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(Cinders McLeod/The Globe and Mail)
(Cinders McLeod/The Globe and Mail)

Nine To Five

We’re fed up with covering for the slacker newbie hires Add to ...

The Question:

I work for a large company in a mid-level position. The job is fast-paced, results-oriented, and requires multitasking abilities, which means it can get stressful.

When I started, I transitioned with little to no training and within a few months I was pulling my own weight.

It’s been over five years and we have had people join the team and transition well – up until about a year ago. Then my manager hired people that should not have been hired. They lacked the credentials, skills and experience required to do the job. But they were hired and made permanent a few months later – even though several complaints about their performance had been made.

Now the rest of the team has to carry their weight along with doing our own work. They get paid almost the same as us but are doing less than half of their share of the work.

Management is sitting back and allowing this mediocrity to brew. We are fed up and I want to know – from an expert’s point of view – what can we do? To whom can we raise this issue without looking bad? No one likes a complainer, but everyone on my team is reaching their breaking point and something must be done.

The First Answer:

Colleen Clarke

Corporate trainer and career specialist, Toronto

Who said you had to carry the work load of the low producers? Were you told to do it or did you all just start helping out because the work needed to be done? What would happen if you didn’t pick up the slack?

Covering your colleagues’ hides by performing their job is not part of your job description, but being supportive and helpful is.

Speaking to your manager about your concerns is not complaining, it is stating a fact and presenting a situation. It is taking care of business. Go equipped with a solution to the problem, such as offering to train the others, or request a solution be implemented within a certain time frame, as stress leave could be the next option. Take a lesson from the old biblical story about teaching a man to fish and you feed him for life. Offer to teach your colleagues what they don’t know. It may take a bit of time to get them up to speed, but once you do, the work will get done and you will have your life back.

Be professional in your delivery to your manager and be sure to mention the benefits of getting this resolved quickly. Stick with the facts, don’t complain and don’t threaten; keep your emotions in check, explain the outcome you want to achieve, and ask when you can expect an answer.

The Second Answer:

Zuleika Sgro

Human resources partner, talent manager, Questrade.com, Toronto

It sounds like you are a part of a dynamic fast-paced environment and doing well in your role. It’s difficult to compare your on-boarding over five years ago to those who have been recently hired – haven’t things changed with your company? Your perception of ramp-up time may be different now since you’re an experienced professional. Something that may seem straightforward to you may not have been when you first joined (even if you felt you were a quick learner). Everyone has their own pace to get settled at a new company.

I would caution you to get all the facts before you make such a bold statement to qualify people as not being qualified. Were you on the hiring panel for the position? Do you know what your manager was looking for? He/she may have a bigger picture vision in mind and made these hiring decisions based on factors not clear to you right now.

I would also caution you on ganging up with other colleagues against the “newbies” – this is common to do out of jealously, change, or interpersonal conflicts with new hires especially when you compare compensation (which I also caution you on doing as this is not your business) and in most cases done for the wrong reasons.

You and your colleagues as senior contributors to the team and should be doing everything to support a new hire’s on-boarding. Focus your energy on improving things versus complaining about aspects that you don’t have all the facts for. With this, you will be seen a productive team player and gain respect from new staff and your boss.

Suggest improvements to your manager if you have some concerns with their work – but don’t just tell him/her about the problem – help fix it. You are experienced and should focus on continuing with your high standard. Don’t let this distract you from your career – you control your career but don’t control that of others.

Are you facing a burning issue at work? Need help navigating that minefield? Let our Nine To Five experts help solve your dilemma. E-mail your questions to ninetofive@globeandmail.com. Confidentiality ensured. Weigh in with your view at tgam.ca/careers. Check out past columns at http://tgam.ca/DjTz

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