Employee Relations Questions of the Week

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Importance of Diversity

Question:

Why is diversity so important in the workplace?

Answer:

Diversity is important in the workplace for a variety of reasons.  First, let’s take a look at the general definition of diversity in the workplace: having an organization that employs individuals whose ethnicity,  gender, background, experiences, abilities, skills, age, and opinions are varied.

So, why is this so important?  Well, according to UC Berkely in Why Diversity Matters,

There is evidence that managing a diverse work force can contribute to increased staff retention and productivity. It can enhance the organization’s responsiveness to an increasingly diverse world of customers, improve relations with the surrounding community, increase the organization’s ability to cope with change, and expand the creativity of the organization.

In a global marketplace, a company is more likely to be able to meet the needs of its customers and gain access to new markets with a diverse workforce.  Bringing in talent into the workplace whose experience or background pertains to these new markets can be an efficient solution to accessing these markets as different skills, e.g. language or understanding of cultural norms, are often required to break initial barriers to entry.

The Center for American Progress lists the Top 10 Economic Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace as the following:

  1. A diverse workforce drives economic growth.
  2. A diverse workforce can capture a greater share of the consumer market.
  3. Recruiting from a diverse pool of candidates means a more qualified workforce.
  4. A diverse and inclusive workforce helps businesses avoid employee turnover costs.
  5. Diversity fosters a more creative and innovative workforce.
  6. Businesses need to adapt to our changing nation to be competitive in the economic market.
  7. Diversity is a key aspect of entrepreneurialism.
  8. Diversity in business ownership is key to moving our economy forward.
  9. Diversity in the workplace is necessary to create a competitive economy in a globalized world.
  10. Diversity in the boardroom is needed to leverage a company’s full potential.

Finally, diversity in the workplace helps employers comply with legislation that protects individuals from discrimination.  When employers are legally compliant with these laws, the likelihood of employees pursuing legal action due to discriminatory activities by the company decreases (smallbuisness.chron.com, The Importance of Diversity in the Workplace).

 Recruitment is a critical HR function. Strategic HR, inc. knows that finding and keeping talented employees is the key to company survival. That’s why our Talent consultants utilize a variety of resources to help clients source, screen and select the best candidates and employees. Please visit our Recruitment page for more information on how we can help you effectively and efficiently find your next employee.

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Social Security & Unemployment

Question:

We want to lay off an employee who is currently drawing Social Security. Would the employee be eligible to apply and receive unemployment benefits while they are on Social Security?

Answer:

It depends. Depending upon the state that you are in, social security benefits would not necessarily make them ineligible for benefits (based on the reason for dismissal) but it may offset the benefits they are eligible for. The link below, provided by the National Employment Law Project, has a helpful chart showing the state by state social security offset rule – http://www.nelp.org/page/-/UI/Development_of_social_security_offsets_Nov_2007.pdf.

Strategic HR, inc. knows that keeping abreast of legal compliance issues can be daunting, especially when the laws keep changing. We can help you stay compliant by fielding your questions and offering resources to help you identify and mitigate compliance issues. Visit our Compliance page to learn about our auditing services which can help you identify trouble spots in your HR function.

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More Difficult People Resources

Question:

Ughhhh…we have an employee that does a great job at what she does (technically speaking) but she is very challenging for everyone to work with between her attitude, comments, and more. Many employees can’t stand to work with her. What do we do?

Answer:

Your dilemma brought back memories of similar “people problems” for all of us!  We’ve all had unhappy experiences as HR Managers dealing with staff that are technically competent but difficult to work with.

We do have some recommendations for resources on this topic, which are listed below.  We make these recommendations not knowing the specific behaviors that are challenging to you and the other staff in your unit.

  • Complete Idiot’s Guide to Dealing with Difficult Employees – Robert Bacal
  • 201 Ways to Deal with Difficult People – Alan Axelrod, et al
  • Dealing with Problem Employees:  A Legal Guide – Amy Delpo and Lisa Guerin
  • Managing Negative People:  Strategies for Success – S. Michael Kravitz
  • Since Strangling Isn’t an Option:  Dealing with Difficult People – Common Problems and Uncommon Solutions – Sandra A. Crowe

These books are all available through Amazon.com, and a favorite is the Kravitz book.

