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Help with vvv difficult few staff

(19 Posts)
umberella Tue 07-Oct-08 11:42:19

without giving too much away -have recently started this job and am overall 'in charge'.

realised soon after starting organisation v close to bankruptcy, primarily through overspending on staff.

have reduced hours (in consultation with staff as group and individually), everyone agreed with this and now operating with more realistic hours budget.

most staff surprisingly happy now i am there (previous director terrible), and morale in general very high. staff are motivated, supportive and positive about changes we are making.

HOWEVER, there are three staff members (one "ringleader") who are starting to try and block any change at all. they have been there longest and have never been managed by anyone, so things are how they have chosen them to be. i can understand the resistance to change, feeling intimidated by the unknown etc etc, and have been extremely careful about how to deal with them sensetively but firmly (we don't have time to muck about due to financial state of company). i now know that one of them is being extremely underhand in firing up her friends, regular customers etc to complain on her behalf. i strongly suspected as much but now two other staff members have come to me to say they have witnessed her doing this.

she is, of course, all smiles and has done nothing i can really address directly.

what best to do?

got to rush out now, but will be back later so tia for any advice...

Peachy Tue 07-Oct-08 11:44:44

Make appointments with all youtr staff individually for a cup of tea and a chat to find ut how they feel about the changes. Don't single anyone out- often the true ringleader is hiding behind a charade of willingness then bitching behind your back.

Acknowledge that reduced hours etc whilst obv. essential can pose a serious problem for people already struggling with igh fuel costs etc.

umberella Tue 07-Oct-08 11:47:41

thanks peachy, have done all that, and am constantly taking an iterative approach to whatever we are doing. most staff seem to appreciate it and have been incredible, they understand it's either this or liquidation though.

what's becoming clear to me is that it is becoming a matter of vindictiveness for this one person, and v difficult to address that when she is being so underhand.

i will schedule individual mtgs nxt week.

right, got to run!!

umberella Tue 07-Oct-08 20:06:35

bump, any advice anyone?

umberella Tue 07-Oct-08 21:33:49

final go, in the hope there are some employment specialists kicking about!

dilbertina Tue 07-Oct-08 21:48:34

Maybe divide and conquer? Talk to them individually? Get going on your disciplinary process - manage them out if absolutely necessary? Difficult one though. It may just take time...

Now a bit of unasked for advice!....

If the company is that close to line now, but you are making changes that will mean the future looks rosier, you may want to look into negotiating a CVA. Bit like an individual getting an IVA, you try to get agreement with creditors you'll repay so many pence in £ over so many years (as opposed to bankruptcy where you need to demonstrate they'll get less). It is an insolvency thing but the current directors/managers remain in charge. It is supposed to be a way for companies that are fundamentally sound, but have had short-term problems to avoid bankruptcy. You can try to include HM Revenue debt (VAT, PAYE etc). Your accountants should be able to advise if appropriate in your case and put you in touch with an insolvency specialist to take you through it.

umberella Tue 07-Oct-08 21:58:28

That's interesting, thanks dilbertina!

I think this would have been a really good option a month ago, but I have been extremely careful about saving more and spending less, cutting back where needed etc, and the cash balance has actually started to go up so we are looking a lot more stable. Therefore I doubt the Board would go for a CVA.

Really useful piece of info though, I will bear that in mind if things start to slide again (though hopefully that should NOT happen!!)

BeHereNow Tue 07-Oct-08 22:04:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

umberella Tue 07-Oct-08 22:10:18

Hi beherenow, she is actually not good at her job, but has always been informally 'in charge' of her area. i would love to divulge more detail but difficult to do so here --suffice to say that things are done neither economically nor efficiently to the point of shock shock.

She is not coping with the subordination, and is threatened, i know that.

Unfortunately, the two cohorts don't seem to realise they are being used by her to demonstrate her displeasure. That's the bit that's difficult. They are very loyal staff, but she seems to be pouring poison into theri ears at every turn.

I've done individual mtgs, discussed and consulted with them , reassured them, always friendly towards them but she seems to just have SUCH influence over them both. V difficult to crack that and turn them around.

dilbertina Tue 07-Oct-08 22:12:52

Do you have enough spare cash for a redundancy payout?!

umberella Tue 07-Oct-08 22:14:55


ruddynorah Tue 07-Oct-08 22:15:57

does this person actually report to you?

do you have a robust disciplinary policy that you can put her on? what's her attendance like too? these sorts of people tend to have several problem areas. do you have a code of conduct type document that details expectations around attitude, negativity, influencing colleagues? if not maybe use her to help you draw one up? a fresh start for the team, help you all through difficult times ahead etce etc..word it like that??

difficult to help much without knowing what sort of level this person is and what the role is.

umberella Tue 07-Oct-08 22:16:08

The person in question has been there for a loong time, and has been paying herself (yes!) a very high wage. I have lowered it but still can't afford redundancy at this point in time.

umberella Tue 07-Oct-08 22:18:34

ruddynorah- those are great suggestions. the place has almost nothing in the way of admin/systems. I am in process of issuing new contracts (which are longer that 3 lines!) and a staff handbook. Code of conduct is a good idea.

the person is a low level member of staff, all the staff below me are on just one level, although their pay differs hugely. this is another thing that needs addressing.

umberella Tue 07-Oct-08 22:21:17

off to bed ladies, thanks so much for the advice, i will check for any more suggestions tomorrow smile

ruddynorah Tue 07-Oct-08 22:21:49

good grief you have a lot to do!

if none of this is in place now then it's no wonder she feels totally lost and is rebelling.

best of luck smile

umberella Tue 07-Oct-08 22:25:48

yes, it's a blooming nightmare! improving steadily though, i expect to be able to turn it round completely within twelve months as there is so much to do.

llareggub Tue 07-Oct-08 22:41:40

Sounds like you have a great challenge ahead of you, I'm quite jealous.

Nothing to add really apart from I think you need to start performance managing her with the eventual aim of managing her out through dismissal or improving her performance and attitude. Quite a task, but it sounds like you have the balls to do it.

flowerybeanbag Wed 08-Oct-08 08:53:48

You've had some good advice umberella, sorry I can't help but if you're 'overall in charge' then you'd be a potential client for me and I can't really be advising you for free.

Hope you get it sorted, sounds like a challenging situation.

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