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HR Basic: Departures

It happens…people will leave your business or company. How you deal with those who leave your employ will speak volumes about you and your company.

You don’t want good employees to leave. However, you can’t wait until the negative attitude employee walks out of the door.  Dealing with a person’s departure from your business can be a mixed bag of reasons and emotion. Regardless of how you feel personally about the employee – dignity and respect is key. Let them keep their dignity and respect, in turn you will have earned even more respect in their eyes.

How do you to that? here are some tips.

It starts will treating the employee well while they are working for you.  This does not mean letting them do what they want, it means being fair, coaching and clear communication.  Think back to you favorite boss. Did they always let you have your way? Did they let you wander around aimlessly? Probably not. Your favorite boss was probably very demanding, coached you along the way, and let you start to sink in the deep end before tossing you the life saver.

If you don’t treat your people well while they are working for you, treating them well when they exit will cause confusion, a disconnect and make them wonder what you are up to (in their mind it will mean you are up to no good).

People leave your company one of two ways, voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary is when the employee resigns. Involuntary is when you ask an employee to leave.

When an employee resigns you may be angry or disappointed. You will need to set these emotions aside in order to handle the resignation professionally.  You will need to have a conversation with the employee who is leaving. To gain insight into your business, discuss the following:

  • Did they actively look for a new position? Why?
  • Were they contacted directly? What about the new position was of interest to them?
  • If the employee is one you would have been interested in keeping: What could you have done to keep them with the company?
  • What do you and/or the company do well?
  • What do you and/or the company need to improve?
  • Would the employee recommend a friend to work at the company? Why or why not?

You may want to ask about clients, supervisors, peers, etc. all of these are good questions to ask about. The objective of the conversation with the departing employee is for a day-to-day view of your company.  Before you start to talk to the employee make sure they understand what your objective is and how this conversation will NOT affect the time the have left at the company. Employees will usually be more open about their feelings about the workplace once they have decided to leave.

How you treat people who you are asking to leave can be harder – both mentally and emotionally. People may have gotten themselves fired by violating policy, by being poor performers or you are reducing staff. Regardless of why you have asked an employee to leave, the same rules apply – respect and dignity.

A couple tips to keep in mind:

  • Clearly explain why the employee is being asked to leave
  • Discreetly ask your IT person/department to disable the employees email and computer access
  • DON’T escort your employee to their desk or the door – it’s demeaning
  • Allow the employee to say good-bye to their coworkers
  • Ask employee if they would prefer to clear their desk today or would they rather schedule another day or would they prefer their personal items sent to them

Remember when an employee loses their job it is traumatic – be gentle and firm at the same time. Allow some flexibility and allow the employee to leave with their head held high.

How you treat an employee upon their departure speaks to your character and your company’s values.  The employees who still working for you, will gain a new respect for you as well.

Get assistance in handling employee departures by contact us: info@focushr.biz

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HR Basic: Recruitment

You have decided to hire a new employee, you are growing or replacing someone. Yeah! Then the dread sets in about the process, you may loose a little confidence in your ability to find the right person or you rush through it and wonder why the new person doesn’t work.  All this can be avoided with planning and a process. In recruitment consistency is key – not only for your sanity but to ensure you are hiring right the first time and every time.

The more you have a system in place the dread, insecurity and turnover will disappear.  Each time you go through the process you will get more comfortable and become a pro.

Let’s talk about the process.  This is what a call my D.I.A.L. I.N.T.O. Recruitment process, the acronym gives you each step of the process and makes it easy to remember. While this is a subject I can talk about for hours (and have), I will give you a summary to help you get started.

D – Description of Position

Nothing formal is needed here, it can even be on sticky notes attached to your computer monitor. Before you look at one resume, speak to a candidate or write an ad – this must be done. Write down what skills are needed,  attitude, or  personality  desired, and nice to have attributes.

