IT junior assistance question

Posted on 2011-04-25
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I need an advice on how to act on the junior assistants.

I always need to pay a close attention to his emails and actions, he means well but he is missing the little details that clients are asking for.  I think that I am expecting too much from him and I need to take a step back and make sure I covered the basics with him before asking to jump deep.

Not a very technical question, but.. need ideas, thoughts...
Question by:Tiras25
    LVL 22

    Accepted Solution

    First of all, how junior is this junior assitant?  In other words, how much of an IT background does he have and how long has he been a junior assistant?

    Perhaps, you may need to take a slightly different approach from what you have been taking and, instead of paying "close attention to his emails and actions", sit down with him a few times and let him explain what he understands the client to be asking for and how he would provide that.  If he is missing details that the client is requesting, you will need to explain to him not only that he missed details but also  how you knew what those details were.  For instance, if he is reading the requiremens/emails to quickly and missing some of the lines that provide the details he is missing, then you need to point out to him where in the requirements/emails those details are.  Also, let him explain why he either didn't notice the details or why he didn't consider them to be important.

    This may take a bit of time.  It may also turn out that your junior assistant is simply not going to change with regard to missing details.  Whether he means well or not, if he is messing things up, then you will eventually have to decide between him and your clients . . . which do you need most?

    I know it sounds cold, but, after you have worked with him on getting all the details a few times, you will need to set some bench marks in writing as to what is acceptable performance and what is not.  Then, if he still is not performing according to those benchmarks, you will need to first counsel him in writing and then, if he still continues to not perform up to the bench marks, either transfer him or let him go.
    LVL 27

    Assisted Solution

    Very good advice above.

    About all i want to add is to work with him straight forward and honestly - discuss the problem and where he is lacking.  Also very important that you provide positive feedback for the things he got right.

    It is possible he just isn't experienced enough to look for the type of things you want.  Or he may be missing information that was provided.  Either way, just approach him honestly with a "here is what I need from you, here is where you haven't provided it, here is where you did what I want, now let's talk about what we need to do to improve upon the times you get it right."

    And don't forget to document, document, document for your own files.  If it turns out that he is just incapable and you have to let him go, you may well want the paper trail.  

    I've had both good supervisors and bad in the past.  I try to emulate the good ones.  Think of how some of your positive supervisors / mentors worked with you in the past and try to take the same approach.

    Best of luck.

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