I have recently joined an IT company as HR. It is a small-sized company, comprised of 10-15 employees only.
The company has 2-3 senior employees, working for the last 10-12 years with it on a high pay scale.
The issue is, these senior employees don't take their work responsibilities. They leave bugs in customer projects for no reason (maybe intentionally, because they are experienced and knowledgeable).
These employees know that the company needs them, can not fire them. And if they will get fired, they will get another good job very easily!
How to handle it? How to make them responsible for their work?

From India, Ganganagar
Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Labour Law & Hr Consultant
Hr Manager
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Nagarkar Vinayak L
Hr And Employee Relations Consultant

The point here is to make the concerned senior employees work as per their job description and for that purpose they should be pulled up. This exercise is to make them mend their ways and not to send them out. Still, if they fail to correct themselves, certainly they should be shown the exit, that's all. Here their high degree of employability cannot be a point to countenance their willful failure to perform their job as described. The poster should remember that a proper dismissal on the ground of grave misconduct of wanton failure to work is a stigma and that will affect such employee's employability through out his future career.
From India, Salem
Thank you Umakanthan.M,
Please suggest the ways of how they can be motivated to perform an error free task! An informal discussion has been done many times by the management earlier.
Somehow company also needs them. As situated in (not so big) city of Rajasthan, experienced and knowledgable candidates are very rare to find.

From India, Ganganagar

This needs change in work culture and individual attitude, both are time consuming processes and cannot be attained so swiftly. Yet the process of change has to start, and there is no better time than the present to start with. So you need to take positive steps as well as negative steps on what is acceptable behaviour in the organisation now. But for all this needs you need the top management support and commitment.
You need an intervention by an expert (OD Consultant) , it appears. Since you are a very small set up you may plan a combined summit of all employees which could be the ideal occasion to bring consultant into picture and chart out a new course.

From India, Mumbai
Dear Aariesrora,
This is in addition to the views expressed by other learned members.
You say that your company need these employees. It appears that they too know this and they have been taking the undue advantage of it. However, sometimes the leadership of your company has to bite the bullet. You had been lenient with these seniors all along but this lenience cannot continue time immemorial. Customers expect flawless service and if it is not provided then the business is bound to suffer. Has your MD calculated the cost of customer dissatisfaction vis-a-vis the cost of retention of these employees? I am sure the former outweighs the latter.
Talk with MD and start thinking of arranging the replacement of these seniors. As you employ the new persons, make sure that these old seniors report to the new ones. Temporarily the MD should withdraw from the operations, however, from the backend he should support the new employees. When the right time comes, check out these old seniors.
Tell your MD that he runs a business enterprise and not a charity centre. Business growth and expansion should be on always on the mind of the leadership. But this can happen provided he does not think from his head and not from the heart. Therefore, the time has come to make the unemotional and dispassionate view of the situation.
Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Dear friend,
Like every individual, every organization has a life span - mostly longer than that of the individuals' who run it. Therefore, nobody is indispensable in the long run. Just because of their senior positions, if some employees wantonly fail to discharge their duties, it tantamounts to insubordination that would always culminate in incompetency. No use in keeping the incompetent employees for long. Whatever be the location of your organization, it is not so difficult to find proper substitutes in the long run.

From India, Salem
Dear madam,
You need to adopt a strategy to shake the seniors out of their cosy and secured position.
The seniors have to be clearly told by MD ,once for all that they need to change their ways and work as expected of them or else harsh steps will be taken. Give them 2/3 months time frame.
You start looking for replacement now and let them know some move to replace them is happening.
Also , explore if their job profile can be changed and each one is assigned distinct teams/ targets and competitive culture can be created.
Find out if the best amongst the the three, one most deserving can be promoted with more and distinct responsibilities and other two are made to report to him.
You may think along these lines with the objective to make them feel that they are not indispensable.
Eventually, if they don't mend their ways after all your sincere efforts, and it is hurting the organization, then you have no option but to replace them one by one.
Vinayak Nagarkar
HR and Employee Relations Consultant

From India, Mumbai
A good team leader always takes responsibility for the performance of their team and won’t throw any responsibilities. but bad manager is opposite. A clear-cut sign of a bad manager is to don't take their work responsibilities
From India, Pune

When seniors shirk responsibility and duties,it sets a bad example for juniors.
In such a situation,the view of MD has to be taken and seen how he views it.
If he is in agreement with your views nd examples of showing poor work culture,then steps can be taken to change work culture.
Fix targets and MIS reports on targets-how much achieved and shortfalls with reasons
Being a small city,talent may not be readily available,but discreetly look around for likely replacements.
Communicate with them in discreet manner and try to find out what is the secret of their taking it easy?
These factors if any can be discussed with MD and if truly an issue steps to redress them will be ideal.
A kind of shaking up will be needed to wake them up.
If you are not getting replacements due to place being small,equally these seniors also will not get suitable jobs.
Start pinning responsibility for errors which shake customer confidence.
Once they know MD will not leave things in the same manner-where come easy go easy- habits persist,they will change.
Keep communication lines open and MD should interact frequently and monitor them also.

From India, Pune

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