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  • #2181506

    IT Department staffing issue


    by sbnc ·

    I work as the IT Manager in a 100 person office. My co-workrer was put into the department becuase of her friendship with the HR manager at the time. This person has no technical background or skills other that training and basic application support as this person was the Word Processing Supervisor previously. As they have no formal training, I have to write everyhting down step-by-step for them and as they have no real interest in this area (other than for money), I get counteless calls when away from the office wanting me to walk her through problems as she doesn’t have the ability to reseach simple issues on their own. As examples, she was asked to restart a serice on the Exchange server and instead of logging off when finished, restarted the server mid-day when she was done. Also she does not respond to email notifications of network failures as she does not understand the messages. Why not call someone if you don’t know. The best part is that she feels that she works just as much as I do yet she refuses to come in at 3:00am or on weekends to perform maintenance. Anyways, enough venting…I have been asked by the Executive Committee to put a business case together to hire an additional staff member to help in the department as finally, in a past meeting, she admitted to the EC that she lacks the ability to cover/assist me in the way that is required after I brought them a list of prerequesites (very basic tasks) for anyone working in an IT Department. Are there any free resources out there or any advice that you can offer ? I have some notes that I have made but just can’t seem to put it all together. As she has been with the company for 10 years, they may use this to move her out of the department or as a way to justify letting her go.


All Comments

  • Author
    • #3193401

      Job description?

      by knudsenmj ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      We are facing much the same issue. My strategy is going to be to hold people very tightly to what is outlined in their job description.

      Our JD’s have language stating what is a “required skill” and what are “Core Duties”

      I would hope that her JD has something that says she has to have “communication skills”, if so then shutting down the server mid day without notifying stakeholders is flat crappy communication skills.

      If her PD is too loose to define what she should know and have responsibility over, then maybe you can start by tightening that up. What I’ve seen work well is to create a draft and let the individual help to flesh it out.

      You say she’s a co-worker so I have to assume that some of this is outside your control. If that’s the case, you can still work to define your own operational level agreement with her manager to outline that you cannot provide escalation support around issues outside of your responsibility.

      • #3193369

        Job description

        by sbnc ·

        In reply to Job description?

        The problem with the job description isn’t with the wording. It with being able to hold someone accountable to what is in their job decsription. 3 years ago we had to create our job descriptions with the help of the COO. In an attempt to embelish themselves and justify their existence (IMO), she put every single item in her job description that she ever assisted me with. Now, 3 years later, her explanantion is that becuase we don’t use thick clients anymore as we have gone completely to Terminal Services, she is no longer required to help with upgrades or repairs to computers. What tasks in her job description that she could justify being there, she either said she could partialy complete the task or that she was no longer comfortable doing it. It seems to me that the problem started 3 years ago when the COO failed to properly verify the legitamacy of her job description instead of taking it at face value.

      • #3192987

        Try this

        by greggmo ·

        In reply to Job description?

        Follow links to chapter/member in your area and get their guidance on this matter. HR took no steps to help you be successful.

        Also, start networking for a new employer… your current employer is not looking out for you!

      • #3173076

        Job Description is right.

        by pka ·

        In reply to Job description?

        You need to have job descriptions as well as work tickets on work performed to illistrate competence and show the backlog of work justifiing new hires. A mandantory traing program wouldn’t hurt either.

        You mention the employee in question was recently a supervisor of some years in another dept so you are probably dealing with some resentment and hard feelings there. T
        alk to her and ask her if she really wants this job. You may want to arrange a transfer.

      • #3175228

        How Do I Measure It?

        by oregonnative ·

        In reply to Job description?

        Knudsen is right on with the job description. To “required skill” and “Core Duties”, I would add “Performance Metric” and “Desired Outcome”.

        The Performance Metric is exactly how you will measure the application of the skill. If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it. Required skills should be demonstrable. You could use vendor certification, Brainbench testing, Mindleaders assessment, or whatever you want. Just make it something where someone else makes the decision whether or not the knowledge is there.

        Desired Outcome would be a description of the environment without the chaos currently being faced. In the Exchange story given, for example, the Desired Outcome might be 99.9% Uptime reliability for the email system. For the PCs, it would be a similar measure of uptime, or a time limit for resolving PC issues (2 hours?).

        These definitions make the job description a bit tougher to write, but it will pay off big time in justifying a disciplinary action to HR!!!

