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Posts Tagged ‘managing’

You’re working hard. Your team is working hard. Stresses have been present but they now seem to be building at a rate that could mean trouble for you, your team, and the organization. At this point, a year or two ago, you might suggest a day off-site for some serious de-stressing and teambuilding. Today, you fear that a day off climbing ropes and exploring things described as touchy-feely just won’t fly. However, you do know that you must do something. To just keep going when you are seeing signs of dysfunction that will limit your team’s effectiveness is not only irresponsible but could be seen as negligent. So what can you do?

Despite being a consultant who gets paid for ocassionally facilitating ropes activities (but avoiding the touchy-feely as much as possible) I’m going to suggest a much more cost-effective means of achieving the results of such a day off-site.  This is an activity that could be supported 100% by your organization and it does not involve games or ropes. It may involve a hammer and a nail or paint and a brush though. I am suggesting that you volunteer your team for a day with a community organization that is in need of help! Your company may already financially support one or more organizations with its checkbook. For many companies, the checks have been necessarily smaller in the past couple of years. Volunteering time can supplement the support that your organization provides to these groups in a manner that is far more impactful and could even be of greater value than handing over a check once or twice a year.

I’ve had the privilege of working for organizations that highly valued their ties to the community and offered both financial and hands-on physical support to the organizations they chose to become involved with.  A day on-site painting, landscaping, or doing repairs at a community center, a YMCA, a job-placement center can save these organizations thousands of dollars. This day can provide your team with a sense of accomplishment, comraderie, and unity that can only come from giving!

The act of giving in this manner brings about several major benefits with positive implications for teams:

  • Builds ties and deepens relationships;
  • Creates shared memories and becomes a part of your team or group’s history; and
  • Eliminates or reduces stresses by allowing each participant to focus on something beyond themselves!

Give this a try! Check in with the function in your organization that oversees community giving and/or social responsibility to identify a community organization that is currently supported. Determine what is within your team’s capability to contribute.  Finally, sign your team up for a teambuilding activity that engages the heart and leaves the bottom line intact!

With regards,

Vivian L. Mora, MSS, SPHR

Vivian L. Mora is certified as a senior professional in human resources (SPHR) by the Human Resources Certification Institution. She is the founder and managing partner of Mora & Associates, an executive search and human capital consulting firm based in Katy, TX.  Mora&Associates offers community-impact facilitated teambuilding in the following markets: Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, TX; and Overland Park, KS. For other regions, please contact us directly at (877) 310-6553, ext. 702.

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How often have you heard a manager utter to his/her staff “it’s the company’s policy to dot, dot, dot, fill in the blank”?  This get-me-off-the-hook-for-now statement is quite often followed up with, “and if you have any further questions about this, you should take it up with Human Resources.”  Now that the manager has absolved him/herself of all responsibility in Scene 1, Take 1, you, as HR, have an inquiring employee sitting across from you. He/she is waiting for an explanation as to why YOU decided to treat this concern in whatever manner the policy has described.  After taking a very deep breath and tightening your lips upon realizing that yet another manager has slipped out the back door and left you standing to face another sticky matter, you begin to explain.

There are a few turns this scene could take based on the explanation you  choose to provide. We’ll start with the one you dream of giving, then move to the one that I know as a bright and savvy HR professional you will give.  You could start with, “this policy was written because, unlike you, of course, there are employees who arrive to work barely able to take care of themselves, therefore, clearly unable to think themselves out of a paper bag.  When you then combine that with individuals who have somehow acquired the title of manager because it sounds really good when introducing themselves in groups, you get me sitting here day after day writing “HR” policies so that those “managers” can continue to avoid all semblances of really managing.”  Ahhh, was that as good for you as it was for me? CUT!

Okay, back to reality!  That was definitely not the response you want to give. Although, it just might be closer reality than would make any of us comfortable. Policies developed by HR are intended to help companies manage all operations more effectively.  Company policies generally come into existence in response to or in anticipation of potential work disruptions or proactively in order to effectively facilitate change or growth. From you in Scene 1, Take 3, the inquiring employee would gain a good understanding as to why this particular policy was developed and how it either minimizes disruption or how it permits the company to perform at a higher level.  Ideally, this explanation should very easily roll off the tongue of the inquiring employee’s manager. 

Okay, now, let’s be fair-er to the manager. Managers must be equipped to handle employee inquiries. Not all are and the fault is not always completely on their shoulders. The title of manager carries significant legal weight for a company and should have a fairly significant impact on the company’s financial performance. It’s not something to be handed out along with company t-shirts. When this coveted moniker is bestowed upon someone, that someone should immediately be brought into a full understanding of the new responsibilities and expectations that are inseparably bonded to the title.  If we fail to do this effectively, as HR professionals, we get to take part in Scene 1, Take 2 in our offices more often than we want and more often than should be necessary!  We can set up our managers to succeed by helping each of them to take ownership of all the accoutrements of management especially the company’s policies.  If we do this well, we can minimize the number of times we are cast to play the role of Keeper of the Policies.

 

Vivian L. Mora, MSS, SPHR is Managing Partner for Mora&Associates, an HR search and consulting firm based in the Greater Metropolitan area of Houston, TX (now the 3rd largest city in the US).   She looks forward to your comments and questions regarding “What Works at Work”.

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HR is tasked with designing systems for managing people. These systems may involve establishing company policies. Line or operations managers are, generally speaking, responsible for managing the people, right? Most managers have no problem calling an employee in to give praise for a job well done or to correct any operational issue that might undermine his or her ability to meet required numbers. Why does this same manager quake at the thought of dealing with blatant dress code violations, particularly those that deal with employees coming to work partially, if not, completely unclothed during the warmer months of the year?

You, Ms. Manager, decided it’s not that important. The cute guy on your team, Jon, is half-dressed today but you have to work on the efficiency assessment due by the end of the week. Five of the women on your team and one of the guys have just spent the last 45 minutes discussing, emailing, gawking, conducting pass-by’s (Is that a word?) of Jon’s cubicle. Will it end there? Of course not, they are going to lunch with employees from other departments and will be discussing just how “hot” Jon looked today. They will be arranging for departmental “work-related” visits from their buddies later in the day and hoping for a long extremely hot summer. The remainder of your team will be discussing how you have let things like this slide and how “management” arbitrarily enforce certain policies but not others. Suddenly, you’ve just lost a good chunk of  work hours and some small amount of respect over an issue that was “not that important”.

I’ve been told that avoidance on this issue mostly comes from not knowing exactly what to say. Try this, “I know it’s warm outside but I promise we will keep the temperature inside the office comfortably cool. Can you please keep your clothes on, dress professionally, and adhere to our company’s dress code? It’s in place to maintain not only a productive work environment but to also impart the right image to our customers who make our paychecks possible. Thank you!”

Questions: What’s the worse dress code offense you’ve witnessed? Do you think the offender was aware of the violation? What’s your opinion on office dress codes?  Do you like or dislike casual dress?

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