4 HR Priorities You Need to Focus on This New Year

PrioritiesThe new year has begun, and with it comes the opportunity to review the biggest problems from last year and determine their solutions.

In a survey by Waggl in December, business leaders, HR leaders and consultants reported their top HR priorities for 2016. Those ranged from developing leaders, improving collaboration and changing company culture to focusing more on employees.

Although priorities will vary from organization to organization, overall trends can guide decisions and help determine the biggest problems to target and fix throughout the coming year. Here are a few of the top HR issues to focus on in 2016:

Leadership1. Develop leaders at all levels
Good leaders are hard to find, but they’re critical to the success of employees and the company as a whole. That’s why, in 2016, HR professionals are putting a greater emphasis on developing leaders from within the company.

Among those surveyed by Waggl, 74.1 percent identified encouraging a growth mindset or leadership at all levels as a top HR priority for 2016. In addition, HR professionals surveyed by SHRM in November 2015 named developing the next generation of organizational leaders as the top future human capital challenge.

To secure a long line of future leaders, training and development needs to start at every level. This begins with a culture of accountability and education. The implication here for employers is to invest in training opportunities, develop mentorship programs and establish other leadership-development programs.

In short, get everyone involved – not just those who will be promoted to a leadership position later this year.

Teamwork 22. Improve teamwork
Under effective leaders are efficient teams who collaborate to complete tasks. But teams aren’t communicating and working together as efficiently as they should be: Employees surveyed by Wrike in October 2015 ranked lack of collaboration and team members not pulling their weight among the top stressors at work.

Dysfunctional teamwork is one of the top HR issues, and it’s no surprise that 71.6 percent of professionals surveyed by Waggl said agility, collaboration and trust were major priorities for the new year. Those surveyed by SHRM agreed that teamwork is a challenge: Creating an organizational culture where trust, open communication and fairness are emphasized and demonstrated by leaders was the top tactic professionals said was needed to meet HR challenges.

Although employers said they were interested in creating more collaborative work environments, there was a disconnect between them and their employees. So, the takeaway for employers seemed to suggest focusing on creating a culture in which roles are clearly defined, employees communicate openly and everyone on the team works together to get the job done.

Teamwork starts from the top, so get management involved to lead the charge to better collaboration.

Talent 13. Find the right talent
HR issues aren’t limited to current employees – employers are struggling to fill talent needs, as well. Employers want top talent who will push the organization forward, but such people are tough to find. In the Waggl survey, 71.1 percent of professionals ranked finding the right, innovative talent among the top HR issues for 2016.

Although employers are looking for talent with advanced skills, most have trouble finding professionals with even the basic skills needed for open positions, a report from Burning Glass, suggested, in November 2015. On average, one in three skills requested in job postings was a baseline skill, the employer-respondents said, and gaps in these skills exist in nearly every industry.

The lesson here was that, in 2016, employers need to find a balance between recruiting for baseline and advanced skills. Instead of searching for the unrealistic professional who “can do it all,” they should determine which few skills are the most important for the job and focus on them.

The recommendation here? Use pre-hire assessments and other screening tools to test the skills that matter most. Tools like CredHive allow employers to view work samples from candidates and focus on practical knowledge instead of job requirements.

 
4. Overhaul performance reviews
Ineffective performance reviews have been among HR’s top issues for a while – but that doesn’t mean that they’re going anywhere.Performance Review

Among Canadian and U.S. employers surveyed by Towers and Watson in November 2015, only 8 percent of respondents said that they had eliminated these reviews altogether. Yet, employers recognized the need for change. In the survey, 50 percent of respondents said they had changed or planned to change their annual review process in favor of more frequent interactions between employees and managers.

Those surveyed by Waggl held similar views: Some 97 percent said that listening to their employees and incorporating their ideas was critical to an organization’s success. Indeed, the annual performance review doesn’t seem to be cutting it anymore. Some 81 percent of employers surveyed by Towers Watson said their managers spent too little time in ongoing conversations with employees about their performance.Give FeedbackThe lesson here is that employees want and need more feedback, and managers need more input from their team. In 2016, it will be useful to focus on facilitating ongoing conversations between employees and management about performance and goals instead of saving it all for the yearly review.

HR software, internal communication tools and other networks can all help managers accomplish these goals, by connecting better with, and listening to, their teams.

 

Source – http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/254676

Etiquette and Ethics: A Growing Problem in the Workplace

Manners-and-etiquetteDo you think manners and etiquette are lacking in today’s workplace? Are you observing a decline in ethics as well? Trust me when I say you are not alone.

Organizations in both the for-profit and the non-profit sectors are contacting me in greater numbers than ever before, citing just such issues and seeking help in dealing with them. This column cannot solve all your problems, but it can help identify what some of them are and offer a few suggestions.

