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  Reply # 1189975 6-Dec-2014 20:58
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Psilan:
KiwiNZ:
Psilan:
KiwiNZ
Why? The company, the customer and the staff concerned have not been identified. Your suggestion is ludicrous.


Should I identify?


That would be a very stupid thing to do and I am sure most here would not welcome it.I would report it immediately


Anybody with a spare 20 seconds can see his full name and company name. I just think this post reeks of incompetence.
I have no real desire to out somebody like that.


That maybe so but it is still inappropriate. Also being insulting is very uncool and also inappropriate. 




Mike
Retired IT Manager. 
The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

 It's our only home, lets clean it up then...

 

Take My Advice, Pull Down Your Pants And Slide On The Ice!

 

 


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  Reply # 1189997 6-Dec-2014 23:23
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networkn:

Sometimes I wonder about people. 

I posted into an area of the forums for people like me, to ask what THEY considered reasonable, so I could gather information for the purposes of being fair and reasonable to ALL concerned. 

It might surprise some people that answers to these things are not clear cut, there is no step by step guide to cover everything you would ever come across. 

When I said I nagged, it was an exaggeration, designed to help people understand, that in my organization it would be impossible to not understand the emphasis on customers having a backup. 

I hire people based on their ability to manage a workload, keep key things like backup as focus and not miss those things. According to the law apparently I need to document the process so if a person fails to meet the basic criteria of their 
job I can handle that appropriately, something I previously would have considered to be unnecessary. I now wonder if I should have a section called communications which forbids stabbing customers in the eyes, thighs or chest.

Personally in the reverse situation I would have expected to be given a written warning or sacked for such a miss of a fundamental part of my job, I'd probably even offer my resignation, but I guess I'd hold myself more accountable internally than others.

I accept that people make mistakes, but making a mistake doesn't mean no consequences. Half the people in prison probably think they made a mistake.


You sound very emotional and unconfident. I'm guessing this is what people picked up on. It can be inferred, that you would really like to sack the person, and the majority in this thread expressed their opinion, that this is too harsh and that to err is human. And also that you could have done something so that you did not end up in this situation.  That's a clear mismatch and I'm guessing, that some people just imagined what it would be like to work for a manager like you and (over)reacted. So while I personally do not see a point in bashing a person who came for advise, I could understand what motivated them. I hope you can too.

You are saying, that a blunder like this is unthinkable, and that you would offer a resignation if it happened to you. A thing that usually helps me is to tell myself, that there are a lot of people that are NOT like me. It does not make them any worse just because of that. I'm not defending that person, and I understand that you are upset, but I'd try to make bloody sure that I do not react unreasonably just because I can't believe that a "proper" person can make a mistake like this  - ideally asking someone else in the company to make the decision. Often, this is not an options though, because it is your job to make this decision, and, say, your management expect you to solve these problems and not themselves. If this is the case, I'd try to do as little harm as possible. I'd ask myself: did I come to this forum really with the purpose of being fair and reasonable, or simply with a hope to validate my anger against that person so that I could feel better sacking them? I would make sure that the answer is the former, not the latter. Again, I don't know you, but unless I really hate this person I'd cool down in a couple of days and I'd made a decision then.

And if no one (in the company) can help and you can't divorce yourself from your emotions towards this person, then it's an entirely different problem to solve. (That is, how you are going to work together from now on)

Good luck!



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  Reply # 1190008 6-Dec-2014 23:50
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You sound very emotional and unconfident. I'm guessing this is what people picked up on. It can be inferred, that you would really like to sack the person, and the majority in this thread expressed their opinion, that this is too harsh and that to err is human. And also that you could have done something so that you did not end up in this situation.  That's a clear mismatch and I'm guessing, that some people just imagined what it would be like to work for a manager like you and (over)reacted. So while I personally do not see a point in bashing a person who came for advise, I could understand what motivated them. I hope you can too.

You are saying, that a blunder like this is unthinkable, and that you would offer a resignation if it happened to you. A thing that usually helps me is to tell myself, that there are a lot of people that are NOT like me. It does not make them any worse just because of that. I'm not defending that person, and I understand that you are upset, but I'd try to make bloody sure that I do not react unreasonably just because I can't believe that a "proper" person can make a mistake like this  - ideally asking someone else in the company to make the decision. Often, this is not an options though, because it is your job to make this decision, and, say, your management expect you to solve these problems and not themselves. If this is the case, I'd try to do as little harm as possible. I'd ask myself: did I come to this forum really with the purpose of being fair and reasonable, or simply with a hope to validate my anger against that person so that I could feel better sacking them? I would make sure that the answer is the former, not the latter. Again, I don't know you, but unless I really hate this person I'd cool down in a couple of days and I'd made a decision then.

