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BLUF: My new employee "B" doesn't display the kind of behavior I wish to see in my employees. How do I go about correcting this? Which podcasts would you suggest? Am I too late/unreasonable? She is sick a lot, stays home and doesn't hand over tasks - so they are not done in her absense. She is not taking initiative. She doesn't work focused/produce the amount of hours that's needed - or she does but they are unbillable because of the time it took. I need her to behave like she feels pride and responsibility in her work and to contribute with initiative and high production. I need for the company to not loose money on this employee - for that to happen, production must go up (billlable hours must be reasonable) and sick-leave must decrease.

 

Background:

Hi!

I've followed the podcasts on an off for many years though I've never been a manager until now. I'm a high I (semi-high D), and I run my own company since 10 years back. This past fall - I took on an intern for the first time, A, who needed to be taught the work from scratch and who has some trouble in processing too much information at once. It wasn't what I expected at the time, but we got along, I let it take time, and I found that she is the most hard-working, honest and engaged employee one can wish for. So since February this year she is employed in my company as an assistant, and we're slowly but gradually expanding her skills. She's an high I as well. We've done O3s since her first week of internship, they tend to run over.

I knew that the kind of help I got from A would be insufficient for me going forward in 2017 since I'd boldly accepted new clients for spring, though in past years started to feel too overworked and new I needed real help. Therefore I put out an ad to recruit an experienced employee too. Among the people I interviewed only 2 felt right (and had the qualifications). They felt like they shared my vision and enthusiasm for developing my company and that they would help me do it.

The first one I offered the job, X, left her current position for mine but only stayed a month, she hadn't worked in an accounting firm before and she had apparently thought it would be the same as working in accounting in a large company (which it isn't). I realized that I needed someone with the "firm experience" and contacted the other candidate, B, whom had recently come out of a work place with a terrible boss and had almost hit the wall in that position, like she'd done a couple of years earlier in a whole other company. Before I employed her, she was unemployed for 2 months and wanted to take her time to find somewhere where she could feel happy working. We were both excited. I believe she is a high S. This was this spring, and end of August her on-trial-employment is up.

I'm not taking salary from the company and I was prepared for the company to take a loss for about 3 months while B was getting into the work and getting used to our systems and routines (one obstacle that I found was troublesome for the previous employee X). Right away B was getting sick a lot and staying home, making these 3 months very, very short on her work time but high on costs. This is new to me. My employee A and I get things done and feel a sense of responsibility towards getting things done in the company that we have set before us. It is now evident to me that this feeling isn't shared by B.

Example: When I was away on holiday 1 week last week, I had set up tasks for my employees to work on while I was away. I had put B in charge of checking and answering our email because I felt she has the experience of being able to answer all kinds of questions and the way she responds to clients are pretty much the same as mine. Three days into my vacation I by chance saw that no emails have been tended to and a big client has tried to get a hold of our company for two days about an urgent matter without any luck by email or phone. This made me panic a little. I got a hold of A that night - turns out B had been sick the whole time and not reported it to me like she always should. A had sorted the emails out to the best of her abilities. B had emailed in her sick-notes to A each day. Which to me was evidence that if she'd felt responsibility or pride in her work she would have answered a few work emails at the same time - maybe just to say that there was nobody to take care of their enquiries at that time.

Part from her sick-leaves and not showing responsibility above, she doesn't work focused/produce the amount of hours that's needed - or she does but they are unbillable because of the time it took. She likes to small-talk every change she gets, I believe that she thinks as long as she's "at work" she's "working".  She never makes up time she flexes out (when I brought it up she wants me to deduct if from her pay). She is slow in her work, gets stuck shuffling papers a lot. She agrees to do things, to head up a small internal project, but then forgets or let it die while producing instead. 

Nowadays she projects gloominess around the office with sighs, shuffling steps, a cumbersome expression on her face - probably because of her bad health and possibly because she doesn't want to be here? When I try to lighten the mood in the office she's the one that quickly dampens it again.

4 months in, she still never talks about work in O3, only talk about her family and mindfullness, it's like she's small-talking there too. She skipped O3 last week five minutes before, to leave early without notifying/rescheduling with me.

These are things that needs to change. I don't know how to go about it. Which podcasts would you suggest? Am I too late? Am I unreasonable? Both me and A like B as a person. I now feel like she's the wrong person for the company because of what she is contributing right now, but I think I can and should do better as a manager to try and make her perform and engage. Recruiting and training is very expensive (I do it all myself while also trying to produce, and I'm utterly spent). On the other hand is sick-leave expensive too. My family asks me; "if B is this much sick and acting this way during her trial-employment (standard 6 months, can be ended at any time) - how do you think it'll be when these 6 months have ended?". And as a response to that I think that if I don't get it turned around right now, I can't motivate keeping her past summer and the company losing money every month like this. Though I dread having to go through it all again - finding and training another to at least take some of the production load, like B does.

Sorry for the ramblings. I just need a roadmap and a "hang in there" I think. Thanks for reading. Any advice is appreciated.