Social Question

plethora's avatar

Should I fire this person?

Asked by plethora (9579points) February 25th, 2010

I have a business and I have two employees. One has been with me for 15 years and she is extremely valuable. The other is part-time and works three days a week. I administer the Kolbe test to anyone I hire and I have taken it. It’s only 35 questions and there are no right or wrong answers. It measures how we instinctively solve problems if left to our own means. We are closely associated with another organization which also uses Kolbe. The bottom line benefit of Kolbe is it helps put everyone in the right job, the one they are best at and will enjoy the most. We all, including me, share our scores with each other, so that we can better understand each others’ strengths.

After the part-time employee had been hired and had worked for several months she was asked to take the Kolbe test, and she refused. No good reason. She just didnt like it. I readily admit that I should have made it a condition of employment before I hired her. We had a lot going on and it slipped through the cracks. But since it has only a positive effect on the working environment, I never dreamed she would just refuse.

Question now is, should I fire her? Job performance is adequate, but not sparkling, by any means. And I would not fire her for refusing to take the test. But I would have no problem finding a reason.

Does she stay or go?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

177 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I wouldn’t – this doesn’t seem like a good enough reason, to me other than your own preference for this test – but you are the boss so it seems that you can be as preferential as you want.

Qingu's avatar

Firing her would be a pretty dick move.

ninjacolin's avatar

It’s the equivalent to shunning someone from your religion because they didn’t eat the sacred bread.

Vunessuh's avatar

Nothing in your description gives any justified reason for why you should fire her.
If you do, she should dickpunch you.

Berserker's avatar

You’re a boss somewhere and you have to come on the Internet to ask random people whether or not you should keep her? :p

DarkScribe's avatar

It was your error – not testing her initially. You are morally stuck with the result. Some people are wary of such tests simply because they don’t really understand them and are concerned with how the results will be interpreted. Understandable that she doesn’t want to be tested for a job that she already has. Would you fire her if the results indicated that she was unsuitable? That could cause problems for you as well as her in some jurisdictions.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

I’m really glad my boss isn’t like you.

Mamradpivo's avatar

You have no reason to fire her. She, however, could have a reason to seek unemployment insurance or a wrongful termination claim if it’s never been made clear to her she has to take this test or be fired.

Sorry.

Response moderated
Buttonstc's avatar

Apparently this test is very meaningful to you. But since it means that much to you, it was your own fault for not administering it prior to hiring her.

Why should she be penalized for you oversight? It’s not as if it’s a drug test which could be germane to job performance. This is your personal preference. You forgot about it.

Learn a lesson from this for next time. You goofed. Live with it.

tinyfaery's avatar

Ultimately, you can do whatever you want but it’s your own fault. Why should she have to pay the price?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

If the Kolbe test has no “right or wrong” answers, then how do you share your scores with one another? Most importantly, why would you share those scores?

I’m an employer too. I can’t imagine pitting one employee against another based upon some score where there are no “right or wrong” answers.

plethora's avatar

@Symbeline No I don’t. She is, in fact, as good as gone. it’s just a matter of time. I am delaying because i don’t want to put the burden of training a new person on my valuable employee at this time. But I am interested in others opinions.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Let’s cool it with the personal attacks, guys.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

If she has no legal obligation to take your test, you have to legal basis to fire her for declining to take it.
It sounds like you’ve already decided to fire her so I’m sure you’ll find a reason to send her packing.

Get ready to pay for her unemployment and have a good lawyer on retainer.

It would seem the only wrong answer on the Kolbe test is declining to take it.
That’s hardly a performance based evaluation.

knitfroggy's avatar

I don’t think you should fire her if she is adequate. If you had no intention to fire her before she refused the test, then you shouldn’t fire her after. If the test and it’s scores were that important, seems to me you would have remembered a long time ago. It doesn’t seem fair to knock someone out of a job over something like that.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

“And I would not fire her for refusing to take the test. But I would have no problem finding a reason.”

So you are just going to find a reason to fire someone who is doing an adequate, but not poor job?

Buttonstc's avatar

Well, my opinion is an echo of JGPF. I’m sure glad I’m not working for a boss like you.

plethora's avatar

@Vunessuh That’s one way of looking at it. On the other hand I produce all the money and I faithfully pay her salary every single payday, and I think that taking the test will be beneficial to everyone in the workplace, and in fact, has been proven to do so. If I say I want it done. and she wants to continue to get a paycheck, then it’s a pretty good idea to do what the boss asks, especially when he himself has done it and shared and discussed his own strengths and weaknesses.

FutureMemory's avatar

I’m glad I’m self-employed…jesus.

plethora's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities @Buttonstc And who refuses to do a part of the job that I consider essential.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

If it was so essential you should’ve been doing your job instead of letting it slip between the cracks. Maybe your business has problems starting at the top level.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Employees have to do better than adequate these days. The talent pool is thick and primed for all employers to be very choosy about who they hire and who they keep. Companies, especially small companies, must pursue the very best talent in the industry that they can afford. It’s just too competitive out there to let “adequate” rule the day.

Ask yourself as a consumer, will you patronize the “adequate” company, or the “exemplary” company? A company is only as good as its employees and management policies. When both are lacking, the company is doooooommmmmeeed!

plethora's avatar

@Buttonstc You might be surprised. The one who has been with me 15 years, and who is not one to keep her opinions to herself, loves the job.

FutureMemory's avatar

Are you a Scientologist? Just wondering.

plethora's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy You are quite right. It is considered such a positive aspect of the job, that refusal to take it has never been an issue. I learned from this one to be, instead of flexible, adamant, before hiring.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

It is irrelevant what the other employee thinks – if they’ve been with you for 15 years then obviously they, in your eyes, agree with you a whole lot and, in turn, are capable of dealing with your quirks, so to speak. Expecting the same or anything in the same area of a new employee is foolish.

plethora's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Point taken..:) And I will note that the test verified that she and I have completely opposite skill sets and therefore work together very well.

nikipedia's avatar

Sorry, I guess my previous answer was too harsh. I guess what I meant to say was:

No, you should not fire this person. You should not fire her because of some test that corresponds to exactly nothing. You should not stop this person from being able to care for herself because of a random and senseless idea that you seem wholly unable to substantiate. You should not terminate her employment and cut her off from her only ability to support and sustain herself because of a completely arbitrary and nonsensical whim you have.

