The past six months has been a struggle for most businesses, no matter what industry sector. Airlines have laid off staff and flight schedules have been reduced while the manufacturing sectors have furloughed as well as permanently laid off staff. Small business owners such as women’s clothing, restaurants and convenience stores are all suffering. And unfortunately, it looks like more is coming.
Avoid poor morale and employee turnover by having effective systems in place
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock these past few weeks, you’ve probably read and heard the various news stories about a local business that’s been absolutely vilified on social media. The post, set up by a former employee, seemed to have poked a hornet’s nest, causing a swarm of comments and support from both former and current employees who are unhappy. In other words, the employer was literally "Facebook Fried."
A few employer guidelines around cannabis use on the job
It’s here! Right in time for Halloween, yet it’s no ghoulish joke. It’s for real! Yes, the long-awaited cannabis legalization is finally here, and there is indeed excitement in the air. A positive excitement on one hand, and a sincere lack of enthusiasm and eagerness on the other. In fact, for some employers, it’s more like confusion and fear.
Perception of a company key to success
Fall is the time to say goodbye to golf and hello to hockey and (American) football. But, did you realize these sports are actually "cultural icons" with their own rules that dictate the way both players and observers must act? For instance, the often-vigorous cheering we find at a closely fought hockey or football game just wouldn’t be accepted by an audience trying to enjoy the symphony orchestra or a ballet. In fact, I am sure you would be escorted out of the building.
As we move into mid-August, the fruits of local gardens are beginning to show up on the various roadside vendor stands. Strawberries, cucumbers, peas, beans, and corn — all fruits of our labour that bring a special enjoyment at this time of year. And then, before you know it, fall harvest time will soon be here.
However, just reflecting on these splendid days made me think about a statement by author Robert Louis Stevenson. He said, "Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant."
I’ll be honest, I am very much enjoying the beautiful summer we are experiencing. Long, sunny days that stretch right out to relaxing evenings without too many of our typical Manitoba mosquitoes. As well, I see much less traffic on my drive to work, because so many people are on vacation. Aaaah, summer is so much more relaxing.
Yet, the word "relaxing" can also be a problem in a summer workplace. There are often issues that can arise from employees who take the summer dress code a bit too far — in other words, they are simply too "relaxed" and that is negatively impacting their colleagues as well as the corporate professional image.
Absence does not make the heart grow fonder.
There are no two ways about it, but most of us are great fans of summer… sunny days, barbecues, long evenings, and opportunities for rest and relaxation. Yet, at the same time, it can be a difficult time for small businesses to juggle all the employee vacation schedules.
Barbara Bowes has been appointed the chair of the Manitoba Women’s Advisory Council (MWAC), Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires, the minister responsible for the status of women, announced today.
Recent movements throughout North America have provided a voice to employees that are being listened to for the benefit of all. Allegation, Speculation, Fraud, Misconduct, Inappropriate Behaviour, Disorderly conduct, Unacceptable policies, Harassment are all words that have suddenly become more common in the workplace and must be taken seriously. Whether employees are in a non-profit, unionized, private or workplace, the possibility of having a complaint brought forward by an employee or a group is a reality, and companies must be well equipped to act accordingly.
In enters, the workplace investigation.
One by one, several high-profile pillars of Hollywood society have fallen to the ground. Radio and TV personalities, as well as some leading CEOs and politicians, have quickly followed suit. Not of their own doing, of course; they’ve been "outed" by the #metoo movement that has brought to light stories of their long-standing sexual-harassment exploits. In spite of the fact many have lost their jobs and sometimes their family, they continue to deny, plead ignorance of their behaviour and/or blame the victim. Still others run toward a treatment facility in hopes their pain will go away.
Have you ever been asked a question but didn’t understand exactly what was being asked? Have you ever been prepared to ask a question but didn’t know how to frame that answer? Why are questions so important in the communication process, anyway? Is it simply a matter of insatiable curiosity or is there a specific purpose?
Frankly, I could scream with anger whenever I hear United States President Donald Trump appearing to defend racism. I am also quite shocked at how quickly he has been able to dismantle civil rights initiatives, legislation, policies and procedures that support diversity in the general society as well as in the workplace. In addition, Trump's suggestion that diversity is simply reverse discrimination and that it's time to stop so-called "political correctness" sends shudders through my heart. I give thanks for living in Canada, yet I am already seeing some fallout in our great country and I expect this ripple effect will continue.
