Advice for Men: How to Manage Women Employees



You must exercise due diligence to motivate talented employees and retain them for an efficient and productive workplace. But many male managers unwittingly mismanage their female employees.

Having been raised by a single mom and having managed women in my career, I’ve learned a lot of lessons to share.

Even if you’re conscientious and want to be an effective manager of women, it’s not rocket science but you can inadvertently make mistakes.

ID-10034827 photostockWomen often feel misunderstood. They regularly feel belittled.

True, some women are defensive and over-react. But that’s true for men, too.

Sometimes men think they’re being considerate of their women employees. In reality, they go overboard. Enlightened women know when they’re being patronized, and they don’t appreciate it.

So here are five tips:

1. Don’t make comments that come across as debasing.

Keep the focus on her work not her gender. Don’t tell a woman she’s attractive or has a great figure. Imagine how you’d react if a woman boss were to comment you have a great physique.

Your comment will often be perceived as demeaning. Or worse, you’ll be accused of being creepy.

Don’t congratulate her for being a great woman employee. Nor should you mention she has a successful career despite having a family.

Simply comment on her work achievements (or shortcomings as an employee).

2. Be honest and assertive when reviewing their performances.

Many male managers are dishonest – they hold back criticism for several reasons. They fear potential accusations about diversity, complaints from defensive employees, the stereotypical women crying, or an endless round of questions.

Be empathetic but not disingenuous. Don’t ignore poor performances or come across as patronizing. Avoid the common 12 errors in evaluations.

3. Encourage full participation in employee meetings.

Ask shy employees to participate. Encourage them to share their opinions. They may very well have valuable insights – profitable ideas – for the welfare of your organization.

It’s true many women – even if they’re ambitious – don’t know how to participate in meetings. They don’t know how they can enhance their careers in Group decision-making.

It’s up to you to do your best to encourage them to participate.

4. Promote talented women even they don’t ask for better position.

Some women ask for promotions early in their careers but are ignored. The shy ones won’t try it again.

Others are honest and reject promotions if they don’t feel they’re qualified.

Either way, advise your female workers to apply in cases you feel they’re qualified.

It’s also your job to help employees to grow professionally.

5. Having a family doesn’t indicate a woman isn’t interested in a successful career.

True, young mothers need flexibility. Emergencies happen. But don’t let it color your thinking.

Once as a youngster with my low-income mother at work as a secretary, the daycare was closed. My mother didn’t have a choice. My younger brother and I were forced to take a cross-town bus to stay with an aunt. I gave the bus driver instructions where to drop us off. But he forgot. For several hours, we rode the bus back and forth across town.

When we didn’t arrive, my aunt notified my mother who was predictably horrified. She left the office to search for us. Thankfully, she had an understanding boss who drove her around until we were found.

Obviously, the children do grow up and moms don’t have to worry like mine did in that bus episode. So be mindful when they need flexibility and don’t ignore talented women forever.

From the Coach’s Corner, more related management tips:

HR Tips — So Your Recruiting Enhances Diversity, Not Sexism — Can we agree that a diverse workplace leads to innovation, problem-solving and enhanced enterprise communication? And, as you know, inequality is unlawful. Why then are there so many companies that unknowingly, perhaps, promote sexism? That’s right.

Tips for Marketing Your HR-Policy Changes to Employees — So you’ve identified workplace policies that need to be updated. But you want your policies to be accepted and followed by your employees. Employees are often uncomfortable with change even if it’s necessary for a business turnaround. Remember high morale among employees propels profits.

HR Management – 8 Best Practices in Employee Delegation — Avoid frustration in delegation. Save yourself time and develop your staff for the welfare of your organization. Delegation is a fundamental driver of organizational growth. Managers who are effective in delegation show leadership. They know they’ll be more effective in management and that they’ll develop their employees.

10 Steps to Manage Conflict for High Performance — For progress, a business needs human interaction for ideas and innovation. Sometimes, argument, debate and conflict prove to be productive catalysts for high performance. But such catalysts can be obstacles to success, too. Here are the simplest ways to manage conflict.

6 Quick Tips So Employees Respect Your Authority — It’s an awful feeling when your authority is non-existent. You’re not taken seriously. Employees are in charge. It’s also an indicator of related issues: Most often, profits are minimal. Customers become disenchanted and leave.

