Johnny C. Taylor Jr.
Johnny C. Taylor Jr. tackles your human resources questions as part of a series for USA TODAY. Taylor is president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest HR professional society and author of “Reset: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval.”
The questions are submitted by readers, and Taylor’s answers below have been edited for length and clarity.
Have a question? Do you have an HR or work-related question you’d like me to answer? Submit it here.
Question: My company conducts about half of our meetings remotely, and about a third of our employees work full time remotely. We’ve had some recent incidents of disrespectful and unprofessional behavior. How can we best address our behavior and standards in a remote environment? – Raphael
Answer: I’m sorry to hear that. Disrespectful and unprofessional behavior cannot be tolerated, regardless of where employees are physically working. First, consider creating a policy addressing employee behavior and expected conduct if you still need one. Make it clear to employees that the policy applies to everyone, both in person and remotely. You may even want employees to sign an acknowledgment of the policy to level set expectations.
Start by creating a pathway for employees to report inappropriate behavior. They should know who to contact and the process for doing so. Employees should feel free to reach out without fear of retaliation.
Also, consider providing ongoing training. This can help employees understand behavioral and professional expectations and help people managers be aware of their responsibilities when employees exhibit unprofessional and disrespectful behavior. You could also include civility training. In fact, research shows only 1% – 6 % of employees report incivility to managers. Do not just define civility but also list your expectations and provide examples of incivility in the workplace – including remote work.
Lastly, lead by example and expect the same from your managers. Set the tone in your workplace by embodying the attitudes and behaviors that reflect your organization’s values.
If remote employees continue the disrespect and unprofessionalism, have your managers document these occurrences and follow progressive discipline policies. Provide honest feedback to employees about unacceptable behavior, with specific examples. Let your employees know what appropriate behavior looks like and the potential ramifications if they do not show improvement.
The workplace, in person or virtual, is where businesses operate. It is the space where stakeholders gather and conduct commerce. It is worth protecting and preserving. Everybody who contributes should do so with dignity and respect. By holding employees accountable and taking these steps, you will be well on your way to improving your workplace culture and environment.
Tuition assistance:What are the pitfalls of this program for employees? ASK HR
Due respect:What should be done when a co-worker takes credit for someone else’s work? Ask HR
I work in HR for a company focused on aggressive external recruiting. However, we’ve recently suspended hiring in response to a decline in business. As we move to purely internal activities, what are some things we can focus on to contribute to our company’s growth? – Lee
Even when you can’t add talent, there are several approaches available to continue enhancing your organization. I’ll share four important initiatives to focus on your company’s growth and retain existing talent:
1. Internal transfers and promotions. Talent acquisition and retention specialists should be well-versed in skill assessment. They can turn their attention inward to the existing workforce and use assessments to promote and transfer qualified employees to new positions. In addition, consider restructuring your organization to address your staffing needs.
2. Create an upskilling program. Upskilling involves growing your employees’ knowledge, skills, and abilities, which can help them advance in either their careers or enable them to pursue different career paths. Employees who feel valued and engaged are more productive, which can result in your company achieving its long-term business goals. You can also use upskilling to focus on competencies critical to supporting your company’s strategic plan and meeting staffing needs in a labor shortage environment.
3. Consider a job swapping program. Job swapping allows two employees in different departments to swap or trade jobs for a defined period. A well-thought-out program will have cross-training and procedures to follow to help employees be successful. It can also help determine if employees are in the right roles and make informed decisions about permanent job changes if needed. Having employees in the right roles ultimately benefits your company by increasing productivity.
4. Establish a job rotation program. This type of program allows promising employees to try out a variety of different jobs within the organization. The timing of each job rotation is up to you, and it could include multiple employees between several departments. This option helps employees broaden their skills and achieve their career goals, ultimately enabling your company to meet or exceed your goals.
One essential benefit of internal mobility is using the process as a part of your diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging strategies to promote career advancement. The best way to address diversity concerns based on gender, race, age, and other criteria, is to select qualified internal candidates for advancement. This helps eliminate the diversity challenges hindering career growth for your employees if they move to other organizations. It can also help improve your company’s reputation when you are ready to resume external recruiting.
These benefits may not fully resolve your staffing needs since external recruiting can bring in new perspectives and increase the attempt to address your diversity initiatives. However, as you review and work on your external recruiting plan and strategies, internal mobility does tackle some internal staffing challenges while also driving business strategies.
Story Credit: usatoday.com