And, if you do, then you’re a dick.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

If companies don’t have the very best employees working for them, then The Company will fail to competition and all of them will be jobless.

plethora's avatar

Just a bit more explanation. The primary objective of the test is to help put each person, boss included, in the role in which they feel most comfortable and therefore most satisfied in the job.

FutureMemory's avatar

@plethora Nope. Are you?

Nah, I’m not down with judging people based on silly tests and shit.

FutureMemory's avatar

You knows whats really fucked up? All this criticism is going to add to his general sense of…whatever it is he’s fretting about, and lead to her termination even faster.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

So… the Kolbe Test puts the boss on the golf course… Hmmm, I’ll have to reconsider.

plethora's avatar

@FutureMemory The assumption here is that the test is valid, rational, and benefits all concerned. That’s not up for discussion.

gemiwing's avatar

If she is not doing the job correctly then write her up, give her a chance to improve then move on from there.

I understand you want her to take this test and it’s important to you. Perhaps you could take the ideals of the test and put them into play by asking her questions without giving the test. Ask her conversationally ‘what’s your favorite part of working here?’ or ‘I like X because of Y- do you do enjoy that as well?’. Something along those lines. That way you get your data and she gets to keep her job without doing something she is clearly uncomfortable with.

plethora's avatar

@FutureMemory Not fretting about it at all. I already know what needs to be done. But open to comments that might either confirm or change my mind.

Vunessuh's avatar

“Not fretting about it at all. I already know what needs to be done. But open to comments that might either confirm or change my mind.

There’s like, 56238 contradictions in this sentence.

plethora's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Hopefully not. I hate golf and love my job.

john65pennington's avatar

She stays until found to be unfit for her position. since you did not make it a condition of her employment, you really do not have a leg to stand on and she has the right to refuse. if you terminate her without just cause, she will surely sue you and base it on taking the Kolbe test.

kevbo's avatar

If you want a softer option, why not give her tasks or scenarios that parallel the tests and just sort of create a profile from your observations.

FutureMemory's avatar

Hi, I fucked up when I hired you, so because of my screw up I’m going to fire you unexpectedly and without warning… now!

This IS what you’re doing, and it IS fucked up. There, you now have the vast majority of the opinions shared on this thread. Want a cookie?

plethora's avatar

@kevbo Thanks. That is really what we have ended up doing for the time being, but I have not expressed it the way you did and that’s very helpful.

YARNLADY's avatar

Some people are afraid of tests. If you only use it to put people in the right job, maybe you could explain that to her. Maybe you could just ask a few questions from the test every now and then until you have asked all of them, and then decide.

lilikoi's avatar

@plethora, you give a lot of good answers on here, and I personally appreciate that. But honestly, if you asked me to take some test that I’ve never heard of as a condition of employment after we had already agreed to set terms of employment (and you are now trying to change them after the fact), I might seriously consider quitting your job. I might lose my respect for you – both for imposing conditions on me after I’ve already started working for you thus narrowing my options and for subscribing like a fanatic to some quack test. You should look at me and my work and be able to assess my progress and ability. If you don’t already value my skills, and feel the need to literally test me after I’ve already demonstrated how useful I am, I don’t think it would work out between you and I. I would likely quit.

Qingu's avatar

@plethora, out of curiosity, what is your company?

RocketSquid's avatar

Let’s face it, you are actually using this test as a way make up for your own deficiency. If this woman has been working for you for several months and you are yet unable to figure out her strengths and how they can benefit your business, solely because she’s uncomfortable with some test you hold some zeal for, then you fire her not out of her own inability to work, but your own lack of management skills. It’d be one thing if it were a few weeks in, but several months?

You throw around the term “I’ll find a reason” like you’ve already made your mind. Why even bother asking Fluthering the question?

If she’s nervous about the test, find out why and soothe those fears. She might be more willing if she were more educated about the test. Seeing as you’ll “Find a reason”, I’m sure she’s already nervous enough about her employment that heaping this test on her shoulders doesn’t help the situation.

plethora's avatar

@YARNLADY Good point. Hadn’t thought of that. Thanks

Bronny's avatar

it feels to me more like your ego wants to fire her than your common sense. you sound pissed that she dared say no to you. As the boss you are also a leader and self appointed mentor. Give her some time to see that the test is harmless and will not threaten her job in any way. She has her own reasons for being intimidated by this test and reacting in such extremes. If you give her time, those reasons will come out.

I’m sorry but no test that is just 35 questions can be that pin pointingly accurate enough to be CRUCIAL in helping you HELP your employees. Maybe if that is your true goal, you should find ways to just ask her the questions yourself.

Truly, I think the real issue here is EGO and the real lesson that needs to be learned is by yourself.

With all do respect, and no ill regard towards you. My egotistical authority figure in my head would get all pissed off and indignant as well. That voice in your head telling you that firing her is a good option is the voice of a child and you should tell that child to shut up. Children should not be in positions of authority.

lilikoi's avatar

And I cannot believe an employer would turn to Fluther for advice about the future of an employee. Maybe that’s a question I should start asking of employers when I interview.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

So… she’s being fired because she doesn’t want to take a test that she’s already said she doesn’t like, didn’t have to take as a condition of employment, and because she performs “adequately” on a part-time basis. These are the facts you laid out, right?

If she took the test and shared her scores (is that also mandatory?) then she’d have a job, regardless of what her score is? But apparently you haven’t told her this… you simply want to find a pretext to fire her because she has expressed an opinion that’s contrary to yours, essentially.

