It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. I found my company’s layoff plans on the copier … and distributed them
There are several changes happening at my current workplace. A month and a half ago there was an announcement that we would be organizing a few departments into a new model which came directly after higher-ups laid off 3 directors very suddenly. This was not due to performance issues but specifically part of the plan to move forward with a new model. They even escorted one of them out of the building with security. This employee had been with the organization for 35 years and did nothing wrong but apparently they do this to prevent retaliation. Needless to say, there are trust issues now and each week there seems to be a new issue.
We were told at the beginning of this process that no one would be losing their jobs and that the company was working to procure raises for everyone are on the same level as other professionals in our area. There hasn’t been a lot of communication since and morale is low. Our previous leadership had been advocating for our raises prior to being laid off.
A colleague of mine found a copy of the proposed restructuring plan on a copy machine in a common area. The plan had significant staffing cuts in some areas and we had heard nothing about it. We were promised staff input and public forums about any changes. This employee shared this information with me and another colleague. We thought about approaching our manager but thought they might sweep it under the rug and avoid our questions. After a sleepless night, I spoke with my colleagues and made a copy of this document and anonymously distributed it. Within hours, there was a response and it seems the higher-ups are now having meetings to actively deal with issues. However, our manager is also accusing someone of breaking into their office which isn’t the case. This document was left on a copy machine and anyone could have seen it. Our manager believes whoever did this only wanted to share information and wasn’t being malicious but should have gone about it a different way.
Part of me feels guilty but part of me is happy that we are finally getting included in big decisions and our raises are now at the forefront. What are your thoughts? I feel terrible for upsetting our manager but I feel like we were owed direct answers and weren’t getting any until this happened.
I mean … they left it on a copy machine. Whoever did that basically invited this to happen. Should you distributed it? No; it wasn’t yours to share. Is it understandable that you did anyway? Yes. (At least, given the fact that it appeared you’d been lied to. Without that detail, my answer would be no.) Is it possibly pushing your company to be more transparent with you? Yes.
That said, I wouldn’t assume that this will change their layoff plans or that it will result in raises. Those aren’t usually things that happen just because people learn about layoffs being planned (in fact, I’d say raises are probably fairly unlikely right now, but who knows).
2. My new job okayed my trip but now says I can’t have the time off
In August, I was offered (and accepted) a new job at a company. At the negotiation stage, I said I had an upcoming trip in December and the new company agreed I could take it.
Well, December is here … and the company is now saying that they can’t let me go due to a myriad of reasons, including being short-staffed, rolling out a new HRIS (in which I will be taking on some additional work), the tight turnaround for three-day pay periods in December, and any month/year end recon that I need to do will have to be done in a two-day timespan. My only saving grace is that I don’t have plane tickets in hand.
My boss says she feels horrible. We have a great relationship and are pretty candid with each other. I’m irritated, but also understand (life happens, eh, and when trying to make this a long-term career oriented role … I’m not sure I want to chance this). I’ve offered to take a company owned laptop with me and work from there, but in the insurance world they’re not keen on that.
I know this is legal, but should I fight back for something (additional vacation days?) to make up for this? I’ve been here three months and don’t want to rock the boat. We are going through some changes and looking to hire a counterpart to my role, but so far we don’t have anyone yet.
I think you’re right to be irritated, but it sounds like you like your job and your boss and think that their reasoning here is understandable rather than outlandish. I wouldn’t think of it as “fighting back” (which is more adversarial than it needs to be), but what about saying something like this: “I can’t say I’m not disappointed since I thought we’d nailed this down when I was hired and talked about it as part of the offer, but I understand what your concerns are. Would it be possible to do something to make up for it, like a few extra vacation days for when I reschedule the trip down the road?”
A good manager is already going to feel terrible about this and will be happy to have a way to make it up to you.
3. Is it unethical to try to recruit people away from competitors?
I am recruiting for a very specific job in a very specific location (think industrial copper teapot spout designer, located in a large city) and having difficulty attracting good candidates. Using LinkedIn, I can find qualified folks doing a very similar job at specific companies in the right location pretty easily. Even though I know that this is what recruiters do all the time, is it wrong for me, as a hiring manager, to reach out to people directly this way?
On the one hand people are putting themselves out there, and if they didn’t want to be found they would hide themselves. On the other, it feels a little wrong to target specific companies (even though I know 95% of qualified candidates are going to be working at one of these companies). I certainly wouldn’t want my employees targeted this way!
Nope, that’s not unethical and it’s both normal and smart to do. Don’t fall into the “I wouldn’t want my employees targeted this way” kind of thinking; your employees are free agents who deserve to be able to pick the job that’s best for them. You can decrease the chances of that being a different company by offering competitive (or better) salary and benefits, treating them well, and so forth — but it never works to try to keep people by blocking them from other opportunities. And the same applies to your competitors!
4. Company wants us to leave quarterly reviews on Glassdoor
I’ve been informed by my team lead that we are expected to leave quarterly reviews of our company on Glassdoor. This is justified by the reviews “being used in our proposals” and to “maintain ratings.” I am very uncomfortable with this process, and find it morally objectionable as a whole. I am afraid if I leave a review and honestly report the problems I have with the company, I will be pinpointed and retaliated against. Would consulting HR for the reservations I have about this task be appropriate?
I took a look at Glassdoor’s term of use to see if what your company is requesting might violate them, and unfortunately it probably doesn’t. Their terms do limit you to “personal, non-commercial use,” and it’s possible this could violate that but it’s probably a stretch, although you could try arguing it with your manager.
What would happen if you just didn’t do it? Or started the review with “my company asked me to leave this review”? Or, yes, if you’re willing to speak up, I’d love it if you’d say, “This is outside the spirit of Glassdoor. Most people think it’s pretty obvious when a company has tried to drum up positive reviews, and it ends up making the company look bad, like it’s covering something up or engaging in a Big-Brother-ish PR campaign with workers. I’d recommend that we encourage people to do this if they’d like to, but not require it and definitely not push people to do it quarterly, since these reviews are typically a one-time thing.”
Of course, the reaction to this may depend on your standing in the company and the way they handle dissent.
5. Can I ask for details about a health insurance plan before accepting an offer?
My employer offers exceptional benefits – one being a great health insurance plan that covers fertility treatments (particularly ART, which from my experience is not a given on most plans). I am in the beginning stages of interviewing for a new job, but leaving for a company whose health insurance does not cover this would likely not be an option for me. I may be undertaking some fertility procedures in 2016, and the out-of-pocket cost is absolutely astronomical. Staying at my job for the benefits is certainly an option for me.
Is there a tactful way to ask to see a full breakdown of the health insurance plan if I make it to the offer stage? In the past, I usually just saw a breakdown of costs, not the specifics on coverage, copays, deductibles, etc.
Yes, absolutely. At the offer stage, it’s reasonable to say something like, “Could you send me more specific information about your health care plan coverage, including copays, deductibles, and so forth?” It should be easy for them to provide you with the insurance materials they give new employees, which will answer these questions. (Or they may have a website to direct you to, or some other way of providing this information.) This isn’t an unusual or outrageous thing to ask at all; consider it a normal part of collecting information about the benefits package that’s a key part of the offer.