A blog providing trustworthy Human Resources advice to business owners, managers and employees plus the occasional LOL true story from the workplace.
WHAT SHOULD YOU AVOID ASKING IN AN EMPLOYMENT APPLICATION? …read more
Secrets To Overcoming The January Productivity Slump
Over the festive period, spirits are often high in the workplace. Everyone’s working towards shared goals, pulling together to make big things happen, and looking forward to the opportunity to take a little time out with friends and loved ones.
By the time that the New Year comes, the general mood and feel has often shifted slightly. With nothing but dark days and credit card bills to look forward to, productivity in the workplace can come to a grinding halt.
Thank your staff for their hard work
It’s likely that your staff will have worked longer shifts over the Christmas period. They’ll have dealt with stressful situations and difficult discussions, and it’s understandable if they’re feeling a bit burnt out. Some might even be asking themselves what the point in all of it even was.
Saying thank you is so simple and it’s something that you should be doing regularly, but it’s all too easy to overlook the basics in favor of developing complex strategies. Make sure your staff know that their contribution did not go unnoticed.
Get everyone together to set new goals
January can be a time when everyone settles back into their usual routines. The pressure might be lifted slightly, and while this can be a positive thing, it can also sometimes encourage complacency. Instead of letting this happen, make sure that you have a plan of action to guide you through the first quarter.
Call a team meeting, invite feedback and opinions, and ensure that everyone is fully up to speed and engaged with your new priorities. This will act as a timely reminder that it’s time to get back to business!
Lead by example and get your head in the game for the New Year
You might be the boss, but that that doesn’t mean that you’re immune to the January blues! You should ensure that you celebrate your successes and take time to reflect on your achievements over the past 12 months. It’s also important that you look at ways in which you can improve your skills and start the New Year with a bang.
Ask your staff to give you an open and honest assessment of how you’ve performed as a leader, and what you can do to support them better in the future. The best business owners are always considering how they can step up and lead by example.
Do you need some help with crafting your growth plans for the year to come? We can make sure that you get the year off to a flying start. Give us a call today to arrange an initial no-obligation consultation.…read more
Top Tips To Share With Your Night-shift Workers
If you work the night or evening shifts, you are not alone. According to research carried out by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, three million Americans work graveyard shifts and another four million work evening shifts.
Regardless of the industry that you operate in, it’s quite likely that there will come a time when you need your team to work night-shifts, even if it’s just temporarily. Perhaps your IT staff will have to install important updates outside of usual working hours. Maybe staff on your shop floor will be asked to change their shift patterns to stack the shelves in the run up to the holiday period.
The potential health and lifestyle implications are well documented and you have a responsibility to ensure that you’re giving your workforce the support they need. Let’s take a look at some valuable tips that could make all the difference to your staff when the times comes that they have to work unsociable hours.
Think carefully about the journey home
Most of us know what it’s like to feel exhausted after a long day and drive home almost on autopilot. After a night shift though, tiredness can become a serious problem that can quite quickly escalate into a potentially dangerous situation.
It makes sense to consider how you could help with provisions for getting home at the end of a night-shift. It might make good business sense to provide financial support for the cost of taxis or to share information about local public transport arrangements.
Create good sleep routines
Sleeping during the day can feel unnatural, so it’s important to get into a good routine if you want to enjoy quality rest. Blackout curtains can make a big difference, as well as avoiding using mobile phones before sleeping and ensuring that you aren’t exposed to too much daylight before trying to nod off. In other words, it can really help if night workers get straight to bed after their shift.
Of course, every individual is different. There will be a strong element of trial and error when it comes to finding the best pattern and routine. To support your staff though, be sure that you’re sharing guidance and positive suggestions.
Never underestimate the value of quality sleep
Many of us would agree that there’s no better feeling than crashing out in a comfortable bed, but it’s way too easy to underestimate just how important sleep really is. There’s a whole host of medical problems and conditions that have been linked to poor sleep patterns, including heart attacks and diabetes.
Be sure to promote the importance of sleep to your workers. If they’re struggling, do the right thing and suggest that they make an appointment with their GP to discuss their options.
There have been calls to give extra rights to staff working night-shifts, to help protect them from the physical, mental, and emotional strain of working such unsociable hours. Whether this is something that will happen remains to be seen. Right now, you need to focus on doing all you can to support your staff and ensure that you’re taking reasonable steps to protect their well being.
If you’re confused about your responsibilities, or you need to know more about the law when it comes to night shift, get in touch. We can help you to understand exactly what you need to know.
Dealing With A Debbie Downer In The Workplace
If you’re the skeptical type, it wouldn’t be too difficult to find a whole host of reasons to feel negative right now. The future of the country is up in the air, the summer so far has been a bit of a washout and the papers are full of tales of unrest and uncertainty.
In the workplace, negativity can spread like wildfire. So how exactly should you approach the situation if you have one employee who’s bringing down the rest of your workforce? Here, we share practical hints and considerations.
Sometimes, people simply need a sounding board for their frustrations and concerns. Burying your head in the sand and hoping that things will fix themselves is very rarely a sensible strategy. Instead of just paying lip service to the concept of having an open door policy, make sure that you live by it.