    • #3191693


      by jaqui ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      to prove the ability to perform job functions.
      every mmember of the department has to submit thier own report, on exactly what it would take to migrate the entire company to linux.

      what, if any hardware issues.
      what software they would recommend for office suite.
      which distro, and why.
      time frame, start to finish for the migration.

      you get the idea huh?

      after all, any tech can easily figure out what is involved, and get the data.

      each report is rated on how well it sells the migration. when she asks you for help on it, then you simply say, sorry I’m working on a different report, I don’t have time to research that for you.

      the ability to write a good report doesn’t prove ability to be a tech, but when it’s on a subject that she most likely knows noting about, a bad report shows a significant lack of job skills for any position in an it department.

    • #3191484

      Are you the IT Manager?

      by netsuperv ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      If you are the IT Manager, then I would think this person reports to you. If she does then you need to document, document, and continue to document her failure to perform her duties and notify her in the form of counseling and reprimand letters. You must have a paper trail. In addition to documentation you will also be held accountable for training and working with her on a corrective plan of action. If she fails to perform at an acceptable level after that, then you have the documentation and examples to prove that along with additional training provided that she has repeatedly failed to do her job despite everything. Removing someone from a position (especially if they have been with the company 10 years) is not an easy task and must be justifiable. The compnay has 10 years invested in an employee understanding their basic mode of operation and as a manager you will have to justify be giving specific and repeateded problems which this employee has either been incapable of correcting or refused to correct. If she is your coworker then give your manager the data he needs to work with. If you are going to complain about another employee you must have proof and specific examples so it does not get perceived as petty or a possible personality conflict.

    • #3191464

      This should be easy !

      by ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      Document discussions of job failures, write them up and be done with the process. In a case where job failure and lack of skills is this obvious as you portray it. This is a matter of working it from simply asking for a resignation to simply and outright firing the deficient employee. My question is, how is HR forcing this issue with the IT Management ? There’s more to this than meets the eye.

      • #3191453

        Getting Help

        by rpoccia ·

        In reply to This should be easy !

        As the previous people posted write up an outline and document etc. Set up a timeline as to when the person should have some understanding as to what is occuring. Include training and what will be done. You are only one person so do not take on all the training responsibilities. Send her to a cram class. In the warning letter indicate she has x amount of times to try to pass the test or she will be let go. If cost is an issue remind the individuals that put her into your department that you are trying to save a 10 year investment. If this does not work perhaps you can transfer her out of your department. Ten years is a long time and Management might go along with it.
        It is obvious she has some good skills they are not in the area she is in. I would also talk to the person in a very candid manner and tell her what the deal is. Tell her the circumstance you are in and the ramifications it will have on her. Perhaps someone owes her a favor and if she calls in her chips they will create a position for her.
        The goal is to train her if she wants to do this work. If not get rid of her. Either permanantly or by making her someone elses issue.

        As far as hiring new people to do this position. Make a very detailed job description. Place in it off hour work will be mandatory if the circumstances require it. Create a list of your day to day activities and make this part of the description. When hiring someone test them on their knowledge of these functions. This will require setting up a test. Make it as simple or complicated as you want. If you make it complicated you will quickly weed out the people who know and the ones who don’t. This will also give you a good guage as to if the person is trainable. Creation of a test can be time consuming but it will pay for itself down the road. In addition to this require minimimums, 4 year degree, certifications etc. x number of years in the industry etc.

    • #3191423

      Lay it out so you have a plan.

      by wearsmanyhats ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      If you are “the” IT Manager then I would (re-)impress this on someone there as it seems as if they have forgotten that.

      One way to do this is to take a few days and start cataloging all of the work that you do, all the work that needs to be done, and all of the work that your co-worker is doing. Break it down into two job descriptions that clearly layout required and core needs, as the poster earlier suggested. If you can justify a third position then go ahead and lay this one out also. Make it clear which things are not being covered properly. This gives management and HR a clear roadmap for either training your co-worker to fill the unmet requirements, hiring a third person, or even moving your co-worker to something else and hiring a new person to fill the needed job. Documentation allows you to clearly explain to HR and Supervisors what the problem is.

      I should say though that I think there will always be some of that “I had to call cause I don’t know what to do” from a new/junior co-worker, as well as a few screwups like restarting a server. It’s a question of how long that goes on before an employee can be trusted to be on their own.

      Let us know how it goes. I’d be interested to know as I am currently a one-person IT department in a similar sized company.