Our  experience has shown  that to change behaviors, it’s necessary to change the consequences of behaviors.  If your difficult employee doesn’t hear clearly and unequivocably that her behaviors are unacceptable and that there are consequences to not changing (i.e., no promotions or raises), she likely won’t find it in her best interests to adjust.

Thanks to Linda Gravett PhD, SPHR, CEQC with Gravett and Associates for sharing her insight on working with a difficult employee.  To contact Linda directly, she can be reached at Linda@Gravett.com or 513-753-8870.

One of the stickiest aspects to human resources management is Employee Relations. Are you having difficulties in your company that stem from employee-employer related issues? Strategic HR, inc. has years of experience in employment relations Visit our Employee Relations page to learn how we can help you resolve some of your toughest ER problems.

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Reasonable Non-Compete

Question:

What considerations need to made in order for a non-compete agreement to be reasonable?

Answer:

It may seem ironic that companies encourage innovation and brilliance while employees are on the payroll, but they pull the plug on that ambition if employees dare to leave. But non-compete agreements attempt to do just that:  to control damage.

Whether signed when staff members come on board, or as part of a ream of paper presented as they leave, non-compete agreements have similar restrictions. An employer lays claim to any products, intellectual property and ideas developed while on the job. And customers or clients handled while a staff member was employed by the company are also generally off-limits.

Courts have tried to balance the interests of employers and departing employees in deciding whether or not a non-compete agreement should be upheld. In order to hold up, here are three areas in which the agreement must be reasonable:

  • Time. You obviously can’t restrict a former employee from competing forever. The time period considered reasonable is one to three years. Sometimes this period is shortened, depending on the industry. For instance, in high-tech businesses where information changes quickly, the restrictions are frequently shorter.
  • Geography. You can make restrictions in the area where your company does business, but probably not nationwide or worldwide. One exception is Internet or software companies that operate worldwide.
  • Scope. No non-compete agreement can strip an employee of the right to earn a living. An agreement can restrict certain core functions, but it can’t prevent an employee from using skills acquired over years. Agreements are analyzed for reasonableness by the courts.

Restrictions must normally be limited to the job the employee performed for the employer. For example, a software engineer for one automaker can’t be restricted from taking a sales job at another manufacturer’s showroom.

Non-compete agreements are subject to the laws of the state in which they’re written. Some states don’t recognize them. Others stipulate that employees must enter into the agreements when first hired. If the document is sprung on an employee later — up to and including quitting day — the company may have to offer something extra (such as a promotion, raise, stock options or other enticement) for the agreement to be valid.   So the best time to secure an agreement is generally when you hire an employee.

To sum up, you can prevent staff members from competing with you after they leave your company but the exact restrictions depend on many things — most importantly, whether circumstances make it reasonable and enforceable.  Consult with your attorney for assistance in drafting the agreement or if you feel a former employee’s conduct violates a non-compete agreement.

Special thanks to Gregory E Ossege for submitting his response to this question. Greg is the managing partner of Ossege Combs & Mann, Ltd. a Cincinnati area CPA and Business Consulting firm. He can be reached at gossege@ocmcpas.com or 513-241-4507. Also, see www.ocmcpas.com for further information.

Are you concerned that you are not in compliance with the required labor laws? Let strategic HR inc. help. Visit our Compliance page for more information.

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Excessive Absenteeism

Question:

I have an employee with excessive absenteeism and tardiness due to her pregnancy. She has been with the company less than eight months. Per her physician’s request she has been asked to stop working and has asked us for a leave of absence for six to eight months.  The company can not afford to hold this position for such a long time. What are our legal obligations?

Answer:

Since each State has different State-specific laws, we’ll address your question from a federal perspective. You should also confirm your obligations with your respective State as they could be more restrictive.

From a federal viewpoint, you should be concerned with the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Pregnancy Act. Because this employee has not been employed an entire year, she is not eligible for FMLA protection. The Pregnancy Act only requires that you provide the employee the same treatment provided others with medical disabilities. So, as long as you are treating her equal to other employees with a short-term disability, you do not need to hold her position. The real issue to be addressed is her absence not her pregnancy.

Based on the limited information you have shared, unless your State has different laws, it appears your company has no obligation to hold the position for the employee.

