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How to handle this coworker?


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#1 FeralZombieMum

Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:13 PM

I have a coworker I am trying to train.

As soon as I introduce new content, they immediately try to shut down the training by saying they don't know any of this, they don't understand it, and they keep repeating this. When we progress past this part, they continuously tell me how stupid/waste of time/ other negative remarks about the tasks I am walking them through.

They use a lot of hand signals to illustrate their "frustration". They also want to be spoon fed, but they do the opposite of my instructions.

Most of the time I email them the process beforehand, to give them a chance to read first - which they rarely bother.

80% of my time has been wasted with their attitude and rudeness. I have mentioned to my manager once and they seemed to sort that issue, for a day or two. Coworker runs off to manager in morning (before I arrive) to whinge about the work tasks. Coworker seems to think they know everything – but they are quite ignorant in what’s required – in regards to other’s work tasks and work requirements (eg reports for management and government requirements).

Others have had same issue when training this one person.

I want to be able to shut this behaviour down without involving the manager every minute. What are some suggestions?

Edited by FeralZombieMum, 16 February 2020 - 06:20 PM.


#2 José

Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:19 PM

i wonder what would happen if you asked them?

eg ive noticed this training seems a but complex, tiresome, boring, unnecessary (insert whatever seems appropriate) to you.
maybe pause here to see if you get a response.
then even though it seems meaningless, boring, (insert word here) its something we are both required to do.
do you have any ideas for what will make this easier/ more pleasant/ less boring etc for the both of us?

ive never had to deal with this though so please feel free to disregard!

#3 blimkybill

Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:25 PM

I wonder if the person really doesn't understand the content and procedures, is finding it too hard to learn, and is just not up to the job?
I hope they are on probation.  They need to be able to learn the tasks!
You could ask them what they think they need to be able to learn what they need to know.

#4 FeralZombieMum

Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:27 PM

I do want to come out and ask them - "Why are you doing this".

The last time I attempted to teach them something, I couldn't even finish my first sentence. I had a spreadsheet type document and put on their desk for them to see, and said "This is something we will need to look at" and I was then cut off as they looked at it and did the old "I don't know what that is and I don't understand any of it".

At lunch times, they talk over whoever is talking. I try to avoid having lunch when they are on lunch, because it's 30 minutes of them talking. Often it's about them bragging how they argued with the manager over a process, and they make it sound like the manager took on board what they said, and agreed to change that process. (which isn't true)

Our daily hours are different (they start and finish earlier - hence why they whinge to the manager each morning before I arrive).

#5 FeralZombieMum

Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:29 PM

They blatantly lie too. They are lying about me not training them. Some documents I handed to them on day 1, were hidden on the floor under their desk, behind a box. This job centres around these documents! Fortunately I had emailed them day 1 these documents as well.

I left some blank forms (new task they hadn't done) on their desk (after they'd left for the day) and I had an example of one I'd done. The next day, I went to go through it with them, and they cut me off and said they'd done it the day before. I couldn't be bothered pointing out their lies. They had filled it out wrong too.

#6 Questionable13

Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:35 PM

To be honest, it sounds like management need to be involved! It sounds like this person is wanting to get paid but not do any of the hard work! Or if they're struggling then this is something that management/HR need to deal with such as performance management or offering extra support to help this person learn the job.

Maybe ask the colleague straight out why they are there? If the work is boring, ask them what they think will make it less boring for them. If they say it's too complex, ask them how you and the rest of the team can make it easier for them etc. Put it back on them to take some responsibility for changing things/learning/making the work more enjoyable.
Good luck with that one!!

#7 4lilchicks

Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:36 PM

Firstly, if I was starting a new job I would love to have someone like you training me. Those emails would be so helpful later on and you seem really thorough and if they would just listen they will be ready to do the job once the training is over.

I think I would tell them that you're just doing your job and have been asked to do the training. If they would prefer to not receive training then I think THEY need to approach the manager and let them know, and I would tell this person that. I'm sure training someone who is resisting every step of the way isn't your idea of a good time either.

#8 FeralZombieMum

Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:37 PM

View Postblimkybill, on 16 February 2020 - 06:25 PM, said:

I wonder if the person really doesn't understand the content and procedures, is finding it too hard to learn, and is just not up to the job?
I hope they are on probation.  They need to be able to learn the tasks!
You could ask them what they think they need to be able to learn what they need to know.

They have been there a couple of years, and were offered my position as I have moved into a new role.

