Month: February 2016

The Micromanager

Another update from the jungle…

MicroMan 1Sarah joined the company as an experienced lateral hire.  She was attracted to the company after they offered her a chance to use her diverse experience. Sarah likes variety because she’s easily bored by routine. She bailed out of several previous jobs when they became boring.  Now she does all the special projects for her new employer and each day offers a new challenge. She likes everything about her job except her boss, Dean.

Dean is the second most dreaded type of boss: the micromanager.  The most dreadful managerial sort, of course, is the psycho boss.  Dean can’t just assign a project to Sarah. He spends half an hour explaining in detail how he would complete the project. Then he tells Sarah to use her own judgment.

Sarah has high personal standards which require her to thoroughly research an issue before making recommendations. She is also a perfectionist and agonizes over each memo and report to ensure that the information is accurate and the words are clear and concise.  Then Dean ruins it.MicroMan 2

As her boss, Dean wants to see Sarah’s written memos and reports before they are sent on to the senior management team. Sarah understands the need for quality control but he’s a micromanager and he can’t resist meddling.  His review of her first report for the higher ups resulted in a sea of red ink. Dean had revised the entire report.

Sarah stared at her destroyed sentences and asked Dean why he had changed it. He said he thought it read better with the changes. Sarah pointed out that all the changes were stylistic. Essentially, he had re-written her report to reflect his more verbose style of writing. Dean smiled and assured Sarah that things would change as he became familiar with the quality of her work.

Of course, nothing changes. As the months pass, Sarah’s frustration grows. She daydreams of beating Dean senseless with his own laptop computer or forcing him to listen to rap music.  She discreetly asks the HR director to transfer her to a different manager but is told such a move is impossible.

What options are available to Sarah?

  1. She can continue hoping that Dean’s management style will change.
  2. She can continue objecting to Dean’s management style, which is contributing to a perception that she’s bitchy and not a team player.
  3. She can do the minimum necessary to earn her paycheck while she looks for another employer.

In the actual situation, the subordinate eventually found a new employer where her new boss wasn’t a micromanager.

 

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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Dis-Integration

Mentor

Another Update from the Jungle…

Several years ago Cindy suggested that her company should create a mentoring program to reduce employee churn.  As the HR manager, she was spending most of her time interviewing applicants or completing termination paperwork.  At first, selling the idea to the owners of the company wasn’t easy.

The owners thought a mentoring program was a waste of time. The company founder told her that employees should be happy to have a job and didn’t need “touchy-feely crap”.  Cindy countered with diagrams showing years of trashed productivity and reduced profits caused by the revolving door of new hires. So the founder grudgingly consented to a mentoring program.

Cindy’s next hurdle was finding mentors. No one volunteered when she posted a notice on the bulletin board in the break room.  Her blast email calling for volunteers was ignored, except for the idiot who hit “reply all” when he commented to a co-worker about snowballs and hell. The idiot doesn’t know it yet, but Cindy has decided he needs to volunteer for quality control visits to suppliers in McAllen, Texas in August and Buffalo, New York in January.

Mentor 2Cindy eventually found enough mentors to run a pilot program.  Now six months later she is meeting with the mentees to ask for their feedback on how the program can be made better. What she learns is illuminating but a bit unexpected.

Brian says his mentor took him to dinner at an establishment with pole dancers and cheap booze. Brian admits he doesn’t know much about the company but he now carries lots of dollar bills just in case. Susan’s mentor complained incessantly about the company leading Susan to discreetly search for a new job.

Daniel, on the other hand, is enthusiastic about his mentor. She introduced him to key employees in each department, meets with him regularly to answer his questions, and urges him to volunteer for new duties in order to broaden his experience.

What should Cindy do next?

  1. She can recognize that the corporate culture’s defeatist attitude needs to be fixed first.
  2. She can ask Daniel’s mentor to create a list of her successful mentoring techniques so that others can copy it and hope a successful mentoring program will fix other problems.
  3. She can give up trying to make the workplace better and streamline the firing and termination processes.

In the actual situation, the senior management team never saw the value in a mentoring program and failed to support the initiative. The company continued to experience over 40% turnover in personnel and low productivity and employee morale.

 

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.