I – Interview Questions

From the description, write down the questions you want to ask each candidate to see how they measure up to the job. These will be the minimum questions you ask each person you interview. This will allow you to compare apples-to-apples since everyone is answering the same questions.

A – Ad Creation

Be creative and make people interested in your company. When describing the position be honest, emphasize the skills needed, and talk about your culture. This is no different than your marketing campaign. Reach out to your target audience – the perfect employee.

L – Look over resumes

You will receive lots (and lots) of resumes for your position – how do you screen them? Take a look at your requirements and look for them on the resume (or cover letter). Don’t focus on job titles, they can be deceiving and vary from company to company. Also, don’t toss someone aside just because they are from a different industry – they may have some very transferable skills that you can use. Instead look at their accomplishments and skills.

I – Interview Candidates

Now you get to call the candidates and ask them the questions you have written. I suggest a phone interview to review their career and skills and then an in-person interview to dig deeper into their back ground.  Keep notes! Again, nothing formal is needed but if you are interviewing several people over a week, you may forget what someone told you.

N – Notify Candidates of outcome

One of the hardest things about being a candidate for a position is not knowing where you stand.  If someone is not right for the position – call or write them. If the process is going to be delayed for whatever reason – tell them. This communication will not only reassure candidates, it will eliminate the calls to you checking in on their application and it will work as PR for your company as they will speak positively about you.

T – Talk to references

Regardless of how you much you like someone and want to offer the position on the spot – check their references. Talk to people who have worked with them or for them.  Ask about the same skills and attitude you are interested in.

O – Offer employment

Here’s the final step of the process – offer them the job! This is the fun part, after all who’s not excited about a new job. Where most people fall short here is not following up with a letter to confirm the offer. Too many times there is a misunderstanding about the hours, pay, start date or benefits. Put it in writing and send it to them before they start. A lot easier to correct any misunderstands before they start working for you.

Don’t let the recruitment process get you down, cause you to procrastinate or hire the first person who walks in the door. Follow the process and enjoy.

Need help in getting your recruitment program off the ground, or need coaching on any of the steps of the process – contact us at info@focushr.biz.  Coming soon – The D.I.A.L. I.N.T.O. Recruitment Workbook!

Happy Recruiting!

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HR Basic: Coaching

When you think of coaching – what image comes to mind? Is it the sports coach who is giving you direction from the sidelines? Is it a person who spend one-on-one time with to improve – either personally or professionally? Maybe it’s the career coach who helped you find a job? Or the business coach who helped you increase your business?

All of these are great examples of coaches. An educated guess would say that you have probably experiences several coaches during your life so far. Knowing this – would you consider yourself a coach?

As a business owner, manager, director, supervisor – you need to be a coach. I would go so far to say that it is a basic requirement if you have people working for you. This statement can make some people cringe because they have images of scheduled one-on-one time with each employee to have a discussion of the week or month. While something this formal can work, the suggestion here is to be more informal.

Let’s give coaching a broader definition:    all aspects of one-on-one communication with your employee, subordinate, peer, associate or whatever term you use.  Therefore this would include training, development, performance expectations, on-the-spot and long-term. Before your head starts spinning out of control let me explain.

Think of coaching as a step beyond communication. Most communication can be one way – me giving directions to you. If you open it up to be more two-way communication, incorporating the above is a lot easier.

Imagine if you took time to have employees come up with their own solutions instead of giving them the answers? Imagine an employee coming up to you and telling you about how they want to learn more? Imagine not having to do formal performance reviews because everyone is already aware of what’s working and what’s not? Imagine a conversation about long-term goals without a requirement to have one?

Doesn’t that sound great! That is what being a coach to your employees is all about. You passing along your knowledge, expectations, and teaching in a manner that appears natural and easy.

This usually leads to the next question – HOW?

Start with on-the-spot coaching. This is using everyday questions to coach.  The next time one of your employees comes to you and asks a question – don’t answer. Instead as them what they think? What do they want to do? How would they resolve it? Ask them to explain their thought process and make corrections as needed.

