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Submitted by Kbaker on


Hello- I am struggling with a dilemma here. I hope I can get some good advice. I am a supply chain manager responsible for vendor performance. I have no directs. I rely on buyers that work for another manager to do their job properly so I can manage supplier relationships.

There currently is a buyer that I rely on for information. I believe he may be on a PIP already as it has been noticed throughout our organization that his performance is lacking and impacting several departments.

I have attempted to help this buyer through one on ones and coaching with his manager’s approval. His performance is still terrible, and the data I need from him is unreliable. 

Yesterday while requesting a report from this buyer, he proudly showed me how his company computer is full of pirated music. He was not shy about this at all. 

I took this display of pirated music to mean that is what he spends his time doing rather than work. 

I hate to get anyone fired prior to holidays but I find this blatant disregard for company resources an issue, especially when this buyer is not performing the basic functions of his role. I let him know that this kind of use of company resources is not cool, and his response was “I’ve been doing this forever, it’s no big deal”

The question I have is being that I am not his manager, and relatively new to the organization should I escalate this concern to a higher level? I don’t care what most people do as long as their job is done, but the lack of information I receive is impacting my ability to do my job. I hate to have to snitch! 






mrreliable's picture

That is a tough dilemma.

Years ago I was in retail, in environments where employee pilfering was an ongoing problem. I advised new employees that they could find themselves in a dilemma if they knew someone was walking off with something. Nobody wants to be a snitch, but the problem is that if you know another employee took something, you become complicit if you don't say something.

If you know someone took something from the company, your real decision is whether you're willing to accept the blame if there's blame coming down. If someone walks off with a pen or a paper clip, you're not going to worry about it. If someone walks off with a piece of expensive equipment, different story. If someone chomps down a candy bar, maybe you figure it wouldn't be a career ending transgression, maybe not.

Pirated audio on someone else's computer? Tough one. It would be hard to imagine that coming back on you. On the other hand...

I've been around people who do that kind of stuff and purposely drag other people into it, either as a rationalization that "everybody does it," or as a shield if they get caught. One possible scenario is they get caught, and say, "Well, So-And-So knew I was doing it." If they're going to do something like that, they should have the decency to keep it to themselves and not involve someone else. It's a pretty crappy thing to do to you if you think about it.

Do you have a company manual that might adress this issue?

MillenialManager's picture

It looks like, while the issues are linked, there are two separate issues here: 1) this person is inappropriately using company equipment for illegal activity, and 2) this person's performance is lacking and is causing issues for the larger team and other departments.  Now, you are freed up with some options:

The second issue, you can do something about.  Speaking to the buyer's manager about performance issues, to see if they will do anything about it.  Give specifics, and if the problem continues to occur, keep checking in until it's time to escallate.  You could eventually mention it to your Director, especially if it's costing the company, causing people to re-work repeatedly, or causing missed deadlines.  But hold onto that card until you're sure there's no attempt at improvement.

The first issue, I would hold off on.  Reason being: I don't want my performance conern to be conflated with the downloading complaint, and get all of it lumped into a "wow, KB just really doesn't like that buyer" basket.  Then, the buyer's manager has an out for not taking action, and that out is that you're a whiner.  (Rule #47: Draw attention to yourself, but on your own terms).

If there is obviously no attempt to correct the issue and your Director won't support you, you could always go the backchannel way of the anonymous tipline for the illegal downloads.

Hope that helps.