• Mark Duffy

Resources - not always the answer you want

I mentioned in a previous blog, the video of 3 professional football players verses 100 kids! If you have 3 people who know what they are doing, skilled and experienced they will do more than 100 people you picked up off the floor!

I hear that resources are always an issue, but they should not be! I do not mean that you employ one person and they can do it all! I mean, if you have a problem the answer is not always ... "We need more resources!"

Getting people to do things they like makes them more efficient. Faster! So you need to make sure your current team are happy! They are being listened to and used correctly!

I have an example of how 3 people is worse than 2 people, back when I was an IT Manager.

I had a 2 person team, and as the company increased in size I was budgeted another head. It was a help-desk role, so non IT qualifications required.

I contacted the local job centre (as you used to do) and they arrange a list of 6 people (IT job, all males). Interviews were as you would expect with long term unemployed. We got a candidate and he joined a week later, he was unemployed, young, 22 if I recall, didn't have a great interview, but in all honestly he was the best of the 6. No experience but I think his age make use go with him.

Within a week of him starting, we were doing less tickets than normal. Sure the new guy was being trained and taking time away from the other two in the team. But the drop off was massive, 30% of tickets completed within SLA, compared to 100% the week before.

I was traveling that week, and everything, according to the senior guy was going okay. I asked what was going on with the number of red tickets in the help-desk and the reply was training the new guy! I remember saying, "Can he not just shadow you as you go around the office?." and getting the reply, I never expected. "I can't! He stinks!"

Our new employee had a body oder issue. To the point the other two gents were not entering the IT office and leaving him there.

The next Monday I was in the office early and in walked new guy, and instantly the oder was there. I took him aside and asked if there was any issues, he said none. I asked him to wait, grabbed the HR guy (we still laugh now about this), explained the problem and we went to speak to him. We explained, as nicely as we could, the situation, and if there was anything we could do to help? He just grunted and ignored us, didn't object, didn't defend himself, or even admit to a problem.

Instantly, It was clear, this was not an issue, this was a play! Although I did not know that at the time, I was petrified!

The HR guy asked to speak to me outside and explained that he had come across this before, it was a way to get fired from a new job, to claim he was fired, and not his fault, thus continue to claim unemployment benefit. He never wanted the job, but could not throw the interview as he would have lost his benefits if we had reported him. He couldn't reject the job, again, he would have lost his benefits if we he never accepted. His only action was to get fired, but nothing too much, so we would not tell on him.

I went back in, explained we were aware of the situation, and asked if he was ever going to work for us? The muted answer was enough, I asked if he wanted to be fired, we would not tell and just put it down as incompatibility, and he said "yes".

I remember walking him to his desk, to gather his belongings, by now the whole office was in, watching me do the slow march past them. All very aware of the oder problem as it passed. He gathered his things, thanked us, and walked out.

By increasing my resources, I ended up with my first month ever (or since) of not reaching the teams SLA.

The example is an extreme, but if you have the resource already, make sure they are happy. If you come to me and say you have a resource issue, and I know your team is not happy, you will not be getting any resources - cause I might bring in a someone who smells the place up BAD! And instead of the level I'm getting just now, I actually get lower levels!

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