Dillema 3: The rogue employee

Tigertours is a bus company with a good fleet of coaches and limousines. The customers are tour operators that need flexible transportation for visitors to the destination. In addition the company is at the service of many local sports and leisure organizations and it is available at private events such as weddings and anniversaries.

The company is successful, and the manager, Ivan (59) finds that his firm management style is the main reason for steady rising turnover and assets. All new activities and all investments are matters of long consideration. He discusses his plans with his business network, which meets for a card game every Thursday night, and he feels that the advice is most often very appropriate.

The administrative person in the office retired 6 month ago, quite a loss, as many of the routines relied on Emma. The detailed planning and the accounting was her desk, while Ivan took care of sales and made sure that the superintendents of the garages and operations were happy.

After a job opening and interviewing, Ivan decided to employ Anita as a replacement of Emma. Anita was better educated in finance than Emma, and Ivan also looked forward to having abetter-humored person around.

Ivan's assessments of Anita's competences were correct in the sense that she soon reorganized the accounting into a lean system. Ivan was encouraged to see that she could produce monthly follow-ups on many issues such as use of fuels and status of all payments. Anita cleared out most of the old archive, and she suggested that the room could be restored as a place for the drivers to rest and to use a computer for their private purposes. Slightly reluctantly, this was accepted by Ivan. The drivers welcomed the change, as the room also proved better coffee and a chance for a chat with the attractive Anita. Her next step was to set up information on the computer for the drivers. She made benchmarking statistic that showed the driven kilometers and fuel used, and she asked for their comments on how to improve the performance. Surprisingly fast, Anita became an expert in fuel economics.  Another feature was an electronic calendar, which facilitated Anita's planning. She had to educate those drivers not familiar with the computer, but she succeeded with most of them, who also enjoyed visiting the computer room for other reasons.

What made Ivan a little grumpy was the day where Anita set up a computer based rating system for the new bus that they were about to purchase. She listed a number of important features, and asked all drivers to rate ten different busses.

They came up with an assessment for Ivan which did not exactly match the one settled on during the last card-playing session.

Anita's reorganization saved many work hours for her, and she started to visit the garages and talk to the supervisors and driver, and sometimes also with the customers. The cleaning area, operated by an immigrant with an insufficient command of the language, was surprisingly old-fashioned, and with very little investment she up-graded and improved the working conditions. She found the garages dark and dull, and suggested that they put in large windows to display the fleet in light and colorful surroundings to the large amount of bypassing cars. This upset the drivers slightly because the garage was their domain, a refuge in many ways.

Ivan got the message from the drivers that Anita had become too much of a trouble in the garages, and asked him to keep her "indoors".

POLL: How would you advise Ivan?

Fire Anita and employ an administrative person who is more like Emma.

Ask Anita to concentrate only on administrative activities in the office and to leave the garage people alone.

Create a bit of fresh air in the garages by firing some from the old gang of drivers, and implementing some of Anitas ideas in the garage. Ensure a wider diversity among the staff, so that Anita will not be the only "non-standard" person in the enterprise.

Collect all employees at a staff innovation seminar, organized and guided by external consultants. Employees may have valuable ideas and suggestions for change, and the seminar would give them a chance for to discuss and assess their ideas. The objective for the seminar will be to create a consolidated list of improvements and changes that Ivan and Anita can work on until a new staff seminar next year.

Widen Anitas job description to include also innovation and improvement tasks throughout the enterprise and communicate this change to everybody.


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