You’ll be doing her a favor. Let her go tomorrow. If you want to give her a nice story to tell in future years about “the stupidest boss she ever had” then give her the honest reason. Otherwise, if I were you I guess that I’d give her no reason at all… and change my user name here.

I guess we’ll all be telling that story before long.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Bronny you beat me to it.

lilikoi's avatar

And it makes me wonder… does she have the legal right to refuse something like this?

plethora's avatar

@lilikoi That’s a good point and since I failed to present the test up front, I decided to forget it after she was hired. But her performance was not up to par and my thought was that i had her doing the wrong type of work or that we were working with her in a way that was frustrating to her. The test is a blessing to us and to the company with which we are associated, and takes about ten minutes to take, so it simply did not occur to me that there could be an issue. Even her husband, who is a psychologist, told her it was no big deal and just to do it.

Qingu's avatar

This Kolbe test looks pretty sketchy, by the way. And your admiration for it borders on cultishness. (You just said it’s a “blessing.”)

As others have pointed out, perhaps you need to re-assess why you are firing her. Employees are not your slaves. They have the right to say no to things that are not part of their job description. And when they do, responsible employers don’t take it personally. Let alone start looking for excuses to fire her, as you are clearly doing.

lilikoi's avatar

@plethora Why don’t you just confront her directly? You already know what her deficiencies are. Give her an opportunity to do something about it.

plethora's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I’ve noted your comments on other threads and you are upholding your reputation here.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@plethora but you asked and she told you her feeling… and now it’s the highway because it’s not your-way, and you don’t even have the balls to tell her that you’re firing her because she balked you. You’re going to make up an excuse and you really thought we’d help you to justify that somehow?

You didn’t even ask us honestly: you asked “should I”, when all you really want to know is “how do I do this and stay sort of clean?”

lilikoi's avatar

@Qingu I agree with you. Reminds me of a job I once had. I quit. Some people are impossible to please.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Dude, whatever reputation I have, you’re beating it in spades. Just keep this thread going. Please.

Or fire me.

Qingu's avatar

It is also amazing to me that any employer would have so little empathy to fire someone doing an “adequate” job in this economy.

plethora's avatar

@CyanoticWasp Really?? I had no idea.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Qingu I hate to keep giving you GAs here when we’ve had such strong disagreement in other threads. Keep ‘em coming.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@CyanoticWasp has a reputation? Hot damn.

lilikoi's avatar

@plethora Maybe you could tell us exactly what she is not good at?

plethora's avatar

@Qingu Now is the time when you hire the very best people you can get.

FutureMemory's avatar

Did I say already how glad I am to be self-employed?

lilikoi's avatar

Although you cannot buy loyalty.

gorillapaws's avatar

Ever hear the expression “when all you know how to use is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail?”

I agree with others that you seem to have a disproportionally large emotional investment in this test. I remain highly skeptical that a tool that is so simple can be such a panacea in the management of people. Why isn’t it standard in every job if it’s so unquestionably useful? It’s certainly possible that this is an excellent tool, but it’s just a tool, there’s nothing inherently magical about tools.

Vunessuh's avatar

Jesus Christ. I changed my mind. Fire the poor girl and put her out of her misery. Good grief.

Oh, and just watch out for that dickpunch when you do.

Bronny's avatar

Hm this has become way too much of an emotional reaction-thread. You’d think a bunch of women on their periods were at the opposite ends of each computer with their tissues and boxes of chocolate and angry pimples raging war on whoever crosses them.

It’s very simple if you think about it in a professional way. With all of your future employees you make the test a mandatory part of orientation…one that they sign a paper saying they will take and consent to. But only because it seems to be so important to you to maintain consistency.

WIth this employee…well you did not cover your ass with her and it would not be fair nor would it be professional for you to fire her. She is part time, and therefore will probably not be working for you for that long anyway. Statistically speaking.

Are you going to be a dickhead or are you going to be a professional, learn from your own mistakes in not educating her on this little test when she was hired, and grow from it?

You can create drama, or you can create a yourself as a continuously developing businessman.

plethora's avatar

@lilikoi Thanks. She has been confronted and trained repeatedly, all in a very nice way, without improvement, which is what made me think that I had her in a job that she just wasn’t suited for. So instead of firing her, I asked her to take the very same test that all the rest of us had taken. Seemed like no big deal.

lilikoi's avatar

@Bronny Hey watch it. I’m a woman, I don’t like chocolate all that much, and I rarely have a pimple. But I agree with the rest of what you’ve said.

lilikoi's avatar

@plethora Okay, so if the test showed somehow that she was fit for the job, would you keep her on? Or would you fire her? It sure sounds, from what you’ve just said, that you already know she isn’t a good fit for the job. Why the need for the test?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@plethora I’m wondering how in the world this test is valid if it enables you to be “the boss”. Because I see absolutely no evidence that you’re cut out for the position.

The initial scenario where you hired one person in a two-person office for a part-time position… and were apparently so overworked that you couldn’t manage that the way you wanted to… let her work “adequately” for a few months… and then “asked” her to take a test that’s not related to her employment and she “would rather not” ... and then not just once but repeatedly in this thread attempt to justify all of your mistakes (and browbeat us for pointing them out—gleefully) ... while refusing to acknowledge that you might have been in error all along.

What the hell do you manage properly?

Qingu's avatar

@plethora, note that I said “empathy,” not “desire to maximize profits.”

Bronny's avatar

hahaha well i am a woman too and i AM pms-ing which is how i described it so well.

but on the flipside and opposite end of all that, Plethora- that is more information than i was aware of. Why don’t you just try moving her to a position you think she would be best in? Or were you hoping to be able to use the test as your irrefutable reason as to why you want her in a different position? I think your reasoning is logical…if she is not doing so well…how old is she etc…

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Maybe she should be the boss.

FutureMemory's avatar

I’m curious, do you consider this employee (because of her non-compliance) to be a SP ?

plethora's avatar

@Bronny Thank you. That is pretty much the conclusion I came to. She is part time and probably won’t be with us forever and we can use narrow her job description and use her effectively for the time being.

