5 Things That Make Employees Hate Coming To Work


Sad Employee

5 Things That Make Employees Hate Coming To Work

Jokes about bad days at works are abundant on the internet. Time and again, employees complain about how they watch the time go by as they pray for the day to run out. Many also joke about their hatred for Monday mornings, and how much they resent the sound of their wake-up alarms.

However, behind these jokes, there’s a fact that is no laughing matter. Many employees repeatedly experience bad days at work, the result of which is lowered performance.

I stumbled on a research by Woohoo inc that x-rayed this problem and showed the extent to which this has become an issue.

Of the 719 respondents, 19% said every day or almost every day is a bad workday. 29% said more than one day a week, and 16% said about one day a week is a bad day.

In all, almost 2 out of 3 respondents have at least one bad day each week.

Chart showing occurrence of bad work days

Data from Wohoo inc | Chart Created with amCharts

The study also revealed some demographic information. For example, more Americans experience at least one bad day each week (68%) than Europeans (56%). Also, workers in the private sector reported more bad days (65%) than those in the public sector (61%). And apparently, no gender is less prone to bad days as men and women reported about the same amount of bad work days.

Many may be quick to attribute bad days at work to problems in the employee’s personal life, but this report proves otherwise.

In response to the question “The last time you had a bad day at work, was it bad because of factors at work or factors outside of work?”, 74.7% said it was factors at work, and 20.7% said it was a mix of both. Just 2.8% blamed external factors for their bad work days.

So while it is true that personal issues and attitude toward work could affect work experience, more often than not, when an employee has many bad work days, factors at works are responsible.


Major Causes Of Bad Work Days

1. Lack of help and support from bosses
This is the most highly reported reason (40%) for bad workdays. Of course it is the duty of a boss to call the shots (they certainly would not be called bosses otherwise), but a good boss can and should help out every now and then when a deadline needs to be met, or when it’s apparent that the workload is absolutely too much on employees, possible due to some temporary spike in activity.

2. Negative Coworkers
One problematic coworker can seriously affect the relationships and interactions in the workplace. Since employees are expected to work as part of teams, they have to interact with coworkers on a regular basis, and if a few coworkers turn out to be toxic, others may begin to hate team meetings and discussions, and hate coming to work. In the survey, 39% of the respondents blamed negative workers for bad work days.

3. Lack of praise or recognition for the work I do
Let’s face it, we all like being appreciated, being told our input matters, being recognized and rewarded. Children glow when they are praised by their parents. Parents feel deep warmth when they are openly appreciated by their children. Similarly, employees thrive, grow, and work better when they are told they were instrumental to the completion of this job and that project, and that their work is greatly appreciated. Conversely, an employee who works really hard but receives zero credit may lose morale, and when morale goes, it usually takes everything else along.

4. Uncertainty about the workplace’s vision and strategy
Essentially, people need to know exactly why they are leaving their houses each day, what the company wants to accomplish, and the part they play in getting these things done. Understandably, company requirements and strategy will change from time to time, and in fact this is necessary for any company that wants to stay in business. However, if a company very frequently abandons work processes, tasks, projects, and policies half way through, employees may begin lose interest in the job.

5. High workload
With the current state of things, a strict 8 hour workday is utopian for a lot of workers. Many people have to work extra hours in the office and at home to be able to meet deadlines. Those who are able to avoid overtime may yet be loaded with so many tasks, sometimes of varying nature, and they have to perform maximally or risk losing their jobs. The negative effects of such high workload can hardly be overstated. I know because I’ve been there.

I was once so flooded with tasks that I had to work while commuting to work. As soon as I was settled in a vehicle, work began; I simply could not waste the 40minute commute. On the way back, I worked just as much. And when I arrived home, I often worked into the night. I was able to keep this going for a while, but pretty soon, I was thoroughly exhausted.

So while overloading employees with tasks can yield momentary benefits, in the long run it will impair employee performance, and possibly even make them hate coming to work.


How Important Is Employee Happiness?

A research conducted by the University of Warwick proved that happy employees are 12 percent more productive, and this is just one of many similar researches that have yielded the same conclusion.

Dr Proto, one of the faculty members who led the research stated: “We have shown that happier subjects are more productive, the same pattern appears in four different experiments. This research will provide some guidance for management in all kinds of organizations, they should strive to make their workplaces emotionally healthy for their workforce.”


By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support

Feature Upgrade: Skills Lists Can Now Be Imported



Feature Upgrade: Skills Lists Can Now Be Imported

We’ve been working hard for a while now to produce features that are aimed at making your job a lot easier. Late last month, we completed the skills import module and have tested it rigorously since then. We are thus very excited to inform you that this module is now live and can be used to get your company’s skills into the system.

Before this upgrade, you had to manually create new categories and skills in the system. Although we have a skills library which you can choose from, this library cannot contain all possible skills across all fields, so you likely had to create a number of skills manually.

But not anymore!

Using the skills import feature, you can easily import your company’s complete skills list from a CSV document in one go. The process for importing skills is quite similar to the “people import” process, and here’s how it works.


How To Import Skills Into The System

1. Go to Admin > Skills Setup > Skills Import
Skills Import Link


2. Under “Import Skills & Categories”, click on the second link to download the CSV document, and then click on the first link to open a PDF guide containing import instructions.
Import Skills and Categories


3. Following the instructions in the PDF guide, populate the CSV document with the list of skills and qualifications you want to import.
Populated CSV file


4. Come back to the import page (Admin > Skills Setup > Skills Import), and click Launch Import.
Launch Import link


5. Set the import type to “Skills”, click on “Choose File” and select the populated CSV document, and click Import.
Import skills
The result should be as shown in the picture below.

Import Skills Report
So whether your list contains 1000 skills and qualifications, they are all created in the system in one hassle free import process.

We hope this update helps save your time and make your job easier. If you have any questions or suggestions about this or any other feature, please contact us about it; we would love to hear from you.


By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support

8 Tips For Awesome Skills Management


Best Rating With Checkboxes

8 Tips For Awesome Skills Management

There was a time when a skills management system was simply a nice tool to have around; that time has passed.

As early as 2003, HR professionals at IBM realized that the rapidly changing business landscape meant that companies had to inventorize the skills of their workforce if they wanted to stay ahead of the competition and drive productivity.

Since then, many companies have caught on, and skills inventories have become quite common and – as many businesses state – quite essential to success.

But this kind of management is still relatively new, and you may find it hard to get information about skills management. In fact, if you Google the phrase “Skills Management”, you’d most likely get results about “Management Skills.”

And so beyond helping new clients understand how to use our system, we often also have to help them understand how to implement it in their company (to the best of our knowledge of course), as well as some best practices they should observe for better results.

For our blog this week, I’d be highlighting these practices that can help you successfully implement and use your skills management system.


Skills Management Best Practices

1. Ensure It Is Supported By Senior Management
Before you implement a skills management system, you should secure the commitment of top management. They have to be fully convinced of the business and financial benefits the system will yield.

These benefits usually come from better utilization of employee skills, better staffing for projects, more effective succession planning, and most importantly, a clear awareness of the talents needed for the success of the business, and a defined method for developing such talents.

Using these and other valid points, you have to get top management to buy into the idea of a skills inventory.

2. Allow Employees To Define The Skills Needed For Their Job Roles
If HR decides to create the skills inventory without consulting employees, you may end up with a system that is understood by HR, but foreign to employees. It is only natural that those who do the job everyday will have better knowledge about the skills needed for their day to day activities. And if you ignore their opinions when creating the system, you will have a hard time convincing them to use it.

“HR [needs] to get out of the business of defining the work. After all, those doing the work and those overseeing the work [are] the legitimate experts.” – SHRM Study Of IBM

Of course, HR has to set the guidelines and structures for collecting skills, but an advisory team made up of employees from the different parts of the company should suggest what goes into the skills list.

3. Avoid Complexity
When implementing the system, start with only those skills that are critical to the success of the business and allow your skills list to grow over time. There’s no need to try to capture every possible skill that may be related to the business all at once.

You can also avoid complexity by using a step by step approach when setting up your skills management system. These systems usually come packed with many features that may require time and effort to setup, and if you try to implement them all at once, you may get lost in the huge amount of work involved. It is best to start from one feature and expand from there.

