Every workplace has friction—that’s the simple truth. Anytime you have a few people working together on something, differences surface that create drag. We shouldn’t be surprised when conflict or tensions arise. Instead, we should be prepared and have some tactics on hand to facilitate a cooperative working environment and healthier relationships. Friction has a bona fide upside.
In my decades of work in the field of Human Resources, I’ve learned that 3 major things have the potential to create workplace conflicts:
Lack of emotional control
Indefinite goals and boundaries
Here’s an example of all three creating a common situation of friction:
Project X must be finished in two months. The lower level manager fails to set legible parameters on a project when expectations and roles are not defined for the work. As the manager delegates the project, too much is left to speculation. Co-workers attempt to complete the work, but soon run into interpersonal problems as different ideas emerge. Frustration increases, tempers flare, morale sinks, and passive aggressive sabotage and gossip start. In other words, gridlock. A few team members inform the manager; however, by then, emotion is driving the situation. Decision-making is maligned and communication continues to falter. The project is tanking.
What to do?
A lot of repair work is needed to get things back on track and keep the project moving forward. First—and this is important—ditch email as a resolution tool. A sit-down, face-to-face meeting is necessary, and a concise description of roles and responsibilities must be presented. But a few other things are invaluable, too.
It’s important to reestablish a healthy culture with the team and ensure acceptable behaviormoving forward. This shouldn’t be done by lecturing. It shouldn’t be expressed in an exasperated tone either. Rather, make sure you conduct your meeting by modeling respect and integrity. Assume the best in your co-workers and back it up with words and actions that make it clear. Graciousness and amiability should preside, not hostility and annoyance.
Get the Right “Game Face” On.? Prepare yourself. Your “game face” must be a commitment to the greater good plus good faith efforts to buoy the environment and create a better working situation. It’s crucial to find common ground. This can be done with a simple and sincere reference to everyone wanting to do well, or a mention of some of your company’s most important values, or by outlining the basic goals of the project. It may be wisest to use a bit of each.
Conflict = Opportunity for Improvement.? It’s normal to dislike friction. Just remember, excellent organizations and great leaders have a habit of transforming conflict and tensions into occasions that make things work more smoothly, efficiently, and improve the positive bonds between employees. Don’t shrink from this opportunity. Instead of dreading conflict or becoming paralyzed by it, realize that conflicts can harvest new ideas and innovation—not just in how your company works, but also in how co-workers connect with each other.
Grace, empathy, forgiveness, cooperation, and better listening can be the result. If you treasure-hunt in the situation and invite that same positive attitude from your employees during conflict, better times are ahead.
Mark A. Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 20 years of HR experience. In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance Human Resource programs.
As a long-time veteran in the field of human resources (HR), I’ve seen telecommuting storm onto the scene through advances in technology. Telecommuting employees complete work from remote locations, and sometimes the method backfires.
In February 2013, Yahoo!’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, killed the long-standing policy that allowed employees to work from home. The news sent shockwaves in every direction, especially throughout high-tech industries. Many wondered whether the decision was a step backward and a signal of changes to come elsewhere.
Two months later, Mayer spoke at a human resources conference. She clarified that the new rule applied to just 200 of the 1200 Yahoo! employees. She reinforced the idea that collaboration and innovation happen best in an interactive environment. Even though the change was drastic for a tech company, she wasn’t backing down.
Many people feel their best work happens when they are uninterrupted and left alone, but even the best worker can hit some snags.
Five Common Pitfalls in Telecommuting
Misalignment of organizational vision
Loss of focus
Derailed project or job expectations
Poor time management Burnout (as work hours lengthen at a remote environment, like one’s home)
Remember, the key principle for an ideal telecommuting situation is this: Working from home, or from another remote location, should include the same qualities that make work at the office productive.
Five Workplace Features that Help Telecommuters Succeed
Workspace boundaries – Can the employee shut the door when they need to work and otherwise maintain a good work-life balance?
Ability to concentrate – Will children, friends, or other obligations frequently interrupt the employee?
Organization – Can they make a schedule and stick to it?
Productivity – Have they been given expectations and goals? Can they get help quickly if they hit an obstacle?
Focus and Fitness – Can they take short, regular breaks throughout the day to stay fresh and avoid fatigue or burnout?
What single safeguard makes telecommuting most effective? Ajob description!
