Workplace lnvestigations How to handle the ‘He Said / She Said’ situation

Nothing halts an investigation like the he said/she said situation. So what happens when a line of questioning hits this wall? How do you make sure that you get the whole picture? How do you know where the truth ends and personal perception begins? Most notably, how do you make sure you don’t get wrapped up in the stories? It’s important to remember that an employee should not face disciplinary action unless there is concrete evidence to support the need. Likewise, if an investigation is deemed inconclusive and no action is taken the employer runs the risk of liability for […]

Conlicts? Try Alternative Dispute Resolution

Nearly all disputes between employees and their managers (or the company for which they work) can be resolved through forthright, honest communications. But in a fast-moving, complex business environment, conflicts and differences can arise which need the intervention of someone who is not directly involved. For those occasions, some organizations provide a formal process of resolution that can involve up to five steps. Alternative Resolution is an internal process that allows employees to resolve employment disputes with the company in confidence and without fear of reprisal. What kinds of disputes are covered? In general, any dispute that arises from a […]

Applying Al-Anon Teachings at Work

A passage from Al-Anon text reads, “Let me reflect how much damage I may have done, and may still do, by saying the first thing that comes to mind. Let me realize that the worst reaction of unbridled anger falls upon me. What I say in a single moment of uncontrolled rage can have inconceivable long-range consequences.” Reading this in the morning, and then again a few hours later, the words began to sink in. I might add that while these sentences are not necessary intended for the workplace, there is certainly an ability to apply them so. While it […]

Coaching and Counseling

Most people in business can relate to this situation: There’s a person on your team or in your department who you enjoy working with and who shows true potential. This same person also has room for polishing. Let’s say this employee’s demeanor around the office is very pleasant and engaging but her customer-service skills are less than stellar. You know she’s teachable but she can also be defensive and/or sensitive. Your next counseling technique could save or destroy a chance for this employee to stay with the team. If she does stay, your coaching tactics will determine whether or not […]

Change Management

Think of a time when you had to manage someone’s expectations on something that was changing. It can be something from work – a change in process or a change in staff, perhaps. It can also be something on a smaller scale – a change in logistics for a family gathering or community fundraiser. In either element, change management always plays a part. Organizations will always see ebbs and flows in their methods and processes. Change is tough for most people – it can be challenging, worrisome, and intimidating. How do we face change in our organization, manage all shifting […]

Implicit Bias in the Workplace

Recently, I had the fortunate experience of sitting through a six-hour workshop which focused on implicit bias in the workplace. Implicit biases are your opinions, beliefs, and stance on a multitude of issues and topics that are made at the subconscious level. For the most past, we are mostly aware of our opinions, beliefs, and stances on a conscious, cognitive, level. To dive deeper means to stare into the mirror of introspection and ask ourselves: Why? In order to answer this question honestly, one must take a step back to reflect on things such as birthplace, neighborhood, family dynamics, socio-economic […]

Time Management

I am finding myself saying more often these days that “time is our most precious commodity.” Maybe it seems that way since I am growing older, and it feels like I am running out of time. Pressure at home to spend quality time with my husband, with family and friends, for maintaining a home, etc; and pressure at work where there is increased pressure to deliver on commitments and to achieve more with fewer resources. Lately, it seems that by Friday afternoon, reflecting back on the work week, there remains tasks undone, and not only in the office. I decided […]

What Makes a Top Employer?

More often than not, employees worry about what they need to do for their manager. What do they need to do to keep themselves in the good graces of their boss, to get to that next level, or most basic and important, to keep themselves employed. We’re going to flip the script this week: Let’s explore what makes a good employer. What do top companies do to make sure they attract the quality of individuals they wish? How do they keep them for the long run? How do you make a destination employer? There are many opinions about what makes […]

Reasonable Accommodation

An employee has been absent from work for a few days or so. They come back toting a physician’s note stating they can return to work but with certain conditions. They require a reasonable accommodation. Every employer goes through the murky pathways of handling this situation. What is a reasonable accommodation? Why does an employer need to comply with this? How does it affect the work force? Starting from the beginning, we all understand that Federal law prohibits discrimination based on someone’s actual protected status (race, age, disability, etc.) as well as someone’s perceived status; even if the perception is […]

The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act

The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act became law in our state as of February 11th. This law requires all public and private employers to provide paid and unpaid earned sick and safe leave to eligible employees. According to the new law, an eligible employee can use earned sick and safe time for medical needs, such as, employee or family members mental and physical illness, injury, or medical visits including preventive care. As well, the law provides for maternity or paternity leave (to bond with a child). Other reasons for time-off include recovering from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking (including […]