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Thread: Work situation - team members not pulling their weight

  1. #1
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    Work situation - team members not pulling their weight

    I work as part of a team, where we each have individual responsibilities.

    We have team responsibilities too, which are over and above our individual ones. Sometimes, the team responsibilities actually do very little to further our own goals, but they are required by the moving parts of the entities which with we work.

    As per my title, what to do about team members who constantly shirk these extra responsibilities?

    When they conveniently schedule vacation days when those meetings are put on the calendar?

    These extra meetings must be covered, and I'm always counted on to cover them. I'm literally at 100% of these extra meetings, which are often at night.
    I do it because I feel it's important, and I want to be included, and I want to know what's going on with our work world.

    But I'm starting to feel resentment towards the "vacation schedulers".

    These meetings are often scheduled up to 6 months in advance, so it's not like they are last minute.

    Talking to my boss is not the answer, for various reasons.

    Any advice?

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    Ugh. There's always at least one.

    Are you the one who schedules the meetings? I had non-attendees at my meetings. And then I got savvy, and made them name a date and time that worked for them. I explained how important it was to have them there for it, and I even rescheduled to make sure they could come. This year both offenders have come to the meetings!

    As far as team projects, make sure each part of the project is split up among the members of the team. Make a list or doc that keeps track of progress - and who is responsible for each portion. Make sure they are on the agenda for the next meeting to report on their portion of the progress.

    Good luck

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    I'm unsure what the work/life balance (corporate culture) for this company is like and you haven't mentioned the industry or general industry standards. You don't have to but I think it might warrant some review. There may be some push back because there isn't enough of a balance. I'd also be interested in looking (if I were in your position) more closely at how many of these meetings are useful. Can the usefulness of these meetings be quantified? How effective are they in the bigger picture and are they critical to the performance of the company?

    I understand the meetings must be covered as per company policy but I'm questioning how effective they are overall to the workings of the company. I think getting to the heart of this is important if it means rediscovering your passion for your work and more meaning to what you are doing. You may also want to bring up some suggestions to your boss and give some valuable feedback on the inner workings since you are at these meetings. If you cannot quantify the value of the meetings, I'd probably work on doing so and speak with your boss about the usefulness of them. If you cannot speak with your boss, find out who is interested in their effectiveness. There usually is someone who is interested in the bottomline (or there should be) and revising where precious company dollars are being wasted especially if employees are being paid to attend these meetings.

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    The meetings are not scheduled by us, but by other entities within our industry, so unfortunately, whether they are useful or not is a moot point, as we are required to attend, period.

    They are held by different entities and organizations, and it is within the scope of our job to be present.

    Most of the time, we actually are scheduled as speakers at these meetings, so we must put together power points, trainings, etc. This is not optional, or up for discussion.

    Often, they are within our daily schedule, but they are also scheduled on nights or weekends. It's just part of the job.

    Trust me, I wish I had more say in when, and how many, of these we can/should attend, but I do not. My job is to simply show up and present what I'm supposed to present. Without getting into industry specifics, it's a necessity.

    So the question is more of what can/should I do, if anything, to get others to attend, as my boss frankly doesn't care, as long as they are covered. I could just be the one to schedule my vacation and not show up, but I can't do that in good conscience.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    I'm curious why you feel you should do anything at all. There is virtually no incentive for you to secure more attendees at the meetings nor does it seem to affect your performance level. You're burning yourself out as it is attending all of them. Now you've added another project: the intention to increase attendees, a project for which you are not empowered to do nor at any professional capacity to do(no authority). I think I'd have to know more about your work but don't feel obligated to respond.

    This may be a good time to reflect whether this is a line of work you enjoy doing. It may also be helpful, if you do find the rewards outweigh the cons overall in your work, to schedule more vacation days and take a time out or breather. If you have the vacation days, are you using them? Even a half day can be a great help right before a scheduled evening meeting (ie leave the office before noon for example if you work in the day time). This would be me suggesting that you mitigate that stress and limit the desire to take on more than you should. Unfortunately, there is very little you can do to empower others without the right tools. It seems they've found a loophole in the system and until that system is repaired by individuals who have that authority, you're in no position to take on that project. This is just as it appears on the outset, from what you've mentioned only in this thread.

    It might also be a good idea to review compensation and perhaps ask yourself whether you feel you deserve a raise. Not many people ask for raises and all too often, they don't get one. If your performance is consistent and has shown improvement or you've taken on more tasks, would you consider asking for a raise? Sometimes being recognized in terms of an increase in compensation can help. If this is not an option, I'd go back and re-evaluate the purpose for this line of work and redirect your focus on how you can achieve more in a higher level position and how you may get there. This means refocusing the energies for projects and looking a bit more long term.

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    Originally Posted by Rose Mosse
    I'm curious why you feel you should do anything at all. There is virtually no incentive for you to secure more attendees at the meetings nor does it seem to affect your performance level. You're burning yourself out as it is attending all of them. Now you've added another project: the intention to increase attendees, a project for which you are not empowered to do nor at any professional capacity to do(no authority). I think I'd have to know more about your work but don't feel obligated to respond.