“Women always worry about the things that men forget; men always worry about the things women remember.” 

-Marjorie Kinman Rawlings 


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of photostock at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Management/HR – How to Increase Profits via Employee Turnover



As cost centers, human resources have opportunities to shine whenever they act as profit centers. And employee turnover presents opportunities for companies to make money.

Yes, that’s right. Employee turnover can help you make money retention.

Let’s examine why by starting with a brief discussion of old school and new-school thinking.

bm&w at ambro www.freedigitalphotos.netIn the management of human resources, it’s long been considered a best practice to focus on mutual benefits. That’s especially true in preventing employee turnover.

A state of mind with a zero-sum approach that impedes employee engagement – is so 1950s.

But it isn’t always easy to focus on mutual benefits in this competitive marketplace.

Meantime, employee turnover can be very costly. No one likes to lose a good employee nor is it fun to lose an employee who’s had access to proprietary information.

So it can be costly to lose an employee’s talent and knowledge, as well as incur new costs in recruiting and hiring a replacement.

For many such situations, non-compete agreements and legal precautions are necessary.

But turnover doesn’t always have to be a negative red flag and result in a critical loss.

Two reasons why:

— Turnover can serve as a positive warning for cultural issues, as long as you identify and solve the issues.

— Turnover can also be a positive sign that you’re developing your employees.

Design a balance sheet

If you have a turnover problem, it’s productive to learn why. You also need to learn which of them represent risks and those who aren’t.

There’s a big difference in terms of risk in employees who resign to work for your clients or vendors (e.g. group A) vis-à-vis your competitors (e.g. group B).

Employees in group A, represent opportunities for your growth. Such former employees might eventually serve as your brand ambassadors or provide you with competitive insights.

From employees in group B, people who go to work for your competitors, it’s a possible threat but not always. Distinguish between competition and customer.

Ask yourself: “Is this company a competitor in all lines of business?” If not, go easy.

Silver lining

You’ve heard the expression, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” A silver lining is a metaphor for optimism.  (It refers to a phrase written in 1634 by John Milton in Comus: A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle.”)

Just as a cloud can be an impediment, employers can take steps to make certain that employee turnover has a silver lining.

Instead of fretting over employee turnover and possibly amputating relationships, why not be optimistic and capitalize on the turnover?

With the right approach — to engage and partner with your staff – employee turnover is a stimulus for profit by enhancing competitive intelligence and business development.

You can spot countless examples in the interactions on LinkedIn and elsewhere.

Profit opportunities

Turnover is an opportunity to increase the value of your human capital. That’s possible when departing employees share their knowledge with co-workers before leaving the firm.

Many departed employees continue to maintain their relationships with their former co-workers.

Further, they share their newly learned ideas and information from their new employers with former co-workers.

Relationships are enhanced as employees continue to share ideas or even as they compete with one another.

Companies profit as their former employees and current workers promote themselves online, in industry associations and pro bono work.

Many companies have alumni networks which work well with their outreach strategies – for rehiring employees, company branding, strategic alliances and word-of-mouth advertising.

What are some other ways?

From the Coach’s Corner, related information:

Management: How to Help Employees to Grow Professionally — Managers owe it to the organization to help their employees grow professionally. It’s hard, time-consuming work. But the return on investment is terrific.

Human Resources — Strategies and Metrics for Business Profits — Professionals in human resources could use more respect in the C-suite. To silence critics and to garner praise for helping their companies to profits, obviously, it’s in the best interest of HR professionals to use the right strategies and metrics.

Trends — Employee Engagement and Business Success — Many companies will be more successful if they update their approaches in human resources. That’s the obvious conclusion from eye-opening information that was revealed in a survey of 40,000 employees at 300 companies. When companies implement outstanding human resources programs, they’re more profitable than their competitors that don’t.

HR Tips — So Your Recruiting Enhances Diversity, Not Sexism — Can we agree that a diverse workplace leads to innovation, problem-solving and enhanced enterprise communication? And, as you know, inequality is unlawful. Why then are there so many companies that unknowingly, perhaps, promote sexism? That’s right. An academic study shows that many job postings are gender biased.