Bronny's avatar

that is your best bet…Hire one or two more people on that will slowly sort of…phase her out naturally. Just firing someone for wishy-washy reasons would just make you an ass and her a martyr to a degree. This will happen again in the future, but at least now you will be prepared for it.

kevbo's avatar

I’ve worked for assholes. I don’t think this crosses the threshold. I don’t get the animosity either. People get shafted by employers all the time in far worse ways.

Qingu's avatar

I love how someone at the Kolbe test organization flagrantly edited the Wikipedia page on Conation to promote themselves.

lilikoi's avatar

@kevbo Just cuz it happens doesn’t make it right.

lilikoi's avatar

@Qingu Nice. I don’t even need to take the test to know I am a fact finder according to it…

kevbo's avatar

She shouldn’t be a dumbshit about taking a test. Even her hubby gets it.

Qingu's avatar

You should consider making her take a test to see which Hogwarts House she’d belong to. Perhaps that will solve your problem equally well.

I hear Ravenclaws make excellent research assistants.

lilikoi's avatar

I think the Myers-Briggs type test tells you more.

Bronny's avatar

@kevbo it’s about leadership. if you want your business to thrive you must think ahead and have legal documents and consent forms for everything that way it doesnt have to get dirty. and it’s sad that you have the mentality that “well that guy does it, he’s a dick, so im gonna be a dick too”...are we in kindergarden fighting over the shovel trucks in the sandbox or are we respectable professionals who do not let emotions rule our business decisions. People who cannot balance these factors are better running small time dirty hot dog stands vs establishing themselves in a way that could grow to the corporate level. use your noggin.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Qingu even the Harry Potter reference was a better answer than the question (and every justification for it since then). You will probably never get so many GAs from me as in this thread.

Buttonstc's avatar

@Quingu

But, he doesn’t have the magic hat to put on her head :D

Qingu's avatar

@Buttonstc, a magic sorting hat can be bought for a reasonable price here

FutureMemory's avatar

A robe and wizard hat?

kevbo's avatar

@Bronny, it is sad, but it’s also been my experience. It is a blessing to work with and for great people, but Dilbert is as popular as it is for a reason.

Buttonstc's avatar

@Quingu

Touché

:)

plethora's avatar

@lilikoi Meyers Brigg is an excellent test and far more comprehensive.

lilikoi's avatar

This thread has over a hundred posts already lol.

plethora's avatar

Sorry to produce a question that apparently creates so much drama…..as well as a great deal of insight into some of the respondents.

Bronny's avatar

@lilikoi @plethora : I am a big fan of the ol Meyers Brigg too.

Bronny's avatar

@kevbo sorry if i was bitchy, thanks for not getting defensive back. you’re right, the workforce is a superficial place. my boss tries to micromanage me all day long but im learning how to get him to do what i want by tricking him into thinking it’s his idea. it’s like being married.

kevbo's avatar

@Bronny, I had to pretend my last boss was crazy so that I would never be surprised. ;-) It took me a good while to understand what I was dealing with was an adult child of an alcoholic.

davidbetterman's avatar

What kind of work are you talking about?

Bronny's avatar

ah. I figured she was either a teenager or someone about 50. Not to stereotype. We are all hard headed to a degree.

@kevbo that is a great idea! I will try that too, it might help me stay in character.

kevbo's avatar

@plethora, another option might be to provide her with an incentive (i.e. $). That might give her the feeling it isn’t about threatening her “domain.”

if you need to rationalize it, think of it as paying for your “mistake” during the hiring process.

Bronny's avatar

hmmm ask her to take it after work, and tell her you will pay her overtime for the amount of time it takes her to take it and get the results and have a small mtg with you where you review the conclusions of the test….shouldn’t be more than 1.5 hrs total right…

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

As the story goes…

The King was to award one lucky Student Architect the privilege of designing his new castle. He called them all together into the great hall, where they sat preparing their pens and straightening their papers. At the very last minute, one lone Architect arrived late, disheveled, and upon receiving his task, he left without a word.

The King was puzzled that this rude student did not remain with the rest of the hopeful candidates and sent his servants to check upon the whereabouts of the tardy young Architect. The servants found the young man at his home, barefoot and relaxed by his favorite window, seemingly working on the Kings charge.

When the servants reported this back to the King, the orders he gave them were quite unexpected. “That is the man I want to build my new Castle. Award the contract to him, for he is the True Artist”.

Nullo's avatar

She hasn’t done anything wrong yet, has she? Then don’t fire her.
@ninjacolin
It’s the equivalent to shunning someone from your religion because they didn’t eat the sacred bread.
Eating the sacred bread in religions that have it is part of the religion.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

You need to fire this lazy employee and get one with REALLY BIG TITS!

I wonder what the Kolbe test would have in store for her

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Sorry to produce a question that apparently creates so much drama…..as well as a great deal of insight into some of the respondents.

… not to mention the questioner.

Bronny's avatar

i think we should let this die off now. It’s been picked apart and plethora seems to have come to some semi-conclusion on what he is going to do, if anything. It’s been real.

gorillapaws's avatar

This quote is pretty telling from the wikipedia entry’s discussion:

“As a Ph.D. trained at Columbia and NYU, with 30+ years of clinical practice, teaching, and consulting, I have managed to get through my entire career without encountering this construct. It is certainly NOT co-equal with cognition and affect as a fundamental aspect of consciousness. I got a kick out of the fact that the author of this entry could offer only two citations—one of them from Oprah?? It has no distinct meaning apart of its synonyms, drive/motivation/will, and thus is useless. Attempts to make use of it will obscure rather than clarify discussion.”

