Category Archives: Employee Relations

Medical Marijuana, Picking Bad Managers & Turnover Signs

Three workforce issues I wanted you to be aware of:
images1. Medical Marijuana Laws: There is some confusion and uncertainty with the legalization of medical marijuana in Maine and Massachusetts, while federal law stills treats it as an illegal drug. Though I am not going to cover the regulations here (call me with questions), you should know that neither state requires employers to permit drug use in the workplace or tolerate employees who report to work under the influence. Again, call me regarding compliance, policies, drug testing rules and handling the conflicting requirements under state and federal laws.

2. Companies Picking Bad Managers: According to a Gallop study just released, companies fail to choose the right talent for manager positions 82% of the time. And, managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores. Gallop notes that bad managers can generally be blamed for most low morale of workers. As you know, low morale and engagement are the determining factors in productivity, quality and retention levels. Call me if you need help assessing candidates for supervisory positions as well as training and coaching your existing supervisors and managers.

3. Warning Signs that An Employee Is Likely to Quit: According to a Utah State University Study, there are clear warning signs that an employee is likely to quit within months. Some of the warning signs include:

  • Showing less interest in advancing in the organization
  • Seeming less interest in pleasing their boss than before
  • Acting more reluctant to commit to long-term projects
  • Exhibiting less interest in training and development
  • Offering fewer constructive contributions in meetings
  • Suggesting fewer new ideas
  • Doing the minimum amount of work needed

If you begin seeing this with one of your employees, you may have an employee who is preparing to quit. Give me a call and we can discuss how best to handle this.


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Pay Your Employees To Quit

istock_000007867680xsmall(This post was written by Rick Dacri, May 1, 2014)

What would happen if you offered your employees $5,000 to quit their jobs? Would they go?

Amazon adopted a “Pay to Quit” policy designed to “encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want to do” according to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. This program is a version of Zappos’ policy (“the Offer”) where the company gives new employees the offer of paying them for the time they have worked plus a $2,000 bonus if the new hire quits. Crazy? Well at Zappos, 97% of the employees given the offer STAY.

Recruiting the best workers, providing a work environment where they can thrive and be productive and then retaining them is the key to successful organizations. On the one hand, you don’t want to retain employees who would rather not work for you. On the other hand, you want to retain your best workers.

Amazon and Zappos have taken the bold steps to clear out employees who would rather be elsewhere-a principle I touted in my book Uncomplicating Management. Zappos has created an environment where people want to stay. Amazon is betting they have one too.

Take a look at your organization. Are you hiring the best? Are your people productive, engaged and happy? Is your retention of your good people high? If you can’t answer affirmatively to these questions, you’ve got some work to do. Amazon and Zappos are betting they have a great place to work. You should too.

Need help recruiting and retaining star employees? Give me a call. I can help.

Other Posts you might like to read:


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Body Odor: It’s a Problem Supervisors Must Address

This question came in from one of my HR HelpLine clients.

Question: I have a stellar employee with zero performance issues. My question is, how do I tactfully address her body odor? This is a recent thing and has never been a problem for her before? This is definitely not performance related, so I was just looking for some suggestions. She is fantastic and I don’t want to offend her…Help!!

Advice: This is always a problem that must be handled very tactfully. As the manager, it’s reasonable for you to set clear expectations for hygiene at work and to enforce those standards when people are falling short of them. You need to speak with her and this is going to be an awkward conversation. There’s no way around that. This is a business issue.

The best thing you can do is to simply be honest, direct, and compassionate. Meet privately with her. Say something like, “I want to mention something and I hope I don’t offend or embarrass you. You’ve had a noticeable odor lately. It has never been a problem in the past. This is the kind of thing that people often don’t realize about themselves, so I wanted to bring it to your attention and ask you to see what you can do about it.”

Be clear that it’s a problem and ask her to take care of it. If she doesn’t and you continue to notice the problem, then you would need to talk to her again and let her know that she’s expected to come to work showered and that you’re concerned that the problem has continued after your earlier conversation. But in most cases, a one-time conversation is going to take care of the problem and you won’t need to get into consequences or warnings.

This will be a tough task for you, but you can handle. Sensitivity is the key. She is likely to thank you.

If you would like to learn more about Dacri’s HR HelpLine service, where you can get all your workforce questions answered, click HR HelpLine.

Other posts you may want to read:



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NFL: “Abusive and Unprofessional Behavior”

Richie Incognito & Jonathan Martin

Richie Incognito & Jonathan Martin

(This post was written by Rick Dacri and originally distribute in the Dacri Report on March 1, 2014)

Americans love football. I am not sure if it is our national pastime, many think its baseball, but Sundays, it seems, are reserved for church and football. We revere our teams and players.

Football has been dominating the news and not in a good way. The NFL came out with its long awaited report on the Miami Dolphins. They found that Miami player Richie Incognito and two other players engaged in a pattern of “abusive, unprofessional behavior”-bullying against player Jonathan Martin, another player and a trainer. Martin, an up and coming 2nd year player quit the team because he could no longer tolerate the taunts.

The behavior in the Dolphin locker room, according to the NFL report, included racial abuse directed toward Martin, who is African-American; vulgar remarks about his mother and sisterhomophobic taunts; and ethnic remarks against a Japan-born trainer. What makes this even more outrageous is the Dolphin’s leadership claiming they were unaware of any of this. Hard to believe.

Michael Sam was an All American defensive lineman from Missouri and Continue reading

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Medical Marijuana: Stoned At Work

Posted by Rick Dacri, February 13, 2014

This question came in from one of our Maine HR HelpLine Clients.