And if no one (in the company) can help and you can't divorce yourself from your emotions towards this person, then it's an entirely different problem to solve. (That is, how you are going to work together from now on)

Good luck!


Thanks for your comments. 

Well uncertainty is the reason I came here to see how others in the industry would view such an issue. How I would be expecting to be treated, isn't how I imagine others might, and so I thought I'd get some extra perspective.

I don't make snap decisions especially when I am upset, and I try and allow myself time to cool down and view things from lots of different angles. 

I guess I am a LITTLE emotional, mostly it's frustration.

*I* would consider this a written warning or potentially a sack able offence, I was a little surprised to find most people didn't agree, but lots of people have provided feedback on why it may not be and this is all being taken on board. 

Again coming here and asking the questions, has been part of the process of ensuring that everyone is treated fairly, something I really aim to do always. This is only one of the avenues I have investigated in terms of advice.



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  Reply # 1190014 7-Dec-2014 00:19
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I am actually surprised how many people thought there needs to be written instructions about setting up backups, I always believed this to be a critical part of the job?

In saying that if some of the companies I have worked for fired everyone who messed up a backup they would have very few staff, which is why we always tried to have at least a few failsafes to try and counteract the human element.

If I were in a position of managing these staff members I would probably be handing out a written warning, using this as an opportunity to remind all staff of the importance of backups and manually check a random sample of systems to confirm backup health was OK.

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  Reply # 1190091 7-Dec-2014 11:11
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It's unclear from the original post whether the engineer forgot outright to deploy the backup solution or didn't backup before implementing a change, but either way it is clear that they need a strong bollocking about it.
Legally it would be risky to fire them and depending on the circumstances it might be morally wrong, but at the very least a formal censure of some kind is required so they're aware of the scale of the (potential) problem and the consequences it can have for them personally.

It's always good to review checklists and processes but the intended target audience for days checklists shouldn't be the lowest common denominator.  If that's the case then it's the hiring process that needs to be reviewed.

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  Reply # 1190098 7-Dec-2014 11:43
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AHitman: I am actually surprised how many people thought there needs to be written instructions about setting up backups, I always believed this to be a critical part of the job?

In saying that if some of the companies I have worked for fired everyone who messed up a backup they would have very few staff, which is why we always tried to have at least a few failsafes to try and counteract the human element.

If I were in a position of managing these staff members I would probably be handing out a written warning, using this as an opportunity to remind all staff of the importance of backups and manually check a random sample of systems to confirm backup health was OK.


I don't think anyone is saying the behaviour is acceptable but the issue is that there needs to be a process in place for dealing with it.

The OP discussed sacking someone for not doing backups. Basically if you are going to dismiss for cause someone you need to be able to demonstrate that they understood what was classed as serious misconduct, and if it ended up in court you really need documentation to show that the business views it as serious misconduct.

It doesn't stop the OP proceeding with performance management including formal warnings etc. As an employer you need to have a documented process for this as well. The link below gives a good frame of reference.

http://www.dol.govt.nz/er/solvingproblems/types/misconduct.asp

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  Reply # 1190336 8-Dec-2014 09:11
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networkn:
Well uncertainty is the reason I came here to see how others in the industry would view such an issue. How I would be expecting to be treated, isn't how I imagine others might, and so I thought I'd get some extra perspective.

I don't make snap decisions especially when I am upset, and I try and allow myself time to cool down and view things from lots of different angles. 

I guess I am a LITTLE emotional, mostly it's frustration.

*I* would consider this a written warning or potentially a sack able offence, I was a little surprised to find most people didn't agree, but lots of people have provided feedback on why it may not be and this is all being taken on board. 

Again coming here and asking the questions, has been part of the process of ensuring that everyone is treated fairly, something I really aim to do always. This is only one of the avenues I have investigated in terms of advice.


Yep, this sounds reasonable. I'd like to offer another thought. Some years ago, I was convinced, that it does not matter what kind of consequences someone's behaviour actually had. I was sure, that a deed should be judged based on what it really is, in your case not getting a very important instruction carried out properly. The fact that in this particular case it turned out not to be disastrous would be of no consideration to me because the fact that it did not was by no merit of that person, they probably did not even think of considering the probability of different outcomes here; they simply forgot the whole thing. So why should they deserve leniency just because it so happened that this time the disaster did not happen?

Lately, however I started seeing things from a different angle. Basically, forgiveness is a merit, and a situations where there were no disastrous results makes it easier for you (me) to be forgiving. So I personally try to take that chance where I can. That gives that one more chance to  that person to never do it again, which I consider a positive thing. (Also an opportunity for myself to consider what I personally could have done differently to avoid that in the first place)

Also totally agree about the consequences - they should happen.


