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De-merit based selection – who put the V in VR?

By 10 April 2009 31

A friend of mine is seeking a Voluntary Redundancy (VR). 

He has worked hard for several government departments for around 30 years and is prepared to make way for other staff who want to continue on in the public service. 

On putting his hand up, however, he has been told that he won’t be getting a VR.  This is despite other people who do not want to leave and – importantly – who have not been counselled for under-performance being offered one.  

So, on the face of it, there are people who do not want to leave and who are performing at an appropriate level of capability being offered VRs which they do not want while people who do want to leave are being told that a VR is not an option for them. 

Doesn’t sound like a fair and equitable process to me. 

Surprising? No.  Disappointing?  Yet again, yes.

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31 Responses to De-merit based selection – who put the V in VR?
#1
mred12:32 pm, 10 Apr 09

Surprising? No. Disappointing? Maybe for people who want to cash in on a redundancy, but why would an employer pay to get rid of a good employee when they could pay to get rid of a bad one.

#2
neanderthalsis1:07 pm, 10 Apr 09

Maybe it’s a money saving ploy. Why pay someone to leave when they will soon be on their way anyway.

#3
weeziepops1:15 pm, 10 Apr 09

It indicates to me that the service is gutless when it comes to performance management and so the staff who aren’t operating effectively get the option of a reward (in this case, a VR) whereas others are told they can’t have one – even when the length of service (and therefore cost) is similar. Golden handshakes should not be used to shift dead wood.

#4
SkipDaRoo1:42 pm, 10 Apr 09

Your friend has been identified as under performing and he wants a golden payday?
This may sound harsh to you, but that is not something to be proud of, he should be fired instead of paid out a rather sizeable amount of money.

Lets not reward incompetence.

#5
jessieduck1:46 pm, 10 Apr 09

SkipDaRoo said :

Your friend has been identified as under performing and he wants a golden payday?
This may sound harsh to you, but that is not something to be proud of, he should be fired instead of paid out a rather sizeable amount of money.

Lets not reward incompetence.

I don’t think she was saying that her friend was under performing- just that people who either want a vr OR people that are under performing should go ahead of people who don’t want to go and are doing a good job…

#6
weeziepops1:47 pm, 10 Apr 09

No – the point is that he is not getting a VR because he IS performing. They are using the VR process to instead get rid of under-performers rather than deal with the under-performance!

#7
jessieduck1:47 pm, 10 Apr 09

* weeziepops may or may not be female- not sure why I said she.

#8
s-s-a2:01 pm, 10 Apr 09

The same year as I asked for (and received) a VR, a colleague of mine was told “you’re not the kind of person we’d want to lose”. I don’t care AT ALL that nobody ever said that to me – at the time $$$ was more valuable than any amount of flattery. My colleague just ended up quitting.

Of course, that year there were also a whole bunch of people exiting the department clutching their VRs who were within a bee’s d*ck of retirement anyway. Explain to me how THAT makes sense?

#9
phototext3:13 pm, 10 Apr 09

I’ve read the original post a few times and cannot work out how SkipDaRoo came to the conclusion the person being discussed was incompetent.

Weird.

#10
emd3:28 pm, 10 Apr 09

People are not made redundant. Positions are made redundant.
So if you want a VR and your position is not redundant (ie if you quit, the organisation would have to hire someone else to do your job), then you need to swap with someone else whose position is no longer needed in the department. Which means the person you swap with needs to be capable of doing your job so they can swap with you.

Another problem is that, in some departments anyway, the cost of the VR package comes out of the losing section’s cost centre. This means the losing section will be happier to allow their no-longer-needed VR-eligible staff to swap with someone who has been employed for a shorter time than the person who owns the position.

So your friend needs to find someone who has been employed for more than 30 years, and would be happy to do your friend’s job, AND is eligible for a VR. Good luck with that.

#11
Woody Mann-Caruso3:38 pm, 10 Apr 09

cannot work out how SkipDaRoo came to the conclusion the person being discussed was incompetent.

It’s this phrase here:

“This is despite other people who do not want to leave and – importantly – who have not been counselled for under-performance being offered one.”

This could be interpreted as a statement that the friend does want to leave and is being counseled. I think what weezie meant, though, was that “you’re a good employee, we can’t lose you” isn’t a valid argument because other people good performers are getting handshakes.

Anyways, as emd said, you package out people because their position is redundant and because redeployment isn’t feasible, not because you do or don’t like a person. It doesn’t have anything to do with dead wood or performance. It’s not a reward or a punishment. The ‘voluntary’ bit refers to ‘jump now on good terms, or be pushed later on bad terms’.

#12
weeziepops3:44 pm, 10 Apr 09

Just to be sure that my point is clear… I understand the theoretical VR process, redundant positions and so forth. I am saying that, in my opinion, this set of parameters is not being applied fairly and consistently in the public service.

