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4 Tips to Handle Difficult HR Conversations, on Layoffs and Terminations

4 Tips to Handle Difficult HR Conversations, on Layoffs and Terminations

Sometimes HR department is compelled to do the unpleasant tasks of terminating an under – performing employee or layoff among the existing work force. Layoff or pruning the existing workforce may be essential, keeping in view the work load , job distribution and overall objective of the organisation, to keep it efficient.

In all such cases, the emotions of the affected persons must be assuaged appropriately. As a HR, you should appear to be unbiased and unprejudiced.

Following strategies may be adopted to deal with such situations.

1) Keep the element of surprise minimum

Firing of an employee should never come as a surprise. An under performing employee must be given an opportunity to improve upon his or her performance. Layoffs may be sudden, but all efforts should be made to give a fore – warning, in some pretext or the other.

2) Be truthful

If an under performing employee did not improve even after having been given ample opportunity, tell him clearly the same. In sudden lay off, support should be tried to be given for transition by way of help in searching jobs, placements.

3) Be ready to face the anger and or reactions

If somebody is terminated or laid off, it is natural to expect anger, sadness or disbelief. Be prepared for any eventuality in all such cases.

4) Hold an exit Interview

An exit interview must be held to understand and assess, what went wrong. Some of the questions which may be asked are :

  • What was the better way of supporting them?
  • What did they like about the work culture in this organization?
  • What are the things, which could be improved upon, in this organisation?
HR Conversations-Exit Interview
xiPhotographer: Johanna Buguet | Source: Unsplash

Appraise the top management, about the results of such, exit interviews.

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4 Tips to Handle Difficult HR Conversations, While Giving Feedback To Senior Leaders

4 Tips to Handle Difficult HR Conversations, While Giving Feedback To Senior Leaders

HR department is supposed to keep a pulse of the organisation.They are entrusted with the jobs of entry and exit interviews, engagement schedules and surveys, performance appraisals, strategic succession planning and several other vital issues. HR representatives have often to give critical feedback to employers or top heads of the organisation.

Following tips may help you to give critical feedback, with a view point of constructive criticism to help employees and employers both.

1) Be positive and constructive

Bear in mind that the critical feedback is not intended to put an employee in a harassing situation, but to create a conducive work environment. It is better to give specific examples than beating around the bush.

2) Give solutions

While giving critical feedback, keep in mind that it must have clear cut solutions. New ideas if any to resolve the issues, should be given.

onverPhotographer: Amy Hirschi | Source: Unsplash

3) De-personalise and take help of data

Be specific and avoid negative trends or comments. If somebody is a habitual absentee, provide the data of absenteeism.

4) Tell the leaders about the impact of the problem

All effort should be made to analyse the impact of the problem on the organisation and convey it to higher ups. It must be borne in mind that giving honest constructive feed back to senior leadership is an important issue and it should never be held back, or tried to be concealed. Not giving appropriate feedback may be damaging to your organisation.

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Further, for corporate training on Communications or Difficult HR conversations , please visit us.


6 Tips To Handle Difficult HR Conversations, When An Employee Is Facing Personal Hardships

6 Tips To Handle Difficult HR Conversations, When An Employee Is Facing Personal Hardships

HR management functions in any organisation must be vibrant to the personal or family hardships of an employee. This is because, whatever we do, the personal hardships issues continue to crop up from time to time. These may be due to a traumatic situation in the family, loss of a close family member, a painful divorce, or even an ongoing battle with addiction.Such hardships may affect the efficiency of the concerned employee; thus, the organisation.

In all such situations, HR should try to find the most comfortable way to mitigate the personal hardships.

The following strategy may be adopted to deal with such situations.

1) Don't ask directly about the hardship

We should be always indirect and tactful in trying to know about the hardships. Though sometimes, the employees themselves come up and want the help required.

2) Listen intently

HR needs to listen intently

At most of the times, it has been observed that listening intently is good enough to give the moral support to employee. It mitigates their hardship.

3) Be aware of the company policies

You must be fully aware of the benefits your company offers in such specific situations.

