Another Odd Work Situation

hermes_lemming

my little etoupe
O.G.
May 5, 2006
11,352
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Oye this place is gonna give me white hair.

So some background, first baby fledgling company. Only been a freelancer once and usually had a string of large name companies in the past. So rarely ever witnessed any mass unproductive eccentricities. Yes, I've come across the one surly employee who didn't to behave but that was it. However here, lol I got 3/4 people who are acting out. The one who behaved and more importantly delivered was the new college grad! Everyone else (who had 5-18+yrs of experience on her) were:bagslap::pokey:

Add to this a HR person who cannot remain neutral. Very opinionated and takes sides. Yes I know... trouble.

So back to the problem at hand. My job is to make sure they do their duties and complete their project. Hence my title...I run daily 5 min roundtables where every annouces where they are etc. Because it's a public forum, naturally everyone wants to be portrayed in the best light. So they said they completed x,y and z when in secret, they haven't done jack shyt. I found this out for a one of the 3 misbehaviours. Let's call him Boy A.

Boy A actually started before me. And has an unbelievable attendance problem. He can't come to work on time (which is way past 8 am and just a bit before noon). When I first took on this role and noticed it, I naturally wanted to lay down the law. HR told me no because he was going through a rough time - facing eviction and wife was on dialysis. And his expertise is rare - it took HR a month to find him. Also turns out later, he wasn't being evicted. His placed just wasn't rent controlled and he had didn't want to pay the rent increase. Call me a cold witch but this is NOT eviction.

Boy A is also a Brit and LOVES to tell stories. I'm not sure as to his background but apparently he comes from a line of dukes, etc. But that's besides the point. I'm sure he is good at what he does but I have yet to see him produce. In fact I've caught him lost in thought staring out the window MANY times. My method of stopping this is usually IMing him and going "hey, how's the project going etc?" That usually snaps him out of it. He'll mention where he is stuck and I talk him through it and he is good til next time his concentration lapses. I cannot spend my day babysitting this fella.

Boy A is also at odds with Boy B. Boy B is a resident employee who's been there for some time. He has an ethnic background, hardworking, humble but has a bad habit of working on only projects he wants to work on. In fact he is notorious for this. I was warned of it during my interview. He and I have a healthy work relationship. Ie we act like adults. When he didnt deliver on all of his responsibilities we spoke of ways to improve for next time.

Boy B HATES boy A. Convinced Boy A talks down to him and is repulsed by Boy A's poor attendance record. He said Boy A isn't a team player and instead chooses to spread crap about him behind his back.

Back to the boys. All hell broke loose when last thurs, Boy A releases an email about his thoughts regarding the project. Boy B responds and says essentially "that's nice but we're deciding to go with this cuz of x,y, and z". Boy A is instantly livid n goes wtf and literally has a melt down. Immediately went to find my boss who is the VP of the place. At that time he was busy in another mtg and told him to wait. So instead of waiting, Boy A rings up HR who then rings up me. This all happened at lunch hour and I was just munching on some caterling leftoevers at the kitchen.

I ran back with a half eaten bowl and saw steam coming out of Boy A's ears. He could barely speak complaining that his weeks of work was for naught. (Come to find out later, he did nothing to prove a point). I told him to explain in 2 sentences what was wrong and forward me this email. He did and went to go get air as I was afraid I would see a live rendition of fight club. Now I'm not familiar with this technology but a quick learner and more importantly skilled in managing projects. I wikied every unfamiliar term on the email and briefed with Boy A after he got some air. I listened to his accusations and told him I will get to the bottom of this and please not to try and take everything so personal. I then sat with Boy B and heard his side (which was completely different). After I was done with that, I went to find my VP - but he already left for the day. He left hours ago unbeknownst to me. So I let things stand where they were and decided to address the next day. But I did email my boss an explanation of events that night before I went home. After hearing both sides, I was veering towards Boy B. HR was siding with Boy A.

Next morning, Boy B explained his side to the boss. Meanwhile, I'm having my azz served to me by HR who is yelling at me while she is WFH (actually she was having a pedicure done). She is frantic that Boy A might quit, complaining on how long it took her to find him, he can't quit, etc and I created this nightmare for her and handled it wrong. That I should have rang up my boss when I couldn't find him and say we had an emergency. Long story short - she told me that my boss will fire me because of this incident. She IMed me from a restaurant and said I have two weeks to resolve this or else. I was like wtf?

