Posts Tagged ‘employee relations’

How Do You Treat Former Employees?: Alumni or Deserters

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

employee-departuresHow do you treat your former employees?  Do you treat them as well as your current employees or do you treat them as deserters?  An increasing number of organizations today are treating former employees as valued alumni!

Why?  There are several very sound and  strategic reasons for doing so:

  • Top employee talent: The “war for talent” is real and great hires are hard to come by; competition is fierce!  Your former top employee(s) may find out that “the grass is not always greener on the other side.”   If so, would they likely return to your business or continue to look elsewhere?
  • Social media and references: People talk about and seek out information when considering your business for employment.  With websites such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn it is very easy for your former employees to post their opinions and write reviews about their experience while employed at your business. In addition, many people post information pertaining to their former employer on their personal Facebook and Twitter accounts.  What do your former employees write about your business?  Do you even know?  Does someone in your business monitor these sites and respond accordingly?
  • New business opportunities: Some professional services firms such as Ernst & Young consider their former employees as a specific network or talent pool.  This pool is tapped into as a source of new business opportunities as well as job candidate referrals.  The value of these “alumni” is increasing further as former employees are not only changing jobs but they are increasingly crossing over industry lines, which further expands both individual and company networks.
  • Competitive advantage: More and more employers are recognizing that these networks of former employees are providing a competitive advantage.  Some employers have established specific networks for alumni using websites like LinkedIn while other employers have developed a more customized approach incorporating this feature into their company website.  Some companies write targeted e-mails or newsletters to their alumni while others conduct on-line webinars to help engage and keep former employees up to date.

Consider the strategic benefits of treating your former employees as alumni rather than deserters!  The investment to do so is minimal and the return can be significant!

What steps would you have to take to transition your organization from one being perceived as just a mediocre place to have worked at to one of being viewed as a treasured alma mater? CAI helps 1,100+ North Carolina member companies with workplace planning and transition plans, contact us at 919-878-9222 if we can help your company.

Rick_Washburn circle

Rick Washburn leads the Advice & Resolution team at CAI. In his role, he advises executives and HR professionals on strategic and organizational issues, tackling subjects ranging from employee engagement to talent management. With his 25 years experience in HR management, Rick is uniquely poised to advice and lead businesses to successful HR strategies.

 

When an Employee Has a Serious Complaint

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

The following post is by Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO and President. The article originally appeared in Bruce’s News and Observer  column, The View from HR.

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

It happens in every workplace.  The same serious and unlawful misbehavior we see in our communities sometimes find its way to the job.  People are the greatest asset of an employer but can be the “crabgrass in the lawn of business,” as my friend says.

What should happen when harassment, discrimination, abusive treatment and other serious misbehaviors rear their ugly heads?

Managers, please view a complaint as an opportunity to make a situation better AND the long-term relationship with the victim stronger.  Psychologists in workplace studies say that an emotional crisis is a key point where your response can make the employee’s attitude much better OR much worse.  Some even say that the best predictor of whether a problem will end in a lawsuit is how fairly you process the problem, not the problem itself.

Good managers do several things.  They embrace the complaint, rather than avoid it, and focus on finding the right solution.  Neither of you caused the problem, so let the chips fall where they may and avoid prejudgment.  You will create a much better investigation and solution if you remain neutral on the outcome.  If you cannot be objective, ask for help.

Follow through with good listening, appropriate pushback to the victim for the whole story, and appropriate speed and discretion.  Take any quick steps needed to prevent repeat behavior while you work.  Ideally, keep the victim informed of your progress.  Get help from HR or a mentor.  Follow your company’s complaint process, at a minimum.  Precedent can be important to consider, but avoid a foolish consistency as the saying goes.

Employees making complaints have an equally important role.  Follow the complaint policy if there is one, but skip to another manager you trust if needed.  Your manager wants to hear how you feel, but must have facts to investigate.  Focus on the facts.  Who can help support your story?  Bring the problem to a trusted manager sooner rather than later.

Be honest about any part you may have played in the problem or steps you have already taken, good and bad.  Have some discretion and give this time to work.  What is your manager going to hear when he or she investigates?  For example, be prepared to hear some things about your performance you may not like (but need to hear) if work quality is an issue.

An important question that employees and managers often fail to ask is:  “What is the ideal outcome here?”  I am often surprised at how reasonable employees can be even in serious situations.  They know employers cannot guarantee perfect behavior by all.  But they have the right to expect help when they seek it.

Solutions to early-stage problems handled properly by all can be simple and effective, preserving relationships and protecting careers.  Problems that are buried like a bone in the backyard will only get worse with age.

For additional guidance for handling serious complaints from employees, please give our Advice and Resolution Team a call at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.