Do More – “Like” Less

th2What do I mean by do more and like less?  I’m talking about showing up for work and getting more of the work related tasks done that are needed to make an impact.  I’m talking about spending a whole lot less time sitting on social networking sites, online blogs, articles and assorted websites that beg you for comments.

Clicking “like” or adding your two cents to everything under the sun is not productive to your employer needs.  Unless you are in online marketing and/or are tasked with spreading news everywhere, your real job is getting a lot less attention because your focus is somewhere else.

Have you ever emailed someone asking a question that you need an answer to before you can move forward?  You wait, and wait, and hours or days later, this person replies, “so sorry this took so long I’ve been swamped”?  I have, and when I know that they have been clicking “like” to every other thing on LinkedIn today, I want to blow a gasket.  You had the time, but clicking “like” to someone’s new photo was so much more important!

“Everyone Does It” is a common excuse.  Yes I hear you.  There is a CEO that spends a lot of time screwing around on LinkedIn self-promoting and avoiding big problems at his company.  At one point I thought he had delegated this out to a staff member but then I found out he is really into doing all this “online stuff” himself.  While the building is burning down, the world knows he “likes” the scenic view of his friend’s vacation trip.

So to be blunt, go back to work and put in a full day’s time for the employer that is paying you to work.  Save the “Like” this or that for your time off when no one is paying you to get something accomplished.  And since you are already here, go ahead and “like” this blog so others know you have good taste.

Wrongful VS Rightful Terminations

As a manager, I hated having to end the employment of one of my employees.  It is an emotional situation for both parties that is only possible to get through if the termination is a rightful one.  In other words it is a legally defensible termination.

And because of the emotional stress involved in terminations, most organization insist that HR is involved as the 3rd party in the employee-employer transaction.  Left to fend for themselves, too many managers react without thinking things through and land up putting themselves and the company in legal jeopardy.

I love listening to employment law attorneys speak on terminations.   They will tell you that before you pull the termination card out, it is vital to think it all through from the employee’s perspective.  What is the employee going to say about the situation if they are terminated for something that happened?  Are we sure we have the whole picture, or does our termination case resemble a slice of Swiss cheese?

During the few times I had to terminate employment, I was a Branch Manager at a bank.  When bank’s take a loss, whether it is a teller mistake, customer error, or out right fraudulent actions like identity theft, banks like to justify the loss with a termination.  Especially when the employee didn’t follow a particular policy.  Many times these terminations are justified and if the employee had followed the procedure the loss could have been prevented.

But when the company wants to terminate an employee for not following a policy, and even if they had followed it the loss would still have occurred, I start to argue in favor of the employee.  Yes there was a financial loss.  Yes the employee didn’t follow a particular policy.  But hello, even if they did follow the policy, the customer had good ID and an intent to defraud.  Go forward on the termination and we are looking at a potential lawsuit.

Termination decisions are often made by other managers in consultation with HR.  And although complete investigations that involve talking to all parties should happen before decisions are made, many times they happen in a vacuum.  Once I was told I would be terminating one of my employees, and I took the unprecedented position of saying I was not in agreement with the decision.  If I could not sway the decision makers to rethink their position, I determined I would act as the messenger only.

I can still remember HR saying that the decision was made and that it didn’t matter what I thought.  I said, okay then I will be the messenger and relay that the termination decision was made by HR and if they had questions they should contact HR.  Wow, that ticked her off.  She hadn’t made the decision either!  She was processing the request from my manager!  I then said you and I are going to be star witnesses for the defense.

At this point, she decided to reconsider and reopened the case.  You see, HR is the company representative.  They will defend the organization, which is the one that is sued along with any other party involved.  HR has a tough role to play and must support management, but defend the company.  They must exert their authority and not be intimidated. But sadly, not enough HR people stand up to management.

If you think you have been terminated unfairly, write out your concerns and seek out the advise of an attorney.  Don’t waste time begging for your job back after the fact.  Honestly, the company had the chance to do the right thing and they chose termination.  If they blew it, then it is time they learn from less talk and more from punitive damages.

Improving the Candidate Experience

So you are a recruiter with a job search to fill an opening at your company.  With so many applicants applying for the job, is it really important that the candidate experience is a positive one?  I mean, only one of these people will actually get the job so how important can it be to make all these other people satisfied?

Experts are agreeing in great numbers that the candidate experience says more about the culture of a company than even direct customer interactions.  Even if you are one of the many that never get an interview, or land up not getting an offer after several interviews, your impression should at least be a positive one as to how you were treated as a human being.

  • Retail and Restaurants cater to all humans they can.  So if while applying for a job at Sears you are treated as a valuable person, with respect, honesty and importance can you not be left to believe that the same would happen if you were a customer?  Need at new washing machine, hum, let’s check out Sears first.
  • The medical world is supposed to care for people, so what kind of impression is left with a potential patient if as an applicant your time is not valued, or you are left to wonder what is going on with an application.  For most people, that kind of applicant experience would drive you into another medical provider’s practice quickly.
  • Today Federal, State and Local Governments have a vast amount of people working for them.  Jobs are varied and come with competitive salaries and often better benefits than the private sector.  So what would prompt say a country HR function to treat applicants with respect?  How about the fact that they realize they owe their jobs to the taxpayers.  The very same people who are often applicants.

Recently I have applied at a few interesting opportunities and have been left with varied positive and negative experiences.  My worst was an online application process that took a solid hour to complete.  Yes, this group wanted a lot of details about every part of me.  Seconds after submitting the online application I received the standard email acknowledgement that my application had been received.  Less than 30 minutes later I received a form letter email that they were looking to other applicants.  My guess was that they saw too much experience and made a lot of assumptions and kicked me out of the pipeline.  (And that’s a whole other story we should talk about another time)

This company took less time to evaluate me than it took to provide them the requested information.  What does that tell me about how they evaluate other things like quality control or attention to detail.  This applicant experience left me with nothing but a desire to pass on them as a service provider in the future.  I will seek out other competitors before I become a customer of theirs.

Now a few weeks back I applied for a really cool opportunity with a county agency and another long application.  The automatic email did more than acknowledge my application, it set expectations of the review process.  In fact, it provided an invitation to contact a specific person if I had not heard back in the given time.  However, this was not necessary as this person sent me an email this morning with an update on their process, what to expect next and then a surprising note thanking me for the time I spent applying for the job.  Wow!  Someone took the time to empathize with the applicant!

This governmental group showed me, didn’t just talk about it, but demonstrated their accountability.  Just the kind of working environment I would thrive in, but more importantly, that they were accountable to the taxpayers paying their salaries.  So far a very impressive candidate experience!