    This may be a good time to reflect whether this is a line of work you enjoy doing. It may also be helpful, if you do find the rewards outweigh the cons overall in your work, to schedule more vacation days and take a time out or breather. If you have the vacation days, are you using them? Even a half day can be a great help right before a scheduled evening meeting (ie leave the office before noon for example if you work in the day time). This would be me suggesting that you mitigate that stress and limit the desire to take on more than you should.

    It might also be a good idea to review compensation and perhaps ask yourself whether you feel you deserve a raise. Not many people ask for raises and all too often, they don't get one. If your performance is consistent and has shown improvement or you've taken on more tasks, would you consider asking for a raise? Sometimes being recognized in terms of an increase in compensation can help. If this is not an option, I'd go back and re-evaluate the purpose for this line of work and redirect your focus on how you can achieve more in a higher level position and how you may get there. This means refocusing the energies for projects and looking a bit more long term.
    It's not about getting attendees to meetings. The meetings get scheduled by other entities, and attendees get invited. We are not the ones who do the inviting.

    That's the problem, actually. The attendees all show up. It's the employees from my company, who are supposed to support the meeting, who don't show up. Except me.

    Example:
    Meeting A has 100 invited attendees from our industry.
    75 show up.
    There are 5 people on my team who are supposed to show up, give presentations, talk to attendees, do marketing, etc.
    1 shows up: Me.

    So it's all on me to show up, give presentations, run the meeting, talk to every single person who attends about our company.

    This isn't about me wanting a raise or more vacation time. We are paid to do exactly this: our regular jobs, plus these extra meetings, which enhance our position in the industry. Asking for a raise would be simply asking for more money to do what I'm already being paid to do.

    It's about people I work with, not pulling their weight. Skirting responsibilities that they, too, are being paid to do.

    We all are supposed to be there. It's not optional. It's like a nurse, deciding that she just doesn't want to work her shift, but get paid anyway, and not worry that all other nurses have to handle her patients (we are not nurses, but an analogy). But the main supervisor person doesn't want to discipline/set boundaries for those who don't show up, so the nurses just have to suffer and take on extra work, or else the patients suffer.

    My own personal work ethic won't allow me to skip out. Just burns me up when others do.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member RainyCoast's Avatar
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    Apparently, it *is* optional though, made so by your boss's decision to approve vacation days on prescheduled meetings, and to not sanction absentees. As you said, your boss doesn't care, and you can't personally make anyone attend.

    You can do close to nothing, perhaps you can bring it up at the next staff meeting or get over the aversion of talking to your boss by explaining it is also unfair on you to have to present the company at these meetings in the capacity of four other people.

    I don't think a work environment where the boss can't be talked to is one that gives much room for improvement tbh.

    Other than your boss, is someone else qualified to consider this issue?

  9. #8
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    LH, they were just some ideas. I think some of them can be tweaked and it really depends on your frame of mind and what you're willing to do. I'm also sensing a fear or aversion to speaking with your supervisors. I'm also wondering now about your company morale overall. If employees are so poorly motivated (90% or the vast majority) considering the attendee turn out, I'm curious whether many of them also have one foot out the door. This just doesn't seem like a healthy or well-run company.

    You might have to go back to the drawing board and perhaps ask yourself (go over again) what you're willing to do to salvage your career in this industry and where you see yourself long term. This does not sound like a good environment and it seems to me, from your description, that most of the employees are biding their time or a large portion may even be looking for work elsewhere as we speak.

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    Questions - any possibility the shirkers can be required to skype in? Is that feasible?
    When you are evaluated by your boss do you get to submit sort of an annual report of what you've accomplished or can you do that? If so I'd highlight how you singlehandedly run these meetings.

    Is there follow up on these meetings -do you report to the boss how it went, what was accomplished, etc -if so take that opportunity without pointing fingers to make it known that you were the hero -you showed up unlike the shirkers.

    I am sorry you're going through this. My advice pointedly does not include you looking for a new work environment or any drastic steps -my sense is that you have considered this and you are staying for various reasons and I respect that decision. It doesn't sound like the worst situation ever despite sounding really annoying/frustrating. Again I am sorry.

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    Thanks for all the feedback.

    No, these meetings are not optional. It's just that my boss looks the other way, and there are reasons for that that I don't want to go into here. That's actually a large part of the problem, but again, it's not something I can go into here. Suffice it to say, it should be something that management oversees, but unfortunately, it's not.

    Unfortunately, the Skype-in is not an option either, as these are in-person meetings.

    I guess my question is, is there any way to motivate my peers to simply show up for their required work?

    As I said earlier, it's like getting a nurse to show up for her shift, where the boss doesn't say anything if she doesn't, thus causing the other nurses to have to take on their patients.

    There's not much I can do, except do my own work.

    I love my job, and I honestly don't mind the meetings, as it puts me in touch with my corner of the industry, as it's professionally meaningful for me. It's just too much work for one person, and others simply don't seem to care.

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