Human Resources – Power Your Brand with Employee Empowerment — Are you investing in marketing, but not getting the anticipated return on your investment? If you’re disappointed by your ROI, remember marketing may or may not be the problem. Why? Consider there are two basic reasons for poor profits – again, that’s profits not revenue.

“It might be said that it is the ideal of the employer to have production without employees and the ideal of the employee is to have income without work.”

-E.F. Schumacher


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.  




Photo courtesy of Ambro at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Human Resources — Red Flags You’re Losing an Employee



In employee retention, you never have to be surprised again. There are common traits among employees who are likely to quit — even those who are secretive about their plans.

Surprisingly, workers who are reading job listings in non-work hours, leave work promptly at the end of the work day or who start taking more vacations — aren’t necessarily going to quit.

But a lack of engagement is almost a sure indicator. That’s according to research by Tim Gardner, Ph.D., a Utah State University associate professor at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.

ID-10077665 stockimagesHe says there are 10 red flags. If employees display just six of them, there’s an 80 percent probability the persons will resign.

The red flags about employees:

1. They offered fewer constructive contributions in meetings.

2. They were more reluctant to commit to long-term projects.

3. They become more reserved and quiet.

4. They became less interested in advancing in the organization.

5. They were less interested in pleasing their boss than before.

6. They avoided social interactions with their boss and other members of management.

7. They suggested fewer new ideas or innovative approaches.

8. They began doing the minimum amount of work needed and no longer went beyond the call of duty.

9. They were less interested in participating in training and development programs.

10. Their work productivity decreased.

His co-researchers: Huntsman Professor Steve Hanks and Chad H. Van Iddekinge, of Florida State University.

Surprisingly, workers who are reading job listings in non-work hours, leave work promptly at the end of the work day or who start taking more vacations — aren’t necessarily going to quit.

Caveats

Admittedly, the 10 red flags probably won’t surprise you. However, he says there are employee indicators that aren’t listed among the 10.

“People having a lot of ‘doctor’s appointments,’ showing up to work in a suit, or leaving a resume on the printer were the kind of signs that dropped off the list,” says Professor Gardner.

“You might think that someone who starts showing up to work late, failing to return phone calls and e-mails, and taking lots of sick days might be about to leave, but those weren’t unique behaviors that applied only to the quitters,” he explains.

In a press release, Dr. Gardner says that in today’s competitive business environment, where companies invest a lot in their top performers, this information might help managers find ways to keep people on board.

He adds the “dark side” of his research was that some employers may opt to let people go if they thought they were going to leave anyway.

He explains research has shown that people who are contemplating a job change are more likely to share company secrets or do things to sabotage the organization’s goals.

“It appears that a person’s attitude can create behaviors that are hard to disguise,” he says. “As the grass starts to look greener on the other side of the fence to you, chances are that others will soon notice that you’ve lost your focus.”

From the Coach’s Corner, related HR content:

Non-financial Incentives Motivate Most Employees — Want motivated workers? Recognition for good work is appreciated by 70 percent of workers – a great motivator for high performance, according to a study by two companies.

Small Business – Easy Ways to Boost Your Employees’ Morale — Employee morale affects performance. Study after study shows a significant percentage of worker morale is mediocre, at best. That’s often the case even for companies that are able to pay competitive wages and benefits.

How Not to Worry about Keeping Your Top Employees — Increasingly, employers are worried about filling open slots and retaining their best workers, according to a 2012 survey of 526 human resources professionals. Sixty-one percent indicate they’re concerned about retention.

How You Can Eliminate Destructive Conflict for Better Teamwork — For better employee-team decision-making and higher performance, it’s true that constructive conflict works. Usually, the best ideas evolve when ideas are discussed and debated. But when employees fail to exercise self control and their egos get in the way, emotions flare and cliques are formed in the workplace.

Workplace Bullies May Hurt Retention of All Employees, Not Just Victims — Victims of workplace bullies are less likely to quit than employees who observe the abuse, according to a study by a Canadian university. The 2012 research implies a costly threat to an organization’s teamwork and productivity.

“Human resources are like natural resources; they’re often buried deep. You have to go looking for them; they’re not just lying around on the surface.”

-Ken Robinson


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Tips to Manage Employees Who Fight Each Other to Win Favortism from You



Personality conflict isn’t the only reason workers fight among themselves. They also fight hoping for your approval — to get favored treatment from you.

