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.
Newly minted first-time managers and new leaders are usually part of the biggest population of leaders in any organization: frontline, first-line, and entry-level managers, supervisors, and directors. They directly manage more people than any other managerial level. The stats show first-time managers and new leaders rarely get the training they need to be effective in their new position.
For at least the past five years employee engagement has been has been a major topic for HR professionals and thought leaders around the world. You can find conferences, panel discussions, articles, blogs, tweets, etc. about employee engagement. With the dismal numbers of first-time managers and new leaders receiving inadequate training employee engagement will continue to be a major topic for HR professionals and thought leaders around the world.
In my blog post Managers Need Training Too I talked about the importance of managers receiving the proper training to be successful. If first-time managers and new leaders aren’t receiving the training necessary to be successful employee engagement will decrease. If employee engagement decreases the quality of the service being provided or the product being produced will also decrease.
Upper management needs to invest in training so first-time managers and new leaders can be successful. The success of the organization is directly or indirectly tied to the success of first-time managers and new leaders.
If you poll everyone you know in the workforce you will find that all managers aren’t good managers. Whether you’re a front line manager, mid-level manager, or in upper management the people you manage expect you to lead. I’m not talking about mentoring or coaching I’m talking about being the decision maker. The line “I’m not a leader, the only way I could get a promotion was to take a management position” is outdated.
I agree, in many organizations the only way to move up is to become a manager. The flip side of that coin is everyone doesn’t want to be a manager and everyone isn’t built to be one. By default people end up in management positions where they do not want to be, or are not built for. This post isn’t about analyzing the structure of companies, it is to highlight many managers leave their employees in limbo.
Regardless of how managers got to their positions, employees expect managers to lead. Employees need leadership when things are good and when things are bad. Leadership qualities shine in the midst of a bad situation. If a manager can lead their employees out of a bad situation they will be an instant hit. If a manager doesn’t lead when things are good or bad they create a leadership vacuum.
Leadership vacuums not only occur when a manager isn’t leading they also occur when a management position is left open too long or there is a leadership merry-go-round. A leadership merry-go-round is when a management position is occupied by several people in a short period of time. When employees have more than one manager in a short period of time it’s difficult for them to get their bearings. When a leadership vacuum occurs employees are left in limbo. They don’t know what to expect on a day-to-day basis and are left in a state of confusion.
When employees experience a leadership vacuum morale can go down. Morale goes down because the employees don’t trust the current decision maker(s). Employees will blame the current decision maker(s) for everything that is going on. Low morale can lead to a decrease in production, a decrease in the quality of work, and could ultimately lead to employees leaving the company/organization. If managers lead they will not leave employees in limbo.
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!
If you have questions about this and more please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and http://www.linkedin.com/pub/cornell-jenkins/11/476/897/