Ebook Link

https://njshirk12.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/skh-employee-theft.pdf

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A Valentine for a Special Lady

Val day 1Nicole, the HR Manager, spent last year’s holiday season trying to boost the morale of her co-workers.  Unfortunately, the office parties flopped and morale is still lower than a snake’s belly. The festive season faded into the cold drudgery of first quarter and everyone is mad.

Employees are mad because they haven’t gotten pay raises. The president is mad about the misbehavior at the holiday parties. He’s also worried that a key customer is about to take its business to a competitor putting a dent in the bottom line. As a result, the president has vetoed all budget increases, including pay raises.

Nicole knows about the budget problem because the president told her when he cut the HR Department’s budget.  Then he ordered Nicole not to divulge this information to anyone because he’s afraid that if word leaks out, other customers will lose confidence in the company and take their business elsewhere. Not knowing why they didn’t get pay raises, the employees leaped to the conclusion that the president is a greedy jerk who doesn’t care about them.

Even Nicole is depressed. Her boyfriend dumped her on New Year’s Day, during a TV commercial break from the college football matches he was watching.  Her cat hates the new brand of cat food she bought and snubs Nicole when she comes home each day. If her life was set to music, it would be an award winning country music song.

Nicole wonders if she’d be happier with a new employer.  As she sits pondering this question, a delegation of employees appears in the door of her office. Keith, the leader of the delegation, says they’ve come to talk to her on behalf of all the employees. Nicole braces herself for the worst.

Val day 3Keith tells Nicole that her co-workers are aware of how hard she’s worked for them. They want to thank her for her efforts on their behalf. Later that day a dozen yellow roses are delivered to her office, a gift from her co-workers.

The president sees the roses on Nicole’s desk and worries that he could lose her. He offers her a few perks, including a designated parking spot, to convince her to stay. Okay, that part is fantasy. The president is so wrapped up in the financial strains he doesn’t notice the roses.

Nicole knows that HR is often a thankless job and it’s not the first time she’s questioned her choice of career. But once in a blue moon, she has a day like the day she received roses.

Val day 2

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.

 

Ebook Link

https://njshirk12.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/skh-employee-theft.pdf

 

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Improving Morale with Beatings

MoraleAnother update from the Jungle….

Don started his tech company in the depths of the financial meltdown a few years ago. After years of struggling, he expanded his client base to the point that he now has employees instead of subbing out the work to independent contractors.

Don ought to feel happy, but he’s not.  His employees make him unhappy. He hired millennials expecting them to be energetic and creative and to keep his company on the cutting edge of technology.  Instead, they infuriate him with their attitude.

Greg and Sam blew a deadline because they went bar-hopping with college friends.  They had not wanted to work on the project but they were next up on the rotation for assignments. So Don ignored their lack of enthusiasm and told them to get busy.  Their final work product was so crappy that Don agreed not to charge the client.

Don was so angry he decided to take away a few perks. He folded up the ping pong table and shoved it inStartup, Business, People, Students the storeroom. Then he ordered Greg and Sam to report to the office every day so that he could keep a closer eye on them. Now they sulk at their desks, doing as little as possible, while surfing the web for other job opportunities.

Don is also annoyed with Beth. Beth wants to work on a fundraising campaign for her favorite non-profit (humane housing for pot-bellied pigs that have outgrown their cuteness) rather than working on client projects. Don likes bacon and ham and doesn’t see any point in coddling a former pet piggy. Besides, he hired Beth to work for his clients; not her favorite charity. He said no.

Morale is so low that even the free-beer-on-Friday promise hasn’t improved the general malaise afflicting the office.  It’s Friday evening. Don’s sitting at home drinking the single malt scotch he reserves for special occasions and wondering what he should do on Monday morning.

What options are available to Don?

  1. He can take away all the perks, including free beer, and enforce more discipline until employees crank out quality work and morale improves.
  2. He can fire his current employees and start over with a new batch of employees who accept his way of doing things.
  3. He can allow his employees more freedom to choose their assignments and set their own schedules as long as they meet project deadlines and submit quality work.

This story is a composite of several actual situations in which the small business owners still believed in face time and didn’t recognize that the newer generation of employees desire autonomy. No one likes to be micro managed, however, a worker still needs to serve the person who has employed them. They still need to earn their paycheck. The difficulty is always in finding a good balance.

 

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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