I have a Masters degree in Education from the University of Florida and worked in corporate HR over 20 years; I’m accredited as a Senior Human Resources Professional (SPHR) and I write a column for the Sunday business section of The Gainesville Sun. I’m also an instructor and an expert resource for Santa Fe College’s business incubator, the Center for Innovation and Economic Development (CIED).
I’ve lived, worked and played in North Central Florida for the last 20+ years, have strong roots in this community and I understand the unique economic factors that affect our businesses and workforce. I bring that perspective and experience when advising my clients.
I help small businesses and start-ups use best HR practices and common-sense advice to succeed…. just like big businesses do.
Q: I oversee a couple of departments, and I’m noticing a trend. With more people working from home, I’m finding they are less likely to take vacation than other years. Maybe because travel is difficult, or maybe it’s just awkward.
Q: I want both my staff and customers to feel safe. As an employer who is trying to figure out how to safely re-open my business, among the things I’m considering is requiring employees to be tested before they come back. But now I’ve heard conflicting facts about how useful or not useful testing can be. What do you recommend?
Q: Our team has been working pretty effectively from home since mid-March. We’ve found ourselves having to learn a lot of new technology on the fly, which is easy for the younger members and more challenging for the older workers.
Q: I manage a division with 40 employees. About half are happy working remotely, getting paid their usual, in no hurry to return. The other half however, are public-facing employees who can’t work remotely. They’re being paid their base salary, but not their commissions. In other words, they need us to open in order to make ends meet.
Q: After working all of my adult life in a regular office job with regular hours, I have accepted a new position working remotely from home. I’ll have occasional in-person meetings with other remote colleagues, but I’d say 95% of the time I’ll be on my own.
Q: I’ve had plenty of experience managing employees and I’ve had my share of procrastinators. I know that it helps to motivate and support them. That using a carrot is often more effective than a stick. I’ve used bonuses and other incentives to reward meeting deadlines, as well as the implied “poor” performance evaluation if they don’t.
We just survived Thanksgiving weekend and now, we brace ourselves for the rest of the holidays.
While the holidays can bring joy to many, it can also bring increased anxiety and sadness to others. For most of us the season is an emotionally charged mixed-bag of ups and downs.
Why do we tend to feel sad and overwhelmed?
Q: Last week you gave a reader advice on how to keep his office from calling him while on vacation. I have a slightly different vacation problem. I dread having to face the zillion emails that are waiting in my inbox on my first day back. I do send the standard “out of the office” message but it does little to alleviate the problem. Is there something else that can be done so my inbox isn’t bursting when I return?
Q: I manage a department with about 10 employees and I’m planning to take a one-week vacation. In the past whenever I’ve taken time off, someone from the office ends up calling me for one reason or another. These are not emergencies and could have waited my return. Do you have some advice on how to prevent staff from calling me? I wish I could just unplug in peace.
Q. I’ve received a serious medical diagnosis that’s going to require surgery and a lengthy two month recovery. Luckily, the company where I’ve worked for two years offers good insurance; but because we’re small (fewer than 50 employees) they’re not required through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to offer medical leave and hold my job while I’m gone.
One of our employees, who has been a steady, solid performer the last two years, suddenly erupted in anger at one of our clients during a company event. Granted, the client is difficult and the event had all of us stressed out, but that’s no excuse to lose one’s temper and get into a shouting match. We immediately suspended him without pay.
Q: I’ve always dreamed of being my own boss, and working from home. But I’ve been on my own for over a year and –even though I like it- I also find it very challenging to stay focused. I know you write about the workplace, but I wonder if you had any personal productivity tips for those of us who are self-employed and work from home.
Q: The weather is getting warmer and I’m already dreading the poor dressing choices my employees will start wearing soon. Last year we had several issues come up, so I know we need to have a dress code policy this year, but I have no idea where to start. Suggestions?
Q: Our department of five used to be managed by a micromanager who thankfully is no longer here. Now we’re in the process of hiring a new manager and I’m on the selection committee. Which questions do you recommend asking so we make sure we don’t end up with –heaven forbid- another micromanager?
Q: I was very unhappy with the “meets expectations” rating I received on my performance evaluation for 2018. I don’t think my supervisor has a good idea of what I do. He thinks he does, but I actually do a lot more than what he’s aware of. I’m trying to figure out how to reply to the evaluation without sounding defensive. Do you have any suggestions for what I should write in the “employee comments” section?