Staying focused while working remotely

Are you having trouble focusing while working at home?  Executive Partner David Brown and Partner Christina Nickerson have some advice for you!

What Is Flexible Staffing

In today’s business setting, it is but common to see employees hired through staffing agencies while others are given contract-based jobs. These are just two of the forms of flexible staffing. This has become a common practice in industries and continues to be popular with employers and employees.

Although long-term employment still exists and many companies still benefit from this operational planning, the rising costs of hiring, health benefits and worker’s compensation insurance, demands from consumers and the need for financial flexibility, business owners and employees are now adopting employment strategies to fill in vacancies and catch up with the work load.

A flexible staffing arrangement comes in many forms and does not have definite meaning. In 2013, it has become a multi-billion dollar industry with profits of staffing industries reaching $122 billion. Moreover, temporary or contractual employees have surpassed the number of regular and long-term employees with temp or short-term employment at 248,000 while full-time jobs at 236,000. Let’s explore flexible staffing and discover its different scenarios and benefits.

Contractual Employees

These are employees hired by companies but are not directly under the management or are outsourced by business owners. These companies have different clients with a variety of employment demands. Normally, these employees are sent to work a one client at a time. And although work is performed at the site of the client, these employees are managed and supervised by the company and not the client.

Project-based Company Workers

Some business owners hire employees on a project basis, depending on the nature of their business. Employees often hired in this scenario can be writers, health workers, construction workers, manufacturing employees and the like. Some companies still offer benefits full-time employees enjoy like 13th month pays, vacation leaves, sick leaves, health insurance and other benefits but all these will end when projects are completed. Moreover, the employment contract includes a clause stipulating that these companies have the right to terminate employment for other reasons such as downsizing or re-structuring. Employment duration can last from months to years and contracts are renewed after a certain period of time.

Leased Employees

Some companies opt to lease some or all of its employees from staffing agencies or leasing companies on both temporary and permanent basis. Although these employees work for client companies, they are paid by the staffing agencies or leasing companies. A leasing company is also known as professional employer organization (PEO) and is the official employer. In this staffing arrangement, the business owner or management has control over the performance of employees and the administrative level while the leasing company is responsible for employment taxes and reporting wages.

Agency Temporaries

In this set-up, employees are provided by a staffing agency to its clients in order to fill in positions or vacancies for a definite period of time. A temporary employee is hired for short-term employment and usually lasts for less than a year. In tight labor markets, employers hire agency temporaries because they can reduce overhead expenses and avoid wage increases since the hiring agencies are the ones negotiating salaries with their temp workers.

Direct Hire Temporaries

These are workers hired and paid on a hourly basis to fill in vacancies and temporary hourly work requirement of organizations and companies such as educational institutions. Direct hiring means that the company looking to hire temporary employees will sign a contract with the candidate without using temporary staffing agencies. An employee hired as a direct hire temporary is considered as self-employed, thus there is no tax compensation withheld nor will there be benefits.

On-Call Workers

These types of employees are under the management and are employees of a corporation or company. Their employment is indefinite, that is, they can remain part of the company for years. However, they will only perform their jobs on an on-call basis and when their services are needed. These are instances when they have to fill in for absent employees or provide man power skills for increased workload. Some of these employees are hospital employees and educators.

Independent Contractors

These are also known as freelance workers who are legally self-employed and who work for different clients at a time. This set-up gives independent contractors flexibility in working hours and the freedom of a location independent type of job.

Benefits and Setbacks of Flexible Staffing

Experts say that more and more companies are relying on flexible staffing nowadays for several reasons. Firms have adopted staffing strategies not only to reduce workload but also expenses when it comes to overhead expenses and salaries. These strategies also open opportunities to business owners to divide their workers and give higher compensation to selected groups. Some companies, on the other hand, hire temporary workers with specialized knowledge and skills and others use this strategy to screen potential candidates for permanent positions. On the part of the employees, benefits include flexibility in work schedule and at times, location-independent jobs.

When it comes to the disadvantages flexible staffing, there are several items in the list. Workers who are employed on a temporary basis such as direct hire temporaries and temp workers often do not get paid as much as full-time and long-term employees do. As for benefits given to regular employees, these are not often enjoyed by workers in flexible staffing arrangements. These employees are unlikely to be given health insurance and retirement benefits or pension.

When it comes to job security, most workers employed temporarily do not have the assurance that they will still be employed the next day. Even regular part-time employees and on-call workers have the tendency to look for other employers and are prone to being unemployed, both of which lessen job security. On the part of employers, a setback of flexible staffing is the expense incurred in training a newly hired temporary worker. Despite the skills already acquired by a temporary employee, he or she still needs to be familiar with the kind of job he or she will be assigned to.

Flexible staffing can work for and against companies and individuals. To make this strategy work, building a business relationship with the staffing agency and knowing the benefits and setbacks of using this hiring method are important.

Benefits Of Work Life Balance

Technology has made it possible for people to go about their business, literally and figuratively, anywhere. Sounds great? In hindsight, it made it more difficult for individuals to juggle their time between their works and personal lives. In their desire to keep their jobs and give their families better lives, most Americans, in executive and departmental levels, find it hard to achieve work life balance.

