Opinions Wanted, Update post Pg 2

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by sasywtch, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. sasywtch

    sasywtch DIS Veteran

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    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 I’m not sure if it’s the lead or the big boss as the lead likes to throw the big boss’s name around when she doesn’t 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 don’t 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 it’s just a new procedure they are trying out? I’m not even sure of a good way to state this question. I’m just curious what your first thoughts would be on this new procedure.
    I will just say one thing……….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 other’s first thoughts. It can be a “no big deal” as I’m willing to listen to all which is why I asked. You know when you are knee deep in it, you can’t see clearly and others may see it differently.

    Thanks all and I’ll check back when I get off work. ***just to be clear, I am on break!
     
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  3. sookie

    sookie DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  4. minkydog

    minkydog DIS Cast Member

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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?
     
  5. Disney  Doll

    Disney Doll DIS Security Matron

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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.
     
  6. Christine

    Christine Would love to be able to sit on

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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.
     
  7. NMAmy

    NMAmy Can speak food in German

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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:

    That makes no sense at all unless the only objective is to try to discourage people from taking vacation which is just wrong IMO.
     
  8. bdcp

    bdcp DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  9. Christine

    Christine Would love to be able to sit on

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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.
     
  10. badblackpug

    badblackpug <font color=blue>If you knew her you would be shoc

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    It sounds to me like they are trying to increase productivity.
     
  11. disykat

    disykat DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  12. POPCITY

    POPCITY Mouseketeer

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    Supervisor at the local government here, and I completely agree with this.
     
  13. tvguy

    tvguy Question anything the facts don't support.

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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.
     
  14. dakcp2001

    dakcp2001 <font color=darkorchid>Am I wrong to want a cashie

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    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.
     
  15. MickeySP

    MickeySP DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  16. tvguy

    tvguy Question anything the facts don't support.

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    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.
     
  17. sasywtch

    sasywtch DIS Veteran

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    Hi all, thank you so much. I purposely did not give many details so as to get a range of views. Sorry I didn't come back sooner, I caught the darned sore throat thing and was in bed shortly after coming home from work each night.

    I'm in CA so yes we definitely have a union. BTW TVGuy, years ago when we had CSEA, they were much better than what we have now.

    To the poster who said it's hard to fire government workers? I use to think that until this job. I have seen 4 get fired here. One, they brought me into as I was her lead. This is what I was asked..."now Sasy, we don't want you to lie but don't you believe that XXX should know x amount by now?" Then they patted me on the shoulder and said, now remember, we don't want you to not say anything you aren't comfortable with. (with a smile) This was the big big big boss who everyone hated because, well she wasn't nice. This was the one and only time she was extremely sickly kind to me. They were trying to get this girl on her excessive time off but couldn't because she had doctor's excuses. She had been there 6 months and they wanted me to say she should know things that people who had been there 2 years didn't even know and they knew it. I told the boss, no but if you'd like to get her on her time off, that's the way you should go (I knew they couldn't but I do not play the suck up game and was kind of letting her know). A week later, she was gone. I have my theories because my lead is a major suck up. A few in there would be willing to play the game. I can't throw people under the bus and lie to be a yes man.

    Here's the deal on the situation:
    The files in the hall are locked. They are in front opening shelves that lock so keeping them at our desk for security isn't the issue. Trust me, we have investigators who come in to check for confidential issues. We have to shred daily anything with name/address or social etc, everything must lock, we can't send emails with socials or it get quaranteened.

    We license professionals. A file can take 15 minutes or 2 hours depending. 40 is a realistic number for the week however, our lead puts more and more duties on our desk. Out of 30 desks in our office (they do other duties, not what we do as we are specialized), we have 10 openings. So, the three of us are called upon to answer reception phones (I was up there 15 hours this past week at reception as an example), change addresses/names, take messages off another reception line etc). Our unit (the three of us) has been justified for 6 employees. 1 employee left 2 years ago, that desk has not been filled and the other 2 that were open and not filled was lost when the governor wanted the department to cut 8 positions. Since the desks were not filled, it made more sense to do away with those two instead of laying off 2 people already working there. We are overwhelmed. We've had 1 open for 2 years and they can't seem to find anyone to fill it.

