View Full Version : Ideas on helping a coworker?

12-31-2009, 07:18 PM
I have a new coworker whom I adore. Shes older, and the sweetest woman I've met in a long time. I WANT her to do well. Problem is that she's failing miserably. We keep telling her the same info over and over again. She retains nothing.

I think part of her problem is her hearing. She's been complaining about not hearing us a lot, but when I asked if she has had her ears checked, she ignored me... so I let it drop out of fear of embarassing her.

How can I help her? I can't demand she see a hearing specialist! But I DO think the hearing issue is the reason she's not retaining the info. I think she only hears part of it and pretends she heard the rest of it.

There was a former employee who had the same problem of not retaining info and being in a constant state of confusion. AFTER that coworker was fired, it came out that her problem was that she only heard half the info given her. WHY wouldn't she have told us to repeat or write the info down? WHY wouldn't she have told us she was having a hard time hearing us?

I figure if coworkers are aware of an issue, then they make accomodations to make sure they're understood! I try, but everyone else is completely frustrated with her. She comes to me for everything now because she knows everyone else has given up trying to help her.

12-31-2009, 07:23 PM
how about a little white lie: "I do this task so infrequently that I wrote myself a procedure to make sure I do it the same way every time; here's a copy of it and I hope it will be of help to you" ... ???

That is a tough one. How nice of you to try to figure something out for her!

12-31-2009, 07:40 PM
So your company has a habit of hiring folks who can't hear? :p I'm sorry, it's not funny, and this is not helpful to you, but that is what popped out at me!

Have you told HER the story of the other person, who was FIRED?!

12-31-2009, 07:40 PM
Whew...that is a toughy ;/ Or how 'bout just sitting down w/ her (just u and her alone) and letting her know you know she has a problem understanding/hearing things well and so you'll write it all down for her (if you can) so she'll be able to remember and keep her job as well ;] I really don't know... But it is nice of you to try and help your friend out! It's always hard being the new girl anyways...:p

12-31-2009, 08:51 PM
Do you have a training manual, or anything in writing that might help her? Tell her that you'll go with her to an ear doctor if she doesn't want to or is afraid to go ... you can tell her a friend of yours is half deaf, and is always grateful when people make an effort to make sure she hears! (That's me, she needn't know we've never met in person!)

01-01-2010, 04:30 PM
is (That's me, she needn't know we've never met in person!)

haha ;] thats funny karen!

01-01-2010, 04:43 PM
I find that as I grow older it's harder for me to hear people, esp. if they talk softly. I do ask them to repeat themselves, but sometimes it's a pain to keep asking folks to repeat REPEATEDLY:rolleyes:. That may be her problem, too.

I guess I would be offended if someone hinted that I have a hearing problem, but then again it's my fault for not having it checked out.

That's a good suggestion to write instructions down, but if someone gives her oral directions, it still might be a problem.

She (and I) should have her hearing tested.:(

01-01-2010, 06:31 PM
I can sympathize with your friend with hearing issues. I damaged my ears years ago shooting a pistol while I had a head cold. It did nerve damage, making it hard to hear the upper frequencies of the spoken voice. The result is I have a lot of problems understand a woman's voice in person and it is almost impossible over the phone. When watching movies I usually have closed caption enabled. Increasing volume does not help and repeating often does not help. Because of the nature of my loss, correction with hearing aids was not possible until digital technology came along. If your friend has the type of hearing loss I have, repeating, even louder, will not help. If there is a lot of background noise it is even worst. I was lucky while in the business world that most of my dealings were with men, whose voice I had no problems hearing.

01-02-2010, 10:47 AM
I would be totally honest with her. Hearing loss can be a safety issue as well. Does she drive? Can she hear a car honking, a phone ringing, a doorbell?
In this tough ecomony if she losses her job finding another and keeping it is most difficult. Being honest is hard, but it is the kindest thing in the long run.
If she losses her job you will know that you were honest with her and she has to now be honest with herself.

Pinot's Mom
01-02-2010, 12:49 PM
I have trained A LOT of people, and find the issue of information retention to be extremely frustrating, prevalent and unnecessary. Take notes! Lots of them! That is advise I give OVER AND OVER and it falls (no pun intended) on deaf ears. Yes, if there is a hearing issue it should be addressed, but especially if there's a hearing loss, careful and concise notes need to be taken. There also must be a comprehensive training manual of some type to cover all aspects of the position the trainee can refer to. I just find that those who take good notes, and refer to the manual, succeed. Those that don't bother with notes, don't succeed.

01-02-2010, 07:43 PM
Thanks everyone. I do think she's having hearing issues -- she hardly ever hears when the bell rings (the door has a bell each time someone enters, letting us know they came in the store) and you have to look at her when talking. And if you repeat yourself, with a louder voice, she gets insulted that you're "yelling" at her.

My coworkers are beyond frustrated and have given up. The manager took today off because its the only day he'll be able to for a week because SHE was off today and will be working the rest of the week.

She's the sweetest thing, and is trying SO hard. I just don't think she'll make it. She was a former teacher, even was a principal for a few years. She's admitted to me how humbling this is for her. I honestly think its the wrong feild of work for her. She keeps complaining our training is jumbled and not linear. She's used to how teachers are trained. Sales is a completely different game. You learn as you go and make up what you don't know.

She absolutely HATES when she messes up with a customer and we jump in to save the sale and explain "sorry, she's new and just learning our computer system" or "sorry, she's new and didn't notice she read the wrong price" (she's sold $1200 chairs for $600 because she gave fabric price for leather chairs - TWICE) Personally, explaining someone as new is the fastest way to diffuse a tense situation. Rather than the customer thinking she's completely incompetent, they understand and step back a little. She disagrees wholeheartedly. She HATES to let customers know she's new.

We hired two women at the same time... Miss A and Mrs. B. Miss A is the one I'm concerned about. Mrs. B has taken off like a rocket and is selling as if she's been at our store for a year. You'd swear Miss A has only been with us for 2 weeks based upon her knowledge and confidence.