Career Clinic

    I manage a team of 15, including a person close to
    retirement. I’ve tried to freshen up her thinking and attitude but
    she’s not interested. She didn’t even respond when I sent her a
    list of training courses. I don’t think it’s healthy for her
    clients or the rest of the team to have this person just coasting
    along and it conflicts with our drive to improve performance. What
    can I do?

    Many public sector jobs are changing. This means managers must
    ensure there is proper communication with staff.
    Have you broached the changes through the normal management
    methods, such as supervision, team meetings and briefings? If not,
    you should. You need to look at this person’s specific needs and
    concerns. I am not surprised you are competing with her probable
    plans for a retirement party at this stage in her career.

    Are you sure she is “coasting along”? It may be she is doing the
    same work she has always done and never varied it in line with any
    new requirements.

    It may be that, frustrated with her lack of interest, you are
    reacting negatively. Sending her a training brochure is more than
    likely to harden her attitudes rather than encourage her. She may
    find training more attractive if she can use it in her personal
    life, for example managing time.

    Getting to know what makes a member of staff feel valued and
    included is essential. This can be done through supervision or
    specific one-to-one sessions, perhaps with human resources.

    Yvette Adams is head of human resources, social services,
    Hammersmith and Fulham Council, London


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