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(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)   The most obvious article in the history of news   (post-gazette.com) divider line 22
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4763 clicks; posted to Business » on 20 Nov 2012 at 11:16 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-20 10:46:37 AM  
the article concentrates on preventing hiring bad employees. i think the bigger problem is managers that refuse to fire the ones that they do hire. people tend to not want to admit they made a hiring mistake, don't want to deal with a tough conversation, and don't want to deal with back-filling the employee, but nothing poisons a workplace like seeing your sh*tty coworker skate by while everyone else picks up the slack.
 
2012-11-20 11:24:59 AM  
So true, thomps. But many places HR has made it extremely difficult to fire bad workers.
 
2012-11-20 11:28:56 AM  

natazha: So true, thomps. But many places HR has made it extremely difficult to fire bad workers.


And they compound that with making it extremely difficult to hire good workers

If you will NOT promote me until the required number of years have passed and then it's a sure thing unless I am a terrible employee, why would I work harder than necessary to keep my paycheck and my 2.5%-3.5% a year raise?
 
2012-11-20 11:30:23 AM  
I also realize in today's world 2.5-3.5% is a lot more than many people get but my point still stands.

Why try to stand out if the system doesn't care how good you perform and almost requires you to switch jobs if you want to try and advance?
 
2012-11-20 11:43:33 AM  

natazha: So true, thomps. But many places HR has made it extremely difficult to fire bad workers.


yeah, we were recently acquired by a big company and now it's a massive and lengthy process to fire anyone. we've gotten pretty good at "coaching" people out, but it takes work.
 
2012-11-20 12:08:37 PM  

thomps: the article concentrates on preventing hiring bad employees. i think the bigger problem is managers that refuse to fire the ones that they do hire. people tend to not want to admit they made a hiring mistake, don't want to deal with a tough conversation, and don't want to deal with back-filling the employee, but nothing poisons a workplace like seeing your sh*tty coworker skate by while everyone else picks up the slack.


Because laws make it so expensive to fire employees
 
2012-11-20 12:15:15 PM  
Sounds about right. I substitute teach and often have to focus on an individual loser at the cost of being able to help a lot more students. This is even more true when I have to substitute for the younger grades.
 
2012-11-20 12:19:46 PM  

thomps: the article concentrates on preventing hiring bad employees. i think the bigger problem is managers that refuse to fire the ones that they do hire. people tend to not want to admit they made a hiring mistake, don't want to deal with a tough conversation, and don't want to deal with back-filling the employee, but nothing poisons a workplace like seeing your sh*tty coworker skate by while everyone else picks up the slack.


natazha: So true, thomps. But many places HR has made it extremely difficult to fire bad workers.


Several years ago I "inherited" several employees as part of a reorganization. One was already a known problem, but his previous managers basically played hot potato with him so each time the new manager had to pretty much start from scratch. When I got him, I sat down with him and his former manager to come up with an improvement plan. He followed it pretty much to the letter but was the typical "do just enough not to get fired" type, and he rode so close to that line for so long he finally fell below it and he was out of there.

Dealing with him was definitely a time sink, but the funny thing is that he wasn't the hardest one to deal with at review time. He was a f***-up, he knew it and accepted it. One of the other employees I got during that reorg was pretty good. Not great, but average. She was by far the most difficult employee I've ever had to deal with during review time. She didn't get bad reviews, but got "OK, you're doing a decent job, here are a couple of things you should polish up on". You'd have thought I wrote a death threat to her grandma or something. The problem was the mismatch between our opinions of how she was doing her job; she thought she was the greatest person ever. The slightest "here's something you need to work on" turned into "b-b-b-but what about that guy!?! He did the same thing!?!? And you also said that I did this other thing really well, so it should cancel out!" It was like dealing with a six year-old who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

So a word to aspiring managers out there... be careful what you wish for. Anyone who thinks they would be a good manager because they're better at their job than their peers needs to realize that it's a completely different set of skills and hassles, and the farther down that path you move the harder it is to stay close to the field that got you going in the first place. Being a manager is just that... managing. Smoothing out problems among your team, trying to filter out the crap coming down from above so your team gets what they need and can focus on their work rather than their TPS reports, playing Dr. Katz, etc. It can be rewarding if you get into the right mindset and focus on doing well in that new role, but remember that you're effectively starting a new career and you need to start getting the skills to do it properly if you want to maintain any sanity.
 
2012-11-20 12:20:03 PM  

MugzyBrown: thomps: the article concentrates on preventing hiring bad employees. i think the bigger problem is managers that refuse to fire the ones that they do hire. people tend to not want to admit they made a hiring mistake, don't want to deal with a tough conversation, and don't want to deal with back-filling the employee, but nothing poisons a workplace like seeing your sh*tty coworker skate by while everyone else picks up the slack.

Because laws make it so expensive to fire employees


Gathering the paper trail is due diligence in case the employee comes back and tries to sue. And chances are that without it, the only way the lawsuit will be successful is if the employee belongs to a protected group (for example, is old or a minority).

Contrary to popular belief, the US has some of the least employee-friendly laws in the first world. In most states you can be fired for any reason or no reason at all. The reason managers won't fire poor performers is that it costs money to recruit and onboard a new person. In my old company you could be the sort of employee who can't tell the difference between Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, but unless the manager actively dislikes you for some reason, you pretty much have a job for life. On the other hand, they would lay off some of the smartest, most productive employees and it just seemed totally random.
 