    • #3191422

      who are the subject matter experts?

      by johna ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      This is very a common problem especially when HR
      hires referrals based on baseline skills and
      competencies. Seems like a nice guy or gal and that
      matters, right? First, the short-term solution; you must
      aggregate knowledge assets in a way that
      demonstrates immediate practice relevance, that is, you
      need to assume a leadership role in training and
      development at your organization. Like it or not, we are
      all teachers and learners. You cannot depend on HR to
      do your job. That said, I would gladly accept a worker
      who is high in character and a lifelong learner over an
      individual who has the tacit skills necessary to do the
      work but is not trustworthy nor disciplined or committed.
      So, if you have an individual who really wants to work
      hard and is a collaborative learner (it?s sound like you
      don?t) you would be in better shape than having an
      uncommitted, untrustworthy knowledge worker. If this
      person has serious character flaws and is not
      competent, you are doing her a disservice by keeping
      her in that position. She needs to move on and so do

      Long-term solution; HR needs to hire to character as
      well as competency. How long will it take you to teach a
      highly competent cheater to be honest? (and it sound
      like this person cheated on he resume). It takes far less
      resources and is much more rewarding to train honest,
      competent people how to become subject matter
      experts than struggling with the issue you have before
      you. The individual who recommends, document,
      document and document, is on the right track. However,
      if you find yourself having to document after the fact,
      you are not being honest with yourself, the executive
      committee or the worker. What you can do starting
      now, that is proactive and evidence-based, is document
      solutions to problems or critical issues in a way that
      demonstrates the solution worked and stands up to
      peer review as a best practice or innovation. This kind
      of knowledge may need to be shared with other
      knowledge workers. There are tools that help you
      achieve this and this process ?documents? the subject
      matter experts (SME).

      • #3191403

        HR doing all the wrong things

        by too old for it ·

        In reply to who are the subject matter experts?

        HR departments should not be involved in the selection process at all, until it’s time to do the post-offer paperwork.

        HR would LIKE to think that, after they have forced a candidate to extrapolate a finely crafted resume into a poorly constructed job application, they can decide what a “good fit” is, much less who would be a “good fit”. This is generally based upon no more a cursory review of the last job legnth, and of course, the “have you ever been convicted of ANYTHING back to the dawnof time” question. But really, HR could not pick a good IT tech if they had to. ANd that is the rub. No one holds HR to the fire when they mess up and hire someone who is bad.

      • #3173130

        Turn it around.

        by rick.skeweris ·

        In reply to who are the subject matter experts?

        A slightly different slant? What are her strengths? A manager should find and develop an employee?s strengths. A couple thoughts that come to mind? She was Word Processing Manager. I would assume her documentation skills should be above average. In my career, a high-end technical person who documents well is a rare find. Good documentation is invaluable. So, what are the basic functions she has to perform? Have her document them. When she calls for guidance; she needs to make sure the question and answer are documented. Documenting will reinforce what she has learned and hopefully make her think. What about education? Personally I wouldn?t want someone who hasn?t a clue coming in at 3:00 to perform maintenance. I could only imagine the havoc the next morning when the employees come in. Get her educated, either with in-house talent or vendor training. Plus she can document what she learns.

        Today it is so difficult to fire someone and if she has an in with the HR manager, that makes it even more so. So try to turn your liability into an asset. Good luck!

    • #3191419

      HR Department staffing issue

      by too old for it ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      Your business case should probably include why allowing the HR Manager to make the selection (heck, even to review resumes) is a bad call.

      Perhaps they should escort the HR manager from the building as well as the inept “placement”.

      • #3193075


        by avid ·

        In reply to HR Department staffing issue

        this happens too much in our industry. it is really bad for moral of the company when hr gives a coveted position to a less qualified applicant because of personal reasons. take action before this person does something really damaging.

        • #3193036

          Sometimes not HR’s fault

          by jimpen ·

          In reply to agreed

          We have a young lady that worked our helpdesk and IS operations area. She just finished an associates IT degree. We had an opening for a programmer. IS Management has moved her into that position.

          Her old position was pretty much do things by rote and/or follow preset logic trees, then pass to the Level 3’s. Her new position requires analytical thinking without much guidance.

          She’s now struggling — but they don’t know how to handle it. I’m glad that I’m not her supervisor.

    • #3191365

      You’re not responsible for her future.

      by jimpen ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      I know this is cold-blooded, but you are not responsible for her employment/employability. It sounds as if you are not really her supervisor.

      I worked at a large international firm as a permanent temp for a few years. We had group of us that had been there between 6 mos. and 5 yrs doing the job. We were a 24/7 52 weeks a year including holidays operation. We kept getting new temps that couldn’t hack it. I cooked up a job description/responsibility/rating sheet and instruction manual with the other long timers. When we ran into one that couldn’t get it – several of us would work multiple shifts with the newbie after a couple of weeks and fill out the eval if they weren’t geting it down. That was how we got rid of them. They are still using some form of what I cooked up for them 10 years later.

