handling an office romanceWorking late, during happy hour after work, over lunch, or a by-chance meeting outside of the office. You never know when or where an office romance may bloom for employees in your organization. While nothing is sweeter than two people finding their meant-to-be, an organization stands to possibly suffer from budding love.

 

While you may wish your staffers well, inevitably issues can creep in. Negative implications could quickly arise in the form of rumors, gossip, that leads to perceived favoritism, partiality, and bias. It doesn’t take much to lead someone down the thought path to discrimination. There could be loss of productivity, protocols and processes could be compromised. The company could suffer from the absence of both employees during family vacations and events. What happens when one of the two ends the relationship? How do they continue to do their jobs and remain cordial?


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Published on October 5th, 2017

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employee drug testing marijuanaDo a simple internet search of “marijuana and the workplace” and you’ll likely find differing advice for each given year and state. Staying up to date on the latest news regarding marijuana in the workplace is a daunting task for any employer. As if the amount of information isn’t overwhelming enough, many sites offer conflicting information, making the task even more discouraging. What’s an employer to do when a once very black and white issue now seems so gray?

 

What to Do: Marijuana & Drug Testing

 

1. Check with your legal counsel. To ensure correct application of laws surrounding marijuana in the workplace, always consult with your legal counsel. As each state is different, your legal counsel will be able to give you the most relevant and up to date information.
 


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Published on August 24th, 2017

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warning or fire a fine lineIf you’ve been a manager for any length of time, chances are you’ve had to face situations that call for disciplinary action. Unfortunately, there’s no step by step playbook for what to do when unhealthy behavior starts to surface, as people are unique individuals, and every situation seems to have its own complexities. There are however, a few important considerations to keep in mind as you navigate. When it comes to making a decision as to whether the actions of the employee warrant warning or fire, the severity of the offense matters. Immediate termination would be appropriate if the employee has acted in an unethical manner. Examples of this would include things like stealing money, falsifying reports, abusing an expense account, etc. Other situations aren’t so black and white.  Things like under performance, negative attitudes/behavior, or not following certain safety protocols can describe almost anyone when they’re having a bad day. It’s the repeated offenses that tend to start the downward spiral, which means it’s really important to address concerns before they build up.


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Published on April 25th, 2017

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Meeting New Hires Where They AreThere are many factors to consider when hiring a new employee. There are the obvious defined duties, responsibilities and tasks that will be required for the new employee to fulfill. Additionally, there are many non-essential qualifications that an employer may ask for that can be an asset to the role. These contribute to a person’s “fit” within the team and organization. New employees can come from a variety of backgrounds with varying experience, so it is important for an employer to meet new hires with appropriate expectations and meeting new hires “where they are.”


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Published on March 23rd, 2017

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tips to avoid employee turnoverGuest Blogger: Jen McKenzie, Business Freelancer

 

Bringing in strong employees is only the first step to making your business thrive. You also have to keep those employees happy within your company. Great employees leave all the time, and it’s not always due to pay or benefits. Interested in learning more about employee retention? Read these five tips to avoid employee turnover.
 

Why Worry About Employee Turnover?

 
According to Glass Door, employers report that it can take up to 52 days to fill an open position. That’s almost 2 months where other employees are having to pick up the slack for the missing worker. It’s time that your business isn’t operating at peak efficiency, and you’re likely spending time advertising and interviewing candidates.
 

Increase Employee Retention

 
There are certain things you can do to increase employee retention and almost none of them have to do with providing more money for employees. The most common strategies provide a competitive benefits package like a savings plan for retirement or a great health insurance plan. High employee turnover is a hit to the morale for the entire company, and it should be avoided at all costs.


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Published on February 21st, 2017

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flexible workplace Originally Published on Farm Futures

 

The flexibility an organization and position provides is often directly related to a positive workplace atmosphere and employee satisfaction. My professional career has included work for several different organizations, while I also had experiences with internships and high school/college jobs. I’ve experienced stark contrasts, from a strictly scheduled business to a very flexible workplace.

 

At one job the door locked at 8 am, so you’d better get there early, and a buzzer signaled the beginning and end of each break time (no this wasn’t a factory, it was an office). One where you were required to use all your PTO for maternity leave, with no way to accrue more until the next year. Or another where you had to use vacation time when there was a death in the family as they hadn’t developed a bereavement policy.

