People First HR Services

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.

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.

Don’t try to direct volunteers, let their efforts find best path

Colleen Coates

During the holiday season, many non-profit organizations and even understaffed companies make use of volunteers to stretch their resources. Whether it is because they want to give back to their community or because of the realities of the job market, more highly skilled workers are available and eager to lend a helping hand.

The idea of co-ordinating volunteers, including student interns and committees, can be an organizational nightmare for some people — one that brings the simplicity of herding cats to mind. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Managing volunteers isn’t about directing people as much as it is about allowing their efforts to find the best path.

On-the-spot job appreciation goes long way to motivate

Colleen Coates

Last column covered the use of recognition as a strategic advantage to assist in the attraction, retention, engagement and motivation of an organization’s workforce. Today, we will look at how to turn that knowledge into an actionable plan.

Strategic recognition ties sincere appreciation to an organization’s other people management practices (such as recruitment or performance management) and ensures programs are aligned with the organization’s shared values and objectives. Recognizing behaviours that align with the company’s values helps reinforce those values, fostering greater trust and cohesiveness.

The following steps can help you develop a solid recognition strategy: