Month: June 2015

An Obnoxious Co-Worker


Another update from the Jungle…

Tilda is a senior manager for her company and a year ago the owner asked her to lead a team to find ways to improve internal processes to increase efficiency and profitability. For a year her team read workflow manuals and interviewed employees.  It was a tough year (in many ways).image019

In every department, her team members had to overcome suspicion, fear, and occasionally outright hostility. Some employees feared change because they thought it would be difficult to learn new processes. Many employees were afraid it was a secret management plot to eliminate their jobs.

Tilda is now presenting her team’s findings to the senior management team and the owner.  The recommendations include software upgrades, revising workflows to streamline processes, and reorganizing some departments. Her recommendations include training employees on the new software and retraining employees who are displaced in the department reorganizations.

As the meeting proceeds, one of her peers, Amanda begins to pout and squirm in her seat. She’s the first person to speak during the Q&A after Tilda’s presentation and she’s a massive downer. Amanda finds fault with almost every recommendation.  She knows plenty of reasons why none of them would work, but has no alternatives to suggest.

Amanda’s whiny voice rasps on every nerve ending in Tilda’s body. Tilda remembers that Amanda’s department was the most hostile to her team during the review process.  Tilda also remembers the extra work she put in and the family events she missed during the past year.  Tilda wants to slap Amanda for being so obnoxious.

What are Tilda’s options?

  1. She can slap Amanda, which will cause short-term pleasure but long-term consequences, namely termination of employment for violating HR policies on workplace violence.
  2. She can ignore Amanda’s negative comments, knowing that Amanda irritates many of her peers, and look to the other managers to vote in favor of the recommended changes.
  3. She can politely address the more sensible objections raised by Amanda and remind the management group of the consequences of the status quo.

In the actual situation, the senior management team fought (with words, not fists) about costs and loss of prestige (for the managers of the reorganized departments) before approving about half of the team recommendations.

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

Download my FREE eBook today! Click here!

Click here to join the HR Compliance Jungle.

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Can Free Beer Motivate an Employee?

Another update from the Jungle…
image015Justin owns a company that has been stagnating during the past year. They make enough money to stay in business but haven’t been able to expand into new markets.  At first, the lack of growth was fine with his staff because they were working through a back log of orders.

Now the back log is gone and employees are bored and disenchanted. They want pay raises, better opportunities for promotions, and a new ping pong table in the break room. They also want free lunches every day and free beer at the weekly office meeting on Fridays.  Justin’s not convinced that free food and beer will motivate his staff to be more creative in a way that’s good for the company’s bottom line.

A few months back, Justin divided his employees into teams to work on different projects but the teams seem to be in a rut. Last week, one team was busy shooting spit wads at the conference room’s whiteboard (to see if they’d stick to a slick surface) instead of brainstorming ideas for new services. Justin got the team back on track (he confiscated all the paper in the conference room) but he was furious about the wasted time.

Justin worries that some of his best people will leave for higher pay and better benefits packages at larger competitors.  He’s already lost two key people who were lured to greener pastures. Now Justin’s sitting at home sipping some single malt scotch and wondering what he can do to motivate his employees.

What are Justin’s options?

  1. He can buy more toys for the break room and a keg of beer for the Friday meetings. But that’s rewarding a lack of productivity by his employees.
  2. He can offer incentive programs, such as a bonus, to any employee who dreams up a new service offering that can increase revenue. This may not offer gratification to employees quickly enough since they could not receive the bonus until the new service proved marketable.
  3. He can reorganize the teams and the projects they work on, hopefully rejuvenating the employees and their creative processes.

In the actual incident, the employer decided to reorganize the teams to provide new challenges for the employees. As added benefits his employees were cross-trained so that it was easy to replace employees who left and this created a promotion track for the retained employees.

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

Download my FREE eBook today! Click here!

Click here to join the HR Compliance Jungle.

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How Did I Get Into This Mess?

Another update from the Jungle…
image011Veronica has been feeling a bit down lately as she drives to work. As the HR manager for her company, she’s in charge of the plans for the company’s annual employee picnic.  She’s tried delegating this responsibility but gave up when the employees she asked threatened to quit rather than get stuck with the job.

Veronica understands why they refused to help. The company picnic is not fun. Younger employees think pie eating contests are disgusting and they don’t care about activities for kids because they don’t have children.  Alcohol was banned two years ago (for reasons that can’t be discussed because the lawyers are still sorting out liability for the “proximate cause” of certain alleged injuries).  Older workers are simply disenchanted and the ones with marketable skills are bailing out as fast as they can update their resumes.

Veronica understands that, too. She tried for years to bridge the gap between the employees and the company owners. The owners refer to their employees as “talent” when talking to investors and other outsiders but they treat their workers like talentless twits.  They micromanage all aspects of the workplace and have a well-developed snitch system for obtaining reports on “disloyalty”.  The owners disguise their apparent contempt for their employees by insisting on annual gruesome rituals like the company picnic.

Unfortunately, this year a possible riot is brewing. Employees recently learned that the company gets a cut of the money collected from the vending machines in the break room. The owners have been using that money to cover the costs of the company picnic, meaning the employees are paying for their own company picnic.

What are her options?

  1. She can meet with the company owners to explain the mood of employees and ask them to cancel the picnic or to approve a budget to do something special this year.
  2. She can do the minimum necessary to stage the picnic and expect that even fewer employees will show up than did last year.
  3. She can polish up her resume and discreetly market her services to other companies with better employment practices.

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

Download my FREE eBook today! Click here!

Click here to join the HR Compliance Jungle.

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Not Quite Good Enough

Another update from the Jungle…
image006Shelly owns a small company that is growing rapidly now that the economy as a whole has perked up. She’s hired several new employees and is pleased with how well they are doing. She just promoted one of the new hires, Zach, to a management position that makes him her second in command. She hopes to take a real vacation this year now that she has someone dependable to cover for her.

Shelly would love to celebrate her good fortune but there’s a fly in the ointment.  Claudia was the first employee Shelly hired. Claudia is detail-oriented and in many ways, she is responsible for Shelly’s success because she did all the tedious, time-consuming work in the office. That freed up Shelly’s time to market the company and increase sales.

Unfortunately, what worked for a small, new business isn’t working so well now. Claudia wants to use old record-keeping methods that are no longer efficient for the company.  It takes her forever to complete specific tasks and co-workers are complaining about Claudia’s slow pace is slowing them down.

Claudia feels threatened by the others, particularly Zach, who is now making decisions that she and Shelly used to make together. Claudia feels like her contributions are ignored and it’s obvious she’s afraid she’ll be replaced. Shelly sympathizes because she knows what she owes to Claudia but she also sees Claudia’s limitations. The fact is that Claudia isn’t quite good enough; her skills don’t match what the company needs.

Shelly’s been struggling for months to figure out what to do about Claudia. Shelly no longer has time to spend hours helping Claudia agonize over every decision or listening to her complain about Zach. Shelly never realized how whiny Claudia can be and her patience is wearing thin.

What are her options?

  1. She can fire Claudia and give her a huge severance package as a going away present. A couple of glasses of wine will ease Shelly’s qualms about doing what needs to be done for the good of the business.
  2. She can hire an HR manager and delegate responsibility to listen to whiny employees, like Claudia. After all, why else would a boss hire an HR manager?
  3. She can create a job specific to Claudia in recognition for Claudia’s contribution to the success of the company, but that shunts her aside so that she doesn’t slow down co-workers.

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

Download my FREE eBook today! Click here!

Click here to join the HR Compliance Jungle.

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!