The recent focus on back-to-school planning reminds me about the importance of ongoing training and development in the workplace. Training helps to improve employee morale. Employees feel valued and develop increased loyalty when they see the employer investing in their knowledge and skill development. When morale is high, employees will contribute more to their job, put in more effort, make fewer errors and waste less time. Highly trained employees have far fewer work-related accidents, have less absenteeism and require less direct supervision.
While I am enjoying the lovely summer weather and have read a book or two, I am shocked to the core about the number of ethical issues arising in the workplace I am reading about in the newspaper every day.
For instance, who would have thought that one of our elected city councillors would blatantly use his corporate credit card for personal expenses? Not only that, it is understood the credit card was used for an entire two years and 600 transactions in spite of multiple warnings.
Political skills often key to self-promotion
Have you ever wondered why your management team always seems to listen to your colleague’s ideas rather than your own? Are you struggling to get your voice heard? Are you frustrated because other people seem to steal or borrow your idea and get credit for it, thus leaving you behind in the dust?
The problem you are experiencing may be twofold. First, you may not understand some of the key dynamics of marketing and therefore fail to plan effectively for your presentation. Secondly, you may not have developed your political skills to the extent you have the right amount of influence and credibility to sell your specific idea.
For those of you who travel overseas, you know all about the time and effort it takes to make the adjustment of being "back home." For some, it is a "reverse culture shock" that requires one day of reintegration back home for every day away. In other words, 10 days away, 10 days readjustment time. Fortunately for others, the transition back to work might be rather quick. In my view, this same formula applies to employee vacations, no matter where they go. It requires one day to adjust for every day of vacation that employees are away from work. At least that’s how the formula applies to me.
Being higher up the ladder doesn't mean being happier
When I talk to people about careers, it seems that many continue to think success means progressing higher and higher on that proverbial career ladder. So, I would like to ask you, what’s wrong with being happy at other levels of an organization? After all, management is not for everyone.
To be sure, middle and senior management usually means increased prestige and a larger paycheque, but it also means increased responsibility. In many cases, it also means longer hours, no overtime and more stress. I agree that being in higher management increases one’s profile but I also can assure you that the higher you climb, the farther it is to fall in case of a major career failure.
Learn to be curious
When something is presented to you, don’t take it at face value; make time to look beneath the surface. Ask yourself if there is evidence of bias, if some facts are missing and/or misinterpreted. Check the validation of data sources and use your own experience and judgement to make a thorough assessment. Think about the political elements behind recommendations and use your knowledge of the organization and industry sector to filter these ideas until you can come to a conclusion.
The end of the school term is here and the thought of report cards reminded me of workplace "report cards," traditionally known as employee performance reviews. Historically, these reports were not done at all and/or were done hurriedly, at the last minute.
Every year, the accounting and consulting firm KPMG conducts an annual HR Transformation Survey of more than 800 organizations. The most recent study report (2016) indicated the top corporate initiative among all survey participants was improving the capability of front-line managers to deal with their people issues.
Rumours at the office can have a detrimental effect on your career
It’s been a long time since I’ve heard the phrase, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Although it can be traced back to the late 1800s, today it aptly applies to the issue of verbal abuse and bullying that we are now encountering in the workplace. While the context of the phrase is honourable, I can tell you that when someone deliberately spreads a falsehood about you, it not only deals a heavy blow to one’s self confidence but it can damage your reputation and jeopardize friend and business relationships. When this happens, I assure you that the latest new phrase "fake news" will suddenly have a special meaning.
It doesn’t take much thought to see that trust in our governance systems is cracking like an eggshell. We saw this with the recent reversal of voter support for Prime Minister Theresa May in Britain, as well as last year’s vote for the U.K.’s exit from the European Union. Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump’s first six months in office sees him challenged by three investigations into issues surrounding his campaign as well as his unseemly "unpresidential" behaviour. Canada isn’t immune, as the recent British Columbia election seems to suggest.
Finally, those lazy, hazy days of summer have arrived. University students have found their summer jobs and elementary and high school students are getting increasingly excited as they begin the countdown to summer vacation. Summer season also affects our workplaces in at least two ways. First, employees quickly line up with their vacation requests, causing scheduling challenges for management. Second, people typically find it hard to concentrate in the summer, so employee productivity often lags behind.