There are several other similar entries that seem to indicate that this is not a universally accepted tool in the field of psychology. The more I learn about it the more it reminds me of those cheesy questionnaires in women’s magazines. If I were your employee I would refuse this test too, and you’d be damn lucky to have me work for you too. 10 minutes with Google and I’ve managed to figure out that you’re basing a massive portion of your management decisions on a highly-suspect tool. You should be embarrassed.

plethora's avatar

@gorillapaws Just for starters, I’ve got 60 people who swear by it, some of whom would have been fired from their jobs had the test not put them in the position in which they function best. i’m far more pragmatic than academic.

plethora's avatar

@CyanoticWasp And since I’m the one doing the hiring, our first meeting would last maybe 3 minutes.

plethora's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Ya know, she actually has really big boobs.

Buttonstc's avatar

Well, as Jiminy Cricket wisely advised:

Always let your conscience be your guide.

:)

davidbetterman's avatar

I really don’t understand your reluctance to explain the business involved.
I also don’t understand over 118 responses from people who don’t know what kind of business is involved.

plethora's avatar

@davidbetterman The type business is of no consequence.

davidbetterman's avatar

@plethora Oh contraire. the type of business is everything when it comes to taking a ridiculous placement test. If it is fast food, it doesn’t really matter.

escapedone7's avatar

I have found it common for an employer to change the rules from when I was hired. Often times they want to try a new model, implement a new procedure or technology, reorganize or other such stuff. It is common to get a complete change in rules or even position, to suddenly be required to attend training sessions and seminars to learn this or that, when that is not what I signed up for.

Hypothetical scenario on a small scale. A young lady might sign up to take care of babies at a daycare. The state may, after some tragic infant death at a daycare, suddenly pass some law about daycare workers needing to know infant CPR and first aid. The worker suddenly is told she has to take a class or test on infant CPR to keep her job. I chose this fake scenario because most people here love babies and safety and would find this sort of new test or requirement to be perfectly reasonable. In some instances job requirements can and do change after hiring.

As long as it doesn’t violate something I believe to the point I feel a theological and moral obligation to resist, I go along with my employers requests. If it truly violates my conscience and beliefs to the point I am willing to risk my job over the principal I believe in, I may use noncompliance as a means of nonviolent protest. However, to be fair, I usually was given 3… count them… one, two , three…. write ups for said insubordination before each termination. I am the queen on insubordination. I think I am the most insubordinate employee on planet earth. But it is ‘always’ due to deep matters of conscience when I knew the consequences and was willing to pay them, rather than violate what I believe.

I believe the most moral thing for you to do is be honest even if there may be legal repurcussions. If you believe in what you are doing enough to fire her over this test, you should believe in what you are doing enough to fight or defend any lawsuits or complaints that come thereof. I think you should simply tell her she is required to take the test or she will be written up for insubordination. If she continues to refuse, as is typical write her up during her performance evaluations and after a few fair warnings let her go.

This might put you more at risk for her to complain or litigate, but if you believe in this that much, then you should believe in it enough to defend the true reason for letting her go. You have the right to defend your fierce beliefs and so does she. Morally, you should be honest about it. If you just want to keep life easy and cover your bum, you will make up fake reasons to fire her. I’m just saying, if you believe in this strongly enough to fire her for it you should believe in it enough to defend yourself in all ways for doing so. Otherwise, you are, frankly, being dishonest.

Since I have been written up so many times I will even help you. You can use things like saying she is not proving to be adaptable to the changing needs of the business model. She is not a team player. She is blah blah forget it.

But be honest.

mammal's avatar

you know full well you shouldn’t fire her, she’s stood up to you and you don’t like it, you should respect her for that, try to be a team player and part of the team rather than just the BOSS. She is fully entitled to query anything that she is particularly uncomfortable with.

gorillapaws's avatar

Anecdotal evidence is notoriously fallacious (the world is flat right? looks that way to me). Also have you considered that perhaps these people are being poorly placed initially because you (or other managers) are making bad Human Resource decisions and therefore any change will invariably be positive? Just by interacting with employees and getting a sense of who they are and what their strengths are will likely be an improvement. I’m not suggesting it’s the Hawthorne Effect exactly, but there are some parallels.

Forget academic vs. practical, this is more of an issue of basis in fact vs. basis in…magic and marketing. What if you worked for me and I told you I was going to make decisions about your employment based on the reading you have with the psychic I’ve hired? How would you react? Assuming you’re not a total idiot (I’m trying to be charitable), I would hope you would object to such a stipulation. Now I’m not saying FOR CERTAIN that this test is nonsense, but it’s certainly not proven, and on that basis alone the test should be optional.

Look, I think a business ought to strive hard to get the best employees it can, but it’s clear who dropped the ball in this situation. I think it’s reasonable to expect more than simply an adequate performance, but I also think you’re not holding yourself to this same exemplary standard.

plethora's avatar

@escapedone7 Thanks….very helpful.

plethora's avatar

@gorillapaws you are missing much of what i have said on here. Bottom line the test, proven in our environment, was an attempt to help her, to place her in a job that she was suited for because she was underperforming. She was never able to offer a reasonable rationale for not taking it, in spite of 60 others who had taken it with highly beneficial results. In the final analysis, we work for the customer. She was being less than friendly with customers and forgetful of their needs and of tasks she had repeatedly been asked to do. But most important, she was not treating customers the way she should. She also flagrantly violated the dress code. In the final analysis, I don’t know what is wrong with her, but the customer comes first and if she can’t cut the mustard with the customer, I have no compunction whatever about firing her.

gorillapaws's avatar

I think you’ve stated several valid reasons for letting someone go. No need to bring the test into the equation. If you have a position that requires interaction with the public, and they aren’t doing a good job representing your company, then it’s in both your and their best interest to have them move on.

escapedone7's avatar

You are welcome. I am an expert at getting fired.
Can I have an application? Kidding.

escapedone7's avatar

You know, with more cooperative people than myself, these performance evaluations work. That is, if you had given her a thorough performance evaluation already addressing some of this, such as dressing unprofessionally, she may have tried to correct what she could.

gorillapaws's avatar

Also, I suspect that you’re taking extreme liberties with the definition of “proven” in your statement. Science uses double-blinded tests with placebos/controls for a reason. I can certainly appreciate the desire for a simple, fast, objective and standardized tool for placing people in the optimal roles. I also highly doubt such a tool exists—I think there’s a LOT of oversimplification going on in the Kolbe with respect to incredibly complex behaviors and psychology.

