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 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?
Q: I’m the office manager for a company with about 30 employees. Every year I am responsible for updating the employee handbook and I was wondering if you have any suggestions for what I should be looking for in 2019.
Q: One of my coworkers has a knack for writing emails that instantly irritate me. We normally get along well over the phone and face-to-face interaction, so I don’t think it’s intentional. But there’s something about the way she writes and asks questions that’s really annoying. Do you have constructive tips I can pass along?
Q: My elderly father is in poor health and has recently come to live with us. We are empty nesters and both still work full time.
What does last week’s Supreme Court decision outlawing mandatory union fees mean for me?
The law doesn’t affect private employers, so if you’re associated with a private employer simply carry on, there’s nothing to see here.
Q: For the last few months two of my employees have been constantly bickering about politics.
While most other employees were staying out of the discussion now more of them are getting dragged in, to the point that we now have a divided, tense work environment. I’m hesitant to get involved but I am concerned that the negativity is affecting productivity and morale.
Q: A few years ago, I was asked to resign from my job. My boss said “We’re going to have to let you go, or you have the option to resign.” I chose resignation.
Q: What do you think about offbeat interview questions such as “Tell me a joke” or “If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be? I think we can learn some good things from these types of questions. What do you think?