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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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by The Admiral In reply to IT Department staffing is ...

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.

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first good reply

by pivert In reply to

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.

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

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

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.


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Resolve the staffing Issue

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

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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