Thu, 19 February 2015
Tom from Michigan Writes:
My employee, I’ll call him Bill, is causing a ton of problems. He’s rude, he’s spending a bunch of time on the internet doing who knows what everyday. He’s barely getting any work done. The problem is he’s the only one who knows the software he uses to enroll people in our program. He also handles some really important billing stuff. What can I co?
As always, In the Defeat Your Drama segments, I will provide solutions based on the information provided. I will obviously not have full details so will provide customized strategies based on what you share. Always consider your own specific circumstances before taking any action. These are suggestions not guarantees.
Tom, I’m so sorry that you are in this situation. Let’s get you some customized strategies.
I actually see this issue often. A client tells me that no one else knows the job or has the passwords. You are in a predicament. There are some solutions. It just might take a bit of time to solve.
I preach the importance of documenting processes and information often! As a matter of fact, in episode 25 the topic was Document for Ease of Mind, Teaching Tools and Freedom. Here’s a link if you haven’t already heard it http://goo.gl/iuSjcG
But, shoulda, woulda coulda – here you are.
Employees usually are very aware that they are not doing a good job. Some who want to continue their poor behavior will use strategies to create the opportunity to continue without negative consequence. One common strategy is to garner power by hoarding information. You can become indispensible if no one else knows your job.
It sounds like this is exactly what you are experiencing.
I have three strategies for you. The first two will actually help you avoid this circumstance in others for the future.
#1 Team Documentation
I recommend that you begin an initiative to have everyone in the office begin documenting their work processes, creating FAQ’s, organizing passwords. You can’t single out just Bill. He’d get skittish and avoid this project like the plague. However, if everyone is engaged he might make some progress.
#2 Job Shadowing
Begin a job shadowing program with a goal of providing back up for everyone in the office. Again, you can’t single out Bill. His job security comes from his unique knowledge. He’d be tipped off if you focused on his job only. Emphasize the benefits to employees; ease of mind while on vacation, uninterrupted sick days, for instance. This might give you a fighting chance to get it done.
#3 Terminate and Figure it Out
This one might be too brutal to make happen. But, I’m throwing it out there because it might be a possibility. I don’t know your full circumstance. It is possible that you are telling yourself it is impossible to terminate “Bill”. But is it? Stop and consider life without him. Would it be glorious? How difficult will it really be to try to figure out what he does and what he knows without his participation? Sometimes we create an obstacle bigger than it really is when we have discomfort from guilt or fear.
The first two strategies will take some time. If he is creating enough collateral damage you may not want to wait. Get real about the full impact you would experience by letting him go immediately. Then weigh the pros and cons. Negative impact from having to figure it all out against the positive impact of no longer dealing with his antics and the full fall out he creates for your team, your business, your customers. How would it feel to no longer have to waste money paying someone to surf the internet rather than work?