Do the groundwork and craft a solid job description for a telecommuter before telecommuting takes effect. When a manager latches onto telecommuting as a hot trend without making the necessary preparations, trouble lies ahead.
A job description is not only important from an employee management standpoint; it’s a strategic necessity.
Your organization’s productivity and growth can be stymied when skills and competencies are unknown variables. Be definitive.
What’s the future for telecommuting?
Telecommuting is here to stay! The kibosh on telecommuting seen at Yahoo! won’t be the norm. While a number of organizations may rein in their telecommuters, many organizations will increase their use of telecommuting.
They will also recognize the high value of the expertise from contracted workers through portals and agencies like UpWork.com, Fiverr.com, and Guru.com. Specialized workers will continue to work from home, their local coffee shop, or other spots as the trend becomes normalized and wireless networking becomes more widely available worldwide.
Now is the perfect time to set expectations and boundaries to make the best of the situation.
How many people do you know who telecommute? What has been your experience? Would love to hear from our readers.
Mark A. Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 20 years of HR experience. In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance Human Resource programs.
Many potential clients seek a silver bullet when it comes to the hiring process. They want to set up electronic application systems and implement pre-employment testing to objectively and efficiently screen applicants so they can hire the best candidates.
They want to optimize the process, to speed the days to hire-up. They want candidates fast. They want a paperless process and a filtering system to eliminate candidates that don’t match their requirements.
Unfortunately, not being sure of what you’re doing, and working with unwise counsel, is a minefield you do not want to find yourself in and the results could be downright explosive.
I recently did some preliminary research on Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) cases that have headlined in the past several months, painting a damaging picture of some very prominent companies. The cases revolved around such factors as:
Unlawful employment application questions
In actuality, many organizations, even those with the best intentions, ask questions that can inadvertently result in disparate treatment across a broad spectrum of minority candidates. Organizations also rely on invalid forms of pre-employment testing as a screening tool, ones they may not aware might disqualify minority candidates at a higher rate than non-minorities.
As a rule, the organizations that I meet with are not looking to hurt anyone or prevent any person from working at their organization as long as they’re qualified for the position in question. Most not only recognize the benefits that diversity brings to their organization but also share a worldview that embraces all cultures and all people. Regrettably, however, what’s in their heart does not matter one whit to the attorneys and the EEOC who show up to investigate claims of discrimination.
It’s easy to assume that the EEOC focuses only on large corporate organizations, high-profile global entities, as evidenced in such headlines as:
BMW to Pay $1.6 Million and Offer Jobs to Settle Federal Race Discrimination Lawsuit
Target to Pay $2.8M to Upper-Level Applicants in EEOC Settlement
United Airlines to Pay Over $1 Million to Settle Disability Lawsuit
On the contrary, there are many small to mid-sized organizations that are being dragged into court as well. For example:
Stack Bros. to Pay $140,000 to Settle EEOC Age Discrimination and Retaliation Suit
Texas Oil Field Services Company Pays $30,000 to Settle EEOC Retaliation Suit
EEOC Sues Seymour Midwest for Age Discrimination
No organization is too small to escape the potential penalty of discrimination, whether intended or unintended. All it takes is one or more disgruntled workers or applicants.
What might surprise you is that the same risk exists for those working in the nonprofit, church, or ministry sectors—you are just as vulnerable to the consequences of poorly managed human resource practices as any profit-driven enterprise. No altruistic or religious influence will stand up in court as an adequate defense or mitigate damages against your organization. This is just a sampling:
EEOC Sues United Bible Fellowship Ministries for Pregnancy Discrimination
Inconsistencies in Termination Decision Wipe Out Good Samaritan Ministries Victory
King’s Way Baptist Church Sued by EEOC for Retaliation
Nonprofits, churches, and ministry organizations are generally subject to state and federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination.
What should you do?
Do what great organizations do, and invest in solid HR practices. A qualified HR staff is fully trained and capable of helping you navigate successfully through the practices that can prevent costly litigation and eliminate those practices that might be unintentionally discriminatory.
You need a comprehensive human resources connection that your HR staff can source for this kind of guidance. We’re the map to get you through this minefield.
But it’s not just about risk management. Superior HR practices generate superior job candidates.
Want to read more about the cases cited in this article? Find more information and source articles here.