Do difficult situations with employees keep you awake at night? Strategic HR, inc. understands how conflicts with employees can make or break your day (or a good night’s sleep). Call us when you encounter a difficult situation – we can help coach your managers, suggest solutions or advise you on a specific problem. Learn more about our Employee Relations services by visiting our Employee Relations page.

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Just Cause Termination

Question:

Can you terminate a stock room employee for failing to find a piece of needed equipment that he could not locate in the drawer when we had six on hand? He said we didn’t have the part when in fact we did.

Answer:

In an at-will State, an employer can terminate an employee for a bad reason, a good reason, or a silly reason – as long as the reason isn’t against the law. In your situation, the employee displayed either incompetence or inattention to detail and could in fact be fired for this reason alone. The qualifier in this, or in any case of termination, is whether the employee is being discriminated against because of age, race, religion, gender or disability. Each of these factors is covered by protective labor laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Specifically, if employees who are Caucasian, for instance, are not fired for the same offense but only Black men, or Hispanic women, or people over 40 are fired there might be a case of (illegal) discrimination.

The deciding factor in a discrimination case is the answer to the question: was the employee fired for just cause (i.e., not locating a part and perhaps causing a lost customer) or fired solely because of race, color, etc.? To prove a just cause case you better be able to explain who, what, when, where, and why something occurred. Do you know why this person couldn’t find the part? Were they properly trained? Can you prove they were properly trained? Was there an investigation that can show that they knew what they were supposed to do and how to do it but just “didn’t do it”?

Bottom line – do a thorough investigation and make sure you have solid documentation. Without it any reason, or no reason, terminations are more likely to become discrimination lawsuits.

Terminations are one of the most difficult aspects of Human Resources. Even when justified it can be difficult to let someone in the workforce go. When not justified they can be a risky move for any company. Strategic HR, inc. can walk you through a termination, assist with the investigation and provide a third party objective look at each case. Visit our Employee Relations page to see how we can assist you with employment issues.

 

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Dealing With Difficult Employees

Question:

It seems like we are always hearing about a difficult employee or a complaint about a demanding manager. This can really inhibit how successful the team is working together.  Can you offer some suggestions on how to effectively deal with these difficult people?

Answer:

We all have people in our lives who are more challenging to work with than others. There is no one right way to deal with these types of people, but here are some suggestions that can be used depending on the individual circumstances:

  • Remain calm and be respectful – This may sound obvious, but it’s easier said than done; getting worked up serves no purpose. Be respectful and focus on the issue at hand. Keep emotions out of it. If the individual gets personal or derogatory, acknowledge that they are upset and redirect back to the issue at hand.
  • Empathize and get detail – For the demanding person, show them you understand what they are saying, and show you want to work with them.
  • Share your perspective – Talk about what you CAN do. Don’t make excuses, but when appropriate, let them know what possible obstacles you expect to encounter in trying to meet their request.
  • Offer Options – You may not be able to meet the demand exactly, but offer what you can do. Show how this alternative can meet their needs.
  • Escalate if needed – Request that a difficult person allow you the opportunity to resolve the problem. Realize sometimes that escalation is the best solution.
  • Preserve the relationship – Keep the big picture in mind. As easy as it may sound to swear you will never deal with that person again, that may not be realistic.
  • Self examination – Sometimes we have to ask, “Am I the problem?” Take a close look at the situation and ask “Why am I perceiving this person as difficult and demanding?” Could it be that they are just inconvenient for me?

A key underlying theme in all of these tips is solid communication and listening. Employing these skills will help get to the root of the problem. There is no one-size-fits-all method of dealing with challenging people in the workplace. Hopefully these tips can guide you to a positive outcome.

One of the most difficult aspects of human resources management is dealing with people. Are you getting inundated with complaints about managers or employees that take you away from more pressing matters? Are you looking for an on-going solution to combat these issues? Strategic HR, inc. has years of experience in employment relations. Visit our Employee Relations page to learn how we can help you resolve some of your toughest ER problems.

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Employee Engagement Surveys

Question:

What is an employee engagement survey and why would I need one?

Answer:

There are a number of different tools that employers can use to gauge what their employees are thinking.  Employee Opinion Surveys, Employee Satisfaction Surveys or Employee Engagement Surveys are just a few examples.  As the economic recovery takes hold, and large numbers are considering making a change of employers, retention has become a dominant issue for employers.  These surveys are a valuable tool to obtain feedback from your employees on what is working and what is not working in the organization.  The key is to build on what is working, and address and/or make changes to what is not working.  Engagement is particularly insightful to understand your employees’ commitment level to the organization.  Employers who have engaged employees are more productive, more profitable, have less turnover and just an overall more satisfying work environment.

