We’re fed up with covering for the slacker newbie hires

Nine to Five: Special to The Globe and Mail. Published Sunday, December 9th, 2012

The Question:

I work for a large company in a mid-level position. The job is fast-paced, results-oriented, and requires multitasking abilities, which means it can get stressful.

When I started, I transitioned with little to no training and within a few months I was pulling my own weight.

It’s been over five years and we have had people join the team and transition well – up until about a year ago. Then my manager hired people that should not have been hired. They lacked the credentials, skills and experience required to do the job. But they were hired and made permanent a few months later – even though several complaints about their performance had been made.

Now the rest of the team has to carry their weight along with doing our own work. They get paid almost the same as us but are doing less than half of their share of the work.

Management is sitting back and allowing this mediocrity to brew. We are fed up and I want to know – from an expert’s point of view – what can we do? To whom can we raise this issue without looking bad? No one likes a complainer, but everyone on my team is reaching their breaking point and something must be done.

The Answer:

Colleen Clarke, Corporate trainer and career specialist, Toronto, says…

Who said you had to carry the work load of the low producers? Were you told to do it or did you all just start helping out because the work needed to be done? What would happen if you didn’t pick up the slack?

Covering your colleagues’ hides by performing their job is not part of your job description, but being supportive and helpful is.

Speaking to your manager about your concerns is not complaining, it is stating a fact and presenting a situation. It is taking care of business. Go equipped with a solution to the problem, such as offering to train the others, or request a solution be implemented within a certain time frame, as stress leave could be the next option. Take a lesson from the old biblical story about teaching a man to fish and you feed him for life. Offer to teach your colleagues what they don’t know. It may take a bit of time to get them up to speed, but once you do, the work will get done and you will have your life back.

Be professional in your delivery to your manager and be sure to mention the benefits of getting this resolved quickly. Stick with the facts, don’t complain and don’t threaten; keep your emotions in check, explain the outcome you want to achieve, and ask when you can expect an answer.