Get to know your staff. Work out what makes them tick. Unearth the real issues that are at play. This is what makes the difference between a manager and a leader.
Challenge negative thinking
There are external things going on that you and your business can have no control over. No one’s expecting you to solve all the problems in the world. However, if comments are being made about internal issues, you need to tackle them.
If they’re true, take the time to explain the reasoning behind why things are the way they are, and how employees can play a part in improving the situation. If false statements are being shared, speak up immediately and set the record straight. Sometimes, a bit of strong leadership is what’s needed to get things back on the right track.
Recognize the difference between a bit of negativity and serious mental health problems
Most of us are guilty of letting negative feelings take over now and again. Some might say that it’s all part of living in the modern world. However, as a leader, you have a responsibility to know the difference between this and mental health issues among your employees.
If you suspect that there are more serious problems at play, you have a responsibility to ensure that your staff are supported and given the professional assistance that they might need. In this situation, your first port of call should be to speak with an expert. Remember that discretion is key, and you absolutely must honor the confidentiality of your employees.
The feeling and mood in many workplaces go through peaks and valleys. It’s your job to make sure that your staff are motivated and productive. If you’re experiencing problems, it may be worthwhile to have a chat with us about your challenges. Get in touch today and we can book a call at a time that suits you.
By now, most everyone is familiar with the MeToo movement.Do you think you may have been sexually harassed?Here’s the official definition that may help determine the answer:
*Sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the courts define "sexual harassment" as unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that:
Sexual harassment can be:
Just as there are many companies that have and enforce good Sexual Harassment Policies, there are just as many companies who have poor policies or no policies at all, and enforce nothing.
Regardless of which company you work for, if something happens, you MUST tell someone.But who?Preferably your direct manager and/or Human Resources.But what if your direct manager is the person who harassed you or you don’t have an HR Department?Then go to the next level manager.
I’ve heard all the reasons why people don’t want to report questionable behavior which focus primarily around fear of losing your job or not wanting to “get someone in trouble”. Do not listen to that little devil on your shoulder.Listen to the other shoulder that is saying you have a right to work in a place that is respectful and where you feel safe and free of any type of harassment.No job is worth being harassed.There are other jobs out there.
At the very least, tell a co-worker who you know is supportive and ask them to go with you when you tell.
Why should you tell?Because you don’t want the individual to harass others.Because as I said above, you have a right to work in a place that is free of harassment (it’s the law!). Because it gives you credibility.Credibility is huge.Were there any witnesses to the event?HR will want these names and they will interview these people.If they corroborate your story, there you go, you have instant credibility.Even if there were not any witnesses, but you told someone, and they confirm that you told them – you still gain credibility.That somewhat lessens the problem of “he said, she said”.
If you wait a year, or longer, HR will ask you why you didn’t tell anyone…. Is there some reason you’re bringing this up now and didn’t then?In other words, are you trying to “get back” at the person for some reason?Or perhaps the relationship was consensual to begin with, but now the person broke up with you or is treating you poorly and you’re out for retaliation.As you can see, things get complicated quickly.But if you’re innocent and are telling the truth, you MUST tell.DO NOT lie, do not make things up – this just ruins it for the true innocent victims in the workplace and you will get caught in your lies.
Not sure if you’ve been harassed?Don’t have HR to tell?Contact us and we’ll help you walk through the options.
Did someone entrust a secret with you?Are you the person that the victim of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior had the courage to tell but then said – “please don’t tell anyone; I don’t want to get anyone into trouble”. Are you the friend, the co-worker, the manager?
Did you promise not to tell?And now you’re wondering if you should?Or maybe it is now 20 years later and you’re kicking yourself because you didn’t?
As an HR professional, one of the things we learn early on is to never promise not to tell.We have a responsibility to tell, an obligation to inform management that an allegation was made and investigation is being completed.Why?Protect the company from legal risk; ensure a safe work place for all employees; individual managers can be sued as individuals; be proactive; uncover the truth; ensure the person who made the allegation is heard and taken seriously.Why? Because we, of all people, need to do the right thing.
But you’re just a friend or a co-worker?Or maybe you’re a manager but you’re not the individual’s manager?Managers, just like HR, have the same obligation and responsibility to tell – even if you are not the direct manager.You are still an agent/representative of the company.You are a friend of co-worker?Many companies have an HR Policy that requires you to bring forth any inappropriate information you become aware of as well and to cooperate with any investigation.
The victim may be subconsciously asking for you to “help be their voice”. They want someone in authority to know, but they don’t have the courage to go it alone.So help be their voice.Go with them to HR and support them as they tell their story.You’re concerned about your own job?Really?Set aside your selfishness and have compassion on the person who may have gone through the most horrible experience of their life.If you lose your job over helping them speak, then I don’t know that the place you were working, is worth having you anyway.Of course, you’ll want to be completely confident that the person is telling the truth.
