I recently started running a small business that received a significant amount of funding. It has been a project I have been committed to for many years. To help see it through, I wanted to hire top talent and a recruiter helped me find an employee who is very talented and was looking to leave after not cinching a promotion they fel that they were due for at a multinational corporation.
Since starting, this employee and I have discovered that we have many things in common. I like this person and in another life we would have been friends. However, there are many issues that have arisen which have made me reconsider my position on whether to retain them.
- The work contract starts at 9 am. The employee consistently could not make that time in the morning, citing the fact they live one hour away from work. In our industry, a 10 am start is not abnormal, so I was lenient and asked that they start at 9:20, as long as the make up the time. Since then, they have come in at 9:30 and 9:40 multiple times, in my opinion, abusing the privilege of coming in later.
- It feels like regardless of the work I assign, there is always some form of pushing back, saying “no” or “managing expectations.” While I welcome employees telling me when I need to be more realistic, we have hard deadlines on certain projects. I also have provided the names, emails and contact details of additional contractors that I am happy to hire to help manage the workload. The employee mentions they will vet them for work, but then doesn’t ever get around to it. This to me is strange because they are complaining about workload, but not actively making use of resources I’ve allocated or even actively asking about it.
- As a result, I have reached out to these workers myself. I have found their attitude to be far more optimistic in terms of the tasks I assign.
- Multiple times, the project has been rescoped from doing an agreed amount of work (that the employee themselves set out), to less work, to even less work – because they keep “managing my expectations.” At the same time, I see them taking calls beyond lunchtime or going on lunchbreaks for far too long (20-30 minutes past one hour) and wonder why the work cannot be done then.
- When I tried to raise these issues with the employee, there is a massive amount of defensiveness, and almost an aggression to the conversation. They said things that felt antagonising like: “I can see you are flustered”; insinuated that I don’t have experience working in this industry; and made eye contact that seemed to go on for far too long.
I like this person, but I feel they are abusing the leniency I have provided. They are a great talent, and I don’t want to lose them. But I do feel they have significantly stepped out of line and maybe the only way is to let them go. Am I being railroaded here?