I am in a position where two of my co-workers may be engaging in intentional negligent behavior, but it could also be a misunderstanding on my end. I want to approach one of them about it before alerting management.

The two involved will be referred to as Samuel and Oliver. They are good friends with each other, and we all share the same position. Oliver and I work in the same department. Samuel works in a different department. We are top-tier remote technical support, paid per issue we resolve. None of us have authority over the other. We handle escalated problems and have a responsibility to keep our department's response times low.

Samuel will assign escalated issues in my department to Oliver 99% of the time, but he does so within policy. Oliver tends to have issues sit for long periods of time (1 - 3 days) without responses because he has taken off for the day, also within policy. I, on the other hand, respond to issues within 1 - 2 hours. I typically end up responding to the issue anyway, since once the issue is old enough we can take ownership of it from someone else.

I believe Samuel is assigning issues to Oliver just because they are friends. Perhaps trying to help him make extra cash. I normally wouldn't care, but Oliver's slow responses hurt our monthly reports.

Then again, Samuel may not even know that Oliver consistently takes days off. My suspicions may be entirely unfounded.

Before approaching management with my thoughts, I want to tell Samuel that assigning issues to me would be the better option since I can respond to the client faster.

How do I express this to Samuel without essentially saying "I do this job better than your friend"?

  • 1
    you're only getting 1% of the work? Or just 1% from Samuel and others are giving you work? – Kilisi Oct 2 '16 at 6:27
  • Have you considered discussing it with Oliver? Maybe he could let Samuel know when he is going to be off for the day, and ask Samuel to send issues directly to you, so they don't have to age before being handled. – Patricia Shanahan Oct 2 '16 at 7:58

Leaving aside Oliver and Samuel's friendship, the core issue appears to be that the support requests are not distributed in a way that ensures they're resolved quickly. I suspect that you don't actually run dry, or you would have mentioned that. Still, I agree that if you have only a few low-prio issues, it might seem worthwhile to help out with a coworker's larger stack of higher priority issues.

Things you could do:

1. Talk to Oliver

Say that you've noticed he appears to have a lot more on his plate than you do, and that you wouldn't mind helping out. No need to mention Samuel at all.

2. Talk to Samuel

Again, just say that you're running low on support requests and whether he could send some of them your way. Depending on your company's hierarchy, asking him directly might step on some manager's toes, in which case talk to his manager (or ask your manager to do that). Either way, there's no need to implicate Samuel or Oliver.

3. Talk to your manager

If the uneven distribution is a common issue, the policy allowing to take over a coworker's issues after a while might not be good enough. Maybe you need someone checking the numbers occasionally to reassign tickets as needed, or maybe you need the permission to hand tickets over to someone else (you've probably already got that). If employees are incentivized to hoard tickets to themselves rather than pass them on to others where they would get resolved more quickly, that's certainly something management might want to address. Again, there's no need to bring up any names.

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