As you sit and read today’s newspaper, my guess is you’ve also engaged in some online shopping at some time during the week. Perhaps, after successfully purchasing a new book from amazon.ca, you’ve now become a frequent shopper for the many other items now being offered. If not, you’ll have at least tried the "ship from the store" option being offered by many retailers. It seems that "e-commerce" is becoming a big part of our lives.
Skip the Dishes, the highly successful Winnipeg-based restaurant delivery service, has been on a fast and high growth trajectory since its launch in 2013. It has enjoyed great fanfare and was recognized as one of North America’s fastest-growing companies. "Going live" has been the company’s corporate mantra, as city after city throughout North America has been added to the delivery roster. Brand awareness and success quickly led to the company being purchased by a United Kingdom corporation called Just Eat PLC, for a reported $110 million.
Businesses must prepare for widespread major illnesses
For the last number of years, Canadians and Manitobans have basked in the glory of the growing global economy. More and more businesses are exporting their goods and services all over the world. Many have established manufacturing plants and distribution systems in foreign countries. With this has come a burst in international travel as employees and owners arrive in various countries for sales excursions, annual meetings and other business trips. Life is exciting.
From Debra Magnuson – Career Partners International – Twin Cities
With Baby Boomers beginning their moves into retirement and Generation Z, the youngest generation, now entering the workforce, the needs and expectations of employees are changing. To provide insight into the importance and impact of this workforce revolution, Career Partners International, one of the largest talent management solution providers in the world, hosted researcher and author Dan Schawbel for a webinar entitled “Generation Z: Understanding the Next Generation of Worker.” This document discusses the concepts introduced during the webinar, as well as practices that engage employees of all ages, concluding with solutions to help organizations thrive by leveraging the strengths of the new workforce.
It's always wise to take time to build relationships
Now that Brian Bowman has taken his oath of office, all attention is focused on his accomplishments during the first 100 days as our new mayor. He came aboard with a clear plan that outlined his priorities for building an effective council, tackling the crumbling infrastructure and bringing accountability back to city hall. As you can expect, some individuals have already criticized his efforts and accomplishments, yet from a career perspective, his determination to focus on concrete goals and objectives in the first 100 days is a very wise decision.
Successful career goals can't be set in isolation
As you would expect, many people continue with the age-old practice of trying to change their lives by writing a set of New Year's resolutions. Of course, these dreams encompass everything from losing weight and exotic travel plans to getting a promotion at work. However, we also know very soon into the new year, people begin to get frustrated. They lose their commitment, fall into old habits and then find themselves backsliding to where they were before. In other words, setting a goal is one thing, accomplishing it is another.
Developing positive connections in the workplace a key to success
The new year is beginning to unfold and as you might expect, the newspaper has been full of great ideas for creating and sustaining a healthy lifestyle. There have been articles on physical fitness, as well as a review of apps to help you stay true to your exercise goals.
We’ve seen articles on making healthy meals with turkey leftovers, meals to keep you warm and articles that help you to discover the trick to making a smoothie. All in all, the advice is meant to drive readers toward good health and happiness.
It's important to recognize, and be diligent about conflicts of interest
For the past few years, our local world has been abuzz about the issue of perceived conflict of interest in government agencies.
The issue is complicated, convoluted, hard for the general public to understand and hard to track.
Nevertheless, we have to recognize conflicts of interest exist at every level of life.
The challenge for each of us is to develop a deep understanding of what defines conflict of interest and how to avoid it, both personally and professionally.
Human resources, IT must team up on workplace surveillance
Human resources and talent management has always been an evolving industry sector. Today, word is our baby boomers are finally leaving the workplace while Generation X and the millennials are taking over.
Yet, at the same time, there are just as many baby boomers who are either staying or returning to the workplace.
The dilemma for HR professionals is how to manage the personal and professional interests of all these generations.
Technological advances have also significantly changed the way we work and how we manage. In fact, without technology, we shut down.
We recruit our candidates through websites and social media. We train our employees through online portals and assess them through online 360-degree feedback. We easily participate in team meetings with colleagues in foreign countries.
Technology has also enabled management to become strategic partners in business planning as we now use data and analytics to discover organizational trends, determine areas for improvement and project future HR needs. Technology has increased our ability to supervise, manage and protect employees. For instance, security cameras are now widely used to protect both workplaces and employees. As well, management can now monitor work through examining an employee's keystrokes, observing and tracking their online activity and capturing an individual's email and text messages. On some occasions, although not well received, employees have received their termination notices through email.
