Author Topic: So Close to a Great Job  (Read 1174 times)

FIREGuy

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So Close to a Great Job
« on: November 05, 2018, 09:25:05 AM »
So I've been at the same job for the past 3 years and things have been going reasonably well. I've gotten a couple of raises (making 50% more now than when I started), I like my boss, and I like the owner of the company that I get to work with from time to time. I am able to get my work done quickly and efficiently and have a ton of flexibility about when I am in the office. There is still an old-school sentiment that unless you are at the office until 5 on the dot, you must be slacking, but my boss does not buy into this and since I get all my work done, he doesn't really seem to care.

The biggest issue I have is right now I am working on tightening up a lot of our processes and making things a lot more efficient. I have made some headway over the last couple of years, but there is a huge roadblock in the form of two older employees who refuse any sort of change and struggle with technology (one wasn't entirely sure how to attach a file to an email). I know how much work each of them does, and I've replaced/automated some of their tasks with much more efficient systems. However, I am at a point where I can't stand trying to pry more and more work from them, and they have become a huge roadblock in my bosses goal of making things run smoother. My boss is aware of their ways and his idea is to simply "wait them out" until retirement. I'm tired of trying to work with them and it is very unmotivating for me to see something that can be done in 5 minutes be stretched out to 2 hours because "that is the way we have always done it."

I've started to look for other jobs, but if there was a way to make this one work, I would love it. I get paid well, my boss is great, my other co-workers are great, and I get along with the owner's son who is a smart young guy. I could see myself working with him over the next few years to improve a lot of things around the company, but it just drives me insane that we won't take some simple steps to make things better.

How can I convince my boss to get rid of these employees so we can actually make some progress?

PlainsWalker

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Re: So Close to a Great Job
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2018, 09:54:43 AM »
    It sounds like you've done what you can and your manager is aware of the situation. If your manager's solution is "wait them out" I'd try to focus my efforts elsewhere. It sounds like you have a good thing going otherwise.

SKL-HOU

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Re: So Close to a Great Job
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2018, 10:05:40 AM »
Have a little empathy. The boss is okay with waiting them out and he is aware that they are a roadblock.

J Boogie

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Re: So Close to a Great Job
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2018, 10:40:49 AM »
How can I convince my boss to get rid of these employees so we can actually make some progress?

I would actually take advantage of this opportunity to learn from your boss. It seems there are some leadership skills he is demonstrating you could benefit from.

While it would seem obvious that these older employees should be shown the door so your organization can realize some immediate productivity benefits, it could jeopardize the wellbeing of the company. When these types of decisions are made, other employees notice. And maybe they decide to kick it into high gear so they don't get canned too. Or maybe they no longer feel this is a place of stable employment, so they start looking for other jobs.

Your boss knows you have to balance competing visions. Obviously you can't be a very successful company if you never value efficiency boosts. But you have to consider the bigger picture, the long view. Managers that understand this will typically rely on attrition to arrive at their ideal headcount once automation efficiency gains have been made.

Ask your boss to show you some other areas where you can focus your efforts. He can probably tell you're hungry and you're frustrated that you've run into this dead end. He should be able to give you some runway so you can keep up your momentum. In the meantime, make sure you're being polite and respectful with how you speak to and of others. General pleasantness and willingness to be a positive team player make a huge difference when it comes to career trajectory.








use2betrix

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Re: So Close to a Great Job
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2018, 11:03:55 AM »
How can I convince my boss to get rid of these employees so we can actually make some progress?

I would actually take advantage of this opportunity to learn from your boss. It seems there are some leadership skills he is demonstrating you could benefit from.

While it would seem obvious that these older employees should be shown the door so your organization can realize some immediate productivity benefits, it could jeopardize the wellbeing of the company. When these types of decisions are made, other employees notice. And maybe they decide to kick it into high gear so they don't get canned too. Or maybe they no longer feel this is a place of stable employment, so they start looking for other jobs.

Your boss knows you have to balance competing visions. Obviously you can't be a very successful company if you never value efficiency boosts. But you have to consider the bigger picture, the long view. Managers that understand this will typically rely on attrition to arrive at their ideal headcount once automation efficiency gains have been made.

Ask your boss to show you some other areas where you can focus your efforts. He can probably tell you're hungry and you're frustrated that you've run into this dead end. He should be able to give you some runway so you can keep up your momentum. In the meantime, make sure you're being polite and respectful with how you speak to and of others. General pleasantness and willingness to be a positive team player make a huge difference when it comes to career trajectory.

