Revenge Can Be A Bitter Pill

Whilst revenge can be sweet for disgruntled employees it can be a bitter pill for those that have to clear up the mess. A disguntled employee can make life very difficult. The most common ways that employees take revenge for actual or believed wrongs can include writing articles that outline internal problems, spreading unfounded rumours and even sabotage and in the internet age uploading pictures or information that gets repeated around the world.

Taco Bell and that picture
Take a look at the photo below where an employee ofTaco Bell is seen licking some Taco shells. It’s not clear what the origin of the photo is nor if the tacos were destined for customers or the trash…but the dameage is done. Taco Executives are trying to minimise damage as the picture found its way onto their Facebook page and then was shared all over the world.

Such an action from disgruntled staff is rare but an always present danger.
Advice that I give companies is to always have clauses in the staff handbook that would make clear the actions the company could take, even after the employee has left. Another protection, which Taco have now learned, is to restrict and monitor uploads to company websites and the company social media pages.

Stephen Harvard Davis

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What Should Google Do?

Margaret Hodge’s interrogation of Matt Brittin, Google’s Northern Europe Boss, when she described Google as doing evil” by not paying more tax than Google was obliged to under current international tax laws was great television. On the surface it seems unfair to blame Google for doing what all companies do…make profits. It also needs to be remembered that legally all companies are required to maximise returns for its shareholders. Isn’t this what Google what was doing?

Margaret Hodge Chair Public Accounts Committee

Would you contribute more because the country needs it?
Google has the law on its side but I suspect it’s more complicated than that. Politicians, the public and smaller businesses see large companies like Google, Starbucks and Amazon just not playing fair when the rest of us and smaller companies are taking on a larger tax burdon.

It seems that we are expecting “the bigger boys” in business to go beyond the letter of the law. Be better citizens than is required. Yet I think that the reality is that it’s up to politicians to structure tax laws correctly. After all how much voluntary payment, above their tax obligation, is the correct level? What amount would satisfy the Government and Ms hodge?

Another question, to us all, would you make avoluntary contribution to pay more tax than you are obliged because ” the country needs it”. And what percentage of your income would that contribution be?

An issue for Google
Apart from the tax issue I suspect an issue for Google, and possibly for Starbucks and Amazon is the attraction of their companies being an “ethical place to work for and do business with”, an important issue for Generation Y. Indeed insiders in Google tell me that morale in the company has taken a huge knock as some employees are upset by the attacks on the company they work for. The issue could make attracting the best bright young talent difficult in the future?

If a company is viewed as being immoral, unthical and even evil can it recover from those labels. Certainly Starbucks have suffered, Amazon and Google may be less affected but I wonder if Google will be listening to their team members with greater attention over the next few months. A positive internal morale takes a long time to develop and is strongly linked to a culture of behaviour…it can be destroyed much more quickly

Stephen Harvard Davis

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A fascinating meal of Burger and Chips

It’s refreshing when I encounter a leader that delivers change by making sense of the change process
Last night I spend a facinating few hours with Phil Jones, MD of Brother UK Ltd.
Over a burger and chips Phil and I discussed how he had restructured his team.

Phil Jones MD Brother Ltd

It would be impossible to record everything we talked about. So much of what he had to say around team management and generating increased productivity interested me, particularly as we obviously share the same outlook.

What impressed me was his emphasis on the importance he attached to his leadership style of emotional intelligence. It allowed him to deliver the far reaching change he needed to implement and with his colleagues support (even those that were disadvantaged). There were three things that struck me. The first was that he

referred to all those in his team as “Colleagues”, employees was a title he rejected as not desirable or helpful in team relations.

The second thing was his sense of fun. For instance He permanaently gave up his reserved car space. The first day he announced the decision he offered free coffee all day to the first person who first occupied it the following day. He was even able to show me a picture of the car that had arrived very early to park in the space once reserved for the boss. I wonder how many CEO’s would consider doing the same?

The third thing that struck me was his emphasis on agile work groups to avoid boredom. A work practice that could reduce turnover of good talent if adopted by other businesses.

I shall be watching Brother Ltd with renewed interest and suggest that others do to

Stephen Harvard Davis

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Why don’t people remember…?