She is livid I didn't sit them both together. She didn't see what I saw - which was Boy A literally ready to bodily harm Boy B. And she chewed me out for not ringing my boss when I found out he was gone for the day. My boss is unique where he treats work and home life as division of state. Once you are here, you're here to work. But once you leave, it's all homelife. I explained this to her - adding he doesn't even want us working on weekends. She chastised me once more and asked didn't I ring work people after they left the office. I told her no. Not really - unless building was on fire (metaphor) or they happen to be working form home that day.

Turns out the reason why my boss left early was to celebrate his wife's bday. So they were doing something special and that's when I realized I didn't have his number. He gave it to me and said feel free to reach him anytime if I need him.

I actually sat with my boss right after he debriefed with Boy B. And after going through how the project went etc, we spoke of the quarrel btwn the two men. He said that Boy A hasn't delivered on anything and that his attendance was appaling. That if this continues, he will be escorted out. I told him what HR said - that I basically got yelled at cuz he is so hard to fine. And he corrected her by saying his opinion trumps hers. Just to manage him and he will warn him himself.

I suggested a seat change to help forge some sort of working relationship between Boy A and Boy B. Instead of being in opposite ends of the room, they will now be facing one another. My boss also assigned them to work on a project together. Boy B will be out of the office for the next few days on holiday so Boy A will be temporarily paired with my boss.

I also reseated another employee - lets call him Boy C. He has been at odds with HR because he reminds her of her ex. And he is a bit of an ... initially but I get along with him however that's just me. It's my job to get along with everyone or else I will have zero cooperation running these projects. I also gave him a piece of hardware that was housed in HR's room that he has been trying to get at for weeks as a consolidation prize for moving to less attractive seat. This was sort of my boss's idea. He advised me that in order for anything to work - you need to provide a win for everyone. He got this idea from raising his 4 and 2 yr old.

The other advantage here is that Boy A will now be seated near HR. So she can see how he works all day and see what the rest of us have been seeing - which is coming in ridiculously late and staring out the window.

I honestly don't know what else to do. HR basically ruined my weekend by threatening to fire me once more. She IMed me from the nail salon and told me I had 2 weeks to fix this or else. I was like wth? She didn't reply for a few min and said she'll talk to me about this mon.

I spoke with my boss that day and we just spoke of how we need to watch Boy A's output. Im plum out of ideas and now instead of kicking back on Easter, I'll be working on this. I already woke up and mapped out how to manage the remaining team members going forward. Bascially micromanage til they start proving themselves again. And I've researched dynamics of such a small environment and other project tips.

Does anyone have any other suggestions? Argh.
 
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hermes_lemming

my little etoupe
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May 5, 2006
11,352
1,313
Sorry to revisit a dead horse but this is clearly on my mind. What could I have done differently. If I rang up my boss and ruin his QT with his wife?:-s That would not bode well and make me look completely inadequate - yelling fire and come back to the office asap.

If I put boy A and boy B in the same room that day all hell broke loose, I might have had a ridiculously worse HR problem in my hand as boy A could not calm down and literally wanted to kill boy B.

They both had very different sides of the same story but after listening to both sides, boy B sounded more plausible. The only person who would have known the truth is actually my boss - who sided with boy B. He had access to certain data that I was not privy too.

I understand HR doesn't want boy A to quit under any means as she is not looking forward to replacing him but cmon, it's her job. She does staffing. In my boss's eyes, boy A is replaceable, as is everyone else in the company, including myself, if you don't pull your own weight. Not showing up on time, not doing your work just to prove a point (and blatantly lying and saying that you did...).

Sorry just venting.
 

Mininana

Dino <3
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Jul 10, 2008
7,212
653
HR sounds like she is very unprofessional! She needs to know that SHE is replaceable as well

Side with the boss and hope for the best

HR obviously goes by feelings rather than work output, so the boss should be able to have a saying on this at some point


Also, why is boy A so special for HR? Is he young and hot? Friends with her?
 

hermes_lemming

my little etoupe
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May 5, 2006
11,352
1,313
HR sounds like she is very unprofessional! She needs to know that SHE is replaceable as well

Side with the boss and hope for the best

HR obviously goes by feelings rather than work output, so the boss should be able to have a saying on this at some point


Also, why is boy A so special for HR? Is he young and hot? Friends with her?
Thats part of the problem. She thinks she isnt.

Boy A is so special to HR because she likes his personality. He is a grandpa, so not young and hot.

