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Case Study

A business fable about Managing a New Employee

Post by
Avi Lambert

Hiring A New Junior Employee

Turning notifications for Slack off the second morning of this new job at Acme Industries was the first and only mistake, but it was a big one. The company’s junior digital marketer was happy to start working away on her tasks, after getting settled at her desk. Arriving from the local college digital marketing program, by way of an internship, she got right to work.

At the end of the first week, a bit overwhelmed with all the new tools and services, Susan felt like she did a good job. After answering customers on social media and the website’s chat service, writing and publishing blog posts, and working with the product team on the campaign for the new app going into the weekend, she was proud to be working at an Acme and with their clients.

Having fun, energizing weekend, she gets back to her job on Monday morning. Though when she is about to get settled at her desk, Peter, the manager, waves to her, asking her to come into his office. Feeling positive about the past weekend, Susan is surprised and unsettled when the manager Peter closes the door behind her, and asks her to sit down. Immediately Susan feels like she is in trouble.

Peter says, “I apologize for not having this meeting sooner, we’ve just been so busy.” He pauses and offers an awkward smile.

When Susan doesn't say anything, because she doesn't know why she's in his office Peter turns the computer screen towards Susan. He opens the Slack application and says, “You’ve been missing out on the conversation’s we’re having here. Did you turn notifications off? The conversations we have here for the blog, the app, and everything are right here, sorry you weren't told that before but you've been missing what's been going on and I want to ensure you catch up this week.”

Susan is shocked and embarrassed. Noting to herself that she turned it off early in the week because it was distracting, she says, "I'll make sure to use Slack for the team, I'm sorry to have missed the conversation".

Peter says, " Thanks Susan, I totally understand." And then, for ten minutes, he goes into a conversation about the company, looking at her as he waves his hands to ensure she's following him. "So, you understand what we do and what we're after now a bit more, I hope that helps."

Susan leaves Peter's office and goes back to her desk. In the back of her mind, as she turns the computer on, she starts to think one of the most critical issues with retaining staff, even junior employees. Susan thinks to herself, "maybe this job isn’t as perfect as I thought.”

Managers Benefit From Emotional Intelligence

Imagining a situation like this in the format of a fable allows us to reveal salient business issues. Things like emotional intelligence, human resources and, the importance of company values come out of this fable. Also, companies benefit from getting clarity on their vision, and the way they operate, and putting this into deliverables like playbooks for human resources to make the job of management that much easier.

Business is complex and managing staff is no easy feat. However among the complexity of staying true to funders, corporate governance, partners, suppliers, all on a moment-by-moment basis, having the right set of habits that take the stress away is crucial. Getting the job done in the present can impact the long term, that's the big take away of this fable. Managers establish patterns often without thinking about it.

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