4) Differentiate work and personal life

All efforts in this direction, should not appear to be favoritism or preferential treatment. At the same time, all this should be done in such a way as the work does not suffer.

5) Try to help

Lunch meeting with HR
HRPhotographer: Laurens R.M.D. | Source: Unsplash

You may try to help by any of the following ways

  • Use their lunch time in counselling
  • Rearrange some of their responsibilities
  • Arrange advance money on promise to return it in installments
  • Allow sometimes to work from home.

6) How to convey the message

As a representative of the organisation, you have to strike a right balance between genuine care and corporate support. But you must realize that an employee has to accomplish the assigned task and it should not disturb the output of the organisation.

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Five Tips To Handle Difficult HR Conversations, With Reference To Personal Habits Of Employees

Five Tips To Handle Difficult HR Conversations, With Reference To Personal Habits Of Employees

HR management plays a vital role in communicating sensitive messages to employees.

Sometimes a situation arises, when a human resource (HR) professional has to resort to difficult conversations, keeping in view the interest of all the stakeholders viz employees ,the employers and the organisation itself.

In such a situation, HR professional should not get caught unprepared. The best option is to use the best strategic mind set along with the management techniques comprising of motivation, engagement and encouragement. Sometimes personal habits of certain employees may have an unconducive effect on the workplace. These may be: not adhering to dress code, an unpleasant body odour, use of same cloths or same type of wear repeatedly, use of alcohol before coming to office, and notable carelessness for personal appearance in the work place.

Below are given 5 steps to deal with such a situation by people of human resource management.

1) Analysis of the situation by the HR

Work privately to ascertain the facts, collect the documents or reports pertaining to problem.

2) Keep it confidential

HR to keep it confidential
i goPhotographer: Kristina Flour | Source: Unsplash

The appropriate care must be taken not to embarrass the person concerned.

3) Don’t bring other people in the discussion

It should never be made a subject of office gossip.

4) Display true / sincere care

It should always be shown that you truly care for the well – being of the employee concerned.

5) Provide the tips to overcome improper personal habit

A one to one discussion should be held to suggest solutions to the problem, with good amount of listening, on how the employee himself will like to address it.

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Get naked – And grow!

growA seed has to break off its cloth to grow and become what it is supposed to be.

I recently went for a Toastmasters (an international public speaking forum) meeting after a very long time. As is usually the case, being a guest, I took a seat in the last row. The meeting was being carried along quite well. Gradually the first section where speakers deliver prepared speeches got over.

Then was the turn for the impromptu speaking session where even interested guests would get an opportunity think on their feet and speak to on a topic. I have always loved this part as a regular Toastmaster since the guests can get a chance to experience their potential even when they are not a member of that club. And have always encouraged guests to use the opportunity to stand up and speak.

That day, I was the guest! Damn! And this, I realised the moment the first session was about to end. My mind started to race. “What are you going to say? You don’t even know the topic they will give? What if you make a fool out of you? What if you spoil your image?”

And then my second mind said, “Which image? What are you trying to protect? What will this lead you to?”

Pat came the reply from the other side of the mind, “Static! Without growth you stay and stale! And no growth means death – isn’t it?”

I immediately stood up for the opportunity. I was prepared to put down my protection and get naked. So, I didn’t stagnate and grew a little more!

How often do we take a step back when an opportunity shows up? Thinking what if it goes….? What if we fail? What if we are unable to perform? What if people see that? And that I too have some fear? What if ….. ?

So many individuals stagnate in their personal and professional life. Just because they refuse to explore and are scared, “What if this happens?”, “What if that happens? And the world starts looking at me as a failure?”

Have you ever thought along these lines? Trust me, people in the world, like you and me, themselves are trying to fight their own demons, the internal dialogue that is always pulling them down. So, it’s always better to choose to rise to the occasion, rather than shying away due to some invisible fear.

That day in the Toastmasters meeting, the best part was, once I rose up to speak, the fear of being seen and being mocked at, and all other kinds of stupid self-talks succumbed to my courage. And that happens to everyone! Once you show up and face your fear, that’s it! It can no more stop you.

That day I faltered and saw myself destroyed in front of everyone, right? I was naked.