Mark A. Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 20 years of HR experience. In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance Human Resource programs. Visit them at In HIS Name HR or Send Email
Enjoy watching Claudia Wert of Wells Fargo Advisors and Mark Griffin discuss In His Name HR and trends to look out for in 2019.
About Mark: With over 20 years of Human Resources experience at both fortune (Kodak, Quaker Oats, and Merck) as well as small and mid-sized companies, Mark has seen it all in the workplace.
About Claudia: A retirement plan specialist with Wert Investment Consulting Group, a wealth management practice within Wells Fargo Advisors. Her team advises on $260 million assets under management for high net worth families and businesses. Claudia’s partner, Robert Wert, was recognized in 2018 by Forbes magazine on their list of Best-In-State Wealth Advisors.
Berks Community Television Mission Berks Community Television’s mission is to enhance the unity and strength of the community by providing:
♦ A medium for community dialogue and educational opportunities
♦ A source of information of local, national and international origin
♦ A forum for the exchange of ideas on issues and topics of community interest
Looking to make a difference in our world? It’s time to use all of your education and experiences to be an instrument of change.
In HIS Name HR is honored to have been retained by the Institute of Lutheran Theology (ILT) to seek their next Dean of Academic Affairs.
The Institute of Lutheran Theology is a Christian faith community, seminary and graduate school that rigorously equips faithful pastors, teachers and lay people to effectively proclaim the gospel and serve Christ’s church throughout the world.
The Dean of Academic Affairs administers the academic programs of the Institute of Lutheran Theology (ILT) and is responsible for ensuring they fulfill ILT’s Mission Statement and Institutional Learning Outcomes. He/she takes a responsibility for policy related to ILT’s academic programs.
Some Position Requirements
A terminal degree in a theological discipline with experience teaching at a college, university, seminary, or graduate level.
3–5 years of administrative experience in a higher education.
Ordained Lutheran pastor with ministry experience preferred.
Evidence of research competence.
Adherence to the Institute of Lutheran Theology’s Mission, Vision, Goals, and Values.
Some Essential Responsibilities
Teaching and Research
The Dean of Academic Affairs is a member of both the Graduate Faculty and Certificate Faculty and may teach courses as duties and time allow (normally, not more than two courses a year).
The Dean of Academic Affairs authors academic and general audience articles and books as time allows.
The Dean of Academic Affairs is responsible for administering and overseeing all the academic programs of ILT. As such, he or she:
Presides at the monthly meetings of the Graduate Faculty Senate and the Certificate Faculty Senate.
Seeks out and recommends new members to both faculties, as needed.
Recommends adjunct faculty to the President for appointment, as needed.
Assigns courses to faculty members.
Evaluates faculty effectiveness.
Ensures that students receive competent academic advising from faculty.
Develops academic policies in consultation with the Graduate Faculty Senate and the Certificate Faculty Senate and is responsible for implementing them.
Leads the faculties in developing, implementing, and improving the curricula of the academic programs so that they fulfill their Program Learning Outcomes.
Adjudicates student appeals presented according to the academic appeal policy.
Approves or denies all transfers of credit, course substitutions, and similar issues in collaboration with the registrar.
Recommends candidates for degrees to the Graduate Faculty Senate and the Certificate Faculty Senate and brings the faculties’ recommendations forward to the President and the Board of Directors.
Supervises the preparation of the text of each year’s academic catalog.
Publishes and maintains an updated faculty handbook.
Oversees the Academic Department budget.
Facilitates faculty development.
Negotiates articulation agreements with other institutions of higher learning in consultation with the faculties and the President.
Supervises the writing of grants, as needed.
The Dean of Academic Affairs is responsible for the ongoing assessment of ILT’s academic programs. As such, he or she:
Creates an Academic Assessment Plan for continual assessment of how well ILT’s academic programs achieve their Program Learning Outcomes.
Oversees the administration of the Academic Assessment Plan.
Prepares an annual Academic Assessment Report and submits it as a foundation for planning to the President and the faculty senates.
Works with faculty members to delegate assessment responsibilities, as needed.
General Educational Ministries
In addition to administering ILT’s academic programs, the Dean of Academic Affairs is responsible for ILT’s lay education ministries. As such, he or she:
Designs, builds, and maintains educational programs for lay people.
Communicates with potential instruction sites, pastors, instructors, and leaders.
