Work advice - anyone or HR reps can you please help? pregnant, reporting into a HR manager who is causing me great stress
Lalalul · 08/01/2023 17:25
I’ve been with my company 10 years and always excelled in my roles. I head up my department and have always been trusted by my managers.
The last year I have had a new manager. my new manager is head of HR. Previous years I reported into managing directors. My boss micromanages me, calls me up to 10 times a day when I am set to in a meeting, spends hours of unscheduled time on the phone to me asking me to rework presentations to the point I get confused and frustrated and we almost always end up using my initial draft. I have previously informed them that this way of working is causing me stress and not getting the best out of me, but it has not improved.
The first working day of 2023, My manager accused me of under performing in 2022 (but didn’t tell me this once in 2022), and asked me what I want to do this year because they don’t think I am capable of delivering my role. I felt attacked, they called me out the blue and have never given me constructive feedback. During the call no valid examples were provided. My manager did not suggest how they would help me but told me to consider my position in the department. I do not understand what that means or where this has come from, I have always excelled and have received regular promotions under previous managers. I was upset as this is certainly not how I anticipated the start to 2023, and did not respond well. They told me that colleagues have been gossiping about me and my abilities but wouldn’t tell me what they have said. This upset me and felt highly unprofessional, I asked why they have told me this.
I feel like my manager is trying to push me to resign. They haven’t followed formal processes, I am not on a performance improvement plan, I have not received any constructive feedback, nothing is in writing and it is highly unprofessional for the head of HR to partake in office gossip.
I have recently discovered I am pregnant, so cannot leave my job. I am tired, nauseous and emotional. I work hard. My manager does not know I am pregnant, it’s too early to tell anyone.
As my manager is HR, I do not know who I can talk to about this or how to mend the relationship as previous attempts have failed. I do not feel motivated and have had panic attacks at work. I have had 6 managers at this company and this is the first time I have ever experienced anything like this.
this is causing me a lot of stress and I am concerned as I need to look after myself being pregnant. Is there anything I can do? Any advice particularly from those in HR would be hugely appreciated. I would have gone to HR if this had happened with any of my previous managers but can’t now. Thank you so much
piedbeauty · 08/01/2023 17:33
Go to your manager's manager and make a formal complaint.
Does your manager have any other direct reports? Do they treat them the same as you, or better?
Your manager sounds shit and really unprofessional.
In the shorter term, I'd email them and bring up so the feedback you're not happy with, so you have a written record of it. Ask what they want you to do to improve it, ask why they are only saying this now, not months ago, if this has been an issue for a whole.
Lalalul · 08/01/2023 17:40
@piedbeauty thank you so much for the quick response. I have spoken to one other reportee and I am aware that they also feel micromanaged, that communication is poor and that working under this manager is stressful. I know I am not alone. They haven’t received the recent feedback that I have though.
I am considering going to my managers manager. Their manager is C-level, for a company with 15,000 employees. They are also not based in UK so I am worried they may not be clued up on UK employment law. It seems like a big step to go to them and I am worried of what might happen to me and my role.
thank you for the short term advice. I have a catch up with them on Tuesday and I will follow up the conversation with an email to begin documenting.
piedbeauty · 08/01/2023 17:42
Does your company have agreed-on ways for managers to give feedback? Is is unusual to give feedback on the phone? Should it be written down? Sounds like it would be more helpful if it was written down so you can refer to it and make a plan for responding to it.
What does your colleague want to do?
Could you talk to your manager and say that you feel micromanaged and criticised, and ask them to change their managing style?
Princessglittery · 09/01/2023 00:29
It’s not clear if you are UK based and if your employer is subject to UK employment laws.
What you need to do is find your company’s performance management procedure, as it sounds like your manager is not aware of the process. What you need to do is upwards manage in a helpful way, it will depend on where you are in the performance management cycle and what has been done previously what you do.
Send your manager a copy of the procedure setting out where you are in the process, enclose your objectives and a write up of what you have achieved against each objective. If you can, add in that at your meeting your manager you were surprised at the tenor of her language and very concerned that no one has previously raised concerns with you before that meeting, point to the procedure where it says feedback should be timely/not come as a surprise. If you can bullet point the concerns she raised and state you are struggling to understanding her feedback as she was not able to provide examples, point to the procedure where it requires examples to be given, . Suggest another 1:2:1 where you can both review your objectives to make sure they are still relevant etc. At the meeting take the lead and follow the performance management procedure and review objectives etc. after the meeting write up the feedback and email it to your manager as a record of her feedback, at this stage it may be appropriate to cc in your 2nd line manager - this may be in the PM procedure.
I have made some assumptions based on good PM processes but you get the idea. What you want is clear objectives and her feedback in writing.
For a Head if HR she sounds crap, PM is a basic process for an HR practitioner not being able to do it competently is very poor.
If you can encourage your colleague to do the same, 2 employees being given un-evidenced feedback of poor performance usually means the issue is more likely to be the manager not you.
As pp have said also keep a time line of issues and evidence (advise colleague to do he same). Send emails confirming what has been said at the meeting, these form a record and I suspect she won’t like seeing it in black and white.
Lalalul · 17/01/2023 12:00
Thank you @Princessglittery and @piedbeauty for your advice. This was really helpful. I am UK based. Sadly I hadn’t kept a record in writing of our conversations - neither has my manager unsurprisingly. I’ve been off mumsnet as unfortunately it all got too much after I confronted my manager about how their actions were making me feel and how I think we could work better together. They didn’t really listen - the conversation was nicer than usual but it still didn’t feel like we made any progress and it was a huge deal for me to confront them like that. I had a panic attack shortly after the call and have been very unwell since with symptoms of anxiety. I’m currently signed off work. I hope to be back there soon and will put all your advice into practice, but right now I don’t have the strength to be able to. Thanks again
Princessglittery · 18/01/2023 08:31
@Lalalul sorry to hear you are unwell. Hopefully when you are feeling better you can move forward.
One tip is get your sick note to say work related anxiety or something similar. A good HR professional will take that as a warning they need to change something.
piedbeauty · 18/01/2023 09:13
I'm also sorry you're unwell. I agree with @Princessglittery. Perhaps when you are off work you could contact HR and say why you are so anxious, set out the situation for them? That might make your anxiety abate and might make you feel more in control. Take care.
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