A friend of mine is supervising a team of three people. One of those three is a foreigner who is a source of her daily frustration. My supervisor friend describes that employee as follows:
- Generally: lazy, entitled, unprofessional, dishonest and very demanding for benefits;
- Example 1: she asked to come back to her home country to renew her passport during the Christmas holidays, which is not true because I know for sure you can renew your passport at the embassy. She then delayed her return by two weeks, giving a one day notice, and asked to work from home (which is generally not practised at that company). She claimed that this is because the passport renewal takes longer than expected
- Example 2: She consistently fails on the technical side of simple administrative tasks, e.g. overwriting other people's work.
- Example 3: She doesn't have much work to do, but asked to work on weekends just simply to earn more paid vacation days.
- Example 4: She is rude and unprofessional on emails. If there are multiple questions on the email, she would answer just one, or won't give a straight answer.
So that supervisor friend of mine approached that employee multiple times, asking to be more careful, pointing out her mistakes at the performance review, referring her to the rules etc. The employee gets extremely defensive, angry, and won't take the criticism. She first tried a strict approach ("you have to..."), then she tried a softer approach ("it would be better for you if..."). Neither helped.
From my work, I know that the supervisor is a highly trustworthy person with the best work ethic I've seen. So I believe her story.
Now, usually consistent negative feedback (recorded in performance reviews) and not appearing at work for weeks would be a good reason for termination.
However, the higher-level manager, while she agrees with negative feedback, says it is extremely difficult to find a replacement (the employee is Russian, and that position requires someone Russian-speaking). This is true and took months last time. So the manager also begs my supervisor friend not to be too hard on that employee.
What can my supervisor friend do to impove that situation and her daily frustration about it?
- The company is a Fortune 500 MNC.
- The location is Hong Kong, meaning that some people would try to avoid direct and open confrontation.
- All people involved are aged 25-35.
- The department is doing backoffice paperwork processing.