In the age of work-life balance and flexible work schedules, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Agriculture) is taking a step backwards. I saw a news report last week where they are moving from employees being able to work remotely four days a week to one day a week. Amazing! The idea of teleworking in the federal government started at least twenty years ago Telework Guidance and Legislation.
The reason given was to build a sense of community among Agriculture employees. The high-ranking official that was interviewed said this change in policy is in response to a complaint by employees that work in the office. These employees said they have experienced and are experiencing a lack of connection with their colleagues that telework. My first reaction was, how many employees are in the office on a daily basis to complain and why aren’t they teleworking?
This new policy is supposed to go into effect July 1, 2018. The report said this will put approximately 5,000 people on the roads in the Washington, D.C. area. When I heard that I flipped out! I live and work in the D.C. area. I also telework two days a week. I can’t imagine the effect that is going to have on the commute in this area. The D.C. area already has some of the worst traffic in the U.S. How Bad is Traffic in DC.
In the next few months it will be interesting to see how this is plays out. Hopefully it will work out in favor of Agriculture employees and the rest of us that live in this area. If officials at Agriculture truly wanted to resolve the issue of comradery among their employees they could have found a better way Three Pitfalls Facing The Federal Distributed Workforce.
Employee engagement has been a hot topic in HR world-wide for the past few years. Employers across the globe are trying to figure out how to get and keep their employees engaged. For the most part engaged employees are happy employees. Engaged employees stay at their jobs longer than disengaged employees and engaged employees provide an emotionally stable work environment.
While upper management and HR are trying to figure out how to get and keep their employees engaged, employees continue to focus on obtaining a work-life balance. Many HR professionals believe providing a work-life balance for employees will facilitate engagement (I’m one of them). In the past few years I have read only a few articles and participated in a limited number of conversations that focused on making sure employees did have a work-life balance.
If upper management and HR truly want what’s best for their employees they would recommend employees go home on time. Gemma Dale is an HR professional that resides in London, in her blog post Go Home On Time she provides a good case why employees should “go home on time”. Upper management and HR professionals should seriously consider Gemma’s suggestion. As an employee of any organization you’ll agree that Gemma’s assessment is accurate.
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I’m passionate about my profession! I want us to be the best we can be at all times. I’m tired of hearing negative stories because we provide poor customer service, our processes are antiquated or we’re incompetent. I want HR professionals to create something. Group-think is overrated and obsolete. Thinking like everyone else in your HR department will garner you a boring life every day you go to work.
Whether you’ve been in the same position for eons or you’re new to HR think of something new to do. Or think of a way to improve your organizations current HR practices and procedures. HR is vital to every organization so doing the same thing the same way for decades doesn’t cut the mustard.
You (your organization) will be as effective as your last invention. If 2010 was the last time your HR department implemented something new, shame on you (your organization). With all of the HR organizations, conferences, magazines etc. that exists there is no reason 2010 should be the last time your organization implemented something new. Technology, analytics, and software are constantly so no HR department can afford to be seven years behind the curve.
In her blog post All About ‘Experiments’ HR professional Ankita Poddar provides the definition of the word experiment and gives a step-by-step how to so you can conduct your own experiment. HR professionals need to conduct experiments on their current practices and processes. Looking at the same thing from a different perspective can provide insight that will improve what you’re already doing. My fellow HR professionals create something!
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Contrary to popular belief it is possible for management and unions to get along. The relationship between the two doesn’t always have to be contentious. The most important thing in this relationship is respect. If management and union leaders have respect for each other the rest is downhill, theoretically.
Management and unions don’t innately distrust each other. However there is always a level of distrust until one side earns the trust of the other. The only way the management-union relationship can be healthy is if everyone in leadership is willing to listen to what the other side has to say. Regardless of how important an issue may be if you’re not willing to listen then there’s no use in the other person talking.
This is where respect comes in. No one is going to take you seriously if they don’t respect you. In the workplace respect is the only collateral you have. Once you’ve lost the respect of someone it’s difficult to regain it. The management-union relationship is one of those relationships where a lack of respect can have long-lasting repercussions.
If management doesn’t respect union leadership the day-to-day issues of rank-and-file union members could be very difficult. Simple things like taking lunch, using leave, working overtime etc. can be problematic. On the other hand union leadership needs to be clear that obtaining the trust of management should be one of their top priorities. Many union members don’t understand or care that their actions can affect the management-union relationship.
Over the years I’ve watched management make decisions that were not favorable to unions. When union representatives clamored about the decision, management cited the actions of certain union members. I’ve talked to union representatives and they’ve said some of their members don’t care how management views them.
This attitude is fine if these employees weren’t affecting the lives of others. As with any group of people you always have those that only care about themselves. Likewise, management has to deal with some managers putting a strain on the management-union relationship. There are some managers that don’t care if the management-union is contentious or not.
Trying to obtain or maintain a good management-union relationship and keeping selfish employees in line is a balancing act. This balancing act can be accomplished when both sides respect each other and keep the lines of communication open.
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