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Summary: Should I discreetly discuss with HR how I don't believe I - or anyone - will be successful in my position at our company?

I work at a large multinational in an industrial B2B role as BDM for a year now. The job is viewed as a startup as our reputation is poor and will take many years to get back to respectable levels vs the competition ( we have ~ 5% market share ). I report to the business managers of my division in another country. I'm the only one in my own country but we have large businesses & offices for other markets. Up to March this year I was doing well.

We sell by demoing equipment. I can't demo by myself and need support from this other country to do it. I had a frank discussion with my manager and told them unless I am able to demo myself soon, in 6 months we'll be in the same or worse position. I have also uncovered opportunities for demos I can't address and this makes me not motivated ( I didn't use that word ) to hunt. No point hunting and then turning around saying we can't demo while the competition can ( have agreement from mgmt here ). 

I can't really train myself on the equipment as you must be certified to use some ancillary equipment to operate it. My technical colleagues can't come up due to int'l travel restrictions. I also don't want to travel to that location as their mgmt of pandemic is worse than ours, but mgmt are looking into doing that.     

Since COVID started, customers don't want to meet. We sell to aerospace and oil & gas - very hard hit industries - has left us down to 1/3 of our business the previous year.   

I don't see a way we can be successful in the near term and I think they should eliminate my position and have distributors handle it. My past experiences were all in small companies and I know one can 'hide' in a big company but that's not in my nature. I want to save myself and their time and money on a strategy that won't pay off for a long time. 

I want to have a confidential conversation with HR in our offices in my country. My feeling is I can at least talk to HR and get their insight on where I stand. It's weird as they pay me here but my direction and mgmt come from elsewhere. But I don't know who would make the decision on letting me go if my position was under review. 

There are plenty of other areas I can work in in the company but haven't identified any open positions I can get. I'd also be happy to manage my current business and perhaps do some other job in the company. It's certainly not enough work for one person now.

Just to say finally, nobody has said a bad word about my performance. They all realize it's very difficult to achieve success in the current situation. I also have made a point of being seen in our offices as I have reasons to work there sometimes. So I'm sure I'm viewed positively across the organization. There would be egg on the face of the foreign division who hired me on their behalf but the damage would not affect me if I got redeployed. And I wouldn't miss this job in the slightest. It's not busy or intellectually stimulating.

Is this a wise idea to speak with HR on my concerns? Or do I just do/manage what I can and keep the head down and hope I don't get let go?

  • Can you add a TL;DR section, please? – Sourav Ghosh Sep 30 at 15:30
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    It's weird as they pay me here but my direction and mgmt come from elsewhere. standard practice for all remote employees. Just saying. – Sourav Ghosh Sep 30 at 15:32
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This is a business problem, not an HR problem.

While you might talk to HR about what you can do to get a better handle on things (coping mechanisms, techniques for handling stress, etc.), or what other opportunities might exist for you at the company... this isn't a problem they can directly solve. They can't make the situation less difficult for you. They can't change your sales goals. Your manager isn't breaking any laws or treating you unfairly. You've got a difficult sales job. That's not a problem they can solve for you.

Again, this isn't directly a human resources issue in the traditional sense.

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It's too early to go to HR, and I am not even sure HR is the correct person to talk to about this.

As I understand, the bottom line here is: You can't do your planned work because of certain restrictions (COVID) and management understands that. Now, you have some bandwidth to spare which you want to devote to some other productive work. Very good!

Do some research yourself about the other departments in the company where your skillset might be useful. If you do not have any idea, reach out to your boss / manager and share the thought you have. They'll guide you in best possible way.

And remember, no time is bad time for learning (or training). If you got yourself a supportive and understanding management, make the best of it. Find out some areas where you want to strengthen your skillset, and see if you can go for some online trainings / courses, so that you are better equipped, when the game resumes!

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Agree with the others that HR can't help much. You'll get at most a sympathetic ear.

What you need is for management to reassess the sales goals. Given their target customer is hurting badly, I would not be surprised if they've done the analyses of what can and cannot be done in the short to mid future, and readjusted goals to more realistic levels. At least as an exercise.

Big organisations tend to work slowly and opaquely, so at some point the exercise will turn into real-life. Meaning possibly layoffs.

It's up to you if you want to wait till then, and coast along. Given the times I don't think anyone would blame you. But if you can find something better suited (preferably in another company) it does seem like a better option. Long term it's not good for your career to waste time in such a situation.

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