Undermanagement Causes Financial Chaos
Q: I have a bachelor's degree in business administration, but I accepted a financial job that didn't require a degree at a pension management company. My boss, who was not a certified public accountant, had never reviewed the work of the woman I replaced. I began reviewing all her work and discovered problems in every area. She had never balanced the books or the bank reconciliations.
I explained the problems to the boss, so he brought in outside auditors to review the accounts. I furnished all the records to the auditors, and they corrected everything. I have maintained accurate records since that time.
Also, the company didn't have a human resources person, so my boss had given everyone the same salary. I, too, received the same salary. I then heard that the employees never had performance reviews due to the absence of HR, so bad employees received the same salary as top employees.
A new boss was brought in, and he hired an HR professional. I told her what had happened since I began working there and said I felt I deserved a raise. She said she had to review everything before she could do anything about the salaries. I don't know what a reasonable waiting time would be. I'm wondering if I should patiently wait or look for another job.
A: Let's review the situation from a different perspective. You took over a job that had not been handled properly by the previous employee. It's possible that she, too, had walked into a mess because of this uninvolved manager, but she may also have lacked the skills to recognize the problems or was too frightened to, as her boss never checked on her or asked questions about her work. This boss is clearly guilty of undermanagement.
"Most managers are guilty of undermanagement in today's workplace," according to Bruce Tulgan, a consultant, best-selling author of "It's Okay to Be the Boss," "The 27 Challenges Managers Face," and "Not Everyone Gets A Trophy," and founder of Rainmaker Thinking, a management research, training and consulting firm. Tulgan says, "Employees have a right to expect four things from their managers: 1) clear expectations for the job; 2) an inventory of the necessary resources or the recognition that the company doesn't have the resources; 3) a detailed contemporaneous record that tracks your performance, and if your boss doesn't do it, you should; and 4) appropriate credit or rewards." Tulgan says today's managers want to be liked when, in fact, they should be managing, checking in and supporting the employees.
You accepted the salary when you accepted the job. It now sounds like you want a raise because you handled the job and she did not. Under that logic, all companies whose employees cause losses or sink a company into a financial hole should be personally charged for those losses. Not a bad idea from a company's standpoint, but, for whatever legal reasons, companies don't do that. Instead, they cut their losses by terminating the employment of poorly performing employees and hire new employees who will hopefully perform at a higher level.
The new HR pro took time to listen to you and now needs time to digest how to handle not just your salary but the fact that all the employees are receiving the same salary. She, too, walked into quite a mess by taking a job at a company that never had performance reviews. The situation is not the type to be quickly or easily resolved. You put in the time to report and help correct the situation, and your boss reacted appropriately by hiring auditors (though, if he had been an effective manager, the chaos with the bookkeeping would never have occurred).
It always helps to stay abreast of jobs and salaries in your field, but if you like your job, co-workers and new boss, it seems worthwhile to stay. You've been through the worst; now you can enjoy building and working for the new management and wait for HR to implement performance reviews for all employees.
Email your workplace issues and experiences to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about career and life coach Lindsey Novak, visit www.lindseyparkernovak.com, and for past columns, see www.creators.com/read/at-work-lindsey-novak.