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As a recently promoted IT manager in a middle sized company, I've been asked to nominate a person who will have to change office and provide assistance to our teams working in the field. I consider this the perfect opportunity to improve the working environment by transferring a problem employee.

The person, lets call him Jonny, is a historical figure in the company, but his permanently negative and dismissive attitude (consider this, his main responsibility is helpdesk/tech support... ) has turned him into an office-wide joke.

To get a better picture, remember your last phone call with a customer assistance rep that answered like you just spat in his plate... And since it's an open space office, everybody gets a daily dose of Johnny throwing tantrums over a password reset, every conversation ends with him slamming the phone etc.

Before you ask, no, I can't let him go, for various reasons related to the company culture and office politics.

His attitude reflects badly on the entire IT department, me included, because many of his colleagues, even if more polite or competent, have way less visible roles.

We've had new hires on similar positions this year and I wouldn't want to have him take it personally or think it's an issue of competency.

The decision has already been made, I'm looking for help in how to tactfully communicate to him that he is no longer working in our office.

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    How do you know whatever keeps him there won't also keep him from being moved to a different office? – user1602 Jul 23 '18 at 19:29
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    How many problems is this person going to create for you in the field office? – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jul 23 '18 at 19:55
  • @IDrinkandIKnowThings definitely less problems. They need someone with an IT background. Here we're good, the other guys already do most of the work. Also help desk isn't obviously his thing. – Andi Arpo Jul 23 '18 at 20:11
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    The employee sounds like the last employee, that should be sent to a remote location, as one of your first acts as a manager. So you want to be known as the manager that sent, "that guy" to their team, you likely won't be a manager for very long. – Donald Jul 24 '18 at 17:13
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If you aren't able to fire a problem employee, then your problems are not just with the employee, but also with your management. And if your solution to a problem employee is to move him to a different location, where he will still be a problem, then you are also part of the problem, and that too will reflect very badly on you. What will the impact be on the company to have bad field support?

No one is irreplaceable, and if he's as bad as you say, he's causing good people to leave, as well as annoying everyone around him. You're asking how to tell him he's going to move, and to do that, you just tell him he's going to move. But the much better solution is to tell him he needs to improve, put him on a PIP, and document and prepare to move him out of the company altogether. If your management won't support you in that, then you might as well recognize that over time, all of your good people, all those with other options, will leave for a better job.

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I'd treat this the same way I'd treat a layoff. Be succinct with what is happening, why, take ownership of the decision, acknowledge that you value them in spite of what is transpiring, and allow them opportunity to ask questions.

Thanks for coming to see me Jonny. Management has asked me to choose someone from the team for the X position in Y office for Z date. I considered my options and concluded that of my available options you are the best fit I can make. It will be hard to fill the gaps that this leaves in the team but ultimately it's what's best for the company. Do you have any questions on this?

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Just let him know the plain fact he's being moved then itemise his new location, role, and duties. No reasoning needs to be given, he's not a peer.

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I'm more interested in how to tactfully communicate to him that he is no longer needed in our office.

His name is Jonny? So go like:

Jonny, can I see you in my office?

slams phone Reset that! Yeah I'll be there

Jonny, you been promoted, Congratulations. You now work at the other office. You start next week. See ya later

See ya.

  • I like this one. Maybe a little more tactful and don't make it a 'promotion', but just stick to the facts he needs to know. He doesn't need to know for example that you had a choice and you chose him. – Bill Leeper Jul 24 '18 at 17:10

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