The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

February 26, 2013

Your Office Coach: Boss’s wife an unwelcome new hire

QUESTION: Our boss’s wife was recently given a position in our department. She now works two levels below her husband, “Rick,“ who is the head of operations. This is clearly against the company’s nepotism policy, which states that no one shall have any supervisory authority over a family member.

After several people complained, the human resources director said she would review the resumes of all applicants for the position. However, this hardly seems like the appropriate response for such a blatant policy violation. Rick’s wife should just be removed from the job.

Some of us feel that Rick’s boss, the CEO, should be told about this problem, but we’re worried about possible retribution. What would you suggest?

ANSWER: First, let me extend my deepest sympathy to the unlucky soul who is now expected to supervise the boss’s wife. The impossibility of that task clearly illustrates why nepotism policies are necessary and must be enforced. When the informal power of an employee exceeds the formal power of the supervisor, the management structure simply doesn’t work.

Under these circumstances, objective decision-making becomes impossible. Whenever this woman makes a request, receives an assignment, or has a performance review, her manager will be considering Rick’s possible reaction. And no matter how competent or congenial she is, colleagues will inevitably resent her undue influence.

For all those reasons, Rick should be ordered to reverse this self-serving decision. Unfortunately, however, he may already have the CEO’s approval, since only an idiot would hire his wife without first consulting his boss. That would certainly explain your HR director’s feeble response to complaints.

On the other hand, if Rick has managed to surreptitiously maneuver his wife onto the payroll, then the CEO deserves to know. Given the risks involved in ratting out your boss, this may be one time when an anonymous note would be the smartest strategy.

If you decide to go that route, do not use a company computer to create or transmit the message, since that could leave an electronic trail. Present the facts in a calm, businesslike manner, indicating that many employees are upset about this decision. After that, you will just have to wait and see what happens.

Q: The small business where I work has some longtime employees who don’t want to work very hard. When newcomers attempt to improve productivity, the slackers try to run them off by verbally harassing them and manipulating the schedule so that they always get the worst shift.

Because of the bullies, our turnover is astronomical. To make it worse, the owner ignores any complaints because these guys are his friends. I’m tired of losing one great co-worker after another, but I can’t see how to stop this.

A: Sadly, your feelings of helplessness are probably realistic. In a small, privately owned company, the owner has almost complete power. By disregarding complaints, your boss has clearly shown that he values his buddies more than his business. You would be wise to start developing an escape plan, because such a poorly managed company may not be around for long.

Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.“ Send in questions and get free coaching tips at http://www.yourofficecoach.com, or follow her on Twitter officecoach.

 

1
Text Only
Business
  • Balancing Act: How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

    Todd Paton has a booming business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

    July 23, 2014

  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

  • Ask the Mompreneur: It’s best to farm out your payroll

    When my husband and I hired our first employee at our Web development company, we had it easy when it came to doing payroll.

    July 17, 2014

  • Protecting against unnecessary losses

    QUESTION: I run a small bar and grill which is open 7 days a week and have to rely on others for some of the shifts. How can I ensure employees have not become my partners?

    July 17, 2014

  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.
    Workplace distractions are everywhere, especially in an age of social media and open-plan offices. In the face of so much temptation, accomplishing what you’re paid to do can be tough.

    July 16, 2014

  • It could be time for a career coach

    Need a little help figuring out your next career move?
    If you’re putting in the hours and still not seeing the rewards, feeling undervalued or simply striving to be more successful, it may be time to hire a career coach.

    July 16, 2014

  • Your Office Coach: Turn to boss for help with disgruntled underling

    QUESTION: When I joined this company a few weeks ago, I discovered that the person who previously held my position is now working for me. “Sarah” obviously resents my presence and frequently says I don’t have the authority to manage her, even though I clearly do. Her negativity has made my job much more difficult.

    July 15, 2014

  • You are not trusted

    If it seems like employers don’t trust employees - well, they don’t.

    July 15, 2014

Business Video
Stocks