      And as far as the job descriptions from a few years ago – dump them and re-write them. The company I work for now – whaen I started 6 years ago they had “support Great Plains” (old Dos version), we dumped it and went to PeopleSoft and the job description changed. Now my JD has chaged again – it now says “support Great Plains” again. New windows version.

      Job descriptions and reqirements need to evolve and change to match the business needs.

    • #3192935


      by ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      You can think about the situation you are in, for example, your “emotion bank account” with the HR manager etc. Then you can decide if you can fire him, or give instructions and training on her work, or transfer her to other positions in the company.

    • #3192855

      Testing and Training

      by italian ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      I can see there are two problem thare.
      1) The first one is a political one, Is this person still friend with the HR director? If yes, then pose the problem back to him/her (the rule of the hot potato). If not then you have to ask yourself: it this person trainable? or not! If yes send her to a psycomatic test to evaluate if the IT position is suitable to her. If she is not trainable then, put her into a deep end series of tests and exercises and record everything. Write one report to the exco and make sure you have all the FACTS RIGHT!
      2) The second problem is a technical one and involve some paperwork done. the first thing to do is to set a standard to all calls you send this person to solve, the second thing you go back to the “customer” and ask if the problem was solved, remember, record everything! At the end of a month draw a diagram and send the diagram to exco to report the status.
      Make sure that the report should reflect the negative aspect financially speaking, the credibility of the IT department in solving problems is a stake here! Suggest that she should have another position but NOT in the IT department. NB, Nest time you employ a person in the IT department test him/her in depth!

    • #3192817

      Manage JD and perfomance plans regularly

      by rogersd ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      All of the comments were good ones and center on accurate JDs and effective performance plans and review. As mentioned in most comments, both of those documents are dynamic over time and both require simplicity and specifics. For both the job description and performance plan I generally use a 5 step approach to create the JD and a 3 section performance plan can be created. I am sure your company already has some standard forms, I put notes on them at bottom of reply as FYI.

      It is the boss? job to create both of these documents and should submit the JD to HR when posting. HR does not know every job, the Boss must know. Each employee you have should have a JD and a performance plan and it is their responsibility to make sure they understand it, manage change to it, and at least meet it. That makes sure communication is done – you have told your employees your expectations AND how you will measure them, no one is in the dark and no unwritten expectations.

      For every direct employee you should have at least one meeting a month and adjust / review / note progress on performance. If they are on ?probation? either formally or informally the review should be weekly, that way you have documentation required for the next steps or you have a productive employee.

      Specific to your situation you then have the fact based information needed to make a business decision, if you are over-ruled due to favoritism or special needs then those that over-ruled should have the budget to get you what you need or change the over-ruling. If they do not have the budget then they should reduce your scope by that employee and you have the ability of not providing raises based on does not meet.

      Hopes this helps.

      1) Key responsibilities – List the key duties and responsibilities in order of time spent. Most jobs have three to four major responsibilities. Please specify the percentage of time (e.g., 50%, 10%) role will actually spend on each duty over the course of a month.
      2) Managerial – Is more than 50% of the time include managing others type of activity? Performance, raises, work processes, etc.
      Administrative ? Is the role?s work mostly entail the application of techniques, procedures, repetitive experience or specific standards or execute special assignments or projects under only general supervision?
      3) Professional – Is the role primarily engaged in work requiring knowledge of an advanced type for which virtually all roles performing such work have obtained a 4 year degree and which ones and any certifications? Does the job require ? Analysis, design and development, training? Is the role entry-level, mid-level, or expert?
      4) List of technology and procedures required to know to perform the above job. Such as J2EE, SCM, perl, ITIL? Use the above to help guide.
      5) List of ?behaviors? required such as work with others, independent, supervise, writes and speaks succinctly, works under tight deadlines. Use the above to help guide.
      6) The Job Discription
      From the above write a 3-5 sentence job description.
      Create a short list of must haves ? 2-3 from each of 1-5
      Create a short list of preferred ? 1-2 from each.
      7) The performance appraisals using 3 sections works for me. Goals or what to accomplish by when and how much, often, etc. and Behaviors or the how will it be accomplish. Use SMART system.
      Make sure there is at least the minimum to be able to rate the success or completion of them as – does not meet, meets, and exceeds.
      On the behaviors. 3-4 on ones they have that meet the role and 3-4 of the ones they have that may require development.
      Training ? What they need to achieve the goals as meets AND exceeds. Anticipated skills needed to meet the future Job Description. Be sure to add company required training.
      Advancement ? This is where the employee adds what they need to meet their career goals

      • #3173120

        Bottom Line

        by jaytm401 ·

        In reply to Manage JD and perfomance plans regularly

        You are a nice guy. And nice guys are said to finish last. Your job is at stake due to lack of training of your co-worker. You either have to find her a new position in the company via HR or Get her training (the nice way). The not so nice way is via documentation and force her out. There are many IT professionals looking for work that could fill that position. They have paid for their training and dues in the time spent studying/hacking for something that they want and love to do. Give the job to an IT person. It grips me to find such issues when I have problems getting a job because some person that is not qualified or trained to do the job is in the position ! IT people are out there struggling for a job. Look out for your fellow IT person.

