague are more likely just to nod and not get involved
Speak to your line manager
Op, you need to ask yourself if you're strong enough to be in this role. I understand you are mentally unwell but being unable to handle the meeting after he said it, having to leave and to be in such a state it's suggested you need to take the rest of the day off is a major over reaction.
I have been in this position, I simply say their stoicly. I addressed the allegations afterwards with my manager and hr. or rather they addressed it with me. It was bullshit so I wasn't bothered other than being mildly annoyed and I really didn't give it much thought.
So something isn't right here, I have to be honest, if I was your manager I'd wonder why your reaction was so strong and why you were unable to handle it, and if you are suitable for your role if you can't manage this.
Hi OP, you shouldn't have walked out of that meeting, i know you said you are struggling with MH so you should consider if you are mentally strong enough to manage people at the moment, it is draining.
You should have listened to it, and said that he was welcome to follow the grievance procedure if he genuinely believed you were acting incorrectly.
People like this always get away with bad behaviour ‘oh its just Bob its just what he is like’ Well done OP for calling him out on it and stick to your guns.
Thank you @flowery that's exactly the reply I needed. There is more to the situation than what I have written here but, now I'm home, I do realise that I could have handled it better. The reason I took the rest of the day off was more about my MH than anything else. It's really shook me that he is blaming me for feeling "suicidal" that's very upsetting to me having lost someone close to me to suicide.
I know what I need to do but down it is another thing
@Bluntness100 I've asked myself the same question for the last 18 months!
@melissasummerfield I know I'm not strong enough for the role, I have asked for a different role in another department but have been told several times that it is not possible. Maybe I need to ask again.
If one was to find a set of measuring tools, I doubt many people are "strong enough" to manage shitty employee situations. You can't beat yourself up after this, and actually, getting upset and going home after it was suggested you should - ok, you aren't the Iron Lady and that's probably a great thing. But you need to now get your arse in gear and get back in that office tomorrow and tackle this. You had an employee being ultra manipulative - with a history of being manipulative - attempting to get moved to yet another job by threatening suicide. The fault here is NOT with you - it is with an employer who has let them get away with atrocious behaviour and rubbish performance because they were too lazy or scared to deal with it.
The "difficult" employee needs to be moved away from you as manager asap, and needs an OH assessment urgently if he has stated your management of him is making him suicidal. It also needs assessing whether your management of him was correct and lawful- does he have a disability?
It does not seem your actions towards him as manager were unreasonable, but I wasn't there.
As for his assertion that all the others feel the same- well that's quite probably rubbish- but then I'm not there to see.
And as you know you didn't help yourself much. or your reputation, so you'll have to build that up again.
I doubt you are strong enough to "Manage him out" which is what this is all leading to.
An unpleasant situation- and one all his other managers have kicked down the line.
And don't expect any real help from them, they have allowed the situation to worsen, and passed the buck to you.
I am not in a union as the company does not recognise them.
You can still be in a union. It just means the union isn't involved with things like pay negotiation's and can't organise a strike. You can still be a member and get individual support. Last year, I had to go through a disciplinary, and I was accompanied by a union rep who worked for the union but not for my employer. He was excellent, too, and I am very glad I've paid my dues all these years.
However, even if you join tomorrow, most unions won't take in preexisting cases until you've been a member for a minimum time - I think it's 3 months with mine. But you can be in a union, even if the company doesn't recognise it.
He sounds like he has the abusive partner handbook - he claims to be suicidal when you don't want to put up him any more and now he's trying to undermine your confidence and turn other people against you.
Obviously I don't know his mental state but it sounds like this employee might just be very manipulative, it sounds like he's cornered and is going to try everything he can to get out of this situation so you need the absolute support of your own line manager here. Could they or HR sit in on any 1-2-1 meetings with him to support you or would that undermine you? I think you should work with your line manager to manage him out as quickly as possible (assuming he doesn't have a miraculous improvement) and then take a look at your role as a separate issue. Make sure you do everything by the book and that you and your line manager are singing from the same hymn-sheet.
I think your company needs to get inside professional help.
Your member of staff needs to be referred to occupational health. To ge honest I doubt they are suicidal.
I think its classic drama triangle stuff. Where he looks like the victim and blames others as a way of evading responsibility. He wants the organisation to rescue him from his manager and not look at his performance issues. It's not useful or healthy for you or for him.
This stuff is usually beyond the skill set of HR.
On youtube there are videos from marcus buckingham. I find he has a very sensible approach to people and complex problems.
It always gives me a bit of a foundation