Is the #MeToo culture we live in today really changing things from the “don’t tell anyone” culture from earlier years?I hope so.But I’m also familiar enough with this topic to know that there are numerous people out there who have not yet shared their story, not yet told anyone.I hope they are getting the courage to come forward and tell.And those of you who don’t have a story, don’t make one up, don’t lie.
In summary - You promised not to tell.First of all, don’t promise.If you did, then go back to the individual and explain that you have a responsibility to tell.You will go with them if they want to tell the story.But you must tell, even if they don’t.
Give us a call today for an informal chat about your circumstances. If
we are unable to meet all of your HR needs, we will direct you to an HR professional who can.
Do You Lead With A Servant’s Heart?
What does it mean to have a servant’s heart? It means that you not only put other’s needs in front of your own, but that you serve with the right motivation. Looking for rewards or recognition should not be the ultimate goal, nor is it the way to true leadership. The focus, instead, should be on looking out for the good of the whole.
The best supervisors and managers don’t “boss” their employees around, instead they are an example of what they expect from others. A good example of displaying this is to not be above the menial tasks. The owner of a company I work for has no problem emptying the shredder or picking up a piece of trash. This in turn motivates everyone else to pitch in and do what needs to be done. Even if it’s “not your job”. I’ve always been one to do the little things, but it makes an impact to see the company’s owner and your managers do the same. It shows that effective leadership can motivate employees to perform at their best. In this way, goals are achieved and departments meet or exceed set standards. In a nutshell, developing effective leaders among your managerial staff is essential to the success of your organization.
So, how does one become a servant leader? It’s simply a matter of following a few easy steps. Instead of spending time defining expectations for your employees, spend it recognizing how you can support them. Stay accountable to your team. Ask for feedback on your actions. Focus on giving power away rather than accumulating it. According to Matt Tenney, author of Serve To Be Great: Leadership Lessons from a Prison, a Monastery, and a Boardroom, “When the focus is on serving team members, leaders can create a team culture that people want to be a part of, that produces superior results, and that has a positive impact on society as a whole. When this happens, leaders win, too, because they get promoted faster and create the conditions for sustainable, long-term success. Perhaps more important, they actually enjoy going to work each day, and the people on their teams do too.”
Being a servant leader can be immensely rewarding both on a personal as well as professional level. However, it can be challenging to switch the mindset from being a “boss” to being a true servant leader. Following these steps is just the beginning. Communicating with your team and really finding out what works best for your business is key.
Does this sound like something you would like to take on, then we want to help. We can support you through your goals and help you reach your full potential. Give us a call today for an informal chat about your circumstances. If we are unable to meet all of your HR needs, we will direct you to an HR professional who can.
Three ways to rocket your team’s performance in 2019
So when you take a look back at how your business performed in 2018, are you satisfied with what was achieved? A little reflection is always useful, but now’s the time to start thinking about the future. You no doubt have big plans for the next 12 months. You’ve got targets to meet and goals to smash, and if you want to ensure that your plans become a reality, then you’re going to have to give some serious consideration to how you’ll make sure that you get the most out of your staff.
Sometimes though, this can be much easier said than done. Every business owner knows that improving performance could be key to overall growth, but you’ll need some solid strategies to make this happen. You’ll be pleased to hear then that we can help. Let’s take a look at three ways to rocket your team’s performance for the year ahead.
Provide challenges that are stretching but achievable
No one ever achieved great things by just coasting along without a challenge. Your staff should be stretched, but there’s a fine balance to strike. Give them too much to handle and you’re not going to get the desired outcome. It might be time to assess your staff’s performance objectives, and consider whether they’re really fit for purpose.
Your line managers will play a big part in making this a success. They’ll know their team members best. So you need to make sure that they’re capable of helping them to set goals, and just as importantly, ensuring that they believe that they can achieve them.
Outline the value of the work outside the context of the business
If you’ve done any reading or research into best practice when it comes to managing a team, then you’ll know that it makes sense to encourage everyone to realize how their work helps the business to grow and meet its objectives. In other words, your staff should understand how what they’re doing fits into the bigger picture. You can take things a step further than this however. Are your staff aware of how their work makes a worthwhile contribution, profits and growth aside? Most businesses have some kind of social impact, and this can often be a great motivator for staff. Does your organization make a positive contribution to the community? Are you changing the lives of your customers and clients?
Recognize achievements as part of day-to-day business
Most of us can take huge amounts of personal satisfaction away from simply knowing that we’ve done a good job. Often, this alone can encourage us to strive to be even better. But let’s be completely honest here. Most of us also enjoy being suitably rewarded for our efforts. It’s easy to think that this is all about financial incentives, but this isn’t necessarily the case. It’s about rewards that are proportionate to the achievement. It’s about applying the same principles across the board. It’s about considering your reward processes as a whole, rather than just worrying about budget restraints. And ultimately, it’s about getting to the stage where ‘end-of-year performance reviews’ aren’t a one-off activity, but part of an ongoing dialogue.
Performance is important, and this is your chance to make sure that you’ve laid the right foundations for the year ahead. Are you ready, or are you lagging behind?
If you’re concerned about how employee performance could be damaging your business, or you just want to make sure that you’re firing on all cylinders, then we can help. Get in touch today.
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