Leadership is Messy!

My desk as I walked in this morning.  This doesn’t take into account the 6-7 boxes I have in the living room ready to load into my car for a training tomorrow.  Nor does this picture cover the materials on the kitchen table where I tend to lay things down when I come into the house.

So many projects all at once!

Emerald City Consulting 
Physician Consulting, Inc 
Navigating Your Fishbowl
Toastmasters International District 2
The Relief Society

Family, bills, dogs, yardwork, laundry, housecleaning, cooking, shopping, car maintenance, exercise, personal study…..  Calgon, Take me Away!!!!

Yep, leadership is messy, and I need a bath!!!!!

HR Thursday: Step 4 in Preventing Harassment


One of the fastest growing areas of Employment Law Compliance issues is harassment claims.  Prevention is the key to avoiding harassment in your Healthcare practice or business.  If left unaddressed, these issues will only get worse.

The first 3 steps toward prevention of harassment claims (review here 1, 2, 3):

  1. A written harassment policy
  2. Antiharassment training
  3. Investigation

The 4th step in preventing the nightmare of harassment is:
Take Necessary Disciplinary Action.

Last week I included a video that played out the events of a harassment claim in the workplace.  If you missed what happened between Tom and Wendy as investigated by Ralph, then you’re welcome to view it here Harassment in the workplace part 1

At the end of part 1, Stan asks Ralph, “What would you do differently if you had to do it again?” in regard to the investigation, action, and outcome of the claim.

You can find the answer by watching Harassment in the Workplace part 2 where Stan relates a time when he had to take disciplinary action against Paul and Ed.  watch now  

If a harassment case is determined to be valid, you must take immediate and appropriate corrective action.  This means taking “action reasonably calculated to end the harassment” and keep it from recurring.

How severe does the discipline need to be?  The answer is determined by several factors:

  • How serious was the offense?
  • What was the nature of the offense?
  • Is it a repeated behavior?

Examples of corrective action are:

  • Apology to the victim
  • Verbal/written warning
  • Demotion
  • Counseling
  • Training
  • Suspension
  • Termination

Take necessary disciplinary action quickly.  Waiting only puts you at risk.

Tune in next week to learn Step 5!  Same blog time, same blog channel!

#2 On the List of What Employees Want: The 4 F’s

Bent Ericksen & Associates reports 12 Foundation Essentials for Building a Winning Team, based on a survey that analyzed what employees want most from their employers.

In a recent post on Navigating Your Fishbowl, I provided #1 on the list.  You can read that post HERE

Essential #2 is: A management style where policies are friendly, frank, fair and firm.  Policies are consistently applied and clearly explained in writing.

Did you catch the 4 F’s in that statement? 

  1. Friendly
  2. Frank
  3. Fair
  4. Firm

This short video is a personal experience about Fairness and a Floating Holiday

This policy was written, but certainly not applied fairly or consistently. 

Watch this video about an Unwritten Promise Given…

Wow!  Talk about unfair and inconsistent treatment of your employees!  Ouch! 

EMPLOYERS: Don’t make promises you can’t, or WON’T keep!

EMPLOYEES: Make sure you get promised benefits in WRITING!

Have you ever tried to remember “what did we do the last time“?  When a situation comes up, wouldn’t it provide more peace of mind to ask, “what does the policy say“, instead?

Try it, you’ll like it!

HR Thursday: When other priorities takes a backseat!

For the last few weeks I’ve been blogging about avoiding the nightmare of harassment claims in your practice/business.  The first two steps to doing this have been: 1. Providing written policy and regular communication, and 2. Provide antiharrassment training.

Step 3 is investigate complaints:

Timing is everything!  The longer an employer waits to investigate a complaint of harassment, the more it may say, “this isn’t serious” to the employee. 

Investigating a harassment claim is your FIRST priority.  EVERYTHING else takes a backseat.  Furthermore, taking quick action will prevent your liability from increasing. How?  Slow action could be making the employee vulnerable to more attacks.

However, unless you as an employer can be truly unbiased as an investigator, then you should hire a third-party to do the investigating.  The objective is to gather information, including looking at the following documents:

  • Payroll records
  • Job assignments
  • Working hours

You, or the investigator will also have to interview:

  • The accused
  • The victim
  • Witnesses
  • Anyone who knows about the incident

When conducting interviews:

  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Tell the version of the story as you know it, and then document their agreement/disagreement
  • Compile written and signed statements
  • Ask for additional information that is remembered after the interview
  • Keep findings confidential, and ask others to do the same

The investigator will keep detailed records of interviews and ALL relevant information.  He/she will prepare a final report including the steps taken and the conclusion of the claim.  This information will then be kept in a confidential file.