Last week a Company Director phoned Assimilating-Talent and was talking to me about his frustration with communicating change to his employees. He told me that “People don’t read stuff”.
Actually his frustration was that his employees seemed not to remember information.

I pointed out that this shouldn’t be a surprise when you look at how information is available and the way people retrieve it. Wikipedia doubling each year, over 200 million searches on “Tax advice” from Google, staff handbooks that run to 100 pages or more, 200 emails a day into their inbox and so on. People don’t need to remember information any more, they just need to know how to retrieve it.

Another result of all this information is that people are reading information differently. They scan for keywords as they hunt for specific topics, they read horizontally dipping in and out of text and store information, without reading it, for later reading.

This has huge implications for how organisations communicate with their people. The frequency of that communication and what people are being asked to look at. Possibly, instead of large memos, a shorter one line asking people to read: ‘“Section 2.4” of the change programme as this has changed‘.

Someone who I follow and talks huge sense on the topic of communication with people and businesses is Chris Street, The Bristol Editor and I would recommend a discussion with him if you want to improve your internal communication

Stephen Harvard Davis

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The gap between expectation and delivery

I read with interest in People Management that
of the changes that leaders and managers think are most important for
success are currently not being delivered by their organisations.

In a survey by the Centre for Educational Leadership
at the University of Manchester delegates at the latest CIPD Conference were asked their opinions on the importance of
various aspects of business performance. They were then asked which
aspects their organisations were currently delivering effectively. The
gaps between expectation and delivery were marked.

  • Effective
    HR business partnering was identified by 65 per cent as important to
    achieve, yet only 33 per cent said they had it in place
  • Harnessing the
    ideas of employees was cited as a priority for 69 per cent, but only 35
    per cent said they already did it well
  • Performance management processes
    were seen as important by 62 per cent, but just 21 per cent were
    confident with what they had in place.
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Gifted employees need not be hard to find

despite the high levels of unemployment many of the businesses that I talk to are finding difficulties in hiring gifted and talented people to join their teams.

This is backed up by the recent research from the CIPD talent planning survey 2011 that found that 52% of businesses are finding it difficult to fill vacant positions with the talent they need to do the job. The CBI suggests that more than half of their members aren’t confident of finding talent to meet their needs.

So what can a business do to find gifted employees?

  1. Consider using job boards such as those on LinkedIn and Facebook
  2. Consider using on-line groups and forums to say you are seeking talent
  3. Ensure that you are looking for the talent that will match the business strategy
  4. Consider internal candidates
  5. Consider if the job, benefits and profile of your business will attract the very best and if not then restructure the position so that it will be attractive to the talent you are looking for
  6. Calculate your talent needs for the present, medium and long-term and create strategies to deliver these
  7. Don’t be too rigid in recruiting the “very best”. The perfect employee doesn’t exist. But make sure you capture the “best available” before your competitors.
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Is There An Employment Revolution?

This is an answer I made to a question on Linkedin today about the failure of leaders to sack under- performing people. I thought it worthwhile also posting my answer onto my blog so that more of my network could read it.

I believer that business is going through a revolution.

In past credit squeezes firms and Governments would shed talent to reduce costs (the UK Government is about to do this again by reducing civil service personnel by up to 25%). The result was that essential knowledge and skills were lost and recovery took longer as a result.
So, this time round, firms have attempted to retain their talent, even those less productive, as leaders hope for a quick upturn. The problem is that the upturn is slow in the west.

Further problems are that with coming food inflation and possible grain shortages, extended insecurity as the credit crunch continues and Government policy that increases tax whilst reduces spending businesses are now being forced to start to look to their staff costs. This means that some of the “good” people will be shed as well as the “bad” and that the trend is to hire part-time employees.

I suspect that the result is that the “business revolution” will generate a significant percentage of the working population having a number of part-time jobs as opposed to a single full time position. (including professional firms such as lawyers, accountants and financiers)

There is security in this position for employees who may be “shed or fired” in that income is not reliant on one employer and totally and immediately lost on redundancy whilst the employer has a capability of expanding and contracting a workforce more easily.

So, in my opinion, it’s not “under-performers being hired or fired” it’s that we may be witnessing a change in the way employment may work in the future.