The Importance of Employee Reviews

Having employees assumes the daunting task of employee reviews. Some employers dread giving their employees reviews. But employee reviews are not entirely a bad thing. It’s a time to assess performance goals, address problems, and set your employees up for success in the future.

Giving employees quarterly, semi-annual, or annual reviews can benefit not only the employee, but your company as a whole. “Employee reviews are a process that should happen all year long,” says Paul Falcone, author of 2600 Phrases for Effective Performance Reviews. “How much do you value me as an employee if out of the 2,080 hours I work, and—Lord knows it’s more than that—you only give me one review? It’s just not enough.”

This performance review should be a mutual sharing of perceptions regarding the employee’s accomplishments as well as areas that can be improved upon. The employer should provide the employee with a copy of the review form ahead of time to enable them to read it and reflect on it. Have the employee complete the form prior to the review to determine where the employee sees their productivity and success in the company. Encourage them to emphasize areas both in which they did well and areas in which they need further growth and development.

Some may view reviews as a time when the employer informs the employee of everything that they are doing wrong. Quite the contrary. This can be a time where the employer informs the employee of everything that they are doing right. It can be a time of praise for all of the hard work and effort that the employee has put forth in the company. It can also be a time to let the employee know where they need room for improvement. Constructive criticism, if done correctly can be a positive influence on anyone. This can be a time to make the employee aware of the things that they may have not known that they needed improvement on. Having this conversation and the positive feedback will better the overall productivity of the employee, and thus have a greater effect on the company. Both the employer and employee must agree on future goals that will lead to their success, along with setting milestones during the coming year to measure accomplishments.

Having documented employee reviews can also be a benefit to the company in the instance where they need to terminate the employee. Having documented proof that the employer discussed where the employee was lacking in performance and needed to make improvements will be essential if the employee decides to challenge the termination. The employer can refer back to these documents as justification for the termination of the employee.
 

 

How to Cope with Jealousy in the Workplace

Jealousy in the workplace is all too common. Receiving acknowledgements or promotions in the workplace is a joyous occasion, there are others in the workplace that may not take to kindly to the advancement of others. The green eyed monster can rear its ugly head in the form of office gossip, rude or unwarranted negative comments and attempts to sabotage a person’s career.  If the problem persists, it can lead to conflicts in the workplace, professional reprimands and termination.

There are ways to cope with jealousy in the work place.

Causes of Jealousy

Jealousy is the feeling of resentment toward another person due to the person’s rivalry, success or advantages. It is also driven by fear and insecurity. Jealousy occurs in the workplace due to the emotions of people who think that “it should have been them” vs the other person, feeling as though the person did not deserve the promotion or feeling as though they were not afforded the same opportunities to prove themselves in order to receive the promotion or acknowledgement. There are many reasons for jealousy to manifest itself in the workplace; competing for scarce resources or limited budgets, and lobbying for prestigious assignments or appointments, are common situations that can cause jealousy in the workplace.

Ways to Manage Workplace Jealousy

Although you want to fit in at work and not seem like an outcast, staying to yourself is not a bad idea. Clichés at work can cause unwanted tension, stress and unprofessionalism in the workplace. You can avoid this by:

  • Not engaging in office gossip
  • Maintaining a professional attitude
  • Maintain productivity
  • Accept others and their flaws, as they are human
  • Consult with Management or HR if necessary
  • Set aside your negative feelings about the jealousy
  • Prove that you were the right candidate for the promotion

Leaving a job due to tension in the workplace is not always the right move. After all, there will be jealousy in any workplace regardless of where you are. Do not allow the negative feelings of others to stop or delay your career or success with an organization. Keep in mind that you earned that promotion and the company saw something in you that could assist the company in moving to the next level. Be proud of yourself and your accomplishments and do not allow your career to be jeopardized due to the jealousy of others.

Managing Jealousy in the Workplace

It is important for management to understand that jealousy in the workplace is alive and well and extremely common. Although Managers cannot totally alleviate the feelings of others and their jealousy, there are ways to manage it before it gets out of control. When considering a candidate for a promotion or other acknowledgement of their success and contribution to the company, make sure that it is well deserved. Nothing causes tension worse in a workplace then promoting someone that truly did not earn it. To ensure that you are being fair with your selection, it is important to be able to prove or document the contributions, savings, obstacles that the person has conquered, successful implementations, etc. This will eliminate any speculation of unfairness in the workplace.