For example, we usually tell new clients who plan to use the competency management part of our system to start by setting up the skills management part and making it good. After this is done, they can go on to setup competency management.

4. Present The System As An Employee Development Initiative
On a recent online conference, a client asked us how they can present the system to their employees without putting people on edge. This was a good question because, employees are usually skeptical when any kind of change takes place. As simple as remove the coffee maker from an office and you’d raise some eyebrows.

So don’t wait for employees to conceive flawed notions about the system and then try to convince them otherwise. It is better to communicate to them that the system will be used for developing employee skills and careers so as to put everyone at ease, and make them ready to use the system.

5. Organize Proper Training Sessions
Everyone needs to understand how the system functions and how they fit into it. It will expectedly take some time for your people to become familiar with the system, but you can help them get started with proper training.

A good model to follow is to train managers first and get them settled into the system, after which you should organize one or more training sessions for employees.

6. Make Employees Use The System
No, I’m not saying “force it on them.” Rather, you can make the system central to their day to day activities in such a way that they will want to use it.

For example, if you decide to select employees for projects, training, and promotions based on the skills they have entered in the system (which is indeed one of the best ways to select people), employees will want to use the system as those who do not will essentially be left behind.

7. Use It To Analyze Training Needs
The very nature of skills inventories means that they can provide the best insights into the training needs of your organization.

A skills inventory can help you identify skills that are critical to your organizational goals, but are currently in short supply, and you can, and should use this data to ensure all your training efforts are positioned to help your people acquire these business critical skills.

8. Learn To Use The Various Reporting Functions
Skills management systems usually offer quite a few reporting functions. Each one serves a different purpose and provides a different view of the strengths and weaknesses of your workforce.

But it is all too easy to find one or two reporting functions that serve your purpose, and stick to using them without exploring others.

If this sounds like you, you may be missing out on other powerful reports that can help you wrap your head around your workforce skills.


Basic Considerations For Best Practices

There are a ton of other factors that influence the decisions you make regarding your skills management initiative, and it will be impossible to cover them all.

However, before you take any action on your skills management system, ensure it is one that will –

1. Make the system easy to set up and manage,
2. Make employees use and value the system, and
3. Earn you the continued support of top management.


By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support

New Feature: Live Walkthroughs For Administrators

Guided setup widget

New Feature: Live Walkthroughs For Administrators


You may have noticed a new widget at the bottom right of your screen each time you access Skills DB Pro.

Page with setup widget
Article Update: We moved this widget to the top right of the screen as it seemed to cover some functions in its previous position.

If you have been wondering what this button does, but have so far refused to click on it, because you (like me) would rather avoid anything that involves the word “setup”, then let me put you at ease.

This button actually opens up an on-page walkthrough that makes it easier for administrators to setup and use the system.

New clients who just started the initial setup process for their company can simply follow through from step 1 to the last step.

But besides the initial setup, this feature simplifies the day to day usage of Skills DB Pro. For example, if you were working with the system but forgot how to get something done, you would have to grab our user guide and skim for the answer, or maybe even contact us.

But with this new feature, you can simply click on the widget, select the topic that addresses what you want to accomplish, and the system walks you through each step.

The system covers many basic setup functions, and we will continue to add to it as we see fit, or according to your suggestions.

How Does It Work?

Let’s say I wanted to assign some employees to their department manager, here’s how I can get this done:

1. Click on the widget and select the appropriate guide from the list.
Item selected in widget

2. Follow the steps in the guide to assign employees as shown in the following screenshots.
Assign employees screenshot
Assign employees screenshot
Assign employee screenshots
Assign employee screenshots
Assign employee screenshots
Assign employee screenshots
Assign employee screenshots
As you can see, the walkthrough takes you through the whole process until you’ve completed the task you have in mind.

We hope this feature will help save your valuable time, and improve your general experience as you manage and optimize your workforce with Skills DB Pro.


By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support

Poor Recruitment Practices You Should Absolutely Avoid

Candidate emotions

Poor Recruitment Practices You Should Absolutely Avoid


Recruitment candidates are customers too.

A poor recruitment process could thus mean loss of customers in the form of candidates who are pissed off, and friends and relatives of such candidates who learn to avoid your brand in sympathy.

