Category: Employee Policies

  • Five mistakes to avoid when finding candidates for key positions

    At a time of nearly full employment, recruiting employees who are high performers can be tough. That’s why employers should watch for missteps that can cost them a leading candidate or cause them to hire the wrong person. Such avoidable errors can send the recruitment process back to square one at the company’s expense of valuable time and money.

    In order to get the most out of your recruitment efforts and land the candidates you need, plan ahead. When formulating your recruitment strategies, avoid making these mistakes:

    1. Assessing only for skills and knowledge – Evaluating a candidate’s skills and qualifications is vital, but so is assessing for personality and compatibility. Yet many companies never do this. Knowing that a candidate is a good fit for both your company and the position will result in a higher placement success rate. See our blog post on recruiting for personality as well as skills.
    2. Prolonging the recruitment process – If a recruitment process drags on too long, great candidates are lost and internal projects get delayed. If other employees pick up the slack for too long, morale can suffer. Don’t wait for the perfect candidate who may never materialize. Now, I’m not suggesting you rush ... Read More
  • Managing low performers: Confront, communicate, coach. Then commend or can them

    One of the most challenging tasks facing managers is how best to handle low-performing employees. Questions abound: Can they make an acceptable turnaround? What help should we give them? How many strikes until they’re out? How long until we cut them loose?

    If they show a sign of promise, you might want to give them a chance to redeem themselves, particularly now when good employees are hard to find and recruit. Try coaching low performers and developing action plans for them. But know how and when to terminate them properly.

    “While it’s never easy confronting individuals about poor performance, tolerating it is a failure of leadership,” says John Baldoni, executive coach and leadership educator.

    Use a mixture of sensitivity and firmness when approaching low-performing employees. Don’t express anger toward them, and never disparage them in front of fellow employees. While no process is the only right way, here are eight effective steps to address subpar performance with employees from our HR consulting firm:

    1. Address the situation as soon as you recognize a problem. Don’t procrastinate or wait for a performance review while the problem continues.
    2. Find the cause and be objective. (Employees’ lack of skills, training, or motivation? Personal problems? Unclear expectations? Poor two-way communications?)
    3. Begin ... Read More
  • Less stress is best: our seven HR consulting tips to de-stress your workplace

    While a certain degree of stress in the workplace can be expected, too much of it isn’t healthy for employees. Furthermore, it can hinder a company’s productivity by increasing turnover and absenteeism.

    According to a survey on anxiety and stress by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, seven in 10 adults who experience work-related stress say it affects their personal relationships, mainly with spouses.

    The survey’s results show the main sources of workplace stress are deadlines, 55 percent; interpersonal relationships, 53 percent; staff management, 50 percent; and dealing with problems, 49 percent.

    But, most workers aren’t comfortable talking with their employer about their stress. Fewer than 40 percent of employees who said stress interfered with their work spoke with their employer about it.

    That’s unfortunate because managers can play an important role in creating less stressful work environments and helping employees address and manage stress.

    Here are seven ways to de-stress your work environment

    1. Allow flexible work schedules, if possible. This can reduce stress related to commuting, child care concerns, and overall work-life balance.
    2. Communicate openly with employees. Keep them informed of departmental and company changes. Ask for their feedback and be available to talk anytime.
    3. Speak positively and give sincere compliments of work done well. Recognize ... Read More
  • Addressing sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace

    Following widespread reports of sexual harassment and gender discrimination over the past year, we all have become more aware of these serious workplace issues. These examples serve to remind us of our duty to comply with existing law and ensure that our workplaces are fair and safe for employees at every level.

    Most allegations don’t relate to behavior as obvious or salacious as the ones we hear in news reports, so don’t think your company is immune from these threats.

    Revisit and revise your policies on sexual harassment

    How is your company confronting the prospect of sexual harassment? Are your corporate policies sufficient to address the changing environment?

    If your company hasn’t reviewed and updated your sexual harassment policy lately, now is the time. Read it, mark it up with questions and comments, and ask an attorney to review it. Be sure it defines prohibited workplace behaviors and unequivocally forbids sexual harassment. That’s a start.

