The past weeks have been unprecedented—truly historic—regarding the global human resources implications due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing COVID-19 disease. Typically, we address our articles to leadership professionals in the workplace. However, in light of the current situation, this article is for anyone, at any level of an organization, who has found themselves thrust, without warning, into working remotely.
Many such employees have contacted us, having been told by equally unprepared leadership, “It’s not safe to come into the office. Just do what you normally do, but do it from home.”
Organizations, some of our clients among them, have abruptly shifted into panic mode. You may be reading this article having found yourself also suddenly having to work from home instead of from your customary office or workplace.
Understandably, many organizations were caught unawares, and are not equipped to handle the logistics of managing people remotely. Regardless, organizations still need to operate, to serve their customers and remain solvent.
While it has caught nearly everyone, indeed the country, off guard, it is of utmost importance that you, as an employee who draws wages from your employer, come to grips with the fact that you must remain impactful if you and the organization is to survive. When organizations succeed, they can pay their employees who, in turn, can support their families and the communities in which they live.
So, let’s review some areas that will help make you successful while working remotely. These features are proven to work, and have been used successfully by individuals who were assigned remote work, not out of crisis but more often the result of being geographically distant from coworkers.
5 Pointers to Help You Succeed as a Remote Employee
- Establish workspace boundaries – Ensure a good working environment, a dedicated space to do your work. Can you shut the door against distractions when you need to work and otherwise maintain a good work–life balance?
- Ensure your ability to concentrate – Will children, friends, or other personal obligations regularly interrupt you?
- Stay organized – Can you make a schedule and stick to it? Will you create checklists to keep you on track?
- Promote and maintain productivity – Have you been provided expectations and goals? Can you obtain help quickly if you hit an obstacle?
- Maintain your focus and fitness – Can you take short, regular breaks throughout the day to stay fresh and avoid fatigue or burnout?
What single safeguard makes telecommuting most effective? A job description!
There’s no question that it’s preferable to have done the groundwork and crafted a solid job description for yourself before telecommuting. When employees find themselves thrust into working remotely, without the necessary preparations, trouble often lies ahead.
A job description is not only important from an employee empowerment standpoint; it’s a strategic necessity. Both your and your organization’s productivity and growth can be stymied when skills and competencies are unknown or undefined variables. Be detailed and specific about the requirements placed on you, and make sure they are part of your job description.
Finally, if you are concerned about your longevity with your employer, help create a process to make it hard for them to dismiss you. As a human resources expert, I almost always find employee terminations or separations from organizations are the result of the employee being viewed as not contributing to the organization. But that’s not always the employee’s fault. Many times this is management’s fault, because they failed to furnish key guidance or measurable metrics designed to enable employees to perform successfully.
If your organization has failed in this area, make it a point to do it yourself. Develop key measurements and a daily schedule that you can share with your leadership that validates why they need you.
In our next article, we explore the above five tips further: workspace boundaries, the ability to concentrate, self-organization, productivity, and focus and fitness, in order to better help you to succeed as a remote employee. With the right approach, it can be done.
Mark Griffin is founder and chief consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 25 years of HR experience.
Are you or your organization struggling to navigate these tumultuous times? Contact us by e-mail here.
Learn more about Mark’s journey in HR by watching this short video. And follow him on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Mark Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 20 years of HR experience. Follow Mark on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Want to make High Performance HR Systems including Employee Relations a reality in your organization? Contact Mark and make it happen.
All successful organizations have a Mission. Without a Mission, well, no one will know what it is they are doing and why. Another problem organizations have when absent a Mission is that their customers and vendors often end up confused, having mixed expectations.
I have worked for many organizations in my time. Probably more than most, and I consider this to be a good thing. The reason I consider this a good thing is that the experiences that God has given me in these numerous and diverse organizations has made me a far more competent counselor to businesses across the marketplace than if I had occupied one narrow niche for most of my career.