EtiquetteA recent national survey conducted by Kessler International came up with disturbing information about the state of manners, etiquette and ethics in the workplace. Of the respondents 84 percent observed rudeness and lack of courtesy in their staff; 65 percent felt a majority lacked a “moral compass.”

speaker-phoneThe reasons they gave for allowing such behavior was just as surprising. For one, they cited political correctness in their companies as an excuse for not dealing with the issues. Does that mean supervisors are afraid of offending someone by correcting their behavior, their dress, their appearance or their language?

A second excuse offered by those who were surveyed was their personal inability to handle confrontation. Hearing that leads me to believe what they lack is the courage of their convictions.

office-etiquetteA third reason cited was obstacles and constraints placed on them by their human resource departments – the very people who should be supporting company policy regarding employee behavior or instituting one if none exists.

Not surprising were the etiquette and ethics issues cited by those responding. These issues have been observed by most of you reading this column and have been the subject of many of my columns in the past.

The challenges noted in the study and my observations over the past 30 years are listed below.

  1. Inappropriate use of cellphonesCell phones
  2. Wearing unacceptable clothing to workWORK-WEAR-DOS-DONTS
  3. Complete lack of courtesy and respect for othersMr-Rude
  4. Failure to say please, thank you and your welcomeCourtesy
  5. Using street talk and gestures in professional meetingsslang-sales-meeting-cartoon
  6. Being untruthful to a caller over the phoneLiar 2
  7. Hanging up on customers when the call becomes difficultCut the line
  8. Inability to write a proper letter or emaillove-exclamations
  9. Stealing time by arriving late and leaving earlyLate excuse
  10. Visiting sex and dating websites on the company timeUsing computer in the office
  11. Acting unprofessionally with clients during business functionssnow-white-drunk
  12. Lack of proper table manners when dining with clientsTable Manners

All this boils down to a general lack of courtesy, respect and integrity. This information is overwhelming, but it’s not news. We have been observing such behavior and companies have been suffering from it for years. Isn’t it time to do something about it before customers, co-workers and profits suffer any more?

What can be done? Here are some straightforward, but not necessarily simple, solutions:

  1. WORKSHOP - word cloud as colored word sphere - NEW TOP TRENDManagement needs to take charge, to recognize and to deal with the problems.
  2. Human resources departments need to act to ensure that policies are not only in place, but also implemented.
  3. Supervisors need to be trained to handle confrontation and corrective action.
  4. Employees need to be held accountable.
  5. Behaviors need to change before etiquette and ethics are but a faint memory.

Good mannersPeople do business with people they like and trust. Ask yourself the tough questions: Are my employees likeable and trustworthy? And if the answer is “no,” what am I willing to do about it?

 

 

 

Source – http://businessinsavannah.com/bis/2015-02-16/etiquette-and-ethics-growing-problem-workplace

7 Ways Your Employees Are Stealing From You

Theft 4You don’t know it, but one of your employees may be stealing from you. But why would anyone want to steal from you? Don’t people think you’re a nice person?

Not him. He doesn’t show it, but he thinks you’re kind of a jerk. He thinks you’re too demanding and that you don’t treat him with the respect that he deserves. He thinks he’s underpaid and overworked. He thinks you’re clearly making the big bucks, driving around in that new, expensive car and mysteriously disappearing for “business meetings.” He’s got a family and expenses to consider too.

Yeah, he thinks he has every right to steal from you. And you will probably not even notice. He’s got some tricks up his sleeve to put a few extra bucks in his pocket.

He may collude with a fellow employee. If he’s frustrated, then maybe someone else is too. He’s going to try and find someone a little higher up on the food chain, someone who has authority to approve expenses. They’ll create a fake supplier — a little shell company equally owned by both of them. Then they’ll fabricate a few invoices and write checks to that company and split the money – your money.

FraudHe may make nice with a vendor. If he’s got buying privileges, then he may offer to steer more purchases to a certain vendor – in exchange for some prizes. Maybe a cash kickback, gift cards or special “thank-you’s” such as paid-for trips or furniture. The vendor can charge a little more (who’s going to know?) and then share the additional amount with him. No harm, no foul.

He may selflessly undertake more “duties.” If he’s in a financial position at your company, he may offer to do more work, such as the invoicing, cash collection, depositing and even the bank reconciliations, if you let him get away with that too. He’ll want to convince you that segregating these duties will cost you more and be a waste of time. Then he can go to town: create fake transactions, record them, take the cash and then delete the whole trail without anyone ever knowing. Sweet – for him, at least.

He may stay later than others. After everyone has gone home and the building has cleared, he can take a little walk around – with a bag. There are always plenty of goodies: office supplies, petty cash, inventory left lying around or sitting in an unlocked cage. He’ll bring his pickup truck around the back and, little by little, haul away the goods. Maybe you’ll see them on eBay or Craigslist.