Having good employee relations is key to effectively managing (and retaining) your workforce. Employees want to feel valued and may not perform up to standards, or stick around very long, if they don’t feel they are needed. Strategic HR, inc. understands the value of your workforce and having good Employee Relations. We’ve helped companies create reward and recognition programs and have coached managers on providing support and mentoring to their employees. Learn how we can help you with your Employee Relations needs by visiting our Employee Relations page.

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Reducing Employee Turnover

Question:

We operate a retail chain that is having turnover problems. How can I conduct an in-depth analysis of high fluctuation rates in one of our stores?

Answer:

If you have not been using exit interviews for departing employees, you should start doing so immediately. Exit interviews will help you uncover the extent of your problem. Exit interviews can be conducted in person on an employee’s last day or can be sent via email or letter within a couple of days after an employee departs. The exit interview isn’t a forum allowing the former employee to “gripe” about the store; instead you should ask for suggestions for improving the store as a place to work as well as ask why the employee decided to leave.

If you are currently conducting exit interviews, that’s the first place to start with an analysis. Looking at the data is there a pattern across former employees’ comments that indicate “low pay”, “poor benefits”, or “no feedback from supervisor”? These patterns can help guide your actions on appropriate interventions.

If your data shows signs of management issues, you could conduct focus groups or distribute employee opinion surveys to existing employees to get a feel for the current environment and to pinpoint specific issues. Excellent resources for employee opinion surveys can be obtained online from The Society for Human Resource Management (www.shrm.org). If conducting focus groups or surveys of current employees be sure to ask for positive recommendations on the types of training and education that would benefit management staff. Your training and/or coaching dollars could then be spent in the areas where there would be the most payback for the organization.

Conducting an in-depth analysis takes time and money. Your leadership team may be uneasy about spending on a project like this as this time. But if you can demonstrate the high cost of turnover for those employees who have already left and the money saving value of implementing retention practices you could likely change their minds.

Well thought out retention strategies are key to keeping employment costs low in a down economy. By avoiding costly turnover companies can more easily weather an economic downturn. Employee Relations is all about how employers interact with employees to help them remain an engaged and productive employee that is content to continue employment with the company for many years. Visit our Employee Relations page to learn how we can assist you with Employee Relations issues such as retention.

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Requiring Employee Contact Information

Question:

Can my company require our employees to provide their personal cell phone number and home email address?

Answer:

A  follow up question to you might be, why do you need them? If it is for emergency notifications, that is one thing, however if it is for working purposes, you would be better off providing them with a work email or cell phone. With email, it is best to make sure that any work related communications are managed in the secure environment of your company server. Also keep in mind that email or phone calls made outside of work hours to non-exempt employees count as “time worked”. Make sure you are tracking that time and paying overtime accordingly.

Today’s employees are on a constant search for work/life balance; it is a key factor in choosing an employer and, sometimes, the decision to leave. As a job requirement you could most likely require them to provide you with two ways to reach them and then suggest they provide a cell phone number and home email address; but requiring it might be a stretch. As long as they give you a way to reach them during off hours that should suffice.

Recordkeeping is one of the more mundane tasks associated with Human Resources, but is extremely important. Keeping documentation of corrective actions, counseling sessions and performance appraisals are vital to making sure you are being consistent with your disciplinary and performance policies. Strategic HR, inc. has a great online tool that’s affordable, easily downloaded and ready for immediate use. Our Coaching and Counseling toolkit has sample policies and forms to help you with your Counseling needs. Visit our Communications page to learn more.

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How to Handle an Autocratic Manager

Question:

I work for a manager who is a retired, very successful Captain of a submarine for the US Navy. There are 45 people under this manager varying in age from 21-50, and we are losing people from our team left and right due to his autocratic management style. This management style worked very well for him as a Navy Captain, but in the civilian world we don’t know what to do. What can our team do to work together and change this so that we can enjoy coming to work again?

Answer:

Military officers have a distinct “command and control” management style. In the military this type of management style is encouraged and rewarded, so the former Captain is managing in a way that’s familiar and comfortable for him.

