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  • Any ideas on how to solve a staffing problem?

    I have a part-time dispensing assistant who is leaving our branch for pastures new which means I now have a vacancy looming from the first of September which includes a 4.5 hour shift on a Saturday morning. Whilst we're actively looking to fill this vacancy with a suitable applicant as soon as possible there's not been much interest. So I called a staff meeting today and suggested that each staff member does one Saturday morning shift each - with all the staff, including myself, this would give us 7 weeks cover - so that there's plenty of time to find someone new and also give them some extra support once we've found someone. The problem I have is that my two senior dispensers refused point blank and won't be shifted. Of course all the other staff now don't want to do any either! Am I being unreasonable to ask that they give up one morning - they both work mornings only anyway and I'd happily pay them overtime or let them have time in lieu.

    I was warned about these two members of staff by the area manager when I joined the company that they could be difficult and to be honest it's not the first time they've caused trouble. A lot of our locum pharmacists comment that they're difficult to work with and some have even refused bookings because of them. I don't know the ins and out of their contracts as they've been with the company 14 and 10 years respectively, so as much as I'd like to split them up during the working day I'm not sure it could be done about it. If they're not working together, they're much easier to work with in terms of how nice they are to other staff members and locums. Usually they're alright with me but I have been told that they tend moan about me when I'm not there - however, when I'm back they always moan how bad the locum was so I tend to take it with a pinch of salt.

    Sorry to ramble on but I've found it really hard going today as they're the only two who don't seem to want the shop to improve and for all the staff to work as a team. Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: Any ideas on how to solve a staffing problem?

    Whereabouts in Gloucester are you based? Are you in reasonable travelling distance of any of the central or western area S.of.Pharmacy?

    4.5 hours would be an ideal role for a student - get a bit of cash without having too much pressure on the workload. If so, try emailing all the heads of schools with the details - I know we get periodical emails of a similar nature and friends on the course have got work that way.
    wake up and smell the 1,3,7-trimethyl-1H-purine-2,6(3H,7H)-dione

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Any ideas on how to solve a staffing problem?

      aye - stick a quick advert up for a saturday job - they fill really quickly with students and sixth formers wanting some extra dosh! Start advertising BEFORE your leaver goes!

      In the short term - how difficult is it to run the branch without the dispenser on the saturday? Is there a counter assistant there too? Is it a quiet saturday - do you cover the saturdays - is it possible to run it solo for a few weeks?

      Are you part of a chain? Could you 'borrow' someone from another branch? Any relief floaters available?

      Worst case scenario - use their contracts against them!
      Ask your head office / human resource dept for copies of their contracts and go over them carefully with respect to the working hours, times and any clauses such as 'from time to time we may ask you to work a different shift pattern or alter your hours to fit in with the needs of the working environment' or words to that effect. Then ask them nicely again after referring to their contracts (preferably with the backing of your area manager - present with you if possible). If they still refuse without good reason then do em on a disciplinary. If they're the 'entrenched' kind they then will threaten to leave at the same time. Point out that although you value their contribution to the team greatly if they were to leave it would only have a very short-term impact on the branch and future employers may take a dim view of this on their references.

      Hopefully then they will back down and having realised they can't win the pissing competition they'll get on with what you need them to do.
      “It's not worth doing something unless you were doing something that someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren't doing.”

      Terry Pratchett

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      • #4
        Re: Any ideas on how to solve a staffing problem?

        Mighty fine post there, Sr. D....I fully agree.
        Don't Stop Believing

        http://youtube.com/watch?v=rnT7nYbCSvM

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        • #5
          Re: Any ideas on how to solve a staffing problem?

          Thanks for those ideas. We are already advertising in the shop window and I've also asked two or three of our other branches who are local to us if they'll display a vacancy notice too. I hadn't thought of contacting local schools/colleges so that might be worth a try to. We've already tried to see if we can temporarily borrow someone from another branch but there doesn't seem to be anyone available.

          I had thought about checking contracts etc but wasn't quite sure how much backing I'd get from the area manager if that makes sense - perfectly happy to work us all into the ground to get more MURs done etc but is very wishy washy when things like this come about.

          Having somebody for the Saturday is essential as we have no counter assisiant, just the dispenser and the pharmacist. All this was set up before I joined the company - personally I'd be quite happy if we employed two people, one just for Saturdays and then somebody in the week but it's not many hours for the week so might put people off. Saturdays are so quite it doesn't need to be a dispenser as such just someone who's capable of serving the customers.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Any ideas on how to solve a staffing problem?

            I have done many a Saturday with just a Saturday girl for company, often telling me that this was her first day.
            johnep

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            • #7
              Re: Any ideas on how to solve a staffing problem?

              sorry if i seemed a bit harsh on my eariler post - i just hate militant staff and went through a similar situation to you, imagine - for me, the militant ones buggered off (amazing how the script figures and atmosphere vastly improved afterwards!) and i ended up jiggling my own contract around so i could run the branch on the saturdays solo until i got a saturday person in (turned out to only be three weeks! The job centre can be handy sometimes, as long as they remember when you tell them the position is filled). Then i advertised two separate p/time jobs during the week covering the militants old hours. The new recruits turned out to be excellent, hardworking members of staff instead of lazy, militant buggers who think they're untouchable because they've been working there since year dot.

              But that's certainly not to say that all long-term dispensers are militant lazy buggers - some of the best i've worked with are really hardworking, have done their job for 10 years or more and most of them could easily sail through a pharmacy degree themselves...
              “It's not worth doing something unless you were doing something that someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren't doing.”