Spot on post.

If your boss is aware - he will also be aware that further progression in that scope of work is not in your control, and will not hold it against you

FIREGuy

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Re: So Close to a Great Job
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2018, 11:33:11 AM »
How can I convince my boss to get rid of these employees so we can actually make some progress?

I would actually take advantage of this opportunity to learn from your boss. It seems there are some leadership skills he is demonstrating you could benefit from.

While it would seem obvious that these older employees should be shown the door so your organization can realize some immediate productivity benefits, it could jeopardize the wellbeing of the company. When these types of decisions are made, other employees notice. And maybe they decide to kick it into high gear so they don't get canned too. Or maybe they no longer feel this is a place of stable employment, so they start looking for other jobs.

Your boss knows you have to balance competing visions. Obviously you can't be a very successful company if you never value efficiency boosts. But you have to consider the bigger picture, the long view. Managers that understand this will typically rely on attrition to arrive at their ideal headcount once automation efficiency gains have been made.

Ask your boss to show you some other areas where you can focus your efforts. He can probably tell you're hungry and you're frustrated that you've run into this dead end. He should be able to give you some runway so you can keep up your momentum. In the meantime, make sure you're being polite and respectful with how you speak to and of others. General pleasantness and willingness to be a positive team player make a huge difference when it comes to career trajectory.

I do understand the need to keep morale up and make sure that people aren't constantly fearing for their jobs, but the thing is, my boss has expressed frustration about the employee's lack of performance over the past 2 years but has not done anything about it. The thing that is the most frustrating is that he wants me to work on getting our month end closeout process tightened up by creating checklists of everything and trying to help these employees get their stuff done, when all that really needs to be done is to replace them or even get rid of them. It's like trying to find the most efficient way to dig a hole with a shovel when there is a backhoe sitting right there.

It is a very laid back company, and I don't think he has really had any push to get rid of them. I know he values my work, and I'm hoping I can convey my sense of frustration in a respectful but serious manner.

Duke03

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Re: So Close to a Great Job
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2018, 01:30:39 PM »
Dude slow your roll.....


I know you mean well and all, but you are approaching this the wrong way.  You under estimate how much pull two senior people can have in an office environment.....  Your boss knows this that's why he just deals with it.  Focus your attention some where else and just try to help them get up to speed.  I certainly wouldn't leave a great job over this.

Mustache ride

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Re: So Close to a Great Job
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2018, 02:00:57 PM »
There's always going to be roadblocks in any job. Quitting to go somewhere else will eventually lead to the same problem. We obviously don't know your credentials, but it's clear from your posts that you're an individual contributor without management experience. A lot of people don't understand the intricacies of managing a team and how it impacts the big picture.

I'm making an assumption here, but if your manager is "waiting them out" to retirement, they must be pretty old. The first major question is can the company withstand an age discrimination lawsuit (could be compounded by gender, race, etc.)? Sure the employee(s) might not have a leg to stand on, but when a suit is filed against the company, they are paying their lawyers regardless of whether the case has merit or is frivolous. Between the initial upfront cost of having the lawyers, you also have to determine your risk of losing the case. I'm making up an example here, your process improvement might save the company $100k. If they filed a lawsuit that puts the company at risk to lose $500k, that's 5 years worth of savings. If said employee was retiring in 3 years, it might be worth it for the company to stand pat.

This is just one of many things that need to be evaluated when making a decision like this. Basically what I'm trying to say is focus on your role and what you can control, and don't worry about the rest. There will always be bottlenecks no matter where you go.

FIREGuy

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Re: So Close to a Great Job
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2018, 05:43:54 AM »
Thanks for the perspective everyone. I agree I do have a good thing going for the majority of my work and it may make more sense to just do what I can and then wait the employees out. I expressed my frustration to my boss yesterday in a respectful manner, but he stuck with his plan. I guess that is really all I can do.

wageslave23

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Re: So Close to a Great Job
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2018, 10:34:20 AM »
I have the same issue at my work.  I've come to the same conclusion, you mention it to the owners and then just try to forget about it.  Its something that I keep in mind now when I am interviewing potential new hires - are they adaptable?  Because it is very frustrating for an efficiency freak like me.

