Cisco is looking for “A digital native with true love for all things mobile, and a social person by nature.”Jumpstart Automotive Group would really like to find a, “Sr Marketing Manager–Digital Native Needed!” Those are just two listings from five pages of results for companies looking for “digital native” at Indeed.com. Meanwhile, other companies are offering “Millennials only seating areas.

Let’s talk about how ridiculously stupid this whole thing is. Digital natives are people who are young enough to have been raised on the computer, which means, what companies should say is, “Young person with true love for all things Mobile” or “Sr Marketing manager–30 and younger only need apply!” No one would do that, but for some reason people think it’s okay to use a code word.

To keep reading, click here: Two Seemingly Harmless Words to Leave Out of a Job Description

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When you have a great team, the last thing you want to do is see them go on their way. We talk a lot about recruiting great talent, but when it comes down to it, your recruiting efforts are worthless if your company is a revolving door. You need to retain your top talent in order to make your business grow.

Below are five key ways to create an engaging workplace that allows your star employees to thrive.

1. Encourage internal movement.

When you have a top performer, it’s natural to want to keep him or her in your department. This is totally logical—why would you want to go recruit someone else, just so that the neighboring department could steal your awesome employee?

Unfortunately, the reality is that rising stars want to do just that: rise. If you want to keep top talent in your company, you need to provide opportunities for employees to rotate and experience new types of work.

To keep reading, click here: 5 Ways to Keep Your Star Employees From Walking Away

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I joined my financial services firm seven months ago. I interviewed for a senior manager role, but was offered a lesser role due to the firm’s pending sale. I was told that I could attain the role after working for at least one year.

I accepted, even though it was a demotion and a big drop in pay. Within the first month, I had this horrible gut feeling that I made a terrible mistake. My boss oversaw every activity and interaction I had, but was terrible at managing both my work and transition into this field.

While attempting to carry out my first project, he (unconsciously) sabotaged it by hijacking meetings, communicating with the client without my consultation, and failing to review my work. I turned in my final report right before Christmas, and it sat unread for four weeks.

He blew off all meetings and communications, and I sat at a desk without an assignment for that period doing little more than reading news online.

I talked with HR, who shared my concerns, particularly the part where I was not working for an extended period of time. HR asked me to engage him directly on these issues, which we did.

My manager informed me that my work was not at the level of my peers, who perceived me as inadequate. He indicated I would not be eligible for promotion. I asked why my performance evaluation did not include any feedback that I could have addressed, and he indicated that that was not the place to do that. HR has asked me to come up with a strategy that they can facilitate, including going directly to my manager’s boss with a strategy. I’m not sure what good it does at this point to ask for a resolution when the person overseeing your career advancement has all but said I’m not worthy of working in the department. Can a strategy be developed to right this wayward (career) ship?

To read the answer, click here: 6 Tips to Help New Employees Meet the Boss’s Expectations

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I work in a growing casino in the south west and lately I’ve been getting complaints from employees that make me feel like a high school guidance counselor more than anything.

“My supervisor is mean to me. She yells at me in front of other coworkers and tells me to do my job.”

“My supervisor is always watching me. I don’t like it. She watches how long I take my breaks and stands behind me watching what I do?” 

“At our last department meeting, they told us that HR doesn’t want us going to complain anymore.”  (This was a misunderstanding on the employee’s part due to our chain of command policy that states employees need to go up the chain of command for minor issues.)

How should I handle these types of complaints? I seem to get one or two every day either in person or written on an employee complaint form left in the overnight HR box. When they are in person, I let them talk about the problem, takes notes and then notify the immediate supervisor about the issue. 

Do you think I’m doing the right thing? I don’t want to stop them in their tracks and turn them away. Sometimes they feel these minor issues are HUGE in their eyes.

To keep reading, click here: 6 Tips About How HR Can Best Handle Employee Complaints

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“Using Times New Roman is the typeface equivalent of wearing sweatpants to an interview,” according to a new article in Bloomberg. Things like this make steam come out of my ears. It’s one of those job hunting myths that need to die. Here are 5 of the worst.

