Tag Archives: performance

Being “Too Nice?” The Psychology of Effective People Management

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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Employee Evaluation: Are Scorecards and Metrics Still Effective?

This week, the Harvard Business Review comments on the trend in management to favor quantifiable, top-down metrics.  

In fact, psychologist Barry Schwartz has recently observed that many areas of life are increasingly bound up with rules that limit the ability of individuals to use judgment and make the best decision they see.  

What this could mean for employers and HR professionals is that a rigid system of management that disables employee judgment creates hurdles, and could also work against the goal of improving overall engagement in the workforce.  

While metrics and policies for employees are effective HR tools, there are some things to exercise caution for balance. From the Review:  

“Invest in your front-line employees and then trust them to make the right decisions for the customer. Otherwise you’ll be managing a group of automatons who, when confronted with situations outside the rigid rules, will be virtually guaranteed to make the wrong judgment.”  

Read the full Harvard Business Review article

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Women Are Logging More Hours than Men in Their Jobs

“With this economy, women are taking on more of a breadwinner role in the family, and part of this is working more hours,” says Laura Vanderkam, author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.  

In a research study, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the work-life changes since 2009 have affected women more than men. For instance:  

  • Women are working more hours overall than they did two years ago, including weekends
  • Employed women spends 7 hours and 26 minutes a day, on average, doing work
  • Women only have their weekend time for doing household activities and socializing  

Women, who have historically worked fewer hours than men, are catching up as the hours men work are decreasing.  

Read the USA Today article

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Reasons to Bring Back the Lunch Hour at Your Company

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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Tools and Guidance for Preventing or Dealing with Employee Burnout


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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Work Watch Survey: American Employees Feel Overqualified for Their Jobs

From a Work Watch survey by Randstad, more than 1/3 of employees in the U.S. feel overqualified to do their jobs. However, they do want to acquire new skills or be more challenged at work.  

The recruiting firm found that among 1,000 participants, 33% felt overqualified, 65% felt appropriately qualified, and only 3% felt underqualified.  

“It’s surprising that one out of every three American employees feels over-qualified in their job,” said Jim Link, managing director of Human Resources for Randstad, in a statement.

“The data suggests that U.S. workers are less challenged by their current jobs. It also raises questions about how this will affect employee turnover and retention as the job market recovers.”

  •  74% of younger workers and 56% of older workers want more skills 
  • 50% of Gen Y and Millennial workers wish they had more hard skills (e.g., trade knowledge)
  • 30% of overall American workers want more soft skills, such as social and leadership skills  

Read the Atlanta Business Chronicle article

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The Most Common Mistake That Employers Make When Launching a Worker Wellness Program

In a nationwide survey, 86% of employers communicated their intentions to focus on more employee wellness and health promotion programs over the next three years. At the Harvard School of Public Health, for instance, their analysis showed that absenteeism costs fell by $2.73 for every dollar spent on employee wellness programs.  

Most employers focus on the basics like quit-smoking, weight loss, or lowered blood pressure programs. And according to the Harvard Pilgrim VP of Medical Management, the goal to reduce employee medical and pharmacy bills is only a mere 25% of a company’s total health costs.  

Harvard Pilgrim is one innovative organization that offers activities with the goal of reducing worker stress in order to tackle the other piece of the pie when it comes to overall health costs. Some of these perks include meditation classes, sleep seminars, an organic gardening club, and much more.  

“The other 75% are the costs from ailing workers’ absenteeism or subpar performance while at work, which is often linked to stress,” she said. “It’s the back pain, the fatigue, the headaches that are the cost drivers.”   

Read the Boston Globe article

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