41. Exit Interviews Help Charitable Organizations Improve the Workplace [Philanthropy Careers] Sunday 06/20/04 3:23 AM |
Many charitable organizations and other non profit groups use exit interviews to find out why employees are departing. They say that when an employee is leaving it is the best time to get honest information. The employee at that point has nothing to lose and the organization can gather valuable insight into workplace issues.
Exit interview questions generally include how the employee felt about his or her workload, advancement opportunities, compensation and reason for leaving. Some organizations also seek to find out if the employee is leaving for another organization and if so what makes the new job more appealing.
Information gathered from exit interviews can also be useful in crafting job descriptions. Employees often state that they accepted the job without a clear understanding of what the job entailed.
Results from exit surveys may also reveal which positions are underpaid and which supervisors lack good leadership skills.
Experts recommend that someone other than a direct supervisor conduct the exits. If the organization is large enough to have a Human Resources person, he or she would be the most appropriate person to handle the exit interview.
Some charitable organizations say they don't have time to conduct exit interviews but it is recommended for those with a strong need or interest in keeping turnover low.
42. Toxic Bosses and More on Workplace Bullies [Fast Company] Monday 04/12/04 10:57 PM |
There are many anecdotes about bosses who rant and rave, insult and belittle employees in front of others, give employees the silent treatment, glare at them, spread false rumors, withhold information and take credit for employee's work. This kind of psychological violence often leaves employees physically and mentally weak.
Somewhere between 12% and 50% of workers are bullied. Both men and women do the bullying but 80% of bully victims are female. They tend to be women in their 40s with many years of work experience.
Why is bullying so ingrained in our workplace? It might be a matter of culture. We as a society value aggression, toughness and endurance to pain. In many ways these kinds of beliefs come close to endorsing the toxic boss. According to the author, it is time we recognized bullies not as strong, tough leaders but as abusers. The author suggests that as a society we must develop a language which allows us to communicate about the emotions that naturally develop in the course of business.
An attorney in California attempted unsuccessfully to introduce legislation that would make bullying behavior in the workplace illegal. In the UK some lawsuits against workplace bullies have succeeded. In the US, these kinds of toxic situations are generally labeled "personality conflicts" and there is no protocol with which to deal with them.
43. Stress Relievers Reduces Turnover in Call Centers [Detroit News] Friday 04/09/04 7:40 PM |
Call Center employees work an average of 9 - 10 hours per day with a half hour for lunch and two 15-minute breaks. They handle approximately 85 calls per shift. They are tied to their headsets and are monitored for call volume, length of calls and how long they are gone for bathroom breaks.
It's not surprising that staff turnover in call centers looms at 33% per year. Phone representatives are four times more likely to miss work because of stress related conditions. To improve their retention of call center representatives, some companies are instituting benefits designed to relieve the stress that builds up on the job.
Stress relief benefits include:
- Employee gym
- Quiet room with comfortable chairs for napping and reading
- Outdoor walking trails
- Video arcade with free games
- Office Luncheons
- Stress management and time management training
- Company sponsored theme events
- Ergonomic work stations
Allowing reps to focus on the quality of the call rather than the speed of the call has also shown to boost productivity and reduce the number of employee who quit by 50%.
Call center expert Jon Anton, professor at Purdue University estimates that the average cost of replacement for a call center employee is $6400.
44. 83% of Managers Will Jump Ship When Job Market Improves [Miami Herald] Monday 04/05/04 5:12 PM |
Experts in the industry warn that if the job market heats up, HR Managers should expect to see huge increases in staff turnover. Eighty-three percent of US managers and executives said they will likely seek work elsewhere when the opportunities become available.
Why are workers so anxious to jump ship? According to recruiters, employees are fed up with feeling underappreciated and doing the job of 2 or 3 or 4 people due to corporate layoffs. Employees are dissatisfied with lack of promotions and pay raises and feelings of being undervalued and overworked.
Employees that have expressed unhappiness with their work has increased from 15% in 2000 to 25% at the end of 2003.
45. Business Coaches Help Solve Workplace Challenges [Albuquerque Tribune] Wednesday 03/31/04 8:03 PM |
Hiring a business coach can help a company develop a more productive and pleasant workplace.
Business coaches help companies improve communication, build better relationships both on and off the job and manage stress. Although they are not business consultants nor therapists they often function in similar roles. Their goal is to "bring perspective, accountability, focus and discipline to work environments and relationships."
Coaches generally meet one-on-one with employees once a week for 30-50 minutes. They also lead group meetings and conduct corporate retreats. Fees range from $70 - $130 per hour. Some companies pay up to $10,000/month for coaching services and feel that it is well worth the money spent. Said one coached client, "The end result is enhanced business when employees have learned to deal with life - not just from 8 to 5, but 24 hours a day."
Some coaches help solve problems that have been identified on employee exit interviews. The cost of the coaching may be expensive, but so is the cost of attrition says Judy Katz, a business coach in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Business coaches are not licensed by state or federal agencies but may choose to be certified by the International Coach Federation (ICF). Coaches must have 60 hours of training and a minimum of 250 client coaching hours to become an associate certified coach with ICF.
