Category Archives: Managing Employees

Employers are Considering the “Grump Factor”

By Lauri Brown

You are sitting at your desk, reading your email and open the latest missive from your boss. Once again the bonehead has come up with a new direction for your company. You clear your throat and ask the person next to you “Have you seen what the idiot has sent us now?.” In the cafeteria you sit with your co-workers grossing about how stupid this company is. But this doesn’t just happen today. Everyday you find yourself at odds with the management. And while you have always been a “good soldier” and done exactly what was asked of you, you can’t help but let your feelings be known.

Or perhaps you are the more silent type. Sighing, rolling your eyes, and simply showing through your body language that you are greatly put upon.

You might think that if you are really good at your job, and you do everything that has been asked of you that you will remain, in the eyes of your employer, a valuable member of the team.

However, in these times of cutbacks, more and more employers are considering the “grump factor.” Simply put, the grump factor is a measure of how difficult it is to deal with an employee. How grumpy you are.

Recently a Fortune 500 company had to make a 20% cut in their workforce. The management chose the people that were going to be laid off. Every single employee was a hard worker, in fact some off them were the best at what they did. Each employee tried to figure out why THEY were chosen? What was the reason that the more incompetent employees were left standing while they were let go? Was it that they earned more money? Was it a personal vendetta against them? Was it sexism or ageism? Each employee failed to look at where the blame lay. Which was at their own feet. In a discussion with the management they stated that they used the “grump factor.” Employees that had a bad attitude were considered expendable.

Obviously when it comes time to downsize many factors are considered. But more and more employers want to work with people who are easy to deal with.(use mr rogers here) Employees who love what they do, and show others that they love it. I am not talking about a saccharin sweet phony attitude, I mean a sincere joy.

When Barbara Walters is asked by young people “What do I have to do to get ahead?”

She tells them “Don’t complain, don’t whine. Just make yourself so good that they cannot let you go. And don’t be afraid to get the coffee if they ask you to get the coffee.”

Not sure if you’re being perceived as a grump, take this simple test.

Do you find yourself very easily identifying problems with your company and/or co workers?

Do you share that information with others? (including family, friends , co-workers)

Do you discount possible solutions as unworkable?

Is your criticism a validation of your over all perspective?

Do you often hear others with similar complaints?

Do you lend a willing ear to their complaints?

Do you sigh, roll your eyes or otherwise display your negative feelings using body language or tone of voice?

Are your creating less because of your displeasure?

Are you late to work or meetings?

Do you resent helping others finish their work?

Are you waiting for a change to happen?

Has anyone pointed out your negative behavior?

Do you have “good reasons” to be unhappy at work?

This is a family. You spend more time here than you do at home. Low maintenance easy

1. I like to have people who are low maintenance easy to get along with each other

2. All residents have gone through med school

3. all have high test scores

4. all have good letters from their hospitals

How to overcome being a grump

Begin with a simple act of gratitude. No matter what your religious or secular background you need to find a daily way to express your gratitude for what you have. Start a “gratitude journal”

About The Author
Laurie Brown is an international speaker, trainer and consultant who works to help people improve their sales, service and presentation skills. She is the author of The Teleprompter Manual, for Executives, Politicians, Broadcasters and Speakers. Laurie can be contacted at 1-877.999.3433, or at [email protected]

Hot Legal Topic: Monitoring the Activities of Employees.

By Richard A. Hall

While a number of topics are currently being discussed in the United States, one of the most controversial is that of the right to privacy. This hot button issue is made more complex in a post 9-11 environment. We struggle to find and maintain a balance between personal rights and public safety.

Most people would vigorously defend the right to privacy, feeling that the accessibility of too much personal information is not only an invasion, but morally wrong, and unconstitutional. After all, prior to September 11th, the United States had not been subjected to the overt terrorism that had plagued other countries.

The events of September 11th pervaded our false sense of security and caused us truly question if the enemy was in a far off country or our next door neighbor. In our post 09/11 world, the government’s responsibility to protect Americans has taken on new meaning. In an aggressive effort to protect us from the threat within, the government has adopted a “by any means necessary” approach even if that means listening in to phone calls, reading emails, reviewing library records or scouring through websites. The recent foiled plot of airline bombings in Britain is an example of how invasion of privacy can in fact keep us safe. The individuals stopped for this heinous crime were discovered first by a tip but second from police monitoring private activity which included phone calls.

In the instance where a terrorism plot is averted because of the invasion of privacy there can be no argument to the validity of the practice. Yet, we also know that innocent people have had their privacy invaded when they did not pose a threat to national security.

The national debate over privacy has repercussions on a smaller level as well. Corporations and employees struggle with privacy issues in the workplace. Companies also are seeking to protect themselves from a different kind of terrorism – that of legal and financial exposure caused by the actions of its employees, whether innocent or intentionally malicious.