ScamHe may just grab a few checks. Even in this age of more secure online banking, you (like so many other business owners) may still want to control your check signing. The checks aren’t locked up, and no one’s keeping a close eye on them. He can just take a few from the middle of the pile, and he’s become pretty good at forging your signature too. So he’ll open up bank accounts or shell companies in similar names to your vendors or contractors or just make a check out to cash. If he’s also doing the bank reconciliations, no one will ever notice.

He may never take a vacation. He’ll demonstrate what a hard worker he is by never taking time off. He’ll insist to you that he doesn’t need it, that his work is his joy. Baloney. Don’t buy into this line. And don’t think he’s overly-dedicated to your business. If he never takes any vacation then his activities can go unnoticed by the substitute person who has to do his duties while he’s away. No one will need to ask questions or wonder why certain things are being done in a strange way. He doesn’t want anyone to know that.
You don’t run a nonprofit, do you? Nonprofits are more susceptible to theft and fraud than any other type of business. That’s because most have less money to invest in the right kinds of internal controls and financial people to implement those controls. Many are run by dreamers and do-gooders who don’t often see the benefit of implementing these internal controls because they actually believe that everyone in the world is as giving and selfless as they are. Is that you? Plus, nonprofits are oftentimes loathe to admit that they lost a donor’s money. And some donors to certain nonprofits wish to not even be identified, so let’s just keep it hush-hush shall we?

He thinks he deserves more. He thinks you’re living the good life. He thinks it’s perfectly fine to take a few extra bucks. He thinks no one will notice. Will you?

 

Source – http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/231661

Your Best Employee Is Your Weakest Link

The last time I used my go-to, standard illustration about the need for documentation and cross training I was doing a series of custom workshops for a medical management team.

Weakest link quote“What if, heaven forbid,” I asked them, “one of you got hit by a bus tomorrow and didn’t come to work? How much would it cost the business?”

Usually when I deliver that line I see awareness dawning and heads nodding as the implications sink in, but that morning the faces staring back at me wore expressions of horror and even anger.

I soon learned that only a few months before I was hired to revamp their systems and coach individuals on the team, their office manager and her father had been killed in a car accident. This wasn’t a theoretical illustration for this audience. They’d lived it.

Knowledge transferMore than that, they were a classic example of the real “weakest link” in any small business. With their office manager gone they started to discover all the tasks they took for granted in the course of a day that no one else knew how to do.

 
When I ask business owners and managers to identify their weakest link most of them will start a mental inventory of their team’s attitude and skills. But in almost every case the weakest link isn’t the slacker, or the prima donna or the dim bulb who is costing the business the most. Even without a tragic wake-up call, the weakest link is nearly always the person who knows how to do things no one else in the business can do. If that link breaks, even for a sick day or short vacation, it costs your business in small, but cumulative ways that you might not even notice. If they are able, or unwilling, to return to work those costs will accumulate fast.Weakest Link 2

The entrepreneur at a small business with only one or two employees typically has done most of the employees’ tasks at some time and could still muddle through them, if necessary. But think of the cost of having what should be your most highly skilled (and compensated) person (that would be you) doing mundane but vital tasks. As you grow there will be tasks that you’ve hired someone to do just so you don’t ever have to know how to do them. That’s great, but make documentation and training part of the job description.

 
Knowledge sharingIf you have employees who are highly specialized, documentation is even more essential because it’s unlikely that their knowledge and skills are duplicated in the organization. Who hasn’t heard the horror stories of the tech start up whose engineer quit and left only sloppy records of their work on the project?
Document all thingsIf you have one trusted “right hand” person who is the only one who knows everything from the password to your online banking to where the bodies are buried, your weakest link is also enough rope for you to hang yourself with if that one trusted right hand turns out not to be trustworthy.

succession-planningRegardless of the type of business you’re in, how large or how small, a Key Person Audit is a smart item to add to your 2016 planning agenda. Identify the weak links and create a plan for documentation, cross-training where appropriate, and even a hiring strategy if you should need to replace a key person in your organization.

I hope you never lose an employee to tragedy, or to a betrayal of trust, but life has a way of throwing us curve balls. The old parental standby is a good admonition for entrepreneurs as well. “Better safe than sorry” is a wise approach to evaluating and guarding against the day when your go-to person isn’t there to go to.

Source – http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/253827

6 Kinds of Bad Bosses and How to Handle Them

 

A bad boss is more than a problem to gripe about to friends and a bartender. He or she can hurt your career, either by failing to provide feedback and direction or by giving you negative performance reviews.