When offered the job, they were told it was all my tasks. When the supervisor later informed them about learning x task, they immediately asked why can't I do it. I am in a completely different role now and have a tight deadline to meet.

It feels like they have ODD, because they disagree on everything. They are mid 50's - so maybe it's something more? Early dementia? Menopause?

#9 Dianalynch

Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:42 PM

As soon as they start on ‘i don’t understand...’ start saying ‘okay I’ll let manager name know that’s something you need more help with than I can provide. We can move on to the next topic.’ Then let the manager know that staff member said x task was too difficult and they will need additional training support as they said it was too difficult, but that you were able to train them in x task. Staff member is making their problem your problem. So is the manager.

#10 Freddie'sMum

Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:44 PM

Can I have his / her job please?  I would have loved anyone helping me when I start a new job?  My last job I got one day's training and then thrown in the deep end.

OP - I would start by keeping a record of all the time you spend trying to train this co worker and also their responses.  Then take it all to your manager.

Good luck.

#11 FeralZombieMum

Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:45 PM

View PostQuestionable13, on 16 February 2020 - 06:35 PM, said:

To be honest, it sounds like management need to be involved! It sounds like this person is wanting to get paid but not do any of the hard work!

They, and another coworker, do have the attitude that they should be paid more for less work. Both have been job hunting for over a year. I know this person is actively looking for work and don't plan to remain in the role. (I am annoyed they accepted it! I didn't know it would be offered to them, I was told it was going to be advertised)

They are both low level office admin - okay for data entry, but lack skills for "thinking".

Part of the reason I am avoiding the manger, is because I handed over a process/weekly report via email to management - and then spent almost 2 hours with this coworker and my manager, going round in circles - coworker was arguing the point of that report!
My new role has strict deadlines and I just didn't have time to waste arguing. I will be addressing it soon though.

View PostQuestionable13, on 16 February 2020 - 06:35 PM, said:

If they say it's too complex, ask them how you and the rest of the team can make it easier for them etc. Put it back on them to take some responsibility for changing things/learning/making the work more enjoyable.
Good luck with that one!!
That's the issue. It's not that complex - just a lot of crossing t's and dotting the i's - they think it's irrelevant. I explained to them why it was required, but they don't care.

#12 Tokra

Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:45 PM

This might sound a bit out there - but is there a way you can have a manager kind of hiding somewhere close where they can hear what this moron is saying, without them knowing?

View PostDianalynch, on 16 February 2020 - 06:42 PM, said:

As soon as they start on ‘i don’t understand...’ start saying ‘okay I’ll let manager name know that’s something you need more help with than I can provide. We can move on to the next topic.’ Then let the manager know that staff member said x task was too difficult and they will need additional training support as they said it was too difficult, but that you were able to train them in x task. Staff member is making their problem your problem. So is the manager.

I like this option too.

#13 IamtheMumma

Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:46 PM

I think its time for performance management or demotion to a job with less duties. Obviously they can't/won't do the job. You've got a paper trail of the information you've sent them. Approach the manager and express your concerns and because they're not receptive to training, despite being spoon-fed, you recommend demotion if possible or firing.

#14 Islander

Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:47 PM

Perhaps send an email just to that person (don’t cc in managers) saying:
- I am finding providing training to you difficult. I notice you often say sentences like “(inset quotes here)”. I have tried emailing you information prior to our sessions so you can learn it at your own pace without the pressure of my being there, but that hasn’t seemed effective. Can you please reflect on your preferred learning style and let me know either in reply email or in person by the end of this week? I’d really like to make sure that we’re maximising the time we spend together.
Or something along those lines?!?

#15 FeralZombieMum

Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:49 PM

View PostFreddie, on 16 February 2020 - 06:44 PM, said:

Can I have his / her job please?  I would have loved anyone helping me when I start a new job?  My last job I got one day's training and then thrown in the deep end.

I got zero training. I was thrown into the deep end, and have had to teach myself as I had no one to explain things. It's been a steep learning curve. I created documents on tasks - to assist anyone doing this role.

This coworker had assisted me in some tasks previously, without any issue or push back. Other admin staff were able to follow my documents and my instructions. Now this coworker can't suddenly do tasks they used to be able to do. (on an ad hoc basis).

I do think a lot of it comes down to they think they know more because they are older than me.

#16 Lime-Polka-Dot

Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:51 PM

View PostFeralZombieMum, on 16 February 2020 - 06:37 PM, said:

It feels like they have ODD, because they disagree on everything. They are mid 50's - so maybe it's something more? Early dementia? Menopause?

