Tag Archive: employees

Doug Rice is a freelance professional copywriter. This article is republished, courtesy of 12 Most.

Recent research in organizational behavior suggests there is a point at which salary stops mattering so much to employees and intrinsic things like workplace culture begin to matter more.

Even in minimum wage jobs high turnover is rarely due to dissatisfaction in pay. Most people who leave minimum wage jobs are people seeking different minimum wage jobs. Why? Because the work environment is unbearable.

It doesn’t matter what kind of workforce you are trying to manage, whether it is a Fortune 500 sales force or a team of fry cooks at a local diner. The atmosphere you create for your team will likely determine whether they are a healthy, productive family, or a bitterly resentful bunch just biding their time while they concoct an exit strategy.

Leaders and managers of businesses large and small do many things without realizing it may adversely impact their workplace cultures. Here are some things to avoid:

1. Offer poor training.

No one really knows what they’re supposed to do. You hire people and expect them to jump right in. Then, when they inevitably make mistakes, you yell at them for doing it wrong.

2. Have unclear expectations.

No one knows what you expect them to do, so the less ambitious appear lazy and the more ambitious rush into things and mess them up. Even though you never properly expressed your expectations, you criticize your team for not meeting them.

3. Ignore office politics.

So what if Joe has a crush on Janice and George is jealous? That’s not your problem.

Well, it actually is.

The resentment building in your employees will come out in their work. Be involved in the social politics of your employees to the extent that you will recognize problems before they get out of hand.

4. Tolerate bad attitudes.

Some of your employees are complaining about a certain person’s attitude, but you say you can’t do anything because that person hasn’t technically done anything wrong.

Actually, yes, that person has done something wrong. She upset her colleagues. And if you don’t address the issue, everyone with a good attitude will leave.

5. Turn meetings into complaint sessions.

Why do you have employee meetings? Do you spend all your time yelling at them and listening to them complain about how unfair their work is? Is it all just a big gripe session?

Try to make your meetings more about recognizing people for the good work they do and discussing strategy going forward. Keep meetings constructive. If problems need addressing, address the individuals that have the problems.

6. Make extracurricular work mandatory.

If you force your employees to volunteer at a bake sale, put together an educational group presentation, or join a book club, they will see it as a chore. It won’t be fun or build camaraderie. It will just make workers more stressed and cranky.

Make any extracurricular activity you offer completely voluntary. Not only will people participate, but they will enjoy it.

7. Have no tangible ties to the company’s mission.

If you want your people to actually believe your mission statement, bake it into their everyday tasks. For most companies a mission statement is some abstract concept that never translates to reality. When you establish rules with your employees, explain how they help fulfill your mission. It will make them feel like they’re working for a better reason than “the boss said so.”

8. Using threats to alter behavior.

“If ______ doesn’t change, you’re fired!” “I’ll write up the next person that does ______! No exceptions!”

Do you know what your employees think when they hear you say things like this? You believe they think, “Wow, I guess I better straighten up.” In reality they think, “Well, I guess it’s time to look for a new job.”

Your employees aren’t your slaves; they can leave at any time. If you want them to stay, offer incentives to alter their undesirable behaviors. Don’t make threats.

9. Have a confusing managerial structure.

Do your employees know who their bosses are? Do they know who they’re supposed to report to? In some companies, employees don’t know who has authority. It can be confusing to not know whether someone is a colleague, boss, or even an underling.

Make sure your employees know who leads them, or there won’t be any leadership at all.

10. Incentivize rivalry.

While there are exceptions, most contests that pit individuals against other individuals are divisive. Employees will either not take it seriously and it won’t work, or they will take it too seriously, which will cause resentment among the staff.

Instead of giving out individual incentives, try group incentives. That way whether or not they reach their goal, they did it together.

11. Put customers above employees.

There will be times when an employee says or does something to a customer that is out of line, but you shouldn’t defend the customer all the time. The customer isn’t always right. In fact, your employees should be your No. 1 customers.

Take care of your employees, and your employees will take care of your customers. Never yell at an employee just to make a nasty customer feel better.

12. Build a culture of blame.

Never focus on blame. Focus on contribution. When there’s a problem, don’t put employees on the defensive. It only backs them into a corner and forces them to blame others on the staff. Chances are multiple people contributed to the problem.

Focus on solving the problem together instead of finding out where to point fingers.