Communication is also very important in the workplace. Making objectives, standards, roles and requirements is very important. This will provide all employees with the opportunity to prove themselves and allow their work to speak for them. Once the promotion has occurred and an employee still feels jilted from the selection, this is the opportunity for mentoring, training and development to occur. Have a one on one with the employee to go over their accomplishments or lack thereof with the company and set out a game plan for improvement to enable them to be a viable candidate for the next promotion. Provide them with the tools that are needed to ensure that they reach the next level. Set the employees up for success within the organization. This will not only benefit the company, but it will ultimately allow the employee to work more diligently and make them feel good about themselves that they are contributing something toward the company.

 

Considering Doing Business Internationally?

Companies that plan to operate a business in another country must be familiar with the business laws of that country. The company should have their contracts reviewed by their attorney or legal department as well as the attorney or legal department for the country where they plan to do business. Contracts can fall through at the last minute do to items in the contract that one country will not agree to. In order to prevent countries from re-working their business contracts, they should contact the person in charge of the contract overseas to make sure they are in accordance with everything that needs to be included in the contract so there are no surprises. They should also send drafts to the other country to make sure that both parties are in agreement with the terms of the contracts and to make sure that the company that wants to do business there is in compliance with all of their laws and regulations, also to make sure that they have all of the permits needed to conduct business.

The management team can do a combination of these things to minimize the risk of the contract falling through or having to be rewritten. Waiting for a contract to be rewritten can slow production and slow the process of timeline that the company wanted to begin doing business in the host country. This can result in a loss of finances as well as profits for the company. This could also affect other contracts or deals that they had with other companies or sub-contractors who was doing business with the company. When a U.S. based lawyer drafts a contract, it does not necessarily follow that the law will be enforceable in a foreign country. If there is a breach of contract or a dispute with an overseas business, the dispute may be resolved in the foreign country, so it is important to have a lawyer there who can review the contract before it is finalized. “If there is a dispute with a foreign company, it is important to have the outsourcing contract specify that the dispute will be litigated in the United States, and will apply to the U.S., rather than foreign law.

Specification of quality standards and services to be provided by a foreign associate are integral components of a successful outsourcing contract. Acceptable standards of quality and performance may be different overseas from those in the U.S., so specific standards should be clear.” (Becker, 2007). This is an important part of a contract that should not be overlooked. It a dispute arises, in needs to indicate where the resolution of the dispute will take place. If companies ignore this, they could be subjecting themselves to have the terms of their contract litigated overseas with a country in which they know little or nothing about their laws and regulations.

Companies must be aware of the international as well as the national laws regarding conducting business globally. Knowing the laws can assist the management in making vital decisions that can impact the structure of their business. This will also assist the management in making decisions about which country to do business in depending on their more favorable laws. The management should always do the majority of the research on a country before entering into a contract. They also need to know the laws regarding employee rights, as well as the benefits that a company has to offer an employee. This will benefit the company and eliminate some of the risk associated with the contract being voided.

References

Becker, D. L. (2007). Laws Apply When Using Overseas Companies. Retrieved from http://www.nchc.com.

Outsourcing-Law.com. (2012). United Kingdom General Contract Law Principles (England and Wales). Retrieved from http://www.outsourcing-law.com.

Your Employees Are Your Biggest Asset….Yeah Right!!!

Having a successful business often times depends on having the right individuals in place to help a business grow. Employees are often thought of as being the backbone or foundation of a business. Employees are the biggest asset that an employer can have…..Yeah Right!

Having the RIGHT employees in place is a company’s biggest asset. Just the mere fact of having employees does not make them an asset. There are good employees, bad employees, and the employees that are there just to collect a paycheck. If an employee is not vested and believe in the overall culture and vision of the company, are they really being an asset? An asset is defined as a useful or valuable thing, person or quality. The right employee that is an asset will bring added value to your organization. Their contributions will ensure the success and grow of the company.

Calculating the value of our employees is difficult because they are not like any other asset; they are simultaneously the greatest potential asset and the greatest potential liability that an organization has at any given time. The type of employee that you have in place can literally make or break your company. Having the wrong employee can potentially cost a company thousands of dollars in potential lawsuits, loss of business, lack of production and the cost associated with terminating and replacing that employee.