Privacy is legally protected by the Constitution of the United States, and at the very core of America’s existence. As politicians, voters and special interest groups debate these constitutional issues, employees and employers seek to understand the rules of engagement within business.

Does an employee have privacy rights at work? How far can employers go in monitoring the activities of employees to ensure that they are protected from liability?

Employers not only have a right to monitor the activities of employees but a responsibility. Computer activity, including e-mails and phone calls can be monitored by the employer. In fact, some degree of monitoring is recommended. Emails are discoverable in legal action exposing employers to a great degree of risk. Even if the employer has a policy that expressly states that personal emails are allowable, the company still has a right to monitor individual emails.

Phone calls, except those placed on designated “for personal use” phones, can also be monitored. Call center and customer service employees are routinely monitored for quality assurance and training. There are however, federal and state regulations which must be adhered to which in many locations including notifying parties that the call is being monitored. Most employees will need to place or receive a personal call from work at some point in time. However, as a best practice, employees should use pay phones or cell phones when they must conduct personal business during the work day.

As we seek to balance privacy and protection on a national stage, we will undoubtedly make adjustments on a more personal level. We have already become accustomed to much of our lives being monitored through security cameras, electronic tracking and internet use so it is possible that what is now viewed as invasion will simply become normal. In the interim, it is wise to assume that what happens in Vegas, may not stay in Vegas!

About The Author

Richard A. Hall is founder and President/CEO of LexTech, Inc., a legal information consulting company. Mr. Hall has a unique breadth of experience which has enabled him to meld technology and sophisticated statistical analysis to produce a technology driven analytical model of the practice of law. As a busy civil trial attorney, he was responsible for the design and implementation of a LAN based litigation database and fully automated document production system for a mid-sized civil defence firm. He developed a task based billing model built on extensive statistical analysis of hundreds of litigated civil matters. In 1994, Mr. Hall invented linguistic modeling software which automatically reads, applies budget codes, budget codes and analyzes legal bill content. He also served as California Director and lecturer for a nationwide bar review. Mr. Hall continues to practice law and perform pro bono services for several Northern California judicial districts.

Giving Gifts to Employees: Ideas for appropriate gifts.

By Adriana Copaceanu

Giving gifts to your co-workers or your employees can be a tricky business. You want to give something that is they will really enjoy but doesn’t break your piggy bank. You want to give something that suits the individual’s tastes but doesn’t suggest anything politically. Here are some simple suggestions that for the most part can be given to either sex and to anyone of almost any age which we think will help you in your gift giving search.

Everyone uses a memo pad even if the memo is only to themselves. Pick ones that reflect their hobbies or show the type of work they do.

People are always looking for a paperclip for all those papers we still have. If you give a magnetic paperclip holder, they’ll always have their own paperclips. They can also play and make funny shapes when someone on the phone has put them on hold. Occasionally everyone has to take work home or get away from the desk to write or proofread what they wrote on the computer. Give them a lap desk. They have some lap desks that have a pillow on the part that fits on your legs. Some of them also have storage underneath the board.

Baskets full of things are always good. Fill them up with an assortment of coffee sample packages, cocoa, jams and jellies, cookies and snacks, specialty teas, cheeses and meats.

Did you ever plan on stopping on the way home from work to pick up something but forgot the one item that you really needed? We all have. But now, you can get door hanger note pads that say “Do Not Forget”. They hang on your office door knob or the your desk drawer. You write things on them as you think of them during the day. When you leave, the list is there for you to rip off the sheet and head to the car.

We all sit in rush hour traffic each day. An audio book on cassettes will take their mind away from the traffic.

The truth is, we are all clock watchers. Find a small, attractive desk clock. Just don’t give it to the person who is late every morning.

We don’t always plan ahead. Most of us forget our umbrella on the day that it rains buckets. With the new mini-umbrella, you gave them, that won’t be a problem. Mini-umbrellas fit nicely inside a purse, briefcase, or desk drawer.

Everyone loves those yellow little sticky notes. You can give a more decorated stack that’s printed with flowers, sailboats, mountains, or whatever hobby best suits the recipient.

Did you ever receive a card that a guy had in his wallet until it was dog-eared. It looked pretty sad, didn’t it? Anyone who hands out their business card would appreciate a silver or gold cardholder case.

Find the guy who took pictures of the last company functions; Christmas party, company picnic, company exhibit booth. Get all the pictures of the recipient and his co-workers and fill up a photo cube to place on a co-workers desk. Enclose a note that he can change out the photos for members of his family if he wants.

We have mail and not everyone has a secretary to open it. A letter opener that reflects the hobby of the recipient will be a welcome gift.
Adriana Copaceanu provides people with creative gift ideas that don’t blow the bank. Gift Baskets for Baby, Birthday and Beyond, are just some gift ideas you’ll find at her site. Need a gift NOW? Take a look at Gifts 911Article Copyright By Author. All Rights Reserved.