Helps plan and prepare educational events for pastors and lay people.
Advertises and promotes educational ministries.
Builds and maintains relationships with all congregational partners.
The Dean of Academic Affairs cooperates with other staff and administrators in ILT’s recruitment efforts. As such, he or she:
Contributes toward developing and amending the Enrollment Management Plan.
Assists the Admissions Coordinator, as requested, in counseling with potential students.
Assists, as requested, in developing recruitment materials.
Performs other duties as assigned.
Some Required Personal Attributes
Displays a professional image at all times, even when facing significant job challenges.
Submits to the Cross of Jesus Christ.
Delivers on commitments made to others.
Takes ownership for resolving problems, rather than allowing them to persist or simply pointing them out to others.
Listens to all ideas and thoughts of others.
Adapts quickly to changing situations, including last-minute changes and scheduling disruptions.
Willing to consider new information, ideas, or strategies to achieve institutional goals.
Anticipates potential reactions or concerns of staff and students to a situation and prepares to address these.
Boldly asserts the truth of the gospel.
Builds ownership for new initiatives or changes by involving those responsible for implementation in planning the details.
Avoids any action or situation that gives the appearance of unethical or inappropriate behavior.
Demonstrates the courage to do the right thing in difficult situations.
Holds oneself and others accountable for meeting the high standards of the institution’s integrity.
Leads by example by modeling ethical practices and standards.
Treats others with respect, fairness, and consistency.
Demonstrates empathy and understanding when addressing sensitive issues with others.
Is hospitable in serving students.
Maintains appropriate standards of confidentiality.
Organizes department materials, including recruitment and department informational handouts.
Administers procedures for Academic Department.
Adjusts communication style and language to most effectively connect with different/diverse audiences and individuals.
Follows through with students and staff to ensure that important information has been understood.
Communicates information concisely and clearly.
Clearly explains complex concepts (e.g., schedules, policies, and procedures) and at an appropriate level of detail.
Maintains an appropriate level of contact with administration to keep them informed about important or controversial situations that may arise.
Communicates professionally with all levels of employees in the institution.
Other Interpersonal Skills
Possesses effective interpersonal communication skills, both written and verbal, plus organization and presentation skills.
Exhibits a strong desire to be a part of an institution that combines commitment to the divine with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Learn how to make social media use in the workplace a win for everybody.
What is your organization’s policy on social media? It’s time to better understand this powerful tool and make it work for you.
Research from Fierce, a Seattle-based training and development company, concludes that 80 percent of workers log onto Facebook during working hours.
Facebook is not going away. LinkedIn is right behind, and if you don’t know what Instagram or Snapchat is, well, you’re just missing out. Having worked in an era before these tools existed and then became popular, I offer you some vital insights from a Human Resources perspective.
Transforming connections and communications
In an age of smartphones, websites, and computers with preloaded social media integration, social media technology is standard fare inmost environments. Customers routinely “check in” and post photos from restaurants, shops, attractions, and events. Pastors tell attendees to tweet quotes from their sermons. Celebrities make big announcements on Twitter, and the most important world news breaks on social media first. It’s not going anywhere. In fact, it’s growing, integrating, and upgrading faster than ever.
Despite this prominence, only 51 percent of organizations have any policy on social media. Some organizational leaders feel participation hurts productivity or even contributes to interpersonal problems (think of publicly bad-mouthing leadership), yet many more believe its use is crucial to good morale and a happy working environment, and current research bears this out.
Today, a whole new generation of workers considers social media a nonnegotiable aspect of their job environment. In a recent study by Fast Company, 40 percent of college students and 45 percent of young professionals said they would turn down a job or accept less pay rather than work for a company that disallowed social media use.
Be clever in how you integrate social media usage into your organizational culture and policies. If you have bans on social media, review and amend them to fit the times. If you don’t have a policy yet, remember these key points before issuing sweeping prohibitions on the technology:
When treated as adults, most employees behave as adults.
Give great guidelines up front—don’t wait for a crisis. Regularly encourage responsible posting on social media.
Assign someone who understands social media to create a vision of how your company can be positively perceived or promoted online, and then articulate that vision clearly.
Risk vs. Reward
Without guidance, employee involvement with social media can be risky, but social media remains an excellent tool to engage participants and current or future customers and get your message out. The right use of this powerful tool can benefit everyone involved.