One word of warning – the first time you do this, you will be catching people of guard.  They will not know what to think and may need a few minutes to gather their thoughts. Be patient.  They will get used to it. You will also need to make sure you don’t slip back into “I’ll just tell you what to do” mode, this will be a step backwards.

From there you can more onto long-term, training, development etc. All these conversations require tact and diplomacy. It’s ok to tell people you want to be more of a coach and ask them how you can do that.

Need guidance on how to be more of a coach? Contact us – we are more than happy to help you.

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HR Basic: Open Communication

Here is a topic that generates an interesting debate. What makes it interesting is what constitutes open communication. Most people will agree on the why it is needed, however its doing it and considering the what that makes it complicated.

Try to Google “Open Communication in the Workplace” and you will get over 500,000 web sites. While not reading all of them but doing a quick review, the main topic is about why its needed but not about what it is.

Let’s start with the why open communication is important.  The one word answer: engagement. Engagement is about employee satisfaction, employees caring about what is happening in the business, employees wanting to take care of the customer, employees interested in the sales numbers and employees understanding the direction of the company. Think about it – if all your employees truly cared about all of these items, would you have a better business? Would you have a more profitable business? Would you be able to focus on the strategy and long-term goals of the business?

Absolutely! No wonder everyone can agree that it’s important.

Onto the “what is open communication” and what it looks like and how can you implement it. After all the implementation is where it gets sticky.

Courtesty of PhotoXpressOpen communication is many things, here’s a partial list:

  • constant communication of the vision
  • how employees fit into the vision
  • being open to feedback from employees
  • being open to suggestions from employees
  • informing employees of the business goals
  • giving employees the status of the business goals
  • sharing how employees contribute to the business goals
  • telling everyone the sales projections
  • telling everyone the status of the sales projections
  • sharing stories from or about the customers

Now some of these are easy to share and others are viewed with a skeptical eye. Obviously the financial information usually raises some objections – understandable but it needs to be done. The magic is in how its done!

The best way for everyone to get the same message and not have it filtered by others is to have a meeting. Yes an all employee meeting, town hall, lunch, get together, whatever you want to call it – what’s important is that everyone is there and together. Have these on a regular basis – monthly or quarterly – determine what works best for the company.

Company Vision: As the leader of the company you need to get in front of everyone and talk about the vision. Not just the words on a piece of paper but what it means on a day-to-day basis for your employees and the customers. Take it down to the department level and how each department contributes to the vision, throw in some stories of how it was demonstrated with actual examples. People love the true life examples, they can relate to it and understand what it means. Pick a new department at each meeting.

Employee Feedback/Suggestions: This usually congers up two different images. One of the dusty suggestion box that only gets complaints about what is being done. Two of employees giving you grief for every decision that is made. Start be getting out of the negative mindset and if your suggestion box is dusty and negative – throw it out! Create a new way for people to provide feedback, whether its on a company intranet, in a town hall meeting where you ask for it or keep your door open for people to stop by. You have to be receptive for this to work, this does not mean you have to agree with everyone and everything. What it means is that you are willing to engage in polite discussion about questions, concerns and information. Make sure you let them know that this is meant for constructive feedback and you want people to provide some type of solution as whining and complaining are unacceptable.

Business Goals: You have these and hopefully they are written down. Create a presentation, a poster, anything to let people know what is expected from the business this year.  For example: if one of the goals is to increase your product line – tell them, open it up for suggestions, ask them what customers are saying or asking for.  You don’t have to do this on your own. Let each person help you! As you start working towards the goals, tell everyone the game plan, how they can help, and update the status. Think about it – wouldn’t you love to have everyone helping you achieve the goals?

