Tag: human resources certification

How to Handle Awkward Employee Issues

Last Updated: Feb 18, 2014
Employees can present you with some awkward situations, but as the boss, you have to be prepared to deal with them. Here’s how to handle three of the most common difficult conversations you’ll face.

As your company grows and expands, bringing on more employees will be a given. Company culture is a big part of the success of a business. With the right people, anything can happen and powerful minds can come together to do big things.

As with all people, everyone operates differently and has a different perspective on life. A person’s lifestyle, mannerisms and respect meter can influence their performance and the performance and culture of the other staff members as well. Learn how to expertly manage uncomfortable situations and nip them before they become a larger, more serious problem in the workplace.

Hygiene Issues

Everyone has had a day where they rush out of the house and forget to put deodorant on, but if you find that a certain employee is consistently smelly or disheveled, a talk might be in order. In addition to just an off odor or disheveled look, some employees dress for the club rather than the office.

To handle a hygiene or dress concern, pull the employee aside and set a tone of a judgment free, open environment. Mention that yourself and others are concerned about a personal issue and ask if they are okay with you continuing. From there, state the facts objectively and try to offer a constructive, easy to implement a solution. Having this type of talk may awaken an employee to a situation they were not aware of. They will appreciate the honesty and respect you’ve given them by approaching it objectively with solid solutions.

Interoffice Interactions

Gathering around the water cooler and laughing over a funny story is what brings you and your staff closer together. Unfortunately, an interaction can be taken a little too far when someone begins to feel comfortable and lets their guard down. Whether it is a vocabulary concern, vulgar language, or strange mannerisms that include a “casual toucher” or sweet talker, it needs to be addressed immediately to keep the workplace neutral and productive.

Once again, pull this particular employee aside and be honest about your concerns. Use lines like: “Some of your vocabulary terms aren’t appropriate for the office and I’d appreciate you keeping the conversation PG as to not offend anyone,” or “While I know you mean well, some people are uncomfortable with being patted on the shoulder or grabbed by the arm.” Reinforce your concerns and let them know these actions cannot continue any longer and will need to be stopped immediately.

Related: How to Prevent Sexual Harassment in Your Workplace

Respecting Authority

As a company grows and expands, roles often shift or become created to best suit the end needs of the customer and flow internally. This can at times mean that someone who trained an individual is now expected to take orders from them, or that a junior employee with less tenor has now become senior to someone who has been employed longer. Role shifts and promotions can ruffle feathers, create gossip, and cause unwarranted feelings towards one-another.

With this type of awkward HR moment, don’t wake a sleeping dog. Employers want to be proactive about nipping a concern before it becomes a problem, but it’s best to give your staff an honest chance to adapt accordingly. Should the transition not go well, address the staff as a group and explain that you’ve made these shifts based off of pure qualifications and fit for the position. Reiterate that nothing was done with mal-intent and that you really feel it’s the best move for the company’s growth and expansion.

Related: How to Manage Employee Conflicts in a Small Business

The more open and honest of an environment you create, the less of a chance of having these concerns there is. With volume and expansion, they will come up from time to time. Having the skills and knowledge you need to target the concern and handle it like an expert will gain you more respect from your employees all around. 

Jordyn RickardJordyn Rickard is a young marketing professional with over 5 years of experience in marketing and strategy for small and medium sized businesses. With an education in finance and an extensive freelancing background, she’s had the privilege of developing solutions that work for small businesses. Currently, Rickard works as a Success Coordinator for Synduit, a marketing and consulting firm for small businesses. Reach out to Rickard on twitter @jordynatsynduit.


Six Principles to Dramatically Improve The Odds of Startup Success

Last Updated: May 15, 2018
Thinking of starting a business? Your passion can work as a driving force or it can work against you. Here’s how you can channel your enthusiasm towards making your new business a success.

What differentiates successful business ventures from the large percentage of startups—more than half—that fail? After conducting extensive research on the subject, I have concluded that the answer depends on a double-edged quality: passion. The following principles will help enthusiastic entrepreneurs squeeze the most out of their passion, while not being trapped by it:

Too often, passionate entrepreneurs leap head first into a venture before thinking it through. To improve your readiness to succeed as a startup founder, take an honest look at yourself as a founder before leaping. The first step is: Clarify your reasons and your goals. Why are you doing this? What do you hope to achieve? The second critical step is: Understand your entrepreneurial personality. What makes you tick? From there, focus on ways to leverage your skills, assets, resources, and relationships.

Passion is an inner phenomenon, but all healthy businesses are rooted outside the founder, in the marketplace. To turn your passion into profits, emphasize the market—always think about your business relative to the customers you serve; know your markets—strive to understand the needs and preferences of your core customers; and execute on your market opportunity by placing a priority on your customer’s experience and perception of value.

Figure out who your customers are and where you can find them with this free, fillable Market Research Worksheet.