Either way — whatever the cause — rivalries among employees hinder your workplace morale and productivity.

This is a particularly difficult situation for new managers. All too often they stumble in their efforts to be even-handed in criticizing and commending employees.

ID-100225188 Witthaya PhonsawatWhy? Such actions often aren’t 100 percent objective and level-headed.

The competition among bickering employees doesn’t result in high performance.

No workers can perform at their best when full of fear or anger.

Worse, the acrimony spreads throughout the workplace and disrupts the team.

Usually, harmony is also lost as team members take sides in the rivalries.

Even if you’re at the top of your game as a manager, you’ll probably feel like a kindergarten teacher supervising quarreling children. But you’ll have to sort things out and act like an adult and treat them as adults.

Research best practices for workplace conflict resolution and implement. If necessary, utilize the services of an outside participant. You might need a consultant.

You’ll need to learn how to be astute, objective and precise.

Typically, here are the needed steps:

1. Assess your abilities to stay objective. You need to know how your attitude and behavior affect the situation and how you’re perceived — whether intentional or not.

Change whatever is needed in you for you to solve the issue.  

2. Observe what’s really happening between the dueling employees. Document everything. Take note of their attitudes and their body language. Look for catalysts of behavioral change.

Literally, take notes. That means looking for symptoms whether it’s arguing, harassment, intimidation, snooping, tattle-telling or water-cooler gossip. Start managing the situation.

3. To use a sports term, stay within yourself. You can’t be spending a disproportionate amount of time being a kindergarten teacher. Know your limitations.

So start developing a plan of action. All the while, keep your objective in mind. Depending on the level of bickering, you have a couple of options — an individual chat with each worker or a conflict-resolution meeting.

You’ll have to decide — is the problem likely to go away or is it a spreading, contagious disease?

4. Strive for impartiality. Don’t put yourself in a position where you’ll be accused of favoritism. By documenting the problem and reviewing your notes, you’ll be in a better position to decide on the course of action.

Make all decisions on an individual basis. If one or both of the employees whine, don’t give away your dignity. Tell the workers they aren’t aware of all the facts, and don’t get mired in an unproductive argument in defending your decisions.

Always stay calm — unemotional.

5. Consider separating the workers. Naturally, the welfare of your organization is your chief concern. Often, such personalities are too strong and dysfunctional.

Short of terminations, don’t be surprised if one of your options is to separate the employees geographically in your company — if you can. In small operations, it isn’t possible.

Good luck!

From the Coach’s Corner, related content:

How You Can Eliminate Destructive Conflict for Better Teamwork — For better employee-team decision-making and higher performance, it’s true that constructive conflict works. Usually, the best ideas evolve when ideas are discussed and debated. But when employees fail to exercise self control and their egos get in the way, emotions flare and cliques are formed in the workplace.

Human Resources: 12 Errors to Avoid in Evaluations — Now that it appears the recession has ended, questions may arise about human resources. What to do now? Here are the answers.

Human Resources: 4 Reasons Why New Managers Fail — Best practices guarantee success for new managers. Not to over-simplify, but there are often four reasons why new managers are unsuccessful – ineffective communication, failure to develop trusting relationships, weak results, and a failure to delegate.

Strategies to Succeed as a New Manager – a Checklist — Congratulations, new manager. Welcome to a job you’ll find most challenging – and satisfying – if you do it right. You’ll be carefully watched by your staff. You’ll be judged on values demonstrated by your actions.

HR: 17 Tips to Fine-Tune Management of your Staff — To achieve higher profits, you can become more strategic about managing your marketplace challenges. But the marketplace represents only 50 percent of an entrepreneur’s headaches. Internal factors within your company also contribute to entrepreneur insomnia.

“Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.”

-Stephen Covey


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of Witthaya-Phonsawat at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Co-workers Play Negative Roles in Whistleblower Retaliations



No one likes a snitch. But there is a need for protection of conscientious employees when they blow the whistle on discrimination, sexual harassment, mishandling of hazardous waste or disloyal employees who cook the books.

