People First HR Services

Sideways move may be right way up

Colleen Coates

Staying in a job longer than your mind and body are able to manage can have dire consequences. People who were once content become antsy when work grows over time. But when there are no opportunities to be promoted, what’s a restless employee to do?

Making a lateral move by accepting an equivalent role elsewhere might be an option. Depending on the size of the organization, this move might even be made without leaving the organization.

Show staff respect when cutting jobs

Colleen Coates

Why is it that being respectful is frequently forgotten during one of the key phases of the employment relationship — at the time of job loss? Especially when you consider so many organizations have respect as one of their stated corporate values.

Typically when someone has job loss it’s about fit, that nebulous concept that really is about skills, style, work habits or interactions with others simply not aligning with what the organization wants at that point in time. Job loss often happens to great people who sometimes know themselves that the fit just isn’t right.

CEO Don Streuber of Bison Transport on the Long haul ‘family’

John McFerran

Every employee is a spoke in the wheel at Bison Transport

This spring, Bison Transport became a five-time grand prize winner of the National Fleet Safety Award (an unparalleled industry achievement) and was recognized as one of the Best Fleets to Drive For by the Truckload Carriers Association. Yet, as impressive as the accolades that Bison continues to amass, the company simply views it as business as usual.

Compassion takes sting out of “You’re fired”

Colleen Coates

Perhaps you have heard the tale about getting a pink slip in with your paycheque as a way of finding out about your employment termination. This tale dates back to the early 1900s and I’ve yet to see an organization actually do this. However, a quick media search finds many stories where employees have been victims of deplorable actions by their employer. One such case was the U.S. convenience store chain owner who held a contest for employees to guess who would be fired next in order to win a cash prize. Another high-profile termination was that of Yahoo’s CEO Carol Bartz who was terminated over the telephone. Then there were the RadioShack Corp. employees who found out they were being let go when they received an email explaining that workforce reduction was being carried out and “unfortunately your position is one that has been eliminated.”

The reality is losing your job can be a horrible and even devastating experience, but the good news is most employers are caring and realize terminations don’t have to be a dreadful experience, according to Eileen Kirton, regional vice-president of KWA Partners, leaders in career management services.

Is your staff engaged or just satisfied?

Colleen Coates

A recent study by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that even though employees may be satisfied with their jobs, it does not automatically translate into having an engaged workforce.

In fact, while 83 per cent of employees said they were generally satisfied with their current positions, only 68 per cent claimed to feel passion and excitement and just 53 per cent felt tuned in at work.

These gaps are a troubling discovery for managers who want to motivate their people and drive organizational performance. While appearances might lead them to believe they have an engaged workplace, there may be serious cracks forming just below the seemingly smooth surface.

Have fun on the job, but get work done

Colleen Coates

Fun is one of the most underrated business tools we own. When you create a fun working environment, it leads to happy, loyal and more productive employees as well as an innovative organization that attracts new opportunities.

It is well documented that laughter releases endorphins, and that leads to a sense of well-being and optimism. Now apply this to the workplace as one California researcher recently did. His study showed that people who enjoy a little fun and humour on the job tend to be more creative, are more effective at decision making and get along better with others. These employees also chalk up fewer absent, late and sick days.

Make a 90-day plan for your new job

Colleen Coates

They say only fools rush in and that certainly applies to someone starting the first day of a new job all gung-ho to please.

It’s important to resist jumping in with both feet and instead, gain firm footing with a 90-day plan designed to set you up for success. Why 90 days? It’s enough time to acclimatize to your new environment, get some direction and understand where you need to focus your attention. At the same time, many companies give employees a performance review after three months have been completed, so it’s wise to plan ahead and make your first 90 days the foundation for what will hopefully be a long and prosperous tenure.

Office celebrations aren’t always a piece of cake

Colleen Coates

There is a classic episode of Seinfeld featuring Elaine as the lone voice of dissension against non-stop celebrations in the office.

Fed up with all the sugary cake and forced socializing, she even resorts to faking illness (“I had to take a sick day, I’m so sick of those people!”) But when she returns to work, her co-workers present her with a cake to celebrate her return to work. Yes, when it comes to office celebrations, you can run, but you can’t hide.