{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Hey 🐠, looking for some advice - what’s the best way to approach a conversation with a more junior team member about being out of office frequently? Since they were hired back in May they’ve taken off 1-2 days per week for various reasons (plus 1.5 weeks for vacation)… I understand that things come up, people get sick, etc. but it’s impacting delivery / I never know when they will ping in the morning and say that they won’t be in so I have to have someone else, or me, pick up the slack…", "post_id": "615efac20537080039680677", "reply_count": 10, "vote_count": 1, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d051", "bowl_name": "Consulting" }

Hey 🐠, looking for some advice - what’s the best way to approach a conversation with a more junior team member about being out of office frequently? Since they were hired back in May they’ve taken off 1-2 days per week for various reasons (plus 1.5 weeks for vacation)… I understand that things come up, people get sick, etc. but it’s impacting delivery / I never know when they will ping in the morning and say that they won’t be in so I have to have someone else, or me, pick up the slack…

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Up until the part about pinging you the morning of, I was leaning toward the, "It's their time off, deal with it," argument, but that only works with advanced notice. I understand that people have emergencies, but if they happen every week, a conversation needs to be had, feedback given, and behavior documented to track improvement. That's potentially below minimum standard.

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Speak to them honestly. Don’t look to chastise, instead try and understand. If they are sincerely going through some personal stuff, maybe it’s best they roll off and spend their time on the bench

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Have a conversation. Address several points clearly and distinctly: 1) If they are taking excessive time more than the company policy permits, then say so. But if they are within policy, then that’s on you for not planning enough buffer in your project to allow time off. You can’t say “too much” if they are in-policy. 2) If they are taking off without notice, then explain that going forward they need to provide advance notice and request time off so you can plan coverage. Offer up that if they have a medical need or personal life issue that necessitates frequent time away from work, perhaps an alternate working schedule can be arranged. 3) About the scheduled PTO, don’t bring it up. It was scheduled and approved. It doesn’t factor at all into the other issues. Again, that’s on you for not planning a buffer. It looks petty and retaliatory to conflate the frequent missed work issue with scheduled PTO. 3) If you have unlimited PTO then consult with your HR team first on how best to handle within your company policies. 4) Lastly, make sure you are clear about expectations of work deliverables and responsibilities. That is a distinctly different problem and PTO abuse shouldn’t be conflated with not delivering. You might find that this is really the conversation to be having, not the time off conversation. But keep them distinct.

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Do they have unlimited PTO? Or where do they charge their time when they are OOO

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Yeah, so tread lightly here on how you handle the specific messaging, and reach out for guidance from HR. If you “set expectations” on how much PTO is acceptable, then you’re acting beyond your authority and probably violating the policy. However, it is reasonable and probably expected to require advanced notification and approvals of PTO. Unlimited PTO doesn’t mean skipping work without notice. An important nuance that needs to be articulated as part of any PiP.

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This is really a conversation for their practice leader or counselor to have, rather than an engagement manager. Others may not be aware of HR accommodations/ agreements they have in place. Where I have had similar conversations, I have simply asked in open way if there’s anything going on that I could help with that might be impacting their ability to deliver on the project.

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Agree with EY might first ask their HR person if there was some agreed accommodation noted for them. If so then you frame the conversation as not meeting deliverables and might be time to roll off and find a project that can fit their schedule. But frankly missing this much time they would have to be on a part time agreement working 3-4 days a week and should have already been discussed when they got on the project. Given the above it sounds like either personal issues or straight PTO abuse. I’d have a discussion to understand what is going on (without asking for explicit details) that’s causing them to miss time. If they share its medical or family related then would move it to a discussion of deliverables and would discuss with HR about rolling off and potentially them needing to take a leave of absence. If there is no good excuse then I’d again hit on the deliverables not being met and let them know they need to give x notice going forward and needs to be approved (even unlimited has rules and PTO has to be approved). With no excuse id be documenting in their review and the next instance I’d escalate to HR for a PIP. Also unless that 1.5 week was approved prior to hire they would have had to get approval so id ask them to send that to you. Also if not on unlimited then they are likely in the red as they wouldn’t have that much vacation banked for all this PTO. In the instance of no good excuse id be documenting, putting in their review, working with HR to put on a PIP and rolling them off as soon as possible.

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