As a manager or team leader, the easiest question to ask yourself is, “Would I want to work here?” If you would be among the first to leave, don’t be surprised by the revolving door in your hiring process. If you want good people to stay, create an environment where they can function and thrive. Don’t kill their morale; feed it.

Written by Mike Figliuolo of thoughtLeaders, LLC

Sometimes homicide is justified.  Sometimes a coworker deserves to have a file cabinet dropped on their head.  Usually it’s some of the behaviors listed below that drive rational men and women into murderous rages.

First of all – everyone relax.  I am NOT advocating workplace violence and I am writing with tongue firmly planted in cheek.  Don’t hurt anyone at your office but do give them feedback and help make these behaviors go away.  And if you have trouble thinking of anyone at the office who is annoying enough to kill, check the mirror – your coworkers might be considering doing you in.

Second – I’m not perfect.  Far from it.  I’ve been guilty of many of these behaviors (and many more that aren’t on this list).  It’s probably a good thing I work from home these days because my dogs don’t know any better how lousy a coworker I can be.

So with those disclaimers made, allow me to share nine of the absolute worst, most egregiously despicable office behaviors anyone can demonstrate.  Please be sure to share this list with your coworkers so they too can be on the lookout for these bad behaviors and know how to deal with them appropriately.  For those of you who are also bosses, you might want to also read 10 Reasons Your Team Hates You (But They Just Won’t Say it to Your Face) for further illumination.  Here’s the naughty nine:

1. Loud Talking. Dude – shut up.  We work in a half-height cubicle open workspace.  None of us want to hear you BS’ing with a supplier about your golf game or complaining to the guy four desks away about how annoying people in the office can be.  When your mouth opens, we all cringe knowing our work is about to be interrupted for ten minutes of your boorish blathering.  The fix: grab a conference room or an unused office to have your conversations or step outside for your chit chat on your cellie with your broker.

2. Gossip.  You don’t work at a junior high school (unless of course you actually work at a junior high school).  Gossip is poison and you’re the purveyor of it.  Stop talking about other people, mergers, layoffs, or any other office juice.  It’s rude and it’s a distraction.  The fix: listen to what Run DMC advises in this post. Click here to read it.

3. Selling Out.  You’re the first one to abandon your position and cave as soon as some higher-up recommends going in a different direction.  Find a spine.  You talk a big game when the bigwigs aren’t around and the scary thing is, sometimes you have good ideas and recommendations.  But if you cave in and don’t speak your mind, no one respects you and the business never improves.  The fix: make clear, well articulated recommendations and know when you should fall on your sword.

4. Butt Kissing.  Nobody likes a sycophant especially one who goes in the direction of the prevailing winds (which are usually simply the flatulence of the highest-ranking person in the room).  When you kiss up, everyone knows it (including the person whose butt is being kissed).  The days of getting promoted by sucking up are (almost) dead.  Stop.  The fix: Focus on your own performance and when you need to get the boss to agree to something, instead of kissing butt, just make a clear and compelling recommendation instead.

5. Playing “Look how smart I am!”  You know that guy in the meeting who asks a question he already knows the answer to and he’s only asking it to demonstrate his smartitude?  Yeah, if that’s you I’m betting someone is going to throw an overhead projector at your head one day (one of those heavy, old school ones that required transparencies).  Everyone hates a know-it-all especially one who’s jockeying for favor with the boss.  The fix: get comfortable with asking the right questions instead of having all the answers.  Don’t be afraid of not knowing the answer yourself – just take satisfaction in asking the question to advance the conversation.

6. Nasty Habits. Grooming, old food in the fridge, nail clippings on your office floor, dirt under your fingernails, halitosis.  All that nacky stuff.  Ew.  Gross.  Nobody wants you around because they all fear catching Ebola from you.  Your coworkers are plotting to kill you by calling you in to the CDC as a bio-hazard threat that needs to be nuked.  Even if you’re not that nasty, you’re demonstrating some seriously bad behavior that keeps you out of the executive ranksThe fix: get some manners and take a course on executive presence.

7. Lazy, Sloppy Work.  Your coworkers depend on you to hold up your end of the workload.  When your work is late or filled with mistakes, we have to pick up the slack (translation: stay late and do your job for you).  You get paid to do work.  Do it.  We’re sick of covering for you.  The fix: get feedback from your colleagues on the quality of your work and see where you need to focus and improve.  Ask for help if you’re not sure how to do something so you can get better at it and need fewer bailouts (there are enough of those happening on Wall Street already).