You never answered my question about why this isn’t standard practice at all major corporations if it’s so revolutionary (certainly not for lack of internet marketing)? A little critical thinking can go a LONG way towards boosting your company’s bottom line.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I just went to the Kolbe site to see what the questions are:
https://www.kolbe.com/pdfassets/Kolbe_A_Index.pdf Here’s a sample:
1. If I were solving a difficult problem, I would rely on my:
A. skills
B. research
C. ability to structure
D. experimentation
2. If I believed something important could be made to help humanity, I would:
A. investigate it
B. design it
C. sell or promote it
D. build it
3. If I were told to hurry finishing a project, I would:
A. skip to the bottom line
B. decide what could be done properly
C. work diligently until time was up
D. consider craftsmanship more important
4. If I were trying to get off the hook for
something, my arguments would be:
A. consistent
B. unique
C. detailed
D. technical

You make decisions based on this?!?! The answers will vary day by day or case by case. Every answer depends upon the project the person has in mind.
What does your staff really think about this? Not what they tell you, but what do they honestly think.
We had a boss who thought Myers Briggs was important. We thought the test and he were ridiculous.

ucme's avatar

..& boom went the dynamite!

judochop's avatar

Fire her. If she is refusing to do part of the job (no matter how silly the Kolbe Test is in the first place( then fire her. Kick her ass to the curb. She can only be as strong as the management upstairs and that management is you. Are you going to let her be a direct reflection of you if she is not willing to take a simple test? There are so many people looking for jobs right now that letting her go will only open the door of opportunity for you and your other co-worker.
Now, not willing to explain your business and what you do and why you put so much faith in a test that is not widely used in the first place is perplexing. You are just asking for simple, blind, advice with not very many details other than she refused to take your test. Judging quickly I’d say the problem (based on what I see of your character here) at work is not with your co-worker but with you. Fire her anyway and make sure you do it right, make sure she knows that you are letting her go because she preforms her job but would not take the test. You are the owner, and you have that power and without going to far out on the limb here, you sound like you like to abuse that power a little bit. You sound a little like you have short man syndrome.

mattbrowne's avatar

Absolutely not.

MissAusten's avatar

I don’t understand what you would accomplish by having her take the test. If the test shows you in some way that she isn’t suited to the job she has, do you fire her anyway? What if the test indicates that she is suited for some kind of work that you don’t provide? Do you just make up a position that suits her strengths or working style?

I also find it a little off-putting that you start out by saying she is doing an adequate job, but later call her work sub-par. Which is it? If her work is sup-par and she isn’t improving after reviews, further training, or legitimate action on your part, just let her go. Document everything and make sure it is consistent with company policy. Leave the test out of it already, because it seems like you are using that as an excuse to fire her instead of dealing with whatever the actual problem might be. The more emphasis you place on the test, the more suspicious she will be when you fire her, and the more likely she is to take some kind of action against you or your company for wrongful termination.

kevbo's avatar

This Q would make for a great script for an existential play.

CMaz's avatar

Too late. Something you should have told your employee in the beginning.
During the hiring process.

Could become a liability. if you insist.

But since a part timer. Just cut their hours back till they quit. If it is that important to you.

plethora's avatar

137 responses so far??? I’m astounded. I’m not sure I Iearned a thing about the question I asked, but I sure learned a helluva lot about human nature and the human propensity for jumping to conclusions and second guessing the one who posed the question.

The type of test was irrelevant. It could have been tic tac toe. The point is it was suggested as a means of helping her improve so that she could be retained and placed in a context where she was happy and productive. As it has turned out, she was retained, but she would not allow herself to be helped and therefore no change in her duties and no possibility of full time, which she had wanted.

Also astounded at the degree of vitriolic emotion the question elicited. Where did that come from? I would have expected no more than a dozen answers on this. Seems to me it was the anger and emotion that drove it, not the question. Why the anger and the emotion, I have no idea.

wundayatta's avatar

Are you a private business? Does a union represent your labor force? If private and non-union, then the employment at-will statutes apply. They basically say that you can hire or fire anyone at will so long as you do not discriminate against them on any of the grounds protected by our Constitution. There are a few other things that limit employment at-will, but you can read them in the Wikipedia article.

So all this sturm und drang is pretty much irrelevant. If you want to get rid of her, you do not need to justify it in any way at all. If she thinks you fired her because she is black, she can file a suit. But I do not believe that refusing to take a test is a protected aspect of employment, meaning you can fire her any time for that.

As to the moral side of this, it seems like you are trying to be a concerned employer and you don’t really want to fire her and if she would only take the test, you’d find a position where she could excel. Since she won’t take the test, she is underperforming, and you can fire her for that. Even if she was excelling you could fire her for just about any reason at all, so long as it isn’t illegal discrimination. I think you could fire her for refusing to wear ripe bananas on her head, and I don’t think you’d even have to justify the criteria for employment, but I could be wrong there.

Anyway, if you really do care about her, and don’t want to fire her, I can think of two things you can do, right off the top of my head. First, you could give her a choice—take the test and have the chance to save her job. Refuse to take the test, and you’ll have to let her go.

Second, you could use your personal knowledge of her skills and abilities and working style to reassign her. I mean, after using this test for so many people, surely you can tell who someone is just by seeing how they deal with their work? I doubt if not having the test results is much of a handicap.

I don’t know if you really want to save her job or not. If you do, you know enough to reassign her appropriately. If not, you don’t need any excuse at all to fire her, although it does seem like you have a few you plan to use.

[edit]

So she has been retained? When was this decision made? You’ve kept her in her current job in which she is not really doing satisfactory work? The only thing that has happened is that she has been denied full time work?

