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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.

Thanks.

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who are the subject matter experts?

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

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
you.

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).

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HR doing all the wrong things

by Too Old For IT In reply to who are the subject matte ...

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.

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Turn it around.

by rick.skeweris In reply to who are the subject matte ...

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!

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HR Department staffing issue

by Too Old For IT In reply to IT Department staffing is ...

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".

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agreed

by avid In reply to HR Department staffing is ...

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.

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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.

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You're not responsible for her future.

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

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.

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Hints

by philip.wang In reply to IT Department staffing is ...

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.

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Testing and Training

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

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!

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Manage JD and perfomance plans regularly

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

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

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