What Is Work Life Balance?

This is a concept that describes how an individual divides his or her time between work and the other commitments and activities in his or her everyday life. It is keeping the balance between work and a lifestyle, a person’s ambitions and career as opposed to personal life, family, leisure and spirituality. Oftentimes, we envy successful people and wonder how they go about being CEOs and parents to their children. For these achievers, this is a tough call. First, they did not get all these overnight. Second, they have to grapple to fit into their roles. But more or less, they have discovered the secret to work life balance. The secret is that there is none. And although different people have a variety of definitions for work life balance, achieving this offer numerous benefits.

Employee Retention

There are numerous ways to achieve work life balance and employers can help employees to do this and reap from its fruits as well. By offering flexible working hours, employees who have school children at home can attend to these kids in the morning and report for work later in the day. Consequently, employees will be happy with their jobs and at the same time, employers can have a competitive edge over other companies. Hiring the right employees is already hard enough. Keeping high-caliber members of the team is harder. But, by applying work life balance in the office, businesses can have a wider recruitment pool and have loyal employees. Retaining efficient employees is not only good for the business but it also ensures savings from having to train new candidates.

Less Stress

As the old saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. This simply means that if a person spends long hours at work and leaves no time for rest and leisure, boredom will soon creep in. Imagine having to work 12 hours or more on a daily basis and even on weekends. Sooner or later, the person will be burnt out from stress and this can take a toll on one’s health. However, if a person will take a break from work once in a while to rest and relax, stress will be more reduced. Work life balance allows a person to earn and at the same time enjoy the things he has worked for.

Improved Productivity

If a person is able to balance work and personal life, this means that he or she only spends ample time doing his job and takes time to sleep and enjoy time with friends and family. With enough sleep each night, the employee will be rejuvenated the following day and be able to work better and more productive at work.

Better Business

The benefits of work life balance are not only enjoyed by employees but by companies as well. When a company employs highly qualified employees, retains them and taps their creativity by allowing them some time off and making adjustments in work schedules, there will be fruitful results. These results will propel the business to success and profit.

Healthier Employees

Studies show that long hours of work, particularly stressful ones, can adversely affect the health of employees. Lack of sleep, stress, smoking and exhaustion can lead to medical conditions such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. Moreover, these factors also affect performance. Lack of sleep can also result to inability to focus and safety hazards.

Reduced Costs

Companies that encourage work life balance in the workplace offer employees the option to work from home one or two days a week. This can result to savings for the company, from utilities to telecommuting.

Company Reputation

Work life balance policies created by companies not only attract talented and excellent candidates to join their teams. These companies are also able to impress their clients with how they treat their employees. This also gives them leverage over their competitors.

Positive Working Environment

Experts say that engaged and satisfied employees result to effective work force which can create a working environment that is positive and happy. Encouraging work life balance at the office can make employees happy and productive, making working fun and lighter.

Better Customer Service

Telecommuting saves time and lets employees handle customer inquiries better and more efficiently for longer hours as opposed to not having flexible time at work. By making employees motivated and giving them more time to attend to their personal needs more, they will be happy to take their performance up a notch and offer excellent customer service.

Ways Businesses Can Help Employees Achieve Work Life Balance

1. Offer flexible time at work.
This option lets your employees choose the time they want to start working, say, 7am and leave earlier so they can attend to personal commitments.

2. Include alternative workday schedule.
If the nature of your business permits it, you can ask your employees to work for 10 hours a day straight for three days and take two days off or work every other day with 10-hour shifts.

3. Offer on-site child care options.
Some employees have kids at home that they take to day cares or leave with their nannies just so they can report for work. Perhaps, you can have an area at the office converted into a play area for kids so employees who are parents will not be worried about having to leave their kids in the care of others.

Work life balance is important for both employees and businesses because of its numerous advantages. And although achieving this is hard and doing it all at once is just impossible, knowing what, where and who does one can afford to sacrifice is important.

Benefits Of Employee Recognition

When was the last time you gave recognition to an employee or a team for a job well done? A pat on the back, or shake of the hand would make an employee feel good and satisfied with their job. Oftentimes, it is not enough, however. You need to do more to get the full benefits of employee recognition.

What Is Employee Recognition?

It is an organized plan to recognize and award employees that went beyond and above expectations. But it has to be a timely acknowledgment, and one that supports the goals and values of an organization. It doesn’t matter if acknowledgment is delivered in an informal or formal manner, as long as employee recognition leads to desired results.

That is, the right employee is recognized, and recognition will encourage others to become better, and maintain a good working relationship with colleagues. Recognition that breeds dissension must be avoided.

Why Is Employee Recognition Important?

Every human being wants to be appreciated. It is a fundamental need that, when met, encourages proper appreciation of employee recognition.

For a workplace to be outstanding, praise and recognition are essential. Every employee wants to be valued and respected for their contribution, and being recognized for their work will provide a sense of achievement.

What Are The Two Aspects Of Employee Recognition?

A good leader must maintain a receptive frame of mind, so that they can actually see, realize and identify an opportunity to praise an employee. Otherwise, they can easily pass over such opportunities to recognize someone’s effort, and ensure an increase in productivity and job satisfaction.

