Archive for Work/Office

Saying Goodbye: Managing Employee Departures

miss you MGD©The way in which an employee is treated when departing your company is just as important as how you handled the process when they joined you. (It’s also, obviously, a reflection of your organizational culture).  Remember those heady days?  You wooed and courted and promised them the moon with the ardent fervor of a love-struck teenager until you convinced them to come on board.

But now they’ve decided to leave.  The romance has soured or a more attractive suitor has arrived and lured them away. When an employee tells you “It’s not you – it’s me” (even though it may, in fact, be you) there are a few situations to avoid as you work through the break-up:

Asking them to leave immediately – This has always struck me as about the stupidest thing ever. Ever!  Oh sure, this may make sense for a salesperson who’s not going to be filling the pipeline with new leads if he’s walking out the door in 2 weeks but what’s the point of tossing Carol in Accounting out the door the moment she gives notice?  Yet there are companies who apparently assume all resigning employees are going to gather all the corporate intel they can and sell it to the highest bidder.  I’ve joined organizations where this was the norm; so much so that resigning employees who had to work out a 2 week notice were actually offended they weren’t asked to depart forthwith.

The Shunning – Bob tenders his resignation and is immediately a pariah. He’s no longer invited to meetings and his name disappears from email groups.  He can probably live with all of this but it pains him just a bit when his boss, the division director and, so it seems, the entire leadership team don’t even offer greetings in the hallway.  One step removed from Hester Prynne.  Poor Bob.

The Security Guard with a Box – This is the workplace equivalent of placing your beloved’s belonging on the driveway and calling a locksmith to change the locks.  The neighbors will gawk while furtively pretending to avoid eye contact with all involved and you’ll be the talk of the neighborhood for years.  In the office, I implore you, don’t enlist the services of a building security guard who accompanies the departing employee to her cubicle and keeps a stern eye as she packs up the photos of her kids and her collection of shoe figurines.

The Farewell Party – This is nice, right?  Sally gets treated to cake and punch and her manager gives her a gift card to Outback Steakhouse after he makes a speech about all her contributions and how she was an integral part of the team’s success.  Her co-workers sign a card (funny and slightly ribald because Sally has a sense of humor) and wish her the best of luck.  There are hugs all around with promises to stay in touch and get together for the occasional lunch or happy hour. But Sally feels a bit sad as she wonders “why didn’t they say these things and treat me this way during the 4 years I worked here?  If I knew this is how everyone felt I might not have looked for another job…”

When an employee decides to move on and enter a relationship with someone else you may not be ready to say “I’ll always love you” but you can surely tell him “let’s be friends.”

Jobs, Careers and Transitions – Take the #EWS2014 Quiz

I’m a sponsored blog partner with Spherion and participating in the release of findings from this year’s Emerging Workforce Study.  All opinions are mine.

Are you satisfied at work ?  Do you believe you’re on the right track to success in either your job or your career ?  Naturally, if you think about it, a job is quite different from a career and by better understanding the differences you may be able to confirm whether you need to make some transitions to ensure you’re on the right path.

Last week I shared  information from Spherion’s Evolution of the Worker Study and today I’m excited to provide information about Spherion’s new ‘Job or Career’ quiz which may give you insight about your very own Job or Career mindset.  Based on 15 years of research conducted by Spherion, this quiz will provide you with some insight as to whether you’re in a job or career … and what steps you can take to improve your work life.

Whether you’re a job seeker or employee, an employer or HR professional or just someone who wants to gain information about applicable career topics, I encourage you to spend a few minutes completing the quiz.

And.. extra fun!!…by taking the quiz on this site, you’ll entered to win a $100 American Express gift card!   To enter, simply share your results from the quiz as a comment on this post.  And never fear …if you don’t wish to share with other readers if you find yourself in a ‘job or a career” go ahead and take the quiz and share something you’ve learned after taking the quiz.   I’ll chose one entrant by using an online random name generator and you’’ be notified via the email address (which only I see) that you provide when posting your comment.

Taking the quiz will also enter users to win one of three Career Boost Business Packs from Spherion that include an iPad Air and an assortment of other office essentials to help on their path to success! (note…final day to enter is 3/27/2014).  Click on the image to access the quiz. 


Additional Resources

Check out for additional content where you can also find some tips mapping out a career path, ideas for workplace success, and ways to transition your current job into a career.

Remember to watch for the release of the full findings of the EWS study in April. For updated information follow Spherion on Twitter, join them on Facebook or check out the hashtag #EWS2014.



Spherion partnered with bloggers such as me for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any idea mentioned in these posts. Spherion believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

Run, Score and Win: Collaboration in the Workplace

Jean-De-Villiers-scores-a-try-against-Wallabies1There’s a concept of organizational ecology put forth by Franklin Becker and Fritz Steele back in 1995 (Workplace by Design) in which they discussed two different approaches that organizations may take as they work to create synergy and encourage interaction: the “relay race” model vs. the “rugby” model.

Relay Race: Traditional and Sequential

If you imagine a team working on a project the group that employs the relay race model operates by having each function complete its work and then pass it on to the next function.  As an illustration a team may be chartered and roles assigned but the process lumbers along as, for example, marketing conducts research, sends the results to the product design group, which then, only when finished, passes the results along to the engineering group which, when done, passes the information back to marketing. And on and on and on.

