Month: December 2015

Tis the Season

Another update from the Jungle….

christmasNicole, the HR manager, is making one more effort to boost morale among her fellow employees this year. So far her efforts have had mixed success, to put it mildly. After scantily dressed people at the Halloween party and a near race riot for Veteran’s Day, the Thanksgiving luncheon was a damp squib. But there’s still time to rescue morale with a Christmas party.

Actually, it won’t be a Christmas party because Nicole doesn’t wish to offend the religious sensibilities of any employee. It’s a holiday party. She buys generic party favors to decorate the break room. Then she asks management to pay for the party to show their appreciation for their employees. Management counters with the bill for the Thanksgiving luncheon and says the company president won’t pay another red cent. The president is upset after hearing a rumor that his company is running a prostitution ring based on leaked photos from the Halloween party.

So Nicole decides to have another potluck lunch. She posts a sign-up sheet on the refrigerator in the break room and waits for the inevitable disgruntlement to ooze through her office door. She doesn’t have to wait long.

Ruth darkens her doorway to object to the generic decorations. She insists the holiday is about the christmas1baby Jesus and offers to contribute her personal Nativity scene to make the scene more authentic. The Nativity scene involves burning candles to illuminate the manger. Nicole says no. The candles will likely set off the sprinkler system and besides the workforce includes observers of several faiths.

The day of the holiday party arrives and Nicole inspects the potluck which includes chicken burritos, no-meat chili, pecan pie, and snickerdoodle cookies. Then Nicole notices Steve sidling up to the buffet table with a couple of desserts and hurries over to inspect his contributions. His key lime pie looks delicious but the fumes indicate that it’s half rum. His other contribution is bourbon balls.

What should Nicole do next?

  1. She can confiscate Steve’s desserts and remind him of the company’s no-alcohol policy.
  2. She can pretend not to notice Steve’s contribution and allow the seasonal cheer to go on. After all, it would boost morale until the alcohol wore off.
  3. She can encourage the company president to indulge in dessert and, when he’s feeling mellow, hit him up for pay raises for the workforce.

Nicole’s year of trying to boost morale is winding to a close. Nicole plans to enjoy the remainder of the year in solitude and meditation while preparing for next year.

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.

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The Back Stabber

Another update from the Jungle….

backstabMarcella was happy to find a friend like Barry when she joined her new employer. He seemed like such a nice guy, interested in mentoring younger co-workers like her. Barry was a big help to her as she navigated the internal politics of her new employer.

Gradually over the months, Marcella talked about her children and she even gave Barry a few details about her messy divorce.   A female co-worker warned Marcella that Barry’s nice guy image was barely skin deep. Marcella dismissed the comments as sour grapes because the co-worker had been bounced from Barry’s team due to poor performance.

Then Marcella disagrees with Barry about how to solve a problem on their team project. Barry first tries to shame Marcella
in front of the other team members by explaining that he has so much more experience than her, his solution is the best. When Marcella refuses to back down, the matter escalates to their boss who agrees with Marcella’s solution to the problem.

A week later, the boss stops by Marcella’s office to ask if everything is okay at home. He assures her backthat she can have time off to go to court to deal with her son’s drug problem. Marcella’s shocked; her son doesn’t have a drug problem. Other co-workers stop by during the next few days to offer support.

Marcella remembers confiding to Barry several months ago that she was worried about some of her son’s friends. During that conversation she also said she was happy that her son’s school invited a community outreach police officer to talk to the students about the consequences of drug use. Marcella thinks that Barry twisted this information because he is mad about losing their disagreement on the team project.

What should Marcella do next?

  1. She can confront Barry to ask if he is the source of the rumor and then emulate Dolly Parton in “9 to 5” (threatening to change him from a rooster to a hen).
  2. She can complain to an HR representative but she has no proof Barry started the rumor and it’s not clear that any employee policy has actually been violated.
  3. She can avoid Barry as much as possible and never confide personal information to him again.

In the actual situation, the backstabbing employee eventually alienated so many employees that he became completely isolated. When the company downsized, he was the only employee not invited to join co-workers as they found new employers.

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.

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Promoted to Failure

Another update from the Jungle….

actionplanJulia, the HR manager, is watching her company’s diversity and inclusion program go hideously wrong. Julia pushed every level of management all the way to the C-suite, urging them to broaden the pool of employees eligible for promotion to management. What did all her effort get her? Margaret.

Margaret worked in operations for many years and understands the technical side of the job but her interpersonal skills are dismal. She’s whiny and needy and self-absorbed. Some of her shortcomings might have been fixed if the C-suite had accepted Julia’s recommendation to create a management training program.

Instead, Margaret was promoted to manager without training or a mentor to help her. Now she micromanages her subordinates and refuses to delegate any decision-making authority to them. But she’s afraid of being held responsible if something goes wrong so she fails to make any decisions.

When other department managers complain that their work is disrupted, Margaret blames her subordinates of incompetence. Her subordinates show up and don’t do their jobs since they know bossany actions they take are likely to be undermined by Margaret. Most of them are applying for transfers away from her.

The stress on Margaret is so intense that she suffers from migraines and works from home several days a week. When she does come into the office, she is so unpleasant that everyone avoids her.

The steady rumble of discontent is growing so loud that the C-suite is having trouble ignoring it. Julia is desperately searching for a solution to the whole mess but she’s run out of time. In today’s mail she receives an EEOC notice letter that a complaint of racial discrimination has been made against Margaret by Margaret’s secretary.

What should Julia do next?

  1. She can recommend that Margaret be appointed special liaison to the company’s suppliers with an immediate posting to, say, Shanghai or Taipei.
  2. She can investigate the charges and then artfully respond to the EEOC in a way that is slightly more flattering than the actual situation warrants.
  3. She can notify the C-Suite of the EEOC investigation and use this as an opportunity to convince the senior managers to approve a training program for new managers.

In the actual situation, the EEOC concluded there was no racial discrimination because the new manager treated all her subordinates like crap. The employer hailed this decision as a victory. The new manager was eventually reassigned during a departmental reorganization but the employer still doesn’t have a training program for new managers.

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 today.

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