One common denominator I have identified is that the businesses that are successful all have an established Mission for their organization, a Mission that is co-developed by all of their employees and is ingrained into the culture of the organization. In fact, in high-performing organizations, candidates are exposed to the organizations ’s Mission before they’re even hired. Vendors know the Mission and Customers are aware, as well.
When Vendors know the Mission and Customers understand it, that’s enormously positive, but the most powerful and impactful group are your Employees. In my wealth of experience, I have discovered an absolute truth by simply listening to employees for more than 20 years. Fully 99 percent of all employees who come to work every day, want nothing more than to do a good job; in fact, most want to exceed your expectations. It really is the American way. Work hard, play hard and love your life. The problem, though, that many organizations suffer from is a lack of leadership to help steer the organization.
Specifically, they lack leadership in creating a Mission that employees own and strive to achieve.
What is a Mission?
Your Mission is simply what you do best — every day — and why. Your Mission should reflect your customers’ needs. Having a Mission is the foundation of turning the dreams and potential of an organization into reality. So, in a nutshell, your Mission
simply affirms why your organization exists!
So what does a Mission consist of? Well, it really is not rocket science. It is simply what your organization collectively — yes, I said collectively — not top down management, or board of directors to management — developed. It works like this:
- The senior management team develops a framework of what they believe the Mission is and should be.
- Line management then takes the draft document to the line supervision.
- Finally, employees and a good HR rep facilitate a roundtable session using the draft Mission as a guide.
You have a couple of reiterations, meetings back and forth, and then it’s time for “Congratulations!” because you now have a consensus on your Mission. Now, of course, when it is being facilitated, the facilitator must be skilled in getting everyone on board with the final product.
Key is letting your employees know that each one of them has an opportunity to challenge it, provide their personal input and suggest changes, but that, ultimately, when the majority of the employees and management agree to the final document, then it is up to all employees to respect it and support it.
Benefits of Creating or Revisiting Your Mission.
The benefit of creating a Mission or revisiting a current one is that it opens up the communication process inside of your organization. An effective Mission is based on input and commitment from as many people within your organization as possible. A Mission statement should not be an autocratic version of Moses and the Tablets. All of your employees must feel and understand your organization’s Mission. Only then can they make the necessary personal commitment to its spirit.
Tips for great Missions:
- Keep it short.
- Describe WHY customers will buy from you.
- Define your product or service clearly.
- Identify WHO is your ideal customer.
- Specify WHAT you offer your customer — benefits, services, advantages, etc.
- Delineate what makes your product or service different from that of your competition.
Google: “We organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Starbucks: “We inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
Share with us your experiences with your organization’s Mission. How was it created? Who was involved, how would you have changed the process? Is the Mission applicable to you and your coworkers? Share with us and help the community to learn and grow.
Over my 25 plus-year career in human resources, I’ve noticed that while people will endure fewer amenities and less pay, there are four reasons skillful workers will leave for another job.
(1) No opportunity – When employees sense no potential for career progress, or leaders are unaware that advancement is important, employees look elsewhere for better options.
(2) Not knowing the dollar value of their benefits – Pay and benefits is a topic often avoided in many workplaces. Many organizations, however, offer competitive pay and often benefits that cost thousands of dollars, and employees haven’t a clue. (Think PTO, like legal holidays, sick days, and vacation days; life insurance, long-term disability (LTD), and short-term disability (STD) programs; health insurance, including vision and dental; and wellness programs.) The costs of all these programs add up. When organizations take the time to periodically make employees aware of the total cost of all the benefits at their disposal, employees gain a greater appreciation how much value they receive in their job.
(3) Feeling unappreciated – When employees receive little or no gratitude or acknowledgment for their contributions, it feels demoralizing — no wonder they seek more rewarding work elsewhere. The biggest surprise? Many times, during exit interviews, departing employees disclose that a simple, verbal “thank you” would have made all the difference. However, in many organizations, too often managers fail to do even that.
