Symmetry provides outstanding human resource advice, support, and advocacy to start-up and small companies who do not have an in-house human resource team.
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What supervisor or human resources professional hasn’t asked the question: Why can’t people work together without deliberately making the working environment insufferable? Why don’t people use their energy to solve differences instead of lashing out in anger? There may be no easy answers to those questions, but understanding why conflict occurs and following a strategy can ease the hard times.
If you’ve ever spoken to someone on our team you will have heard: Document, document, document. But just writing things down isn’t enough. We all need to recognize and avoid common documentation mistakes. Although the purpose of documentation is to minimize risks, it can come back to haunt if it’s done wrong. And if it’s not done at all, the employer is almost certain to be seen as the “big, bad employer” and a litigating employee is likely to be seen as the “poor, innocent employee.
Gossip is rampant in most workplaces. Sometimes, it seems as if people have nothing better to do than gossip about each other. They talk about the company, their coworkers, and their managers. They frequently take a partial truth and turn it into a whole speculative truth. Many managers turn a blind eye to employee gossip (or worse, participate in it). This results in low employee morale and a toxic culture.
Employment policies: Do they keep organizations running smoothly? Or are they trouble waiting to happen? The answer to both questions is: sometimes. Business owners spend a lot of time working on policies they hope will lead to productive, fair workplaces. Often, though, policies can cause more problems than they solve. Adding to the dilemma, HR practitioners and legal experts don’t always agree on what makes a good policy.
Jill does her job, but just barely. However, Jill has a lousy attitude which is affecting the entire team. You would like to fire Jill, but she isn’t quite doing enough to get fired. Does this sound familiar? It happens in almost every environment – sometimes Jill was one of your first employees and she was so valuable when you started but hasn’t adjusted to all the change as you’ve grown. Other times it I as simple as that pessimist attitude. So what are you to do? The good news is, you can fire for attitude, but it requires identifying the attitude and addressing the actual behavior.
How many times have you encountered these mistakes: • Employees disciplined for doing something they have a legal right to do-like take intermittent FMLA or make an EEO complaint • Inconsistent discipline that appears to be discrimination • Discipline without hearing the employee's side of the story • Overly harsh discipline to show "who's boss" • Overly lenient discipline for a well-liked worker • And-just as bad-failure to discipline when it is clearly called for. All these mistakes are understandable in untrained supervisors, but that doesn't mean the mistakes aren't expensive. Here are some basic tips for supervisors that make discipline easier to manage from day one.
Negative employee attitudes and less-than-professional behavior can poison the workplace atmosphere. Here are six solutions for real-life issues from subscribers on handling problem employees before morale suffers.
Many companies either have a progressive discipline policy in place or follow one in practice. And it's not hard to see why: Used properly, progressive discipline gives managers the tools they need to make fair, consistent, and legally defensible disciplinary decisions. Because it's based on communication and collaboration, true progressive discipline also helps employees improve, which is the ultimate goal of any disciplinary system. But how do you use progressive discipline to get results? How do you decide what type of discipline is appropriate in a particular situation? And how do you deliver that disciplinary message in a way that produces actual improvement?
The task of writing and revising job descriptions may sound dull, but at the same time be daunting. With so much to consider—essential versus nonessential functions, varied job responsibilities, experience and education requirements, etc.—the job can be mind-numbing. Then throw in the legal issues to consider, including things like how to prevent discrimination and wage and hour claims, and the job can get overwhelming.
The end of the year is a time that’s both hectic and reflective, and it’s that reflective thinking that’s put to use in evaluating employee performance. Whether evaluations are done at the end of the year, the beginning of a new year, or at various times, it’s important to keep the basics of legally sound evaluations in mind.