The right employees choose to join your company, stay with your company, grow with your company, and the most important factor of all is, contributing to the success and overall growth of your company. Company leaders should make the company brand personal to employees, engage and motivate them to cultivate it each day, then your company will be able to bring to life the achievable goal of making the right employees their greatest asset. The right employees not only have to have the necessary skills and qualifications that is required to do the job, they must also whole heartedly believe in the goals and visions of the company. They have to be willing to live by and uphold the visions of the company.

Great employees are rarely satisfied with the way that things are and is constantly looking for ways to make improvements. They may rework a timeline, adjust a process, tweak a workflow or make process improvements. Great employees follow processes. Remarkable employees find ways to make those processes even better, not only because they are expected to, but because they want to be a part of the overall success and growth of the company. Being able major player in the success of a company not only puts an employee in a great position for growth or promotions within that company, they can also add it as an accomplishment on their resume.

Rewarding and recognizing exemplary employees who are assets to a company shows that the company acknowledges and is appreciative of all of the hard work and effort that they have put into the company. This can be rewarded with bonuses, trips, awards or company wide acknowledgement of a job well done.

How to Resolve Workplace Conflict

Conflict in the workplace is something that occurs in almost every business institution. Even though people may not be able to avoid it, there are ways to cope with it and resolve the conflict. Conflict occurs because individuals can be envious, lack proper communication skills, are suffering from anxiety or conflict in their personal life or any number of reasons. It is important to know how to deal with workplace conflict. If two people find out that they cannot resolve the issues themselves, they should involve management or human.

Sometimes having someone involved who is not party to the conflict is a good way to get an unbiased opinion of someone that can really help. Be sure that the person is management or trustworthy to minimize the amount of gossip throughout the office. Listed below are a few ways to deal with conflict in the workplace. Both parties should be sure to keep an open mind when trying to resolve their issues.

1.  Determine the root cause of the conflict- The real issue of the conflict may not be what the argument is really about. Through discussion, make sure that both people know exactly what the conflict is about. People often times take things the wrong way or out of context, they may even exacerbate an issue that really is not there. Taking the time to be honest and discuss exactly why the conflict exist can be extremely beneficial. It may just all be a misunderstanding.

2.   Accept the other persons view of the issue-If you do not listen to the other person’s side of the story or at minimum try to understand why they feel the way that they do, you will not be able to move forward in resolving the issue. Validating the other’s perception does not mean agreeing with them, it means that you are mature enough to understand that other opinions exist other than yours.

3.   Be specific about your issues-Giving broad statements about the way that you are feeling is not helpful. Be sure to be as specific as possible when discussing your conflicts to ensure that nothing is left out. Being specific is also a good way to avoid thinking that someone should have known what you meant, or pulling terms and statements out of thin air hoping that the other person will “catch your drift”. This will ensure that the same actions that caused the initial conflict, will not be repeated down the road.

4.  Use discretion- A workplace that thrives on gossip is a recipe for disaster. Often times, employees will take sides with one another during conflict. This just adds fuel to the fire. This leads to more chance of false statements being made, accusations being thrown at one another, and others getting involved who had absolutely nothing to do with the original issue. Have discreet  one-on-one talks with the other person, or if necessary, management or HR. Establish an understanding before the resolution talks begin that what is said between the parties will be kept confidential.

5.  Communicate, Communicate, Communicate- Good communication can solve or prevent almost any conflict. Being able to communicate with someone in a way that does not offend them, is of the utmost importance. There are ways to communicate professionally without making someone feel inferior or inadequate. Constructive criticism is a good way for co-workers to give their professional opinion about the work habits of someone. Just be sure to give constructive criticism that is meaningful and meant to uplift the person and help them to grow professionally. It is also good to be mindful of communication styles when dealing with someone of a different culture. Their way of communication can be totally different than what you are accustomed to. The last thing that you want to do is cause conflict with someone unintentionally because you were not aware of the culture difference between you to and how things may come across to them.