A study by the Ethics Resource Center found whistleblower retaliation increased 83 percent from 2007 to 2012. Almost 33 percent of whistleblowers were victims of retaliation. After blowing the whistle on wrongful acts in 2011, they were attacked physically or suffered damage to their homes or cars.  

Retaliation is one of the six reasons why companies fall into the costly management lawsuit trap.

Whistleblower retaliation issues are prevalent – not only because of management but the behavior of co-workers, too.

That’s according to another 2012 study by the global ethics and consulting firm, NAVEX Global. The survey included Fortune 500 companies and multinational firms.

The goal was to develop information to “cultivate trust and engagement between workers and management.” But only 15 percent of respondents said their companies had transparency in whistleblower retaliation.

“Providing a hotline number for raising concerns is not enough,” said Shanti Atkins, president and chief strategy officer of NAVEX Global. “To maintain a positive corporate culture that is rooted in trust, organizations need to share sanitized information on how management actually handles claims.”

“It is time to take away the mystery of what happens after an employee reports an issue,” he added.

The study’s results:

1. Employees increasingly view retaliation as coming from peers and not just management. When asked how front line employees define retaliation, the definition typically included negative comments from their peers.

Being “socially shut out by co-workers and managers” was also cited.

2. Seventy-four percent of respondents view training and awareness programs as most effective in minimizing retaliation claims.

The next two most effective methods identified were more open communications between management and line workers (45 percent), and an enhanced corporate culture (41 percent). Stronger disciplinary measures ranked as among the least effective methods.

3. A “significant” number of respondents (35 percent) said executives or high performers are merely “coached” after they engage in retaliation, as opposed to “fired,” “penalized” or subjected to other disciplinary action.

4. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said their organization uses whistleblower reporting data to inform reports to the Board of Directors.

Obviously, stronger ethics are needed to put a halt to this epidemic. Productive footwork is needed by management and human resources professionals.

From the Coach’s Corner, recommended reading:

Workplace Bullies May Hurt Retention of All Employees, Not Just Victims — Victims of workplace bullies are less likely to quit than employees who observe the abuse, according to a study by a Canadian university. The 2012 research implies a costly threat to an organization’s teamwork and productivity.

How You Can Eliminate Destructive Conflict for Better Teamwork — There are two types of conflict. For better teamwork and higher performance, it’s true that constructive conflict works. Usually, the best ideas evolve when ideas are discussed and debated. But when employees fail to exercise self control and their egos get in the way, emotions flare and cliques are formed in the workplace. That’s destructive conflict.

First Step in Fighting Lawsuit Abuse – Risk Management — Published reports on two southern California media Web sites illustrate the polarizing effects of laws affecting business. They’re applicable now even though they were published in November 2011. The first article in Signon San Diego, “Businesses fight ‘abusive’ lawsuits“, explains the fears and concerns of many small businesses.

6 Steps to Implement a Cultural Change for Profits — If your company is lacking in teamwork, morale is poor and profits are weak, chances are you need to change your organization’s culture. Be forewarned, changing a culture is a monumental chore because it will take strategic planning and super powers of persuasion.

18 Tips for Productive Behavior to Win in Office Politics — Office politics aren’t fun. Ironically, one of the most entertaining TV shows that’s all about office politics is “Suits.” It’s a fun, engaging and thrilling legal drama on the USA Network. Gabriel Macht plays the role of New York City corporate attorney Harvey Specter, who will do almost anything to win a case. His assistant is played by Patrick J. Adams as Mike Ross.

“To see a wrong and not to expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance.”

-Dr. John Raymond Baker

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Beware: Small Businesses Lose Trillions to Worker Fraud



Fraud is reaching epidemic proportions at small companies, which are fleeced by an aggregate $2.9 trillion. That’s the estimate in a 2011 study from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).

ACFE reports the median loss is $150,000, or 5 percent of the annual revenue. Some 30 percent of the companies have 100 or fewer workers. To add insult to the proverbial injury for such businesses, 25 percent of the persons responsible for the fraud had been trusted employees for at least 10 years.

Credit and cash challenged employees in the  economy is partially attributed as a cause for the epic fraud numbers.

Unfortunately, some long-time employees seem to have a sense of entitlement when working at small companies that probably pay less than large firms.

Small companies are probably more trusting of workers and are likely less sophisticated in financial controls while being focused on marketing for survival.