Just as you wouldn’t want to go back to a shop if you were treated badly, a candidate who has had a bad experience during recruitment may avoid further contact with the company involved.

David Leigh, chief executive of the psychometric testing firm SHL, put it this way: “A bad recruitment experience is at least as damaging as a bad consumer experience in store.”

And SHL does have the data to back this statement. A survey they conducted among some 1600 UK adults revealed that poor recruitment practices could cost your company quite a lot.

Close to a quarter of the respondents had suffered 2 or 3 bad recruitment experiences, and some 6% had suffered 5 or 6.

Of these, some 18% chose not to do any further business with the company at fault. This value is even higher (28%) for people between the ages of 25 – 34.

A mammoth 77% said that if a friend or family member has had a poor recruitment experience, it will deter them from being or remaining customers of that business.

A person who has never passed through a poor recruitment process may not be able to identify with the people polled in this study, but I can because I have.

I was once shortlisted for a job, contacted by the hiring manager and informed of the “many things” I needed to prepare, and then completely forgotten about.

Now I wouldn’t use this company’s products or services, not because I’m resentful, but because this experience has ingrained in me the belief that their customer service will be no better than their recruitment experience, whether this is true or not.

It is quite clear then that poor recruitment practices can harm a business, and according to the study quoted above, the top four of such practices indicated by respondents are:

1. Not being told they had been unsuccessful (46%).
2. Lack of feedback about their application (39%).
3. Not acknowledging receipt of their application (39%), and
4. Not receiving feedback even after completing an interview (37%).

Candidate staring at phone
Poor communication with candidates may affect their view of your company.

SHL however performed another survey, this time from the perspective of recruiters.

Of the 500 professional recruiters surveyed, 25% felt overstretched due to the rise in the number of people applying for jobs.

Of these, 1 in 5 could not find the time to inform candidates that their applications had been received, and some 15% were too busy to inform candidates that their applications were unsuccessful.

Clearly, recruiters have not simply decided to abandon courtesy. In some instances, it is the current increase in job applications that has brought recruitment practices to this nadir.

Nonetheless, if 1 in 5 could not find time to inform candidates, this means the other 4 who were also overstretched, found the time to dignify candidates with a response.

So, although the workload on recruiters is appreciated, the fact remains that those who are not doing so well as per the four complaints above may need to give more attention to the recruitment process, and how well candidates are kept in the loop.

This is actually more important than many realize. A short while before the experience I mentioned above occurred, I entered into a week-long recruitment process with a different company. But due to some unforeseen events at the start of the week, I wasn’t able to meet their deadlines (but still had a chance to get the job).

At the end however, I received a kind email informing me that I didn’t make the cut. After this experience, I would still gladly use, and recommend this company’s products to others, and the difference between this experience and the one above is (would you believe it) a nice email.

In our world of templates and mass emailing, keeping candidates informed really isn’t so hard. A candidate doesn’t necessarily need their name mentioned in a rejection email to get the point.

Thus you can create a simple email template that says “Dear Applicant, We are sorry to inform you that………” and then mass email this template to those who didn’t make the cut. This way, you will only need a few minutes to reach out to candidates each time.

Of course, if you can personalize the email, all the better. The underlying point remains that candidates should not be left in the dark.

As Angela Baron of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development puts it: “A nice e-mail doesn’t cost much…… People really get upset when they invest a lot of time and energy in an application and hear nothing.”

Worse yet, although “a nice e-mail doesn’t cost much”, the lack thereof could cost your company tremendously in lost customers.


By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support

Feature Upgrade – Employees Can Now Create Categories, Skills, and Qualifications.

Enable employees create skills

Feature Upgrade – Employees Can Now Create Categories, Skills, and Qualifications.


We’re excited to announce that we have implemented a new feature that many of you requested.

You can now enable employees to add skills, qualifications, and categories.

We initially had reservations about implementing this feature, and here’s why. When employees are enabled to add these items, admins can no longer control what skills and qualifications go into the system. And so, two employees may add the same skill using different spellings, and this could lead to duplicates.

On the flip side, enabling this feature would make it much easier to setup and use the system.