Now that you have identified who deserves employee recognition, it’s time to do something about it. The physical act of praising and acknowledging people for their good work will keep employees engaged.

What Constitutes Strategic Employee Recognition?

Acknowledging and praising someone’s valiant effort to do a better job must be beneficial to both the organization and employees. Also, it must be done in such a way that envy and contention among employees are avoided.

For this reason, you must develop an employee recognition plan that will result in the following:

  • Retention of top talent.
  • Inspire employee engagement.
  • Drives business results that are measurable.
  • Meet the values of your organization.
  • Better people management.
  • Well-managed and unified workplace culture.

What Are The Benefits Of Employee Recognition?

1. Encourage Extra Effort
A happy and engaged employee would stick around to take a client call even when it’s past their work schedule. Actions such as these should be recognized to encourage extra effort among your staff.

This is why creation of a recognition program that highlights everyday undertakings that might have gone unnoticed would prove beneficial to the entire organization. The last thing you want is for these little efforts to be resented. Recognizing and rewarding employees that go the extra mile would have a dramatic impact to employee productivity and engagement, and on the overall improvement of a company.

2. Increased Productivity From Every Individual
When a particular behavior is recognized, the desired behavior would be done repeatedly, resulting in increased productivity. This idea is based on a classic behavioral psychology. Just make sure that the reinforced behavior supports the mission of an organization and serves as a key performance indicator.

The more work an employee accomplishes, the greater the job satisfaction and enjoyment. This means they would spend more time working instead of complaining.

3. Creates a Better Impression
Happy employees are likely to share to friends, family and other employees in different organizations how they feel about working for your company. This creates an impression that your organization is a better workplace. And even when employees don’t say it outright, their engaged emotions and attitude would be a reflection of your company. This not only aids in recruitment, but also fosters better business relationships externally.

4. Provides Useful Data For Staffing Decisions And Personnel Development
Do you need an internal position filled? You can use an employee’s record of recognition as basis to fill available positions. So it’s not only important to develop an employee recognition program, but also to keep track of it.

Although employee praise should not be the only basis for a promotion, it will help highlight abilities and contributions that might have been overlooked during the selection process.

5. Builds Employee Cohesiveness And Teamwork
The best recognition program is one that allows individual employees to recognize efforts of their colleagues at any level. The task to recognize efforts that deserve acknowledgment should not fall on the hands of the managers or leaders alone. When colleagues themselves recognize others’ efforts, teamwork is strengthened and productivity is increased.

What is the impact of this kind of recognition to an employee? It encourages them to do their best even more, because the impact of acknowledgment is manifold.

6. Aids in Recruitment
Looking for top talents to work for you? Sell to potential employees an effective and strategic recognition programs, and they would not hesitate to buy it. Who doesn’t want to feel appreciated, anyway? This also shows that you value your employees, which is something potential candidates look for in a company. After all, failure to recognize work efforts results in unhappy and disengaged personnel. So highlighting your organization’s recognition platforms could be a key differentiator, and would give talents reason to pick your company over others.

What Would It Cost To Develop An Employee Recognition Plan?

Praising and acknowledging employees doesn’t cost much, yet the returns are high. But you shouldn’t make the mistake of overspending. Take into account:

  • The amount of time spent developing and implementing recognition program.
  • The amount of time spent to give recognition and praise.
  • The cost of the items given as tokens.
  • The time and cost of teaching employees to identify and give praise.
  • The cost of introducing a new process to personnel.

The success of any organization greatly relies on the happiness level of employees. It’s not enough to give incentives, but well-deserved praise and acknowledgment must be given as well. With the right recognition program, employees will be motivated to solve problems, develop newer strategies or provide excellent customer service.

What Makes Up a Good Work Environment

Whether you own a small business or a large corporation, you’ll want to create a good environment at work. This way, you can improve employee retention and convince your staff to stick with you instead of looking for other work opportunities. You’ll also attract talented and skilful job applicants and make them want to work for you. Of course, you’ll create an atmosphere that fosters productivity and efficiency and encourages your people to do their best every day.

But the question now is this: how do you create the ideal work environment? Well, it sounds difficult at first glance, but it’s actually not as impossible as it seems since there are several simple but effective steps that you can take. One of these is to take note of the following factors and make sure to integrate them into your overall business processes.

Physical Factors

Before doing anything else, you should first take a look at you workplace and see if it’s ideal for your business and the type of work that you do. If it isn’t, start taking steps to improve it and ensure it is conducive not just to productivity and efficiency but also to health and safety. Here are some of the factors that you should consider:

Clean And Comfortable Premises
Dust and dirt won’t only make your office look unprofessional and unattractive but will also expose your staff to illnesses. So, as soon as possible, hire a reliable cleaning company who’ll come to your workplace daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly to give the area a thorough clean. Make sure to check the heaters and air-conditioners and see if they’re working properly. Maintaining a comfortable temperature during work hours is a great way to ensure your staff aren’t too hot or too cold to work.

Ergonomically Designed Furnishings
Investing in ergonomic desks and chairs is a great way to help your employees stay comfortable. These furnishings are specially designed to encourage proper posture which, in turn, helps keep users away from backaches, neck pains, and other kinds of musculoskeletal problems. As a result, your staff can sit at their desks and work for long hours without feeling too uncomfortable.

