segunda-feira, 17 de janeiro de 2011

Toxic companies, Take 2

«Put him in the shelf»

In Portugal we often talk like that when somebody is put away from his work. When you put a worker in the shelf, from that moment it looks as if he didn't exist. But company keeps him paying a salary.

One day, the chairman of a media company where I worked for phoned me to tell: «That guy right there just beside you... XXXXX, put him doing nothing. Turn off his computer and don't give him any page to do. I want that guy doing... nothing. Put him in the shelf right now...»
That «guy» was my colleague, had a low average commitment, even after tried everything to change the situation. So I've made a report to the board in order to get a final solution.

But the answer was what I've written in second paragraph. The chairman wanted him «doing nothing», in front of his screen, with internet unavailable and with no work to do. What have I done?
Backing to the phone call, I answered «Sorry, but I can't do such a thing. I'm not going to put an individual doing nothing, because it will be a bad example to the others. Further, we'll have to do all his work and that is not fair. Is not fair somebody doing nothing, with no responsability, but earning a every month salary.»

A silence came through the line. Suddenly the chairman's voice anounced: «Ok, so, you must solve that problem, and I'm warning you if that guy turn again with more errors and mistakes in newspaper, the responsability will be yours.»
With no support from the board, I've had to get an alternative solution: I've removed all responsability tasks, lowering the probability of error, restricting him too in some advantages he got over other colleagues, like timetable. Nevertheless, I've kept him working with all needed conditions. I've not allowed any exclusion or avoidance behaviors.

I've never understood how can a chairman and owner allow individuals in «shelves» in his own company, producing nothing, earning a salary, subtracting value to the product and to whole structure. Actually this is pathetic.

This situation was solved by itself. The company, in a couple of years, almost colapsed, I left to embrace a new different project, and today the small struture hardly resist in the marketplace, with the same type of choices made by the owner.