My Boss, who travels 50% of the time, and I have joint management of our department’s administrative assistant, a problem employee who has had a large record of undocumented absences and violations for the past 6 years. After my arrival to the company a few years ago, I had been struggling with the administrative issues; however, I have managed to redirect her into the right direction for several months until she derails again.
Last week, my boss asked me to investigate with his boss’ secretary what time our administrative assistant arrives in the mornings. Both my boss and I get in much later and cannot monitor her schedule. I did ask. The VP’s secretary mentioned it to her boss, whom in turn asked my boss to check on my management practices and on my current relationship with our administrative assistant.
My boss told me that he contributed to create the VP concerns. I am frustrated because the VP, who is currently reviewing my resume for an internal promotion may think I am a total misfit to manage bigger teams. My boss agreed that he should have not instructed me to ask and suggested I take a personnel management class. I feel this is mostly my fault for following bad directives and exercising bad judgment. Supervising the assistant was among the job duties described for my position. Every time I have to reprimand her, I seek HR guidance prior to the event to ensure proper compliance with company policy. I regret I didn’t do it last week. Please advice on how to handle the situation.
First of all, you mention in the very beginning of this conversation that this employee has six years of undocumented absences and violations. Whenever you speak to an employee and issue a verbal warning or otherwise, this occurrence should be documented in the employee file. You set yourself up for legal ramifications if you do not keep notes.
Rather than ask someone else in the company what another employee is doing, you should go directly to the employee and discuss expectations for time, work performed, etc. Let the employee know that they are being monitored.
My rule of thumb when there are employee issues is to first talk about what might be going on, perhaps there are personal issues affecting work. You may or may not issue a verbal warning at that time. After a verbal warning is issued and problems still arise, I issue a written warning and put the employee on probation for 30 days.