Before the manager changes his management style, he has to see that it’s in his best interest to change. Since the old style was effective for him and he knows no other approach, he won’t even consider anything else until and unless he understands his autocratic style is not acceptable in his new environment.

It’s quite possible that this manager won’t hear any constructive criticism from anyone “under” him in the “chain of command.” He may listen to a person he considers a peer and will listen to his immediate supervisor or someone in a higher-level position. For this reason, you should have a representative of the team meet with either the manager’s boss or the top HR person. In sharing the team’s concerns, the representative must be very specific. What is the behavior that’s causing problems? What are specific examples of instances that have caused team members to be dissatisfied or disrespected? Do you know for certain that former employees resigned because of this person? Would they be willing to say this to the manager’s supervisor? Be sure to balance the criticism with areas where the manager is strong, such as his expertise or insights based on experience.

The manager would undoubtedly benefit from one-on-one coaching from a person he respects. If he is to change from his autocratic management style, he needs to have some new skills. The best coach for him would be a seasoned peer that he trusts, his supervisor, a top-level HR person within the organization, or an external consultant.

In the meantime, team members should speak up when the manager is too directive without sharing why he has issued orders or hasn’t asked for input from the team before making decisions that affect the team. Be sure to say why you’re making suggestions or asking questions, i.e. to ensure that the product or service is of excellent quality for customers, etc. Otherwise, the manager may feel that his authority is simply being questioned and this is very threatening for a person with his background and training.

Having good employee relations is key to effectively managing (and retaining) your workforce. Employees want to feel valued and may not perform up to standards, or stick around very long, if they don’t feel they are needed. Strategic HR, inc. understands the value of your workforce and having good Employee Relations. We’ve helped companies create reward and recognition programs and have coached managers on providing support and mentoring to their employees. Learn how we can help you with your employee relations needs by visiting our Employee Relations page.

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Making Employees Feel Appreciated

Question:

My employees say they don’t feel appreciated, but I brought in doughnuts just last week?

Answer:

Doughnuts are one way to show our employees that we appreciate them, but that shouldn’t be the only way. Showing that you appreciate your employees’ contribution is a great way to retain employees, improve productivity, and motivate your workforce, all of which benefit your company as a whole. Employee recognition may be done individually, as a team, or for the entire organization.
Individual recognition lets that employee know their efforts are noticed and appreciated. This recognition allows him or her to feel valued and can be motivating. It is important to make sure the recognition is personal and appropriate. Recognizing someone who is an introvert, in front of the entire company at the corporate retreat, may make that person feel more uncomfortable than appreciated. However, a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant, or a day off with pay to spend time with family, shows you are considering their individual preferences.

When recognizing an entire team it may certainly be appropriate to use the company meeting to recognize the group that landed that big account. Bringing in lunch for everyone when the company makes its yearly goals can show the overall appreciation of everyone’s efforts.
While HR may administer a recognition program, and be the one championing it’s cause, managers play a key role in ensuring a program’s success. Managers must be trained to see the importance of recognizing their employees.

This brings up the question of how to recognize employees. This is where the HR professional can get a little creative. Recognition can range from a simple, “Good Job, Thank you!” to a sizable bonus check, depending on the circumstances. Employees may appreciate a gift card in acknowledgement of extra effort and going above and beyond. An employee who stayed late to finish a project may appreciate an afternoon off. However when certain employees’ efforts result in significant cost savings, the size of the award should reflect that. Recognition may also be job related, such as inclusion in a special project as a reward for his or her contribution. The key is to make the award something that the employee will value and appreciate (and doesn’t need to be cash).

NOTE: Keep in mind that any monetary reward may be taxable. It’s a good idea to include the taxes in the gross amount of the award, so the award amount itself isn’t diminished.

Employee recognition is just one aspect of Employee Relations. In a nutshell, Employee Relations is all about how employers interact with employees to help them remain an engaged and productive employee that is content to continue employment with the company for many years. Visit our Employee Relations page to learn how we can assist you with Employee Relations issues such as recognition.

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Building Strong Employee Relationships

Question:

The past couple of years have been very tough on our employees. We’re even starting to see resentment internally that some employees were retained, while others were let go. As a company, we feel like we are starting to turn the corner, how do we repair relationships within our organization?