Customer Stories: Not all of your employees will have direct contact with the customer so they may not know about what is working well, what needs to improve and what simple doesn’t work. You or maybe someone in customer service can provide “the good, the bad and the ugly” or customer success stories or how your product/service helped the customer achieve their goal. The possibilities are endless here. This will also help those who don’t have direct contact understand how they can affect the customer even indirectly.

Financials: This is the one that get the most push back. Owners, CEO’s, CFO’s, etc. always get hesitant about sharing financial information especially in a privately held company. Understandable, however if you want your employees to help with increasing sales and decreasing expenses – you have to tell them something. First make sure all your employees are aware of the confidentiality of the information (include it in your handbook if you have one). Second, share something – maybe the exact numbers make you very uncomfortable, that’s ok – use a chart, graph, percentages of goal and be creative.

If you are not already practicing open communication, get started and reap the rewards.  It has to be done if you want to do more than survive. Open communication is necessary to achieve success – not only with and through your people but through you and your customers.

Write us at andrea@focushr.biz  for a consultation on how we can create an open communication program for you.

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HR Basic: Listening

Remember how your parents would constantly say “listen to me” or “what did I say?”. Well that advice is back to haunt you. We all think we are good listeners, after all we have two ears. I would say in practice we don’t hear everything everyone says or understands what they are not saying. Why is this important?

Do you want to be a great leader? Do you want to be a trusted resource? Do you want your employees to listen to you?

Yes – then how do you start? By listening.  I mean really listening not just hearing the words and shaking your head.  I mean actively listening to hear what the person is saying and possibly what they are not saying. Listening without thinking of your response or getting defensive. Think about the last time you spoke with another person and you felt they weren’t listening. How did make you feel about yourself and about them? Do you want to do the same to the person talking to you?

You have to truly listen to someone to understand them and their thought process. Only with this information can you lead them, they can trust you and they will listen to you. It’s not about you at the beginning, it’s about them – the benefit of this is that in the long run it will return to being about you.

Having young kids I have learned (the hard way) that listening is not a natural skill but a learned one.  We are easily distracted, eager to contribute to the conversation, or worse – tune out. Listening takes effort – a conscious effort to hear the words, understand the point someone is trying to make and not interrupt.

Think about the last time someone came to talk to you, see if you answer these questions: What was the conversation about? Did they finish their story? Did they mention anyone else? What did they need from you? Did you ask any follow up questions?

Go back to that same conversation – and try to answer these questions. Can you tell me if they used sight words (see, look, visual), auditory words (hear, sounds) or kinesthetic words (hands on, do it, let me try)?  Why does this matter, this tells you how a person learns and how they like to process information. If you are listening to a person, within a five minute conversation you should know this. This is how you get them to understand you by using the same words they do. If they need to see something in order to understand it, show them don’t just talk about it. If you want to talk about it, make sure you have an auditory person. The kinestetic person is a hands-on learner and you will have to have them try it for themselves first.

When people know you are interested in them and not just getting your point/opinion across – they will respect you, appreciate you and most of all, they will listen to you! Only with this can you start building trust with those around you.

Want to learn more about understanding other people? Sign up for the bi-weekly newsletter and receive a complimentary copy of “Speaking their Language: Understanding Clients, Vendors, and Employees” Sign up

Give me your thoughts – I’m listening!

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HR Basics: Benefits

Most people when they think of benefits what comes to mind is health care insurance. While this is a big one, it is not the only one. Benefits like employees come in all shapes and sizes. Depending on the size of your business, the competition you face for employees, and the product/service you provide – you may only have to offer a few or you may have to offer many.

One thing that surprises  most people is that at the Federal level, benefits are NOT a requirement – that’s right they are optional. However, and it’s a big HOWEVER there are laws on what needs to be done if you DO offer benefits.  Since states can vary widely on the treatment of benefits, we will only be referring to the Federal level for this article.  Questions about your particular state can searched on your states Department of Labor website.

