Tag Archives: esprit de corps

The Best Reason to Ditch Your Employee-of-the-Month Program

Decades before now, some HR gal (that’s what we were called back then) came up with a plan: Here’s a thought! We’ll pick one employee every month and crown that person Employee of the Month! We’ll put his picture on a wall and give him a gift certificate to Sizzler!  And then another middle-manager, Frank, […]

Five Must-Have Qualities for HR Professionals

Over the years, I’ve met some doozies, some HR people who should have chosen different careers. Though I’ve mostly been charmed to work with some of the best in the industry, those few bad eggs sour HR’s reputation as a whole.  Like law enforcement, our occupation has taken a nasty hit due to the mistakes […]

The R in HR Doesn’t Stand for Rah-Rah

Every year—right around the holidays, actually—some HR buzzword starts to irritate me.  The rock in my loafer this year is the word “engagement.”  This is because so many seem to confuse it with the word “appreciation.”  And when you confuse the two, the result is wasted time and money. Engaging employees is on everyone’s mind […]

Seven Ways to Prevent Passive-Aggressive Behavior in the Workplace

These days, outright aggression in the workplace is rare.  However, passive-aggressive behavior—in the form of scapegoating, blaming and denying—can be common.  We HR folks know this to be true.  We also know passive-aggressive behavior slows productivity and is responsible for many workplace ills.  So how do we prevent it? Insist upon open lines of positive communication. […]

Do Industries Have Natures?

A friend of mine, who’s one of the best in his field, is being replaced at his company by a friend of the new director.  When my friend asked why, the HR Director told him, “It’s just the nature of our industry…you know how it is.” So not only is he losing his job, there’s […]

The Mad Scientist of People Management

Old ways are hard to shake.  This is a hard truth in business despite every applicant claiming to be “an agent for change.”  On a recent Freakonomics podcast, economist Steve Levitt discussed how disinclined people are to say “I don’t know.” He talked of one company that continued running paper insert ads even though they […]

Why Co-Workers Clash

Everyone has a different way of seeing the world.  In fact, after a crime, when witnesses are asked to identify the perpetrator, their descriptions can be wildly different.  This is called the Rashomon effect—an expression describing at-odds memories of the same event by different people.   Some may say the criminal was a 6’4” white male […]

Why “You Don’t Have to Like Each Other–You Just Have to Work Together” Is the Biggest Lie We Tell Our Staff and What to Do About It

During exit interviews, employees list “the people I worked with” as the most common reason they enjoyed working at a company.  On the other hand, they often indicate that it was a person or a group of people who caused them to leave.   The conclusion is obvious:  whether you like or dislike your co-workers is […]

HR New Year’s Resolution #1: Fight Back against the Haters

There’s been a lot of smack lately about how much people hate HR.  Sure, some of this talk comes from disgruntled employees who had their unfortunate endings in an HR office like mine, in which I calmly told them about COBRA and handed them their final checks.  But most of the hate is coming from […]

How Bad Are Bad Bosses?

First things first, I’m not here to tell bad bosses how bad they are.  Bad bosses, from my experience, won’t know if they’re bad no matter what they hear or read.  “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool,” according to Shakespeare. Still, these fools have an impact, […]