During setup for example, an admin might decide not to create company skills but allow employees create them as they go along. This will cut down the initial setup work by a great deal as the skill setup phase often takes the most effort.

And whenever employees want to score themselves on a skill but cannot find it in the system, they do not need to contact the admin for assistance but can create the skill themselves and then go on to add a score.

So, although enabling this option will limit your control over what skills go into the system, it will also mean less work for you and a more dynamic skills list.

How To Enable This Option

New accounts created after this feature was implemented have it enabled by default. Older clients will need to enable it before it can be used.

To do this, go to Admin > Company > Company.

Check the box labeled “Employees can add to skills list?”

Click Submit.

Note: To disable it, uncheck the box and click Submit.

After enabling this feature, if one of your employees want to rate a skill but cannot find it in the system, she simply clicks “Add Skills to List.”


After which she selects the skill category, types in the new skill, adds description if necessary, and clicks Add.


She and other employees can then rate themselves on this new skill.

Inform Employees

If you have enabled this option, you may need to inform your employees that they can now create skills, skill categories, qualifications, and qualification categories as they use the system.

Further instruction on how they can do this can be found in Page 4 of our “Getting Started as an Employee” guide, which is available for download in our help section.

Have Other Suggestions?

We appreciate the clients whose suggestions led to this upgrade, and we aim to continue to improve Skills DB Pro in line with ideas and recommendations from you.

If there is anything you feel our system can do better, or any feature we should add, please do not hesitate to inform us about it.


By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support

10 Tips For Becoming A Successful Personnel Manager

Successful Business Man


10 Tips For Becoming A Successful Personnel Manager


Ask any CEO what they consider their most important resource and the response you are likely to get is “people.”

This viewpoint, which cannot be more correct (in my opinion), implies that personnel managers who are tasked with managing this most important resource can greatly impact a company with their programs and policies.

In fact, a group of CEOs who were interviewed by Human Resource Professionals Association (HRPA) stated that the role of personnel managers is critical to business success.

We can expand on that to conclude that successful personnel managers are a major building block for successful companies.

And so, for our blog this week, I have put together some of the best tips for Personnel Management success, with the aim of making you the personnel manager that every company wants.

These tips include excerpts from the book “Best Kept HR Secrets”, by Alan Collins, former VP of Human Resources of PepsiCo.

Let’s jump right in.

1. Know The Business

This is one point every resource seems to agree on. Personnel managers who understand the business are better able to tailor their practices and policies to the overall business objective.

Instead of being focused on keeping everybody in their best behavior, they are actively conscious of creating and sustaining a workforce that helps the business succeed.

As one CEO puts it, Personnel Managers “need to map out HR organization strategy to the business strategy—do we have the organization design and people to get there? If not, what’s the plan?”

2. Go Easy On Legislation And Policies

This point complements the one above. In order to give more attention to business priorities, a skillful personnel manager focuses less on laws and policies, many of which may have limited business value.

3. Develop “An Eye” For Top Talent

There are many articles and books that contain information on how you can do this. We even published one in July that highlighted 7 important interview questions that can help you recruit the best.

Even if you had been doing pretty well in hiring, you want to continue to improve your ability to attract and employ the right talent, as this is crucial.

If a personnel manager brings people into a company who repeatedly turn out to be “not very bright bulbs,” his/her credibility will suffer.

Conversely, if you can bring in and retain the right talent, you become a key player in moving your company towards its goals and objectives.

4. Learn To Communicate And Recruit With Social Media

“A very strong trend expressed spontaneously and frequently by CEOs was the expectation that HR have a solid grasp on how to use social media to communicate with and recruit employees.” – HRPA Report

You can hardly become a successful Personnel manager in this era if you do not learn to use modern talent goldmines such as Linkedin, Xing, TalkBizNow, and other business social networks.

5. Start Your Own Blog

Many “ordinary business people” (if I’m permitted to use that phrase) have quickly become successful in their fields because they picked up their computers and started blogging.

As soon as people begin to look to your blog post for career tips and advice, you go from being just another worker, to an authority in the field.

And as your blog grows, so does your reputation. It may not be long before your name starts getting mentioned in other popular blogs and websites.

The best part is, getting started isn’t really hard. You can start your blog by following this tutorial.

