She’s So Yesterday

Another update from the Jungle….

Shelly owns a small company that is growing rapidly. She’s hired four new employees in the past year, including Anna and Zach.  They are ambitious and full of energy.  Zach is now Shelly’s right hand helper, replacing Shelly’s former right hand, Claudia.

Claudia was the first employee Shelly hired. She’s not ambitious or energetic; she moves at a pace akin to a sloth needing a nap.  But in many ways, Claudia is responsible for Shelly’s success because she did all the tedious, time-consuming administrative work while Shelly was busy beating the bushes looking for clients.  Best of all, Claudia was willing to be flexible about her pay when cash flow nose-dived.

Unfortunately, what worked back then isn’t working now.  Last week Claudia spent hours obsessing over a simple task until Anna told her to shut up because she (Anna) would handle it. Five minutes later, Anna was done and stomped out of the office in search of another double espresso.  Shelly emerged from a client meeting to find Claudia waiting to complain about Anna’s rudeness. 

Claudia also feels threatened by Zach who is now making decisions that she and Shelly used to make together.  Claudia shuffles around with a woebegone smile, feeling unappreciated and scared that she’ll be replaced.   The more she worries about being replaced, the more she gums up everything.

Shelly feels guilty because she knows what she owes to Claudia, but she also sees Claudia’s limitations. Claudia’s sluggardly pace is causing permanent grumpiness.  Zach and Anna are in favor of tossing Claudia out on her ear.  Shelly is also growing tired of the drama.  She no longer has time to spend hours helping Claudia agonize over every decision or listening to her complain about Zach and Anna.

Shelly’s been struggling for months to figure out what to do about Claudia.  What are her options?

  1. She can promise Claudia a huge severance package as an enticement to leave. 
  2. She can hire an HR manager and delegate responsibility to listen to whiny employees, like Claudia. After all, why else hire an HR manager?
  3. She can create a new role for Claudia in recognition of her contribution to the success of the company, but that shunts her aside so that she doesn’t slow down co-workers.

Different skill sets are needed at different times in the development of a company.  Small business owners often struggle with accepting that early hires may no longer have the necessary skills and need to be transitioned into new roles or moved out the door.  Having clearly defined roles and tasks makes it easier to complete these types of transitions.

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

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