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INSIGHT

The importance of making your expectations clear

By Steve M. Cohen  bio
Many employees at all levels are guilty of taking their positions for granted. As a manager, it’s something you should be on the look out for, even in your own work. Even in a healthy job market, the attitude can be costly.
I was once involved in a case with an employee who had an $80,000 a year position. The individual had been employed for three years by a client organization. Despite his salary and responsibility, he arrived late for work an average of…

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HIRING

Conducting background checks: Better safe than sorry

By Steve M. Cohen  bio
Despite some debate and even legal questions on method, I consistently recommend that my clients conduct background checks on all employees they intend to hire.
Some of my clients are required by state or federal statutes to conduct background checks. This is especially widespread when employees will provide services to frail or vulnerable populations, such as the elderly or children. I would argue that similar caution applies to legal operations, although the same caveats of legality apply.
Here’s my thinking: I have screened and selected vendors that…

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INSIGHT

When employees behave stupidly outside of work

By Steve M. Cohen  bio
I often end up addressing some of the sadder aspects of human behavior in and around the workplace.
I have frequently been called by clients to help deal with issues such as sexual harassment and bullying, an employee who uses the n-word at work and someone who gets so drunk after work that they become incredibly obnoxious in public. In all of these situations, and others like them, one of my tasks is showing that person the door to their former place of…

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INSIGHT

Here’s a low-cost fix for office issues: Talk to your staff!

By Steve M. Cohen  bio
I’m sometimes amused by the constant flow of management tips, tricks and cure-alls that parade through media aimed at managers.
Most of these ideas are not bad and some are even excellent. But I’m frequently moved to suggest that the first thing most managers should try is simply talking and listening to their staff.
I realize that’s not easy and a big reason is that most precious of commodities…

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INSIGHT

Don’t let another firm steal your staff

By Steve M. Cohen  bio
The old saying that “the grass is always greener” is actually a fairly accurate description of one aspect of human nature. And this trait almost certainly applies to members of your office. As other organizations grow and the need for professional staff increases, openings will be filled by stealing the best from offices. It’s frustrating, but it’s reality.
Don’t fuel the fire
Some managers react with a negative strategy. They load up staff with work and stress, while providing few motivations, recognition, and…

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INSIGHT

Being mean doesn’t make an office efficient

By Steve M. Cohen  bio
I recently saw some good management advice in The New York Times, of all places! The newspaper published a great article describing how there is “No Time to Be Nice at Work.” I found this to be good reading for any manager.
Author Christine Porath noted several significant concerns that are relevant today, including her findings that incivility has been growing, and that it definitely has costs…

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INSIGHT

Complaint lines offer managers more than gripes

By Steve M. Cohen  bio
A client told me recently that that they eliminated their 800 number complaint line. When I asked why, they said, “All we got were complaints!”
I disagreed. Whether they are from employees or clients, complaints are invaluable because the feedback provides an opportunity for examination. The protocol might be slightly different for a law office, but the concept remains true. Examination offers an opportunity for evolution. Evolution offers the…

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INSIGHT

When a transgender employee comes out at work, how will you respond?

By Steve M. Cohen  bio
I have worked closely with two organizations: The Transgender Institute (TTI) and the Gender Policy Associates (GPA).
TTI is an organization that provides therapy, consultation and coaching to transgender people. This is a population that is much misunderstood. In schools they are subject to extensive bullying; at work, they are often subject to discrimination. Although some…

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INSIGHT

Double standards never work at work

By Steve M. Cohen  bio
An excessively harsh and arbitrary management style is rarely a good idea, but when it’s directed at one employee or even one group of employees it’s guaranteed to be a problem.
I dealt with one manager who frequently resorted to a style that was harsh, arbitrary and capricious behavior when dealing with one employee. The worker was difficult, but the…

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INSIGHT

Wearables at work: Leveraging technology to enhance work performance, engagement and balance

By Dr. Marty Martin  bio
Wearable technology is hot! Wearable tech is also increasingly becoming cool and fashionable. Professional athletes and weekend warriors are outfitting themselves with devices to measure their heart rate, blood pressure, count their steps and calories, as well as track the quality of their sleep. With the health and performance of their staff in mind, will employers begin to hand out wearables during new employee orientation along with the mission statement, personnel policies and benefit descriptions? It is too early in the wearable revolution to tell, but if managers are focused on…

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