Often, human resources get a load of complaints about managers who are too mean to their employees. On the flip side, being too nice can lead to just as many problems.
In a comparison, this article examines therapist Lori Gottlieb, who had diagnosed patients who were unhappy because their parents had been too supportive, too accommodating, and never gave negative feedback during their childhoods.
Likewise, the communication tactics used in HR and business management have an impact on employees – their satisfaction with the jobs they do, and how they grow in their careers in the company.
For instance, here are a few tactics to avoid:
- Never admit to yourself or others that your workers may make errors.
- You should only give positive feedback.
- You should always say yes to your workers.
- You should solve every problem.
- Your people never move up, just out.
Read the complete BNET news article
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Has it become part of office culture for employees to eat lunch at their desks where you work?
This month, a new campaign called “Take Back Your Lunch” was initiated by The Energy Project, encouraging employers to minimize worker burnout in their organizations.
Many employees who tend to work at their desks at lunchtime would argue that doing so increases their productivity and shows a high level of commitment to their employers.
However, what is concerning for HR and management professionals is that this work culture could be damaging other areas:
- Lessening their interests in the work they do (and the effort they put into it)
- Shortening job retention with your organization due to burnout
- Increasing the frequency of bad moods and conflict in the workplace
- Creating lower energy, leading to overall poor employee wellness
“We want you to do anything that helps you relax or recharge — walk, take a yoga class, have a picnic lunch in the park,” says Emily Pines, the Take Back Your Lunch co-founder. “The main thing is you walk away, get out of the office, disengage from work.”
Read the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette news article
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It is a fact that employee burnout costs employers more than $300 billion in lost productivity in the U.S. What can executives and managers do to address this obstacle in their workplace?
“The number one issue for executives is that they have to have more trust in the people they work with,” says Ellie Maggio, managing director of Emend Management Consultants in Toronto. Less micro-managing gives employees a greater sense of ownership over their work.
Other helpful tools and techniques:
- Executives should lead by example. If a manager works around the clock, this sets a particular tone for the rest of the staff.
- Identify expectations early on. If you work in a deadline-driven place, don’t hire someone who stressed out from deadlines. Make sure they are a good match before you hire them.
- Emphasize cultural fit for candidates. Also, when recruiting new hires, consider using screening tools like personality testing, to see if an individual would thrive in your environment.
- Investigate the early signs. If you notice increased absenteeism or irritability in an employee, it is better to find out the cause and provide support needed to deal with high workloads, lack of interest, little or no recognition, etc.
Read the Globe and Mail article
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Innovative organizations are starting to reshape their leadership model and the workforce dynamic for their employees. According to the CEO of engineering firm Namaste Solar: “One person, one vote is the best way to make decisions and the right way.”
Currently an employee-owned company, Namaste Solar employs a core cultural value centered on democracy that extends beyond the company stock. CEO Blake Jones just sees himself as another employee with a vote, and not the CEO.
- A colleague, peer-to-peer environment exists in place of the traditional corporate hierarchy
- All company decisions were made by employee consensus
- Only on rare occasions does the Board make decisions (e.g., layoffs, pay cuts)
- Decisions affecting employees were announced at their bi-monthly Big Picture Meetings
- Membership isn’t restrict by role (e.g., an engineer can sit on the Marketing Committee, or an interested marketer can sit in on the HR Committee)
Employee democracy, much like government democracy, requires patience and time. For Namaste and other innovative companies like it, the strength of employee consensus improves office morale, overall productivity, and support needed to drive a company in a forward motion.
Read the Inc Magazine article
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According to Barry Salzberg, the CEO of Deloitte since 2007, the leadership model of the future is one that is flat and transparent.
“Gone is the day of the old command-and-control environment, the climb-the-ladder model, in which the employee kept quiet and didn’t say too much, certainly not much beyond what was asked and tasked,” Salzberg told his audience at a recent Wharton Leadership Lecture.
“Gone, too, is the densely layered organizational hierarchy [and] dinosaur-like structures that are too slow and lumbering for today’s environment.”
In his recent speech, Deloitte CEO Salzberg urges the importance of having effective leadership at all levels of an organization, not just at the top.
At an attempt to take on this new model of business leadership at Deloitte, Salzberg has employed a few valuable tactics that would be beneficial for HR who are building improved leadership programs:
- Holding frequent lunches with small groups to keep in touch with all parts of the organization
- Visit 25-35 offices each year, sitting down with regional/national partners to hear their concerns
- Hosting annual town hall meetings for employees to have direct contact with the CEO
- Developing a leadership training program, where Deloitte professionals could teach and learn
Read the Knowledge @ Wharton, Univ of Penn Blog
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As more companies have been looking for cost-effective ways to manage operations, more employees have had to stretch their jobs to take on more responsibilities.
The evolution of the “superjob” has seen both the good and bad. For instance, while in some cases, it can be a smart move for an individual’s career development in the organization. Other instances have shown that excessive multi-tasking can lead to reduced productivity, because of the mental energy of switching between different tasks. Plus, when tasks are reassigned to employees regardless of their skills, they often do not get the training they need to succeed.
To help reduce worker burnout, employers and human resources are starting to find ways to make responsibility sharing work.
- Recognition programs that reward workers for taking on the extra responsibilities
- Offer courses for managers to better improve time management and delegation
- Provide stress relief seminars, wellness benefits, and mentoring to help employees
- Encourage employees to communicate when they are given unmanageable workloads
- Put a cap on daily hours, so that lack of sleep does not impact the worker’s ability to work
Read the Wall Street Journal article
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As the economy is in a state of recovery, there are a number of HR issues that will require some reexamination in the near future. Just a year or two ago, employers were stretching their dollar until they could unfreeze hiring and start thinking about expansion once again.
Now, recruiting new talent is a trend that is on the rise, and companies are tapping into human resource power to do business better. According to an expert consultant at Cowden Associates, “employers can’t just go back to business as usual when it comes to their total compensation strategy.”
One Foot Forward
Getting back to a renewed business model will likely be a slow process, but as organizations start planning for the future, it is important to consider the compensation issues to aid their strategy:
- What areas are driving profitability, and how can you improve staffing in those areas?
- How do you plan to readdress cost-of living pay increases down the road?
- What is your current merit system, and how can you incentivize hard work?
- With regard to your retention strategy, what old programs can you bring back?
- What new wellness and benefits initiatives will you plan to invest in the next year?
Read the Employee Benefits News article
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