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  Reply # 1190409 8-Dec-2014 10:42
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My zero value opinion (an HR person should be your source, not an internet forum):
a. The engineer is described as being mid-level. This implies he is no rookie.
b. It has been clearly spelt out to him how important backups are.
c. He failed to implement a backup. The fact of no consequence (this time) at the client site is irrelevant.
d. He was only given a verbal instruction. The fact of "no distractions" at the time of giving said instruction is irrelevant - people get busy and can forget.
e. There appears to be no management process in place for your staff to sign off job completion. This doesn't need to be a step-by-step process, a simple checklist would suffice.
e. There appears to be no management process in place for clients to sign off on the completion of all work.

I see fault on both sides of the fence and agree with previous comments that a stern chat, with diary notes recorded, is probably the most appropriate course of action. Make it clear to your engineer his actions going forward will be under scrutiny but don't be overbearing or he'll leave and you'll be heading down the road to the ERA with a complaint of constructive dismissal.

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  Reply # 1190411 8-Dec-2014 10:44
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You can contact the Department of Labour for general employment advice. While there are many experienced managers on Geekzone you really need to speak with someone who understands employment law.

You can't just sack people for making mistakes and it sounds like your company does not have thorough processes for dealing with performance management matters.

My wife works as an HR advisor for a large professional organisation and she has told me many stories of middle management overstepping their boundaries and making decisions that are outisde the law. Typically she ends up stepping in when the employee takes a personal grievance against the manager.

Moral of the story, get expert advise on employment law matters.

gzt

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  Reply # 1190448 8-Dec-2014 11:01
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There is a fair bit of overreaction here. This issue was going to occur sooner or later. There was a process in place to catch it and and the process worked. Explain to the staff member what occurred and why this is a concern.

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  Reply # 1190478 8-Dec-2014 11:26

This the process that I have in place for my guys.

1. Before the install is meant to happen run it by the site engineer / senior and make sure the change you are doing is correct
2. Send a change request to the customer to get approval for the work
3. Before you start the install make sure the customer has a working backup. Nothing worse then doing the update and the application crashes the server.
4. Configure the product if applicable
5. Configure alerting if possible (if its a one of job send the alerts to the business owner. In this case if the backup fails they can call upon you again for more work = more money)
6. Monitor for 2-3 days to see application is running 100%
7. Do final hand over advising customer project is now complete.

The above steps or what ever process you have in place can easily be templated into a word document or possibly into your CRM software.

You are correct that you don't need to hold hands if you tell someone to do something verbally, however verbally things are not tracked and things fall through the cracks as you have noticed.

If its in written people can't escape what they have been told as its in black and white.

I would use this opportunity to train the staff and tell them of what could have happened if it all turned to custard.

My 2 cents.

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  Reply # 1190499 8-Dec-2014 12:04
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Instead of verbal job requests, just send an email.  Also, in the email tell the tech to log the job into the system
That should be more than enough.
If the tech is stupid enough to del the email before logging in or finishing the job, then you have a real issue .
You shouldnt need excessive complications & multi-step systems just for a simple job like that, especially in a small company (Im assuming)

Ive had issues with verbal requests in the past , they are easy to occasionly forget, especially when very busy on other jobs .
Plus the verbal request can occasionally be vague, and may not actually be anything like a job request at all (despite the boss thinking it was)
Who here can honestly say they have NEVER forgotten something they were told , especially if sick, stressed on busy on another job.



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  Reply # 1190516 8-Dec-2014 12:13
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Thanks for the comments. Whilst I hadn't seen a need for written communication, often because things happening very dynamically internally and it adding a fair amount of overheard, and because it's never been an issue before, I now realize that it's probably the only way to ensure compliance and accountability. Live and learn. 





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  Reply # 1191813 8-Dec-2014 21:10
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Oriphix: This the process that I have in place for my guys.

1. Before the install is meant to happen run it by the site engineer / senior and make sure the change you are doing is correct
2. Send a change request to the customer to get approval for the work
3. Before you start the install make sure the customer has a working backup. Nothing worse then doing the update and the application crashes the server.
4. Configure the product if applicable
5. Configure alerting if possible (if its a one of job send the alerts to the business owner. In this case if the backup fails they can call upon you again for more work = more money)
6. Monitor for 2-3 days to see application is running 100%
7. Do final hand over advising customer project is now complete.

The above steps or what ever process you have in place can easily be templated into a word document or possibly into your CRM software.

You are correct that you don't need to hold hands if you tell someone to do something verbally, however verbally things are not tracked and things fall through the cracks as you have noticed.

If its in written people can't escape what they have been told as its in black and white.

I would use this opportunity to train the staff and tell them of what could have happened if it all turned to custard.

My 2 cents.


Our process is 1-7 is identical, what we aren't doing, because until recently I felt it not necessary, is to send the engineer a jobsheet instead of verbally asking them to complete the steps. 

The engineer in question forgot outright and it wasn't captured in his workflow because he forgot that too.

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