Almost every manager I speak to talks about the amount of time they spend on human resource issues. Some even feel overwhelmed. Unfortunately, most of the issues relate to interpersonal conflict between employees, bullying, blaming, poor performance, job dissatisfaction, gossip, complaints and whiney attitudes.
According to Cy Wakeman, author of Reality Based Leadership, and the keynote speaker at the upcoming QNET conference, part of the challenge is that many employees have adopted learned helplessness both in their personal and professional lives. In her view, employees are feeling they lack control and have an inability to change their circumstances. This results in negative attitudes and presents a problem for leaders.
In her view, the fault lies with leaders who over-manage and don't lead instead of coaching employees and developing their skills and expertise. When a leader acts in such a way, all they get from employees is excuses. This leads to even more workplace drama.
So what is the solution?
The headline in the Free Press read, City sees healthy growth in economic development and reported the growth momentum was predicted to continue well into 2015. It’s nice to see Manitoba’s competitive advantage has been successful in attracting large world-class companies. At the same time, I am pretty proud of the large number of mid-sized, family-owned enterprises demonstrating success.
To continue growth momentum and to sustain world-class status, however, every organization, large or small, needs strong leadership. Leadership is the only way in which you will continue holding on to and sustaining competitive advantage. In today’s global market, the need for strong and effective leadership is unprecedented. Unfortunately, studies show only 30 to 40 per cent of organizations are well prepared to fill their vacant leadership positions should the need arise.
This raises the question: What is the status of your leadership team? Are you at risk from potential retirements? Do you have gaps in the leadership pipeline? Has the criteria for leadership in your organization changed? Are you failing to develop new leaders within your organization? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you need to take action now. Where do you start? The following guidelines will assist you in creating a foundation for leadership development within your organization.
Identify corporate competencies
It has probably been some time since you really paid attention to the skills and competencies needed for leadership, either currently and/or for the future. The first step is to confirm future business trends and determine your strategic plan. Once this is complete, identify the leadership competencies needed to realize your future by identifying just what leadership behaviours, knowledge, skills, abilities and personal attributes are required for continued success. Prioritize what you consider the core competencies because these are considered a must-have qualification for any candidate.
Following the rules is a strategy for career success
Things happen fast in a global world. In Malaysia, two Saskatchewan siblings ended up in court and were eventually deported after they -- along with others -- stripped naked on a mountain that's considered sacred and posted photos on social media. Not only did the photos go viral, they coincided with a terrible earthquake. Unfortunately, the social-media stunt was linked by the government to the natural disaster and the subsequent loss of life.
Every workplace has go-to people who aren’t managers; managers need to nurture them
Recently, I had lunch with a business acquaintance who is the epitome of a hidden leader. Over a 20-year time frame and with a grade 12 education, she rose from the shop floor to being a corporate president. When I first met her, I was teaching facilitation skills to a group of front-line employees. I took note of her ability to learn quickly, her enthusiasm, the respect others showed toward her, and her eagerness to adapt to change.
Upgrade your stock by going back to 'school'
Yes, as Carole King likes to sing, "School bells are ringing." Yet, it isn't only children and young adults who should be thinking about school. Anyone in the workforce needs to be thinking about school, as well. Yes, you can pat yourself on the back for finishing a long and arduous education resulting in a degree or diploma. However, once you enter the working world, you still need to continue learning. In this case, the term 'school' is better known as 'continuous learning' or 'professional development'. But no matter what learning is called, every worker needs to make learning a lifelong passion.
Organizations, potential volunteers have roles to play in creating successful relationship
Volunteerism is a big deal. For instance, approximately 47 per cent of Canadians older than 15 volunteered in some capacity for a total of 2.07 hours in 2010. According to Statistics Canada, this figure was equivalent to 1.1 million full-time jobs.
Well, they're over! Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, that is. Gifts were opened, love was everywhere, and the feast of unique traditional foods was an especially good treat.
Family members, where possible, were at your side, and I am sure you found people put aside their worries and woes to mix, mingle, have a good time and celebrate the Canadian life.
So, what are you going to do today?
Picking yourself up after a job loss
Target Canada's announcement of 17,600 pink slips in January 2015 was one of the biggest mass layoffs in Canada in more than 20 years. In one fell swoop, 133 Canadian stores were closed and their employees let go.
