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People Management

With some employees, it isn’t a matter of ability, it’s a matter of attitude. And while you can’t control someone’s horrible personality, you can decide how you’re going to respond. Use these scripts and strategies to confront problem employees and effectively manage employee discipline so you can bring motivating back to the forefront of your workday.

The first rule of people management is not to let one bad apple spoil your whole bunch. Difficult people can put a strain on the productive members of your team.

Make the most of your human capital. Browse our articles on the good, the bad and the ugly of People Management…

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There are dozens of business books on how to motivate employees. But almost no one talks about how to inspire employees.
A reflection on quality teaching and ways to facilitate “knowledge transfer” within your organization.
Thoughts on ways to challenge your staff to sharpen their analytical skills.
While you can’t dole out happiness pills, learn how you can spread optimism to fortify employees against adversity.
I need some good employee-appreciation ideas—that don’t cost a lot of money. My company has about 500 employees working in different departments. I just started in HR about six months ago, and they don’t even recognize birthdays! I’d like to start an employee appreciation program. Some examples would help me sell the idea to top management. Can you share what you do in your company?—Rhonda, Miss.

Whether it's deserved or not, the perception that management is "against" employees, once earned, is difficult to shake. That's why it's so important for supervisors and HR to treat all employees fairly and consistently at all times, especially when it comes to discipline. These five questions can help managers gauge whether their discipline is fair. BONUS: 7 tips for documenting your disciplinary process.

Q. We are a nonunion shop. One of our employees is currently under investigation for sexual harassment. He has asked to have a representative present during all meetings and interviews related to the investigation. Do we have to permit him to have representation?

Inappropriate attire … tardiness … poor work habits ... sexually offensive behavior … personal hygiene. HR professionals are routinely forced to discuss those uncomfortable topics with employees. What's the most awkward conversation you've ever had to have with an employee? How did you approach the discussion? How did it turn out?—The HR Specialist Forum Editors

Virtually every federal employment law has an anti-retaliation provision—they would be toothless tigers without them. Employees who can’t prove outright discrimination often try the retaliation route. The EEOC handled a record-high 33,613 retaliation complaints in 2009. As a result, employers must tread carefully when dealing with an employee who has exercised his or her rights under any federal law.

Charlie, a manager at a cosmetics firm, discusses the changing nature of his relationship with his employees during the economic slowdown.
Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you want to spoon-feed employees with your wisdom. Welcome honest feedback from everyone.Thoughts on accepting feedback.
When you meet with employees, begin by stating your “what and why”—what you want to discuss and why now.
Ideas for motivating your staff without monetary incentives.
Keeping written records of an employee’s substandard actions or behavior gives you more disciplinary options if problems worsen. Here are some ideas to properly documenting events.
Worrying about money poses a particularly serious health risk in this economy. Even if your bank account is fine, consider your employees’ ?financial woes.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Nothing wins lawsuits like good records. Tell all managers and supervisors that HR won’t approve any disciplinary action without a copy of the documentation used to justify the decision ...

At Arizona American Water, HR goes “overboard” with employee communication, says Senior HR Manager Linda Stillman, sending electronic newsletters around the office, paper newsletters to employees’ homes and setting up teleconferences to share information.

Do you have ready access to your organization’s discipline records? Can you say with certainty that everyone charged with the same misconduct receives the same punishment? Or is there bias hiding in those records? The best way to check is to group discipline by type of misconduct and punishment ...

Layoffs, pay cuts and an uncertain economy have left many organizations with fewer employees to do the work—often for the same or less money. Not all of those employees are handling it well. Here are nine ways you can deal with economy-induced employee stress and help your employees focus on their work:

Charlie, a manager at a cosmetics firm, reflects on the changing nature of his relationship with his employees during the current economic slowdown.
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