Attractive Interior Design
You may not realize it, but the way you decorate your office can actually have a huge effect on your work environment. Paint colors, for example, can set the mood of a room, so make sure to choose the right hues for your workspace. Blue and green are great in areas where mental focus is important, while yellow is an excellent choice for rooms where creativity is key.

Non-Physical Factors

Aside from the physical environment, you should also pay attention to intangible factors that greatly contributes to an excellent work environment. Some of these include:

Good Communication With The Team
It’s hard for people to work in a place where they find it difficult to voice out what they feel. Because of this, you have to make sure that your workplace atmosphere promotes easy and positive communication with each other. Set aside some time for weekly meetings with your staff and encourage them to stay what’s on their mind, whether it’s a new idea for your business or a suggestion on how to improve your current processes. Of course, remember that communication is a two-way street, so make sure to give feedback to your employees on how well they’re performing and inform them about how the company is doing.

Regular Trainings
Conducting seminars, workshops, and lectures is a great way to develop an atmosphere of growth and ensure your employees learn something new each week or month. Through their trainings, your staff will get to enhance their knowledge and skills and apply what they learn to their job. These, in turn, help them gain more self-confidence and make them happier and more satisfied with their work. Trainings can also help your employees become familiar with new methods and technologies and ensure they can keep up with the latest developments in your niche.

Recognition For Hard Work
Many business owners think that giving their employees a decent salary and some benefits is enough. Don’t make the same mistake; remember that wages, insurance, and pension schemes compensate your staff for their efforts but don’t really recognize the value of their hard work.

If you truly want to express your gratitude for your employees’ efforts, you need to go out of your way to do so. But don’t worry, though; giving recognition to deserving staff members isn’t difficult, and it doesn’t even have to be expensive since there are lots of effective but budget-friendly techniques you can use. These include:

  • Giving them a handwritten note that expresses how much you appreciate their hard work.
  • Recognizing them and their achievements during your weekly or monthly company meetings.
  • Rewarding who reach or exceed your monthly quota with a paid day-off or at least a flexible schedule for a week.
  • Giving inexpensive items as rewards, such as a voucher for a coffee shop or a gift certificate for a nearby restaurant.

Commitment To Work-Life Balance
It can be tempting to push your employees to the limit and make your business their entire world, but don’t give in to the temptation. Remember: overworked and over-fatigued employees are just as useless as lazy and unskilled ones. So, if you want your staff to be always at their best, encourage them to maintain a good work-life balance and give them enough time to take breaks. Minimize overtimes as much as possible so your employees can have enough time to relax, talk with their partners, and play with their kids. Avoid contacting them during weekends so they can enjoy their free time. Of course, encourage everyone to finish projects on time and complete their tasks before the end of the shift so they won’t have anything to worry about when they go home.

Final Thoughts

Creating a good work environment is important in any business. Fortunately, by taking the steps above, you can create an excellent environment for yourself and your employees.

How to Reduce Employee Turnover

Some turnover is necessary to help an organization move forward; however, excessive employee turnover can hurt a company’s bottom line, and in many different ways. First, it decreases the overall performance and efficiency of a company in such a way that when and experienced employee left, the workforce is reduced and less experienced worker is hired to fill his placed. Second, it creates an expense. There are costs associated with the process of losing an experienced employee as well as in hiring and training an unskilled worker. Third, it can negatively affect employee morale. Involuntary terminations, for instance, can send mixed messages to your workforce. In most cases, it can foster a sense of job insecurity among your employees, causing employee morale to suffer.

Employee turnover is the last thing every organization would want to deal with but, unfortunately, it cannot be avoided. The challenge now is preventing frequent employee resignation and termination. How do you exactly do that? How do you keep your good employees happy? Here are six ways to keep a positive culture in your organization, create a sense of job security, and turn your workplace into something people would want to work in.

1. Be Selective In Hiring Employees.

The last thing you want is waste money on employees who will never stick it out until the end. This is why before you even think of strategies on how to retain employees, make sure that you have the right employees to begin with. This means choosing candidates who not only possess the right qualifications and skills but also fit well with your company’s managers, co-workers and culture. If for instance your company has a flat organizational structure with very few or none managerial level, hiring competitive employees who have “promotion” as one of their work motivation might not work out well in the long run. These employees might not find job satisfaction in their job and choose to leave the company right away when offered better opportunities elsewhere.

2. Set The Right Compensation And Benefits.

Top-notch employees who are aware of their own value are going to demand or want better pay. Although they may be happy with whatever rate of compensation you gave them at the start, they will eventually feel that it is not enough as they gain more experience and expertise in their job. So, if you want to keep them, you have to pay them well. Salaries are usually based on the following according to the Entrepreneur: skill and experience, supply and demand, geographical location, and seniority.

Of course, providing high salary is not enough to retain employees and, even with a better paying job, they will seek employment elsewhere. Most often, they are looking for competitive benefits and perks, such as medical insurance, retirement plan, and transportation allowance.