I think it will be ok. Im obviously side with the boss and will just do things my way from now on vs letting HR be privy to how I manage the team. All that coddling and look what happened. Im sorry he is undergoing personal stuff but Im really upset that Boy A lied to me. He said he did his work and about to finish that day (heard this every eay for the past week and a half of a 2 week project), knowing fully well we couldn't check it. Wtf would u lie about that? In reality, he didnt do his work to prove a point - which was in his opinion, Boy B was wrong and things should have been coded a certain way (their stuff in connected). Argh... lessons learned. I just gotta microcmanage them from now on. I personally hate that management style but they left me with no choice.
 
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Mininana

Dino <3
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Jul 10, 2008
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our
Thats part of the problem. She thinks she isnt.

Boy A is so special to HR because she likes his personality. He is a grandpa, so not young and hot.

I can't believe this lady!! UGH!!! Lots of good vibes your way!!!


Hoping she notices what a slack Boy A is!
 

hermes_lemming

my little etoupe
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May 5, 2006
11,352
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our


I can't believe this lady!! UGH!!! Lots of good vibes your way!!!


Hoping she notices what a slack Boy A is!
She will. One of my mitigating strategies is reseating Boy A. He will now sit next to HR's office so she will be privy to his lack of productivity, staring out of the window all day, coming in late, etc.
 

Mininana

Dino <3
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Jul 10, 2008
7,212
653
She will. One of my mitigating strategies is reseating Boy A. He will now sit next to HR's office so she will be privy to his lack of productivity, staring out of the window all day, coming in late, etc.


YES and she can eat her words!! I can't believe that lady, she should be the FIRST one to go!

Glad the boss trusts you this time rather than blindly making a decision like the last time
 

hermes_lemming

my little etoupe
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May 5, 2006
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YES and she can eat her words!! I can't believe that lady, she should be the FIRST one to go!

Glad the boss trusts you this time rather than blindly making a decision like the last time
Yea the reshuffling of seats was all my idea. My boss just looked at me and said "how do we fix this?" And so my idea is to force them to get along, make them face each other going forward and they're paired in projects. They don't have to be best friends but they have to be at least civil towards one another.

I still can't believe Boy A called Boy B "stupid" to his face, in a public meeting, IN FRONT of my boss!! Who da fk does that? When boy A told me this, I nearly fell over and immediately chastised him for such appaling behaviour. We're not in elementary school ffs.

As for my boss trusting me, this is merely my job. I'm sure if HR was there vs .... she would have had her two cents too.
 

Mininana

Dino <3
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Jul 10, 2008
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Yea the reshuffling of seats was all my idea. My boss just looked at me and said "how do we fix this?" And so my idea is to force them to get along, make them face each other going forward and they're paired in projects. They don't have to be best friends but they have to be at least civil towards one another.

I still can't believe Boy A called Boy B "stupid" to his face, in a public meeting, IN FRONT of my boss!! Who da fk does that? When boy A told me this, I nearly fell over and immediately chastised him for such appaling behaviour. We're not in elementary school ffs.

As for my boss trusting me, this is merely my job. I'm sure if HR was there vs .... she would have had her two cents too.

And hoping the boss realizes what a piece of work HR is! Does he have a say in HR's position?
 

hermes_lemming

my little etoupe
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May 5, 2006
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Ya. Ultimately his say counts.

But if you talk to her, she says that she knows how to handle him.

In retrospect, its all just a bad nightmare. She chewed me out afraid Boy A would quit, lamenting how long it took her to find someone of his skillset. That would hold weight if he showed up to work on time, actually did any work, etc.

My only fav part of that day was when I told my boss her reaction/blowup at me, and his immediate retort was "HL, my opinion matters way more than hers." Which is totally true.

For a while, it felt like I had two bosses when in reality I just have one. Im just doing things my way from now on. No more of this coddling nonsense (that HR encouraged cuz she doesn't want Boy A to quit). There has to be unity within the team and more importantly they have to produce... well!

Im learning up on whatever specialty boy A has so that im better equipped to micromanage him.
 

Midge S

I meant to do that.
Jan 14, 2012
2,081
15
Right Smack in the Middle
how large is this company? Since there is only 1 HR person I assume small. Is that why they are so quick to get involved with a workplace issue? (Usually things have to escalate b4 HR gets involved) And how is it her place in any way to threaten to fire you? Do you work under her?

