How do you handle unethical behaviour of your employee?
Hello everyone, I am an entrepreneur and my company is performing well. However, I am facing a challenge with unethical behavior from some of my employees. Specifically, two of my employees consistently fail to submit work on time and frequently request additional leave time. I am unsure how to address this situation, as I do not wish to terminate their employment. My goal is to ensure that all employees comply with company policies and expectations for performance. Any suggestion what to do?
If my ethics were being judged in terms of a work schedule and requests for leave, I would have made a bolt for the door long before I was terminated.
Ian, would you be able to tolerate employees who take leave without informing you? Additionally, would you be willing to accept work that is submitted past the provided deadline? Communication and meeting deadlines are important aspects of workplace ethics, and both employees and employers have a responsibility to uphold them. Similarly, meeting deadlines is a crucial aspect of any job, and it is important for employees to deliver their work on time. Submitting work after the provided deadline can cause delays in project completion and create unnecessary stress for everyone involved.
Ian, would you be able to tolerate employees who take leave without informing you?
Once employees have made their commitments to a Product Goal, Sprint Goal, and Definition of Done, wouldn't your expectation be that they self-manage their time to achieve them?
Additionally, would you be willing to accept work that is submitted past the provided deadline?
Once Developers say work is Done, wouldn't you want it put into use?
Communication and meeting deadlines are important aspects of workplace ethics, and both employees and employers have a responsibility to uphold them. Similarly, meeting deadlines is a crucial aspect of any job, and it is important for employees to deliver their work on time.
I'd suggest that, in Scrum, "communication" and "deadlines" might not mean quite what you think they mean.
Submitting work after the provided deadline can cause delays in project completion
Don't worry. The most important "project" is the Sprint. It will end when the time-box for it ends. It will not be delayed.
and create unnecessary stress for everyone involved.
I don't doubt that there is great stress upon everyone in the situation you are describing. My advice is to rethink what might be causing it.
The original post says nothing about Scrum or agile for that matter. There is no indication what kind of work the people are doing. Personally, I'm wondering why this was posted in the scrum.org forums. But, I'm always willing to share an opinion.
Personally, I agree with @Ian's responses. It seems that you are fostering a negative, possibly even a hostile, environment that I would not want to part of. As for a Scrum related answer, again @Ian has given you a very good one. If you want a second opinion along those lines, reply back and I'll give you my own. However, as I said in the first paragraph of my response, I'm not sure that is what you are looking for.
As an entrepreneur, I assume that you have some experience in building an organization. I also assume that you are familiar with the type of people that work at startup companies. I would suggest that you talk to the individuals 1:1 and try to find out why they feel this behavior is acceptable. You need to leave your preconceived ideas out of these discussions unless you want to create a micromanaging, command/control environment. Until you know the specifics around it, don't make a decision. For example, I worked with a person that would frequently leave unexpectedly and without notice to anyone. After discussing the issue with them, I found that they had children in school. One of them had a learning disability and would frequently become violent. The school would call the parents when it happened as they were able to calm the child down. The parents had an agreement that they would take turns being the "on call" person and would drop everything to go to the school. This had been discussed and approved by the HR group but because of the sensitive nature, it was not conveyed out to others.
In your case, you may not have an HR department but as the owner, it would be in your best interest to talk to the individuals and see if you can come to an agreement.
My post is not about Scrum, it's a general one. I didn't intend to be seen as negative towards my employees. If you read the articles I shared, you'll see what I mean. I came here for advice and suggestions, and I've never mistreated my employees, but it's time to have a conversation with them.
I hope my message is clear and understandable, and I respect the responses of Ian and Daniel. Thank you for your input.
I am not sure what this has to do with a Scum-Agile?
"My goal is to ensure that all employees comply with company policies and expectations for performance" is as much against al existing concepts of Agile and Scrum self managing teams as it can be...
"Any suggestion what to do?"
Hire the Agile coach to teach both management and employees the Agile and Scrum and try using methodology in your company.
While this post is not about Scrum, you joined us here in the Scrum forum and perhaps we can still leverage some Scrum theory to help the conversation along. Empiricism is at the core of Scrum which involves Transparency, Inspection and Adaptation.
Focusing on Transparency first...
Have company policies and performance expectations been made transparent? Not just made visible, but understood by those in the company?
Are team working agreements in place? Were these created by and agreed to by team members?
Inspection and Adaptation...
Is there an opportunity to inspect existing policies and agreements with the team and see if adaptations need to be made? As Ian mentions above, inspection may reveal that team members have other issues in their life that they are balancing. Bringing transparency to this, may result in the team self-organizing around how to accommodate or address (as an example).
Scrum Values could also be useful for you and the team. They are Focus, Openness, Respect, Courage and Commitment and living these values can support trust within the team. These values could help support conversations you have with the team and it is worth learning more about what each means.