bognish

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Re: So Close to a Great Job
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2018, 12:20:02 PM »
Document the problem, your suggested solution, and the roadblock to fixing it. Send it to your boss in writing and keep a copy. Now you have documentation that you tried to improve something and were told to stop. If it comes up in a review down the road this supports why the issue still exists. This may seem unnecessary, but maybe the reason you boss is telling you to leave it alone is because he is going to quit in 9 months and doesn't want to rock the boat before he leaves. When the new boss comes in you will look like you are making up excuses for not solving simple problems unless you have that email.
After you have documented the issue move on and leave it alone. There must be other problems or processes you can apply your efforts to. Focus your energy there. Or use your free time to improve your skill set at work. Have the company pay for online continuing education classes or software training. Find a new way to make your job great.

forgerator

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Re: So Close to a Great Job
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2018, 04:54:24 PM »
We had a similar situation here at work however ours is a mega Corp and we have processes to deal with these scenarios, for example rotate the low performing employee to a different team (I don't like that since it's just making it someone else's problem) , or putting the employee on a program where if they don't shore up their performance they get kicked out.

I would have to say I do disagree with a lot of comments here who are defending your manager's stance. In my opinion it shows your boss lacks spine. If he knows that he has these poor performers in the team who are a major obstacle to the company's goals then he should at least escalate it up the chain.

Meanwhile for you it doesn't harm to seek other opportunities while continuing to work here.

It seems like you have drive to learn and improve yourself. You can definitely benefit from surrounding yourself with like minded team members.

Goldielocks

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Re: So Close to a Great Job
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2018, 12:24:51 PM »
I have had a similar job / task, with similar loyalty long term employees.   "The day they put a computer on my desk is the day that I quit".   One of them famously said.

You need to take the longer term strategy. Just because someone is old does not mean that they stop learning or growing, but it does mean that they can be very happy with status quo.   It takes about 2 years to change a work / team culture to one that accepts changes easily.

Your task is to get the team / culture to one that is pretty easy-going about changes, and you need to start micro-small.  You may already be 1 year into this already, by the way.

The key is that the employees need to feel like the change is their idea, like their ideas and POV matters.  So.  Ask them what bugs them about their current job or what they think would be better.  Sometimes it is something simple, like having a broom always put away where it should be so they don't need to look for it, or something about the way a person in the job process ahead of them does / hands off the work.  Sometimes it is an observation about an entirely different department.

Keep having casual / information discussions.  The ideas / comments will grow slowly.   Eventually you will be able to put a couple of ideas together and be able to suggest a very simple change. That is intended to benefit THEM, based on their comments.  If you can start with non-electronic based changes (like moving the inbox to a more logical place), that are very easy and show benefit to the employee, it is great.   Next, you can show one very small, simple electronic solution (like moving the paper hand-off to an attachment).  You may even need to do this for them / sit beside them as they do it for a while, and make small changes to it as they struggle a bit.   Note, always train them one on one, because they are embarrassed about lack of PC skills infront of their peers / co workers.  (Just like you would be).

Example -- I had the email with attachment "ding" when it arrived to the inbox.  It was a busy office and we had used the visual paper inbox as the means to trigger handling the task.  The ding was to help overcome the fear that the hand-off via email would be missed (a complaint that the person made before we started trying it).  This ding, however, drove the older person batty, and when I noticed and turned it off, they were suddenly much more approachable the next time I suggested a change.  Because they knew I would do what I could to fix small issues that would come up, to their benefit.

The person with the quote above -- who had never touched a pc in his life before I sat down and trained him on a new system (taking place of the CHALKBOARD/RADIO system!) at age 65... well, he stayed for another 3 years  after that PC arrived, before retiring, even though he had full pension a long time before..

bognish

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Re: So Close to a Great Job
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2018, 01:46:10 PM »
I would defend the managers position simply because we are getting 1 limited perspective on the employees performance. Maybe they really are bad at the tasks FIREGuy is great at, but maybe there are other duties of functions that make them worth keeping. Maybe they have deep institutional knowledge that is valuable to the company.  Maybe they are cheap and not worth a discrimination lawsuit when they are going to retire next year.
Its great having a change everything employee, but usually they don't stick around very long. If Boss man gets rid of the 'slackers' once the changes are done and FIREGuy moves on the boss is left with no employees and is starting from scratch again. I have managed teams that had slow inefficient employees. They were retained because they got basic functions done reliably and they were paid like low functioning employees (i.e. bottom of the pay scale). When they left due to attrition I replaced them with better employees, but I had to push the salary way up to get them on board. If I did not have that flexibility in my budget I would be stuck. I couldn't explain any of that to their coworkers.