Answer:

This is a difficult time in our country for employers. Out of necessity, we have had to ask a lot of our employees in order to survive. Now that things are starting to improve, it is critical that we show our employees we appreciate them. Recognition is key even on a limited budget. Something as simple as a $25 gift card shows your employees that you notice and appreciate them. When possible, look at restoring pay and benefits that may have been cut or try to add a new no-cost/lost-cost benefit.

As to employee relationships, consider a company-wide team-building event. A Community Service Day gets employees together outside the normal work environment to have fun and give back to the community. It can help everyone realize how lucky we really are despite all the recent turmoil. Local charitable organizations can assist with identifying a need your employees can relate to – cleaning up a local park, bowling with at risk kids. You never know, in the process you might learn your co-worker has some “hidden” skills you never knew she had.

Having good employee relations is key to effectively managing (and retaining) your workforce. Employees want to feel valued and may not perform up to standards, or stick around very long, if they don’t feel they are needed. Strategic HR, inc. understands the value of your workforce and having good Employee Relations. We’ve helped companies create reward and recognition programs and have coached managers on providing support and mentoring to their employees. Learn how we can help you with your Employee Relations needs by visiting our Employee Relations page.

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Gen Y Differences

Question:

I’ve been hearing a lot about the differences in work ethic between the generations and now I’m starting to notice some differences myself. For example, don’t Gen Y employees feel a need to impress “the boss” in order to get ahead in their career?

Answer:

Honestly, no. Gen Ys are more likely to believe the boss should impress them in order to keep them content in their jobs and wanting to stay with the company. The Ys used in Robin Throckmorton’s research (for her book with Dr. Linda Gravett, Bridging the Generation Gap) are bold, confident, and certain of their capabilities and therefore don’t feel an overwhelming need to go out of their way to impress the boss. They’re more likely to feel peer pressure within their own age group.

One of the stickiest aspects to human resources management is employee relations. Are you having difficulties in your company that stem from employee-employer related issues? What about generational issues? Strategic HR, inc. has years of experience in employment relations Visit our Employee Relations page to learn how we can help you resolve some of your toughest ER problems.

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Recognizing Employees and Building Employee Relationships

Question:

The past couple of years have been very tough on our employees. We’re even starting to see resentment internally that some employees were retained, while others were let go. As a company, we feel like we are starting to turn the corner, how do we repair relationships within our organization?

Answer:

This is a difficult time in our country for employers. Out of necessity, we have had to ask a lot of our employees in order to survive. Now that things are starting to improve, it is critical that we show our employees we appreciate them. Recognition is key even on a limited budget. Something as simple as a $25 gift card shows your employees that you notice and appreciate them. When possible, look at restoring pay and benefits that may have been cut.

As to employee relationships, consider a company-wide team-building event. A Community Service Day gets employees together outside the normal work environment to have fun and give back to the community. It can help everyone realize how lucky we really are. Local charitable organizations can assist in identifying a need your employees can relate to such as cleaning up a local park, bowling with at risk kids, or doing light maintenance at a senior center. You never know, you might learn your co-worker has skills you never knew she had.

One of the stickiest aspects to human resources management is Employee Relations. Are you having difficulties in your company that stem from employee-employer related issues? Strategic HR, inc. has years of experience in employment relations. Visit our Employee Relations page to learn how we can help you resolve some of your toughest ER problems.

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Political Arguments in the Workplace

Question:

With election time drawing near, we have some employees who have been very vocal about their political beliefs, including making insulting remarks about those who do not share their views. This is making other employees uncomfortable. What can we do as an employer to control political arguments in the workplace?

Answer:

Under the Federal Election Campaign Act,  employers have the right to regulate and control employee work time and, as a result, may restrict any political activity during work time by prohibiting certain activities and behaviors that interfere with an employee’s (or other employees’) work. This includes wearing campaign buttons or t-shirts, leafleting, and disruptive commentary in the workplace. According to Michelle Reid, Esq. of Dallas-based Employment Practices Solutions, intelligent political dialogue can increase camaraderie and interaction between coworkers, but it can quickly escalate into arguments and lead to formal complaints and a divisive work environment. Reid states all organizations should have a policy that addresses discussions that may not be suitable for the workplace and the importance of maintaining a tolerant environment. Further, since political discussions between two people with opposing views rarely have a happy ending, train managers on how to diffuse an impassioned political discussion.

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