3. Offer Opportunities For Training And Personal Development.

Imagine yourself doing the same thing for a year or more without adding something new to what you already knew. Surveys show that investing in training and personal development can promote greater job satisfaction among employees, helping you attract and retain the good ones. In addition, it can benefit your company in many ways. Training equips your employees to handle customer inquiries, make a sale, and so on. It also helps them become flexible and efficient, enabling them to handle more than one aspect of the business. The personal development they experience through the trainings you provide will boost their morale and job satisfaction.

4. Create a Positive Work Environment And Culture.

Imagine yourself walking into a room that makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Now, imagine having to go through with that every workday for eight or more hours in a day. Everyone wants to feel safe and comfortable in the workplace. So, from the moment your employees walked into your door to the time the logged out of work, they must feel secure. This entails designing a workplace with more focus on comfort rather aesthetics. This also means building a working environment where there is less gossip, negative competition among employees, and the like. This also suggests finding a way to clearly communicate your company’s vision to employees and putting people first.

5. Open Your Ears To Them.

The tendency for some bosses is that they monopolize the conversations; they believe that everything is either their way or the highway. What they failed to realize is that there are so many things to gain by listening to their employees. When you listen to your employees, you are making them feel like they are a part of the whole business process, that their opinions and ideas are important. In addition, you can learn a lot about your employees too. For instance, listening will enable you to know that the reason why your sales staff didn’t reach his quota was because he’s mourning the loss of a loved one. Listening will also make you aware of any personal issues between your staff, enabling you to find a way to reconcile them. So, make it a habit to ask and listen to what’s going on in your employees’ life – both personal and professional.

Doing so will not only make you aware of everything that is going on inside your business but also allow you to take appropriate actions when there is a need to do so. Forbes advised to conduct stay interviews so that you can find out exactly the reason why your employees stayed in your company and what it would take for them to leave.

6. Conduct Quarterly Reviews.

To retain employees, you must let them know and feel that they and their performance are important to you. You can achieve this by conducting quarterly reviews or assessment. This one-on-one meeting should enable you to set goals, define how you want your employees to meet them, and give employees an idea on how they are performing with regard to these goals. Of course, during discussion, you should make it a point to ask employees about what they need in order to accomplish those goals.


Employee turnover is inevitable; however, they are many things business owners, managers, and CEOs can do to prevent excessive turnover and keep top-notch employees.

How to Write Employee Evaluations

As manager, you need to keep giving your people constructive feedback to ensure that your company operates at its peak. Employee evaluations, whether semiannual or annual, provide you with the opportunity to correct your staff members for what they are doing wrong, praise them for what they have done well and discuss with them your vision for the future and growth of the company. According to experts, the ideal outcome of this is for you and your employees to have reflective and meaningful conversations together. Plus, it is an opportunity for you to document your accomplishments for the year, celebrate progress and understand expectations.

While regular informal feedback and face-to-face conversations are included in the evaluation process, a written review is very important in helping your employees with understanding where they stand. They can refer back to this document to know if they are staying on track from the latest to the next evaluation period. This is why you should make sure the evaluations you hand to your staff members are well-written, thorough and easy to understand. Here are some great tips on writing effective employee evaluations from insights provided by professionals, including executives, managers, and human resource administrators.

1. Understand Why You Are Evaluating Your Staff.

Though this might be the most important point in the employee evaluation process, a number of management resources would completely miss this. It might seem obvious that you are evaluating your employees’ performance so you can identify their areas of weakness and help them improve for the next evaluation. However, remember that a more important reason why you are doing it is for you to decide on an increase of your employees’ compensation.

Yes, you might have placed a good performance management process at your company, but the underlying reason why you are writing employee evaluations is to manage your company’s compensation, and not the performance, process. Now that you already have a clear understanding why you are writing a review, you can now work on changing the perception of your employee evaluation process.

2. Make It Comprehensive.

A good written employee performance evaluation should cover all the bases of an individual’s work, and should not just be all positive or all negative. Put in mind that it should be a healthy balance of both, which is necessary in helping members of your staff evolve with their roles. According to 5W Public Relations COO, Don McIver, feedback in a formal evaluation should be specific and relevant, with examples for both good and bad points. He added that you should acknowledge employee strengths and identify corrective actions needed in weak performance areas.

Aside from highlighting strengths and weaknesses, employee evaluations should establish performance goals for the upcoming year and should cover the roles of employees as part of a collaborative team. It is also important to provide workers with formal objectives of the review beforehand. Explain its purpose and its frequency, so you can manage their expectations and help them with preparing for the meeting.

3. Recapitulate Regular, Informal Feedback.

Formal evaluation periods should not be the only times when you give feedback to your employees about their performance. However, it is not necessary to call for a meeting for every issue that emerges, but it should also not be a surprise for workers to read reviews from you. As experts recommend, you should give employee feedback throughout the year, as good and bad performance issues arise. When writing employee evaluations, it should be a recap of things that were addressed the present year. Moreover, make sure that, when a problem with an employee’s actions or habits arises, address it as soon as possible to avoid bringing such a tension into his next evaluation. And if an employee’s positive or negative behavior does not warrant feedback for the time being, just make a note of it to be used as a reference point during evaluations.