Typeface matters for your resume. Okay, if you write your resume in crayon on the back of a Denny’s placemat, that’s the equivalent of showing up in sweatpants. Using Times New Roman is okay. Go ahead and do it, if it’s your choice. Note that the Bloomberg people interviewed “Typography Wonks” (their term). If you’re applying for a job in typography then sure, your typeface matters. Otherwise, here is what is important:

To keep reading, click here: 5 Job Hunting Myths That Need to Die a Horrible Death

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If Bruce Jenner Were Your Employee

by Evil HR Lady on April 30, 2015

Bruce Jenner just announced “For all intents and purposes, I’m a woman.” Now, as much fun as it is to discuss this on a gossipy level and get quotes from his Kardashian step children, what if Jenner were your employee? When a biological male announces that he intends to live life as a she, how does that affect your workplace? Getting it wrong can land you in court. Here’s what you need to know:

Transgender isn’t a protected class…but: Federal law doesn’t offer special protection to people based on their transgendered status, but federal law does prohibit discrimination based on something called “gender stereotypes.” This means, if Jenner were your employee and now he wants to start wearing makeup and dresses to work, you can’t fire him because men don’t wear makeup. That’s a gender stereotype.

The EEOC recently settled a lawsuit with Lakeland Eye Clinic based on this very concept.

The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that Lakeland Eye Clinic discriminated based on sex by firing its Director of Hearing Services after she began to present as a woman and informed the defendant that she was transgender, despite the fact that the employee had performed her duties satisfactorily throughout her employment. The complaint alleged that the action was taken because the former Director was transgender, transitioning from male to female, and because she did not conform to the employer’s gender-based stereotypes.

To keep reading, click here: If Bruce Jenner Were Your Employee

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The latest World Happiness Report is out and the country I call home, Switzerland, is number one for happiness. I didn’t get a chance to read it the day it came out because I was too busy yodeling, eating chocolate and skiing down the alps to have time to read.

Okay, I was eating chocolate, but I don’t ski and I wish I could yodel, but, alas, it’s not my talent. None of those things were taken into consideration in the report either. Instead, the factors that are used to determine happiness are as follows:

  • Income.
  • Healthy years of life expectancy.
  • Availability of social support.
  • Generosity (i.e. how many people have donated to charity in the last month).
  • Perceptions of corruption in government and business.
  • Individuals’ perceptions of their personal freedoms.

I’m not sure how this translates directly into happiness, but we’ll use their terminology and assume that these things really do indicate happiness. How can you increase all of these in your own life without packing up and moving? (Although, if you choose to pursue life in Switzerland, you’ll find a robust international community so you’ll fit right in.)

To keep reading, click here: How to Be as Happy as a Swiss Person Without Moving Across the Globe

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Is HR Legally Liable for a Boss’s Bad Behavior?

by Evil HR Lady on April 28, 2015

I am a subscriber to your HR newsletter on About.com. I don’t remember ever seeing anything about when HR people (or non-HR people who are in charge of HR) could end up being implicated or in trouble in situations. I am asking this because I am in a situation where I have no HR background, but have been in charge of my company’s HR tasks for a few years now.

Recently, one of the owners of the company is becoming more and more bold, brass, and downright rude/mean, sometimes. It’s a situation where I can’t really say anything to her because she is the other owner/president’s wife and he is very aware of how she acts, but it doesn’t seem to bother him much.

I am concerned that she’s going to cause an ill-fated relationship with a certain employee (well, the relationship is already very uncivil at best) to the point where this employee could possibly file a suit against us upon departure/termination if it comes to that at some point.

My main concern though is where I fit into this. There are often times where this couple makes business decisions that are controversial within the company, and have many of us worried that they are not completely kosher.

Can I get into legal hot water over a decision they’ve made and have moved forward on, or how they treat certain other employees?

To read the answer, click here: Is HR Legally Liable for a Boss’s Bad Behavior?

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5 Reasons You Should Hire Someone Who Has Been Fired

by Evil HR Lady on April 24, 2015

Hiring the right person is hard. It’s truly difficult to judge someone’s value based on atwo-page summary of her career and a few interviews. Therefore, hiring managers use something called proxies to help determine someone’s potential. One of these proxies is a college degree, another is current employment. Many managers reject anyone who is not currently employed because — the logic goes — if they were truly good employees they would not be unemployed.

While it’s true that bad employees are more likely to be unemployed than good employees, it’s absolutely not true that all unemployed people are lousy. In fact, some of them are fabulous. Strike that — many of them are fabulous.

Now, there is big difference between someone who is unemployed because they were laid off, took time off to raise children or take care of ailing relatives, or is a recent grad, and someone who was fired. A layoff is a business decision where someone loses a job because the position is going away. A firing is a where someone loses a jobbecause that person isn’t the right fit. You should considered laid off people equal to their currently employed counterparts. You should be more cautious about fired people, but here’s why you should strongly consider hiring someone who has been fired.