(4) Sheer Boredom – Without savvy leaders or a solid idea of the big picture, employees don’t see concrete, interesting ways to contribute, outside of the ordinary scope of their jobs. Things grow tedious and employees hunt for new challenges to make work feel more meaningful.
So, while you might think your employees only want higher pay and a corner office, or that the trend among employees is to feel “entitled,” the truth is that the best employees are satisfied with simpler, more basic and fundamental management approaches—and a better explanation of the benefits they currently have.
Be thoughtful — find out what motivates your employees! This simple investment will ensure improved worker retention, enhanced overall morale, and increased company loyalty. And isn’t that what you really want?
What can you do as an employer right now to keep your best employees? Consider asking them. That’s right. Simply spending time with employees in focus groups and roundtable discussions can help you to help them by making basic changes to ensure you keep your greatest asset happy and encouraged.
One more thing…What’s the Top Reason People Quit?
This 2017 Inc. magazine article reveals that the primary reason employees quit is:
People leave managers, not companies.
Marcel Schwantes, while researching the topic of turnover, found that 50% of employees left their job “to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career.”
Keep in mind that as a new generation of workers comes of age, the issue of turnover will continue to grow. Many employees now look at their lives differently than workers did 20 and 30 years ago. Most value relationships above all else, and when a manager starts stealing their joy, they won’t hesitate to look for work elsewhere.
The workplace ladder is simply not as important to young workers today as in prior generations. Many are talented and capable, but will invariably choose a desirable manager over monetary or organizational rewards.
If you are concerned about retaining talented employees while also saving time and money in hiring and training costs, remember these top 4 reasons and the new trend that makes talented people quit. It could make keeping the great people you need a lot easier than you thought.
Mark Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 25 years of HR experience. Follow Mark on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Are you complying with all the proper state and federal labor laws?
If not, it could cost you everything.
In large corporations, an entire human resources (HR) department navigates the complex minefield of federal and state labor laws. Most small organizations think of HR as an afterthought, or HR responsibilities like hiring, benefits, compliance, and payroll falls to a few people who aren’t properly trained. This can be a pricey mistake. Laws concerning overtime, unlawful termination, and equal rights are just a few areas that trip up organizations, big and small, all the time.
Labor laws fill volumes and are quite complex. Plus, labor laws vary from state to state! Even Walmart ran into trouble recently and incurred $4.83 million dollars in back wages, penalties, and fines for violating The Fair Labor Standards Act. The mistake? Managers were misclassified and not appropriately compensated for overtime work. Unlawful termination is another problem that has cost organizations like UPS, Carmike Cinemas, and Dial Corporation dearly. Yes, it’s tricky. Do you know the laws?
It gets worse—the government is ramping up efforts to check up on organizations and crack down. The Obama administration has allotted $25 million for the sole purpose of investigating those misclassified as “independent contractors,” hoping to reclaim lost tax revenue and pad the IRS’s coffers. Be smart. Remember that stiff penalties and lawyer fees can decimate your organization. Are your workers properly classified?
Stay legal and remember these 3 key points:
• Child labor, non-resident labor, and equal rights legislation are the three areas where small organizations most often fail to comply.
• Both state and federal labor information is free and available online.
• Outsourcing with an HR professional firm can save your organization a lot of time and money.
Most organizations with fewer than 100 people benefit from outsourcing labor law compliance and other human resource tasks to HR professionals. The alternative is risky: employees are often uninformed about and under-trained in labor law compliance. Look out! Federal fines could be in store for you. In addition, HR often falls outside an employee’s main job focus, so getting it wrong or spending valuable time away from primary tasks can cripple productivity in a small organization. Get the right person trained or on your team to comply with labor laws.
Regrettably, staying legal has never been more difficult or important.
Make sure to get the help you need right away.