To be fair, most bad bosses aren’t actually terrible people – they’re good people in the wrong role. Usually this situation can be managed, manipulated, and massaged to your liking (or even your advantage).

Whether you’re dealing with a micromanager or a meanie, here’s how to manage up – and stay sane.

 

THE MICROMANAGER

MicromanagerThe situation: Your boss wants to read every email you send. No, she doesn’t want you to cc her – she wants to stand over your shoulder and dictate. She typed a schedule for washing coffee cups. She has strong ideas about the how toner should be replaced. She is driving you insane.

The strategy: Out-micromanage her so you’re in control. Ask for time on her schedule, every day if needed. During this early-morning meeting, lay out every single thing you plan to do that day. Ask her how she wants it done. Ask her if and when she wants to see the final product. Ask her if you have the priority order right. Ask her what font to use. Ask her if you should check in again, just like this, after lunch. Write down everything she says, and do it.

Micromanager 2In a nutshell, give her what she wants – and then a big, heaping spoonful more. There are a few possible outcomes (all of them improvements):

She loves it! Great. You’re still dealing with a micromanager, but now at least she’s happy.

You’ll out-micromanage her, and she’ll actually tell you to “use your judgment.” Success!

Maybe, slowly, over several weeks or months, she’ll actually grow to trust you.

She’ll still be a micromanager to everyone – except you.

 

THE INEPT BOSS

Disconnected bossThe situation: Your boss has no idea what your job is, or how to be a manager. So when he jumps in and tells you you’re doing everything wrong…well, no, you aren’t. He’s alienating staff and customers. He can’t use bcc. He can’t lead a meeting. He says things like “Let’s email it on the Twitter.” He’s embarrassing.

The strategy: First, become the one person who makes your boss feel like a good boss. He would like that, wouldn’t he? He completely ignores a looming deadline. You say: “I like how you let the team handle that. It’s great to work someplace where we can take responsibility.”

Next: Step into the void and lead. Use every vacant stare and stupid remark as a lever for your inner opportunist. Not just grunt work and cleaning up mistakes: Get your name on projects. Volunteer to facilitate meetings. Relentlessly position yourself where people two levels up will see you calmly moving the department forward. All the while, be kind to your incompetent boss, and graciously give him credit for things everyone knows he didn’t do. While you’re at it, dress a little nicer than him.

Finally, your boss can’t be terrible at everything-after all, he did get hired, right? Maybe his one talent is interviewing or schmoozing. Whatever it is, it’s so vast that it outweighs his total incompetence. Humble yourself and learn from the master. You might want that skill in the future.

 

THE DISCONNECTED BOSS

Disconnected bossThe situation: Your boss has no idea what any of her direct reports do for a living. You ask her a specific question about what you should be working on, and she replies with vague platitudes or off-the-wall suggestions. Does she even know what the company does? It isn’t clear.

The strategy: Give her a face-saving way to catch up. Just as some CEOs “walk the floor” throughout the company’s factories and offices, ask your boss when would be a good time for a demo of the product you’re working on, a tour through the graphic design department, or a chat with a group of customers.

Try to get to know her. If she’s a hermit who’s decided to retreat into her office and ignore the day-to-day, connect on an intellectual level. Isn’t it interesting that you read management journals in your spare time? You found this great article you thought she would like! Or maybe she really didn’t want this job – she applied elsewhere in the company, and was instead assigned to your “pointless” department. Find out what she does thinks is important, and emphasize that.

If she continues to hole up in her office, you need to manage your own situation. Write a plan for yourself: Here are your priorities for the quarter, here are your deadlines, here are the stakeholders, and here are the goals. Get her to sign it. If she moves on to a job she’s actually interested in, your new boss will see written evidence that someone knows what they’re doing.

 

THE UNREALISTIC BOSS

Unrealistic bossThe situation: The CEO has a brilliant new idea, and your boss told her that your team can implement it – by next week. You’ll do all your other projects as well, of course. Just “fit it in,” maybe take lunch at your desk, and it’ll be fine.

The strategy: Don’t let an unrealistic boss put the burden of the impossible on you. Use numbers, calendars, and lists to force realistic decisions and prioritization – without having to complain about your workload.

Try something like, “I love your optimism!” And then pull out a calendar. For example, print a weekly calendar with enough room to write out a task for every hour. Then ask your boss to help you schedule the right tasks for the actual hours that exist in the day.

A related technique: When your boss throws a huge project in your lap with a deadline of yesterday, schedule time with him to map out all the steps. Make a GANTT chart. Or a really detailed list. Make it clear that what your boss thinks is one item is really 25. Ask questions like, “How can we pare these down to meet the deadline?”