Rugby: Speed and Flexibility

In the rugby model however all players take the field at the same time and for the duration of the game.  There is constant interaction as the team moves toward its goal and, as is the case in a rugby match, different players take the lead or employ a stronger approach at various stages throughout the game.  The difference from the relay race approach is striking; in the rugby model the entire team is in the game for the whole time.  All players participate in decisions and understand the status of the match at all times. Constant communication is crucial and not in a “let’s plan an update meeting” type of way but rather in a manner that is ongoing, spontaneous and ever evolving as the dynamics of play change.

The application of rugby to business and HR is one I’ve discussed before; there are components of the game and skill sets needed by the players that have interesting parallels to the workplace.  Skilled rugby players must be constantly aware of shifting conditions; they must have the ability to recognize, interpret and respond to the game all while anticipating the moves that will come further on in the match. Sounds like what we expect from our employees and leaders.

That’s but one of the many reasons I find the rugby vs. relay race approach to collaboration and collocation so fascinating. With the complexity of today’s business environment we recognize that we need to regularly assess, and possibly re-align, how we collaborate within our organizations.  Our “teams” today are often cross functional and made up of highly specialized knowledge workers and experts as well as being diverse and geographically dispersed.  Many organizations are well on their way to optimizing the productivity of such teams whether through the use of technology or understanding the importance of providing opportunities for socialization and connection to enhance cohesion and results.

But there are also departmental or functional teams, sometimes in one geographical location, that need to accomplish goals or innovate effectively through collaboration.  When we dive down into a human resources department, as an example, there are advantages to be found if they adopt the rugby model.  I’ve certainly seen HR Departments running a relay race rather than playing rugby even while working on a shared and critical initiative: Employee Relations conducts research, passes on the results to the Recruiting Group which then adds some components and passes on the information to the Training & Development function which then loops back with Employee Relations to provide more information. And on and on and on.

As Becker & Steele explained, the goal is ʺto bring all the players in the process together as a team at the projectʹs inception.ʺ

I, for one, think there’s a better chance of victory in our organizations when we take that approach.

Or at least we can score a try.


image via

Will your Employees Love It? Or Leave It? (Redux)

love it or list itIn light of my recent experience with the Food Network show Restaurant Impossible, I thought it might be fun to re-run this post from the archives.


I am the super fan of all things HGTV – Property Brothers, Design Star, House Hunters (omg – House Hunters International!!). I get to fulfill my desire to be a voyeur, wonder what it would be like to move to the coast of Spain, and pile disdain upon the aforementioned house-hunters who, in my estimation, make the wrong decision.

One of my new faves is Love It or List It in which interior designer Hilary Farr and real estate agent David Visentin battle it out to see if the featured homeowners will stay in their current home (with lots and LOTS of design and renovation changes) or if they will take the plunge and move.  Granted, it’s a Canadian import which has been running for years, but I only recently got sucked in after HGTV started airing the episodes.

Predictably formulaic and more than likely ‘staged,’ it’s still an enjoyable show.  At the onset of each episode we meet the family who are facing a dilemma because they’ve either outgrown their house (often due to the addition of new family members) or they’ve neglected their house to the point of it needing major repairs/renovation to make it livable.  The battle lines are drawn because one (or some) of the family members has a great desire to abandon the abode and the other family member(s) is determined to stay in place.

While watching a recent marathon over the weekend (sigh), it struck me that there are similarities to the employment experiences in our organizations.   Leaders and HR professionals must continually ask the question “will they love us or leave us?” because:

  • When something has changed in the employee’s life they may begin to explore leaving. This could be as early as week 1 of their tenure or after 10 years of internal career growth.  The addition of new family members may lead to the employee wanting flexible work, needing better employee benefit offerings, or simply desiring a change because some other aspect of their life has shifted.
  • When the original perceived value has declined the employee may believe it’s easier to start over.  For the homeowner this comes about when there’s a decline in property value due to economic conditions, property taxes rise, there are changes in the neighborhood or there is some other altered state brought about by external forces.  In our organizations this often arises when we over-promise (“You’ll get a promotion within 12 months! “We’ll absolutely pay for you to get your MBA!” “Of course you can work from home!  We encourage workflex arrangements!”) and fail to deliver.
  • When we, the employer, are not meeting their needs anymore they may start reviewing their options.   Just as Hilary (the decorator) does on the TV show we have the opportunity to tap into the human desire for shared memories, history and the perceived value of various intangibles. Quit often on the show the homeowners opt to stay where they are because they have happy memories, love their neighborhood or feel some other emotional tug that anchors them to their existing home.  But we can’t assume that this (or having a friend at work which is often cited as a reason employees remain and are engaged) is enough – employees are often wondering “what have you done for me lately?”
  • When the employee thinks something better exists out in the marketplace they may begin searching for other opportunities.  If employees feel underpaid, undervalued, or believe they are viewed with the same regard as a piece of office furniture they may start testing the waters.   Much like the homeowners on “LI or LI” they may have unrealistic expectations of what their ‘renovation budget” will buy, but once they’ve made that mental switch in their mind to begin looking we run the risk of losing them.

I’m not sure, over the run of the show, how many people have chosen to “Love It” versus how many have chosen to “List It.”

But I sure know how many people in my organizations made the choice to “Leave It.”


image courtesy of Hilary Farr Design