To keep reading, click here: 5 Reasons You Should Hire Someone Who Has Been Fired

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Please put down your phone

by Evil HR Lady on April 23, 2015

I’m a member of the management team (3 of us who directly report to the CEO), in a start-up company with 12 people. Our office is very casual, but we work really hard. We’re not strict about start times or dress codes or lunch breaks. I would truly describe everyone at the company as an A performer.

Our founder/owner/CEO is especially casual. He isn’t always in the office from 9-5, he’ll text or take personal calls. However, he works nights/weekends/vacations when most of us are not working.

The management team, including me, make and enforce the rules. We record PTO, keep projects on schedule, etc. We work hard to protect our startup culture while balancing the need for guidelines and rules. We try to not legislate problems, but to deal with them on a one-by-one basis.

One of our A performers (my direct report) is constantly on his phone. Every time one of us walks by he’s on his phone. I’m not sure what he’s doing, but it rubs me (a millennial!) the wrong way. He absolutely gets his work done (he’s a top performer!), but it feels wrong.

Is it worth saying something? Am I just being old fashioned? The precedent has been set at the top, and we strongly value our casual “just get it done” culture. How can I say something without sounding like a hypocrite (based on the precedent)?

It’s absolutely true that if you have an A performer you don’t want to nit pick. After all–if someone is doing his job and doing it well, you don’t really care how he’s doing it. (Presuming he’s not doing anything illegal, which doesn’t apply here, but just thought I’d throw that out.) But, the reality is, if someone is doing something really annoying, it is affecting the office. But is this? What do your fellow managers think about it? Do the other employees notice?

Your job as a manager is decide if it’s something that can be ignored or if it’s something that should be dealt with or if it’s something you can ignore but will affect the employee’s future. I strongly believe that a manager’s job is not just to get the job done, but to prepare the employees for the next job–internally or externally.

In this case, I’d probably approach it casually at first. “Woah, Jim. That phone seems to be welded to your ear.” He may not realize that anyone else is noticing that he’s on the phone a lot. And, it may be that he’s not truly on his phone as much as you think he is–we call this “the van is always at the corner” phenomenon. That is, when the van isn’t there you don’t notice it, but you do notice it when it is there. He’s undoubtedly on the phone more than most people, but he may not be on it all the time, like you think he is. It might be informative for you to make note of whether he is on or off the phone just to confirm that he is always on the phone.

The next question is, who is he talking to? Maybe he’s just a phone person versus an email person. So, when you and I have a question for someone, we send an email and wait for a response. Jim might just call everyone. Some people like the phone. A lot. I’m not one of them, but there’s no harm in being someone who does. As you said, he’s an A performer, so maybe this is part of the secret of his success–he can get instant responses because he calls instead of emailing.

But, if the calls are personal or he’s loud or it’s just downright weird, it’s affecting his potential and you, as a manager should mention it to him. “Jim, I’ve noticed that you’re on personal calls a lot. You’re a high performer and I value your work, but the constant phone calls are holding you back. Can you limit your personal calls during the work day?”  Notice how this is not a super strict “YOU MUST GET OFF THE DARN PHONE!!!” because he’s doing his work and his behavior is merely annoying.

There’s another way you can approach this, which is to bring it to his attention and see what he thinks. He honestly may not realize that his behavior is inappropriate–if this is his first real job, he may not know. “Jim, I’ve noticed you’re on personal calls a lot. Generally, when we’re at work, we should be working and leave the personal stuff for after hours. Of course, we’re not super strict about that and we understand that from time to time personal calls at work are necessary, but you’re reaching excessive levels. Do you think that this affecting your productivity?” And let him answer. You can explain that perception is reality and when he’s on the phone all the time, the perception is that he’s not working and that could affect his potential internally and externally.

Since it’s not a huge problem, you don’t need to address it as a huge problem. If it becomes a huge problem, you need to address it as a huge problem. If, for instance, his performance starts to suffer, you will need to be more direct. “Jim, you missed the deadline on this project. Your constant phone calls are interfering with your ability to get your work done. Limit personal calls to lunch.”

Edited to add: Duh. He’s probably not talking on the phone. He’s probably doing everything else. The advice is the same, except for the personal calls things. Maybe it’s personal texts. Maybe it’s internet surfing. If it’s a company phone, he should be reminded that they company has the ability to monitor whatever he’s doing and read his texts, so maybe he shouldn’t be texting his girlfriend all the time.

 

 

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