Get mathy. Calculate actual labor hours. “Our team of six has 240 labor hours a week. About 90 of those are devoted to routine tasks. Do you want to stop any of those? No? OK, of the 350 hours left, we have Vivien and Latrice dedicated entirely to the LogicBoard account, so that leaves us with…”

 

THE MEAN BOSS

The situation: Remember the last time you made a mistake at work? Yes, everyone does – because your horrible boss told the whole office about it, loudly. You’re getting ulcers and losing your hair from the stress. And you certainly aren’t getting a raise. You’re basically starring in Mean Girls for grown-ups.

Mean BossThe strategy: Address it head-on. Don’t passively try to ingratiate yourself with weak compliments and mousy compliance. Definitely don’t bake some stupid cookies.

Woman up and ask, “I realize that I’m getting a bad reaction from you to my ideas in the weekly meeting. I could use some information about the direction you want to take the project in so I can make sure my contributions are on point.”

Make it partly about you (“I’m getting a lot of negative feedback from you lately”) but don’t be a total pushover. Especially if you’ve been a total pushover the whole time already. It obviously doesn’t work, and your passivity may actually be repelling your boss even more.

Some bosses want to work with peers, equals, people they respect, people who can take the heat. It may actually be the case that your attempts to make it better by bowing down have actually been making it worse. That being said, if your manager is taking hazing cues from locker rooms or frat houses, take it to HR.

 

THE BUDDY BOSS

Buddy BossThe situation: Oh no, your boss is too nice! The bartender isn’t going to buy you a round for that sob story. But there are downsides. Your co-workers start rolling in late and blowing through deadlines, and you don’t get the feedback you need. It could cost you a raise if you spend all year being praised only to find out at your performance review that he’s not all that impressed with your work. He’s just, you know, nice.

The strategy: Schedule regular check-ins. Try to set the tone. Don’t get sidetracked with friendly chitchat-say explicitly, “I need some feedback from you to make sure I’m on track to meet our projections.” Get those expectations in writing. Thank your boss for being so collegial, but say you want the tough feedback, too.

You can also tactfully point out ways in which the boss’s niceness is actually not that nice. For instance: One slacker on the team is goofing off and turning in shoddy work that others have to fix. When the boss is “nice” to that slacker, it perpetuates the problem and damages morale. Your boss might be motivated to crack down if it’s framed as being “nice” to everyone else.

Oh, and if your boss sends a super-friendly Facebook request, pretend you didn’t see it and check your privacy settings immediately. Then send a cheerful LinkedIn request with a note like, “Happy to connect! I spend most of my time on LinkedIn these days. Here’s an article I thought you’d enjoy.” Redirect, redirect, redirect.

 

Source – http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-to-handle-a-bad-boss-2015-03-19

 

3 Destructive Employee Syndromes No Boss Can Tolerate

cartoonFor an entrepreneur having employees can either be the greatest blessing of your professional life or the bane of your daily existence. A lot of our decisions as we grow our businesses center around what jobs we should hire someone else to do, who we should hire to do them, and how we should motivate, compensate, and manage the people once they’re on board.

After nearly 30 years of managing employees, hiring employees, and coaching other people’s employees, I can tell you there are three “syndromes” that will, without fail, make you wish you’d avoided employees altogether. Here’s how to recognize them, and why you should never put up with them.

1. Not-my-job syndrome.

Not My Job1You’re probably familiar with this one. You may have even seen the meme with the picture of a dead opossum lying in the middle of the road with the yellow center stripe painted right over it. I have yet to know anyone who didn’t get that meme, because we’ve all known (or been) the employee who was so determined to never be the sucker who requests to perform any task not officially in their job description were met with disdain and, when asked why they didn’t correct a potentially disastrous situation or mistake, they’ll respond with some variation of, “That is not my job.”

Not my jobImagine what would happen if none of your staff ever did anything that wasn’t, strictly speaking, their job. Every time you had a team member out on vacation or a sick day your well-oiled machine would start to hiccup. A heavier than expected work load, or a crisis in a project plan would cause a tail spin that would make heads spin. If you can’t afford for all of your employees to have this attitude you can’t afford for any of them to use “it’s not my job” as a reason for avoiding tasks or responsibilities.

2. “That’s my job, don’t touch it” syndrome.

NO-HELPWe often mistake this one for the laudable trait of “taking ownership.” It’s great when you have someone who takes ownership of the outcome of a task or project, but when they’re so proprietary about it that no one else is allowed to pitch in you have just set your entire team up for a logjam. What you’ll notice, when you know what to look for, is that others on the team don’t contribute to the outcomes this person “owns.” They’ll also often complain that others don’t perform any task up to their standard, which again, we often mistake for a positive trait of an “excellence mindset” when really they’re sabotaging the results that others are achieving.