@Donald : I do feel for you and get your problem.
Fellow Scrum practitioners:
Taking queue from the original post, what are some of the ways to tackle if any member is not following the team working agreement?
Especially, what can a scrum master do to alleviate any kind of behavioral issues within the team?
From personal experience
EVERY scrum master encounters the bad behavior of scrum team member while serving(not managing) scrum team.
After all it's a human nature to do bad things once in a while.
Main thing to remember is that Scrum master is NOT managing the team, scrum master is managing FRAMEWORK
So you should react on any misbehavior just as if your would react on misbehavior of the friend or partner in the social club. Point it out, but don't try to punish, change or in anyway force this person to change his attitude, because you have no power to do so.
If after your plea, and after your attempts to explain the person that he does wrong, misbehavior continues, do exactly as you would do if you would encounter the misbehaving person, who is NOT dependent on yourself in any social group. In the park, in the restaurant, in the sports game.
If misbehaving person makes enough trouble to to harm you, then make sure not to be around such person. In the Scrum environment it can mean either removing troublemaker from the team, or removing yourself from it.
Since Scrum master, and even PO has no power to fire people, this situation should be brought to stakeholders, and also rest of the team should be involved.
However if troublemaker does not do actual harm, even though his attitude is rule breaking and irritating... Best way would be to simply ignore and tolerate, as long as troublemakers actual work keeps adding value to the product.
Adjust, adapt, and learn working side to side AS LONG AS IT IS BENEFITIAL.
And if it does not, then disregard if person is a troublemaker or not, the issue should be addressed. First at retrospectives, then with PO and stakeholders...
Wonderful explanation, Nicholas.
Best way would be to simply ignore and tolerate, as long as troublemakers actual work keeps adding value to the product.
However in my experience, I have found that the quoted approach risks a wrong behavior being perceived as acceptable and may have long terms negative impact on the team.
In my opinion, if an action/practice falls outside the agreement , it should either be not followed by anyone, OR everyone should have ability to practice it by including it into the agreement.
I totally agree that a scrum master does not manage anyone and can't fire anyone. But I feel in order to foster an environment where scrum can be practiced, a scrum master should and must act fast if he/she finds a pattern of unacceptable behaviour in the team. This can be done by making the behavior transparent to the scrum team , stakeholders, and manager of the "bad fish of the pond", if I may.
Problem with your vision is what is actually unacceptable", and who is setting standard for "unacceptable"?
Is someone breaking the law? Its a matter for police to remove this person from the environment
Is someone breaking the scrum ceremonies, does not follow through the process like not attending the daily scrum or retro?
Evaluate this person value to actual product development together with a team and ask the team to decide upon course of action. May be its better (i.e. more profitable)way to ask the team to adapt to the troublemaker, may be its more beneficial to ignore the troublemaker. Then of course PO can inform the HR of the organization that certain person is not factually part of the Scrum team, so people who sponsor the Scrum consider it at paycheck and work contract
Or could be the "unacceptable" is happening outside the Scrum, not affecting the teams performance, and without breaking any laws? Like breaking company dress code or other rules?
Why not to consider changing the rules then, and making "unacceptable" actually acceptable?
After all the core idea of Scrum and Agile in whole is adapting and communication between individuals.
Problem with your vision is what is actually unacceptable", and who is setting standard for "unacceptable"?
@Nicholas : That's not my vision, but the very definition of team working agreement. I'm sure you might know that the working agreement is the set of acceptable and unacceptable practices decided by a particular scrum team for themselves . And IF a scrum team is part of a bigger organization, the policies of the company or its HR automatically become a part of the agreement. A team can't be a maverick here. :)
Additionally, the working agreement too, like any other facets in scrum, gets inspected and adapted as the situation demands and as the team decides. Hence I said this in my previous post,
OR everyone should have ability to practice it by including it into the agreement.
The rule is simple : it's either all or none. And I don't believe that an individual's value "allows" someone to behave differently from the rest of the team.
Hence, in my interpretation of the guide, I don't think "tolerating" anything outside the agreement complies to the framework.
Lastly, out of curiosity, what does "ignoring the troublemaker" mean ? It's a very vague statement. Isn't it?
What does the team do when they ignore the troublemaker? They don't talk to the him/her? The scrum master or the PO doesn't hear what the troublemaker is saying and they simply turn their back or don't look at him/her? The team simply doesn't consider his deliverables?
I'm sorry , but I really want to understand your perspective, as I believe there might be some actionable insights.
"ecided by a particular scrum team for themselves . And IF a scrum team is part of a bigger organization, the policies of the company or its HR automatically become a part of the agreement."
That's a core of the problem in fact
I am preparing a short article on the issue, with a solution, so stay tuned
Could it be a good idea to discuss the observations with those two individuals?