Job Descriptions

Can We Get By Without Her?

Another update from the Jungle….

Georgia is the manager of a group home for disabled adults. It’s not easy caring for people who have trouble remembering what they did five minutes ago or who need help with what is euphemistically called “life activities.” But they are a breeze compared to dealing with employees.

Job seekers who can stomach the idea of helping with bathing, cooking, and light housekeeping usually disappear when they hear about the pay. It’s not that families of the disabled don’t care about their loved ones but they usually have no idea of the true cost of care. Or as Georgia’s boss constantly complains, everyone wants Cadillac coverage for the price of a Chevy.

The latest employee through the revolving door is Krystal, a twenty-something whose parents stopped paying her cell phone bill and put a padlock on the refrigerator. Taking the hint, Krystal realized that her parents wanted her to get a job.

Krystal is a so-so employee. Georgia puts up with her because the home is usually short-staffed. But Georgia resents spending so much of her time trying to motivate Krystal to do the bare minimum in her job description.

Last week, Georgia learned that Krystal had again failed to take Lenny, one of the disabled adults, to his favorite restaurant. First, she said she forgot. But when Georgia stared silently at her, broke down and admitted that she didn’t feel like eating greasy food with Lenny. Georgia’s blood pressure spiked. She retorted that Krystal didn’t have to eat the food; she just needed to drive Lenny to the restaurant so that he could.

Today, the employees are gathered for the monthly staff meeting. Georgia reviews a recent situation where one of their charges was injured when he tripped over the TV remote which was lying on the floor.  She explains new procedures that the company wants them to follow to avoid a repeat injury.

Georgia asks the employees if they understand the new procedures. Krystal rolls her eyes and mutters audibly “bitch.” Everyone turns to look at her. Then they look at Georgia.

What should Georgia do next?

  1. She can lean across the table and slap the taste out of Krystal’s mouth.
  2. She can fire Krystal and escort her off the premises with well-placed kick in the rear.
  3. She can remember how short-staffed they are and give Krystal a written reprimand and a second chance.

In the actual situation, the company gave the insubordinate employee a second chance based on staff shortages. But they started the search for a replacement.

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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Hey, Y’all, I’d Like A Job

Another update from the Jungle….

It’s been a long day and Mary is catching up on her emails. As she deletes all the unsolicited introductions from sales people trying to sell her stuff she either doesn’t want or can’t afford, she wonders again if she was completely nuts to open her own business.

When she’s not avoiding obnoxious sales pitches, she’s dealing with job seekers. She can track the college graduation season simply by the number of unsolicited emails she receives. She rarely reads the attached resumes because of the first impressions created by the emails. The smart graduates use proper grammar and complete sentences in their emails. The smartest graduates actually look at her company website to see what kind of business she runs.

She sighs and clicks on the next email. Its contents strike her so forcibly that she takes a big swig of her single malt scotch. She glances out the window to see if it’s a full moon; it’s not. It’s also too early for the solar eclipse. No natural phenomenon explains the email she’s reading.

The email says, “Hey, y’all, I just graduated from college and I’d love to come work for you if you’ve got an opening. If you don’t have any jobs right now, please keep me in mind when you do. Thx, Candace.”

Mary’s received some strange introductions from job-seekers. She was once chased two city blocks until she realized the crazy man running after her wasn’t a stalker; he was trying to hand deliver his resume.  She’s had friends ask her to hire their college-aged children because some of those young people are otherwise unemployable.

Mary knows that millennials are much more informal than her generation of workers. But Candace’s email introduction surely takes the prize.  This clueless waif graduated from college without ever learning how to present herself to a potential employer.

What should Mary do next?

  1. She can hit delete and ignore Candace because it’s not her responsibility to teach millennials how to apply for a job.
  2. She can drink more scotch and save the email for the bad days when she needs a quick laugh.
  3. She can remember her own job-hunting mistakes and email Candace some kind advice on how the power of first impressions affects gainful employment.

Informality is preferable to the strict workplace hierarchies of the past that stifled innovation and creativity. However, informality should never cross the line into disrespect. HR can help by encouraging college placement offices to teach soon-to-be-graduates how to properly approach prospective 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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Excuse Me, I’m Your Boss

Another update from the Jungle….

Mercedes and Hunter are millennials, and that’s a problem for their boss, Susan. Susan built her business from scratch after years of working for big corporations. But her toughest job has been working with millennials.