A few laughed, few others didn’t! Does it matter? Not sure!

But what I am sure is that I grew a little more. As I have already been naked, I now further think about how to improve my speech to the next level rather than thinking about what others will think or say. Somebody has rightly said that all your fears of losing something vanish once that particular event happens in your life. “Once you reach the rock bottom it’s the best place to be at, as the only way you can move is upwards.

Fear is often with us only until you face it. Once you face it, the same fear becomes your best friend enabling you to prepare better for similar scary event the next time. A quote along similar lines by Steve Jobs says, “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Another great part facing your fear and getting naked is that you are then set free. Nothing can stop you. You have already been there, done that! And, if not altogether, you can surely deal with those fears one at a time. The technique would usually be the same – first, think the worst possible scenario and be prepared for the same, but don’t pause. Next, dial to your courage when you already did something small you were scared of, and start taking baby steps. If you are terrified of public speaking, start by just standing behind the podium and getting the feel of it. Gradually, start taking bigger steps and finally your day will come.

After this teeny tiny fear is done, go for a tad bigger one! And step ahead with similar strategy. To tell the truth, once you are done, you will look back and laugh your heart out thinking that you too were someday scared of it!


Stop worrying about these!

One of my posts was about how we can reduce stress at work. And today I want to help you to carry out one of the methods to minimise stress – stop worrying. Now worrying is something that comes naturally to human beings. If there is nothing to think of most people find something to worry about. I agree, it’s not your fault that you think in that manner. However, you have to now start making choices to start living rather than worrying.

Not always! If your worry is about the water tap not working or the gas cylinder leaking it’s fine for a few minutes so that it makes you act. But if it is about the items provided below you must choose again before focusing on it. Remember, your energy flows where your thought goes.

  1. Future: I personally used to be so very worried about how I will move ahead in my life. But over the period of time things have fallen to place. So many people around us worry each day about tomorrow or the distant future. It’s good to have the awareness so that you can mentally prepare for any challenge the situation brings to you. However, spending endless time thinking about it is just taking away your energy. And is definitely destroying your health and peace of mind. Michel de Montaigne’s quote, “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune, most of which never happened”, does throw some light on the fact.
  2. Past: “I could have done this”, “I should have rather done that”, are all useless thoughts right now. And please, we all have to get rid of these. What has happened has, and nobody can change past events. Isn’t it better to spend our time and energy on what we can do now?
  3. Age: “Oh Lord!” I see so many of my friends and family members worrying about their age and that they are getting older. We are all getting older and age is moving an upward trend – for everyone. In no normal circumstances, as far as I know, do we have a technology that can help us to stop the ageing process. Then of what use is worrying about age? An old proverb goes, “Age and glass of wine must never be counted”.
  4. Basic body characteristics: I once had a counselling client who happened to be very short – just about five feet. And he was so upset about it, spending all his time thinking about the height. When I asked him whether he could do anything about it, he said that that is what I should tell him. Neither I nor anyone I knew had heard anything close to increasing height manually. When I told that he should learn to live with it the client even go angry and pissed off. Imagine what would happen to him if he continues to feel frustrated about his height. Imagine his life after five years or ten years m Some people want to have fairer colour? Or a different face structure? Maybe a bit more flat or broader?
  5. Thumbs Up: No it’s not the soft drink. It’s about the mouse clicks on your posts or pictures. So many individuals, mostly teens, crave for those upsurging “likes” on their post or picture. Worse is the fact that they get disappointed when the number is less and these Thumbs Up count is able to destroy their self image.
  6. Others opinion of you: It’s a bit tough to do but you must practice this as well. People will anytime have opinions or judgements about you. So many people lose their strength just due to the fear of being judged or mocked at. However, it is for you to decide whether others opinion should have any weight for you or not. And how much should those opinions impact your life. Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Your focus decides what type of life you will live. And you can choose anytime to only think about other things and to discard all of these from your life so that you will be able to be far more productive and fulfilled, leading a worry-free life.

So are you prepared to choose better thoughts than the above? What are those? Do let us know through the comment section below.


Tips to manage stress at work!