2012-11-20 12:28:23 PM  

Needlessly Complicated: Gathering the paper trail is due diligence in case the employee comes back and tries to sue. And chances are that without it, the only way the lawsuit will be successful is if the employee belongs to a protected group (for example, is old or a minority).


LOL

You should talk to some of my clients and look at their employment practices losses.

It doesn't matter the paper trail in many cases. It's really easy to make a complaint with the EEOC. Once the complain is accepted, the employer is out several thousands to respond to and defend against that claim.

This also doesn't account for having to fight the unemployment insurance claim
 
2012-11-20 12:35:20 PM  

thomps: nothing poisons a workplace like seeing your sh*tty coworker skate by while everyone else picks up the slack.


Or in my case, watching shiatty managers getting lots of undeserved praise. Over the course of about three years, my old boss developed a terrible hiring track record... two fired within six months, one voluntary quit after six months, another voluntary quit after 18 months, one that complains a lot and is hard to work with, one that slacks off, comes to the office sick, and needs others to reassure him (i.e. hand holding), and only one that "gets it". But hey, let's not stop white-knighting and fawning over the thin-and-pretty girl in the kitchen everyday even though she's been gone for over a year.
 
2012-11-20 12:49:11 PM  

MugzyBrown: thomps: the article concentrates on preventing hiring bad employees. i think the bigger problem is managers that refuse to fire the ones that they do hire. people tend to not want to admit they made a hiring mistake, don't want to deal with a tough conversation, and don't want to deal with back-filling the employee, but nothing poisons a workplace like seeing your sh*tty coworker skate by while everyone else picks up the slack.

Because laws make it so expensive to fire employees


Not if you nail the slug before his 90 days are up.
 
2012-11-20 12:51:30 PM  
what happens when your boss is also a slacker
 
2012-11-20 12:59:37 PM  
Not if you nail the slug before his 90 days are up.

Not true.. you can get sued without hiring the person
 
2012-11-20 01:03:29 PM  

MugzyBrown: Needlessly Complicated: Gathering the paper trail is due diligence in case the employee comes back and tries to sue. And chances are that without it, the only way the lawsuit will be successful is if the employee belongs to a protected group (for example, is old or a minority).

LOL

You should talk to some of my clients and look at their employment practices losses.

It doesn't matter the paper trail in many cases. It's really easy to make a complaint with the EEOC. Once the complain is accepted, the employer is out several thousands to respond to and defend against that claim.

This also doesn't account for having to fight the unemployment insurance claim


That's interesting.

Where I used to work, if you got laid off, they would make you sign something that said that if you sued the company, you wouldn't get your severance. I'm guessing there's always a few who won't sign it but most of them will because they want their severance. I wonder how many of those people sue anyway. It seems most of them keep quiet because they don't want any trouble.
 
2012-11-20 01:16:03 PM  

Needlessly Complicated: That's interesting.

Where I used to work, if you got laid off, they would make you sign something that said that if you sued the company, you wouldn't get your severance. I'm guessing there's always a few who won't sign it but most of them will because they want their severance. I wonder how many of those people sue anyway. It seems most of them keep quiet because they don't want any trouble.


Signing something like that wouldn't stop a lawsuit, nor do most people who get fired get any sort severance.
 
2012-11-20 02:13:19 PM  
Article fail - Peter Gibbons worked weekends until he got hypnotized.

BTW - I'm OK with the laws that make it hard to fire someone. I had a gay manager who had a reputation for firing straight female workers. He tried that on me and I stood my ground. He had absolutely no paper trail and no one backed him up. If anything, they were mystified with his whole approach. They took me off "probation" after a week. I did not find out for a month because he just wanted me to twist in the wind for the full month. He quit not too long after that. I don't care where he is, as long as it's another county.

As for pulling your weight. It's one thing to slack off on your own, but it's another to drag people with you. I truly hate the picket fence gossips and sports pool people who keep other people from working with their inane chatter. If you're going to slack off, don't drag other people into your puddle of slack.

/J.R. "Bob" Dobbs disapproves this message.
 
2012-11-20 04:42:17 PM  
stop hiring the guy that will work for nothing and then biatching about how shiatty he is
 
2012-11-20 06:59:15 PM  

ghall3: I also realize in today's world 2.5-3.5% is a lot more than many people get but my point still stands.

Why try to stand out if the system doesn't care how good you perform and almost requires you to switch jobs if you want to try and advance?


In the case of the company I work for if you have been here 5+ years you need to quit for 6 months then get rehired. You generally end up with a 20-40% pay bump. Seriously, when companies decide they want to pay their long term talent a good wage they will stick around. One of the most talented guys I have ever worked with was in a senior role that was pivotal to the success of our group. He was making less money than new hires with no experience. When he decided to quit and go to a different company it took us almost 2 years to get back to our previous efficiency level.
 
2012-11-20 08:27:40 PM  
FTFA: "Finally, lowball salaries won't get a good worker, according to the study, which reasons that if a company pays employees better, they're more likely to want to work harder."

That assertion may apply to unskilled labor, but it's not even one of the top three reasons professionals choose a job -- see counterpoint here.
 
2012-11-21 10:50:39 PM  
To be fair, some people who appear to be slackers are more productive than their hard-working diligent coworkers. Quanity of effort and quality of effort are very different things. If you have someone who manages to somehow nail both, then there's no reason for them to be working for someone else.
 
2012-11-22 02:09:34 AM  
What with downsizing, doing more with less, etc., our company has just about run out of middle managers to pick up the slack of the worker bees who aren't working.

We're one car crash or serious illness away from having to simply produce less product.
 
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