The Importance of Work

As I get ready to celebrate Labor Day this weekend, I was thinking about this holiday. My natural curiosity led me to look up the history, which began with a workers’ march in New York City in 1882. Congress made Labor Day an official holiday 12 years later in 1894, spurred by an American Railroad Union strike in June of that year.

Why do we still celebrate today? I believe it is because work is important. Aside from the last barbecues and outings of summer, the holiday celebrates the value of work and those who perform it. Labor Day gives working people the opportunity to pause and reflect on the value of what they do.

That value is not only measured in what hard work means to businesses and to our country, but to each person. Each of us must define our individual worth in some measure, and for many, that measure is the work we perform. Promotions and salary increases are tangible measures of our work and our worth to our employer and to ourselves. Work defines us, provides a source of self-esteem, and gives a sense of pride in job well done.

What happens when a person no longer has a job to define his or her value? Losing a job is devastating, not only financially but in terms of a worker’s self-esteem and self-value. Job loss can be especially hard if it is a result of circumstances beyond the worker’s control, having nothing to do with performance. A worker who is used to being rewarded for a good job, performing his or her best, and gaining self-respect as a byproduct will need some kind of support to maintain drive and the will to move forward.

This is where a career counselor or outplacement provider can help. Support to move forward to a new opportunity can maintain a person’s sense of worth and value, which in turn will make it easier to find a new position quickly. Employers, if you need to lay off workers, please consider this as the best thing you can provide to help them transition to a new place.

Work is important. I hope everyone celebrates the opportunity to work this Labor Day!

Still the Waters

You decide to let an employee go. For whatever reason, it’s a difficult decision and one that affects someone’s life. You want to do the right things for the right reasons for both your business and for the employee; reduce your unemployment costs, lessen the likelihood of legal action, help the employee get a new start.

Your decision may not have considered what’s going on with the remaining employees. They are watching, talking, and probably fearing they are next to go. The upheaval caused by separation has a profound effect on those left behind, and you need to do all you can to calm the situation and keep the waves from turning to a tsunami.

One of the easiest and best ways to do the right thing for the separated employee, as well as those who remain, is to provide outplacement support. Outplacement helps the separated employee get back on his feet and start taking positive steps forward to the next opportunity. Outplacement is proven to get people back to work faster, often in a better fitting position. It benefits your business by reducing the costs associated with separation. But it also assures the remaining employees that their friend is going to be ok, is getting the help he needs, and will be back to work as soon as possible. It shows that, while making the difficult decision to separate someone, you care enough to make sure everyone is supported when in need.

Don’t let your current employees worry about their friend, build fear, and imagine the worst. Show them you are doing the right thing and help your former employee land in a great place.


3 Things You Should Do To Terminate Humanely

Have you ever thought about the impact of the words we use when we “let someone go,” “terminate” or “fire” someone? The images these words conjure up aren’t pretty. Worse, many times, these words reflect how the employee actually feels when they are told that they are being “separated” from their organization.
There are some simple steps you can follow to make this process easier on all involved.
Start With The Right Mindset
When most people think “termination,” they only see the negative aspects of the process. When you start with a less than positive outlook, it is hard to relax enough to perform the work to be done in an optimal manner.
Start by recognizing that you aren’t ending a career, you are promoting one. The person leaving your organization is being freed to find something that better fits their skills, interests and personality. They get to make a fresh start. In the long term, they will be happier and so will you.
I’ve been in human resources now for over 30 years and, during all that time, I’ve only seen a handful of people, out of many thousands, who didn’t end up with as good or better job than the one they lost.
Fire Them; Don’t Fire Them Up
If your supervisors aren’t trained and experienced in how to properly terminate an employee, they can create more upset than necessary. Angry employees sometimes seek legal assistance, attempt to negatively impact your relationships with customers, disrupt remaining staff, and create negative perceptions with others. Many a discrimination charge has been spawned by a less than optimally skilled supervisor trying to power through a termination.
Make sure your supervisors are fully trained in the process. Bring us in to help train your staff on key techniques and plan the termination meeting. The little additional work required to do these things will mean less stress for all involved.
Help Them Take The First Step
When a person loses their job, they often feel fearful. How will they pay their bills? How will they find a new job?
The term “corporate responsibility” is frequently bandied about today. If you want your organization to make a difference, provide outplacement assistance (career transition) to the exiting employee. It is both good business and good karma to provide these services.
The sooner the exiting employees gets back to work, the less unemployment you pay, the less likely you will be sued or that the exiting employee will attempt to hurt you in some other way.
Many firms have never heard of this type of program but, once introduced, they never stop using outplacement services.
Terminations are part of business. Do them well and you will be rewarded with less overall cost and bad feelings.

Start today to improve your organization! I’ll be here to encourage and help you in any way I can. Call, write or let’s get together to make this year the best year ever!