Many opportunities exist to mobilize your workforce to connect with others and broadcast a healthy and positive image of your company or non-profit. Some of the most productive and profitable companies have integrated it well, and so can you.
What type of policies do you have in place on social media?
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
~ Matthew 9:37-38
This was so very true when it was written and still so very true today. The workers available to bring the good word to the world of Christ’s saving blood are few. This piece of Scripture is the foundation of what it is that we do here at In HIS Name HR. We help create the workers; we develop Christian business leader, to be the worker to gently get the message out to the workplace. I have worked for organizations where we took care of employees’ financial needs by paying them. We took care of their medical needs by providing health care benefits. But we hardly come across any companies, even Christian-owned companies, that provide a venue to reach employees’ spiritual needs.
Christian-owned companies should feel obligated to provide spiritual benefits
We can no longer go to church on Sunday and work on Monday without addressing our faith. We are obligated to develop our organizations in a way in which it is comfortable for employees to be led to Christ.
If you are sharing your faith with your teams, if you are developing ways of integrating Christ into your workplace, you are building a “Kingdom Minded” Organization.
Help our community of readers
For those of you in the “Marketplace”, How do your share your faith at work? When do you know you have gone too far? We would love to know your experiences.
Yes, it’s possible for you to lead employees to excellence at work, home and in their communities.
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ~Ephesians 2:10
A valuable part of leading sustainable for-profit organizations is introducing your employees to community relations. Part of leading people is developing them to be the best they can be, not only in the workplace but within their families and communities as well.
Look at your people from a whole person perspective—they’re far more than just “workers.” Provide your people the opportunity to do good works, to achieve greatness in their lives, and they will do great things for you. Developing your people’s skills, both in and outside the company, can positively impact the communities in which they live and you do business.
Encourage your people to be their best in every aspect of their lives.
Many organizations now put programs in place that help match employees’ interests to community volunteer opportunities. Some organizations shut down for an entire week to help build homes with Habitat for Humanity, for example. What do you do? What more can you do?
Imagine an organization that inspired their people by running a contest where each employee participated by demonstrating how their volunteer organization is the most impactful. The prize? The winner would receive a considerable reward to help fund their efforts. This article provides a great deal of information on what Elexio has done to encourage employees to look far outside their own communities.
If you are promoting good works performed by your employees, not only in the workplace but also in the world we live in, you are doing great things for God. You are building a “Kingdom-Minded” Organization.
Help our community of readers
Do you have HR practices that support these ideals? Do you help your employees help others? How do you find your employees’ strengths and match them to community involvement? Share your ideas and inspire fellow readers. We would love to know how you encourage your people to shine.
Mark Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 20 years of HR experience. You can learn more about his recently published book for College Students, College to Career: The Student Guide to Career and Life Navigation HERE. Follow Mark on Facebook, Twitterand LinkedIn.
ABHE Annual Meeting February 20-22, 2019 | Rosen Plaza Hotel, Orlando Florida
While never preferred, conflict seems a part of most every organization. What are prudent principles for peacemaking? What do expert HR leaders understand that makes resolution positive and developmental? Participants will learn from a veteran consultant:
Mark A. Griffin is the founder and chief consultant of In HIS Name HR LLC, a human resources outsourcing and career coaching firm created to help organizations pilot the complex issues of managing HR.
As a human resources professional with 20-plus years of experience in both public (Quaker Oats Company, Kodak Inc., Merck Inc.) and private companies (Woolrich, Conestoga Wood Specialties, Valco Companies Inc.), Mark is passionate about building high-performance workplaces by utilizing best practices while leading organizations with strong values.
Mark and his wife Gail have two adult children, and and attend LCBC Church. Mark has coached leaders on “Business as Mission” as far away as Eastern Europe, India, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
Personality clashes and disparate problem-solving styles are all too common, even in the most motivated organizations. Someone’s true character is often revealed in the way in which he or she acts and reacts in situations with others. The ripple effects can be devastating. They can even dam up the works altogether if you don’t take action—the right action.
Most conflicts stem from misunderstandings. By being proactive and decoding the personalities in your organization—that is, working to understand the different ways in which people see and understand the world while interacting with others, you can help your employees to work together harmoniously. When employees have a strong grasp of the personalities of their colleagues, they can leverage each other’s strengths and sharpen one another (Prov. 27:17).