flexible work schedule policy

Wishing I was this flexible

I have a lot of things I’m proud of accomplishing at work, but it’s the sum of them and the trust that my leaders and staff place in me that have the most impact on me. Below you’ll learn about one recent example of how I was able to stand up for our staff and keep a misguided manager from implementing a decision that would have had a negative impact on the culture and employees. It’s the little things like this every day that make me glad that I’m in HR.

Recently we had a discussion about moving from our current flexible schedule policy to a core business hours work arrangement. Some of our management team looked at the decision as a way to force everyone to be in the office at least part of the day in order to make sure everyone is staying on task and accomplishing their work. (Click here for the tools I use for work/life flexibility.)

However, I was more than a little bit perturbed by the idea.

See, I have this funny, old-fashioned notion that managers are there to… well, manage. Continue reading

How to teach managers and teams about disrespect at work

Recently I received a copy of The Respect Effect to review. This post is less of a book review and more of a discussion about one specific idea I found in the book, but it’s been a good read and I definitely have some good notes for my next manager’s meeting. 

How does Zappos handle issues with disrespect in the workplace?

“If it [the issue of disrespect] cannot be successfully handled within the workgroup, we fire them.”
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com

I’ve been thinking about this ever since I read it a few weeks ago. It’s not only about not tolerating disrespect within the workplace setting. It also presents an idea that warrants some thought. Continue reading

A performance discussion for those who manage others

I have been thinking a lot about performance management lately-namely, how can managers get it done faster, better, and more effectively? I run into complaints about all areas of performance feedback: how to do it, what to say, how to have time for it, etc.

I get them so often that I’ve put together a quick discussion you can have with your managers to help them do it well. The best part? There is no “I don’t have time for this” excuse, because the lesson takes less than a minute to deliver. Here we go:

30 Second Public Service Message for Managers

Performance feedback is critically important for your people to do their jobs well. It needs to be all these:

  • On time
  • Honest
  • Accurate

Keep The Golden Rule in mind. Address their performance (good or bad) like you would want your own to be addressed.

Bonus tip: if you think there may be a surprise for the employee, call me.

And that, my friends, is the 30 second lesson on performance!

Want more? Check out the free employee performance management guide!

I heard a new term to describe poor job feedback recently at the SHRM 2012 Conference, and I just had to share it here.

gunnysack feedback  [guhn-ee-sak feed-bak] noun
the act of saving all of an employee’s feedback over time and delivering it all at one time during an annual performance review; see also terrible management practices and how to increase employee turnover

how to give feedback at workThis is a really bad idea for several reasons.

  • First, you are not supplying the person with positive encouragement when they accomplish something noteworthy. How will they know what they are doing right?
  • Second, you are not correcting improper behaviors right away. Do you seriously think the employee really wants to do the wrong thing for an extended period of time before you get up the nerve to tell them?

In short, it violates the biggest rule with regard to comments for performance reviews: treat the other person like you want to be treated. Stuck and not sure how to proceed? Here’s a crazy idea–ask them what they want! Let’s add gunnysack job feedback to the list of failed management ideas (like using Twitter for reviews).

Anyone witnessed a manager clinging to the belief that this type of performance management is a good one?

Get them involvedIn my first post on how to develop managers, I talked about uncovering manager development opportunities. Today we’ll talk about how to structure your organization so the managers want to get involved with their own development.

Hire right

It starts with the hire. If you hire someone who is comfortable with what they can already do and isn’t interested in doing anything more, then you’re probably going to have difficulty working with them. One of my favorite songs uses this lyric, and I repeat it to myself often when things start to get a little out of my comfort zone:

Somewhere in the grand design, it’s good to be unsatisfied. It keeps the faith and hope a little more alive.

There’s nothing wrong with finding someone who is not satisfied with where they are currently Continue reading

I’m a firm believer in managers and their role as an intermediary between the business and its staff. I have seen that relationship play out with both positive and negative results, but there’s no disputing the relationship between good managers and good employees.

On a related note, I did a video a while back on the proper care and feeding of employees. It notes the (amazing) statistic that providing fair/accurate feedback to employees has a 39% impact on their performance. Wow!

In a recent post on retention management, I talked about 11 ways managers can influence their company’s retention rate. I’d love for you to check it out, leave a comment, and share your own thoughts on how managers can help (or hurt!) the retention of great employees.

training for supervisorsI attended a new supervisor training session a few years ago, and it left me with some strong feelings about how to run a supervisor training program. I think the way it’s traditionally been done is a poor method for teaching managers what they need to know, but I haven’t decided on the right combination of teaching tools/methods that would be most effective. The one thing I know for sure is that it needs to change.

I ran across this site recently and had to laugh. It is a common theme that I’ll get a call because I’m the “computer guy” in the family. With Teach Parents Tech you have the option of sending video links directly to those who need assistance. That allows you to indirectly teach your parents/grandparents/in laws/whoever how to do computer tasks from simple (changing your computer’s clock) to advanced (changing your email address).

Why can’t we do that?

Then I started thinking about other applications. What if you could do the same for your supervisors? What if there was a neat way like this to teach them the basic principles of good management? Would you use the tool?

For instance, a new supervisor runs into a situation (giving feedback on poor performance, motivating employees in a slump, giving a presentation to senior management, etc.). They don’t have someone available to ask for help, so they pop onto the web and find the video that corresponds with that particular situation.

No, it’s not a perfect substitute for an in-person chat with someone who already knows how to do the task, but it’s better than going into the situation blind-folded. Just a little bit of preparation could go a long way in most instances.

A few situations I think would be neat to cover:

  • How to give accurate, honest feedback
  • Why documentation is essential
  • The wide world of terminations
  • Harassment, discrimination, and lawsuits, o my!
  • Safety and security in the workplace
  • How to train someone
  • Coaching and mentoring your staff
  • Building and managing teams
  • Developing and pursuing a vision
  • And tons more!

What do you think? Are there other scenarios that you think they run into on a daily basis that they could use some new supervisor training on?