I work at a large company that, unfortunately, has a recurring habit of hiring small armies of under-trained and under-skilled junior engineers that don't get much done (mostly due to our lack of training new employees, they don't stand a chance unless they train in personal time). On-boarding and "training" takes about 8 months per employee, while at other jobs of mine, it's seldom taken more than 6 weeks. This results in the bulk of the work and stress falling on our "Ace" engineers (we have maybe 40 in a company of over 8,000 engineers). These "aces" train the more senior engineers that have managed to stay afloat, so that the senior engineers can lead teams. However, turnover is high for senior engineers, due to stress, hours, lack of support, and so on (and wanted to be "initiated as an ace" rather than having to suffer as a senior engineer for years before earning the promotion to "ace").
One of our country's aces, "Ace Al", got into an argument with a director (Al was given 8 months to "trial" being a junior director, and formed a dream team that churned out excellent results, but Al's "secret" was "fewer engineers with more talent, and pay them double our current rates"; senior management loved his results but not his summary indicating how to achieve it (despite Al's approach still being very profitable, despite the salary increases), and demanded he "re-write it to better apply to current hiring policies"; our company has an obsession with "being in control", and feels that having an army of grunts is easier to manage than a battalion of elites). Ace Al told the director that current company practises are "diametrically opposed" to his successful methods, and when pressed about 10 more times, told the director to "eat sh**". Al was not reprimanded, but turned in his resignation the next day. He won't tell anyone where he's going (though with his talent and connections, I have zero doubt he could get in with a FANG company overnight).
Al has to serve 6 weeks of notice, and has asked me, his "temporary boss" (his regular boss doesn't manage him anymore as of Al's resignation; HR won't tell me why) to "just give him garden leave". I'm honestly not sure how to work with a guy like Al. He's always been very polite and professional and helpful, but right now, he treats anyone in a role of seniority with extreme distrust and contempt.
We need him to offload his knowledge and train additional "Aces in the making", but he seems to sense this. Suddenly he has home internet issues, calls drop, VPN goes down randomly (he's a smart guy; I have zero doubt he could fake this with some scripts and a DD-WRT router without our compliance/tracking software being able to detect it). We can't demand he comes in to the office due to COVID policies. The company is literally proposing we rent him a high-end hotel room he can use as an office (safe from COVID) with all the necessary equipment pre-installed in the room (2x joined rooms if necessary), and he just keeps coming up with the most bizarre-yet-plausible excuses. I think he literally broke one of his toes to buy himself a week of time (called in sick with a broken toe for a week; has a legit doctor's note for it). We've tried offering a "consulting fee/bonus" and he ignores the e-mail.
I think we should just give him the garden leave. This entire debacle is destroying morale around the office, and has become a major embarrassment. I don't think anything we do is going to force Al to produce the training documentation we've requested, and frankly, someone this disgruntled should not have access to company secrets and VPN. Senior management already scoffed at this suggestion of mine once.
How do I convince the people in charge to just cut their losses? This is destroying the morale and productivity of my team, and Al seems like he's out to make the company bleed rather than benefit himself (without exposing himself to lawsuits by deliberately declining to write these training materials; he just finds excuses not to do it).
He has maybe 3.5 weeks left in his notice period, and I'm almost convinced he's going to just claim illness when only 2.0 weeks remain and go into self-quarantine to ride out the remaining time.