Coping with HR Issues in a Time of Crisis

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

It’s been long overdue for us to hire a new associate to provide administrative-level responsibilities in our firm. Our office manager has been wearing too many hats and she was about to walk out with all of the additional work she had inherited, administrative in nature. We finally found a young man who is a great fit for our culture. We hired him from a job where he is doing well and put him in the role.

Not one week later, we are all working from home.

It is challenging – we are communicating with clients, getting reports updated, making portfolio changes and no one has the time or inclination to give this new hire the attention he needs (and deserves) to get up to speed. Worse, we are all remote so there isn’t someone physically to take him around our office and introduce him to the ways we work.

I feel responsible for taking him out of a successful career. I can’t fire him, but I’m paying him to essentially do nothing right now. My office manager is pulled in many different directions and she is the glue that holds us together. She knows how to manage the technology, the clients all know and trust her and she is the coordinator for our meetings. She has told me in no uncertain terms that she is not going to take on training this new person (she has three kids under six-years old at home with her full-time, so it is very hectic at her home).

What do I do? Am I being too soft to say I won’t lay off this person? Of course our revenues are likely to take a hit with the market movements, so I could justify it as an unnecessary expense. I am not usually an indecisive person, but everything about this current environment puts me on edge and I don’t trust my own judgments.