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The ethics of managing up

Friday 18 November, 2022
by Anonymous

two people sitting at a table chatting

The General Manager has asked you, as the HR lead, to manage out a new employee who is not performing well. Their mind is made up and there is no negotiations to be had. The employee is still in their probation period so the expectation from leadership is that it should be a quick and easy process.

The thing is, this person started through Covid lockdown and had little to no supervision or guidance for the first few months. Then, after restrictions had eased, their direct report was promoted - again leaving them stranded. You agree with the GM that the person is currently under performing, but you also feel they have not been given the right support, which ultimately was your responsibility.

What would you do?

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There are 3 comments for The ethics of managing up.

Re: The ethics of managing up

Friday 18 November, 2022
by Mark
Review the level of support provided to the employee and discuss this with the General Manager. Admit the deficiency of support is ultimately your responsibility. (Own It)
If the situation can be renegotiated, a way forward around support & improved performance with clear milestones & timeframes could be implemented as part of their ongoing induction.
Should there be no room for negotiation and the existing decision to terminate still stand, a review of the circumstances with a view to making improvements in remote working support processes should be undertaken. Irrespective of the decision, the review should be undertaken & implemented.

Re: The ethics of managing up

Friday 18 November, 2022
by Antony
I would feel guilty and responsible for the fate of the employee. I would either try to find her another role within the organisation or suggest to the exec that it could be a risk letting them go because they could publically callout a wrongful dismissal situation, even though it's legal to let the person go. Just because it is legal, in this situation I think it is not right!

Re: The ethics of managing up

Thursday 24 November, 2022
by Steve
The key to me is the last line. There is a perspective here that the employee would be better off leaving, given poor support, no guidance, a lack of direction, no clear KPIs or coaching. Why would they want to stay? So if there is a mea culpa, acknowledging it is more expensive to recruit new, than to lose an existing, then the HR person should fess up to the GM, and seek to extend the probation by another 3 months (or a term that is reasonable), and apply the right level of PL support. In 3 months, you might find a gem of an employee, but if not, then a more informed and honest decision can be made.

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