46. Work-Life Programs Provide Significant Return on Investment [News Today] Tuesday 03/30/04 2:34 PM |
A recent study in Singapore concludes that for every dollar spent on work-life balance programs, the average gain is $1.68 per employee. The report points out that companies no longer need to provide benefits purely out of social motives. There is clear evidence that creating a work-life friendly environment provides bottom line results.
Work-life initiatives include flexible work arrangements and child care services along with leave benefits and healthcare for family members.
Most of the savings from these initiatives come in the form of increased retention of staff. Companies with work-life strategies are shown to have employee turnover rates well below their industry norms. Additionally, more than 65% of employees surveyed stated that work-life flexibility is one of the primary reasons they choose to stay with their employer.
In Singapore, organizations may apply for a grant that covers 50% of their work-life program's implementation costs.
47. Workplace Bullies Lower Morale [XtraMSN New Zealand] Saturday 03/27/04 4:12 PM |
Workplace bullies intimidate and degrade their colleagues through "verbal abuse, unjust criticism, threats, sarcasm and teasing" and it's far more common than one might expect.
Bullies are both male and female and more often than not (80% of the time) are supervisors. They bully because of their own lack of confidence and gain satisfaction from undermining not the weak but the most competent employees.
Victims of bullies often suffer from stress related illnesses that affect both their work productivity as well as their home and family life. Recent research suggests that victims of bullying may waste 52% of their work time defending themselves, seeking out support from co-workers and taking time off.
Workplace bullying creates a negative environment which translates into increased employee turnover, absences, reduced productivity and potential lawsuits.
Organizations should seek to prevent bullying with formal anti-bullying policies and procedures. Risk assessments should be conducted throughout the company to identify and prevent potential areas of future abuse. Reporting of incidents should be encouraged and investigation of complaints should be swift and thorough.
A workplace environment free from bullying will result in greater employee satisfaction, increased employee retention rates and improved productivity.
48. Low Employee Turnover is Not Always A Sign of Success [The Post Standard] Thursday 03/25/04 8:42 PM |
Low turnover isn't always a sign of employee satisfaction. Employees may stay with an organization because they have become complacent or are biding their time until a better opportunity arises. When employees stay for these reasons their productivity suffers and a negative attitude toward the company develops. Companies need to identify the reasons behind their turnover or lack thereof.
If a company is breeding long term employees with marginal performance, it should begin to provide these employees with performance improvement plans or redirection to more suitable positions. This sends the message to all employees that they are accountable for their performance.
Companies whose employees stay merely because of lack of opportunity elsewhere are vulnerable to increased turnover when the job market heats up. If your employee turnover is conditional upon economic conditions, it's important to begin preventative measures as soon as possible. Low turnover today doesn't insure against high turnover tomorrow.
49. Is Quitting Under Duress Same as Firing in Sexual Harassment Cases? [Penn Live] Sunday 03/21/04 7:11 PM |
On March 31, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether Nancy Drew Suders may sue her employer for sexual harassment. Her employer had in place a system for handling sexual harassment complaints that Suders did not utilize. In the past, the court has ruled that employers with such systems are immune from suit unless the employee was involuntarily let go. In Suders case, she voluntarily quit her employment with the Pennsylvania State Police after being placed under investigation for stealing her own performance exam. Suders claims that during her employment she was subject to a continual barrage of sexual commentary from supervisors.
In August 2001, a US District judge threw out her case on the basis that someone who voluntarily quits is not entitled to the same legal protections if they do not make use of internal complaint systems.
Suders case was reinstated in April 2003 when the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found evidence that her bosses were trying to dismiss her.
The Supreme Court will decide whether or not an employee who is forced off the job has the same right to sue if she did not make use of an organization's anti-discrimination program as someone who has been fired.
Professor Susan Grover of William and Mary Law School suggests that employees should be concerned if someone quits without explanation. She recommends exit interviews to make sure supervisors are not making inappropriate actions toward subordinates.
The case is Pennsylvania State Police v. Nancy Drew Suders, 03-95
50. Breaking Workplace Cliques [Entrepreneur Magazine] Friday 03/19/04 11:38 PM |
Office cliques often develop with long standing employees. These "in-crowds" can be uncomfortable and inpenetrable for new employees.
Although office cliques can be a major cause of employee turnover, they are generally not mentioned in exit interviews which can leave a company in the dark about the problem. In reality, it is a problem that happens frequently.
Strong personal relationships between co-workers is a good thing but it turns sour when new employees feel excluded from the group. If a new employee feels he is being kept at arms length or not being taken seriously at work he will not stick around for long.
The solution is to focus on integrating new employees with longtime staff. One idea is to create "work buddies" that pair a new employee with a longtimer. Provide the longtimer with recognition and incentives for making the effort and make the integration success a part of their performance evaluation.
Also watch out for managers who have joined their staff clique. This can be especially damaging for new employees. Be sure to include "inclusiveness" as a management performance objection for all supervisors.