8. Inefficiency.  You make meetings drag on by asking that last question that doesn’t need to be asked (see #5 above).  You cc everyone on emails and reply all tooThe fix: You should learn why it’s a good idea to occasionally shut your cake hole.  When you’re quiet, you can learn more and keep the conversation moving.  Also learn a little email etiquette along the way too.

9. Taking Undue Credit.  Stealing credit for someone’s work is about as low as you can go.  It works for a short period of time until you cross the wrong person and they call you out for it.  And they will.  I’ve taught them how to do so (CLICK HERE to see how).  The fix: Do your job well (see #7 above) and the credit will flow.  You’re good at what you do.  Demonstrate it.  Don’t take shortcuts.  Work hard and it’ll all work out for you.

Look, I don’t want to see office violence (or even dreams and fantasies of it) befall anyone but if you keep up the bad behaviors above, they just might be drawing a white chalk outline of you on your cubicle floor.  And again – I AM NOT ADVOCATING WORKPLACE VIOLENCE PEOPLE!  This is a sarcastic blog post.  I hate the fact that I even have to point that out but if I don’t some clown will go into the office with a ball peen hammer tomorrow and crush a skull with it.

Let’s make our workplaces more civilized.  Look at the above nine behaviors and ask yourself honestly if you demonstrate any of them.  If you do, fix it.  If you know a coworker who does, provide the feedback and help them fix it too (or just forward this post to them or print it off and leave it on their chair anonymously if you feel like being a passive aggressive coward).  Go make the workplace a better place to, well… work.

Tips for Training New Hires

by Jessica Taylor

Starting a new job is probably one of the biggest transitions we experience as adults. Yes, it’s exciting—but it’s always a little reminiscent of the first day of school: a blend of stress, nerves, and pressure to remember a whole bunch of new stuff.

So, needless to say, when you have a new employee, the way you welcome him or her onto your team will make a crucial first impression. That means, even if your company provides formal training, it’s just as important to incorporate some activities of your own as well.

Here are a few ways to help a new employee adjust—ways that are much less overwhelming, arguably more helpful, and definitely more fun than the traditional onboarding processes.

1. Play Tour Guide

It’s standard for a new employee to get a tour on the first day, where the typical highlights include the restrooms and the cafeteria. But it’s also important to show a newbie the lesser-known locations—the mailroom, the security office, and, of course, where to find the best coffee. (This hits close to home—I once started a job where it took me two long weeks before I finally found the microwave!) Work with your colleagues to create a short list of places worth a visit, and include them as part of your introductions.

2. Make Connections

When a new person joins your team, it’s natural to introduce her to people. But think about how you feel when you meet a million people in the same day: It’s pretty tough to remember all those new names, roles, and faces.

To make introductions a little more strategic, put together a list of key contacts to meet, and provide some background on each of person—name, title, and role with the company. Write it all down, and give it to her. If you know of any common ties between your new team member and another person, call that out, too (for example: they’re both huge baseball fans, or both have young children). This little cheat sheet will be a seriously helpful way for her to remember new contacts and kick-start the process of building relationships.

3. Wine and Dine

This one’s a bit of a no-brainer, but make sure your new employee has lunch plans her first few days on the job, with you or with other people you think she should meet. Nothing feels more lonely than sitting alone in a new cafeteria, unsure if you were supposed to bring your food or if you missed the team lunch run. You can also plan a happy hour for her second or third week—a good chance for her to get to know others in a casual setting.

4. Provide Resources

Pull together a list of go-to resources for new employees to explore—things like annual reports, the company intranet and website, and any recent marketing materials. While it may sound painful to thumb through old files, reports and presentations from years past are valuable tools to help someone get acclimated before she gets off and running. (Just make sure you’re not providing too much at once, or you may get a deer-in-headlights reaction.)

5. Be Available

Finally, remember that it’s natural for anyone to get confused or frustrated when they’re faced with a steep learning curve. So make yourself available a few times a day to check in, and encourage her to ask questions. The more comfortable you can make your employee feel in her new environment, the faster she’ll feel like a part of the team (and the faster she can start really diving into her work).

Starting a new position is stressful for anyone, but as a manager, you can make the transition a whole lot smoother. Take the time to help your new employee feel welcome and comfortable and support her as she learns the ropes of her new gig. Remember: the more time you’re able to invest in the beginning, the faster you’ll have a dynamite team member—and the better off you’ll start your relationship with her.

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