No I in TEAMOnce you view this attitude as proprietary rather than believing it is simply a desire to achieve excellent outcomes, you’ll start to see how it’s hampering others on the team from growing and developing. You’ll also begin to notice that backups in process or breakdowns in systems often occur because this person can’t keep up. You might even start to realize how dependent you are on this individual and how much knowledge and training they’re hoarding. Unless you want to be a hostage to their need for control and job security you’ll put a stop to their ability to ward off all offers of assistance.

3. “OMG, it’s a crisis but it’s OK. I’ve got it covered” syndrome.

I call this one the “White Knight Syndrome.” When you have an employee with this attitude you’ll have very few dull days because there will always be some drama/trauma brewing. And you’ll likely be adding this employee to your gratitude list on almost daily, as well. Because whatever the challenge, they’re riding to the rescue.

Superman_for_Blog
But when you pay attention you may start to realize that they’re like the hero firefighter who turns out to be the arsonist. They’re so addicted to the recognition for being the go-to person in a crisis that they’re stirring the pot to make sure there is a crisis for them to go to. This might show up in the form of gossip that gets your team riled up about something that was, at most, a minor issue. Or it might take the form of more serious sabotage.

The costs of having this individual on your team are obvious. Even if they do save the day every time, the increased stress and reduced productivity take a toll.

Keep in mind that the behaviors associated with these “syndromes” are seldom coming from conscious mindset, and they’re almost never malicious. They’re usually symptoms of an emotionally immature or highly insecure mentality. It’s possible that with coaching the syndrome can be addressed, the behavior corrected and the mindset shifted to one of team collaboration and support.

Bu if you allow any of these syndromes a place on your team you’ll find that the mindset pervades the entire culture, resulting in a destruction of morale for your team, loss of productivity for your business and an increase in headaches for you.

 

Source – http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/253503

Role of HR During a Recession Period

During a recession, many businesses succumb to the pressures of sustaining workforce costs amidst diminishing revenues. More than 75 percent of employers manage during a recession by cutting out holiday bonuses, scaling back on wage increases or conducting layoffs, according to the Families and Work Institute in its 2009 publication, “The Impact of the Recession on Employers.”

Green Recession Ahead Road sign on Cloud Background.

Companies committed to surviving a recession have an obligation to their employees. Their human resources departments play an integral role in reassuring employees about matters such as job security, earnings and the company’s strategic direction.

Trust Leadership

Trust-AubreyMcGowanThe role of HR is to build employees’ trust in leadership through honest, effective and frequent communication, regardless of the circumstances. One of the reasons employees report leaving their jobs is that they lose trust in company leadership, according to Leigh Branham’s book titled, “The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave: How to Recognize the Subtle Signs and Act Before It’s Too Late.” Branham studied more than 19,000 exit interviews produced between 1999 and 2003 by the Saratoga Institute to write his book. When HR or company leadership neglects communication, the result is that employers risk their employees losing confidence in them. During a recession, it’s all that more important to communicate and build employees’ trust.

Company Status

If the company is recession-proof, meaning it provides necessary products or services, the role of HR is to remind employees that the company is forging ahead despite an economic meltdown. As the saying goes, the only sure things in life are death and taxes; therefore, the most recession-proof businesses are likely mortuaries and accounting firms. dealing_with_recession_-_cut_or_spend-_1On the other hand, if the company will be affected by a recession, HR’s role is to assist company leaders in describing the business strategy for staying afloat and keeping employees apprised of the company’s status and direction.

Staffing

During a recession, employers may be inclined to offer overtime hours instead of hiring new workers. The cost-benefit factor is that hiring new employees costs more money than paying overtime wages to current employees.overtimebalance Therefore, some employees may welcome the opportunity to increase their paychecks. In either case, HR’s role is to assure employees that their jobs are safe. If employees’ jobs are at stake, HR should explain what process the company will use to notify employees of layoffs, whether they will receive severance or early retirement opportunities and the timing of potential layoffs.

Payroll and Benefits

During a recession, employees’ pay might not go as far as it would during an economic recovery. Therefore, HR should provide employees with options for increasing their take-home pay. Options might include adjusting withholding allowances, reducing contributions to their savings accounts or re-evaluating their health plan choices. HR also should counsel employees on additional ways to reduce payroll deductions, such as suspending payroll deductions that some employees elect to donate to charitable foundations.

Source – http://smallbusiness.chron.com/role-hr-during-recession-period-59133.html

4 Ways to Tell If Job Candidates Are Telling the Truth

Even though the interview process is designed to vet job candidates and find out what they can really do for a company, there are still ways for fibs or little exaggerations to get through. The question is, how do you know if a job seeker is telling you the truth without resorting to over-the-top interrogation techniques?

In the 2015 Jobvite Job Seeker Nation survey of over 2,000 adults, 31 percent of respondents admitted to inflating their skills on Twitter, and 27 percent fabricated references on Facebook. That’s news no employer wants to hear.