Mercedes and Hunter think the business world is flat. They think they are on the same level with Susan. They barge into her office to discuss details of their work as if she is a college chum rather than their boss. Susan believes in open lines of communication, but she’s explained many times that they need to first ascertain that she is free to talk rather than flopping down on a chair and talking.

They also seem to think that paying your dues is for others. Hunter constantly argues with Susan about the strategy for each client relationship. His occasionally condescending tone and know-it-all attitude is infuriating. Susan remembers years of struggle in corporate America and resists the urge to slap his head off his shoulders.

Millennials have opposable thumbs because they can only communicate via text messaging, using annoying symbols and other non-words, Susan thinks irritably. Perhaps that explains another lapse in business etiquette. What Mercedes and Hunter consider “honest” talk is perceived by clients as rude and disrespectful.

Susan values their fresh insights and technical skills, but she’s feeling worn down by their constant search for meaning. Last week, Hunter said he didn’t understand the purpose of his newest assignment. Susan managed, barely, to not say that the purpose is his paycheck.

Yesterday, Mercedes told Susan that the stress of working on her newest assignment had upset her too much to continue working that day. She walked out of Susan’s office, out the front door of the office, and down the street to the nearest coffee shop for another cappuccino.

Susan glared at the open doorway, infuriated, as she thought about her career in corporate America, surviving backstabbing co-workers and managers who chased management fads.  She thinks a sniveling millennial wouldn’t survive a week in a traditional job.

What are Susan’s options?

  1. She can punt the millennials into outer space and look for replacements.
  2. She can retire to a Caribbean island with lots of rum and fruit.
  3. She can coach them on appropriate business behavior while adapting some of her business practices to fit their work habits.

The above scenario is a composite demonstrating the perceived differences between millennials and their baby boomer bosses. Baby boomers began their careers when face time counted and a strict hierarchy was enforced.  Today’s workforce requires more flexible employee 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.

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Have I Got a Deal for You!

Another update from the Jungle….

Cyndi has settled in well to her new role as a manager at her company. Her friendly attitude is helping her build solid client relationships. But Tom, the candidate who lost out when Cyndi was promoted, is nursing his sense of injustice.

Tom believes he was the victim of reverse discrimination. He thinks the company promoted Cyndi because they were scared by a former employee’s gender discrimination lawsuit. Initially, he sulked and nursed his wounded ego. But he’s not stupid; he knows that sulking won’t help him. So he does what any reasonably intelligent schemer does. He dreams up a diabolically clever plan to get even.

First, he taps his network within the company to find out where there might soon be an opening for a manager. He learns that Stuart is retiring from his managerial slot as head of internal procurement. It’s an important job within the company but a graveyard for career aspirations. No procurement manager has ever received a promotion to the C-suite.

Tom begins maneuvering to have Cyndi promoted to Stuart’s soon-to-be-vacated job. Tom persuades a friend to encourage Cyndi to apply for Stuart’s job.  He also anonymously encourages the HR manager to believe that Cyndi wants Stuart’s job.  As a result, Cyndi is subjected to nudges, winks, and “discreet” inquiries about her interest in replacing Stuart.

Cyndi is flattered by all the attention. It’s nice to be wanted. She knows that if she takes the job, she will be the head of an entire department and get a slight bump in pay.  But Cyndi isn’t stupid either.

She knows she’s got a management job on the production (i.e., revenue producing) side of the business. Procurement is a cost center and not a revenue producer for the company.  She knows that production-side managers are more likely to get promoted.

What should Cyndi do next?

  1. She can apply for Stuart’s job so that she becomes the head of a department and gets the bump in pay; but accept that she’ll probably never get another promotion.
  2. She can recognize the Machiavellian plot to derail her career and start a counter campaign to get Tom promoted to the procurement job.
  3. She can hang on to her current managerial post and work toward a C-suite promotion.

Office politics are a feature of every company. For some, it’s a game that alleviates the boredom of their jobs while others see politicking as war with winners and losers. To limit the politicking, it helps to have clear HR policies that are fairly applied to all 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.

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I Gotta Be Me!

Another update from the Jungle….

Annie is desperate for a job after being kicked to the curb by her last two employers.  One employer cut staff when sales plummeted off a cliff; the other went straight in to bankruptcy.  Working a cash register in a big box store is a high risk job these days.

