We have this employee at our department who is a very good, reliable and efficient worker. She used to work for one arm of our department but recently was switched over to our side.  She is known to stay late to make sure quotas, answer her phone when she is off to assist and even come in when she is sick. Even before she came to work for the other arm she was instrumental in curbing the backlog of cases on our side.  When the regular mail courier was out she took to the task of delivering the mail to the sub basement and retrieving the mail from the mail room. When the front desk receptionist is out the phones are usually switched to her because its assured that the phones will be answered professionally and calls dealt with correctly. In addition, since restructuring she is the only one who speaks and understands Spanish and can handle Spanish callers. She has twelve years of meritous service recently receiving her ten year certificate two years ago.  Lately though we have noticed that she has become disgruntled. We have noticed that she has become very blatant about the fact that she is searching and interviewing for other jobs. When she is handed her tasks for the day she usually receives them with an almost blank stare as if she doesn’t care. In fact today one of the supervisors was telling her the new procedure and she responded with a quiet “Yeah whatever” She is also taking leave and calling in sick more likely we suspect because she’s either going on a job interview or just doesn’t feel like coming in.
We will admit that we are probably not paying her what we should however if we were to give her a raise we would have to give the others in her position within our department one too to prevent them becoming disgruntled although the amount of work they contribute is significantly lower than hers. Also she had applied for a higher position within and was qualified in fact recommended to apply but at the time we were dealing with another backlog which would have gotten worse if we promoted her because we would have to spend time training another person. So in the best interests of the department, we kept her at the same position.
We would like to nip this behavior in the bud before it gets any worse. The team she worked for was dispersed due to her supervisor getting a promotion so she would have been without a job when her position as support staff got phased. The way we see it, she should be thankful that we took her on.  Her disgruntled attitude is becoming infectious as she rallies people around her who sympathize with her and goes so far to even to tell her that she is getting a raw deal from us and have suggested that she should go over our heads and file a grievance. In fact she directly encouraged the other support staff member and now that other person is making her discontent known and has started to apply for other jobs. We have recently come out of being several months behind to current so we can not afford to lose both the staff or we will fall right back to where we were.  Some advice on how to curb this so it doesnt become a department wide problem.

delete_account_per_reacher_145083_dtiller's picture
Training Badge

I think the answer is right in your explanation.  When your company chose not to give her the promotion, I think you might have expected this.  It is not professional of her to act out, however, I cannot imagine not giving a due promotion to a deserving employee.  It's management's problem to backfill when she is promoted.

Nonetheless, this is in the past.  You need to provide negative feedback pronto.  During the O3s you could explore what happened and perhaps you can clear the way for the next promotion to be hers.

Good luck.

mike_bruns_99's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

You've probably already lost her.

I agree with DTILLER, your company:

  • Doesn't promote her when she was qualified and recommended. Not because someone else was better, but because it would be inconvenient to the current team 
  • Pays her the same as others who do a lesser quality/quantity of work
  • Feels that "she should be happy that your team put her on"

Of course she's interviewing. She feels that she has no future at your company and her current work isn't respected. And while that doesn't excuse her childish behavior, it sounds like she's right.

Look at it this way. If she's as good, reliable, and efficient as you say, she's going to get a promotion. Either with your company or a competitor. 

Sure, feedback on her current behavior is important. But the current situation is not sustainable. She has already mentally resigned. And the negative feedback will probably not change her behavior.

Her manager needs to talk with her NOW about her career development. If she believes that there are opportunities at your company, great. But understand that she's going to see anything you do now as a counter-offer. 

dmb41carter36's picture

I had the exact same thoughts as the previouse to respondants. Typically, the problem is NOT about the money. The money is a manifestation of other, underlying issues. Just giving a person more money will typically go nowhere. In this case, it doesn't solve her being snubbed due to the inconvenience.

That being said, perhaps it is time for both you to move on and terminiate this person. Can't have this person tearing your team down.

mattpalmer's picture

I'm never one to miss a good pile on, so I'm going to echo everyone else's comments and say that this whole situation has been really poorly handled by your company's management, and you are simply reaping what has been sown.  While I'd normally recommend negative feedback and possibly a quiet word to remind them of the need to be professional and not to do damage to everyone else's morale, I can't help but shake the feeling that the people tearing down the team are whoever made decisions like, "if we were to give her a raise we would have to give the others in her position within our department one too", "in the best interests of the department, we kept her at the same position", and *especially* "The way we see it, she should be thankful that we took her on".

Without knowing where you stand in this whole thing, it's hard to give any sort of specific recommendation.  If you're the CEO, for instance, it's a very different thing than if you're one of the "supervisors" (multiple supervisors is never a good sign...).  What authority and decision making power has the organisation given you?  How good a relationship do you have with this person (how long have you been doing one-on-ones?)  With enough role power or relationship power, you could right all the wrongs and have a hope of saving this person (I've rescued a high performer through relationship power), but I'm getting the feeling that you don't *really* value this person *AS A PERSON*, so I'm thinking that there's not much hope of a relationship save, and unless there's been some significant changes at the top of the company, a rapid about-turn on the decision-making front sufficient to rescue this situation is unlikely (if senior management were smart enough to do this, they wouldn't have made the bad calls to begin with).

If it were me, I'd apologise to this person for the egregiously shabby treatment they've had so far, ask them politely if they wouldn't mind not dragging other people into their dramas, tell them you'd be honoured to act as a referee, and send them any likely looking job ads you come across.  I'd polish up my own resume, too, because any organisation that treats my people that badly would probably treat me just as badly sooner or later.