    But, a policy banning sexual harassment in the workplace needs to do more than just that. It should explain how employees can make a complaint, with several options for doing so. Understandably, employees who make allegations against a supervisor don’t want to approach that person with a complaint.

    Your policy should ... Read More

  • Review and update recognition and rewards to help retain employees

    If you’re running a successful business, chances are good that 1) most of your employees are of a high quality and 2) you treat them well because you would like to keep them as long as you can.

    But how often do you review your efforts to recognize and reward employees? Retaining employees takes concerted effort, and rewarding their roles in your company’s success is the best way to retain them. Your retention strategies are as important as your recruitment strategies, and some rewards are more effective in building employee loyalty and longevity.

    According to the Harvard Business Review, nearly 70 percent of U.S. workers are either actively or passively on the lookout for new jobs. So, I’m not surprised that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that workers today remain with the same employer for just over 4 years.

    Give employees good reasons to remain with your company

    Losing good employees can have substantial costs – their lost productivity, time spent on finding and training their successors, and stress for remaining employees who pick up the slack.

    Good employees who feel valued tend to remain with the same company for more than a few years. So, the employer must give workers good reasons ... Read More

  • Exit interviews can help you improve employee staffing and training

    Does your company routinely conduct exit interviews with departing employees? If so, good, and I hope you use that information to your company’s advantage. If you don’t, you might reconsider, because you’re missing an opportunity to provide a window into your company culture and areas for improvement.

    Exit interviews let you get inside input on areas where your company excels and where it comes up short. And while it’s true that unhappy employees who are leaving might not be the most objective sources of information, comments heard repeatedly should be given credence.

    Make these actions part of your exit interview process

    • Encourage departing employees to do an exit interview, letting them know you want their critical insight. However, don’t try to mandate their participation. Ask if you can share their input with their supervisor and as part of a report to company management.
    • Ask variations of these questions every time, in addition to ones specific to your company:
      • Why are you leaving your position and the company?
      • What did you like most about your position here?
      • What did you like least about your position here?
      • How was your relationship with your supervisor?
      • Did you have the resources and support you needed to succeed in your job?
      • Were you encouraged to ... Read More
  • Do you dread performance reviews? An HR consulting firm can help revamp your process

    Is your company still doing the same type of performance reviews that it was 10-20 years ago? Unless it has really proven to be effective, you might be ready for a change.

    Historical evidence shows that performance reviews date back as far as the third century, with Chinese emperors rating the performance of imperial family members. Even then, complaints arose that the emperor “seldom rates men according to their merits, but always according to his likes and dislikes.” (Just imagine if the ancient Chinese had access to social media.)

    The modern performance review—using numbered ratings and related comments—began in the late 1950s with the workplace philosophy Management by Objectives. Managers were to rate workers on completion of work and attainment of goals, which had been agreed upon by both parties. Professional skills and personal qualities were often rated as well. Managers came to the meeting with scores in hand and did most of the talking, though employees were encouraged to respond.

    Though not perfect, systems like these were used for 40-50 years. But, as far back as the 1990s, just 5 percent of companies were very satisfied with their performance review process, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

    Why are attitudes changing ... Read More

  • Are your employees Slacking? An online communications tool in the workplace

    If your employees work in teams or collaborate on projects, they might be using Slack, a cloud-based communications tool that facilitates planning, scheduling and chatting with co-workers.

    With an estimated 9 million weekly users, Slack is one of the most widely used applications for communication and collaboration at enterprises and startups today, particularly popular with workers 40 and under. Slack is even beginning to replace email among co-workers in some companies because it organizes and stores communications within a group (“channel”) of colleagues, so no one is left out of the loop.

    “We use Slack for quick and easy internal communications,” says Lauren Hunter, staffing manager at TriStarr. “It gives us the opportunity to touch base in a quick and efficient manner and helps build our internal community between departments.”

    The benefits of online communities for planning and collaborating

    A Slack public channel—a virtual workspace—is open to all team members who have been invited to join for collaboration and discussion. Private channels, used for smaller groups of members, help them break up projects into smaller tasks and communicate confidentially as needed.

    “At our company, we value transparency, so we use Slack channels with broad membership for work-related chat to help keep conversations from being siloed,” says ... Read More