Affinity HR Questions & Answers


We have a challenging employee. I've been working with him for two years, but he just refuses to take advantage of the resources and support that we've provided him. What do you recommend?

Customer

Question: We have a challenging employee. I've been working with him for two years. He has lost the confidence of his team. I've plotted a course for him to improve his performance, but he just refuses to take advantage of the resources and support that we've provided him. I don't know what else to do. What do you recommend?

Answer: Fire him. As a manager, you have three essential responsibilities. 1) To make sure your employees know what's expected of them at work; 2) To make sure they have the tools and equipment necessary to do the work to your expectations; and 3) To provide ongoing feedback and guidance. It sounds like you've done all of that, and he has not taken advantage of your support. There's one last piece of advice to remember: you can't change anyone who is unwilling to change. You can only change yourself. If, despite your conversations and interventions and efforts, your employee refuses to do what is necessary to satisfy your expectations, there's one course of action we would recommend: fire him.

We just hired a new inside sales rep with very little experience. It was a hard, long search, and we had to pay him $12,000 more than our other sales rep who has been with us 3 years and is a great employee. Should we increase her pay?

Customer

Question: We just hired a new inside sales rep with very little experience. It was a hard, long search, and we had to pay him $12,000 more than our other sales rep who has been with us 3 years and is a great employee. Should we increase her pay in case she would discover the pay disparity?

Answer: In a word, absolutely. Employees talk about pay, and she will certainly learn of the disparity. Best to keep it all equitable otherwise you risk losing a valued employee and will end up paying her replacement $12,000 more anyway. Welcome to the true impact of the tight labor market!

This is the time when we get snowstorms. We have a new office network which enables access to the network remotely. Some of our Customer Service Representatives live far away. Can we let them work from home on an ad-hoc basis?

Customer

Question: In the northern States, this is the time when we get snowstorms. We have a new office network which enables access to the network remotely. Some of our Customer Service Representatives live far away. There’s nothing about it in our handbook – can we let them work from home on an ad-hoc basis?

Answer: Sure, flexible work arrangements are increasingly prevalent and can help minimize the office disruption that can occur with inclement weather occurrences. A couple of things to keep in mind, though – first, always require approval for ad-hoc work changes. You will need to decide if this new flexibility is a right or a benefit. If the latter, it should require approval and be well managed. Second, hourly, non-exempt employees (which is how most Customer Services Representatives should be classified) will need to be paid for all time worked – even after hours. Be sure to arrange in advance how you will track each CSR’s hours when working from home. Finally, you should take the time now to establish what your work from home policy is so that you are not inconsistent in your approach or management going forward.

We have a valued and cherished employee who has suddenly developed a serious medical condition. We are a small company with 17 employees. We would like to extend time off with pay to her, but it’s not our standard policy. Can we do this for her?

Customer

Question: We have a valued and cherished employee who has suddenly developed a serious medical condition. We are a small company with 17 employees. We would like to extend time off with pay to her, but it’s not our standard policy to do so. Can we do this for her?

Answer: As a business owner, you can certainly do as you wish, and she would benefit from the consideration you are giving her. One word of caution: in granting her this benefit, you are setting a precedent. Should other employees face a similar situation, would you treat them similarly? Treating one “special” employee uniquely does leave you open to potential claims of preferential treatment and discrimination going forward. Just be sure to consider the precedent you are setting when making accommodations for your “special” employees.