4. Give Honest But Constructive Criticism.

It can be quite difficult to tell a staff member what he needs to do to improve, especially if it is done constructively. However, this is very important for a successful evaluation process. Well, you can do it by being direct and clear as much as possible when discussing mistakes and shortcomings, as well as taking the time to provide solutions to the problems. Explain fully the issues and then expand on ways to improve. If you see a problem with regards to a certain employee’s work, then he should have a solution to fix it. Also, let him know where such an improvement would take him, such as a reward or a promotion.

If there is any serious performance issue, the best way to deal with it is asking the employee open-ended questions. This would start an honest conversation that allows both of you to see your individual perspectives and realize the reasons for the actions. Remember that these questions can create positive discourse when opposing sides are seeing things differently.

5. Encourage Discussion About The Evaluation.

It can be very frustrating for you as manager when an employee has nothing to say in response to his performance evaluation. Of course, you would not want him to argue on every point, but silence is also a bad thing for the process. So, encourage him to respond on the issues you bring up. The written evaluation should be a brief and direct overview of the points to be discussed. And if the conversation starts to get heated, put it on hold to avoid saying something you might regret. You can then continue your discussion later after you and your employee have cooled down.

6. Wrap It Up With a Positive Note.

When you end a performance evaluation, always make sure it is on a positive note. You can do this with words of encouragement and letting your employees know you really appreciate what they are doing for the company. This will give an added boost to an already good evaluation and lift your people’s spirits. Take note that positive reinforcement and phraseology can go a long way in giving your workers the drive and confidence to perform their tasks even better. Furthermore, remember to always focus on excelling with the employee’s strengths and continuously improving his weaknesses.

How to Demote an Employee

There are instances when being demoted is not a big deal and doesn’t even have much impact to both the employee and employer. The demoted worker accepts the mandate gracefully and continues to work in a lower job position. All’s well, ends well, right? Unfortunately, such a situation is often a rarity in actual corporate settings. A manager who gets demoted often feels humiliated, and will perceive his demotion as an insult or a way of telling him that he failed in his job. What are the odds that the manager would take legal action? If this happens, a company would have bigger problems to face. This is why demotion should be treated the same way as a dismissal. It must be done with care and with good understanding of the rights of an employee under the circumstances.

No employer would want to demote an employee, as this can take a bad turn. He could end up with a disgruntled worker who badmouths the company or sabotages the business. Dismissal is probably a better option, in this case. This doesn’t mean, however, that you just leave things the way they are and suffer through it. There is a way to demote an employee without setting off an explosion.

1. Give It a Last Shake

Before you pull the trigger, you should make an effort to give employees an opportunity to turn things around. There could be plenty of reasons why their performance is lackluster or that they are less engaged. A manager, for instance, may have been promoted beyond their ability level, which is why he is acting like a fish out of water. It is also possible that the role he was thrust into is a complete mismatch with his personality or skills. In this case, create a retention program.

2. Identify The Reasons Surrounding a Possible Demotion

Say your efforts to retain an employee failed, but dismissal is not an option. The first step to demoting a worker is to know the whys. There are plenty of circumstances where demotion is deemed acceptable.

  • Due to financial reasons, resulting in certain departments being closed down
  • Due to financial reasons that an employer could no longer pay an employee in his current position
  • Due to business changes that are beyond the employer’s control
  • Due to performance issue
  • Due to attitude problems
  • Due to an inappropriate promotion
  • Due to reorganization

According to Lisa Goodfellow, an employment lawyer from Miller Thompson, “you need just cause for demotion.”

If your reason is related to employee performance, “You have to show that you made your expectations clear to them, then show that your expectations are reasonable and necessary for the position and that the employee has failed to meet those expectations despite being provided adequate support and training,” Goodfellow added.

From all the reasons listed above, demoting an employee because of attitude problem does not guarantee to bring on change, and might even bring more problems. So choose your reasons wisely.

3. Identify If An Employee Is Protected By Employee Rights In a Demotion

Workers have civil rights that employers must not violate unintentionally or otherwise. Some of which will make a demotion illegal.

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 specifies that employees have a right to a workplace free of any discrimination. So before you demote someone, make sure it has nothing to do with discrimination or will give an employee reason to use this argument in court.
  • No employee on Family and Medical Leave Act should be demoted, as this will be considered as discrimination.
  • No employee returning from military duty should be demoted. This is especially true for veterans who are protected under the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Act.
  • Failure on your part to honor these rights will result in penalties and investigation initiated by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.

4. Talk To The Employee In Confidence

Before moving forward with the demotion, communicate with the employee privately. Explain your reasons clearly and provide suggestions on how he can better accept the change. If you have previously spoken to him and offered a retention program, your demoting him may not come as much of a surprise. Whichever is the case, make sure you document your meeting and any other conversations you will have with the employee. This way, you will have proof that you acted fairly and followed a fair procedure.

5. Announce The Demotion Professionally

Demoting an employee can demoralize his coworkers and may even discourage some of your top performers. On the other hand, other employees who have seen it coming will view your action as charitable, since you decided against firing the employee outright. Still, you can make it less humiliating by breaking the news in a professional manner.