Since getting the right to vote, women have been instrumental in shaping labour practices
With a provincial election on the horizon, it was somewhat timely that in January we celebrated the 100-year anniversary of Manitoba women getting the right to vote, and 56 years since our indigenous population was finally granted the right to vote.
Lately, we’ve had several opportunities to observe and assess the importance of words in one’s conversation. Just ask the recent young election hopeful who had to bow out of the campaign. His past derogatory words about women on Twitter struck a lightening blow to his political future. Having countless female friends and giving credit to his mother just wasn’t enough to gain public support and smooth this one over.
Maybe the problem at work is you
Last week, my Winnipeg Free Press column dealt with how to deal with an annoying co-worker. However, what if you are the problem? Yes, you! How could that be? Well, first of all, take a look at your attitude. Are you the one with a bad attitude? Are you the one making everyone miserable around you? Are you the one creating concerns for your boss?
Getting people working together a key part of organization structure
Have you ever sat down and thought about how fast our business world is transforming particularly as it relates to new products and services? Look at how quickly society adopted Facebook, one of the first social-networking sites invented in 2004.
Grin and wear it
Although I’ve never followed fashion, I’ve certainly had a front seat to the phenomenal social transition from formal office attire to casual dress. No longer is the three-piece uniform for men or the pencil skirt and matching jacket for women the standard business uniform.
We’ve been hearing a lot lately about "fake news." Just like those phony email messages appearing to be from your local bank branch, fake news often includes misinformation posted to what looks like a trusted site. Still other venues include published articles from unethical "journalists" who simply make up their stories. No matter what venue it appears in, fake news is specifically designed to deliberately provide misinformation presented as the truth — all to either profit in some way, persuade people to think a certain way or, at the very least, question their own beliefs. In today’s Internet environment, these so-called news stories travel across the world in seconds. Some have called this practice "yellow journalism" and/or psychological warfare.
Learning how to better determine and achieve your life ambitions is vital to maintaining success
Here we are in March and while spring is coming, many folks are feeling rather down. The reason? They have failed to fulfill their New Year’s goals. In fact, it is reported 80 per cent of all resolutions fail by the end of February with less than 45 per cent of people still continuing on with their goals by year end.
Effective communication starts with hearing what someone means when they speak
There’s an assumption in our society that everyone is born to listen effectively. After all, that’s what our ears are for. Yet, we know there’s a great deal of miscommunication and disrupted relationships at home and at work simply because people don’t listen well.
The often worst managed HR function can be a boon if well-implemented
As time creeps toward school-report season and that well-known Halloween gala event, many organizations are also looking at finally getting around to that dreaded report card or "performance review" process. You’ll notice I used the word "finally." I did so deliberately because performance reviews are almost always late or simply not done. In fact, the performance-management function is the worst managed area of the human resource field.
Taking time to assess your attitude can lead to positive thinking
You’ve seen it, I know you have. I’m referring to the bad behaviour and negative attitude some employees exhibit in the workplace. In fact, you may have engaged in this behaviour yourself.
Focusing on human resources is an investment, not an expense.
For some unknown reason, as the Christmas holiday came and went, the 1944 novelty Christmas song All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth kept ringing in my ears. Was it the simplicity of the tune or the simplicity of the child’s "ask" that made it such an earworm?
This then led me to thinking about human resource professionals. What would they have wanted for Christmas? What would they have asked for? What goals for the new year 2017 would they have set?
Tips to help you develop positive behaviours in the workplace
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been a move behind the scenes by groups of professionals and industry associations to ensure professional work standards in their industry sectors.
For some reason, while the Christmas season is one of Black Friday sales, travel, good food and family celebrations, for some people it’s also a time of real personal apprehension. That’s because they’ve been thinking about changing jobs at mid-life or contemplating retirement.
Being the boss brings unique role, responsibilities
With the continuing flood of baby boomer retirements, many individuals find themselves being promoted to CEO. It doesn’t matter if the individual is a long-term employee or new to an organization, they’ll find being a CEO is a lot different than being a senior manager.
Attracting, retaining quality employees just part of return on investment
Employers are once again concerned about a capability gap appearing in the marketplace, as it seems the gulf between candidate skills and the needs of employers is widening.
When you decide that employment inertia is no longer working for you or you find that economic conditions beyond your control have thrust you into a job or possibly a career change, then you need a plan. The better you accept and strategically deal with change, the more likely a positive outcome can be realized.
Employee trends and costs of turnover.