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My New Boss Changed My Targets: A Case Study

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 4 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Boss New Company Targets Recruitment

All new bosses want to make their mark. That’s why a new boss will always make changes when they join a new company – whether it’s as innocuous as changing the desks around or as serious as a major cull of staff, there’s no doubt that getting a new boss can be unsettling.

Without wishing to play amateur psychologist, this is often because the new boss wants to show that they mean business and that they ‘have the power’ to make changes, meaning that they can keep their new team in check. The knock-on effect of this is often a few noses put out of joint – even moving desks around can cause havoc when people have got used to it and don’t like their working environment being interfered with, let alone the major changes that can happen.

Keeping Positive

Unfortunately for Catherine Merry, a 28-year-old recruitment consultant from Manchester, the changes her new boss brought in were of the more dramatic kind. She told us, “I work in retail recruitment in the centre of Manchester and, since the start of the recession, we’d been noticing a slowdown of placements and new clients. As I run the temps desk, I was still getting quite a lot of work in. It seemed to affect the permanent team more, as clients didn’t want to commit to hiring full-time staff when they were unsure of how the next few months were going to pan out.”

Before the recession had made an impact on the recruitment industry, Catherine’s previous boss had agreed her annual and six month targets at her previous review, which were more suited to the positive retail climate that preceded the recession.

Catherine continued, “I was happy to have high targets because it meant that I would be getting excellent commission! Also, our company really made a big fuss when you hit your targets, with extra treats like a day at a health spa or at a racing track, which was a great motivation.”

New Targets

The problem came when Catherine’s boss left and was replaced by a new boss with very different ideas. As the Recession Was Really Starting To Bite, the company was keen to stay in profit without having to make any redundancies, but it was clear that there were going to be some real changes when Catherine was called into a meeting with her new boss.

She told us, “The new boss had been brought in from a construction recruitment background and, although she had excellent experience, it was nothing to do with retail. She didn’t really understand the nature of retail and how I had built up my customer base, she was just focused on high-turnover of temps and financial results. This is, of course, why the company wanted to employ her, but we really didn’t see eye to eye. She decided that because my desk was the busiest, my targets were too low, so she reset them up 20%, which really annoyed me because I was already three months through and had managed to stay positive.”

Trying to be Proactive

Catherine asked to speak to her new boss to explain that she was finding the new targets both impossible and demotivating. She was frustrated to be told that because of the economic situation, there was lots of changes being made and she just had to do the best she could and get through it. This was not a satisfactory answer but Catherine felt as though she had no choice but to deal with it because there were not many other opportunities available.

Catherine concluded, “To be honest, I know that as soon as I find a better job, I will hand in my notice because I feel so disillusioned with my job. I know it’s a difficult economic time, but I think that I should have been supported rather than singled out. I will be pleased to leave as soon as possible and I can bring my commission to another company instead!”

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