Posts Tagged ‘Employee Training’

Can “Toxic Bosses” be a Business Liability?

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

employeescreeningblog, employee screening, pre-employment screeningBullying in schools is all over the news right now—and for good reason. Workplace bullying has been a trend as well. Can so-called “toxic bosses” be a liability to businesses? The answer is a resounding “yes.”

There are strong feelings on both sides of this argument; but today we’ll focus just on the information employers need to be aware of.

The Healthy Workplace Bill gives employers incentives to prevent workplace bullying with policies and procedures that apply to all employees. The bill would protect “workers from what can be considered malicious, health-harming abusive conduct committed by bosses and co-workers.” Is such legislation necessary? Some say yes; others say no. A survey conducted by The Workplace Bullying Institute in September, 2010, which found that 64% of all respondents supported such a bill, while nearly 24% were opposed. 12% had no opinion or were not sure.

17 states have introduced legislation in recent years to curb workplace bullying. None have become law, but in New York, the Senate recently passed a measure that would allow workers who have been abused on the job—either physically, psychologically or economically—to sue their employers in civil court. The bill applies to organizations of all sizes—not just larger employers. It holds employers responsible for bullying behavior of workers and supervisors.

Some experts think that if New York’s measure becomes law, a chain reaction across the country is likely to occur. The bill includes a broad definition of bullying, including repeated insults, epithets and derogatory remarks. It also includes “conduct that a reasonable person” would find humiliating, intimidating or threatening.

Employers are already seeking advice on how to avoid litigation from some New York law firms. Others already have a handle on creating a positive, anti-bullying culture—always a good idea, but especially now. New York’s anti-bullying legislation says that employers “may not be held liable if they take steps to prevent or promptly correct abusive behavior.

How to Prevent Workplace Bullying

  • Create a policy that prohibits bullying by supervisors and co-workers.
  • Avoid hiring workers with a history of bullying (pre-employment background screening is a must).
  • Avoid hiring workers with abusive tendencies by asking the right interview questions.
  • Provide training on proper workplace behavior for all employees.
  • Take a look at your own management style: high turnover and yelling are good indicators that you could be perceived as a bully.

Defining the difference between discipline and bullying is a tough one—but if in doubt, ask your employees. Some reports say that between 16% and 21% of employees have experienced “health-endangering workplace bullying, abuse and harassment.” Florida State University’s College of Businesses conducted a survey in which 23.5% of respondents working for companies with 100 or fewer employees reported experiencing supervisor bullying on a weekly basis. The number for 100+ employee organizations was slightly less, at 21.3%.

Ensuring Success with a New Hire

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Perhaps your company is just starting to hire again after the economic downturn, and you need ideas on how to make your new hires more successful. You don’t want to just hire them, run them through the standard orientation, and let them go.

Here are a few tips that just might help your new employees do their jobs better, sooner—and make you happy that you hired them.

New hires need to know your company’s culture. Simply put, if everyone except the new guy knows that Fridays are Hawaiian shirt day, or that nobody ever works late, you’re not doing them any favors by withholding such information. It can be difficult for business owners to see the company culture because they’re so used to it—but it’s important to help new employees adapt to it.

And start right away—maybe even before the person is hired. Hiring the candidate who’s most qualified but just won’t fit in with your company culture is probably a recipe for failure. Let candidates know during the interview process how things are done, and allow them to decide if your company is a good fit for them. Be honest and paint a realistic picture of your organization.

Introducing a promising candidate to the rest of the team will make them feel more comfortable when and if they are hired. They’ve already met the people they’re going to be working with, so one big barrier is overcome. If you can’t make introductions before hiring the new employee, be sure to make proper introductions on Day 1.

As manager or owner, your job is to recognize who the new hire will work closely with, who their possible conflicts might be with, and who can help them in their position. Tell your new hire who the 5 most important staff members are for her to know. Ask those staffers to take a few minutes to meet with the new hire and identify ways they will work together.

Training is good, but too much training and not enough working can be detrimental to a new employee. Provide resources and support the new employee needs, but let them do their job, too. This allows your new employee to make connections with other staff, and learn how things are really done.

Helping your new employees learn your company culture and who they need to know are two ways to help them transition more successfully!