Normally I would say this would be in a business blog and it still might but this was one I had to get off my chest.
Recently an employee was fired where I work at and my response when I was told was…”What took so long?” This employee had been warned and was pushing toward this anyway but the fact it took so long made others wonder if it was ever going to happen or if it was them would they be allowed such latitude? Fair question. Which raises the question did the company really do her a disservice firing her when they did or could they salvage both their internal reputation and her future performance by nip this in the bud sooner?
There is more to this story. Ready? here we go.
This employee had issues with lateness, lateness coming to work and lateness returning from breaks and lunch to the point that it became a subject to a investigation internally. This has been a problem from just about the start of her time there numbering years with the company. Problem is instead of dealing with the problem of lateness early on they simply passed her on to another manager, then to another and another and finally her last manager who even though she kept being late was promoted. That didn’t sit well within her own department and only then did the manager and HR have a sit down and finally stripped her of the promotion. It still didn’t address the issue of lateness and it didn’t cast the manager in a good light because he pushed for her promotion at the expense of other more deserving employees in his department. The lateness to work was bad enough especially considering they were scheduled at different times, but when you are late coming back from two 15 minute breaks and one 30 minute lunch …everyday…it is too much. This is an easy fix for a manager worth his or her salt.
Have a sit down and state what the issue is find out if there is a problem that could making it hard for her to be on time. It is a requirement of the job to be on time. But it was allowed to continue to the point that only after others protested her lateness did they give her a warning then demoted her . That will fix the problem right? Nope. She had a time management problem that was getting worse by the day. Late from two 15 minute breaks and still be in the same building …that’s a problem that really need to be addressed. Late from lunch and you eat in the break room and still late? Unacceptable! Again this is a simple fix …this is the company requirement to be on time when returning from lunch and breaks. If this is a problem for you maybe this isn’t the right place for you.
It places the responsibility on the employee to change the behavior and quick. It lets them know they are being watched and that lateness will not be tolerated. The goal is to correct the behavior. Yet no conversations were had until it was too late. Then it was a case of locking the barn after the cows left. Passing her on to another department didn’t work she only got the impression that she was doing enough right to warrant another opportunity to move around in the company. Now the problem had become the talk of the workplace she was toxic. No other department wanted to take her own and now the company had no choice but to stick to it’s own policy regarding lateness. She was finally sent packing and she didn’t look happy as she was leaving. She believes she was conspired against. Why? Because no one really had a real sit down with her and got to the root of her problem of lateness they just passed her own to the next department who tolerated it for a time the on to the next. In the end she was done a disservice by all involved because she will not see the problem for what it is …her time management. She is will find another job and will believe this job didn’t treat her right and will go to the next one doing the same thing she did that cause her dismissal in the first place …be late everyday.
My point is by not getting to the root of the issue and passing her on and even going so far as promoting her it gave her the signal that what she did was ok and in fact accepted so why change anything? Now it yanked away? Why ? It sent the wrong message to her when early own it could have been handled much differently. In the end the company did her a disservice and now she will leave not understanding what she needs to do to prevent this from happening to her again.