      • #3172892

        Reply To: IT Department staffing issue

        by wearsmanyhats ·

        In reply to Manage JD and perfomance plans regularly

        RogerSD, this is a great reply. I appreciate the detail.

        I’m not familiar with the SMART system so I did a Google search. I take it this is not what you were refering to?: “The SMART system helps community corrections officers become aware of a person under supervision has been stopped for another offense and indicates if they have violated their supervisory conditions.” 🙂

        Can you provide any links or further information on the SMART system?

    • #3192788

      She’s Fired

      by numarx1 ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      I would go back to the HR department a communicate
      to the friend that promoted this person to have a serious
      talk with her in the direction of getting properly trined
      with in a 4-6 month period and if that is not possible,
      that same HR person would be reposible for moving
      her to a position that she is appropriately qualified for.
      And if there is no happy medium, she’s fired with a
      severance package for 6-12 weeks.

      Let’s just place this blame on the HR person that
      neglected to fill the position with a quality candidate.
      So this HR person would have to be receiving a written
      warning for her actions.

      • #3192778

        HR = Human Remains

        by greggmo ·

        In reply to She’s Fired

        It’s one thing for HR to screen resumes, and perform intial interview. However, hiring manager needs to have a voice in the process and to a lesser extent, the supervisor. HR manager can advocate for diversity, but the diverse people need to be qualified. If training is needed, does the training come out of IT funds or HR funds? IT training funds are usually used for emerging technology, not the basics.

        • #3173098

          HR, the last stop

          by too old for it ·

          In reply to HR = Human Remains

          HR should be the last stop on the interview train, not the first. After the team lead, supervisors, managers and so forth have had thier shot, and the candidate has asked questions AND an offer has been made and accepted, then and only then should you involve HR.

          They can quickly explain benfits, determine if the candidate has been an axe murderer in the past 24 months, and get them on board as quickly and humanely as possible.

    • #3173134

      Try using spellcheck

      by jim.elsesser ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      I bet the Word Processing Supervisor can show you how.

    • #3173125

      The litigation free approach

      by golfloon ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      As many people have said the job description is the key. Draft one for the new role listing duties, core competencies, qualifications etc.

      Hire against that. When the competent incumbent is compared it will rapidly become obvious to all what is needed to do the role and the non-performer will either leave / apply for a transfer, if they are sensible, or the matter will be dealt with at a higher level than yourself.

      I have had to go through a similar spring cleaning process having taken over an IT Department with similar problems of staff who have been promoted beyond their abilities.

      • #3173097


        by opatzg9 ·

        In reply to The litigation free approach

        I’m the manager of a programming staff and my programmers have come from all over the company. Most anyone can be trained if they want the job and hiring from within has been a real savings in retention for my staff. I say have a good sit down chat with her and get her motivated on her job, get her the training you need her to have, and both of you wil be better off. In the interim look into hiring a temp while she trains or continue covering for her like you do today. I have managers of data centers who loaded tapes and organized people, statisticians and underwriters working for me, and programming wise I’ve had quicker but business understanding wise I have not had finer employees.

        • #3173055

          How much do you value the employee?

          by eaglet3d ·

          In reply to Training???

          I agree with opatzg on the training suggestion. Too many times, we tend to forget that employees are people that can be trained if properly motivated. Technology is ever changing with new ways of doing things around every corner. Without training, it wouldn’t be long before even a new hire would fall into the same category. In my case, it was possible to get the team to take part in helping those who were struggling become successful. As the team raised up individuals who were underperforming, they became better able to work together, accomplishing much more than we thought was initially possible.

    • #3173124

      “You have to accentuate the positives, eliminate the negatives…”

      by phil carr ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      There are probably a few techs out there, older and younger that could show you a thing or two. Help your ?co-coworker;? 10 years on the job, and in this economy is no time to kick someone out, regardless. She was a supervisor so I am sure she must have something going for her, else it says very little about how your company chooses the people it puts in “charge”, including managers; and as one yourself, I am sure out of 100 people you could find her a mentor, because as a tech, with numerous certifications myself, I am sure someone complained, and thought the same thing about you, and me once.