If you want to find the best person for the job, you have to pay attention to how and what a candidate is telling you. Here are four ways to ensure a job candidate is telling you the truth:

1. Spend more time reading resumes.

Read your resumeWe all know hiring managers are busy and that they have to sift through hundreds of resumes for just one open position. Still, an August 2015 CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,500 HR and hiring managers found that seven out of 10 spend less than five minutes looking at a resume.

 

Given the length of a typical resume, it definitely shouldn’t take more time than that to read the words on the page. However, more time and attention needs to be given on processing what the information actually means.

There’s a tendency to use vague buzzwords in a resume in order to establish credibility, but knowing industry vocabulary isn’t enough. Look carefully at how candidates use jargon and buzzwords, and decide if it actually makes a clear point.

If a candidate says he “liaised with potential clients to foster new sales relationships,” it really means nothing. However, if he says he “developed new sales pitches that brought in 100 new clients,” he’s got the evidence to back up the claim.

To double check the information that’s been given to you in a resume, cater your interview questions to the experience and skills each job candidate has. Ask them for stories of how they used or developed these skills to get a better idea of what their proficiency really is.

2. Check out social media.

Thirty-five percent of the 2,175 HR and hiring managers surveyed in a May 2015 CareerBuilder survey said they had sent friend requests to or followed job candidates. If it’s already been established that job seekers can – and do – lie on social media, why would this be a good way to check out a potential employee?

The great thing about social networks is that they allow you to dig deeper. You can reach out to people who are professionally connected to job candidates, and ask them to verify information or give their opinions of a job seeker’s work ethics.

Dec 21c (2)Also take a look at the types of posts a candidate is making, not to look for inappropriate behavior, but to see their involvement in the industry. If a candidate claims to have 10 years of marketing experience, but follows no one else in the marketing world or never shares marketing related posts on Facebook, chances are she’s not being truthful.

3. Ask specific questions.

During an interview, hiring managers tend to ask broad, open-ended questions to get more than just a yes or no response. Starting out with “tell me about yourself” is fine, but there needs to be more specific follow-ups.
Hopping from job to jobAsk for stories and examples about a candidate’s experience and skill levels, and listen for specific answers. The more details a job candidate gives you in their responses, the less likely it is that they’re exaggerating. Also, pay attention to whether candidates are just rehashing their resumes to you word for word. If a response sounds memorized or overly rehearsed, take it with a grain of salt.

4. Ask if they’re telling the truth.

Speak the truthMost of the time when a job candidate is being dishonest, it’s only slight exaggerations. No one but a real brain surgeon is going to walk into a job interview and claim to be one. It’s more likely that a candidate rounded up their years of experience to five when it was really four years and three months.

So if after interviewing a great candidate you still suspect they’ve been less than 100 percent honest, ask them. Let them know that you plan to check out their resumes and references and would like to know if there’s anything that won’t line up. Giving candidates the chance to come clean gets you the real story and shows you that when it comes down to it, you can count on them to be truthful.

 

Source – http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/251790

(Contributor: Andre Lavoire, CEO and Co-Founder, ClearCompany)

A Proactive Approach to Addressing Unethical Behaviour in the Workplace

ethical-legal-featureWhile it may not rise to the level of being illegal, unethical behavior in the workplace can have serious consequences if unaddressed. And it can create a toxic work environment in which your employees and business ultimately suffer.

When the authors of Crucial Accountability gave an online survey to more than 900 working people in 2013, the three most common unethical workplace behaviors cited were taking credit for someone else’s work, indulging in extra long breaks and calling in sick when actually well. One-third of the respondents reported having witnessed at least one of these violations the week prior to participating the survey.

Do the right thingMoreover, with the 63 percent of the survey respondents who witnessed unethical behavior, only half of the time was the misdeed reported. When asked why this was the case, four main reasons were cited by survey participants: It might have damaged their career. It would have made the offender harder to work with. They didn’t think they would be taken seriously. Or they weren’t sure how to bring up their concerns.

At large businesses, a human resources department or manager can provide a way for employees to voice their concerns about unethical behavior of colleagues and provide policies, procedures and training. At smaller businesses with few resources and little or no HR support, creating an avenue for reporting or disclosing unethical behavior is challenging, as is putting in place the proper guidance for addressing such behavior.

If your business lacks robust HR support, it’s critical for employees to have an easy way to report their concerns and for your company to put in place policies, protocol and training related to unethical behavior. Entrepreneurs can take the following steps to proactively address unethical behavior at work:

1. Create a code of ethics

Set the tone for behavior in your workplace by creating a code of ethics. A code of ethics establishes the values that are important to a business and creates a common framework for understanding the boundaries within the organization.

