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Monday, October 31, 2011

Managing Employees: 5 Scary Small-Business Mistakes

I'm excited to announce that I've signed on with It's a site devoted to small business, so if you are a small business owner or work for a small business, this an excellent site for you.

My first column is up today, and of course, it has a Halloween theme. (Because, as you might have noticed, I love Halloween.)

Tonight when all the trick-or-treaters are out, trying to scare you into coughing up some candy (good candy, please, none of those Bit o' Honey or Necco Wafers), I'll know what really scares small business owners: employees.

Yes, your employees can make or break your business, but battling zombies can be easier than managing people.

To read more click here: Managing Employees: 5 Scary Small-Business Mistakes

10 Signs Your HR Department Has Been Taken Over By Zombies

I got some awesome suggestions over the weekend, and I've used some of these and some of my own in this BNET article: 10 Signs Your HR Department Has Been Taken Over By Zombies

Add yours in the comments here, in the comments at BNET or on Twitter using the hashtag #HRZombies.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

HR Zombies

Since Halloween is almost upon us, I have a question? Just how would you know if your HR department had been taken over by zombies?

My thought: When you get your open enrollment form, there are only questions about how fresh your brain is.

Add your answers to the comments, or tweet it with the hashtag #HRZombies.

I'm looking forward to some awesome answers.

Friday, October 28, 2011

I Have Applied to Every Job and Still Can't Get Hired

Dear Evil HR Lady,

Thanks for your columns; they greatly demystify the world of HR.

I left a job eight months ago because I was being bullied. Ever since, I have been looking for work. I have applied everywhere, including fast food restaurants. I have experience in a lot of areas, with engineering being the most current area that I am studying. I have more than ten years experience in clerical work and even three years in science laboratory work. I complete the MS in Engineering this upcoming spring.

Nevertheless, my problem is not solved; I don’t have a job. I have obtained several interviews that often appeared to have worked well only to receive notice that the position has been cancelled or a candidate with “more experience” has been selected. However, in many of these cases, I personally knew the applicant that was selected and usually, it is someone who has just graduate high school or college with no experience and no internships in the field. In terms of fast food positions, students with no high school diploma have been chosen over me and I have some experience in the fast food industry and I have taken some college-level nutrition courses as well.

I’m not complaining because I understand that the economy is rough; I am only trying to figure out the reason that I appear to be so unmarketable to employers. In addition, because I often hear that it is not “what you know, but who you know.” I have tried networking. However, I have been unsuccessful in this area as well. Many of the people that I have worked with in the past have seemingly genuinely offered me their help to find positions. Yet, when I write to these people or call them, they seem rude and disillusioned; thus, they offer no help. Many of these are people that I talked to quite often while I was employed, but now it appears that they do not want to be involved with me at all. I don’t think that I am “rubbing them the wrong way” because I am very soft-spoken and polite and I have been told this by many people for most of my life. Furthermore, this is the only time in my life in which I have been treated in this manner by so many people.

I have tried everything that I can possible concoct to obtain employment. I have applied to every position that I can possibly imagine. I have even applied to clean the restrooms at local businesses and I was rejected.

To read the answer click here: I Have Applied to Every Job and Still Can't Get Hired

5 Steps to Taking Charge of Your Career

Is your career stagnating? Are others moving ahead of you? Here are 5 things you can do to put yourself back on the ladder to success.

To read more, click here: 5 Steps to Taking Charge of Your Career

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Study: Do Men Make Better Bosses?

A new study says that legal secretaries prefer to work for men. Is that something unique to the law, or is that a universal principle? Are men better bosses?

To read click here: New Study: Do Men Make Better Bosses?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Breastfeeding At Work

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I need advice. Last year I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. I went back to work Feb. 1st of this year as a part time employee. I am nursing and pump once daily at work. Prior to leaving on maternity leave I informed my employer that I would be returning in Feb as a part time employee and would need a place to pump. The place was provided and a time was agreed by both of us.

Lately, the hours that are busiest have changed and we have lost a few employees-are now understaffed. My employer wants me to change my hours to coincide with the busiest time of day. Unfortunately, I have no child care for those hours and she has given me 2 weeks to find someone to care for him. If I cannot work those hours then she wants me to resign.

On top of changing my hours she is just now deciding to take my health benefits away (announced that she was only doing me a courtesy to let me keep it up to this point) and she is not allowing me to pump anymore after my hours change since it would seriously disrupt the operations of the employer, which is a way of not allowing me to pump through California Labor Code 1032.

She has publicly informed me of the issues she has with me (in front of coworkers) and even stated that I was taking advantage of her nice actions. She has issues with me pumping and still needing time in the work day to eat ( Eating while working had never been an issue at our office-she prefers this so no one clocks out). Until I change my hours I have agreed to clock out for pumping sessions and not eat at all for the 5 hours I work Mon-Fri.

She has been asking me to fix other issues at work and I am feeling harassed. She has sent me e-mails, texts, & spoken to me in person about different issues. I feel like I am walking on egg shells everyday and am just overall uncomfortable with her around. Unfortunately, we are a small medical practice (with only 5 employees total) and she is the only doctor/owner, so I deal with her daily. She has a history of verbally attacking employees and constantly breathing down their backs (Ive seen it happen to others & have been a victim before). I don’t know what to do except try my best to work with her requests but I want to know my rights so I can stand up to her with concrete facts. Help please.