      A grammar check would not hurt either? no one is perfect.

    • #3173111

      No really good options

      by mitchlr ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      How is it that companies can’t seem to function in a sane way?
      The HR manager is not looking out for the company interest or yours — a person like that with an agenda will cause chaos in the workplace.
      The question is, was the HR manager trying to do your co-worker a favor by moving her into IT or, since she’s a 10-year veteran, was she being moved into a job HR knew she couldn’t handle with the goal of killing two birds with one stone: replace the ten year veteran with someone younger and cheaper and outplace getting rid of the expensive veteran to IT, where HR is confident she won’t be able to cut it.
      In either case, your HR manager is ethically challenged — you’re being used to provide a job for someone who can’t cut it or to do HR’s dirty work.
      If HR is trying to cut your co-worker’s position, you ought to try to see if you can work with her to bring her up to speed. But the way you describe her attitude, it appears that not only does she lack technical competence, but lacks cognizance that keeping the infrastructure running sometimes requires after hours work.
      You’re the one stuck in the middle, and it doesn’t look like you have an advocate in your organization.
      Follow the advice on putting together a detailed job description for the position, but seriously consider polishing up your resume and finding a company that is less ethically challenged. If nothing comes up, do the best you can to outlast your co-worker and the HR manager, neither of whom will be around for long, unless of course it’s your position that they’re gunning for.

    • #3173092

      Is HR playing politics?

      by habari ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      Before you deal with the hiring, I think you need to deal with the politics here. Hiring someone else and leaving this incompetent person in your dept will not really solve the problem. She will always “in the way” of performers in IT department. So first she has to go. This is the first case you have to make.

      You have key performance indicators i presume such as up-time, availbility, delivery of projects etc that the rest of the business expect you to deliver. You cannot deliver this without proper skills in your department.

      Further you need team work and as it is it looks like she is guilty of insurbodination. Unless HR want to undermine you…then you have a political problem.

      Alternatively that she has admitted her lack of skills, let HR arrange for relvant IT training for her. This will create a shortage and you will definatley need to staff coz you will be minus 1 staff!

      But is politically tricky especially if HR is all powerful. By the way can EC over rule your HR.

      On Case, you will highlight the scope of IT operations, the relevant skillset and manpowere required, the business requirement and subsequently the existing gap that makes IT not satisfy the ‘customer’. It will be important to clearly show the impact of state of things as it is primarily to the business. Do not get personal otherwise the your case will get watered down…Keep it about business and operations….

    • #3173080

      Buy Rothman book

      by soozward ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      Get a copy of “Hiring The Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds” by Rohanna Rothman, Dorset House Publishing, New York, 2004. This book is worth its weight in gold. It will provide you with all the information you need to address the issue you describe.

    • #3173073

      IT Management or Babysitting?

      by zerooneonezero ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      You can’t work someone who doesn’t want to work.
      You also can’t teach someone who doesn’t want to learn.
      Weekends and OT/after-business hours are not that unusual for IT. It’s the nature of the beast.

      There are hoardes of Jr. Level IT folks out there looking for work. They probably even know the difference between restarting a service and restarting the server!

      If you have to spend all your time helping this non-tech person to grasp the basics, which a qualified person already knows, where does that leave you time to do your job?

      Not to seem callous, but the person you described really sounds like dead weight to me…
      Document everything to counter HR’s foisting of this incompetant person on you, or else YOU will be the one to ultimately pay the price of this unqualified person’s shortcomings…
      If this person doesn’t understand what a network failure is, that says it all to me…
      Get this person out of your Department A.S.A.P. before they do some real damage…
      All of these people who are saying “try to train her” must think you have one of those mythical unlimited budgets and plenty of free time…

      • #3173038

        Closing the cognitive gap: What’s knowledge and what’s noise

        by johna ·

        In reply to IT Management or Babysitting?

