columnist Alison Green answers questions about workplace and management issues--everything from how to deal with a micromanaging boss to how to talk to someone on your team about body odor.

A reader asks:

I have a co-worker who was hired about a month and a half ago. She works very closely with me and I'm unofficially her supervisor--I have done almost 100 percent of her training, I'm responsible for reviewing her work, and it is expected that she come to me with questions before going to our boss. Our company has a 60-day acclimation period and I think she should be terminated at the end of her 60 days, if not before. I don't think she's a good fit for the position--she makes too many mistakes, she doesn't have strong enough skills, and she doesn't work fast enough. It has been frustrating to train her, and my work life has been pretty miserable since she started. This isn't my first time training someone in her position and I don't think it's my fault for improperly training her.

I've gone to my boss twice to talk about the problems I've had with her, and my boss has told me to be more understanding since she's still new and learning. I've documented everything that I can, but I'm worried that the next time I go to my boss, she'll just continue to tell me to be patient while my new co-worker is still learning. My boss seems to hate the hiring process and I don't think she sees my new co-worker as that big of a problem. What's the best way to convey that I strongly believe that she needs to go?

My boss is generally good at addressing problems, but there usually aren't big problems to address.

Green responds:

You should come right out and say it--not that you think she needs to be fired, since that's not really your call to make, but that you you're concerned she lacks the skills needed to succeed at the job, since you're the one working closely with her and training her.

I'd say this: "Now that I've been training Jane for X days and working closely with her during that time, I have some serious concerns about her skills. I of course understand that because she's new, it will take her time to learn how to do things correctly--but the problems I've seen go beyond being new and are about her fundamental skills and abilities. It's causing ongoing problems like X and Y, and I'm not seeing signs of improvement. Based on what I've seen, like [example] and [example], I don't think she has the skills to succeed in the job, and I don't think further training will solve that."

If she tells you again to be patient, you could say, "Normally that would make sense to me, but my concern is that she's not working out and we're nearing the end of her 60-day probation period. Would it make sense for you to do a more formal assessment with her before then?"

But from there, it's really up to your boss. You should keep her in the loop about any problems it's causing for you, certainly, and you can decline to pick up your new co-worker's slack so that your boss is forced to see the impact of keeping her on staff...but if your boss is one of the many, many managers who won't fire people when needed, there might not be more you can do beyond that, unfortunately.

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