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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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No really good options

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

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.

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Is HR playing politics?

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

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....

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Buy Rothman book

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

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.

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IT Management or Babysitting?

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

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...

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

by johna In reply to IT Management or Babysitt ...

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
honest.

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
noise!

KM supporters sought to close the cognitive gap
through technology such as Lotus Team Room,
PeopleSoft, and Salesforce.com, 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
noise?

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What Did You Do For Ten Years??

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

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.

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Dead Weight

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

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.

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A novel Idea...

Here is a thought. Insted of *****'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.

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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.

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'Nuff said.

by Phil Carr In reply to A novel Idea...
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