Why performance reviews are so reviled

by Evil HR Lady on October 23, 2014

Lots of companies have an annual performance review that goes along with the calendar year, which means right now it’s probably on your mind. If you’re a manager, you’re dreading writing them. And unless you own the company, you’re probably dreading receiving yours — no matter if you’re a top notch employee. Even if your performance was fantastic, you know the review won’t necessarily reflect that.

Just how much does everybody hate the whole performance review process? A new survey by GuideSpark, an employee communications company, has some eye-opening answers:

To read just how badly performance reviews stink, click here: Why performance reviews are so reviled

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Lessons in Leadership From Donkey Hiking

by Evil HR Lady on October 22, 2014

Learning how to be a leader can happen through a seminar, or through living life. Often, though, lessons in leadership happen everywhere, and sometimes against our will.

My first mistake was having a late night meeting, leaving my husband and children home alone. By the time I got home at 10:00 pm the trek had been planned–four days of hiking with two donkeys.

So, this is how I found myself in southern France, with two donkeys, Romeo and Gaspard. While I expected to be brayed at and to smell a bit like a donkey (this, unfortunately, happened), I was surprised at the management lessons I learned.

To keep reading, click here: Lessons in Leadership from Donkey Hiking

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Why Neutral References Don’t Work

by Evil HR Lady on October 21, 2014

You want to protect your business, so you listened to your attorney and you implemented a policy of only “neutral” references. That is, you only confirm dates of service and title. This is a great policy, and the one recommended by many attorneys.

In fact, last week, I asked six labor and employment attorneys their opinion and all six said that should be your general policy, especially for bad employees. (They all had exceptions, as well, and you should especially note Donna Ballman’s point that you don’t want to keep your former employees unemployed.) As Jon Hyman said, if simply confirming dates and titles sends the message that this employee was terrible, why risk a lawsuit by giving details?

Absolutely. I totally agree. Except when it comes to people who worked for me. You want a reference on one of my former employees, I’m going to tell you exactly what I think. And, furthermore, since I don’t work for that company any more, there’s not any policy that is going to hold me back. I mean, what can they do? Fire me?

To keep reading about my dislike of neutral references, click here: Why Neutral References Don’t Work


Nordstrom’s Awesome Employee Handbook is a Myth

by Evil HR Lady on October 21, 2014

Nordstrom’s famously has the shortest employee handbook ever. Here is the entire handbook:

Welcome to Nordstrom

We’re glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them.

Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.

Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.

It’s totally awesome and I wish it were real. I truly do, because it would be great if we lived in a society where a company could make that their policy and have that be it. If all employees and managers were able to use good judgment, and you could trust your employees and management to make good judgments and stay out of court, that would be awesome. But, we know that isn’t the world we live in, at all.

To find out why it’s a myth, click here: Nordstrom’s awesome employee handbook is a myth


When you enter college, you do so with the hope of learning a few things that will lead to a fabulous career. Looking back, the courses that helped us the most may not have been the ones we’d thought would be important when we were in school. I asked 10 small business leaders and entrepreneurs what college course helped them most over the years. Here are their responses:
To find what courses are awesome, click here: The Most Valuable College Classes for Small Business Leaders

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How to survive in an imperfect work environment

by Evil HR Lady on October 20, 2014

Every job has its downsides. Perhaps it’s too many hours, or an annoying co-worker, or a nit-picky manager, or something else that just annoys you. The grass always looks greener on the other side, but it isn’t always.

The reality is, all of us work in an imperfect work environment. The trick is making it work for you. (Now, if your job isn’t merely imperfect, but causing you mental or physical health problems, you should focus on finding a new job so you can get out.) Here are some ideas for surviving:

To read the ideas, click here: How to survive in an imperfect work environment


Want success? Behave like a rich person

by Evil HR Lady on October 17, 2014

Have you ever looked around and wondered why you’re working a lousy job while someone else has a much better job, and therefore, a lot more money? Who hasn’t. But still, it makes you wonder: Is it simply luck? Was the other person born into better circumstances, or have an uncle who opened doors?

Of course, those are possible explanations, but behavioral differences also separate the rich from the poor. Take, for instance, dieting. Rich people are more likely to change their diet and exercise more when they need to lose a few pounds, while poor people are more likely to take diet pills, according to a recent study in the Journal of Preventative Medicine, which found that your economic status plays a strong roll in how you tackle a weight problem. The Atlantic described the results as follows:

To keep reading, click here: Want success? Behave like a rich person


To Share or Not to Share

by Evil HR Lady on October 16, 2014

What items gathered during the recruitment process can I share with others? We require approval from several parties before making an employment offer, and I am concerned that we may be sharing confidential information when “check complete” should be enough. The following items are obtained during our pre-employment screening: drug screen results, Office of Inspector General search results, criminal background results, CPS results, references, driving history and pay stubs from previous employers (used to verify salary).

To read the answer, click here: To Share or Not to Share


Your company may have non-compete clauses, and in some cases, I support those. After all, you don’t want your top widget salesman to leave today and go to the competitor widget maker and take all your clients with him, but what about the guy that makes your sandwiches? Should he have a non-compete clause in his contract?

The Huffington Post reports that sandwich restaurant Jimmy John’s makes their entry level people sign a non-compete agreement that is surprisingly broad. It’s not just that employees can’t walk directly across the street and accept a job from Subway, they are limited for two years from working for any restaurant that derives 10 percent or more of their revenue from sandwiches or similar, if that restaurant is within a 3 mile radius of a Jimmy John’s. As article author Dave Jamieson says, “It isn’t clear what sort of trade secrets a low-wage sandwich artist might be privy to that would warrant such a contract. A Jimmy John’s spokeswoman said the company wouldn’t comment.”

To keep reading, click here: Jimmy John’s serves up a lesson on how not to treat your employees


How to prevent distracted driving at work

by Evil HR Lady on October 14, 2014

If you’re not a bus driver, long- distance trucker or a taxi driver, you probably don’t think about driving at work much. After all, your job is to do something else, not to drive.

But a lot of us drive for work all the time, even if it’s not a core function. Salespeople going from customer to customer, a receptionist picking up lunch for the office, a team leader driving across town for a meeting with another group are all driving while working.

And that means your company needs to be concerned about distracted driving.

To keep reading, click here: How to prevent distracted driving at work

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