        What’s the difference between real knowledge and
        noise? In other words, how do we know what we know
        and how do we document it? There’s a lot of so called
        advice here, some good some not so good. In addition,
        therre is the noise on the sidebars and banners, some
        relevant some not. Is this site really useful to us. Do we
        have this kind of time, really! If so, then what do we
        think our employers think about this use of time? Be

        I recall researching what is called cognitive gaps. I
        believe what we are really doing here is attempting to
        close a cognitive gap. Knowledge workers carry certain
        assumptions and knowledge about what works and
        what doesn?t. This subjective information resides inside
        knowledge workers heads and taping this knowledge
        source would theoretically help organizational leaders
        make better decisions faster. In this scenario, everone’s
        a teacher and a learner. Thus knowledge management
        industry, (KM) was born and grew to about a 60b dollar
        industry prior to 9/11 and the dotcom meltdown.
        However, this industry has since shrunk to about 6b
        annual–I wonder why. Because of all the uninformed

        KM supporters sought to close the cognitive gap
        through technology such as Lotus Team Room,
        PeopleSoft, and, etc, etc. This industry
        is reorganizing now and redefining itself as a service
        instead of software application. Look out IT people! We
        see IBM’s focus shifting to On-Demand or real time
        solutions, for instance. My point here is that many
        organizations are refocusing their effort toward an open
        systems framework for collaboration emphasizing
        openness, genuine authenticity and integral leadership
        models. My question is, how will IT fit into this new
        generation model? Will we lead or follow? And if we
        are going to lead, what will it look like–knowledge or

    • #3173045

      What Did You Do For Ten Years??

      by thegreek ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      If this lady was in the company for ten years, she had to be doing some kind of job that they considered valuable to the corporate structure. I propose therefore that you approach the department where she previously worked and (assuming there are no hostilities involved in her move to your department) ask them if they couldn’t once again need her “invaluable assistance” and even offer her a small raise to move back to the department she worked for previously. That way, she saves face, you don’t lose face and everybody, including her “buddy” winds up happy. Then you need to go directly to the person (if they are already working for the company) whom YOU think would be best able to cover and help you — ask that person to apply for transfer through the company hierarchy, therefore, everything is above reproach. You could even ask personnel to recommend several individuals who might be qualified so that you and the management could come to a consensus on the right individual.
      If none of this applies, perhaps it IS time for her to move on.

    • #3173041

      Dead Weight

      by chi_girl ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      As a non-IT person in an IT role, I can relate to the situation at hand. I appreciate the fact that my ‘new’ employer valued me enough to keep me but understanding MS suites does not IT material make;I knew that, management didn’t. Yet, though I lack skills, I don’t lack the most fundamental, common sense and the ability to comprehend processes. One thing needs to happen before another with some workarounds. Eurecka! Organizational management, now that I know. Similar processes, different language, throw in a mixture of human remains and we’ve got a match. The difference, between your situation and mine is that my pride won’t let me fail. Sink or swim, either way I come out knowing a little bit better. Nearly a year later, I am a viable player within my team. Thanks to each and everyone of you. By lurking in the background, I have learned more than you can imagine and have come to understand not only the mechanisms of IT, but the thinking. All this to explain, initiative. If your co-worker is complacent with just getting a paycheck then she will forever be ‘a person with a job’, not a worker, no matter where she is employed, and there is nothing you can do to change that; she has to. You can ignite some passion for learning IT but she has to be the one to do the rest and if its not there, its not there. It is what it is, don’t look more into in and don’t feel ‘responsible’ for her fate either. She has done that. Ten years is enough time to climb vertically, even a little bit, within a company not laterally. Your point of reference right now is the job description, that in itself is the basis for your case and case study. It outlines the needs and wants, ie what you ‘need’ to deliver what your ‘customers want’. Capiche. Act now or continue to carry dead weight, including your own. Soon enough management will see her worth and turn to you for answers and history (how she got to you) won’t matter.

    • #3173025

      A novel Idea…

      by fortbragg_surfgoddess ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      Here is a thought. Insted of bitch’n’ and whining about her, how about looking for resources to train her. You said that she has been with the company for 10 years. Sounds like she knows something about the company. She could be an asset if only you would take the time. It is very easy to critique someone, but how are you in your job performance, and if they transfered you to another department, how would they preceive you? Think on that for a while, and grow up.

      • #3172988

        Yeah, Great……

        by jimpen ·

        In reply to A novel Idea…

        Yeah, Great. So she knows the company. If she was a manager type with multiple IT workers and a basic grasp of technology. She might be workable. But it sounds as if the IT is 2 deep, she doesn’t want to do anything but 8-5, she isn’t interested in getting up to speed or getting training.

        He said if it isn’t in her job desc then she won’t do it. And as technology has changed but her JD hasn’t it means she has less to do. She’s dead weight. I’m not saying fire her – but another lateral move is suggested.

      • #3172928

        ‘Nuff said.

        by phil carr ·

        In reply to A novel Idea…

        You grow girl!

    • #3172957

      Reply To: IT Department staffing issue

      by the admiral ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      I think there are two issues that you are dealing with in this situation. One is a friend who is attempting to save another friends job by putting them into a layover, and the need for a qualified Information Tech. Let?s focus on the real issue.