Annie doesn’t care about her dream job.  She just wants to pay her bills while she decides how old she’ll be before she can afford to retire.  With dimming hopes of a better life, she applies for every job opening she can find.

Finally, she is offered a job at a sporting goods store.  The company’s C-suite wants to sell more sporting equipment and clothes to women.  The company’s HR director hopes that a diverse staff in the local stores will help meet the corporate goal of expanding the customer base.  Annie doesn’t know that she’s an experimental lab rat let loose in the maze to test new management objectives.  She’s just happy to be employed.

In her first week on the job, Annie learns more about sports and sporting goods than she ever wanted to know.  She thinks some of the camping equipment is pretty cool but would never camp out in the woods with all the germs, vermin, and lack of Wi-Fi service.  Her male co-workers consider her an urban blight on their outdoorsy message to become one with nature.  Even the other female employee thinks Annie is a sissy for not understanding that sweating is fun.

Annie wears leggings with flowing caftans and handcrafted jewelry.  Her co-workers wear Dockers and golf shirts with the company’s logo.  She wears shoes made of eco-friendly fibers; her co-workers wear hiking boots.

After a month on the job, Annie gradually realizes that she’s not fitting in with her co-workers.  She’s the fastest cashier in the store, but who cares when she doesn’t know a fly-fishing rod from a regular rod.

What are Annie’s options?

  1. She can continue being the oddball on the job, feeling increasingly uncomfortable and isolated.
  2. She can try fitting in by taking up big game hunting and picking her teeth with a Bowie knife.
  3. She can be herself but begin looking for a job that matches her personal values.

The above scenario illustrates the mismatch that can occur between employees and employers.  With the Great Recession behind us, employees may find it easier to work for companies that match their values.  Meanwhile, employers may want to review the connection between their corporate goals and their corporate values.

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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Too Many Hats

Hats(1)Another update from the Jungle…

Tina was the first employee at her company, hired a month after Drew, the owner, created the company.  Tina got the job because she was a friend of Drew’s and she was willing to work for an erratic paycheck.  Also, Tina had a liberal arts degree from a state university which turned out to be not much good when job hunting.

So Tina worked for Drew and was excited each time the company grew. In the early days, they shared ramen noodles for lunch and pooled their money to pay for coffee meetings with prospective clients.  Tina liked the sense of adventure and the fact that each day was different.

Over the next three years, Tina worked on everything from the sales brochures to updating the logo to handling disgruntled customers.  She handled administrative tasks such as ordering office supplies and equipment so that Drew could focus on the company’s strategy. She also helped Drew interview and hire new employees.

Each new employee was hired for a particular job, even though they lacked written job descriptions. Any job that didn’t fit into another employee’s skill set slid onto Tina’s desk.  She knew the history of the company, the way things has always been done, and she was willing to help solve problems faced by other employees.

Hats(2)Drew was happy to delegate employee issues to Tina. But Tina didn’t know anything about employment laws or human resources best practices. She Googled key terms periodically and filled out paperwork to the best of her ability. The company’s CPA was able to answer her questions related to payroll processing, but basically Tina was on her own.

Now Tina’s burnt out.  Although it’s a fine spring day, she’s slumped at her desk, exhausted and dispirited. It’s time to plan the monthly employee birthday party and she just can’t face it. Working for Drew isn’t fun anymore.

What options are available to Tina?

  1. She can continue doing all the tasks that none of her co-workers want to do until she becomes a bitter old woman.
  2. She can explain to Drew that it’s time to professionalize the back office so that the company can grow smoothly.
  3. She can quit and go sit on a beach in the Caribbean drinking rum and eating rum-soaked fruit.

In the actual situation, the company decided to hire a subject matter expert to help them create a formal structure for the administrative side of the business and to implement best practices. Then the subject matter expert helped train a new employee to handle administrative tasks.

 

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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Psycho Boss

Another update from the Jungle….
Sue hates her job because she works for a psycho. Sue was transferred into the psycho’s
department during a company-wide reorganization about six months ago and life’s gone steadily
image031downhill since.

Sue’s psycho boss loves to assign multiple projects with the same deadline, which pretty much guarantees that something won’t be done on time. During the first month, Sue asked which project should be given priority and psycho boss always responded that the projects were equally important. So Sue stopped asking about prioritizing the workload. Of course, psycho boss blames Sue when deadlines are missed.