ACFE indicates it takes a company about a year and a half before discovering the shortages. More than 85 percent of the perpetrators didn’t have records of committing fraud.

The fraud trend suggests the need for financial controls and insurance protection against losses. That means taking steps to prevent such opportunities among your accountant, bookkeeper, office manager, sales manager – anyone who might have access from your billing records to checking account.

It also means getting an outside participant to review your finances, and explaining your controls to your insurance company. Your insurer will likely have suggestions, and provide premium discounts as a result of your financial controls.

Yes, marketing and other issues are problematic in this economy, so stay focused on them, but secure your finances, too.

From the Coach’s Corner, as is the custom on these pages, we typically discuss the solutions to problems.

Here are resource links to actually prevent fraud:

Embezzlement Tips to Protect Your Nonprofit or Company Assets —  Embezzlement is a widespread nightmare in business and the public sector. If you surf the Internet using the key word, embezzlement, you’ll find seemingly countless headlines. Upper management commits 18 percent of fraud, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) in 2010. ACFE also said accounting department employees commit 29 percent of fraud.

Liars and Cheats – Clues You’re Dealing with a ‘Pinocchio’ in Business — Italian writer Carlo Collodi probably had no idea what he was starting in 1883 when he wrote the children’s novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio. It was the story about a woodcarver who created a wooden puppet that wanted to become a real boy. Pinocchio’s short nose would grow longer whenever he told a lie.

The New Face of $1 Trillion in Cybercrime on Business – Account Takeovers, Credit Card Fraud — Business Web sites are facing an increasingly intense full-court press from cybercriminals – the aggregate cost of cybercrime annually, which includes prevention strategies, has exceeded $1 trillion. Large-scale data breaches are savagely victimizing new accounts while account takeover attempts and credit card fraud has doubled, according to a fraud-data study in June 2013 .

Strategies for Retailers to Prevent E-Commerce Fraud — Merchants are certainly aware of online fraud and 65 percent are trying to fight it, but their efforts aren’t working according to a study. The anti-fraud study was conducted by CardNotPresent.com and SignatureLink in 2012.

Identity Fraud Escalates in Smartphones, Social Media — Skyrocketing mobile malware threats amid widespread use of BYOD, bring your own devices, will lead to a $1.88 billion services market in 2013. That’s according to ABI Research. Cybercriminals are successfully attacking vulnerabilities in individual devices and networks to an ABI report.

11 Travel Tips – Save Money, Prevent against Cyber Theft, Fraud — The most vulnerable travelers are businesspeople. That’s because they have to use Internet and e-mail. They’re in danger expressly from vulnerabilities, such as from wirelessly accessible passports to using WIFI.

Security Steps for Your Mobile Device in Online Banking, Purchases — Almost 90 percent of Americans use a cell phone and more than 50 percent have smartphones, according to published reports. They also indicate 28 percent of smartphone owners use their devices for online banking.

“Trust, but verify.”

-Ronald Reagan


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




HR – Profit By Not Letting Your Stars Become Free Agents


With five tips, here’s a baseball metaphor for business — Mickey Mantle, whose feats provide special lessons for HR and managers.


Top performers in business have the same characteristics as great athletes, and it isn’t always about money.

Top baseball pitchers always want the ball. Home-run hitters always want to be the go-to players, especially when their team is trailing in the last inning. They want to play for winners, and they dream of coming through in the clutch.

The No. 1 baseball player all-time in walk-off home runs is still Mickey Mantle – he hit 13 in his 18 seasons as a New York Yankee. The term, walk off home run, was not used in his playing days, but it’s common now.

He still holds the World Series’ record for the most home runs – 18.

Mickey Mantle homerun

Mickey Mantle hitting a clutch home run


For non-baseball fans, a walk-off hit is high drama because it means instantaneous victory – it’s the last run batted in for the home team’s last-at-bat.

Baseball fans know how difficult it is to accomplish in the other team’s stadium. Mr. Mantle could hit out them anywhere.

His achievements were too voluminous for a business column, but for illustration purposes here are a few more:

His home runs were also memorable because they were majestic. In 1960, he hit the longest one history – 643 feet.

