The Ten Major Complaints of Employees #6

Updated: Jan 2


Phil works for an event planning company. He has worked in that industry for various companies for over six years. Most of his work has been in corporate event planning. He recently started a job with a major conference planning company that designs and implements conferences for professional organizations including the American Medical Association and the American Bar Association. While Phil is very familiar with the software that is used to manage corporate events, he is less familiar with the special software package that is used to manage associations and their annual conferences.

Mary is his boss, and she has worked in association management for over 12 years. Mary is a micro-manager and wants to be involved in every task she assigns to her staff, which does not allow much learning and exploration of new ideas by folks who work for her. Since Phil is the newest member of her staff and happens to be the only male member, she has been ignoring his request to be trained on the software that her team uses. Mary claims to be too busy to get him up to speed. When he has asked, Mary has told Phil that it is up to him to learn the software on his own. Phil has learned that all of the other members of the event planning team were sent to a one-day course to learn the software. Phil has asked his colleagues to help him learn the software, but no one has found the time to do so. His lack of ability with the software package has started to affect his work, and Mary has lost her patience publicly with Phil twice in the past two weeks. Most recently, she stopped a team meeting and in front of the rest of the team, spent five minutes berating Phil for “not having the initiative to learn the package” and saying that his “lack of motivation was pulling down the entire team”.

Phil then visited the HR office of the company and expressed his frustration that Mary is not giving him the same learning opportunity as everyone else on the team. Phil wants to succeed and likes the company, but remains quite frustrated with the process.

What needs to be done here is that someone from the HR office needs to do a mediation between Mary and Phil, and ensure that Phil is given the same opportunities to succeed as everyone else on his team. This unfortunately is a common complaint of employees when they are expected to use technology and their boss refuses to arrange for training. Not giving Phil the training when everyone else on his team has received it, could border on a valid gender discrimination issue, so the company would be wise to arrange for Phil to have the opportunity to learn the software package in a formal classroom setting. Often, a job is dependent on understanding how to use the technology, and it is the employer’s responsibility to provide the training to any employee who needs it.

The team at The Pennington HR Group has over a decade of proven experience in facilitating dialogues between managers and their employees. We work with managers to help them better understand how their employees are feeling, and how the manager can be more effective in showing appreciation to all of the employees and giving them the validation that is so important to each of them.


© 2019 by The Pennington HR Institute

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