A few years ago, I had the misfortune to have to train a new employee to do my job. I was working part time until they found someone to replace me and was consulted during the interview process. Despite having voiced concerns about each of the small number of applicants who were called for interview, the company went ahead and hired one of them. Thus began the process which came close to reducing me to a nervous breakdown. This particular person was so utterly incompetent that I ended up with a double workload: cross-checking (and usually redoing) every single thing that they were asked to do. Nothing that I tried in an attempt to help retain information worked and I was left, on a daily basis, angry and close to tears on occasion. Fortunately, I thought, the probationary period would soon be over and we could terminate his contract. Wrong. The company was so shit scared of potential litigation and “wrongful dismissal” accusations that the only way the probationary period could be extended and consequently terminated would be if *I* maintained a stringent checklist of everything that with which I had tasked the individual and kept notes as to their failings, all the time maintaining the double workload. Where was HR in all this? Nowhere in sight. Based out of a different office, there was telephone contact but no visible support.
In hindsight, what I should have done was simply left and forced them to pick up the pieces. Sadly, that wasn’t in my genetic makeup at the time and the situation persisted for nearly six months until the final meeting when it was confirmed that the company would not be making the contract permanent.
What really almost floored me was the utter disbelief on this person’s face: he could not comprehend what he had done wrong, despite a mountain of paperwork to show him exactly where he had gone wrong and numerous meetings between us to go over tasks in which there had been monumental failure (tasks not carried out, deadlines missed by days despite a clear trail in writing). He actually said in the final meeting that he was under the impression that he had been doing a good job and was doing everything with which he had been tasked (see title of post where I refer to delusion!)
The thing I found most amusing about this whole episode (and yes, I was able to find the humour in it once the events were all done and dusted and the person had departed) was that they updated their LinkedIn profile with details of the job, saying it was a contract position and basically pasting the whole of the original job spec in there, most of which they hadn’t actually done as they hadn’t progress from the basics of the job!
I subsequently advised HR that if they insisted on hiring someone again about whom I had misgivings, then I would have no hesitation in leaving the job immediately and refusing to train my replacement. I guess that sounds rather grandiose but I learned to trust my gut a very long time ago and it has served me well. As an aside, every single person about whom I have had misgivings whilst working here has left under a cloud or been terminated after their probationary period, so my gut has been 100% successful so far!
I know I’ve whinged in this blog before now about HR but it’s not just that department that’s so utterly paralysed when it comes to doing “the right thing” by their existing employees but that’s a whole other post.
So the reason I’m having another moan about HR is that it’s all kicking off again. A different department was hiring a new employee towards the end of last year and (as is the “norm” nowadays the potentials were all wheeled around the office to be introduced to everyone and opinions elicited. Unfortunately all of the candidates were a bit of a washout and I expressed the opinion that none of them were suitable for the job. No surprise then that one of them was hired – and the one about whom I was least enthusiastic. Since they started here, they have not worked one full 5 day week. That’s five months. It was agreed that they would finish early two days a week for the first month because of temporary childcare issues and the 3 hours lost would be made up by coming in an hour early and working through their lunch break (which makes up 2 hours of the 3 short just to help you out with the maths). Those childcare issues are still going on some five months later. Seldom does this person make up even 45 minutes in the morning and the remaining hour and a quarter from the deficit is not made up during the rest of the week, that’s if they’re even at the office: sick leave has been so frequent that I’m surprised this person hasn’t expired from all their ailments. Not having anyone from HR in our particular office, you would have expected that their manager would be keeping a close eye on things. Sadly not.
When the three month review was carried out, this person was so upset to be put on additional probationary measures that they typed up their resignation. Unfortunately a change of heart was had overnight which has left the company doing what it does best – fuck all. Meanwhile, those of us who work the hours we are paid to work have to sit and watch a probationer taking the total piss and watch their manager doing nothing visible to address the situation.
And before anyone says that I should get involved, I tried that once before and was told by my manager, in no uncertain terms, that it was “none of my business”.
On the plus side, since I originally ranted, this person has now done the decent thing, handed in their notice and buggered off. A great sigh of relief has been breathed all around …