The Practitioner: Staff sit-down shocker

ONE OF OUR LONGEST-SERVING employees came to me this week and asked for a sit down meeting.

I of course obliged and was then swiftly told that I hadn’t had a sit down meeting with him since 2009. My face must have been a picture, my jaw dropped wide open and for what felt like minutes I was speechless.

After getting over the shock I tried to cast my mind back to when I did have a sit down with him. Surely I sat down with him as part of his staff appraisal? Apparently not, he was off sick on the original appraisal week and I had failed to rearrange it. I felt like the worst boss in the world, ever.

Thankfully he moved on to the real reason why he wanted to see me, he felt like he wasn’t valued within the firm and that nobody helped him to do his job. No wonder he didn’t feel valued I thought if he’d been neglected for all that time!

The issue he was having was that he has afraid to ask for help and consequently was having to work late hours while everyone else appeared to be more of a team and helped each other out.

It was really interesting to hear him say this, because if you would have asked me before the meeting what I thought about him I would have said he enjoyed working on his own and he didn’t like being bothered by the other staff members.

We all thought he had his own way of doing things and having been in the firm the longest he was happy to carry on that way. We had no issue with him from a time recovery or billing point of view. He was very profitable for us.

He was on the verge of tears when telling me his feelings, and that made me feel pretty crap too.

We agreed that he would try to ask for help more, and I privately agreed with myself to speak to the office manager to make sure that he was aware of the real situation.

It just goes to show, you never really know what’s going on with people, especially if you never speak to them on a one-to-one basis in over three years…

The Practitioner’s uncensored thoughts come from the coalface of a regional firm in the heart of England

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