Let start with some of the more obvious benefits and those that come to mind first:

  • Health/Dental/Vision Insurance
  • Vacation/Sick/Personal Days/PTO

Let’s review these one at a time:

Health/Dental/Vision Insurance

The most common of the benefits and in 2014 most companies will have to offer Health Insurance. We won’t go into detail on this as with each day we are learning more about the Acts requirements.  It is currently not required to have health insurance – however if you do provide it, you are subject to several laws. For the overall managing of the plans you are subject to ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) and HIPPA (Health Insurance Privacy & Portability Act) guidelines. If you have more than 20 employees, you will be required to offer COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) to all employees who leave you employ regardless of the reason. Don’t be intimidated by all the acronyms, your carrier and/or broker can help make sure you are complaint with all these laws.

Vacation/Sick/Personal Days/PTO

This is one of the easiest benefits to give, one of the easiest to be abused, and one of the most competitive to provide. It is the easiest to give since you only need to determine how many days you want to give employees (usually based on length of employment) and give them or better yet – have employees accrue them on each paycheck. Sick days in particular are the easiest to abuse since we are all aware of the “uh uh I’m not feeling good day” call usually on a sunny Friday morning. Which is why personally I like PTO days – doesn’t matter why you are not at work – you are not here – no faking, no lying, no treating employees like children.  You may not be able to offer lots of benefits but by being generous, even if its a little more than your competitor – you will win over people.  People value their time away from work.

There are other benefits you can offer:

401(k) or other retirement plan

Retirement plans are heavily regulated so before you take this step do your research! Plan participants are going after plans who charge high fees. Review various plans and options before you make a decision. Also consider if you will do a match, profit sharing or safe habor.

Special days off

Offer employees their birthday off or their anniversary date with the company or any other fun date. Like above – people value their time off.

Comp time

This would be mostly for salaried employees as a way to show your appreciation for the extra effort and time they contribute to the company. If you want to do this for hourly employees, it has to be done in the same week they work – unless you are a state that pays Over-Time based on 8 hours a day.

Life/Short-Term Disability/Long-Term Disability

These are benefits that you may want to offer and at the same time you hope your employees never take advantage of. You can purchase the coverage for the group  and reasonable rates. For instance the life insurance policy would be for a flat amount per employee. STD and LTD would be dependent on an employees earnings – of the two long-term is usually more cost effective.

Bonus Plans

Bonus plans are very individualized based on your business, budget goals, performance goals, etc. This will take a little more effort as you want to be sure you are rewarding the correct behavior. Or if you have a good year you may decide to distribute an equal amount to everyone to thank them for their efforts. You decide, you plan and then you  implement.


Listed here are some of the average/typical benefits one thinks of – but they are not the only ones.  Here are some unusual benefits you may want to consider:

  • Game Room
  • Nap-time
  • Concierge
  • Discount movie tickets
  • Bagel/donut breakfasts, Ice Cream Fridays, Anything with food

Need help in putting your benefits in action or determining what you should offer.  Contact us today at info@focushr.biz

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HR Basic: Legalities

Over the next seven weeks, I will be expanding on last week’s blog – 7 HR basics for Small Business.

Once you start hiring employees, you have to follow laws – federal, state, municipal or city. Once you start having employees you are responsible not only for the service they provide to you and your customers but for having a workplace that is free from discriminatory practices.  Did I just scare you? I didn’t mean to but keep the following in mind and you will be ok.

The majority of employment laws are Federal and based on the number of employees you have. The smaller you are, the less laws to follow.

Let’s look a the ones everyone has to abide by regardless of size.