Refusing to establish priorities is just a symptom of psycho boss’ favorite management technique. Psycho boss refuses to make decisions because she’s afraid to take responsibility. But she won’t allow her subordinates to make any decisions without her input.
image035Last month, Sue decided to fight back. She bought a doll that she treats as her boss’ avatar. Each evening, she sticks pins in the doll and wishes psycho boss would vanish. So far the doll looks like a pin cushion but the bad juju hasn’t worked because Sue still works for the psycho.

Sue knows that senior management is aware of psycho boss’ management deficiencies. But she also knows that they won’t take any action as long as the work is done and the grumbling doesn’t flare into an open revolt. After all, senior management doesn’t want to admit they made a mistake by promoting psycho boss in the first place.

Yesterday, psycho boss called Sue into her office to accuse Sue of incompetence. When Sue asked for specific examples based on her work, psycho boss started yelling and cursing, accusing Sue of insubordination. Now Sue is sitting at home, sticking pins in the doll and considering her options.

What are Sue’s options?

  1. She can take an advanced course in black magic and hope it works better than the juju doll.
  2. She can complain to HR about psycho boss’ unprofessional behavior (yelling and cursing) and request that an HR rep attend future meetings between Sue and psycho boss to serve as a witness.
  3. She can look for another job either within the company or with another employer.

In the actual situation, the company reorganized their departments again and psycho boss lost supervisory authority in the changes. So in a weird way the juju doll worked because psycho boss vanished.

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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3 Keys to Hiring the Right Employee

Another update from the Jungle…
image029
Renee owns a small bakery that is growing rapidly but still needs to plow the profits back into the business to ensure its long term success. She knows the long term success of the bakery depends on the quality of the employees.

She learned through trial and error that she needed to be clear about what she was looking for in a new employee. One early hire, Debra, was great at baking muffins but seemed to hate people. Customers would dash out the door if they saw Debra at the counter waiting to serve them. Renee eased Debra out the door so that she could go be successful with a different employer. Then Renee revised her job descriptions to focus on all the skills, not just baking, that she needs.

Renee also realized that hiring the right employee is not enough. New hire Marta didn’t know how to use a convection heat oven and her first batch of cookies were harder than hockey pucks. After
image027the smoke cleared and the hockey pucks were trashed, Renee decided to assign an experienced employee as a mentor to train Marta on using equipment. Marta now bakes cookies using her grandmother’s recipes that are the hottest sales items in the store.

Of course, assigning a mentor was not enough either. Cherie had a mentor but wasn’t making progress in learning how to use kitchen equipment or the cash register. A quick investigation revealed that Cherie was intimated by her mentor and never asked questions. The mentor admitted that she is a perfectionist and isn’t comfortable trying to teach new hires.

This mismatch taught Renee that she needed to more closely monitor the progress of each employee. So every week she meets with each employee to answer questions and to ask for suggestions on improving the business. It’s a huge time commitment for Renee but in the past year, turnover among all employees has dropped dramatically and would-be bakers now beg her to hire them.

What are Renee’s 3 keys to hiring the right employee?

  1. Know what you want and clearly state it in the job description so that you hire the right person for the job.
  2. Have a good “onboarding” process to integrate the new employee into the workforce that includes training the new person on equipment and business processes.
  3. Monitor progress of all employees to match skills to opportunities to increase job satisfaction and the chance of retaining each employee.

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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We Need Employees….But We Have No Employee Policies

Another update from the HR Jungle…

Abigail and Bob started their business five years ago after being downsized from corporate jobs. Until recently they were the only employees, working long hours and outsourcing specific tasks to free-lancers (a/k/a independent contractors).

Now they want to add employees to prepare for several new customers. They believe replacing the free-lancers with employees will allow them to streamline processes, speed up response times and become more profitable.

As refugees from corporate America they want to avoid bogging down in bureaucracy but they also know they need some administrative structure. Hiring employees involves creating human resources policies to ensure that all employees are treated the same.

What should Abigail and Bob do next?

1. They should identify all the tasks to be performed by the newly hired employees so that accurate job descriptions can be created.
2. They must decide the details of everything from a dress code to what benefits should be offered.

Abigail and Bob are smart, educated individuals who can research HR issues and create an HR department from scratch. Or they can delegate this activity in order to free up their time to focus on growing their business. Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help them create their HR department and then serve as a resource for the HR manager.

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