For an example of an investigation that wasn’t handled so well  Watch this VIDEO NOW

Next week is step 4, including part 2 of the video you just watched.  Have a great week navigating your fishbowl!

22 Years of Missing my Dad on Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to you Dad’s out there!

This is a picture of my Father and Mother in 1948.  They were divorced in 1976.  I didn’t know my Father all that well (except that he was color-blind), and I don’t recall many happy times when they were married.  But my parents separation was devastating to my Father as illustrated in the words of a letter he wrote to me when I was merely 12 years old at Christmas in 1975….

“Jackie I want you to know how very sorry I am for the many things that I have done to cause this separation in our family.  Many times in our lives we realize our own mistakes only after it is too late.  This is a very terrible and heart breaking thing to have to live with the rest of your life…..I truly love your mother, and I would do anything, or give anything to have her back again.”

Both of my parents remarried.  This is my Father and step-Mother with me and my husband, Arny on our wedding day in 1982. 

I would like very much to be forgiven and loved again by everyone, and especially you,”  my Father wrote me in that letter in 1975.  I never felt that there was anything to forgive my Father for. 

A few years after our wedding, Arny and I bought a home less than a mile away from Daddy and Liz.   I finally had opportunity to know my Dad better.  Liz had three young boys, whom Daddy had adopted, and they were a fun addition to the family.  My family was multiplying, too with the addition of my two children, Holly and Cory.

On Father’s Day of 1990, Arny, Holly, Cory and I took a cake over to my Dad’s house.  There was no answer at the door, which was unusual because my Dad was almost always home when he wasn’t working.  Rather than leave the cake, we decided to come back later that night.   We got side-tracked with other things, and didn’t make it back over to their house.

Two days later, my Father died suddenly of a heart attack.  Regret had set in hard.  My Father’s words haunted me..”this is a very terrible and heart breaking thing to have to live with the rest of your life…..

I read a poem at Daddy’s funeral on June 25th, 1990.  I was a little embarrassed then because it seemed so child-like.  But perhaps we wax child-like when we lose a parent.  Here are my words:

He Was My Daddy

He was my Daddy; a simple man
Who’d watch TV with remote in hand
He’d watch Hee Haw, sports and news
But he couldn’t tell his browns from his blues
He was color-blind; and he always said
That his favorite color was “strip-ed”

You could count on Daddy to tell a good joke
And he always drank Pepsi instead of Coke
Daddy worked hard, and NO ONE could say
That he’d cheated his boss of an honest pay
He’d always been quiet and shy from the start
But he cared for others.  Daddy had a soft heart

He lived the Gospel.  He knew it was right
And he was home with his family every night
Daddy was never too tired, or had too much to do
When you needed his help, he’d see it through
He was very proud of his daughters and sons
Daddy had raised two families instead of one

Now, he wasn’t rich, nor held a degree
But he was the very best dad he could be
He’d never run for office, nor marched for a cause
But he’d never been arrested, nor broken a law
He’d never been to Europe or taken a cruise
But he taught his family the right things to choose

Daddy wasn’t honored or revered by men
But I think he’d live the same life again
He served mankind, as he served the Lord
Daddy endured to the end, and kept God’s word
He lived life worthy; he’s passed his test
Heavenly Father will tell him, “You’ve done your best”

He’s living now on a heavenly plane
We will be with him if we live life the same
It will be joyous; we’ll all be so glad
When we see again our wonderful Dad!

“I hope that we can both try to live our lives here on earth so that we can be together in the here-after”.

I’m trying, Daddy…..I’m trying….Happy Father’s Day!

Step 2 in Avoiding the Nightmare of Harassment

Last weeks HR Thursday post presented PREVENTION STEP 1 in avoiding the nightmare of harassment claims.

If you want to prevent Harassment claims from affecting your business and your bottom line, then step 2 after providing written policy is to provide antiharassment training.  

A video on Saturday Night Live illustrates the importance of harassment training for your team members.  Watch Linsanity NOW 

Providing antiharassment training is important.  If state-mandated laws are not applicable, then the length and timing of the training will be discretionary for employers.  It is recommended that training occur upon hire for all new staff members and either annually or once every two years for current staff.

As long as the training adequately covers the important aspects of harassment and properly outlines the rules and processes at your practice, the length of the training isn’t as important; however, an effective antiharassment training program is likely to be at least one hour.

Have you conducted any antiharassment training at your place of business?  I’d love to hear about it, and so would my followers!

Tune in next week.  Same blog time, same blog channel for Step 3 of avoiding the nightmare of harassment….