Why did you keep her?

plethora's avatar

@wundayatta Thanks very much….very very good answer. Probably the best of the bunch. I appreciate it…:)

Vunessuh's avatar

@plethora You asked a question to get suggestions and opinions and because none of them were what you expected and/or what you wanted, it all of a sudden means that all of us jumped to conclusions and acted off of our emotions?

It baffles me to this day why people open up discussions for public consumption and then diminish our opinions because they weren’t what they wanted to hear.
This thread should give you some insight on how you are as a boss.
But instead, you’ve let your ego blind you and you’re using this thread to determine how we are as people. That is both irrational and irresponsible.

gorillapaws's avatar

I think most of the responders here have been quite rational in response to your question. The scariest part of this whole thing is your lack of introspection with regards to your management decisions. I and others have pointed out many intelligent, dispassionate concerns with your management methodology, and it seems you’re incapable of considering that there may be some major problems with the decisions you’re making.

If the woman isn’t doing a good job representing your company, fire her. That wasn’t how the original question was phrased which indicates that you’re being less-than-truthful. If this is any indication of how other business decisions are being made, you might want to watch out for an invisible hand grabbing your company by it’s unmentionables and throwing it off a cliff.

I would be fearful of revealing my company too under such circumstances, you’d likely find it being sold short.

CMaz's avatar

“Also astounded at the degree of vitriolic emotion the question elicited.”
“very very good answer. Probably the best of the bunch.”

So were you asking for a predetermined answer? Something to confirm what you were thinking of?
Work on those Management skills.

Ambushing an employee to take a “test” and not letting them know when you hired them that these type of things are to be expected.
Like drug tests, can back fire on you. You do not want the EEOC crawling up your butt.

So take the good advice and toss the bad. But taking it all personal is not good Management.

Are you NOW getting answers more to your liking?
But good question anyway.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Vunessuh & @gorillapaws & @ChazMaz

‘Zackly so. The original question, prior to all of the backing and filling that occurred during the course of responses and counters was pretty much how I (and several others as well) laid it out in early responses:
1. The test was not a condition of employment.
2. She was “offered” the test as a choice, which she declined. This is the essence of offering a choice, after all.
3. She performs “adequately but not sparkling” at her job and works part-time.

In the original question we gain insight into the employer’s feeling about this test as some kind of magic, because it “helps put everyone in the right job, the one they are best at and will enjoy the most”.

The statement is made that the employer “would not fire her for refusing to take the test”, but he’ll have no problem coming up with other pretexts.

Apparently the question is a lie. Because he surely does want to fire her for refusing to take the magic test; he just doesn’t want to admit “that’s the reason”.

In a 3-person office, how much leeway is there to place her in “some other job to which she’s better suited” if the test says, for example, that she should be a scientist, a janitor, a stripper, a computer programmer, an X-ray technician, a rocket scientist… or the manager of a 3-person office?

We’re talking about a part-time casual employee in a 3-person office (whose manager couldn’t get his head out of his ass long enough to think to give her the holy magic test). There aren’t a lot of options here. (And how qualified is he to be where he is, and why didn’t the test say anything about his lack of capability to manage two people, one of them part time?)

I’m still trying to be rational, but somewhat passionately rational. I guess I have a reputation to consider…

Fire the girl. It will be a blessing to her, even if she doesn’t realize it for some time.

plethora's avatar

Like I said…very few of the answers addressed the question. Some did. Most were emotional and vindictive (the moderater had to step in and warn you off personal attacks) and second guessing both my intentions and the validity of the test, neither of which were at issue. My intentions were honorable. I explained the why of test and the test itself could have been tic tac toe. It didnt matter. Check out @wundayatta response just above. That was the best one and a few others were good too. This is my last post on it.

judochop's avatar

@plethora
The root of the problem is not your employee it is you and until you can learn within yourself to release this bit of ego that you have with being the boss then you will continue to fight with your bad decisions. Thus far in your thread the only thing I question is your cognitive process and ability to decipher what you should do with someone whom you have let down.
This problem was answered towards the start of your thread when @jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities quoted the body of your thread back to you and questioned it, which you never answered.
You said “And I would not fire her for refusing to take the test. But I would have no problem finding a reason.”
I agree that some of these replies sound aimed at your character and that most sound angry with you and your inability to smooth corners. This should tell you something about your management skills. Perhaps you are an amazing manager and this question has just gotten a little out of hand? I think that if you were able to tell more about your company and the type of business that you do then the community would have been able to come together with something suited more towards what you wanted to hear but until you can do that all that we can do is speculate and I speculating that this problem (and I’ve said it a few threads up) lies with you, not the employee. Honestly my friend I think you may need some help with your skills.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@plethora yeah, once it was made clear that you wanted a pretext for firing an “adequate” employee because she made a choice you didn’t like when you fraudulently “offered her a choice”, we apparently also failed to comply or measure up.

It’s like bringing in lunch for the office and asking, “Would you like the roast beef or the turkey sandwich?” And when she picks the roast beef you decide to fire her because… oh, let’s see… she wasn’t polite to a customer, and she dressed inappropriately and she didn’t sparkle. Oh, and I want the roast beef sandwich for myself. Make a better choice next time and get a better result. (Except in this case her choice of “no sandwich for me, please” doesn’t even deny you the sandwich you want.)

What a piece of work.

Vunessuh's avatar

@plethora We did address the question.
Question: “Should I fire this person?”

Answers taken randomly:
1) I wouldn’t.
2) Firing her would be a pretty dick move.
3) Nothing in your description gives any justified reason for why you should fire her.
4) You have no reason to fire her.
5) Ultimately, you can do whatever you want but it’s your own fault. Why should she have to pay the price?
6) No, you should not fire this person.
7) I don’t think you should fire her if she is adequate. If you had no intention to fire her before she refused the test, then you shouldn’t fire her after.
8) If she has no legal obligation to take your test, you have to legal basis to fire her for declining to take it.