  • Payroll – you must pay employees the minimum wage (careful some states are higher than the federal minimum). This is the minimum you pay per hour, of course there is no limit on the maximum (by law).
  • Tax forms – all employees must complete W4’s stating the amount of exemptions they are claiming. The IRS has one for federal taxes. States vary between having their own form or following what people claim on Federal.  Check your particular states Department of Revenue site.
  • I9 forms – this form must be completed by ALL employees (unless they were hired before 11/6/1986). This form is provided by US Citizen and Immigration Service (click here for form & instructions). This must be completed within 3 days of hire. This is unfortunately where I see the majority of errors from small employers. Please take the few minutes necessary to complete the form and store separately from the employee file.
  • Labor Posters – You know those posters that are usually in the employee break areas stating the minimum wage, etc. Those are the posters I am referring to, they are a must and they are free! Yes you can buy the all-in-one posters or you can print from the Department Of Labor (DOL) site, the elaws will walk you through which posters you need depending on your business (click here to access). From here you can also access your State site for their poster requirements.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the Federal Laws by Employee size, all of these are explained in detail on the DOL site:

Up to 14 employees:

  • Civil Rights Act
  • Consumer Credit Protection Act
  • Employee Polygraph Protection Act
  • Equal Pay Act
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
  • National Labor Relations Act
  • Occupation Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
  • Uniformed Services Employment & Re-employment Rights Act (USERRA)

Up to 19 employees:

  • All the above plus
  • Title VII of Civil Rights Act
  • American with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Up to 49 employees:

  • All of the above plus
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

50+ employees:

  • All of the above plus
  • FMLA

100+ employees:

  • All of the above plus
  • WARN
  • EEO-1 report filed annually

If you are federal contractor – there are more and refer to the DOL website.

I realize this looks like one long list (and it is) however if you treat your employees fairly and don’t discriminate – you have little to worry about. There is no reason to not follow these laws.  If you don’t, it can and will result in large fines and penalties – is it worth it?

Contact Focus HR for an audit of your practices and compliance at info@focushr.biz. Focus your time and attention on growing your business, let us check for the legalities.

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7 HR basics for Small Business

This post could easily be titled “Employees, Paperwork, Leadership…oh my!”. I’m sure it would be safe to say that when you decided to start your own business and venture into the world of an entrepreneur – there are many things you anticipated. You anticipated the long hours, tight budgets, having to do your own marketing, and making sales calls.  You also dreamed of how it would be to have flexibility, be the master of your schedule and reaping the rewards of your hard work. You have seen your company grow and now you find yourself hiring others to assist in the work load. Here is the good news/bad news.  The good news is that you have developed from a one person operation to several people or more.  The bad news, these extra people have laws, expectations and dreams of their own that you need to manage.

To assist you on this path and to make the transition from entrepreneur to boss, here are 7 human resource basics to keep you on the road to success.

Legalities.  Having employees means having to follow both state and federal laws, the laws you have to follow vary by the number of employees you have and the state you live in.  You can visit the Department of Labor to learn which federal laws apply to you and through this site you can visit your state’s site. Regardless of size or state – you will have to do the following:

  • All employees must complete tax forms (general rule of thumb – if you are taking money out of someone’s paycheck you will need their signature on a piece of paper)
  • All employees must complete an I9 form (this is the one where an employee declares they are legally able to work in the USA). Go here to get the form and instructions.
  • I9’s must be kept separate from the employee file.

Benefits. Most people don’t realize this but a company does NOT have to provide benefits (yes, this will change for some in 2014 with healthcare reform). You must pay people at least minimum wage but benefits are currently not a requirement. However and this is big HOWEVER – if you do provide benefits there are rules on how they are provided and what has to be done when someone leaves.  For example: if you provide healthcare insurance you will have to abide by COBRA when someone leaves.  States also vary on this so check out your states Department of Labor site for details.

Recruitment. This is how you are going to find people to work for you. You must have a clear plan on the requirements you need, how you will determine if candidates possess the requirements, how you will interview and what you will offer.  For many business owners this can be a difficult task as there is a tendency to hire strictly based on personality or skill instead of a balance between the two.  Spend extra time on the process and don’t rush to hire the first person who walks in the door.

