Aren’t supervisors obligated to support new employees?

Friday March 19 2021

Moses Ssesanga

By Moses Ssesanga

Dear Moses,  
We have a new employee in our department. However, her supervisor has left her to figure out things on her own and does not offer any kind of support, and usually leaves the office very early. It is colleagues from other desks who offer support when they notice she is stranded. Aren’t supervisors obligated to offer support to new employees? What does the law say? Cathy

Dear Cathy,
Yes, it is the duty of supervisors to help  you learn the ropes when you are a new hire. That is what it is supposed to be. 

That is what the labour law says and so do many Human Resource manuals. That is why you are supposed to be given a job description. That is why you are appointed on probation (to learn on the job under supervision before confirmation).  

Unfortunately, many times what you are going through is actually what life deals to many people in the world of work. When life throws lemons at you, you can choose to either gripe or think positively and blend refreshing lemon juice. 

When you succeed under such circumstances, something happens within you, which transforms you into a new person. By reaching out to other people  to help you, you are creating your own support system in the company. Instead of relying on your supervisor, you are reaching out and creating new relationships with other people. 

You are building bridges where none existed and probably you may end up creating new friends.  The choice you have taken if well sustained, may see you progress, rise and even surpass your supervisor in the longrun. 


I have seen many examples of people who worked under difficult supervisors when they were new in the company and, they ended up leading the departments where their former supervisors work! Life can be a beast sometimes. 

Cathy, when you are in employment, it is most times counterproductive to always think legalese especially when it comes to relationships between supervisors and supervisees.  

It is better to raise your bar above the foray and decide to be known by your deliverables. Believe me, your progress will be faster. Why? The primary reason for your recruitment into the company was to solve problems for your employer. 

Decide early enough in life to purpose to become a solutions provider, to your supervisor, bosses and colleagues. When you make yourself reliable and dependable, you will enjoy a smooth ride in the corporate world.

Moses Ssesanga,
Head of Human Resource, 
NMG Uganda