What part of do not fire her don’t you fathom?
We answered the question. You didn’t like our answers. So you say we acted off of our emotions and jumped to conclusions. You obviously don’t know how to take responsibility for your own actions. Or you didn’t ace reading in school.
Your ego is so fucking big it’s smothering us. There’s no room for anyone else. You just dismiss what you don’t want to hear even if it answered your initial question. In denial much?

gorillapaws's avatar

@CyanoticWasp ”...why didn’t the test say anything about his lack of capability to manage two people, one of them part time?”

This made my day. So damn funny.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

LOL @Vunessuh… I even told him—twice!—that he should fire her, but at least be honest about it. I think he appreciated that advice least of all.

All he really wanted was a better pretext, so that he wouldn’t have to admit that:
1. He erred in not giving her the test prior to hiring her.
2. He erred again in offering her a choice of whether or not to take it after hiring.
3. He can’t manage her performance (or even make up his mind whether it’s adequate or overtly poor).
4. He can’t notice the “working style” or attributes of one of two people working for him without the magic test results.
5. He places far too much reliance on the magic test in the first place.

And he can’t bring himself to be honest: “Look, I should have given you this test at the interview, and I fucked up and forgot. But after I hired you I still should have insisted that you take the test, but instead I offered it to you, hoping that you would accede to what should have been my obvious desire for you to take it, and you either failed to read my mind OR failed to comply. And now I’m deciding that I don’t really like you after all—after three months of part-time work in my office with one other person. But I don’t want to say that the reason I’m letting you go is because of my string of fuckups so… give me a couple of days to gin up something on the Internet, okay?”

Thanks @gorillapaws. This whole thread has made my entire week.

CMaz's avatar

“One of the most informative posts yet.”

- The New York Times

Vunessuh's avatar

@CyanoticWasp At the last minute I changed my mind as well and told him to fire her, but not on the grounds that she is inadequate. That poor thing deserves to be put out of her misery. I wish I could give her a hug right now. I think she really needs one.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Vunessuh what she really needs is a job. You give her a job and I’ll give her a hug, okay?

Vunessuh's avatar

@CyanoticWasp Yes, she needs a job and a hug. Jesus, don’t we all… lawls.

CMaz's avatar

I could use a hug.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@ChazMaz you gave me such a laugh there… no hugs, dude, but I gave you lurve.

Vunessuh's avatar

@ChazMaz (Hugs) Feel better now?

ucme's avatar

Let’s go for the big 200. Just to make the question even more memorable.Not far to go, who’s next?.....

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Well, I could use a hug, too. If I ask for a hug and you refuse to hug me can I fire you and make it not look like hug harassment?

Vunessuh's avatar

If I hug you and you don’t give me a job, can I sue you for stealing a hug?
Or what if I give you a test on how good the hug was?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Re: the test
No, thanks. I’ll just do my normal adequate job. Three days a week or so.

Vunessuh's avatar

Well, then I may have to fire you for refusing to take a test that I forgot to issue initially. This cuts off your supply of hugs as well.
It’s a tough decision though because I love staring at your tits.

CMaz's avatar

See how good Management works.

What a simple hug can do to motivate. I’m motivated! TY all. :-)

And, @CyanoticWasp back at ya. :-)

MissAusten's avatar

I was going to get a job when my youngest kid starts school next year, but now I’m afraid I’ll have to hug people and take tests. Also, my boobs aren’t all that big. :(

Vunessuh's avatar

@MissAusten lulz. Aw, no worries. I’d hire you. And I wouldn’t stare at your tits. I’d just stare at your ass all day.

CMaz's avatar

@MissAusten – It is the butterfly on your nose I am concerned about.

And, ya only need a handful.

phil196662's avatar

Give the part time person some more responsibility, monitor her performance in detail and be specific so she gets better than adequate. See where this goes because there could be something hidden that she has not revealed- like the ultimate employee!

aprilsimnel's avatar

I don’t get it. If she’s not doing the job to your satisfaction after numerous attempts to rectify that, then you don’t need any pretext, much less a refusal to take a test, as a basis for dismissing her.

Call her in, tell her your don’t think it’s working out and that you’re sorry, but based on her performance, you’re letting her go.

Dog's avatar

~Of course you could always just show her this question.

escapedone7's avatar

Employment-at-will is legal as @wandayatta described. However most places don’t fire on the spot, trust me I have been fired a lot. The reason most professional businesses do the whole process of giving evauations, write ups and warnings, is then if the person claims they were fired for their race, religion, or other reason and litigates, then the write ups in their file prove exactly where they were deficient, exactly how many warnings they got, exactly how they were given an opportunity to rectify the situation and still failed. This is the company’s defense that the termination was warranted. The write-ups and documentation are legal defense if she claims she was unfairly terminated, as well as a good record to keep for other reasons.

Also as I mentioned, sometimes the assessments and feedback WORKS. Sometimes the employee gets the feedback about what they are doing wrong and listens. They realize they are ‘in trouble’ for it, and work really hard to improve. If you were managing a lot of employees you would most likely find it easier to rectify a problem this way than to go through interviewing, hiring, and training a new person.

In MOST jobs I’ve had, assessments, evaluations, warnings, and write ups preceded the firing. I was usually given more than a verbal warning but called in for a little meeting where it was clear something was being put in my file. I was given clear feedback and a chance to make it right. If I chose not to comply, I knew what was coming. This seems like the moral, fair, and smart way to handle things and also seems to be protocol and normal procedure for larger companies.

Of course you have to comply when a boss asks you to do things. When you don’t, it’s called “insubordination.” I wish I could change my name to that. It’s such a beautiful word.

…. Who wants to fire me next?

FutureMemory's avatar

What’s all this about hugging and breast size…?

Vunessuh's avatar

We like to hug each other’s boobies. (.Y.)

FutureMemory's avatar

Comment resisted by author.

Vunessuh's avatar

It’s okay. You can hug my boobs. I’ll just give you a test about them after. You better say the right things.

manolla's avatar

Just came across this thread and it was fun, I was smiling all the way to the end :)

FutureMemory's avatar

Oh god…this one was interesting.

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