Gifted, but Difficult, Employees

In this edition, we offer tips on how to cope with talented, but obnoxious staff. Also, justifying overtime to HR.

May 7, 2004

2 Min Read
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Dear Tied:
Ah, yes, the Teflon employee, who can flout rules with impunity, usually because of top-notch skills or familial connections. I asked Gary Yeatts, who has 30 year's HR experience and is owner and life coach of Clarity Technologies, for his take on your problem. "Doing nothing is not an option," he says. "Your 'eccentric genius' is breaking company rules and affecting your team's productivity."

Take this as an opportunity to develop your leadership skills, Yeatts suggests. Let Ms. Teflon know that, while you appreciate her skills and talents, creating a supportive team environment is one of your top priorities. Give her an opportunity to voice any legitimate issues she has with co-workers, but make it clear that her expressions of disdain are counterproductive.

Also, you might want to ask HR if the company would spring for some team-building sessions.

Dear Career Coach
HR has announced plans to evaluate our IT department in light of some new government regulations regarding overtime. I have some key staffers who make a fair amount in overtime pay, and I don't have leeway to increase their salaries. I'm afraid I'll lose them if their OT is taken away.
We Want our OTDear OT
Workers who earn from $23,660 to $100,000 per year will continue to be subject to FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) guidelines, according to the latest government regulations. See details at

The FLSA rules exempt from overtime pay "computer systems analysts, computer programmers, software engineers and other similarly skilled workers in the computer field who meet certain tests regarding their job duties." An employee may be exempt, for example, if his or her "primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance." Think that sounds ambiguous? Many economists and labor attorneys agree.

Let HR and the IT director know about your concerns--employers have a lot of discretion here. And don't be too sure money won't be forthcoming: Technology salaries have recovered to the highest levels since 2000, according to the latest salary survey by Dice, an online technology recruiting firm (see "Game Plan" below).

Send your questions to [email protected]

Game Plan>

Who says you can't make a good living without going into management? Project managers earn an average annual salary of $88,300, systems developers make $83,200, software engineers make $81,400, and those with SAP and PeopleSoft skills earn $81,200 and $78,600, respectively, according to the 2003 Salary Survey Report by online technology recruiting firm Dice, which queried 21,000 high-tech professionals. Tech workers with Unix and C/C++ experience earn $75,200 and $72,400, respectively. See

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