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Are there bad employees ?

  • 31-10-2022 12:54pm
    Registered Users Posts: 723 ✭✭✭Skyrimaddict


    I am going to start this post by saying:

    I am a Mid-Senior manager in a Semi-state. I have a team of around 50 who report to me, of which probably 90% would run through a wall for you to get a job done. We have no bonus or pay related way to incentivise these staff so really the only thing they get is a thanks from me and knowing they are doing a good job. Those that I know go the hard yards will get the same from me, and flexibility where I can, within my power.

    I personally would like to think I am an Ok manager and leader. I work hard, do the jobs no one else wants to do and will push the team where I can to make things better. I took over a service in the past which was in a full continuance review and turned things around, with the team. I should point out that I inherited my team outside of 4 new hires and a list of problems with the existing team

    This brings me to my current post reason. I have around 10% of the team who wont work, no matter what. Micro manage, marco hands off manages, set goals, leave them set own goals, training, mentorship etc. I am a voracious reader of online articles and books around leadership, pitfalls, how to lead, motivate etc. One area in the onine sphere I constantly find is that everything seems to fall back to the manager.

    Ask staff to do a job, they dont do it and when you ask for reasons they blame everything except themselves. Quiet Quitting is a new one I have read about. Of the 10% I have issue with I have now been subject to a list of issues from them, emails which get short quickly, asking for things to be done by deadlines and when not done I link in HR, things of this nature.

    Now I will admit, I am not a saint. I like things to be done, done well ( where the person has the ability) and to keep pushing for our end users. I will work with someone once they have an interest in the job and have taken risks on staff in the past in new roles, etc to support them ( have worked out).

    My overall question, when does it stop being the managers fault? To quote Jim Collins , " get the right people on the bus"



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,245 ✭✭✭Xander10


    End of thread.......

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,722 ✭✭✭oceanman

    you are doing very well at 10% be thankfull.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,180 ✭✭✭gameoverdude

    You sound a bit like me. Working the whole long weekend (eejit that I am).

    But I have a good boss and when things calm down I'll tell them I'm taking the next two days off. All give and take with me.

    All you can do is be seen to get your hands dirty when going gets tough and if the lads need you, be there.

    As above 10% is good.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1 kathysmithh

    sure there are

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  • Yes. One particular "colleague" managed to literally hack his "stats" so successfully that he got chosen to travel abroad to mentor the outsource team when that was happened. He got a nice holiday out of it. 15 years ago.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,180 ✭✭✭gameoverdude

    Honesty doesn't pay apparently.

    At op. Exude the virtues of the good ones. Try and sideline the crap ones, where they can do least harm(we got you a Netflix subscription) a smart way.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,118 ✭✭✭BrianD3

    You sound like a good manager. The fact that 90% will go through a wall for you and that you've been interested enough to read about management pitfalls to avoid is a very good sign.

    Bad managers and bad staff is a chicken and egg scenario. If a manager says that most or all of his staff are useless, there's almost always more to it than that.

    A change of management where a "bad" manager is brought in can result in previously "good" staff turning "bad" pretty quickly. If the bad manager is then replaced with a good one, it's difficult to get the previously good, now bad, staff back to being good.

    If the good manager is constant and the staff change (not due to the manager, due to retirement etc.), if the manager has any say in the hiring of replacements, he probably won't find himself in a situation where he is lumbered with bad staff. Whereas a bad manager will often end up hiring bad staff.

    Post edited by BrianD3 on

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,947 ✭✭✭✭banie01

    Yes, some employees are coasters and you will find that within every group. I'd hazard that even within the portion of your team that is performing? That the old Pareto chestnut of 80% of your "best" work is performed by 20% of your team.

    In private enterprise, 15% of your direct reports are expected to be below expected targets. It's borne out in copious management, HR and psychology reports and research.

    There isn't a whole lot you can do about that and from reading your OP? You have tried everything reasonable. There comes a point with employees such as the ones you are having issue with, would in private enterprise at least. Be managed out of the organisation. Be that via PIP and disciplinary intervention or other means. Likely not paths available to you in a semi-state.

    It is an awkward situation and one that if not handled well? Can quickly lead to resentment among your better staff, when the high performers are subject to the same rewards and lack of incentive as the low performers.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 25,249 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    You shod be getting coaching from your own manager about how the company wants the low performers handled.

    In a semi-state, the company may well be happy for them to coast. In a genuine for profit company, they would be encouraged to find a job which is a better fit with their aspirations.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,462 ✭✭✭growleaves

    I don't agree that there is such a strict delineation between semi-state/state and the private sector in this respect.

    Many for-profit corporations are inefficient, bloated entities that wouldn't be out of place in the Soviet Union and anyway they must bend to reams of government regulation. In many cases they are like carbon copies of some government department.

    If you think people aren't coasting by in these "competitive" businesses you've been had. In the case of some corporations 99% of their "business" consists of government contracts and the whole operation is like a disguised dole.

    A guy I worked with in one private corporation could barely read or write but was considered a 'good' employee, and personally praised by the CEO, because he made an effort and stayed out of trouble.

    I am not the type to faint

    When things are odd or things are quaint

  • Moderators, Music Moderators Posts: 19,718 Mod ✭✭✭✭Mr.S

    100%. There are always employees who do the bear minimum or less, or are just poor at their job. Semi / State is full of them.

    If they are able to do minimumal amount of work, and still get paid, what is the motivation to do more? You'd wonder who is winning - the person putting in 5% effort, or the person going 200% but both getting paid the same?