Levels of EthicsCodes of ethics should be written in broad, idealistic terms to communicate the company’s ethical vision, yet be succinct enough to be contained in a values statement. If it makes sense, include ethical expectations in the company’s mission statement and employee handbooks.

Be sure to involve key employees in the process of drafting and formalizing the code of ethics. This will ensure that leaders are on board with and committed to the values.

2. Establish a protocol

Include in your code of ethics instructions about how to report unethical behavior. For example, set up an anonymous ethics hotline as well as a clear protocol for reporting, such as requesting a private meeting with the appropriate manager or supervisor.Ethics

Additionally, if a concern or violation is reported and the company lacks internal HR resources, ensure that the person tasked with responding is the furthest removed from the concern.

Delegating someone as far removed as possible sets a tone that the concern will be taken seriously and creates trust in your company’s ability to address the matter fairly. If retaining an appropriate internal person isn’t an option, consider investing in an external HR partner who can bring impartiality to the process.

3. Empower employees

Grant staff the know-how to appropriately identify and handle ethics violations. Accomplish this by implementing ethics-training programs for all new and existing employees to increase the effectiveness of the code.

Ethical or IllegalEthics courses are available through books and other written materials as well as through online, private or live instruction training’s. You might even choose to tie to ethical behavior some compensation incentives, such as an end-of-the-year bonus or additional paid time off, to further increase the code’s relevance to employees.

4. Continuously review the code

Keeping the code updated is an important step in keeping a company’s ethics top of mind. Each year, share copies of the code of ethics with every employee or communicate it through a brown bag lunch and learn or workshop.

Ensure that your employees confirm their understanding of the code by requiring them to sign a form of acknowledgement afterward. In doing so, you’ll proactively set up an atmosphere, reinforced by both formal and informal measures, that promotes the values you’ve set forth.

343273-33720-23If you disregard the importance of developing an ethical culture, lawsuits, high turnover, low morale and even the demise of your business could result. A smart business leader should champion a written code of ethics from the outset, establish protocol and continuously review and promote these guidelines.

This will show staff that you’re serious about creating a positive and ethical workplace. At the same time, you’ll also set clear, specific expectations that everyone can understand. Ultimately, the outcome will result in better business processes, as well as happier and more secure employees and therefore a more successful business.

 

Source – http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/241924

Reactive vs. Proactive Human Resource Management

by Jonathan Lister , Demand Media

The difference in a proactive versus reactive Management Styleshuman resource management strategy comes down to planning and forethought. As a small-business owner, a proactive strategy can help you anticipate problems in staffing levels and employee training. A reactive strategy, while less devoted to planning and risk management, is definitely cheaper and may be more cost effective for your small business.

Employee Recruitment Strategies

Recruitment StrategyA proactive recruitment strategy in human resources management emphasizes anticipation of your small-business’s staffing needs. This can manifest in several ways, including keeping promising job applications on file to provide a ready pool of prospective workers as well as conducting rolling interview cycles to keep a constant flow of new employees entering your company. Conversely, a reactive human resources strategy only works to meet an identifiable need. That means no interviews or advertising for employment opportunities until your business has an immediate job opening. Your company may still take submitted employee applications but will not review these applications until the need arises.

HR Risk Management

The planning associated with a proactive human resources management strategy allows your team to anticipate crises in staffing levels and employee training. By anticipating these shortfalls, your HR team can develop strategies to mitigate the damage and keep productivity at a relatively constant level. This keeps your revenue stream flowing evenly. A reactive model of human resources management responds to crises as each occurs. As a result, you could experience a sudden drop in productivity due to fluctuating staff levels or lagging employee training while your company’s HR department scrambles to develop workable solutions.

Attracting Top Talent

Attracting Top TalentAttracting the best employees in your business’s industry doesn’t happen by accident. A proactive human resources strategy coupled with a competitive benefits package is necessary to make the brightest workers notice your business and apply for jobs. A proactive strategy involves advertising the strengths of your business, its position in the industry and the long-term goals of your company. A reactive human resources management strategy is only going to secure the best workers who happen to apply for open positions with your company — not the best the entire industry has to offer.

The Money Problem

Way Signs "Outsourcing, This Way - Cost Increase"A proactive human resource management strategy takes the devotion of an entire department in your company. This may be difficult to pull off in the early years if you are a small-business owner with tight overhead and an unreliable revenue stream. Your company may find a reactive human resources strategy a necessary evil until you can generate enough revenue to fund a full HR department. A reactive HR strategy may sound like no strategy at all, but if you devote your attention to staffing problems as soon as problems occur, your business can mitigate the damage and continue operating.

Source – http://smallbusiness.chron.com/reactive-vs-proactive-human-resource-management-18595.html