If you're younger, possibly struggling with the idea of listening to and taking direction from someone younger than they are?

Possibly trying to deflect the fact that they are completely out of their capabilities in this role so are running to management to try to place the blame onto you as their trainer rather than accepting their incompetence?

Edited by Lime-Polka-Dot, 16 February 2020 - 06:56 PM.


#17 ABabyPlease

Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:52 PM

Is the trainee literate?

#18 PrincessPeach

Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:54 PM

Oh that is really good islander!

My only other suggestion would be to involve management stating you no longer have the time to do your current roll & train the new staff member because training is taking far longer than expected.

#19 andyk

Posted 16 February 2020 - 06:59 PM

It’s time to push back on every available avenue.
Document everything, your emails, your training times and every single process you have undertaken.

Then email your direct manager, copy in HR - a clear (emotionless) message - “I have completed the attached training schedule and handover of documents to XX who has advised she has had proficient training to complete said tasks. In that regard I will be able to commence my new project/role on (date).”

It’s time for her to sink or swim, and for you to let go and move into your new role. If she needs further training management or hr need to manage that, not you.

It’s hard to watch someone step in behind you and **** up all your hard work but you can’t do 2 jobs. Focus on your new role and leave her to it.

Edited by andyk, 16 February 2020 - 06:59 PM.


#20 Silverstreak

Posted 16 February 2020 - 07:08 PM

Ooh what a shocker of a trainee.

Firstly, I'd be covering your back, as they sound most untrustworthy. So maybe email your manager at the end of each training session, with a record of what was discussed and the trainee's responses etc.

Other potential responses:

Let me explain x procedure first, then let me know if you have any questions.

What specifically don't you understand about x process?

It is worthwhile for me to explain x process, as it is used in this instance.

Please let me finish speaking.

But yeah, sounds like they know it all, what they don't know isn't worth knowing, can't somebody else do it and why should I go to any effort etc. You'll probably end up having to involve management. Good luck!

#21 Not Escapin Xmas

Posted 16 February 2020 - 07:08 PM

Do you still report to the same person in your new role? If you don't, then I'd just walk away and leave them to it.

#22 Mmmcheese

Posted 16 February 2020 - 07:08 PM

Oh, I see you have my coworker working with you too. I don't get why these people can't be sacked. No suggestions, I'm doing mediation next week because my coworker is incompetent, and somehow talking about it will make it better. (Why yes, I am jaded and cynical)

Edited by Mmmcheese, 16 February 2020 - 07:30 PM.


#23 Tokra

Posted 16 February 2020 - 07:22 PM

View PostIslander, on 16 February 2020 - 06:47 PM, said:

Perhaps send an email just to that person (don’t cc in managers) saying:
- I am finding providing training to you difficult. I notice you often say sentences like “(inset quotes here)”. I have tried emailing you information prior to our sessions so you can learn it at your own pace without the pressure of my being there, but that hasn’t seemed effective. Can you please reflect on your preferred learning style and let me know either in reply email or in person by the end of this week? I’d really like to make sure that we’re maximising the time we spend together.
Or something along those lines?!?

This is good too.

#24 FeralZombieMum

Posted 16 February 2020 - 07:27 PM

View PostTokra, on 16 February 2020 - 06:45 PM, said:

This might sound a bit out there - but is there a way you can have a manager kind of hiding somewhere close where they can hear what this moron is saying, without them knowing?

Manager is fully aware of how they are, as they have been like this with other coworkers.

I am really surprised this person and another coworker haven't been performance managed previously. Current manager has been here less than a year and there has been a lot to clean up from previous manager.

#25 FeralZombieMum

Posted 16 February 2020 - 07:44 PM

View PostNot Escapin Xmas, on 16 February 2020 - 07:08 PM, said:

Do you still report to the same person in your new role? If you don't, then I'd just walk away and leave them to it.

Both report to same manager. I can't walk away because it involves compliance and can have significant negative implications if processes aren't followed.

View Postandyk, on 16 February 2020 - 06:59 PM, said:

It’s time to push back on every available avenue.
Document everything, your emails, your training times and every single process you have undertaken.
Fortunately I did start cc'ing the manager in when sending various documents, to cover my back, plus to give the manager access to my documentation.

I have started to push back when training - ie saying "Just let me finish what I am trying to say". I also repeat the same instruction about 5 times until they do that step. They are wanting to control what they are learning, without knowing what we are doing and tell me they aren't going to do that step, but want to do x,y,z.




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