#13
vg4:08 pm, 10 Apr 09

A 30 year vet of the PS may cost the organisation a lot more in VR than a 1 year person. Purely financial decision. Makes perfect sense to me

#14
sepi5:01 pm, 10 Apr 09

Yep. A VR for someone with 30 years service would cost a motza, and why would the organisation want to do this, when the person will clearly retire in the near future.

It may not seem fair, but it makes business sense.

VRs in fact are often used to get rid of dead wood, and why not? People who underperform, but not badly enough to get the sack can be got rid of via a VR.

#15
I-filed5:16 pm, 10 Apr 09

weeziepops said :

No – the point is that he is not getting a VR because he IS performing. They are using the VR process to instead get rid of under-performers rather than deal with the under-performance!

But that’s the whole idea! Why would they get rid of a good employee, and cost the taxpayer to train up a replacement? Sounds like a bizarre attitude to me. Why doesn’t your friend just leave? Why should the taxpayer fund early retirement? Out in the real world, VR is used to assist companies under stress to restructure. It isn’t a “lifestyle option of choice”.

#16
vg5:30 pm, 10 Apr 09

Call me crazy, but offering under-performers a VR IS a way of dealing with under-performance.

So is sacking people when the performance is bad enough.

Every department that offers VRs always gets more applicants than VRs available. Do you think he’s the only person who missed out. In a roundabout way its a pat on the back if you want to look at it from another perspective

This thread is a non-issue

#17
zig6:11 pm, 10 Apr 09

Sounds like he is due to retire anyhow. This mentality of getting a payout upon leaving an employer is so greedy and needs to stop.

#18
Woody Mann-Caruso6:43 pm, 10 Apr 09

this set of parameters is not being applied fairly and consistently in the public service.

Yeah, because your friend is the whole APS. Here’s your Oscar for Best Drama Queen In A Supporting Role.

#19
vg6:51 pm, 10 Apr 09

My job is technically public service. I think I am worth a million quid. I don’t get paid that much. Should I get a workmate to start a thread saying how unfair it is?

#20
sepi7:10 pm, 10 Apr 09

I’m quite keen for a VR – I wonder what i should start doing at work to enciourage them to give me one?

#21
vg7:15 pm, 10 Apr 09

Apparently getting someone to whinge for you after you miss out isn’t the best idea.

I can give you some tips on how to get an involuntary one though

#22
weeziepops8:18 pm, 10 Apr 09

Last on first off then?

Sepi – I suggested my friend try workplace nudity. As this person deals direct with the public, I think this is likely to get attention.

#23
sepi8:48 pm, 10 Apr 09

The trick is trying to pick the line between sackable behaviour, and just annoying enough to get a VR.

#24
vg8:59 pm, 10 Apr 09

Workplace nudity should be a good one. The boss will be too scared to sack lest someone claim it was a stress related thing or psychological issue, and a VR would remove the problem nicely.

Good lateral thinking

#25
s-s-a9:00 pm, 10 Apr 09

you package out people because their position is redundant and because redeployment isn’t feasible

Oh yes on paper that is supposed to be how it works, but it definitely doesn’t in practice.

#26
vg9:02 pm, 10 Apr 09

I thought the general idea was to package out f*ckwits

#27
ant10:04 pm, 10 Apr 09

It’s been said above, but there’s two likely factors there. The higher expense of paying out to a person with a long time in the service, plus in order to be redundant, they have to lose the FTE position, too. If that position can’t be shed, then they can’t give the occupant a VR. In those cases, they sometimes try to arrange VR swaps, but they’re a bit more complicated to pull off.

#28
josh10:18 pm, 10 Apr 09

Do Canberrans/public servants not understand the notion of quitting jobs? You know, four weeks notice and all that. There’s a big difference between being made redundant (and volunteering to accept) and opting to leave.

If you want to leave, quit. Simple. Don’t whinge that someone isn’t paying you to do so.

If the Public Service weren’t so gutless and politically correct, none of this would be an issue as people would get “fired” for under performing (crazy, I know)

#29
vg10:48 pm, 10 Apr 09

As opposed to private industry, where the CEOs of large private firms get massive bonuses for taking their company to the brink of financial extinction.

Do you know the what the financial ramifications of being made redundant in the PS are? Quitting you get nothing, made redundant is a different story.

Its easy to quit working the checkout at Coles to move over to Woolies. Bit of a different story when your pulling close to 3 figures in the PS and there ain’t similiar incomes awaiting you if you leave

#30
Lenient8:45 am, 11 Apr 09

VR is about removing redundant positions. This is achieved by offering VRs to persons in those positions. If an occupant of a non-redundant position wants a VR in some case the organisation may allow a job swap with someone in a redundant position. VR is a tool for an organisation’s managament not a working condition.

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