The #1 Way to Improve Productivity

Having surveyed hundreds of team members to determine what would add most to their productivity, Bent Ericksen & Associates has compiled the 12 Foundation Essentials for Successful Team Building.  Today my focus will on the #1 aspect from that survey that will improve YOUR teams productivity and sense of satisfaction on the job.

You may be surprised to learn that it is:

Ethically sound business principles and quality services

Did you know that before adequate pay, and before fair benefits, your employees want YOU to be ethical and to have integrity when it comes to the services or products you offer?  How would you rate yourself?  No, honestly.

According to the 2011 National Business Ethics Survey, the percentage of employees who perceived pressure to compromise standards in order to do their jobs climbed five points from 2009 to 13%.

In an article by Matthew Heller in March of this year, he warns of “steep declines in workforce trust”.

Earl “Chip” Jones III is a labor and employment law specialist at the law firm of Littler Mendelson in Dallas and a former senior executive for Dean Foods Co.  He says that workers who distrust management are more inclined to “perceive” they have been retaliated against even when, in reality, they have not. “There’s a breakdown in the relationship,” he says.

The Ethics Resource Center, which interviewed nearly 4,700 private-sector workers for the survey, which was released in January, reported that 2011 was “a year of extremes and substantive shifts.”  We also see some very ominous signs—ethics cultures are eroding and employees’ perceptions of their leaders’ ethics are slipping.

Both the Ethics Resource Center and Jones recommend that employers invest heavily in ethics and compliance programs. As a first step, Jones advises clients to conduct a thorough employee engagement survey that asks questions such as, “Are you able to complain about your supervisor?”

“You have to find out what the cultural climate is in your business and then manage it,” he says.

Here are some ways to improve the quality of your services:

1.    Listen to your customers
2.    View complaints as an opportunity to improve
Recognize great service and challenge poor service
Have weekly staff meetings where service is discussed
Tell your staff that they are appreciated and needed
Lead by example
Do things regularly to improve the workplace
Pay competitive wages for great team members

I can provide a survey to your team members to determine how they view you and each other.  This survey can be conducted anonymously, but I will provide you with the results.  Knowledge will give you power to make the changes necessary to improve the productivity of your practice or business.

Because you are a follower of my blog, I will conduct this survey to your staff for FREE.  Contact me so I can help you with that first step to having better quality in every aspect of your business; as well as helping you to achieve greater ethics in the eyes of your team!

HR Thursday: Dress for the Weather

If you want to avoid the nightmare of harassment claims in your business, then you must DRESS FOR THE WEATHER! 

Watch this VIDEO to understand what I mean…

PREVENTION, STEP 1:  Provide written policy and regular communication. 

A well-written harassment policy should do the following:

  • Define what constitutes harassment (you learned that on this very blog a few weeks ago)

  • Explicitly state that “harassment of any kind will not be tolerated

  • Outline reporting channels and methods, and insist employees report any harassment concern

  • Assure employees that a complaint will be treated as confidentially as possible

  • Notify staff that investigations will be initiated upon receiving a complaint to determine its validity

  • Inform staff that appropriate disciplinary action, which may include discharge, will be taken against any guilty offenders

This policy should be:

  1.  Included in your policy manual

  2. Covered in orientation programs for new hires

  3. Redistributed at least annually for continued emphasis

  4. Referenced during antiharassment training programs (at a minimum)

Taking these steps will ensure that all employees know or should know the policy and procedure at your business.  Don’t just issue the policy once and never revisit it.  Ongoing communication is vital, and may possibly save you a lot of money!

Have you ever paid the price for NOT being prepared?

All of the facts and stats on todays post are taken from a 2010 article in Dental Economics by Tim Twigg and Rebecca Crane of  Bent Ericksen & Associates 

12 Foundation Essentials for Building a Winning Team part 2

A few weeks ago I told you that Bent Ericksen & Associates has been the “most trusted name” in HR and employment law for over 25 years. 

They have surveyed hundreds of team members to determine what affects job performance.  Here is the last 6 of 12 areas on that list…  (Click here for previous post)

7.     Clearly defined job descriptions and expectations
8.     Individual and team member recognition
9.     Effort is appreciated/poor performance is not tolerated
10.   Fair compensation and benefits 
11.   Feedback by the employer
12.   Worthwhile team meetings 

Are you surprised by this list? 

Are you giving your team what’s most important to them? 

Where can you improve?

See how important it is for all team members to be on the same page?

Tune in to my next post—same blog time, same blog channel

We will begin to tick down this list item by item.  Learn how to improve the relationship with your team!