Case: The Inherited Employee Soon after she became a supervisor in the building services department, Donna Paine decided that a housekeeping aide named Sally Clark was emerging as a problem employee. An employee of about 4 months, and thus a month past the end of the probationary period, Sally was frequently idle. She seemed always to do exactly what she was supposed to do, if only at a minimally acceptable level, and then do nothing until specifically assigned to another task. Donna grew especially sensitive to the situation when she began to hear complaints from other employees about Sally not doing her share of the work. Donna pulled the file the previous supervisor had started concerning Sally. There was very little in the file. She set up an appointment with Sally. In opening the discussion, Donna said, âI am unable to find your 3-month probationary review. Do you still have your copy?â The reply was, âWhat review? I never had one.â Donna then asked, âWhat about your orientation checklist from when you started in the department? Still have your copy?â âNever got one. I donât think I had any orientation.â âHow did you first learn about your duties and about the department?â asked Donna. âI watched someone elseâJanie, I think her name wasâfor a couple of hours. But Janie left that week.â At this point Donna dropped her tentative plans to address what she considered Sallyâs substandard performance. Instead, she thought she had best look into the apparent absence of a probationary review and attempt to determine why Sally had never received an orientation to the department.
1. What should Donna do about the departmental orientation that Sally had apparently never received?
2. Sally has apparently gone beyond the end of the standard probationary period without receiving a probationary evaluation. What can Donna do about this, and how might this affect Sallyâs status?
Case: The Quiet Bunch You learned during your first week on the job as the newly hired admitting supervisor that each departmental supervisor was expected to lead one of the hospitalâs numerous quality improvement teams. It came as no surprise that the team to which you were assigned was the team your predecessor, the former admitting supervisor, had served as leader. Your team, you soon learned, consisted of several of your departmentâs people plus employees from a scattering of other departments. As you held individual meetings to become acquainted with both your employees (in the admitting department) and other members of your team, you were quickly inundated with complaints and other indications of discontent from both your employees and other team members. There were vocal complaints about the way the department had been run and complaints about the âuseless quality improvement team.â From a couple of your employees who served on the quality team, you received complaints about âthose who shall remain namelessâ who regularly âcarry tales to administration.â You listened to all the complaints. You detected some common themes in what you were hearing, leading you to believe that perhaps some misunderstandings could be cleared up if some of the issues could be aired openly with each concerned group. You scheduled two meetings, one for your admitting staff and one for the quality improvement team. You felt encouraged because a number of individuals had told you they would be happy to speak up at such a meeting. Your first meeting, held with your admitting staff, was brief; nobody spoke up, even when urged to do so in the most nonthreatening way possible. Your subsequent meeting with the quality team was no better. You got zero discussion going with either group, although before and between the meetings you had been bombarded by complaints from individuals. This left you extremely frustrated because most of the complaints you heard were group issues, not individual problems.
1. What can you do to get either or both groups to open up in a group setting about what is bothering them?
2. Can you suggest what might lie in the immediate past that could have rendered these employees unwilling to speak up?
3. Because you have two groups (with overlapping membership) to be concerned with, where would you initially concentrate your efforts?
4. What might you do concerning the charges that someone is âcarrying tales to administrationâ?