While sitting in the left field stands during the seventh inning with my younger brother at Dodger Stadium in the 1963 World Series – the Yankees vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers – legendary strikeout king Sandy Koufax was on the mound pitching to the Mick. That’s when my brother yelled: “Come on Mickey, hit one for me!”

Guess what? We couldn’t believe our eyes. On the next pitch, we were thrilled as the Yankee legend blasted a line drive that almost hit us. He hit a dramatic home run off a pitcher that few players could hit. It was such noteworthy event the Los Angeles Times interviewed the man sitting behind us because he managed to get the ball after a scuffle among the fans around us.

During the 1964 World Series against the Cardinals in St. Louis, Mr. Mantle won a game by hitting a dramatic ninth-inning homer off noted relief knuckle-baller Barney Schultz.  I’ll never forget the newspaper headline the next morning: ‘I was scared to death’ – Mantle.

He had turned fear into action. (I consider FEAR to be an acronym for frantic effort to avoid responsibility.)

mantle-bod-2-600

A young Mickey Mantle


When the Yankees originally brought up the kid from Oklahoma, he was 19 years old. He had been passionately tutored by his father, and he was very competitive in high school in all sports. As a major-leaguer, he failed at first and was sent down to the minors. Depressed but with his father’s encouragement, he soon made it back to Yankee Stadium.

Not only did he have power, he could run faster than any player, and became the greatest switch-hitter ever. In 1956, he won the Triple Crown for batting average, home runs and runs batted in. The next year he hit .365. He credited his father’s influence for his success.

He retired at the early age of 36. Unlike most players then and now, he played for the same team his entire career. He later got religion. He admitted alcohol-related health problems stemmed from his desire to excel off the field, which limited his career. But, oh, what achievements.

So what are the parallels between baseball and your company?

Like the late Yankee great, stars want responsibility and to be held accountable for their actions. The only way to make it possible to retain them and to win in the marketplace is to give your stars sufficient opportunities.

Your star employees

So, if you have star employees, it’s critical to retain them in the right atmosphere. It isn’t entirely about money. It’s about opportunity – for your firm’s growth and theirs. Sure, they want to make a good income. But they fantasize about personal achievement in helping their team to win in image, market share and profits.

So how do you identify the potentially great performers? Look for three As: Attitude, appearance, and ability.

Attitude means they have the necessary competitive drive, confidence, calmness under fire, character, and the ability to be empathetic with coworkers and customers. It’s also important that employees have the desire to learn and grow in responsibility.

Professional appearance is important for credibility and first impressions, which are lasting.

Ability, of course, is talent. (Depending on my audience, sometimes my seminars mention a fourth “A,” for angle. That’s usually when there are morale, teamwork or customer-service issues. For a company to be successful, employees must understand all angles – empathy for coworkers or customers.)

Assuming you’ve identified stars, now’s the time to do something about your side of the ledger — manage your human resources — take precautions to keep star performers. Create a high-performing environment and retain your talent for more profit. Like Mickey Mantle and his father, employees have to be encouraged and groomed – here’s how:

  1. Spend time with your employees to learn their personal objectives and skills.
  2. Determine how their goals can match yours for your business.
  3. Teach them how they can impact the big picture – how their performance helps the company.
  4. Show your appreciation for their efforts.
  5. Explain how their talents will help your team.

By now you probably realize I like baseball – hence the sports analogy. But I’m not enamored with the free-agency process. Take care of your players – your human capital – and you’ll be rewarded with a grand-slam home run.

From the Coach’s Corner, this portal has numerous tips for management in the Human Resources category.

“You can never be afraid of your stars; they can’t hold a company hostage.”

– Jack Welch


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Human Resources: 12 Errors to Avoid in Evaluations


The performance of your employees largely determines whether your business will either sink or swim.

At least 5o percent of your business success depends on the performance of your employees.

To avoid trouble and to reach your ultimate goal of attaining maximum profits, how should you properly evaluate employees?

Naturally, you want to praise good performance and discourage bad. So make sure you are careful to avoid errors in performance appraisals.

There are the 12 salient errors to avoid:

1. Insufficient information about employees and insufficient evaluation time

It is best to get to know employees well enough to accurately evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.

Also, it is recommended that you to take the proper amount of time in the evaluation process for each employee.

