"Love Contracts" are a bad idea

Despite the growing popularity of so-called ‘love contracts’, they’re a really bad practice.

While any manager would strongly prefer to eliminate workplace romance, the fact is that they’ve been going on for generations and will continue to do so.

You walk a fine line between imposing your will on an employee’s private life and their performance at work.

In California, it’s against the law to prohibit employees from dating, although it’s acceptable to prevent supervisors from dating subordinates.

A good ‘best practice’ is to monitor your employees performance. If it drops off (for any reason – including a workplace romance) – then manage the performance, and not their personal life.

Are You A Bully (or just a demanding) Boss?

Nearly half of all workers feel their boss is a bully.

There’s a fine line between being a demanding boss, and crossing that line as a bully. The best practice is to clearly lay out your expectations to each employee, and inspect what you expect.

One of the most important management practices is to constantly self-evaluate your performance as a manager (and those of your supervisors). A 180 degree survey is an excellent first step.

Pregnant Employees – DO NOT Fire Them!

I continually get questions about pregnant employees, just like the question in this article.

This is a really good response – and a caution to any employer who’d like to terminate or discipline an employee just because she’s pregnant.

Policies on Blogging

In the never-ending world of revising your Employee Handbook, here’s the latest need for an additional policy – blogging at work.

Don’t laugh – it’s becoming a major issue, and you have the right to make sure that only business-related activities are conducted at work.

If you don’t have a policy in writing, then how can you possibly discipline an employee? You cannot discipline an employee if there was no policy they violated!

The Carrot or the Stick?

I just bought this book on the basis of an article I read at CNN.com. It goes to one of the principles in my book: employees want and need to be rewarded, and the rewards to you for positive recognition are just about unlimited.

Do your managers regularly recognize good performance, or are they ignoring good performance with the expectation that ‘that’s what they’re supposed to do’?

Positive recognition – and knowing how and what to praise for – is essential. Make sure it’s happening.

What Are You Doing To Retain Your Employees?

Wow. 75% of all employees are looking to change jobs before the end of the year. The cost to interview, train, and manage an new employee is approximately 70% of that employee’s salary (if they earn $50,000 per year, then it costs you – the employer – about $35,000 extra!

This is a good article on the basics of retaining employees. Remember – the single most important reason an employee stays with a company is if they’re happy. That should be of paramount importance to you and your managers.

Sexual Harassment – It’s Not What Your Preconception Is

The traditional notion of sexual harassment is man-woman. That’s no longer the case!

Even if your company has all female (or all male) employees, the need for training is still critical (and in California, mandatory for businesses with 50 or more employees).

Update your training – or start your training – right away.

The Pitfalls of Layoffs

If you need to layoff employees, make sure the criteria you use is both consistent and business-related. There is a huge potential for accusations of discrimination when laying off employees.

Also, note the differences between a ‘lay-off’ and ‘termination’.

A lay-off is done for business reasons and it means the elimination of a position(s) that will not be re-opened again (or at least for a very long time).

A termination is a specific action against a specific employee. The position will be filled again.