Question: I have an employee whose performance has been generally good. She has had some medical issues, has lost some time, but nothing of major concern until recently. Lately she doesn’t seem “with it.” She has not been attentive and has been late for work on several occasions. She had normally been very good with our customers but now seems to ignore them. I want to talk to her but the rumor is that she has a script for medical marijuana and I’m afraid that by talking to her I’ll open up a can of worms. The last thing I want is to have my customers and other employees seeing her smoking dope in the parking lot or walking around stoned. What should I do?

Advice: To begin, Maine’s medical marijuana laws do not require employers to allow their employees to smoke at work or to work stoned.

Deal with the issue as a performance issue. Do not mention the medical marijuana, nor should you get into diagnosing. Your concern is her performance. Focus on what you know and what you have observed. Address her tardiness and how she has been dealing with the customers. Be clear about your expectations. Be sure she understands and ask her what she will do to improve her performance. If she brings up marijuana, be clear to her that she cannot work while under the influence—just as you would with any other prescription medication that impairs an individual’s performance. Document your conversation and monitor her performance. You have a right to expect her to perform up to your expectations.

Maine’s Medical Marijuana law:

  1. Does not require employers to allow an employee to ingest medical marijuana while at work or to work under the influence of medical marijuana
  2. Does not require an employer to forego any safety precautions consistent with other controlled substances simply because the ingestion of medical marijuana was prescribed
  3. Does not prohibit an employer from taking disciplinary action against an employee who has ingested medical marijuana while at work or is impaired at work. Employers should be consistent. Address medical marijuana use the same way you would handle other controlled substances or alcohol at work

If you would like to learn more about Dacri’s HR HelpLine service, where you can get all your workforce questions answered by a trusted expert, click HR HelpLine.

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Bullying: 5 Things Businesses Must Do To Resolve (Part 2)

(This guest post was written by Beth Myers, SBK Mediation, Inc.)

In my earlier guest post, Bullying: The Biggest Profit-Sucking Problem in the U.S. Today, I outlined the scope and impact bullying is having on the American workplace. Today, I will outline the 5 things every business can do now, innocuously to resolve workplace conflict:

1. Know.

~ The 8 Profit-Sucking Elements of Unresolved Workplace Conflict.
Calculating the cost of conflicts in your workplace tells you when to take action.

2. Train to set a new tone.
~ From the C suite down through the organization train in good listening skills.
~ Only 2 % of the population receives education on building good listening skills, 60% of our communication day involves listening and most of us are not good at it, though we think we are.

3. Modify your annual performance review process.
~ If you use forms, complete the forms but when it’s time to meet – set the forms aside. Save

forms for the second part of the meeting. First, allow time for open discussion about why the employee stays, what they enjoy most about working with your firm, where they’d like to grow with the firm, what they see as areas for improvement outside of their own performance. LISTEN WELL and check your personal biases! Good listening doesn’t mean you agree with or like the person or, that you will change how you proceed with the review, though you might.

4. Role Model.
~ Be civil, genuinely respectful and listen: don’t engage or support open hostility or a blame and shame game.
~ Communicate with both-ways clarity. Unarticulated assumptions and expectations are the most frequent escalators of conflict.

5. Resolve your organization’s most difficult, long standing conflicts now!
~ Focus on the problem not the people. The problem is the impact of behavior, not the person. Deliberately articulate how each person defines a problem then ask “Where do we go from here?”
~ Retain an experienced professional neutral to mediate.
~ Confidential, professional mediation allows parties to explore options for resolving the issues between them without fear of leaving a “s/he said s/he said” trail that will be used against them.

~ In most cases one or two meetings is all it takes. Up to 90% of mediated disputes result in agreement.

~ Mediation is not a place to skimp or to focus on legal beagles! Mediation is not about preparing for a legal case – it’s about resolution of deeply personal, costly, workplace conflict, making cultural change and getting on with healthier, more productive work.

Of course there are more steps you can take, more details to address, but these 5 things form the essential first steps core to a more productive, bully free workplace.

Beth Myers works with organizations on their most difficult and costly people problems: Resolving Workplace Conflict. Beth is a professional mediator, mediating nearly 500 cases since 2010. For readers of Rick Dacri’s Uncomplicating Management Blog, Beth Myers is offering a complimentary, 1 hour consultation or small group training on the 8 Profit- Sucking Elements of Unresolved Workplace Conflict. Send an email to: Offer expires in April, 2014.

You may also want to read:

Bullying: The Biggest Profit-Sucking Problem in the U.S. Today

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Bullying: The Biggest Profit-Sucking Problem in the U.S. Today (Part 1)

(This guest post was written by Beth Myers, SBK Mediation, Inc.)

What part of the $300+ billion annual workplace bullying problem will you fix?

Clearly, resolving a massive workplace problem represents opportunity to increase profit, improve employee engagement, enhance hiring and cultural brands – get you noticed!

Consider the obvious:

~ The cost of replacing an employee ranges up to 5x their annual salary, depending on their role, to say nothing of the cost of reduced productivity, sabotage/theft/damage, higher health insurance costs, stress related illness and absenteeism….that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Why then, is the most easily reduced expense in organizations today also the most ignored and costly?

~ Bullying is status-blind harassment, often culturally ingrained, takes place behind closed doors.

~ Bullying is not illegal.

~ Legal requirements designed for an employer’s self-protection via documentation and subjective proof of targeted employee actions, intent, character may support bullying culture.

Workplace bullying takes many forms often beginning with minor acts of incivility; Continue reading


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