              Terry Pratchett

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Any ideas on how to solve a staffing problem?

                Originally posted by johnep View Post
                I have done many a Saturday with just a Saturday girl for company, often telling me that this was her first day.
                johnep

                I'm sure you have but I don't think that's fair on the pharmacist or the Saturday girl! It's not the work is difficult on a Saturday just I wouldn't want a locum or new member of staff to have to be hassled by customers because I haven't put the effort into ensuring theye've been trained up properly - or at least the staff member can try and point the locum in the right direction

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Any ideas on how to solve a staffing problem?

                  Originally posted by Sir_Dispensalot View Post
                  sorry if i seemed a bit harsh on my eariler post - i just hate militant staff and went through a similar situation to you, imagine - for me, the militant ones buggered off (amazing how the script figures and atmosphere vastly improved afterwards!) and i ended up jiggling my own contract around so i could run the branch on the saturdays solo until i got a saturday person in (turned out to only be three weeks! The job centre can be handy sometimes, as long as they remember when you tell them the position is filled). Then i advertised two separate p/time jobs during the week covering the militants old hours. The new recruits turned out to be excellent, hardworking members of staff instead of lazy, militant buggers who think they're untouchable because they've been working there since year dot.

                  But that's certainly not to say that all long-term dispensers are militant lazy buggers - some of the best i've worked with are really hardworking, have done their job for 10 years or more and most of them could easily sail through a pharmacy degree themselves...
                  You certainly didn't sound harsh - both the staff members are generally good, knowledgeable workers just they sometimes seem stuck in the dark ages They're good friends outside of work and for some reason it just seems that they seem to work better when they're not working together e.g. if one's on holiday, and it doesn't really matter which one is off they both seem to up their game when working without the other.

                  Thanks everyone for the comments though - yesterday was a bad day so thank you all for listening to my rant

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Any ideas on how to solve a staffing problem?

                    When I worked Saturday mornings we had a sucession of Saturday girls and boys who were
                    the offspring of other members of staff including myself as well as former work experience youngsters who all enjoyed the job. Two are now hospital senior techs.

                    I worked the Sat am myself while we owned that particular pharmacy, but now Boots have closed it on Sat mornings saying they couldn't get locum pharmacist cover. The long term locums they have employed to run it for the past five years all refuse pont blank to work on Saturday.
                    The spirit of the time hath taught me speed- Wm Shakespeare- "King John"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Any ideas on how to solve a staffing problem?

                      Unfortunately none of the staff have children of the age that would be looking for work, most of them all have kids that have already left home or like me, don't have any so that's not really an option at the moment.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Any ideas on how to solve a staffing problem?

                        how about asking a pharmacist who is willing to come in as a dispensing technician of that day, get paid dispensing tech hourly rate (can help to avoid high income tax band as well) and work as dispensing tech
                        i am telling you about pharmacy life in practice, together with my personal opinions i think might be better for pharmacy practices

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Any ideas on how to solve a staffing problem?

                          Originally posted by imaginegenerous View Post
                          I have a part-time dispensing assistant who is leaving our branch for pastures new which means I now have a vacancy looming from the first of September which includes a 4.5 hour shift on a Saturday morning. Whilst we're actively looking to fill this vacancy with a suitable applicant as soon as possible there's not been much interest. So I called a staff meeting today and suggested that each staff member does one Saturday morning shift each - with all the staff, including myself, this would give us 7 weeks cover - so that there's plenty of time to find someone new and also give them some extra support once we've found someone. The problem I have is that my two senior dispensers refused point blank and won't be shifted. Of course all the other staff now don't want to do any either! Am I being unreasonable to ask that they give up one morning - they both work mornings only anyway and I'd happily pay them overtime or let them have time in lieu.

                          I was warned about these two members of staff by the area manager when I joined the company that they could be difficult and to be honest it's not the first time they've caused trouble. A lot of our locum pharmacists comment that they're difficult to work with and some have even refused bookings because of them. I don't know the ins and out of their contracts as they've been with the company 14 and 10 years respectively, so as much as I'd like to split them up during the working day I'm not sure it could be done about it. If they're not working together, they're much easier to work with in terms of how nice they are to other staff members and locums. Usually they're alright with me but I have been told that they tend moan about me when I'm not there - however, when I'm back they always moan how bad the locum was so I tend to take it with a pinch of salt.

                          Sorry to ramble on but I've found it really hard going today as they're the only two who don't seem to want the shop to improve and for all the staff to work as a team. Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated.

                          i believe it's the head office duty to held interviews to employ a dispenser. in fact, the area manager was the one sorting all these kinda things.
                          cheers
                          [COLOR=Olive]xxxx They tried to break my back, but i survived. whatever doesn't kill you, will only makes you stronger xxxx
                          [/COLOR]

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Any ideas on how to solve a staffing problem?

                            Originally posted by howe928 View Post
                            how about asking a pharmacist who is willing to come in as a dispensing technician of that day, get paid dispensing tech hourly rate (can help to avoid high income tax band as well) and work as dispensing tech
                            are you serious?
                            [COLOR=Olive]xxxx They tried to break my back, but i survived. whatever doesn't kill you, will only makes you stronger xxxx
                            [/COLOR]

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Any ideas on how to solve a staffing problem?

                              I have sometimes arrived at a locum to find I am the second pharmacist to allow the manager to catch up on MURs etc. Very often, then 'phoned to go to another branch.
                              johnep

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