Workplace Wisdom

19 Mar 2019

How to Get a New Employee Off on the Right Foot

“What do I need to do to make sure James gets off to a good start?” my client asked. Leaders talk a lot about setting people up for success, but most onboarding seems to focus on documentation for HR files, occasionally on formal task training and only rarely on “how things work here.” Employees who aren’t part of a large training group are often left to figure things out on their own. That’s why I’m always happy when a manager […]

20 Nov 2018

3 Smart Investments to Help You Retain Millennial Employees

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. A common refrain I hear from business leaders is, “We hire them, we train them and then they leave!” Those leaders are referring to millennials, who have been a management punching bag for a while, and are starting to be joined by Gen Z. Turns out these leaders aren’t wrong: Gallup research has found that millennial turnover is over three times the rate of other generations; Gallup also estimates “that millennial turnover costs the U.S. economy $30.5 […]

18 Sep 2018

What to Do When You Realize You Made a Bad Hire

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. Sometimes it happens that a candidate who had the right credentials, seemed to fly through the interview process, and had lovely references turns out to be an unexpected problem after hiring. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, consider yourself lucky, because only 19% of new hires are considered fully successful, according to a frequently cited study, and by the 18-month point 46% are deemed failures. If you’ve been in this situation, you’ve had to […]

04 Sep 2018

How to Support Employees When They Need Help

“Am I feeling too much empathy for my staff’s problems?” a client asked me the other day. Coincidentally, another client had asked a similar question just a day earlier. Both clients worried that they were letting their feelings about team members’ personal concerns eclipse their managerial responsibility to require accountability and performance. In one case, the supervisor recognized that an employee’s caring for an aging parent was both necessary and important even though it was creating scheduling conflicts and distractions; […]

17 Jul 2018

Are You Hiring the Best Candidate for the Job or the One You Like the Most?

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. There’s no perfect test (yet) to discern who will be the best possible hire. Even after preparing thorough job descriptions and formal assessments covering everything from personality to hand-eye-coordination, it’s a challenge to sort through the way people present themselves in interviews and in their resumes. During the screening and interviewing process, employers can be distracted by multiple kinds of bias and their own personal taste and preferences. It’s also easy to fall into […]

22 May 2018

How to Work with Ambitious Employees When There’s No Growth Opportunity

When you’re lucky enough to employ someone who has the capacity to do superior work and then grow past the job, but you haven’t got an appropriate outlet for them, it can be a challenge to keep them in the company, let alone within your work group. One of my clients got in touch recently to discuss what to do about two very different team members who’ve told him they are interested in growing beyond their current roles. Case 1: […]

30 Jan 2018

10 Reasons It’s Risky to Be Friends with Your Staff

Clients often ask me how to deal with tricky interpersonal relationships in the workplace. Two of the most challenging situations occur when a leader hires a friend or even the friend of a friend, or when a leader and a subordinate start a social relationship and then experience a professional or personal falling-out. Compensation and friendship are rarely a healthy combination. Financial and emotional commitments can get mixed up, and that doesn’t even take into account the effects of the […]

05 Dec 2017

How to Get the Most from Your Exit Interviews

Are you doing thoughtful exit interviews with all levels of departing employees? The exit interview is one of few concrete opportunities to learn what makes someone comfortable to work in your organization — or not — and to glean information you can use to improve management, leadership, process, and structure. In many ways, an exit interview is the last service an employee can choose to do for an organization — it’s a gift of both time and candor. Businesses can […]

07 Nov 2017

How to Give Uncomfortable Personal Feedback, with Grace

Most people feel awkward raising personal issues with colleagues. That’s especially true when those issues concern the physical body, seem like an inherent expression of the person themselves, or are things we would feel mortified about if someone brought them up about us. Weird personal habits, physical issues, and behavioral quirks can be off-putting or disruptive to others, and create tricky, delicate situations that affect everything from teamwork to customer retention. Typically, the format for performance-based feedback relies on this […]

12 Sep 2017

How to Get the Best from Your HR Department

Too often, I hear leaders and staff in all kinds of organizations express a lack of confidence in their human resources departments. For many senior executives, this lack of confidence is actually a lack of respect. They criticize HR for not understanding the business or not being strategic. There’s also a lack of respect for HR lower down in organizations, but there it comes from a lack of trust. Employees say things like: “HR is not your friend here,” or […]

 

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