6. Request For And Appreciate Feedback

Ask employees what they think about any processes or policies you have put in place.

And don’t be put off by negative feedback. Even if an employee’s view or suggestion is impractical or overly critical, receive it graciously and thank the person for contributing.

The best part is, considering the viewpoint of employees will help you create policies and programs that work better, and would be more readily accepted. This is the exact reason companies treasure and act on feedback from the customers who use their products and services.

Beside employees, feedback can come from others who are experienced and in a position to offer professional tips, such as a mentor, or a company executive.

7. Update Yourself Regularly on Personnel Management Trends

Google the phrase “personnel management trends” and you will find a number of articles listing what’s hot. Who knows, that program you are thinking of implementing may be considered “so last year” by big names in the field.

A successful personnel manager needs to know how things are being done right now, what new software packages are increasing employee productivity, how new laws affect employee agreements and policies, etc.

8. Learn To Predict Trends

Besides keeping up with current trends, you should also be able to foresee how current events could give rise to future workforce and business productivity trends.

“[Personnel Managers] are expected to forecast the social and people trends that will impact the business. ‘Be like Wayne Gretzky,’ said one CEO. ‘Know where the puck will be and help me get there before it.’

“[CEOs] want HR to translate trends into valuable opportunities for the company, preparing the workforce, as one CEO said, ‘to drive more productivity in the business.’” – HRPA Report

9. Specialize

It is good to have adequate knowledge on the various aspects of people management. However, you don’t want to be the person who is just average at everything.

There should be one aspect you know so well, people consult you when they need advice.

10. Fill Your HR Team With People Who Are As Good As, Or A Little Better Than You Are

”David Ogilvy, the well-known advertising wizard who founded the Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency, never spent a day in HR, but had an orientation practice that all HR leaders would appreciate. He established a wonderful tradition of welcoming new leaders in his organization with a gift of five wooden dolls, each smaller than the other, one inside the other.

“When the recipient finally gets to the fifth little doll, the smallest doll, and opens it, he finds the message: ‘If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs, but if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.’” – Alan Collins (Best Kept HR Secrets.)


By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support



CEO Perspective Research Highlight – HRPA
Best Kept HR Secrets – Alan Collins

Feature Upgrade – Notifications Just Got More Noticeable


Feature Upgrade – Notifications Just Got More Noticeable


Early this month we started testing some exciting upgrades to our notification feature. Our aim was to make it more easily accessible so admins can keep all personnel skills and certifications current without digging through menus for the different notification functions.

In the process, we also made it more functional.

Notifications are used to locate employees who have expiring certificates, or who have not updated their skills in a while.

Search returns all who haven't updated their skills after selected date.
Search returns all who haven’t updated their skills after selected date.

After the system returns the list of employees, the admin can go on to notify them that they need to update their skills or renew a certification (I guess we would not have called it “Notifications” otherwise.)
Before the feature upgrade, the two major notification functions (certificate expiry and skills update) were crowded in with some other items under Score Details, and we noticed we sometimes had a hard time finding them (heck we designed this.)
And so we moved notifications to their own special place under the “All People” menu.
Notifications are now grouped in a distinct menu
Notifications are now grouped in a distinct menu

We also grouped the Training Notification function (used for reminding employees of upcoming training) into this menu. Before now, it could only be accessed through the training module and was separate from other notification functions. But since we added it to this menu, all notifications are now located in the same place.

“Days Since Last Update” Option

To save your precious time, we added a new option that makes it easy to select a “Last Update” date range.

Let’s say you wanted to find people who have not updated their skills in the past 6 months. Without this new option, you’d have to say: ok so today is 24th August 2015, 6 months ago was February – March, April, May, June, July, August, alright 6 months ago was February 24th. Yeah, so I have to enter 24th February 2015.

But now, all you have to do is click 180 in the “Days since last update” option, and you’re done!

Easily select a month, a quarter, half a year, or one year back
Easily select a month, a quarter, half a year, or one year back

Under expirations, this option is labeled “Days until certificate expires”, and it also provides a predefined number of days that you can click on to see who needs to update their certificate.

Though this seems like a little upgrade, I found it made notifications a pleasure to use.

I hope you will have the same experience.

