It’s Going To Be Alright
“When employees respect each other and get along in the workplace, it’s amazing how productivity increases, morale increases and employees are more courteous to customers.’ Maureen Wild
“Company culture is not an HR function, it comes from the top.” ~ Dax Dasilva
“A good manager doesn’t try to eliminate conflict; he tries to keep it from wasting the energies of his people.” Robert Townsend
How does bad behavior affect a team or business? Disengaged or dissatisfied employees can compromise teamwork, productivity, morale and overall well-being of other people who are dedicated to and engaged with their work and company. They can affect the lifeblood of an organization. A colleague reached out to me recently because of my expertise in Millennials. In his organization he has an unhappy employee, who has complained about other people’s comments, which in turn has spread unhappiness within their department, and it feels as if he is holding the organization hostage. How do you then plan around the potential threat of harmful behavior? If you are a leader, you can be proactive.
Start from the beginning: hiring. When it comes to hiring, ask questions which will illuminate the candidate’s work ethic, values, and participation in teamwork. Then, conduct detailed references, asking about their quality of work, reliability, lateness, adherence to business rules and if they were supportive of others in the organization. If you are unable to gather the information you need to make a decision, hire an expert to assist like an experienced colleague, HR professional or an outside recruiting firm. Also, consider using supplementary tools like Strengthsfinder, Myers Briggs, or a proprietary software to uncover additional information about the individual and their potential fit with your culture.
During my former career in executive search, a client was interested in an enterprising young sales professional. Decades of experience taught me to see the red flags that my client didn’t notice. After contacting the references the candidate had provided, I discovered my concerns were valid (late to meetings, missed deadlines, etc.) and a potential problem employee was avoided.
Even with great interviewing, reference checking and AI tools, there is no perfect hiring process. There’s always a chance for a bad hire or wrongful hire. Truthfully, sometimes you don’t know until after the employee is on board. Since you’re not clairvoyant and you don’t know when disrespectful behavior will appear, prevention before it happens is smart. This means setting the ground rules which includes guidelines for bullying and consequences for mean-spirited behavior. If your organization doesn’t have an employee handbook, now may be the right time for one. Handbooks don’t have to be boring, weigh a ton, or sound like a text book. The creativity involved is up to you. The beauty of it is it functions as a legal document for clarity when a disgruntled disruptive employee believes they can create further havoc and a potential lawsuit.
A colleague was the queen of the handbook Fanclub. Every company issue would have her suggest, “Did you consult the organizational/employee handbook?” I used to roll my eyes when she spoke about their significance because all I could think of was a long list of rules and protocol. It wasn’t until a Partner engaged in egregious behavior, that I realized the book’s value; when the handbook gave the CEO the necessary steps to take action and fire the Partner. Safety mechanisms for everyone are vital.
A lot of companies use Slack, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, etc. for internal communication including sensitive internal communications and incident reporting. There is another resource companies are starting to onboard. It provides businesses with real-time feedback for a team, an office, an entire organization. It’s called The Critical App. It’s a practical and easy to use feedback hub and incident reporting application in lieu of surveys, hotlines and hearsay. The tool was built to increase engagement while decreasing risk because individuals have a choice to send alerts anonymously or not. As soon as an alert is sent, designated company leaders and/or HR professionals get instant notification so they can investigate and manage the situation and keep it from potential escalation. Critical organizes, tracks and categorizes notifications so leaders have a real time pulse about what’s going on in their organization. The service also offers feedback polling of all or a particular segment of a company, and can be used to push crucial news to your people quickly. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
These tools give you more control to prevent and/or dilute a potentially disruptive incident and prevent it from becoming unmanageable. Because as Maureen Wild says, “When employees respect each other and get along in the workplace, it’s amazing how productivity increases, morale increases and employees are more courteous to customers.”
Want to be a more effective leader? If you’d like to create a training and development plan for you that offers increased productivity, commitment and opportunities for you, let’s talk. Contact me at Susan@SusanGoldbergLeadership.com