2. Inconsistent standards of excellence

Ineffective managers permit personal feelings to bias the evaluation process.

Lack of uniform criteria from manager to manager can be detrimental to the organization and is why some employees are promoted when they should not – that is an indicator of The Peter Principle.

Additionally, without safeguards, it is possible to become too friendly with some employees in making evaluations while being too critical with others.

3. Failure to evaluate the entire performance period

Some employees, who are aware that a performance evaluation is due, will suddenly improve their work.

In such annual reviews, many managers unfortunately look at the most recent behavior instead of the entire performance period.

Throughout the year, when an employee does something noteworthy, immediately write it down; when the employee fails in a responsibility make note of it, too.

Use good discretion in deciding whether to enter the information in the employee’s personnel file.

4. Fear of bosses’ disapproval

Some managers are afraid to reveal derogatory information about employees to their bosses. They don’t want to admit that subordinates are ineffective.

They often write or say what they think bosses want to hear about staff members, not what is accurate.

5. The rainbow effect

When employees are popular, they are viewed as competent in their work. On the other hand, when employees are unpopular, they’re evaluated as inadequate.

6. People-pleasing of employees

Apprehensive about possible confrontations, managers are often afraid to include unfavorable comments about employees – even when justified.

… remember that every employee is entitled to hear the answers to three questions …

7. Empire-building/maintaining job security

Such managers overlook employees’ weaknesses to gain favor with inefficient employees in order to develop allies among department staffers.

To save their jobs, other managers will unfairly criticize workers as scapegoats and sacrificial lambs.

8. Justification for employee wages

This is the practice of using unwarranted evaluations to justify decisions about employee salaries, such as giving complimentary reviews in advance of promotions and pay increases.

9. Weak analytical ability/indecision

Some raters lack analytical ability. Others, because of favoritism, simply are unable to make objective judgments about some employees.

10. Middle-curve analysis

There is a tendency by some managers to stick to the middle or average and they do not accurately evaluate employees – they erroneously stick to the middle – average performance grades in every category.

11. Denial syndrome

Some managers make excuses and remain in denial about worker performance.

12. Irrelevant factors

Bias of non job-related factors, such as physical appearance or social standing, sometimes erroneously influences evaluations of employees.

Beware that some employees are good at selling themselves. Well-intentioned bosses also often give shy people too much benefit of doubt for fear of hurting their feelings.

From the Coach’s Corner, finally, remember that every employee is entitled to hear the answers to three questions:

1. What’s expected of me?

2. How am I doing?

3. What’s in it for me?

More HR resource articles:

HR: Is it Time to Rethink Your Marijuana-Testing Policy? — For HR departments, it was once-unthinkable: Deleting Marijuana from the list of drugs in workplace drug-testing programs. But should you? And what should you do about your handbook policies?

Human Resources: The Future of Performance Reviews — Here’s an interesting dilemma: Should performance reviews be fired? That’s the title of an article published by the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School in April, 2011. It’s an informative article and its premise continues to be thought-provoking.

HR Management – 8 Best Practices in Employee Delegation — Avoid frustration in delegation. Save yourself time and develop your staff for the welfare of your organization. Delegation is a fundamental driver of organizational growth. Managers who are effective in delegation show leadership. They know they’ll be more effective in management and that they’ll develop their employees.

13 Management Tips to Solve Employee Absenteeism — Absenteeism causes migraines for a lot of bosses. Obviously, your company will make healthier profits, if you don’t have an absenteeism problem. Check your attendance records. You’ll see Monday is the most-abused day of the week and January is the worst month for absenteeism.

Eyeing Talent Crisis Issues — Are HR Departments to Blame? — Human resources departments aren’t providing their companies enough support for employees, talent recruitment, learning and development, and succession planning – according to a study by a global strategic-consulting firm. The study by The Hackett Group is entitled, “Cracks in the Foundation: Closing the Critical Skills Gap Undermining Business Capabilities.”

Strategies: If a Valued Employee Wants a Raise, and Money’s Tight — In this economy, whether you operate a large or small company, trepidation of higher payroll expenses can turn your hands cold with perspiration. That’s especially true when talented employees suddenly ask for a raise. Talented workers are an asset – your human capital. Many companies don’t have a compensation policy.

“Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations.”

-Ralph Marston


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.