Tell everyone that the old manager will be focusing more on a particular project, which called for the need to bring in someone new to lead the team. Then, publicly praise the demoted employee for his contributions in both the old and new role. Regardless of what other employees may think, your praises will enable an employee to retain his dignity.

6. Don’t Forget To Follow Up

The change will not only affect the demoted employee, but the people around him as well. So make sure to keep an eye on how he reacts to his new role and how other employees react to the change. Communicate with the employee even after the demotion. You should also take the opportunity to ensure that the employee would stick around by giving him suitable role and meaningful work. See that his senior manager gives him attention. Provide a transitional salary if the demotion results in a pay cut, which, in most cases, is highly likely.

To avoid getting into legal trouble, it is highly recommended that you demote a worker following a fair procedure. Similar to a dismissal, it should not be done unilaterally. Every step you take must be well-documented as well in preparation for the possibility of being sued for the move you make. As long as you have your bases covered, demoting an employee will be legal, although not less tough.

Best Non Monetary Rewards in the Workplace

Your employees are working hard, and in a world where corporations are touting to run “lean and mean”, it might seem impossible for you to compensate your workers for performing well without breaking your budget. The good news is, you do not have to do this. A survey by staffing firm, Accountemps, revealed that frequent accomplishment recognition was named as the top non-monetary compensation by full and part-time employees, followed by regular communication. Both these activities are proven to make staff more productive without shaving a thin sheet of a company’s bottom line.

According to corporate figures, including human resource professionals, management consultants, career coaches and executives, the following are some of the best non-monetary rewards in the workplace that would not break your bank:

1. Tangible Recognition.
You can offer this reward for your employees who consistently excel. You can do this by sending them e-mails and CCing in business leaders with congratulatory messages on a job well done, giving them handwritten notes or mentioning their success during regular meetings.

2. Flexible Work Hours.
If there is one free reward that could rise above the rest, it would be giving your employees flexible work schedules. According to experts, flexible time is a perk that offers the most gain with the least pain. They say that company leaders should give a little latitude to determine work schedules and let their workers enjoy more suitable time for their families. They add that as long as the person is deserving and will not abuse the privilege, flexible work hours can go a long way when it comes to building trust among key employees.

3. Opportunity to Learn, Improve and Advance As Employee.
You should understand that your people need to learn and develop new skills in order for them to advance. You can do this by giving them the opportunity to choose their respective assignments and face challenges that come with their new responsibilities.

4. Training.
By training your employees, there will be plenty of room for them to grow, and they will not be stuck with a routine job. After learning new skills, they can look forward to much bigger challenges. Moreover, training programs can offer good types of stress, which is something that motivates them to work harder to the limit, giving them a better insight on their individual strengths and weaknesses. However, you should make sure these programs are in line with your employees’ desired career paths or they will not be used to the fullest. Thus, it is best to assess skills before training your people.

5. More Fun Working Environment.
When you notice your employees’ morale is down, you should find ways to boost it, of course. One of the best ways to do this is making the office more fun for your people. For example, you can facilitate games or similar activities that can make them happy. Choose those that would let them have fun and socialize, as these will most likely shoot up their productivity levels.

6. Recognition.
In the high-paced working environment in corporations these days, employees are reported to see recognition of their efforts infrequent and rare. After all, wouldn’t it be good to have your employees continuing their good performance and success? So, offer them praise, whether it is written, verbal or, ideally, a public announcement.

7. No-Shoes Policy.
Human resource experts say that implementing this policy can make your employees feel right at home with each other, which would translate into a rise in their productivity. However, you should still remind them to keep their shoes handy in case clients pay you a visit. By implementing this, you will be putting more concern on quality, and not on the shoes or jewelry your people will be putting on.

8. Belongingness.
Aside from sickness, another cause of absenteeism is belongingness. Actually, politics and conflicts in the workplace can make some of your employees hesitate to report for work. Though they understand employee-manager relationship, it is still important for them to have a sense of belongingness and friendship among colleagues. So, take time to facilitate team-building activities, which do not have to be tedious and long. It should just simply strengthen respect, trust and accountability among everybody within your organization.

9. Autonomy and Independence.
Put in mind that your employees want to be able to work independently and do not want somebody to watch over them constantly and question their every move. Just give them assignments with a required time frame for completion and let them enjoy the freedom to complete them, given some guidelines set on their own merits.

10. Free Passes.
As experts suggest, you can give out a certain number of free days off for your employees to use when they see fit. So, your employees do not have to pretend to be ill. They would be free to use those days to go to the beach or simply spend some quality time with their family.

11. Fringe Benefits.
These can include leaves, additional allowances, health insurance policies and other benefits that they can take advantage of alone or with their loved ones.

12. Opportunity to Contribute.
Your employees should be part of a team and allowed to work closely with the management. This would involve them in making key decisions and make them heard.

13. Opportunity to Engage in Volunteer Work.
Not only will this give your employees a nice break from the office, but will also provide them the extra benefit of improved morale brought about by altruistic pursuits.

14. Time Out to Work on Projects.
It is also good to provide your workers with some time out of their normal commitments to work on certain projects that they are passionate about. Remember that these not necessarily related to the core objectives of your business.


