When your staff let you down

In every management role there are one or two aspects that are less favoured. For me it is having to have those difficult conversations with staff members. It’s not something I garner any pleasure from at all and one where I am as uncomfortable as they are during the interview. But it it has to be done and so far, in my current job, I have had to do more than once.

Next week it will happen again.

I try to be as accommodating as I can when doing rotas; if anyone has a specific day they cannot come in to work for personal reasons –  looking after grandchildren, attending hospital appointments for example – then I will try to put them on a different day.

Rotas are done 4 weeks in advance. It is each team members responsibility to check the rota to ensure I haven’t changed it (although I always endeavour to let them know I have if it’s at short notice) or to just remind themselves when they are next working. What I don’t appreciate is texts late evening on my day off asking what time they’re in the following day!

There are rules to how any team member must inform me that they will be unable to attend work, as there are within any company. It isn’t complicated – you ring me at the shop or at home if you are supposed to be in first thing – so I can at least try to get someone to cover for you. A phone call from a spouse, partner, sibling, friend, neighbour, parent or flatmate is unacceptable unless you are so incapacitated (ie voice lost completely or have been in an accident and are in hospital) that you cannot call personally.

Therefore when someone’s mum calls me to say their child will not be able to work I am not happy. Even less so when there is no valid reason the team member cannot call me themselves. It isn’t just contravening company rules that rankles, it is showing disrespect to me and to fellow team members. I only have a very small team which leaves me few people I can call upon to stand in at short notice.

However, there is another aspect to this that has to be considered: a future reference. As managers we are required to keep file notes on our staff as a record of mistakes (to see if there is a consistency to the mistake and whether re-training is required), inappropriate behaviour, contravention of (a quite relaxed) dress code and unauthorised absences from work.  When a team member leaves, these notes are fowarded to HR who will take them into consideration when giving a reference should one be required.

So today, on my day off, whilst enjoying some mother-daughter time, I had to phone HR, phone my boss and then call into work to speak to my asst manager, all regarding this latest episode of being let down. Not what you want to be doing in your limited free time.



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