Hiring · Management

Making it work when you have too

Alison Lewis CEO/Creative Director

July 24th, 2013

Making it work under difficult circumstances is what start-ups are all about yes?  Sometimes, you just have to grin and bear it to make it to the next jump before you can move on to find the right fit due to client deadlines. 

We are working on finding a replacement for a position, but it's not going to be quick or easy with our limited budget.

So...What are some good practices for continuing to work with someone that does not fit on the team in order to get to a milestone? What are some practices to keep moral up as they have to work with this person? 



Alison Lewis CEO/Creative Director

August 7th, 2013

I'd like to bring this topic back up and update everyone one what has happened. 

I went over getting firing the engineer with my team, everyone said this is not the time to sink or swim the company.  

The engineer, who is a great engineer, is slowing down our team in lateness while delivering good product. He's not showing up on time, not working closely with our other mechanical engineer. He's not working out as described above. 

We have a deadline coming up and no other hardware engineer in sight at this time. We are doing a balls to the wall search to find someone so we can move on after the delivery of the schematics and code. 

That is where we are.  If anyone has ever been in this difficult of a situation, I could sure use some advice. 

Mitchell Portnoy Healthcare Information Executive

July 24th, 2013

You'd be surprised at how helpful motivated employees can be when they're asked to be part of the solution Typos courtesy of my iPhone

Mitchell Portnoy Healthcare Information Executive

July 24th, 2013

Sometimes you have to cut bait before you catch that fish. Keeping around a liability to achieve a goal, when others know it, informs the group that their jobs are necessarily safe either. Making the right decision sometimes means making it at a time that's inconvenient. If you're actions are being watched as your question suggests, you may be better respected by making the hard call and then bringing in staff for a frank discussion about why and why now you made the change and then ask for a broader team effort. You might be surprised at how your team answers the challenge when dead wood is cut. Enough metaphors? Typos courtesy of my iPhone

Alison Lewis CEO/Creative Director

July 24th, 2013

We have to hire someone, this is a very specialized role. I assume when we cut, the team will make an all hands on deck effort to help find that next person to take over? 

Mitchell Portnoy Healthcare Information Executive

July 24th, 2013

That was supposed to read NOT necessarily safe either. Typos courtesy of my iPhone

Anonymous

July 24th, 2013

Alison,

Sounds like this person is poisoning your team.  My recommendation is to get rid of this person as soon as possible.  This is the good ol' addition by subtraction idiom.  It's going to hurt when you pull the band-aid off.  But I'm sure by getting rid of this person, you'll get a big boost in team moral and you'll get more productivity out of everyone else.  I would be straight with your team and say you need them to all crank it up another notch.  But I guarantee you, getting rid of a rockstar poison is the better choice both long and short run.

I learned this the hard way by keeping someone who doesn't fit with the team in order to meet a milestone.

Jason

Alison Lewis CEO/Creative Director

August 8th, 2013

I do have managers, they are working with the the team. We are working out a strategy thats works for the team and he's involved in the strategy as well. We've not just kicked him down. People don't work well under an umbrella of shame, but lost pay or penalties may be the only way.

Alison Lewis CEO/Creative Director

July 24th, 2013

I agree with you. There are reasons for keeping them on for a couple weeks. Happy to learn from your experience offline in a discussion. :)

Steve Brett

August 8th, 2013

You're getting good advice but you feel handcuffed. Fire this vendor/employee as soon as you can. In re your last comment about tactics for dealing:

Do you have any managers or team leaders who can put "peer pressure" on this bad apple? If the whole team explains how everyone is suffering, that they can't do their job until this guy does his...that may have a more positive effect than you or some other boss just threatening.

Can you incentivize this guy to work on time...or rather, impose penalties for missed deadlines? If you keep him on and keep paying him, there's no reason for him to change his behavior. Rather, make sure you set proper milestones and then explain the cost of missed deadlines in make-up work, overtime pay, lost opportunities, other vendors schedules, etc. and penalize him the real costs of missing deadlines.

Alison Lewis CEO/Creative Director

July 27th, 2013

Alright everyone, I hope I am allowed to ask for some recommendations or references for hardware/pcb manf. houses you've worked with that do small runs and prototyping in the bay area. 

Where do these people hang out? Is there a PCB prototype group conference coming up? I know about IEEE, but that is about it. 

Any shared knowledge to empower the search would be very helpful.

It would be good for the group to have list like this as well!  Thank you!