A month is NOTHING from a recruiting standpoint, it takes that much time to find a warehouse person or retail help, far longer for a specialty or a tech based job.

Is there any possibility of you, your VP and the HR person getting in a room and hashing out the issues/drawing up a plan to where you work together to solve the issue?

If this story is an indicator of how things run in general at this place it sounds really toxic to me. If the only way to solve the issue is micromanaging then there is severe , underlying dysfunction IMO. ARe there positives that outweigh, or usually outweigh these problems?
 
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hermes_lemming

my little etoupe
O.G.
May 5, 2006
11,352
1,313
how large is this company? Since there is only 1 HR person I assume small. Is that why they are so quick to get involved with a workplace issue? (Usually things have to escalate b4 HR gets involved) And how is it her place in any way to threaten to fire you? Do you work under her?

A month is NOTHING from a recruiting standpoint, it takes that much time to find a warehouse person or retail help, far longer for a specialty or a tech based job.

Is there any possibility of you, your VP and the HR person getting in a room and hashing out the issues/drawing up a plan to where you work together to solve the issue?

If this story is an indicator of how things run in general at this place it sounds really toxic to me. If the only way to solve the issue is micromanaging then there is severe , underlying dysfunction IMO. ARe there positives that outweigh, or usually outweigh these problems?
The overall company is medium size. Less than a thousand but our office is a new branch. We're under 2 dozen n maybe only have about a dozen in the office at a time.

She is actually a recruiter who is temporarily contracting for us. She will be perm next month I think and has been temping for us for since Feb I think.

She is so quick to get involved because she views herself the at my boss's level (ie equivalent). She has a very high sense of self. It's a rather wierd dynamic IMO. She thinks she and my boss run the place where in reality, he has final say. She has no insight to anyone's output and makes her decisions/stances based on her own feelings towards the person. That's not right.

I don't think it's her place to fire me. I posted another thread about a month or two ago where she actually said I was a chihuaha and my boss never knew anything of this. This was during my first week here.

No I don't work nor report to her. She meddles in my work and my biz for two reasons - I think she is just trying to help out (ie. her heart is in the right place) and she thinks that she has a right to do so. In retrospect, I should have never let her meddle. I should have run the place as I see fit and run any biz questions with my boss alone, not her.

As far as the "month" comment, I really don't know what da heck that was about. I can't get that image/memory out of my head. How she literally chewed my *** out over the phone, from a fkn nail salon while having a pedicure done, saying that I created a complete HR nightmare for her. How boy A can't quit under any circumstance cuz he is SO special and boy B is lying. Da fk? Pardon my language but I keep replaying what I did over and over again. There is no way in hell I could have sat those men opposite of each other the day of the email. The hostility between them was entirely too raw. I was geniunely concerened there would be a physical slug match between them. Would she rather that happened instead? FFs.

Boy A was such a immature person that he had the audacity to call boy B stupid the next day! In front of our boss. Who does that? And worse yet was reluctant to come to work the following day. Feigned having a migraine and refused to come to work unless I "promised" him that he wasn't getting fired. Yes folks, these are the adults I deal with...

Interesting you should bring up us three in a room. That's never happened and I'm not sure why. It's always been either me n vp. Or me n HR. Or HR n VP. I will try that. Thanks for the suggestion.

Yes I agree, it's clearly toxic. Mind you, I'm nowhere near perfect but I've been a professional for almost 20 yrs. Never in my whole entire existence have I ever witnessed so much dysfunction in a short amount of time.
 

redney

Lovin' Life!
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Apr 21, 2006
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Some things you say don't add up, and I'm wondering if some exaggeration is involved.

If the HR person is only a recruiter who has been temping for the company since February, how on earth would she have any sort of authority over terminating anyone there, including you? So why would you even let whatever she "threatens" bother you then?

And if she's only been there since February, then how did she possibly have hired "Grandpa A" in 30 days, so he's thus also a new hire to the company, hired before you, right? And already seems to have significant responsibilities and has significantly goofed off for only a month without reprimand?

Who does he actually report to and why isn't that person involved in his poor performance, especially in what is typically considered to be a probationary period?

Seems to me that if neither employee A or B (I can't call them "boys", sorry, that's unprofessional too) reports directly to you yet things have escalated this much, why aren't their bosses involved - meaning why haven't you escalated the situation if this work falls on you to shepherd it to a successful conclusion? Get em in a room and hash it out, as another poster suggested, but keep the meddling temp to perm recruiter out of it.
 
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