Remember that rewards are designed as a means of showing your employees appreciation for their hard work, and while money is often cited as a staff motivator, it is often the non-monetary and intangible rewards that have the most impact on employee morale. Regardless of the benefits you are offering to your people, you have to find ways to make your office a place where hard work and efficiency are recognized and rewarded regularly. After all, non-monetary benefits can go a long way in building employee loyalty and respect, which clearly demonstrates that there are other important factors many points, aside from money, to consider when establishing employee and management policies.

Warning Signs of Workplace Violence

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 2 million people in the country who are affected by workplace violence every year. However, we can say that this situation seldom comes from out of the blue, as behavior indicators shown in the office have been linked to violence in the workplace. In fact, a USA Today analysis of fatal incidents related to such type of violence in 2004 revealed that attackers left behind some clear warning signs.

Workplace violence is linked to a wide range of behaviors and attitudes that fall along a spectrum that significantly generates a concern for personal safety, affects the workplace and results in physical injury or even death, depending on their severity and nature. While every set of circumstances and situation is unique, individuals in need of assistance commonly exhibit warning signs. And if you are feeling uncomfortable in any situation with an employee and are noticing these signs, you should take action accordingly.

However, you should also consider that not just because a person exhibits these behaviors, it necessarily means that they are prone to acts of violence. It should be a case, where someone is showing a noticeable change in behavior that is displayed constantly or where a behavior is observed in combination, that you should consider dealing with the situation in a formal manner. Here are some warning signs of workplace violence:

1. Excessive Whining or Complaining.
This can be one of the first signs that a worker has experienced a triggering event that could escalate to anger and violence, particularly if he is used to be contented at his job.

2. Excessive Absences or Tardiness.
A staff member who is consistently leaving his workday early without authorization or is presenting numerous excuses for shortening his shift can be considered to set off an alarm. This is a significant sign especially for a person who is typically committed and prompt with a full day of work.

3. Withdrawal.
When you notice an employee who is completely retreating into his shell, he could be demonstrating trouble with coping up.

4. Increased Need for Supervision.
In general, employees should require less supervision as they become more proficient at work. Those who exhibit an increased need for supervision or those whom their superior must spend excessive amount of time can be considered as individuals who are signaling a need for help. As manager, you should be alert to this change and think of offering professional intervention if necessary.

5. Shift from Typical Behavior.
If an employee is usually introverted and reserved but suddenly started socializing and chattering or if he is an extrovert who suddenly grows silent or retreats, he can be showing signs that something is wrong.

6. Lack of Performance.
If one of your people, who is normally productive and efficient, experiences a sustained or sudden drop in performance, this should be a reason for concern. Actually, this is a classic warning sign of dissatisfaction, and you should meet with the staff member immediately to come up with a course of action that is mutually beneficial.

7. Obsessive Conversations and Thought Patterns.
An employee who is starting to rant against those in authority or talk unnecessarily about unfairness could be a significant warning sign.

8. Variation in Working Habits.
With regards to reduction in productivity, a worker who exhibits inconsistent working habits may be needing intervention. You should know that your employees should typically be quite consistent in the tasks they are assigned to, and if their habits change, you can suspect them to be needing assistance, and you should take action.

9. Change in Attitude.
A sustained behavioral change often indicates that an employee is experiencing difficulty. Being typically familiar with the personalities of your own people, you should be quick to notice significant changes. Manage your work environment in a way that you ensure open communication and trust.

10. Inability to Concentrate.
If you observe an employee is suddenly unable to focus on his job, it may mean that he is distracted or having troubles. As manager, you should try and encourage him to seek assistance.

11. Unreasonable and Dramatic Demands.
This is exhibited with impatience and persistence on an immediate response, when an employee knows a certain task takes time. For example, a marketing assistant is demanding to see the CEO immediately, which means the former should be troubled.

12. Sign of Stress.
One indicator that a worker is under a great deal of stress is if he has traditionally adhered to safety procedures but is suddenly involved in a safety violation or an accident. This can be a significant contributor to violence in the office.

13. Personal Insults.
When an otherwise respectful employee is suddenly flying off the handle and engaging in an assault, it can mean his anger is building up.

14. Irresponsibility.
When an individual uses excuses and blames co-workers, it is a warning sign of workplace violence. Though this is easy to identify, it is often ignored by managers. So, do not commit the same mistake and provide assistance and counseling to a worker who engages in this behavior.

15. Alcohol and Drug Abuse.
Changes in a person’s character or mood when alcohol or drugs are used are important things to watch out for. Often, people who are experiencing substance-abuse issues would act out in the office, so it is important that you use some procedures to identify and help these individuals.

16. Fascination to Weapons.
If you notice that someone is overly fascinated with weapons, you should dig into the matter properly. If you see something is really wrong, you should take appropriate actions.

17. Threats.
Obviously, this is the most potent warning sign that violence could occur at work. If a worker starts saying that he wants to hurt someone, it is a red flag. This is especially true if a plan of the act is expressed and the intent to carry it out is eminent.

Remember that these are only a few of the possible warning signs of workplace violence. As with any issue that is related to work, you should deal with unusual behavior and use your authority to take action.