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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.


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Job description?

by knudsenmj In reply to IT Department staffing is ...

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!!!

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by Jaqui In reply to IT Department staffing is ...

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.

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Are you the IT Manager?

by netsuperv In reply to IT Department staffing is ...

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.

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This should be easy !

by In reply to IT Department staffing is ...

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.

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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.

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Lay it out so you have a plan.

by WearsManyHats In reply to IT Department staffing is ...

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.

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