 

On the other end of the spectrum, one employer encouraging you to volunteer with community organizations during work time. Another where you could come in ahead of the start time in order to leave early to attend a personal event. One offering the flexibility to work in a professional capacity part-time to balance the needs of a young, growing family. Without hesitation, I can tell you I’ve been the happiest when and where I had the most flexible workplace. You may wonder if this is just a personal story, but there is research to back up the power of workplace flexibility.


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Published on January 10th, 2017

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Managing Remote EmployeesManaging remote employees is much more prevalent these days. In fact, regular work-at-home, among the non-self-employed population, has grown by 103% since 2005 (GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com). You can find a lot of data, webinars, and articles circulating around the pros and cons of being a telecommuter and the impact for companies that provide telecommuting options. Achieving the right balance of engagement is a tall order, and there are personalities that are a solid fit for being home-based, while others are not. I personally feel that managing remote employees is one of the hardest parts of my job, and I am continually trying to find ways to enhance the level of connectedness. Here are just a few tips that may help if you are headed on the journey of managing remote employees.

 

1. Utilize Technology.

Skype video is a great tool to help give communications with your telecommuter a more personal feel. It gives you a chance to still get “face to face” as you interact with them. I like to connect in this manner once a week at a minimum. Instant messenger can help telecommuters feel more connected to their teammates as well. It is the equivalent of stopping by someone’s office to ask a question.


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Published on December 6th, 2016

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discrimination in the workplaceGuest Blogger: Paul Lander, Farms.com
 

Despite decades of progress towards worker rights and protections, discrimination continues to be an issue in many workplaces across the country. To deal with discrimination in the workplace, we first need to understand what it means, who it affects, and what can be done about it.

 

What is Workplace Discrimination?

 

Typically, in the United States, discrimination in the workplace refers to actions and decisions that negatively affect individuals or groups of people for reasons such as race, sex, pregnancy, religion, national origin, disability (physical or mental, including HIV status), age (for workers over 40), military service or affiliation, bankruptcy or bad debts, genetic information, and citizenship status (for citizens, permanent residents, temporary residents, refugees, and asylees).


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Published on November 15th, 2016

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mergers and acquisitionsIf you have not been involved in a corporate merger or acquisition, current economic conditions and trends indicate that the chances of you experiencing one is increasing. When a company chooses to merge with or acquire another company to boost financial performance or ensure long-term growth, the role of the Human Resources professional is vital and identified as one of the strongest influences in the ultimate outcome of the process. According to Harvard Business Review, an estimated 70-90% of all mergers and acquisitions fail to achieve their anticipated strategic and financial objectives. “This rate of failure is often attributed to various HR-related factors, such as incompatible cultures, management styles, poor motivation, loss of key talent, lack of communication, diminished trust and uncertainty of long-term goals. “ (Source)

 

While executives access in fine detail the financial and business aspects of a potential merger or acquisition, the synergies and challenges that will exist on the people side of the business are often examined at a higher level. HR professionals are uniquely challenged in working out the details to ensure the business transaction’s success.

 

Taking into account the unique set of challenges that mergers and acquisitions bring, there are three key areas in which HR leaders must execute to help ensure a successful transition:


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Published on October 25th, 2016

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Signs Your New Hires Are About to LeaveLet’s face it – hiring a new team member can be an exhausting process. Spending time sorting through candidates to identify real talent vs “half-hearted” talent is a tough process. Many have been in the situation when we have had to “settle” on a slightly-less-than-desired candidate due to time pressures or lack of solid candidates. So there is never a guarantee that you will not end up getting burned after hiring a new employee.

 

As leaders we should always make it a priority to keep quality talent along the journey. But sometimes, for various reasons, good employees quit and if you are not paying attention these situations can surprise you and can leave you in a pinch. If you are aware of a few warning signs, you can spot the employees that are considering a departure before they have made up their minds.

 

You may also want to check out an upcoming AgCareers.com workshop centered on Leadership Enhancement in order to distinguish how to keep good employees around.

 

4 Signs Your New Hires Are About to Leave You

 

Personal Crises

 

Employees have personal lives too and leaders should never forget that fact. If something happens in one aspect of their lives, chances are that it’s going to affect another aspect of their life. For example, if an employee is going through a nasty divorce, lost a loved one recently, or is suffering from a health issue, these events will often cause one to rethink priorities which could result in evaluating career options. Usually effective leaders can spot this change within employees on a real personal level with their staff. Asking them how they are doing and showing genuine empathy with them in times of need will go a long way!


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Published on October 12th, 2016

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