From my experience consulting with clients I often find myself puzzled that my phone primarily rings when things are “on fire.” The employee(s) are running amok, the manager is at wits end with their finger hovering over “fire” button…
There isn’t really a “fire” button. Actually, with union contracts and employment laws to steer around it is never quite so simple. So, I pause, take a breath and assess the situation with my typical line of non-judgmental questioning.
For each call, I can say that had it taken place a few weeks (or months) earlier we would be in a better situation at the present. So, that leads me to offer some suggested preventive HR tips. These are crafted for the “plan ahead,” “curious,” and “eager” management types. Let’s try out preventive HR!
1. Tell people why you hire them, and make it a part of on-boarding. Why leave this a mystery? There is a reason you selected a particular candidate. “James, we hired you because you have such a great record of customer service. Your sense of humor came across well in the interview and we believe you will mesh well with the team.” Now James has the benefit of knowing at least three things you are expecting to see from him.
2. Allow adequate training time. Prepare new employees by having them shadow with those who embody the positive elements of your company culture.
3. Ahem, company culture? This is not the out of date yogurt in your office fridge (we all have, and avoid that). This is important: pay attention to how your staff describe the work environment. Is it innovative? Upbeat? Know the company culture and promote it. Hire based upon it. Be honest about it.
4. Provide them a written list of job duties (bonus points for having an official description document that is useable).
5. Immediately recognize and acknowledge the behavior you would like to see more of (in public is okay if the employee is comfortable with this).
6. Immediately recognize and acknowledge any behavior that is not meeting expectations (privately).
7. Involve a professional as needed (a management mentor, HR pro., or legal associate).
8. Have fun. Please remember this (life) is all temporary so let’s make some of it joyful!
My best, Rachel