Each year, Saint Francis Medical Center's Services to Business holds an educational Business Health Summit to help employers with common employment issues. The 2009 summit, held September 22, brought in nationally recognized management expert Glenn Shepard. Shepard is the founder of Glenn Shepard Seminars and author of the national bestseller "How to Be the Employee Your Company Can't Live Without."
The first session focused on those of different generations, giving employers background on the expectations and needs of the different generations and presenting strategies for tailoring management styles to each. For example, he suggests being more of a coach than a traditional manager with Generation Y employees, the youngest in the work force.
Finding and hiring good employees was the focus of Shepard's second session. While traditional hiring techniques may be adequate for older generations, younger employees tend to have a different work ethic and require a new approach to landing employees who want to work. Nontraditional sources for labor include job sharing (hiring two part-time people to replace one full-time employee) and hiring former employees, who already have a feel for how your business operates and require fewer training costs.
Part of hiring the right employee is conducting a good interview. Shepard shared his tips for good interviews:
- Conduct the first interview over the phone and record the conversation. This removes many biases.
- Give the candidate a homework assignment. Make it a simple one, with the main objective being to check his or her ability to follow directions.
- Do not ask for strengths; ask for weaknesses.
- Ask the candidate if he or she has any questions. This will provide insight into how he or she thinks and approaches work.
Every manager – even the most successful – has at least a few employees who are difficult to manage, which Shepard focused on in two sessions. Because many of these problem employees are good at their jobs, removing them is not the answer. Shepard taught attendees how to take appropriate action and prevent these employees from poisoning the work force.
Shepard described four types of employees:
- Aggressive: These employees love direct confrontation. It is recommended not to participate in the battle with these employees. Never address their behavior; instead, address their performance.
- Passive Aggressive: These are the quiet stalkers. You go home at the end of the day and feel like the life has been sucked out of you but do not know why. They need to be confronted, especially when they say words with hidden meanings or under their breath; confront them with the question, "What exactly did you mean by that?"
- Passive: These employees are so scared of conflict they will manipulate to avoid it. Their reason for passivity is so they will never screw up. You must engage them.
- Assertive: These are model employees; they enjoy clearly defined boundaries and expect to be held accountable.
In summary, Shepherd encourages everyone to be firm, fair and consistent. He also says that as a manager, you must be willing to be unpopular.
Copies of Shepard's book and informational binders from the Business Health Summit are still available. To obtain your copy or learn more about maintaining a healthy work force, call Services to Business at 573-331-5825.