A review, hated by some, and loathed by others, but this activity is a necessary part of any business. There are ways to do it incorrectly, and there are ways to do it correctly.

Instance A — The Manager, whom has a full calendar of events and meetings schedules a review day for all employees in their department. This manager having very little time since they are heads of multiple projects, takes a cursory glance at the employee file and tries to remember the last time they and the employee have last talked. Remembering that the employee was called into the office to have a discussion about internet miss-use about two months ago. The manager has just 15-20 minutes scheduled for this employee and when they arrive the manager only brings up the topic of the internet miss-use, and sets that as the mood for the review. This manager prattles on about the effect of miss-use of time at work on the internet due to company policy can cause termination. The employee leaves the meeting with a lower morale and feeling of inadequacy, and their productivity the rest of the day suffers because of it.

Instance B — The Manager, whom even though has a full schedule, and multiple projects on their schedule, knows that the following week a day has been set aside for reviews. Once they get the reminder or sees it up-coming, familiarizes themselves with the employee file, and notes that two months have passed from a discussion about internet miss-use. This manager takes two seconds and sends an e-mail to the IT department and asks for a usage report, and states that they need it soon. Also the Manager while attending a conference call, reads over other information in the employee file, such as a recent certification or higher degree attained. Receiving the data from the IT department that the employee has spent significantly less time on the internet, a sheet of notes for discussion is created. On the day of the review, the Manager sets 30-45 minutes for the meeting. Opening the meeting, the manager brings up the new degree/certification, and the correction of the internet miss-use. Once this is done, the manager offers the employee a couple moments to tell them about the new certification/education experience that they worked so hard for. Time is spent talking about goals for the next period of time and the next review. The employee, elated about being able to share their achievements goes back to work with a new energy and passion.

So reading both instances, which is the incorrect, and which is the correct? If you answered A as incorrect, your right. Employees that are treated in the fashion of an assembly line are those that will not be as productive and full of passion of their work than others. It is the managers job to do these reviews, and to do them correctly. Unfortunately in todays economic times, the manager has almost too much on their plate, but when reviews come up, that plate must be juggled and time made in order to give profitable feedback. The word profitable feedback is the type of feedback that satiates the employee, and adds to their underlying need for not only acceptance but also acknowledgement.

In Instance A, the manager does not take the necessary 2-3 minutes to e-mail IT or a front line supervisor about whether the internet miss-use has been corrected or not. Nor does this manager take an additional 2-3 minutes to read through the employee file to see that this individual took the initiative and got that higher degree or certification. In this instance, both the manager has failed the employee, and the employee may fail the company by taking their knowledge asset to another company. Fail Fail

In Instance B, the manager does take the necessary 2-3 minutes for the e-mail, takes the 2-3 minutes and reads the employee file, and the light bulb goes off above their head. Setting the tone of the meeting with a congratulations for the certification/degree and acknowledging that the internet miss-use issue has passed. The manager has done their job, and the employee has been positively reinforced. Win Win

In todays busy business environment, managers have a tendency to just fly into a dreaded review, and not look at it as a way to retain, if not source for a new asset for a project. This is a learned experience, not an inherited one. Effective managers LEARN how to do reviews, and follow-up on errors or why the employee gives a low job satisfaction review in an exit interview for instance. Long gone are the days like in the movie 9 to 5 where a manager is only responsible for a few tasks, they are responsible for a multitude of tasks, of which the most important one is change along with employees. As a manager, stagnation is the killer of profitability, and constant change is the fertilizer for a productive profitable employee.

As always, contacting People Wise is a benefit when these issues come up, and consultation services, being inexpensive, reap the rewards of productive employees!

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This question is one that several employers ask themselves. To answer this question simply, protection. An effective, correctly written Employee Handbook can assist an employer not only protect them, but also cover themselves in the event of an Employee issue.

The Employee Handbook lists not only what an employer expects of an employee, but also what an employee expects of their employer. This relationship between employer and employee allows for the equal exchange of information, whether the company has 2 employees or 25,000 employees. Some of the many items that are in an effective handbook are:

1. Key Employment Policies

2. Federal Law Commitments

3. Definition of Employment.

4. Harassment Policies

5. Disciplinary Definitions

This Employee Handbook can be done with both At-Will employers, as well as C.B.A. (Collective Bargaining Agreement) employers. The wording within the handbook may be different with the two types, but the meat of the sandwich remains the same. Even if you have multiple locations in a city, state, or national, the verbiage or meat of the sandwich may be applicable to one place, but may need to be changed in another locality.

You do need to ask yourself as an employer, Do I have an effective Employee Handbook? If you cannot truthfully answer it with a resounding Yes, then a Handbook Legal Compliance Audit is in dire need. Writing an effective Employee Handbook in itself is not an easy task for business owners, as they have to run their businesses, not research the ins and outs of the applicable laws.

So take a moment, look around your desk, and find your Employee Handbook, and look at it and see if you are confident in it. If you are not confident, or if there is a single doubt about your Employee Handbook, it is time for an audit. These audits are simple and easy with a turn-around of about a work-week.

Call People Wise to complete this task, it is something that can give you as the employer a safety net, or a benchmark for issues that may arise.

Five Quick Hiring Tips

October 3, 2008

I recently came across an article titled “30 Interview Questions You Can’t Ask and 30 Sneaky, Legal Alternatives to Get the Same Info” on HR World, which caused quite a stir.  Check out the article and the comments at http://www.hrworld.com/features/30-interview-questions-111507/.

 

Why all the outrage in the HR community?  The article, although filled with good information, was presented as a way to use legal questions in order to try to trick the applicant into revealing information that we can only assume would allow the interviewer to make a hiring decision based on discriminatory criteria.

 

The bottom line is this, the EEOC does not mandate what questions can be asked in an interview.  The interview (and its questions) is not the issue; it is what criteria you use to make the hiring decision that matters.  You should hire the most qualified person for the position using only criteria that makes sound business sense for the position in which you are hiring.

 

Here are five quick tips to keep your hiring legal and to get the right person for the job.

 

  1. Take the time to create a detailed job description.  This should include the physical requirements for the job, the hours and travel needs, the required skills, experience, and education needed to perform that job, and the personal attributes that are aligned with the business’s desired value and culture (to ensure organizational fit).
  2. Use the job description to create a structured interview.  A structured interview simply means one in which every applicant is asked the same questions.  This is a best practice because it ensures consistency which can help to keep the interviewer on the right track, and gives you consistent criteria to compare in order to make the best decision in the end.
  3. Take notes.  These notes should be kept for one year.  If you are ever questioned about a hiring decision it is imperative that you are able to look back at the notes from every candidate for that position to show why you made the decision that you made, again, based on business need.  One word of caution – only write notes that have to do with the business criteria.  Do not jot down things that could be construed as discriminatory such as; has three kids, will be ready for retirement in three years, overweight, etc.
  4. Don’t go it alone.  Always have more than one interviewer present during an interview.  This will not only protect you in a he-said/she-said situation but can also negate the affects of stereotyping or hiring from your gut.  The other person will help to balance you out by giving you another perspective.
  5. Don’t stereotype.  Everyone does it to some extent or another but in an employment decision it can get you in trouble and will not yield you the best employee for the job in the end. 

 

Here’s an example:  you are hiring an account supervisor who needs to be available to travel with very little notice.  You interview Sue who mentions her six kids during idle chit-chat with the receptionist and you overhear.  Next, you interview Bob who is a 20 something bachelor.  You assume that Sue might have a hard time picking up at the drop of a hat where Bob will be available whenever you need him.  However, the reality is that Sue’s husband is a stay-at-home dad and Bob is responsible for his elderly mother and can not travel overnight.

 

If a job has a particular requirement such as travel, heavy lifting, long hours, physically challenging environments, or whatever.  Make them clear during the interview and ask (every applicant) if they can meet that requirement.  When they answer, take them at face value.

 

Remember, interviewing is not easy.  Even the most seasoned of HR professionals makes a bad hiring decision from time to time.  However, by taking a systematic approach and using tools such as the job description, structured interview questions, pre-employment tests, and background and reference checks you can increase your chances of a good hire by up to 80%.

 

People Wise is here to help.  Check out these tools and more on our website at www.pwhrm.com.