Serious businessman working with analysis financial at office.

Who doesn’t want to manage it? Which organisation doesn’t want to reduce it? Google, Microsoft, small start-ups, almost every organisation has been offering various training sessions, employee engagement initiatives and what not to address it. A complete industry and education curriculum has been designed to address such things at workplace. But it seems there is no end to it.

Burning deadlines, micromanaging bosses and never-ending queries from co-workers and clients – indeed relaxing at your workstation seems to be a long forgotten term. It is really far tougher than anyone would have imagined. Coming out of college, most fresh graduates walk in thinking of a different world; and here it’s all totally upside down. Traffic, sun’s increasing heat, sun’s decreasing heat and other life aspects simply add to the other already existing and traumatising stuffs day in, day out. This all together might send out a chill down your spine if you are just planning to join the workforce in near future. And they say, enjoy work, love work, love your company, blah blah blah!!!

But indeed there are ways you can bypass the stress at work. Here are a few simple tips to keep your mind’s health to its best:

  1. Choose your tasks properly: Or let’s call it: Prioritize your tasks properly. If you are to have a good time in your workplace, you have to set priorities on what is to be done before the rest. And work according to the set schedule. Remember every task is not to get the same attention and importance. Therefore, you should control the tasks to be done and not the other way round.

We often get bogged down by letting too much on our table. Listening to everyone and taking up everyone’s task can make things difficult for you. So, try to always choose your tasks properly.

  1. Breeeathe first: Huh! Have you experienced that you started your day off without giving it a thought and went on and on. Finally, after the day went by you still found that you were left with several of the most important tasks – even more than the ones you completed!
  2. Track stressors: Yes, this should have been the first tip. Better late than never! Find your stressors, if possible, by keeping a journal. Not essential to keep a notepad – even a laptop or a mobile would do the job. Pen down all that stress you out, along with your reaction to all of it. Watch out your responses too and see if your response is appropriate or not.Do you get carried away by the emotions carved out within you or are you able to hold your calm and respond rather than react?
  3. Use opposite hands: Surprising indeed! However, this tip is simply superb! If you are normally a left-handed, use right and vice versa!You would become more available in the present once you start practising to use the reverse hand. Why? Because you have to be conscious of whatever you are doing. In other words you have to be “present”. We are mostly stressed because we are living either in the past or the future. In the present, it is only relaxation and no worries can creep in.
  1. Spend time alone: When I was attending a training event in Bangalore the trainer would tell us to go, have a mindful lunch and not talk to anyone during the break. He recommended us to be with ourselves and that is one of the best ways to relax. There are people who do believe the opposite, though.
  2. Let go: Whatever you do, however much you try, there will be things outside your control. As Stephen Covey shares about two circles: Circle of Influence and Circle of Concern – in his bestselling book Seven Habits of Effective People – our focus has to always remain on the items  within the Circle of Influence. Once this circle is acted upon the latter Circle will automatically become smaller and smaller.And you should always try to let go off things not within your control. How much can you do or change? You are not the only one to handle everything, but there are many others to support you. So let go a few that can’t be controlled.

What do you think of these tips? Do you have any other effective tip to address work related stress? You can choose to let us know by commenting below.


Persistence – The Game Changer!

dont lose heart-persistEnergy and persistence conquer all things. –Benjamin Franklin

When the great motivational speaker, Les Brown, as he repeatedly shares in his talks, was struggling for his first job as a disc jockey he approached a radio center and the manager there didn’t at all entertain him. The next day he again approached the same person and the head did the same – sent him back. He again reached out to the same person the following day and was sent back. But he didn’t stop. He still didn’t give up but stepped once again and finally got the job to get tea for the people there. It is awe-inspiring to know the way he never gave up in the face of rejection.

Bran Acton, the founder of one of the most reputed messaging mobile app, WhatsApp, that Facebook recently purchased for $19 bn, had been earlier rejected by two social networking giants Facebook and Twitter for a job. It was in 2009 and the businessman had tweeted back then: “Got denied by Twitter HQ. That’s ok. Would have been a long commute.” He learned from these rejections and took the startup route to today change into a billionaire with net worth $3 bn.” He turned that rejection into his fortune.