      While it is nice that she has a friend in HR, it is not an ethical or moral dilemma that if he or she is not performing the functions of the position in an efficient manner. It was an ethical dilemma that she was placed into a highly required high knowledge area without having any skill sets. While it is believed that he or she was dumped into your organization, it is up to you to make sure that it is kept on a highly professional and ethical level as to when this person is laid off. I think that you have the reason too, and you worry about the fall out of laying this person off instead of just stating the facts. The person is not working out in your area, and you require a certain level of education and experience and knowledge in order to operate your department at the level of efficiency that is required by the company. In other words, make it look like the pressure is coming from elsewhere to be more efficient and productive.

      Secondly, while you have that person in the department, you are going to be fielding questions pertaining retraining. The fact of the matter is that the company needs qualified people ready to hit the ground running with only minimal training as to what the processes are in the company, not the general how-to in fixing everything from a bad piece of hardware to multiple configurations. It just can not be done without planting a lot of money into the individual. Again, you?re charged with running an efficient, effective, and highly utilized IT department, and you simply can not have one person doing the work for three when you have three on the payroll.

      So when you are generating a business case for hiring a new person, take all emption out of it. Don?t name names, don?t degrade the person, and don?t mention any well known skills that would single the person out. I would also point out the Executive Committee has now been told by the person that they could not fulfill the requirements of the position, so this is an opportunity for you to score points with everyone.

      First, generate a business case based on the prerequisites that you have generated yourself, and add some advanced items in there as well. Second, also make sure that you need someone who has the education/experience combination, this will allow it. You to have a person who can hit the floor running and have little or no disruption. Third, PAD it with just enough bull where the urgency is needed, but not over the top where they know your padding. Stick words in there that say something to the effect that without the ability to have a qualified candidate who is able to perform maintenance during scheduled down time or perform emergency measures when required, the company could suffer a high rate of downtime, thereby impacting the companies core business.

      Second, in your business case, back all of your information up with facts. If the fact can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, then it will not be questioned. Last, make an attempt to contact HR to see if they have something that would better meet her skill set, and then put her in to be transferred to a place where she can be productive to the company and you can improve your utilization. You come out as a champion, and she says you?re a nice fellow, and everyone is happy.

      • #3174056

        first good reply

        by pivert ·

        In reply to Reply To: IT Department staffing issue

        You are absolutely right. The General Mgr once asked me about the pc-skills of his secretary and I said she called often with questions and perhaps training in stuff like word, excel… would solve that. She was fired. They were looking for an excuse to get rid of her. I’ve seen several posts that say: get rid of that person. It’s been 10 years now and I still feel bad about what happened then. We’re talking about people here, not old printers or pc’s. Everyone can be replaced and if your company has a “if I can’t use you, I’ll fire you”-mentality, you’d better keep up with all new and emerging technologies because sooner or later, the same arguments will be used against you.
        Ps, the real reason why she was fired (found out several years later) was because she passed info to the main-shareholders that hadn’t been “corrected” by management. And no, she didn’t blame me.

    • #3174107

      Why not use this as an opportunity to hone your management skills?

      by cviau ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      It is a fact of life in all buisness, that people get promoted into positions prematurely, or in your case, because of a relationship to a person with the authority or pull to short-circuit the normal system and put someone in a role that is beyond thier competency levels. Irregardless of how, or why it happened, you can make this a win-win with the clever use of responsible management.

      First of all, you have to evaluate this person’s ability to learn new skills, and obviously their willingness to be a part of the team. If they have the potential, then you can offer them training to bring them to a satisfactory performance level. They have already admitted that they do not really understand the current technology, and that is half the battle, because most people in this situation are afraid to admit it. Now, if the person has a good personality, and is pleasant with customers, why not give them the opportunity to have the job for real. If you succeed in stimulating this person, and show that you care about her career, you not only help her immensely, but you put some good points in your cap as well, as your management will see that you attempted an approach like this before spending resources trying to get rid of her. On the other hand, perhaps this person is not suited for this department, but that will become obviouse once you start this endeavor. You will at least have covered the most important aspect of attempting to correct the situation with compassion and respect, which are the excellence metrics in responsible management.


    • #3173432

      Resolve the staffing Issue

      by atulpednekar ·

      In reply to IT Department staffing issue

      If the employee is capable enough to do the work then you must have to get the work done from her. There must have to be a procedure documentation on every day-to-day activity. As well as the new employee joining/Transfering to your department must have to go under training even though he know the work process or he is keen in the domain.

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