Working with a quick tempered colleague - tips?

Hi Everyone


I work in a HR department where I look after new joiners' onboarding processes, I will also need to include them onto payroll for payroll team. In addition to these responsibilities, I support immigration areas( duties such as visa transactions, visa extensions, updating personal information), even associates' welfare such as COVID-19, basically everything falls under my and my colleagues( in the HR department's) shoulder, we have a few hundred associates to look after and because of the COVID19, there are immense remote right to work check( usually I am the only person who does it), it sounds simple however its time consuming. The reason I have included these details is because to let everyone knows how hectic and busy we can be, we also have to work with various projects such as so called account calls.


The company is running good and we have new opening positions (actually quite a lot), the new joiners are coming through this means HR works with the recruitment (TA) team to onboard new joiners, now, let me just explain, each new joiner would have at least 8 documents, and we have about 20 people go onboard, our system for documents is no way near automated so I have to manually track them and chase them and follow them up and put them into our internal folder, everything is manual makes part of my job time consuming and exhausting, not to mention tedious. And now, with the fact that everyone is working from home, makes it even more difficult to communicate and discuss issues, everyone is so busy it got to a point where people work their own ways. Now it comes with the issue, I have found myself constantly fighting with the recruitment manager because of several reasons: 1) i have to keep asking for the details i need for the payroll which him and his team member just don't follow up, his mood has been inconsistent and often quick-tempered due to stress( which i understand but i am not the person to let you vent out because i do not report to you), for several times i have tried to inform these to my managers however things had been fallen out of line and unable to connect with everyone, but they do know,  i also went on a training which is called ' working with difficult people' to improve the relationship with him. To make things worse, i do feel he appears to be patronising and very much a male dominant figure, unwilling to cooperate. I remained to be at a professional level however yesterday he called me to have a go and i eventually argued back, i thought it was extremely rude.


A lot of details i have not included because the message is rather long already, obviously i have to work with him in the long run, it will be awkward to ignore each other, since managers are no help, anyone is able to offer any tips and guidance? i find it extremely frustrating and i consider myself as a team player and an easy going person.


Thank you for reading and any responses would be greatly appreciated.

  • It seems to me that remote working has broken the communication lines - they need to be fixed, of course.

    On this particular issue, perhaps remind him that unless you get the payroll details in a timely manner, the employee will not get paid. You then need to have an open and honest conversation with the Recruitment Manager and discuss and agree your expectations from them and their expectations from you - and for both of you to understand the consequences if those expectations are not met. In reality a Service Level Agreement between the two of you.

  • Its not your problem Mingchun. Its his. And you could make it his problem. Why are you continually chasing him up for employee details?

    1. Ask him for the details once
    2. I assume the employee won't get paid.
    3. the employee will probably complain to you ??
    3. Tell the employee to contact payroll direct and politely give them their contact details.

    Perhaps I've simplified my approach and it may not work for you.
  • Agree with David - I imagine he will manage to get all kinds of paperwork to you when the employees he recruited haven’t been paid!

    As an aside, and perhaps for a less fraught time, is there any way to take a step back from the current process and look at which parts might be automated through onboarding software, or just made easier to administrate? It sounds like it’s having a major impact on your happiness in the role, even without a tricky colleague to deal with.
  • Unfortunately it sounds like one of those where until something does go wrong that gains notice (a new employee not getting paid), things won't change. Would it be possible to arrange a meeting between yourself, your line manager and the recruitment manager?

    You probably are already, but when chasing for details always include that without receiving X by X date, the employee will not be paid. If part of the missing details is right to work as well, the company is risking action from the Home Office in the event of an audit (although they have more pressing concerns at the moment of course!).

    I have worked with an employee that would often like to have an argument, when I was the chosen recipient I would be very passive and they soon stopped realising they weren't getting the reaction they wanted. Everyone is different of course.
  • I had one new starter who wasn't paid. He rang me and I referred him to his new line manager. It turned out he hadn't actually accepted the offer in any formal way, even though the correspondence asked for it, so therefore did not trigger the chain reaction for HR also his line manager didn't do his RTW and send to us on the first day. We actually had him down as a DNS (did not start)!. My stance was I can only process what I am aware of. This LM is a nasty piece of work, so I didn't get a call from him - i've told my boss if he is ever rude to me again, I'll put in a grievance. He has gone quiet. surprise surprise. I love a bully.
  • Hang in there! Its appalling there are TA teams/ individuals who are so unprofessional and uncooperative. I also have worked alongside in-house recruiters who believes their responsibility ends once an offer is made and the rest is managed by HR. Unfortunately there are TA/ Recruiters out there who thinks their role does not go beyond offer acceptance (one of their KPIs) and whatever happens during onboarding or after are none of their business. On a positive note, I have also seen TA team who do hold themselves accountable on a new hire's first 3-6 months, also ensuring hiring managers are happy with their new team members.

    In this situation, I agree with the suggestions made by fellow members could work. I would just be mindful to avoid results that may end up at the new hire's expense. Yes, you could emphasise and remind to the recruiter that you need him to collect xyz, otherwise the new hire will not be paid, so that it could look bad on him/ you/ the team. However, from what you described, he doesn't sound like someone who would take the fault or let's work together from the mistake. So, if I were you, I would approach this situation by tackling the process rather than the person.

    On the challenge of high volume of new hires and each with multiple documents, making it difficult to track and the opportunity to automate seems a long way to go. In the interim, you may want tweak the onboarding process whereby the new hire themselves are accountable. For example, create a checklist of the documents with timeline and ask them to check off and include each time they submit their onboarding docs. After all, new hires do want a smooth onboarding experience for themselves (especially getting payroll set up!) and to achieve that, they need to make the effort to give you what you need.

    Back to the 'person problem'. Displaying irate behaviours due to stress and taking it out on someone shall not be tolerated in any workplace. Speaking up is key which sounds like you already have raised a grievance to your manager. If you do feel your manager had not supported you through these incidents, you should check if your company offers compliance hotline or similar? Often people do not realise compliance also need to look after breach of company policies such as workplace bullying. I would also encourage you to document these unpleasant/ bullying incidents (time/ date/ people present/ communication mode/ summary of what it happened). Whether its compliance hotline or your manager's manager, I'm sure there will be a place for your escalate should you feel the need to, and documenting what/ when/ who/ how will be at your advantage.

    Good luck!

  • In reply to Robert James Munro:

    Thank you so much.
  • In reply to David Perry:

    Hi David. Thank you for the reply. I don’t think the new joiner should contact the payroll directly though. However TA team should step up more.
  • In reply to Maya:

    Thanks maya. I will need to speak with my manager regarding automating the process, they are all extremely busy I don’t think in the short run this will likely to be happening.
  • In reply to Mark:

    Thanks mark foe the tip! The right to work has been established a process but just not the on boarding process. The manager as I said she doesn’t not have much time to deal with us working in streamlining at the moment ,it’s kind of frustrating.
  • In reply to Jules:

    Thank you Jules. Also I think for me I will only initiate the on boarding process once I do receive the signed copies.
  • In reply to Kitty:

    Thank you kitty for you thorough responses , really helpful. Much appreciated. In terms of creating a checklist, the new joiners are always willing to do so. However one thing is annoying and ridiculous is that the new joiners do not even know what project they are being assigned when they join so Hr has to take a step up and ask which isn’t my job. Regarding the compliance hotline, may I ask what is this and how to obtain it?
  • Thank you all for your immense supports and tips! Feeling much better and stronger!