Managing a team, the colleague doing QA has been under performing recently. Today, I took him aside and tried to find out what is going on. I told him that he should send me an email.

Anyway, from what I read to summarise:

  • Missed payments for salary
  • Salary has been decreased dramatically from over 1.2k a month to 500.
  • Not too happy that he is now not doing the role he was hired for.
  • Delayed payments.

Now that I have a clearer picture, I did not realise how bad it was for him. I am worried about bringing this up with my boss in case it rocks the boat.

Should I ?

closed as off-topic by IDrinkandIKnowThings, Rory Alsop, Masked Man, Chris G, mcknz Dec 1 '16 at 17:51

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    I have just asked him if he has spoken directly to my boss. Not sure if I want to get involved. I manage him, but boss is in charge of salary etc. – bobo2000 Nov 30 '16 at 15:09
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    Yeah - I am responsible for overseeing the end to end delivery of the projects. My boss deals with salary etc. I honestly just feel bad for this guy right now, and I am empathetic for why his performance has dipped.. – bobo2000 Nov 30 '16 at 15:13
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    "Managing a team" Does that mean you are his boss? – Masked Man Nov 30 '16 at 15:39
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    His line manager - middle management. – bobo2000 Nov 30 '16 at 15:41
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    Is there a reason this guy has not quit yet? Who would work for an employer who misses payments and cuts wages in half? – nvoigt Nov 30 '16 at 16:17

It's not your place to get involved over the salary issue.

  1. If he's not being paid on time, he needs to take that up with the proper authorities. Will you start making him breakfast if he's missing meals each morning, too? Driving him to work to make sure he gets there on time? I'm going to assume that he's an adult.
  2. If his salary has been cut by more than half, whatever the cause -- he must be okay with it, because he's still there. Stay out of it.

You CAN, however, relate performance issues back to your boss, and express your concern about those. But you can't "fix" an underperforming team member's life situation.


It sounds as if your company isn't doing enough during the hiring process to weed out people who don't meet standards. No one who knows his/her own worth would take a job for a certain salary and then later accept half that. He might have been a likable guy in the interview, but that doesn't mean he's qualified - and some hiring managers don't understand that. You might employ some objective testing, like Brainbench, on new applicants.

  • I will do this. Seems really messy, don't want to get involved at all, and told him to sort it out with my boss. It makes me feel bloody insecure though, not the first time I have seen someone in the company salary get deducted. – bobo2000 Nov 30 '16 at 15:31
  • See my edits above – Xavier J Nov 30 '16 at 15:39
  • He is a hard working employee, he took the pay cut because he is extremely loyal to the company, my boss knows this and is probably one of the reasons why he has kept him. – bobo2000 Nov 30 '16 at 15:42
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    I can't recommend Brainbench tests. They test trivialities, not an ability to do actual work. – kevin cline Nov 30 '16 at 17:07
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    If I was not being paid, I would certainly expect my boss to take it up with the company. One of the functions of a manager is to represent the company to his reports. – DJClayworth Dec 1 '16 at 1:04

As team manager, if one of your team members' performance is being affected by something the company is doing, then that is your problem. This is true whether it is salary, work environment, or not giving the proper tools. You should follow this up with the company.

Also, your team members' motivation and morale are absolutely your problem. An unmotivated team member will perform poorly, and complaining about being 'unprofessional' won't change that. In my management style if your team is suffering, it's your job to do whatever you can to alleviate it. If you don't care about them you are not doing your job properly. You may not be able to do anything, but you should at least try.

Start with the obvious. Not paying someone on time is illegal. You should absolutely talk to HR, or other management, about this. Cutting salary is also a problem. In any country except the US, doing this without the employee's agreement would be illegal. It may be the missed payments are glitches due to the salary change, but you should at least find out the truth.

You should respond by going to management and telling them what you know - that you have an underperforming team member, who is impacting the team's ability to deliver, and that the reasons are what you were told. You should find out why the salary was cut, why there are late payments, and why they are not doing the job they were hired for. That's not an unreasonable request. If a member of your team was not performing to expectations, then you should have been included in the process.

If the reason is that management is trying to get rid of the employee, then you have two choices. Either play the loyal company follower and say nothing, or quietly and unofficially pass this on to the employee and encourage them to find work elsewhere.

If the reason is that the employee was underperforming, and salary has been reduced to reflect that, then you need to tell the employee that this is the situation, and they need to accept the new role and step up to do it well. The alternative should be implied.


Not feeling motivated is not an excuse for bad performance. He needs to grow up.

Talk to him first about his performance. I would point out to him that dropping his performance in response to the salary cut will justify the cut in the manager's mind. If he wants to get the salary back, he should be working at a high level not a low one.

Was he recently changed to QA against his will? That is what it sounds like. Is that why his salary dropped because that is a specialty that pays less? In this case, if he wants to go back to development at a higher salary, the best route to that is to do a decent job (but not so outstanding that they will not want him to move on) in this role. No one is going to put a slacker back into a higher paying role. Point out to him that his development will be better if he understands the QA process from the other side. So it is not a total loss to have a short assignment to QA.

In many places his unprofessional behavior would put him at risk of being fired. If his performance does not improve, you should discuss his performance with his boss/HR. You cannot afford to have your project fail because of someone who refuses to do his job properly. His reasons for the performance drop can be mentioned, but personally I would leave them out of the discussion. They are not relevant to the problem of him not performing.

While I agree that his situation would make me angry too, his response is making it worse, not better. Given the circumstances though, it is likely he will be getting a new job as soon as possible, so I would try to work out a plan to get QA without his services.

  • Told him exactly this just now. That he will be in a weaker situation to negotiate if his performance drops. Yes - his old job basically started becoming redundant, since the overall strategy of the company changed to the product I am managing for them. (Once I came on board, and did a good job, sales picked up) Hence, we needed a Support/QA guy in the team to QA the user stories in the sprint and find bugs, since work was drying up with his consent we changed his job role. – bobo2000 Nov 30 '16 at 16:08
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    I agree with this for the most part, but there is no excuse for an employer missing or delaying paychecks. Regardless of his performance, he's owed a paycheck for the work he's done and that has to be addressed with management and/or payroll ASAP. – alroc Nov 30 '16 at 16:35
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    Not being motivated may not be an excuse for poor performance, but having your salary cut is. So is 'not doing the work he was hired for'. Missed salary payments is illegal. – DJClayworth Nov 30 '16 at 17:36
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    Having the salary cut to move to a different specialty is not even unusual. It appears from comments the cut was agreed to. I agree that the missed paychecks are a problem, but poor performance is not the solution. This will only make the situation worse. In the US, this legally can be considered a dismissal and you are free of any notice obligation, but if you remain, you are supposed to do your job. Personally I woudl leave and hire a lawyer to get the back pay, but for whatever reason this person has chosen to stay. – HLGEM Nov 30 '16 at 21:17
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    Apart from normalising the fact that the company has unilaterally reduced an employees pay to 40% of the previous amount (wtf?)... the main problem I have with this answer is that it doesn't really address how the OP can handle the situation in a constructive manner. Certainly not by telling the QA guy that he needs to grow up. There's likely a risk to project because the QA guy doesn't perform and/or might leave at any minute - and the OP needs to handle that risk if they are the team lead. – AllTheKingsHorses Dec 1 '16 at 8:40

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