Mark Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 25 years of HR experience. Learn more about Mark’s journey in HR by watching this short video. In addition you can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
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:
- Inadequate communication
- 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.
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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.
Mark Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 20 years of HR experience. Follow Mark and In HIS Name HR on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
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, not just a ‘worker” perspective. Give your people the opportunity to do greatness in their lives and they will do great things for you. Developing your people skills can impact the communities in which they live and in which you do business. Many companies are putting programs in place that help match employees’ interests to volunteer opportunities in the community. Some companies are shutting down for a week and building homes with Habitat for Humanity, for example.
Develop your people not only to be their best at work but their best at home and their communities.
I have often wanted to manage a process where a company would inspire their people by running a contest in which each employee could present why their volunteer organization is the most impactful. The winner would receive a considerable prize to help fund the employee’s efforts. If you are promoting good works by your employees not only in the workplace, but in the world we live in, you are going great things for God, and you are building a “Kingdom Minded” Organization.
Help our community of readers
Do you help your employees help others? How do you find your employees’ strengths and match them to community involvement? We would love to know what it is you have going on.
Transportation Supervisor – 2nd Shift
New Holland Transport Inc.
In an economy that is yielding very little career opportunities, we are excited to be retained by this wonderful growing organization that provides trucking transportation services to the Pennsylvania market.
The 2nd Shift Supervisor is responsible for supervising Pick-up & Delivery Drivers, loading and reloading freight and ensuring that quality service is provided to each customer. The main focus of the Transportation Supervisor is maintaining the highest possible percentage of on-time deliveries.
Some Essential Duties
- At the beginning of the shift, review the evening schedule with the Dispatcher.
- Meet with General Manager Transportation for the list of maintenance and other jobs for the evening.
- Relate closely with all 2nd shift employees to ensure efficient use of time.
- Ensure that all trucks be unloaded on time according to priority.
- Ensure that all trucks are loaded by dispatch time.
- Develop relationship with STBI Dock Manager to ensure efficiency at STBI.
- Ability to delegate work effectively to others.
- Provides detailed evaluations to subordinates outlining strengths, opportunities for growth and normal goals.
- Enforce and apply all stated company policies.
- Interfaces with others in the organization to ensure customer deadlines are met.
- Directs workers in adjusting processes and equipment to meet shipping deadlines.
Some Positional Requirements
- High school diploma or GED or equivalent experience.
- 2 years related experience and 4 years dispatch experience preferred.
- Class A CDL.
- Ability to read, analyze, and interpret technical procedures, financial reports or governmental regulations.
- Ability to write reports, business correspondences, and standard operating procedures.
- Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, customers, and the general public.
Due to the overwhelming response we anticipate we ask that you are patient during the selection and interview process. All qualified applicants will be notified.
Cover letters should include why you should be considered for the position and what would make you the best candidate.
Serious and confidential inquiries: HR@InHISNameHR.com
To receive updates on other positions we are recruiting for as well as our weekly blog updates, subscribe here: Click
1 Timothy 6–10
But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
In this passage we learn that, if we have food and clothing, we will be content. But many of us are not content. Christian Business Leaders must recognize this and take heed: we are to be the light to our employees, to be the beacon and the example.
Church should not be the only place you grow the kingdom for God.
How many times do we fail ourselves and our people when we don’t take the well being of all of our employees into consideration when making decisions? How often do we think only of growing the kingdom for God at our church, but not at our workplace? Where is our heart when it comes to making the hard decision in benefits design, and, rather than encouraging and developing healthy behaviors, we instead punish and increase premiums without appropriate consideration?
If you first love your brothers and sisters within your companies, if you truly care for them by engaging them in the decision making and future building of your company, if you partner with them for the good of themselves and their families, you are building a “Kingdom Minded” company.
Help our community of readers
How have you engaged your employees in the decision making and future building of your company? What advice would you give to those who have never done so? Thank you for your thoughts. Your contribution helps others.