6.   Agree to Disagree Agree to let each other say everything that is on your minds. Once both parties have been able to express their issues, you should agree to disagree. This just means that you both acknowledge that there is or has been a problem and you have addressed it and will move forward on a positive note. It does not mean that you have to become best buds in the office. It means that you agree to be professional, work well together and avoid causing future confrontations.

7.   Document the action taken. Both parties should agree to have it documented that they attempted to resolve their conflict. This probably should be mandatory if management or HR is involved. Documentation is important, it allows each person to hold each other accountable for their part in resolving their differences. Documentation will also be important if the problem persist and unfortunate legal action arises stemming from this issues.

Putting these steps into action should resolve any workplace conflict. Other steps may be necessary depending on the complexity of the issue.

Are You Dealing with Workplace Conflicts?

With various types of personalities and views in one place, workplace conflicts are bound to arise. They can occur in any size organization. Disagreements and conflicts are the norm in any workplace. With such diversity in the workplace, with different roles, goals and differences of opinions, there is an overwhelming need to resolve the differences in a positive way. Conflicts in the workplace can occur for many reasons. A lack of communication, hostile emotions and a lack of acceptable workplace behavior standards are causes for conflict in the workplace. Even if a person stays to themselves, trouble may still find them. While you can try to avoid conflict, you cannot escape it.

The fact is that conflict in the workplace is unavoidable. It will find you whether you look for it or not. Having the keen ability to recognize conflict and understand the nature of conflict, will help you find a resolution and bring the matter to a close before it escalates into something more.  In a management role, being able to recognize the signs of conflict and identifying the key aggravators will help you resolve the matter in a timely fashion. Having this quality will determine whether or not you are a leader in your organization. Being able to take this leadership role and make a positive outcome will force others in the office to follow in your footsteps and create a peaceful work environment.

Acquiring effective conflict resolution skills is an essential part of a containing the issue. Unresolved conflicts often times can result in low productivity, lack of teamwork, tension in the office and verbal disputes. Employers that fail to handle workplace conflict in the appropriate manner, or even at all will eventually lose their star employees. This can cause a high turnover rate in the office and the company’s failure to retain their employees. Employees do not want to work in a hostile environment where they feel as though they are being held back professionally as well as personally due to conflict in the office. Leaders within an organization are responsible for creating a work environment that enables people to thrive and evolve in their career.

 

Workplace Romance-Love Story or Employer Nightmare?

Love is in the air! No matter where a person may be, love can strike at any time. Even at the workplace. Employers have no control over human nature, so a workplace romance policy is meaningless if two people really want to be together. According to a recent survey of 8,000 workers by the job-search website CareerBuilder.com, four out of 10 employees have dated someone at work; 17 percent have done it twice. Before getting into a workplace romance, an employee should know the company’s policies regarding office relationships, if one exist. If relationships are forbidden, there could be serious consequences to your career.

A policy may be enforceable with leadership positions. The last thing that an employer needs is one of their management personnel becoming involved with a subordinate. Things going sour between the two and the hurt employee may file a sexual harassment lawsuit against the employer. Employments can educate their management team by offering sexual harassment training. Make it clear that you discourage work place romance with a subordinate, and to use discretion and good judgment when making decisions that could affect the company overall. A rumor mill can quickly spread. This can also create problems among colleagues if others in the office think that someone is receiving special treatment or a promotion just because they are romantically involved with a supervisor.

What happens when the romance does not work out and the workers become hostile toward one another? This can cause serious problems at work such as verbal or even worse, a physical altercation. The two may even begin to slander one another, begin to behave unprofessionally. It can turn into a situation where one person does not want to come into work because they cannot face the other person. This can cause missed deadlines, failure to meet client expectations, and worst of all, letting down others in the workplace that depend on them. They may even go as far as trying to sabotage the other person’s reputation or work product.

The problem becomes more difficult in a smaller office because there are less options for the employer. It can be costly for small business owners to insure against it by purchasing employment practices liability insurance. It is recommend that small business owners purchase the policy because it covers employee lawsuits and attorney’s fees. Without it, small businesses can go bankrupt even if they are not at fault and they win the lawsuit.

Tips to Consider:

  • Be discreet
  • Review your office polices regarding workplace relationships if one exist
  • Do not engage in gossip
  • Avoid public displays of affection
  • Avoid a supervisor-subordinate relationship
  • Consider your career
  • Remain professional