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Old 01-25-2013, 04:04 PM   #1
sasywtch
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Opinions Wanted, Update post Pg 2

I would like opinions whether good or bad. I am not going to put my opinion down as to not sway what I believe nor give my accounting of details to not sway.

I work for a governmental agency and handle the evaluation of applicants applying for licensure. We are short staffed and extremely behind. There are three of us in this unit.

We have 2500 files on the open shelves in the hallway that need to be evaluated (new and deficiency mail being returned with corrections). For the last 8 years up until about 6 months ago, the three evaluators would go get their daily work from these shelves. If we had any left at the end of the day, we returned them to the shelves so not to have files all over the place. We were not allowed to have files at our desks so others did not have to hunt for files if they got a phone call.

6 months ago, they (and Iím not sure if itís the lead or the big boss as the lead likes to throw the big bossís name around when she doesnít want to take responsibility for giving work out) decided that the lead will give each one of us 20 files on Monday for the week and we had to make space in the top flipper at our desk. If we finished 15 and had 5 left, the next Monday the lead would give us 15 more to equal 20 (we never had more than 20 at our desk).

About 2 months ago it changed again. Now we are given 40 a week to do and if we donít finish those 40, we get 40 more the following Monday. If a person did 30 and had 10 left, the next Monday they would now have 50 on their desk. If someone is on vacation or jury duty for 2 weeks, they continue to get 40 one week, 40 the next week plus 40 on the Monday they return so they will have 120 files on their desk upon their return.

My question to anyone out there is, do you believe the supervisor/lead is trying to push an agenda? Do you think itís just a new procedure they are trying out? Iím not even sure of a good way to state this question. Iím just curious what your first thoughts would be on this new procedure.
I will just say one thingÖÖÖ.I tend to be one that gets my 40 done a week.

We are continually told in staff meetings, don't worry, we know you are behind and then institute this new policy.
Just curious otherís first thoughts. It can be a ďno big dealĒ as Iím willing to listen to all which is why I asked. You know when you are knee deep in it, you canít see clearly and others may see it differently.

Thanks all and Iíll check back when I get off work. ***just to be clear, I am on break!
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:21 PM   #2
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I'm going to sound like a jerk but... not knowing what the previous situation is and what the license situation is, I can't say enough to know that this is unfair.

If you have to do a lot of verifications - that is an issue. I can see where it would be unfair if I were in your situation as well. But I have also worked with a lot of people that if they were not given an incentive to work (more files coming their way on Monday) - they would work as slowly as possible. You might be a self starter, but other workers might not be.

I think that the Vacation / Jury duty policy is a HUGE issue.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:25 PM   #3
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A lot of times when employers want someone to go, they will change their duties, add extra work, transfer projects, and make it difficult to do their job. Could be trying to justify firing someone?
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:25 PM   #4
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Not knowing the tone of your workplace, I have no idea if your supervisor is trying to push an agenda.

It would seem to me that there would be a better place to keep files than in a shelf in a hallway, especially if the files contain information that should be protected, so having @ least some of them @ someone's desk is probably better than that.

If you think your supervisor is trying to see who's able to complete their work and who's not, it would seem to me that he/she should ask for finished files to be placed on his/her desk OR that you keep a list of the files you complete and the dates on which you complete them & give it to the supervisor at the end of the week.

It sounds to me as if "they" are thinking that some aren't pullig their weight. But then it wouldn't make sense to keep adding files every Monday if the person couldn't get done what needed to be done the week before.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:28 PM   #5
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As a supervisor myself at a governmental agency, I will tell you that we try all different "ways" to get non-performers or low-performers to work. I can envision my office doing something similar if we suspected low performance. In order to discipline or document such behavior, we have to establish a measurable "metric" of which to assess the performance. What you have described sounds like they are trying to set a standard for performance. Couple that with being short-staffed and falling behind in workload, it sounds like they are trying to institute some internal controls for managing the workload.

It's not easy, in today's climate, being a government worker.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:34 PM   #6
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I can kind of understand the procedure as an incentive to get workers to pick up the pace but this part just seems insane to me:

