The receptionist at the company where I am executive assistant, although relatively friendly and engaging with co-workers, is rather cold and unprofessional on the phone. Instead of saying “May I ask you to hold while I transfer you?” she says either “Hold on a moment” or “Just a moment.”
I once said in a somewhat jovial manner: “You sure sound happy about answering the phone!” She jovially replied that I should go back to my desk and handle my job and let her handle hers. I'm not her supervisor, although typically, I should/would be. Instead, HR supervises her.
The HR administrator and I have gotten into small, uncomfortable situations because the boss will tell me to handle something, and HR will have a cow thinking it’s their project or should be their responsibility.
That department shows a severe lack of respect for the boss’s wishes. The boss can ask for a roster of folks attending a seminar, and I can ask for it twice in the following three weeks and still, the day of the seminar, there is no roster. HR indicated that it was waiting on two VP’s. But, when VP’s were asked, they indicated that HR was handling it, not them.
HR has translated this sort of behavior to the receptionist, so that when I ask her, for instance, if someone shipped a personal expense on the company DHL account, I’m told: “Don’t worry about it; it’s not your department, and I’m not going to take it up with them.”
I signed off on a work order with the A/C maintenance company, and the repairs took a day longer than they promised and our server room temperatures rose dangerously high.
I talked to the manager at the A/C company and suggested in the future that he at least call to let us know that the repairs would be delayed. He then contacted the receptionist, who comes to me saying she didn’t know why I was going off on him when it wasn’t my place to worry about it, But I SIGNED OFF ON IT. It was my responsibility to see that it was done.
The general attitude from HR/the receptionist is “Stay out of it,” even though the boss has directed me specifically to take responsibility for such things. I happen to know that the receptionist is close to losing her job because of the way she handles the phone and also visitors, whom she handles in much the same manner.
I’m at a loss as to how to handle it. If I go to the boss, he’ll tell me to talk to HR and her and “get her straightened up or shipped out.” If I deal with HR, I'll get a tossed head and rolled eyes and a mutter about people staying out of HR’s business. The receptionist will get yelled at, but nothing will be accomplished because HR simply scolds and doesn’t deliver a change or even a direction to change. If I talk to the receptionist, she'll dismiss what I say and tell me to go back to my desk.
How do I handle these situations? I'm normally a people pleaser, but also am very disciplined in what I believe is expected from someone in a professional position ... especially one as high-profile as a receptionist (first impression of the company).
I can’t stand it when people don’t do their jobs right or take pride in even trying. Yet, I do like the receptionist and view her as a “work friend.” I beg for advice of you wise people! Thank you! -- Anonymous