    For my unit and why I was asking:
    I don't think it has to do with me as I can get mine done. I am actually the only one that works overtime. Even though my lead and I do not get along, my hunch is, this is nothing to do with me.

    Coworker 2-she is on FMLA. She has been there a little longer than me (9 years) and always a tad slow but consistant and ok. About 6 months ago, she went on FMLA due to a parental illness. Please see above about other coworker and trying to fire them. They cannot get her on her time off but they can make life miserable. They are sneeky and it may be a case where they are trying to find a way to get rid of her.

    Coworker 3-consistant but whines. Can do the work but complains when other work is put on her desk as if she is the only one to get extra work. Goes on vacation a week every 3 months but she has the time so that should not be an issue.

    I have been thinking for quite sometime now that the bosses were doing "something" but I just wasn't sure. I know it's not my lead as she couldn't come up with something like this on her own and she was the one that was adamant previously that she did not want us to have even one file left in our desk at 5pm. She was right on that because when we get a call, we now have to go ten different places looking for a file and it's a pain! Someone higher up came up with this and I would bet, the lead is in on it.
    What finally got me is this: I have been there by myself doing all calls for the unit, all emails, all address/name changes etc as coworker 2 is on jury duty for 2 weeks and worker 3 is on vacation for 2 weeks. The lead was handing out the files for the week and giddy (that's the best word I can come up with, maybe jubilent?) saying, 2 and 3 are getting 40 more files and next week they will have 40 more. It wasn't like, oh no, look what they are coming back to but a smile of, ah ha, look how far behind they will be! type of attitude.

    When we had our last staff meeting, I told the big boss we were overwhelmed. Normally we are at 4 weeks to get them done, we are currently at 16 weeks. It's ugly. These are people wanting to get licensed to go to work. There use to be 400 pending files with 3 workers when I started there 8 years ago, now there is 2500 files with 3 workers plus we now have emails, we have to give our personal numbers out whereas before, easy calls were answered by reception, we never had to go cover front phones in reception, we didn't do address/name changes, etc. They pretty much are saving money at our expense. We figured it out the other day, they are saving 40K a month in our area by not filling those desks but expecting the same workload to get out. Anyway, the big boss says....we understand, we know, we don't expect this or that (gag me). Then they start the distributing workload thing with the pile up week after week. Their words are not matching their actions.

    I'm with the person from VA (I believe it was VA). I think they are justifying the work to rid of certain employees. I believe it's the FMLA and since they can't write her up with the FMLA/time off, they are going workload wise. It's just so hard for me to comprehend this place and unless you've worked in one like it, it's hard to fathom. There is so much favortism it's ugly.

    If anyone has read this far, I apologize. Maybe it's more of a vent. I work overtime Saturday and have to go back in tomorrow. Only having one day off is depressing. I use to love this job, it is now filled with hate. I went to my big boss last week and asked her to please give me a good reference if I go out looking for a promotion. She told me I was the "go to" person when they needed information which I knew. I am a little higher than my two coworkers in rank, actually I'm analytical and they are technician (anyone in goverment may know the theory behind that one). It's a pay thing and a "we can dump more difficult stuff on you" classification LOL

    My gut is, they are trying to either justify firing the FMLA person or they believe it will speed us up and magically we will catch up. To be honest, if we didn't have all these extra new duties, it could be possible if we busted ou fannies that we could do the additional workload with the same 3 people we had before.

    ****disclaimer here.........we tend to license people who cannot become licensed in their own state and now through the grapevine have found out that if they apply to us and get our license, they can maybe qualify through their state with our license. That has increased our workload tremendously. We also have had a major major rush of immigrant applicants over the last few years due to a certain problem I can't discuss on here due to TMI. It has to do with their education not qualifying elsewhere but here.

    Thank you for all your responses. I do appreciate it and I'm just going to keep my nose clean, do my work and just start applying for promotions since I passed that test a long time ago and should have went out interviewing then.
     
  18. Acklander

    Acklander DIS Veteran

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    Can't they get temp help to work while the person is out on FMLA? Or at least to do the address changes/emails kind of stuff while the person is out? I don't see how you can be expected to complete the same amount of work while you are out sick, on vacation, or at jury duty - and firing someone because they couldn't complete their job while on leave, goes against the spirit of the law, I would think.
     

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