Quote:
Originally Posted by sasywtch View Post
If someone is on vacation or jury duty for 2 weeks, they continue to get 40 one week, 40 the next week plus 40 on the Monday they return so they will have 120 files on their desk upon their return.
That makes no sense at all unless the only objective is to try to discourage people from taking vacation which is just wrong IMO.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:43 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by minkydog View Post
A lot of times when employers want someone to go, they will change their duties, add extra work, transfer projects, and make it difficult to do their job. Could be trying to justify firing someone?
It takes more than that to get rid of a government employee. It requires a lot of tracking, counseling on performance, etc. And even then, they have appeal rights. I am a Fed Gov employee and have seen and worked with people who probably shouldn't be there. I'm a highly effective employee and get consistently excellent reviews, but I work with people who are not great at what they do or are more interested in socializing, yet they get satisfactory reviews because the management doesn't want to deal with it. I've had coworkers in the past get mad at me because I wouldn't do their work for them when I was done with mine. (sorry I'm so efficient lol) It's easier for them to keep the employee than track everything. There has to be a paper trail and documentation and they just don't want to fool with it.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:48 PM   #8
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It takes more than that to get rid of a government employee. It requires a lot of tracking, counseling on performance, etc. And even then, they have appeal rights. I am a Fed Gov employee and have seen and worked with people who probably shouldn't be there. I'm a highly effective employee and get consistently excellent reviews, but I work with people who are not great at what they do or are more interested in socializing, yet they get satisfactory reviews because the management doesn't want to deal with it. I've had coworkers in the past get mad at me because I wouldn't do their work for them when I was done with mine. (sorry I'm so efficient lol) It's easier for them to keep the employee than track everything. There has to be a paper trail and documentation and they just don't want to fool with it.
Which is exactly why I posed the scenario of them establishing a measurable metric. That would be the first step I would need to do to start the process of dealing with a poor performer. I wouldn't even necessarily be trying to fire anyone, but in order to document poor performance and counsel an employee on it, you have to have more than "I feel like you don't work as fast as the other employees." Now that this particular supervisor has established some numbers, they can measure the performance.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:49 PM   #9
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It sounds to me like they are trying to increase productivity.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:02 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Christine View Post
As a supervisor myself at a governmental agency, I will tell you that we try all different "ways" to get non-performers or low-performers to work. I can envision my office doing something similar if we suspected low performance. In order to discipline or document such behavior, we have to establish a measurable "metric" of which to assess the performance. What you have described sounds like they are trying to set a standard for performance. Couple that with being short-staffed and falling behind in workload, it sounds like they are trying to institute some internal controls for managing the workload.

It's not easy, in today's climate, being a government worker.
If you (not YOU specifically, everyone in your job) are getting 40 done in a time where you used to only be given 20 I think it's a good thing. Obviously there will reach a point where you can't possibly take any more candy off the belt (I love Lucy!)and performance will suffer, but it sounds like the expectations were too low originally and they're trying to find the right work rate.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christine
As a supervisor myself at a governmental agency, I will tell you that we try all different "ways" to get non-performers or low-performers to work. I can envision my office doing something similar if we suspected low performance. In order to discipline or document such behavior, we have to establish a measurable "metric" of which to assess the performance. What you have described sounds like they are trying to set a standard for performance. Couple that with being short-staffed and falling behind in workload, it sounds like they are trying to institute some internal controls for managing the workload.

It's not easy, in today's climate, being a government worker.
Supervisor at the local government here, and I completely agree with this.
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:15 PM   #12
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Without knowing the range of time a file can take to complete, it's hard to say. The current system allows you an hour per file. What the shortest time a file can be completed in? What's the longest if there are complications or issues?

I know many CSEA contracts prohibit managers from doing the work their employees do, but if not, can your manager do 40 files in a week?
That would be the real test.
Some of the best managers I have worked for will jump in when they feel a worker isn't keeping pace, to see if what they are asking for can be done, and if can, demonstrating to the worker that it can be done. It can be pretty eye opening when someone who hasn't done a job in 10 years and jump back in and do it faster than those currently doing it.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:01 AM   #13
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It sounds to me like they are trying to increase productivity.
My thoughts exactly. They think some people aren't doing their fair share and they are trying o give everyone the same amount to see who is the slacker. They are giving individuals some accountability. If they all go in a closet and one person does 20 a week while another does 50 the workload is not fair.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:54 AM   #14
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Which is exactly why I posed the scenario of them establishing a measurable metric. That would be the first step I would need to do to start the process of dealing with a poor performer. I wouldn't even necessarily be trying to fire anyone, but in order to document poor performance and counsel an employee on it, you have to have more than "I feel like you don't work as fast as the other employees." Now that this particular supervisor has established some numbers, they can measure the performance.
Also a government employee & I agree partially. Now the thing I would want to know is what kind of licenses are you doing? That can play a major factor if they make the work load so unreasonable as to cause deficiency in the system then it can backfire on a supervisor, especially the vac/jury policy.
I would also think if you are union it is greivable as a measurable change/expectation of the job, not all jobs should have quotas if they impact performance.
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:33 PM   #15
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I would also think if you are union it is greivable as a measurable change/expectation of the job, not all jobs should have quotas if they impact performance.
Wow, that's a pretty sweet clause in a union contract. My wife is union, and the contract says the company can make any changes they want, as long was they provide training.

And my industry has gone heavily into automation which really hasn't change how much work is done, just the number of people to do it, their physical tasks replaced by things that are programmed into the computer in advance.
What used to take 8 people takes 2 now, but those 2 have to preprogram all the tasks those 6 missing people did. So in reality, those indivduals are doing what used to be done by 4 workers.
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