With the NLRB recently issuing a complaint, http://www.nlrb.gov/shared_files/Press%20Releases/2010/R-2794.pdf, against a Connecticut employer for terminating an employee for posting comments on Facebook (or maybe its because a lot of HR Departments have been watching ”The Social Network,” http://www.thesocialnetwork-movie.com), many employers have been asking whether they need a social media policy or whether they need to change existing policies. (Of course, some employers are still asking, “What is social media?” and “Doesn’t ‘twittering’ violate our sexual harassment policy?”)
I’ve been thinking about people I greatly admire. I’ve limited my thoughts to people I know. What is it about them that causes my admiration? As I compiled my list, I noticed that these people come from all walks of life. Some of them are leaders; some are not. Some are highly successful (as we normally think of success); some are not. My list contains significant diversity, however one defines diversity. So, what is it that makes them admirable to me?
Much has been written about how the great recession has changed things forever. Those over 50 and unemployed may never work again. Consumerism will never be the same. Home ownership as the primary means of saving and investing is history. Today’s children won’t have nearly as good a life as we’ve had. The workplace will never again provide security and a reasonable living for most people.
Citizens are angry. They’re angry with Democrats and Republicans. Some say there’s no difference between the two parties. Both are interested in power, not results. Right now, candidates from both parties are saying that this has been true in the past, but it won’t be anymore if whoever is talking is elected. Washington is the problem. Send outsiders, and change for the better will occur.
I’ve done a video training series with the help of M. Lee Smith Publishers called “Super Supervisors.” When this series was done, no one had heard of Luis Urzua, the shift foreman of the Chilean miners who were trapped a half mile under ground for more than two months. We’ve heard of him now, and he is a “super supervisor.” He wasn’t perfect, but having been selected as a shift foreman, Urzua was considered to be the best of the best. As it turned out, he was.
I think it’s pretty clear that layoffs are going to continue and that our unemployment situation isn’t going to turn around anytime soon. In all likelihood, you will fire an employee, maybe several of the them, between now and the end of the year and on into next year. Things have changed a lot since the layoff craze began. Millions of people are sitting on edge every day. I’ve written as much as I can about why this should have never happened. As it continues, however, remember how stressed employees already are and how difficult being fired is, particularly in this economy. Instead of an email, memo, voicemail or some other impersonal contact, meet face-to-face with employees losing their jobs. You will need to give them something in writing. You can do that when you meet with them or give it to them later. Show them a little respect when they are on the verge of hearing what they’ve feared for months.
I just returned from a wedding. One of our kids is getting married soon. So, vows have been on my mind lately. When an employee comes to work, there are rules and policies about what an employee will do and what an employer will do. Neither view them as vows, however. In a marriage, of course, vows can be words only. But they do make you think about an intended commitment.
Last week’s news about the clothing of a female sports reporter named Ines Sainz and the reaction by New York Jets players is still in play. My post on the subject provoked a few mixed comments and several private emails, some agreeing with me, some not. Since it’s still talked and written about, often in the context of sex discrimination or sexual harassment, it seemed to justify a tip of the week.
Most employees want to do a good job. They also want their superiors to think they’re doing a good job. The normal anxiety about doing good work is exacerbated in today’s workplace world because jobs are hard to come by, and its more important than ever to do good work and impress the powers that be.
Can nicknames be a problem at work? Of course. Nicknames that are tantamount to ethnic, racial or sexual slurs and given to an employee by co-workers are a problem. In those cases, it doesn’t matter whether the employee is called the nickname to his face or behind his back or whether the employee complains about the nickname. It can’t be tolerated.
Much has been written about the problem with bullies in the workplace. A few posts on the subject have appeared on this blog. (Here, here, here, and here.) Some states have even considered legislation to deal with this problem. I don’t have the answer. I don’t think state legislatures do either. I do have a few suggestions and tips.
We are all familiar with the high-profile battle in Manhattan over constructing a mosque near ground zero. According to a recent article in the New York Times, a furor over mosque-building is sweeping the country. From New York to Tennessee to Wisconsin to California, proposals to erect mosques in various locations have been met with vociferous opposition. Whether this uproar is caused by 9/11, fear of terrorism, religious misunderstanding, a sincere belief that Islam is antithetical to the foundation of America, or whatever, a word about employment law may be worthwhile.
I’ve been reminiscing lately, leading to this week’s tip. Much of it has been about growing up, which I sometimes catch myself thinking makes up most of my life, when it, in fact, makes up only a small part. But it was an important part, and my memories of those days are strong. I’ve also started reminiscing about past jobs. They actually make up most of my life, some of them evoking good memories, some not so good. I was lucky to have bosses from time to time — just as I had teachers — who left an indelibly positive mark on me.
As you may have noticed, I’m not blogging as much right now as I usually do. That’s partly because of my current schedule and partly because I need some time to refresh and recharge. I won’t fall off the grid completely, however. I’ll be doing a post here and there and relying on the posts of some fellow bloggers. This week’s tip or tips come from three of my favorite bloggers. They provide significant diversity of thought and a lot of good practical advice related to human resources, the workplace, employment law, and life.
It would be better to say that some motivations may not work for certain jobs. Or that the same motivations don’t work for all jobs. Or that traditional motivations are upside down. I’m not saying the video clip below will change your life, but it provides several tips that get the week off to challenging, perhaps mind-bending, start. Motivation will work — if it’s the right motivation. I recommend watching this video clip more than once. You can agree or disagree. But it will make you think.
An earlier post advised that new help is on the way for employers struggling with dress codes and employees struggling to comply. The Prep is still in the works, but it’s already having an impact. According to the New York Times, khaki pants are making a comeback as part of workplace dress. They are well on the way to replacing various kinds of denim pants, which should never have been allowed in the workplace to begin with. But I digress.
Yesterday, I heard a sermon that caused me to change this week’s tip. The sermon reminded me of a subject discussed previously on this blog. More important, it dealt with a concept that the leaders of every employer, particularly those in human resources, need to consider and impart to employees in every workplace.
Yesterday, Dallas Braden, pitcher for the Oakland Athletics, did something that’s only been done 18 other times in pro baseball. He pitched a perfect game, which means that none of the 27 batters he faced during the entire game got on base. It always amazes me that it’s ever been done. In the AP account of the game, it says that the A’s defense didn’t have to make a difficult play “in fair territory.” The defense got three Tampa Bay Rays out on close to spectacular plays in foul territory, however. Who knows? If even one of those outs hadn’t been made, the batter may have smacked the next pitch for a base hit. Of course, the A’s offense also produced runs to back up Braden’s record-book performance. Perfection, or something close to it, happens every day in the workplace — with no publicity. When it happens, there’s always a whole team behind it.
Ever asked someone at work, “What’s wrong?” It’s a common question in all parts of life. In the workplace, we’re sometimes reluctant to ask. It may be because we really don’t want to know or fear a long explanation. It may be because we’re afraid we’ll find out something we’re not supposed to know. It may be because we’re just not big on communication.
Last week, I was in New Orleans for the annual meeting of the Employers Counsel Network, sponsored by M. Lee Smith Publishers. It’s always terrific to spend time with lawyers from around the country who edit the 50 state employment law letters published by MLSP.