To read the answer click here: Breastfeeding At Work

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Employee vs Employer Bill of Rights

Who need a Bill of Rights more? Employees or employers?

To read an join the debate click here: Employee vs Employer Bill of Rights

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bosses: Let Your Employees Take Vacation

Should you go on vacation? Should you let your employees take vacation? Yes, and yes. Here's why.

To read further click here: Bosses: Let Your Employees Take Vacation

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sugar: The Key to Hiring Success

What do you look for when you hire? Someone who is agreeable, or someone who will push back and be a little bit jerky at times? Here's way to tell who is who.

To read more click here: Sugar: The Key to Hiring Success

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Secret Language of Salaries

Dear Evil HR Lady,

While I felt like I was extremely prepared to go up to bat for the salary negotiation (even if it could be just for an extra dollar or two per hour), I was taken off guard a little bit when the HR Business Partner immediately went into how my salary would be paid some percentile or another (I don't remember what percentile it was exactly-I want to say that it was in the 90th percentile). She didn't even miss a beat to get that in there.

At the time, I didn't even really know what that meant that their offering was in such and such percentile. The HR Business Partner didn't say it in so many words, but I remember she worded it in a way that made it sound like they wouldn't negotiate because I was getting paid in X percentile. I accepted their initial offer because they matched my salary from the company that I used to work for as a contractor, so I was happy with it, plus all the other per that came with the job.

So I guess my reason for writing you is to find out what your advice might be for a situation like that? Obviously, I could have just opened my mouth and asked, but at the same time I never really went up to bat for the salary negotiation before either, so I feel like I may have rolled over too soon. Maybe this could be a good learning opportunity for some of your other readers that may not know what it means to be paid in a certain "percentile". Do you have any general salary negotiation tips you think are good to share?

To read the answer, click here: The Secret Language of Salaries

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why Your Salary Is Unfair

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I have been chronically underpaid by my company and obviously the way I am going about remedying this has not worked. I am hoping you can provide some pointers.

For salary increase guidelines my company has a policy where the industry range for each given position level plotted on a bell curve is used as the basis.

The company professes to pay between the 25th and the 75th percentile range on the bell curve.

I have consistently been outside this range, to the left (past the low range) of this bell curve.

I got a 2% increase last year, made no difference to my relative position on the bell curve, got no increase the year before.

My performance reviews say I do a good job and am performing at or higher than expected level for my position.

Having asked for feedback on why my salary doesn’t reflect this, I am told by the manager–she is new to this position–but feedback from other managers has something to do with it. What exactly, I am not privy to, but I did have problems with my previous Team Lead, so did others. He got fired last year!

The department gets a lump sum and a roundtable manager discussion ensues on how that pot is divided.javascript:void(0)

I feel I am being treated very unfairly.

To read the answer click here: Why Your Salary Is Unfair

Friday, October 07, 2011

My HR Person Is Gossiping About Me

You told something to your HR person in confidence and now everyone in the company knows. What can you do about it?

To read the answer, click here: My HR Person is Gossiping About Me.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Why Quitters Prosper

Never, never, never give up. Right? Wrong. Sometimes the best path to take is a different one. And that means quitting.

To read more click here: Why Quitters Prosper

Monday, October 03, 2011

Why You Should Stop Ignoring That Bully

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I work at a bank in a position that requires my reputation and work experience to be flawless. I love my work. However, I have a fairly young, inexperienced, undereducated, personally offensive coworker who comes to the company by way of her husband accepting a position in the US with the promise that his wife would also be employed for the duration of his tenure at a certain salary level. She is unqualified for the job she holds. She takes long lunches, disappears from her desk for hours during the day without letting anyone know where she is or what she is doing, and shirks work like the plague.

I could get over most of these issues knowing that she won’t be around until she retires and it is a matter of waiting out her husband’s employment term. However, where I find it difficult to work with her is that she has made it vocally clear to anyone in the vicinity of her voice that she thinks I am “stupid, unqualified for my position, not as smart as I think I am, don’t deserve my salary, unreliable and unable to do my job. Thinking I was taking the higher road I continued to include her in my project work, all the while she was telling the project teams that I was being removed from the projects because I didn’t know what I was doing and she was now taking over my role.

On a recent business trip, she informed teams at the other office that I was incompetent, etc. Not only was I embarrassed I was mortified that all my hard work might have just blown up in my face. I am still trying to recover by working harder and longer hours to get these teams on board again. It is not going well.

When we returned to our office, I requested a meeting with my immediate supervisor and explained what had been going on. He said he was aware of the statements this person made but said that my reputation proceeded me and I had nothing to worry about, but he said nothing to her.

I have caught her sabotaging presentations I worked weeks on. I have caught her telling my clients that she has been assigned my projects for reasons I previously stated; and I have overheard her talking about me to other employees who look embarrassed and uncomfortable when I make eye contact with them. The extent of her maliciousness go way beyond what I have recounted here, but when it comes to proving them she is clever in that she never puts anything in writing and I cannot pin any of the sabotage on her personally.

As my bonuses and raises are determined by my success on projects and she works to undermine these projects, her behavior has an impact on my financial success as well as my professional success.

Here is my question: is this something that I should take to HR rather than putting up with? I am at a loss since she seems to be a protected person and I can’t seem to find any footing with my supervisor. What can I do to change this environment? Ignoring it is not working any longer.

For the answer click here: Why You Should Stop Ignoring That Bully