Archive for February, 2013

Why Do Employees Leave?

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

employee screening, background checkThe process of recruiting, hiring and training employees is a big part of most companies’ personnel expense budget. When you find good workers, it can really be a letdown to see them resign. Not only does it drain resources, but it can be bad for morale, too.

Every manager wants a strong team of dedicated workers, who know their jobs and do them well. They want to see their teams move forward, grow into positions of greater responsibility and thrive with the company.

But employees do leave, and we don’t always know why—so we can’t always prevent it from happening again. An exit interview can provide clues as to why an employee decided to take a new position. Perhaps he found better pay. Maybe she’s after better perks or an environment she believes will serve her needs better.

Some employers want to know more than why an employee is leaving. They want to know what made him or her start looking for a new job in the first place. Was it the working hours? Lack of home/work balance? Did he hate his boss? Were her contributions overlooked?

Finding the turning point between employee satisfaction and dissatisfaction can be key to retention. Before you need to do exit interviews, why not survey your employees before they head out the door?

5 Best Employee Survey Questions

  1. Do you have the tools you need to succeed?
  2. Do you feel you work in an open, trusting environment?
  3. Do you feel your contributions are valued?
  4. Do you feel your voice is heard?
  5. Do you receive feedback from your supervisor?

Even in the best companies, employees will leave if there are issues with their direct supervisor. Find out ahead of time if that’s happening in your company, and you may not need to do those exit interviews after all.

Office Dating: OK or Not OK?

Friday, February 15th, 2013

employee screeningLots of couples meet at work. It’s inevitable: when you put people in a closed environment, where they see each other every day, sparks will start to fly. But not all office romances survive, which can be problematic for employers.

Sometimes it takes a bad experience for companies to decide they need a dating policy, whether it’s a strick no-dating policy or just some guidelines for employees, should they choose to date each other (which they will inevitably do, even if it’s an official no-no).

Here are a few ideas for dating policies that many employers find effective:

  • No interfering with work: Especially when a relationship is new, employees who are dating will almost always allow it to affect their work. They may find new ways to see or talk to their love interest throughout the day, send distracting emails, or sneak away for romance. It’s not fair to other employees to have to pick up the slack. And lovebirds who attend meetings together can make others uncomfortable if they are obvious about their relationship. Emphasize to employees that if they date a co-worker, they may not allow it to affect their work or that of their peers.

  • No dating between supervisors and their team members: It’s never a good idea for managers to date their subordinates because it puts the company at risk for legal action. That alone is reason to ban it. In addition, bosses could show favoritism to their loved one, or worse, treat him or her badly in an effort to avoid favoritism.
  • No sexual harassment allowed: Allowing dating is not the same as encouraging it. Operating in a free-for-all type of atmosphere could give employees the impression that any sort of sexual behavior is okay in the office. Having a zero-tolerance policy concerning sexual harassment will go a long way to defining expectations.

Employers may not be able to prevent workplace romances, but they can try to control them as much as possible, to save the company loss of productivity and reduce risk of legal action.

Is the Work Ethic Going Out the Window?

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

employee screeningAs we said last week, the workplace is changing fast. Not only is technology changing the way we work, but new generations of workers are bringing new abilities, as well as some different workstyles, into the workplace. Baby boomer and Gen Y bosses and supervisors are sometimes surprised by the behavior exhibited by the Millennial Generation they are now working with.

Some see a distinct lack of professionalism—at least as they would define it for themselves: regular attendance, punctuality, honesty, working until a task is completed well, interpersonal skills, appropriate appearance, and being focused and attentive. That view is backed up by a recent study of professionalism in the workplace that shows professionalism has declined in past five years.

A high majority of respondents to the survey indicated that work ethic has gotten worse, saying that younger employees taking a casual attitude toward work (86%), not taking ownership of their work (69%) and being less than driven (71%).

That doesn’t mean the young millennials are hopeless. Far from it—they just need to be taught about expectations. They say they haven’t been taught by their parents or the education system on how to succeed in the working world.

Older generations need to understand that millennials view the world differently, including the workplace. Their definition of professionalism is quite different: it doesn’t mean wearing specific clothing, or even showing up at a specific time.

To accommodate millennials, should employers update their employee handbooks to say, “The workday begins whenever you feel like getting here”? Not necessarily! However, assigning tasks, explaining expectations and providing guidelines and flexibility works well with this generation.

Thorough training, trusting (and verifying), transparency, and sharing the organization’s values and mission are all very important to millennials. They want to be part of something important, and even better—to be a force for good.

Most of all, don’t assume that how you’ve always done things will be embraced or even understood by today’s workers.