Had Brown or Bran given up on their efforts in face of rejection none would have been where they are today. They inspire others today through their action and words. These are the people who changed the direction of tide to became rich and famous today only though their perseverance.

I accept not everyone has the desire for becoming so rich or famous and you might be one among them. Whatever your dream or desire is, you must learn to persist in the face of any challenge. Every road comes with hurdles and roadblocks and if we don’t learn to persist and persevere achieving anything might become difficult.
One who has the ability to persevere will be defeated because defeat is only when you give up. A very strong belief to practice in life regarding perseverance in face of rejection and failure is: “There are no failures, but only feedback.” You try, and succeed. If not, you learn and try again. This same cycle is repeated and finally you succeed.

Sportspersons who rise up to any adversity of injury go ahead to later become winners in various competitions. These are often not small muscle tension or bone fracture but serious injuries or illnesses. Often, in such cases, even doctors give up saying that they can’t do anything. Every star in the sky says that this would be the end. But they go on to walk again, even run, and finally achieve their dreams, How do they do it?

It is sheer perseverance and never give-up attitude in the face of adversity. It has been said that there is no substitute for hard work and persistence. An interesting article appeared in NY Times and it talks about Ms. Cha who failed hundreds of times in her driving test but finally made it in her 960th attempt. Nine hundred and sixty? Is she crazy? I would say, if crazy, so be it. We need such crazy people in our society who can bring change and not give up to small challenges. But that definitely requires great courage and determination. Today Ms.Cha is a national celebrity; Hyundai gave her a free car and has been featured in their television commercials.

Learning to drive was Cha’s dream and she continued doing whatever it would take to realise it. Now whatever is your dream, it is important that you too persist and persevere. Things we want and dream about take time to actualise and become true. Expecting results too soon might lead to disappointments and frustration thus leading you to give up – in all areas of life.

Choose your dreams carefully and once you start off to pursue it, persistence is the key. A simple relationship can’t survive; a baby can’t walk, inventions would have been impossible, had we given up in the face of adversity. Your dreams, big or small, are worth it. They are worth your time and effort. So – come what may – you must persist!


Break all barriers with ‘Mamba Mentality’?

What do you want to do? How far are you ready to go to do that? What are you ready to let go? Are you prepared for the long strife? Are you prepared to fall, rise, again and again and still stand back towards your pursuit?

basketballRecently, Kobe Bryant, the famous American basketballer, released a Nike shoes by the name – Mamba Mentality – and that is what made this term quite popular. When asked about what it means and why such unique name the champion said that the term implies an individual’s constant quest to find answers, infinite curiosity to attempt to improve by figuring things out. And that a person has Mamba mentality when they are not worried about the future or the end result but only about the present moment.

Most people across the globe know about this rockstar of basketball, Kobe, as the epitome of performance. The six and a half feet player says he has been using this attitude throughout his life. He gave everything to achieve whatever he wanted to. It is about utter determination, focus and persistence towards whatever goals we set up. It doesn’t bother about your odds to win or the opponents, rather, just about the final result, which is, I will be the champion. Losing is just impossible when you have this kind of mentality because you lose only when you stop, and that never happens.

Human beings have an amazing potential to single-handedly drill through several kilometres of mountains (Dasrath Manjhi’s story) when they are able to direct their total energy and passion towards one activity in a focused manner. FOCUS (1) Or do anything that seems crazy to even think of in the beginning. However, if you too want to achieve something it’s never late to start working towards your goal with Mamba mentality. Once you are able to create that kind of attitude nothing will stop you because you will not be ready to stop. And the ability to focus on present would also put you in Flow state that psychologists have found to be essential for any focused activity.

People often give up in the face of one or two failures believing that probably it’s impossible or not for them. And they would better give up being as they currently are. However, if they delete the possibility of giving up they would definitely reach where they want to go or get what they want to have.

And in fact, we need people with such Mamba mentality – not only in basketball – and drilling mountains – but everywhere and in every profession. Be it going to the moon or taking care of your family, we need it. It’s not impossible, though difficult – it might seem.