Passionate entrepreneurs tend to develop rose-colored plans, over-estimating early sales and underestimating costs. To convert your passion into tangible business value, emphasize the importance of planning plus math. Write a business plan that makes financial sense for the current needs and future goals of your startup. Construct a compelling math story, covering how the elements of your business will come together in a way that is profitable over time. Address the crucial issue of funding: how much is required and from what sources.

No amount of startup planning can accurately predict the unexpected twists and turns imposed by reality. To succeed, a new venture needs both iteration and agility. Establish an ongoing process for translating ideas into actions and results, followed by evaluation. Test and adapt your concept as early as possible. Work on continually improving the fit between your big idea and the marketplace.

Related: 13 Tips for Starting a Successful Business

Passionate commitment to an idea can breed reality distortion. That is, aspiring entrepreneurs often see only what they want to see and rely on “feeling good” about their venture as their only measure of success. To avoid these dangers, commit to truth-telling and welcome healthy debate, even tough conversation, from the start of your startup. Commit to building the skills essential for high-integrity communication: curiosity, humility, candor, and scrutiny.

Contributing factors aside, most startups fail because they run out of money or time. To lengthen and strengthen your venture’s runway, aim to launch close to the customer (ideally with paying customers already in hand) and raise more money than you’ll think you need. Focus on building personal staying power. Healthy entrepreneurial stamina is not just about the refusal to quit, but is grounded in ongoing learning and improvement.

Related: What Causes Startups To Fail 

In summary, the most successful entrepreneurs have learned how to bring the very best of their passion without being blinded or limited by it. If you are launching the next big idea, or thinking about it, you can dramatically improve your odds of success by (1) preparing yourself, (2) grounding your business idea in market reality, (2) paying close attention to the financial health of your venture,  (4) staying flexible to new data and learning, (5) celebrating all news, both “good” and “bad,” and (6) continually looking for ways to stay in the game until you win it.  

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Starting a business can be overwhelming! Use this free
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John Bradberry has improved the performance of hundreds of teams and more than a thousand leaders over two decades as an entrepreneur, consultant, and investor. He is the author of 6 Secrets to Startup Success: How to Turn Your Entrepreneurial Passion into a Thriving Business, and is CEO of ReadyFounder Services (www.ReadyFounder.com).

Business Know-How/Attard Communications, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.


Don’t Let Fear of Failure Slow Your Business Growth

Last Updated: Jul 16, 2018
Is your fear of failure causing you to turn down opportunities that could help your business grow? Of course you want to be smart about your business, but for it to grow, sometimes you have to take risks. Get past your fear of failure so you don’t hold your business back.

Failure – it’s one of people’s biggest fears in the business world. They fear it so much they end up running from anything that seems like it would lead to it. This causes them to miss great opportunities that could have resulted in big success

Instead of running away from failure – what if you ran to it? What if you took every opportunity, and didn’t worry about it failing? This would likely lead to many failures, but some really great growth opportunities for your business.

The problem is getting over the high anxiety of failure. The good news is that all it takes is changing your perception, and using failure to help you rather than hurt you. This is how you can do it.

The reason you fear failure is because you believe it’s a bad thing.  That makes sense since even as a child you were probably told doing something incorrectly was bad. Now is the time to look at not doing something right as a good thing.

Your first reaction to failure is probably anger and frustration. After you get over that, you become depressed. Why? Because you wanted a different outcome, and you didn’t get it. You’re mad you didn’t get it and you’re really sad that you’re going to have to end that dream.

Instead of ending it, see how you can change things. For example, you tried a new marketing plan. You made NO money from it. Instead of dropping it, why not figure out what made it unsuccessful and change that part of it?

The more you fail, the more you learn. Take the lessons you get from the fails, and use them to do something different. It doesn’t have to be something radically different, just enough that you may end up with different results.  

Just because something doesn’t work out, it doesn’t mean it failed. Something only fails when you abandon it completely. Moving forward with whatever you’re doing shows you’re working on making it a success. 

Sometimes, you have to abandon what hasn’t worked out. This doesn’t mean you can’t use what you learned. For example, you have a client who is unhappy with your work. It was unsatisfactory because the client believes it was low quality or didn’t follow the instructions given. You can take this information and beat yourself up, or you can move on and use it to better your business.

If the client believes it was low quality, find out why. Take that information and use it to ensure other work you do for other clients isn’t the same. If the work didn’t follow instructions, be sure to be more mindful of instructions from other clients. This may have been a good lesson in how you need to step that part up, which will make your others clients happy with you.

RELATED: 10 Things to Learn from a Business Failure

When you are able to learn from unhappy clients, failures won’t make you feel so bad. Not only that, they will help you do more for others, which will in turn lead to more referrals and business. If you’re able to do that, those failures turn into more money!

Don’t look at failure like it’s a horrible thing that will destroy you. Look at it as an opportunity to grow your business.

All you have to do is step back, look at what happened, and plan what you’re going to do to keep the same thing from happening. It’s all part of the growing pains of business. Learn to love it. 

RELATED: 10 Questions to Ask to Grow Your Business

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