    At least with a bonus structure you reward good performance!

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,885 ✭✭✭✭recode the site

    10-15% of people are useless in most/many spheres, live lives dependent on everyone else in spite of appearing to have no particular developmental issues. The ones with learned helplessness, maybe addiction issues, or perhaps otherwise live fairly distracted & chaotic lives. Some may perform in certain niche areas of special interest, but never in a mundane sort of job. They are the type of people who are carried by everyone else, and in public service where there’s not even a monetary incentive that might possibly motivate a cohort of these, they are like putting lead in the boot of the car and expecting it to move fast uphill. I’ve seen them at many levels. - serving exiled talent

  • Registered Users Posts: 723 ✭✭✭Skyrimaddict

    Thanks for the replies, some very good ones.

    One other issue which I am finding, and this may be the crux of my concerns. the 10% who are not performing are very well liked by around 50% of the staff, so one thing I have noticed in the last 2 years is the good ones complaining a lot more, and in some cases about issues they should not know about.

    An example, KPIs for one service are, at previous request of staff, brought up at monthly meetings. I have heard back from some of the staff who I trust very much that the 10% are moaning to the other 90% about how unfair it is their performance is being brought up, how there is no reward for doing well, how unfair the place is, expectations etc. I can see all this is having an effect on morale, but as said the 10% are well liked by around half the staff, so this in turn in causing other negative effects.

    As for PIP and manage out, the famous one is staff who go to a PIP go sick for 2-3 months, then blame stress for the sick leave, then come back to PIP being removed automatically.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,596 ✭✭✭Buddy Bubs

    I manage a company with approx 130 employees, we have a few bad eggs who just don't like working and complain and moan about everything.

    We have another few who just aren't that strong, lack confidence and take up others time to help them get over the line, in general I have no problem with this group once they try, they don't get paid big money.

    We have 90 employees at least that are diligent and do what is expected of them.

    We have about 10-15 that go above and beyond and keep the whole thing together, all on higher salaries as a result

    One thing that became very apparent recently is how poor the selection is at the moment, we have had quite a few over the last year or so that didnt last even a few weeks, young guys with extremely poor attitude towards work and pretty much unemployable.

  • Registered Users Posts: 723 ✭✭✭Skyrimaddict


    That is an eye opener.

    Are you public or private?

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,397 ✭✭✭✭ELM327

    These are similar in where I work too. Large MNC. Plenty of people in roles like mine in the company that don't bother their hole doing anything can get paid half my salary despite having the same job title. Anyone I've interviewed recently has joined and produced and got pay rises - if you just do the minimum you'll coast by until there are redundancies.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,596 ✭✭✭Buddy Bubs

    Private sector. The above refers to a range of positions......admin, finance, sales, service technicians, manufacturing staff, warehouse

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,596 ✭✭✭Buddy Bubs

    Yep even within each job type, we have people on different wages and salaries, this can cause a bit of discontent but if you produce, you get paid and we don't shy away from that.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,080 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    There's always a few who do very little. If you are unable to reward people with remuneration, you can certainly reward them other flexibility, like wft or time in lieu at the managers discretion.

    How are people measuring KPIs especially as related to PMDS or similar. Because you can have two similar projects and call one a success and the other on a failure with very effort.

    Was looking at one bit work recently where people were complaining a person was taking ages to do some task. But when their manager was monitoring it went much faster. The implication was the worker was slacking off. In fact the manager had to complete some steps of the task, but when he wasn't around the work stopped. It was the manager that was the roadblock not the worker.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,299 ✭✭✭caviardreams

    Note sure what you mean here? Had the worker not flagged with the manager they needed input for a roadblock? If so and teh manager was ignoring it, it's completely on the manager. But if it wasn't communicated to the manager that they needed help, then this is a resposnibilty of each individual worker in my view, especially with remote working - it's basic communication, and communication needs to be two way and proactive in communicating problems when there are blocks. Too often this doesn't happen, and the manager has to ask and ask, and follow-up - often getting ignored in the process. That's not the manager's fault - it's a shared responsibility.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,080 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    Oh yes. It was was communicated ad nauseum.

  • Employees who have become "the cotton wool" and stop as much as they can any communication between different ranks of staff. They may say things like "Before contacting Mdrfrger Hyiuy in X Department, run it by ME first!" And the thing can go no further. In the bigger organisations. Irish and American companies.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,006 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    yes there are. But only one person can actively enable a bad employee… A bad manager.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,080 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    Institutional road blocks due to organizational culture.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,080 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    I was going to say sometimes you have people being pushing into roles they don't suite. Like a square peg into a round hole. Then the square peg get blamed.

    That said the OP certainly sounded like they tried to make things work. But sometimes (rare enough I would say) some people just don't work out.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,947 ✭✭✭✭banie01

    And unfortunately that culture is often the hardest to change. I've seen many examples of wholesale efforts to change processes and Comms paths all meet the implacable rock of culture within orgs and founder.

    It's easy to blame culture, it's easy to say management could and should address and change it. It is an incredibly hard thing to do and even harder to maintain in my experience.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,080 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    So true.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,442 ✭✭✭the_pen_turner

    you sound like a good manager but have you actually talked to them about it

    using BS terms like quiet quitting i very concerning . they are doing what they are paid to do and nothing more. nothing wrong with that. lots of people are happy to tread water and do an easy day for low money instead of more work for slightly more money ( or even the same money)