Now achieving anything worthy would not always be a cakewalk. The road towards those achievements is filled with different forms of hurdles – big and small. If one doesn’t step in the direction with such mental make-up, they are sure to put down weapons in face of difficult times.

You might say – “He’s Kobe and might be different.” How can any common person achieve this mentality? Meditation is definitely meditatea way to gain focus and even Bryant used to practice it. He also gives credits to the meditation practice for his several peak performances. The practice, over a long term, usually allows you to focus on the present and not worry about the past or the future. Worrying would have otherwise taken away a part of your energy. However, the practice brings a razor – like sharpness to your action and any performance you deliver is nothing less than just your best.

Secondly, the activity sure has to be something you are interested in. Or can be interested in. Else, how would you hope to deliver an ever-lasting mentality? Although we talk of interest in an inborn terms, I recently realised that interest might be generated if you are interested in generating that at least. What do you think?

These people too must decide to stop thinking of unnecessary people and let them go. In fact, Kobe was sometimes even hated by his teammates for being arrogant. However, he did delight spectators and his whole team through the amazing action he used to deliver during the matches.

Mamba mentality is not very unique and, although not by the same name, every achiever has used it, and is still using it. The phrase is actually the key to exceptional performances in anything one does, and therefore, essential for every individual on this earth. Without it, there’s nothing BIG happening in the world.

What do you think? Do share your thoughts in the comment section below.


Pause – Don’t just do it!

“Go for it”, “just do it”, “do before you think”

Heard of the above phrases? Did you follow?

I am here to tell you, request you, and urge you – to pause! And not always fall for such phrases.

Why do I say that? Am I demoralising you? Don’t I want you to move ahead? Let’s see!

This world is filled with so many social media pages, news channels, entertainment channels, etc, bombarding you with numerous statements, incidents and stories every minute. So many books, videos, images, etc. is pouncing on all of us every moment asking us to forget thinking and just react to an incident. Or time and again change the way we think.

This age of Twitter and Whatsapp where anything one sees or hears anywhere in the world, within a few minutes, reaches every corner of the globe; along with their personal interpretation of those events. It’s so easy to be moved by such overwhelming number of talks around us.

But think about it. If you start acting on every word people say or everything you see you would probably waste your enormous energy in so many futile activities. Firstly, there are huge chances that such news would not be true. And secondly, many such news or incidents might not be something you would like to even think about, let go take action on it. Thus, if you give your focus to those you might waste enormous personal resources, and probably get distracted from what you really want to do.

Therefore, to be able to best use your potential you must pause and choose – Where will your focus go!

If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.

If you don’t pause to think and choose it’s easy to fall for anything. This would make it difficult – almost impossible – to move ahead and do or think about other things that really matter to you. Every individual is different and we all might not be interested in everything happening around us – not because we are insensitive – but probably because we have other graver concerns driving us. And where we can be far more productive.

I recently watched a video clip of the world-famous, award winning American singer, songwriter and philanthropist Lady Gaga that made perfect sense. She was talking about herself and how she had to actually start making choices and turn down offers she didn’t really want to go for. She had become a money making machine, and, although she was earning millions she had been unable to enjoy any of those. She had started to feel pressurised to take up every assignment and in fact, psychologically became very weak. Later, she realised that she doesn’t want to do everything and so began to make choices. This made her more focused on important tasks and therefore brought more fulfilling results.

Oftentimes we seek external validation to ‘feel good’. And so don’t act as per our own wishes and desires but that of the outside world. This, in turn, sure enables others to accept us, and might even give momentary happiness to us. However, it might also handicap our ability to accept ourselves.

So if you are trying to make others happy at your own cost how many people’s happiness is in your control? One? A score? A few thousands? Speaker and author, Dr. Sean Stephenson, in one of his talks, says that we all need love – not from anyone else – but from our own selves. And that we got to love ourselves even when the whole world doesn’t.

As shared in one of my previous articles too, there will always be people unhappy with you or putting forward negative comments about your action. However, you can be strong only when you stand, act and speak for your personal satisfaction and joy. And for that you must sometimes – pause!