Listen. Having people work for you is a great sense of accomplishment and can be time consuming as well.  If you did your recruitment correctly the next step is to listen.  Listen to their concerns, ideas, thoughts, etc. You don’t have to agree with them but listening and giving your attention will go a long way in building a strong working relationship.

Open Communication. Let those who are around you know what you are up to. Share your plans, ideas, concerns, etc. as much as you are comfortable. Tell them about the new client you are going to see, discuss the new product/service you want to implement, and ask for their feedback. This will allow you to start building your credibility as a leader.

Coach. Your employees aren’t going to think the same way you do or view your business the same way. You need to coach each one on how they fit into the organization, on their position (training) and how to improve. Push the limits, set high expectations, and help them get there.

Departures. Some people will decide to leave or you will ask them to leave.  Treat each person with dignity as they depart and they will become a positive spokesperson for your business.  You never know who they are talking to – future employees, future clients or possibly future investors.

Don’t let your dreams get clouded because you aren’t following the basics. Having employees will help you grow your business your business beyond your expectations – enjoy it!

This is the first in a series of articles addressing the HR basics for small business. Need assistance in getting this done, email me at andrea@focushr.biz

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What were they thinking

Taking a break this week from serious writing and how to improve – to remind you that it could always be worse.  Here are a few stories, all true and yes names have been changed. I will admit at the time they couldn’t be dismissed but dealt with and now just shake my head. Its hard to surprise me these days – the antics, the plans, and the creativity just make me shake my head. Enjoy this amusement break before returning to your regularly scheduled business. Share your stories.

He was kidnapped

After missing two weeks of work with no call, no note, no nothing an employee came to my office to tell me that the reason he wasn’t working was because he was kidnapped.  Unfortunately this story takes place in a country where it is possible. Any other place would have seen me roll me eyes or chuckle.  He walked into my office limping, talking a mile a minute and handed me police reports. Unfortunately for him, he walked out of my office with no limp and had trouble answering my questions about his well-being. The head of security was a former detective and I asked him to check out the reports. Totally fake. The reports were for a purse snatching, car jacking and a fight. Needless to say he didn’t get his job back, although if he would have applied the same creativity to his work – who knows what he could be doing now…

No speak English

This occurred many times but the most memorable was when I was two weeks into my HR career. Yes, fresh and new out of college and it showed me how much people will try to get out of trouble even when they were wrong.  I was working in a hotel and there were two housekeepers who brought a personal disagreement (ok, fight) into work by trying to sabotage each other. This was done by hiding sheets, towels, and the amenities. The two ladies were called into the HR office and had a meeting with the Director of HR. About 5 minutes into the meeting they pulled the “We don’t understand English”, which everyone knew was false. The Director came out of her office and asked me if I would do her a favor by translating. Keep in mind up to this point no one outside of HR knew I was bilingual (speak, read & write Spanish). Of course I said yes and when I went into the office I explained my purpose was only to translate and I would not be changing any words or statements made. It took a few minutes to pick up their mouths off the floor and get them thinking again. Granted this was 20 years ago, but people have to realize the odds of someone else speaking their language is great – after all this is a melting pot of a country.

I stole but want my job back

This is another hotel story, what can I say, when a business is open 24/7 the guests aren’t the only interesting attraction. This time the hotel was having issues with equipment going missing, items made from silver and crystal – chaffing dishes, flatware, wine glasses, etc. There was a big investigation involving secret cameras, undercover buyers, etc. In the end, two employees were arrested for theft and they were caught red handed. After several weeks the police dropped the charges against one of the employees since his case wasn’t as strong and would require a lot more work to prove. Ok, not a problem the mastermind was being held and would be tried. The person that was let go actually had the nerve to come back and ask for his job! Really, you already stole from us once – why would I let you do it again. Needless to say he wasn’t the brains of the operation.

These were the first stories that came to mind – after 20 years I have many, many more.  Share your stories!

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