And if you have a feature in mind that you think we should add, or you feel one of our features can be improved on, please contact us about it. We always appreciate your inputs and suggestions.


By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support

Workplace Violence – 6 Things You Can Do To Keep Your Workforce Safe

Business man threatening business partner


Workplace Violence – 6 Things You Can Do To Keep Your Workforce Safe


Keith Little, a hospital worker in Montgomery, Maryland, wanted a raise. Instead, he got a bad performance review from his boss Roosevelt Brockington Jr. In a rage, Little went into Roosevelt’s office wearing a ski mask and gloves to give the impression of a robbery gone wrong, and then murdered him.

Sadly, such occurrences are by no means isolated. This fact and my natural aversion toward violence have turned our blog for this week in this pretty serious direction.

News channels have essentially run out of words to describe violent acts. Senseless, insane, tragic, inhumane, and incomprehensible are some of the common expressions, but perhaps the phrase that best describes such acts is “not-going-away” because they clearly aren’t.

If anything, they are on the rise.

And since an average adult spends about 90,000 hours of their lifetime at work – the powerhouse of much of the stress that could frustrate, anger, or even tip a person over the edge – the issue of workplace violence is expectedly commonplace.

I read a report from the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration that put the value at 2 million incidents of work-related violence per year within the United States alone. But it further clarified that many other cases go unreported, meaning this value doesn’t really reflect the scope of the problem.

Considering the stats, the financial consequences, and the duty of companies to keep employees safe, I was pretty sure most companies would have taken steps to curb violence.

It was thus a jaw-dropping experience to find out from a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that a whopping 70% of US companies have no policy in place to curb workplace violence.

Obviously, many more companies need to take steps to address this issue.

But since violence can hardly be predicted and completely prevented, what can you do to make your company a safer place?

1. Check Before You Hire

Always conduct a thorough background check on candidates before they are recruited. While I believe people can, and do change, if a candidate has a history of violence (not just one hot head moment but an actual history), it may be best to hire someone else.

2. Enact a Zero Tolerance Policy for Violence

Every form of violence, verbal or physical, should not be tolerated in your company. It is necessary to create a formal, written policy to this effect, and then ensure everyone gets and reads a copy.

Others who come in regular contact with your employees (customers, clients, contractors, etc) should also be informed as to the kind of actions and interactions your company considers unacceptable.

3. Ensure There Is A Defined Way For Reporting Incidents

Employees should know exactly what to do if they have been victims of any form of violence within the company. And when incident reports are made, immediate action should be taken to prevent further harassment from the offender.

Employees should also know what to do if they are abused or threatened by customers or clients. For example, if a customer makes a threat of physical harm to one of your employees, this may be considered criminal threat and the company may decide to get the police to question and restrain the offender. Employees should know that they can report such threats.

4. Know And Educate Your Employees On The Warning Signs Of Violent Behavior

If there is one thing we have learned from previous acts of violence, it is that there is almost always some indication of the perpetrator’s violent tendency before the act, and very often the question asked is, why didn’t anybody take note of that?

Two articles, one written by Greg Botelho of CNN, and the other by Forbes’ Susan Adams, highlight the warning signs you need to teach your employees to recognize, such as:

Personality conflicts: Is someone angry at a coworker or boss? If so, how is he or she dealing with it? Conversely, one should also be mindful if a person seems to have become obsessed with a supervisor or co-worker.”

On-the-job disputes: Is he or she upset about something that happened at work, including how they might have been disciplined?”

Talk of weapons/violence: If someone may be unstable, it’d be good to know if they have access to a gun or another weapon at work. The same goes with if he or she has expressed a fascination with weapons, violent themes, or recent high-profile killings.”

Withdrawal: A co-worker who completely retreats into his shell could be demonstrating that he is having trouble coping.”

Preoccupied businessman
Recognizing the subtle behavior hints of violent tendency can help prevent workplace violence

Obsessive thought patterns or conversations: If an employee starts ranting against ‘the machine’ or talking incessantly about the unfairness of the world, it could be a warning sign.”

When such behaviors are identified early on, the person can be given needed help long before they escalate to violent behavior.

5. Identify Events That Could Make an Employee Volatile

Many violent acts at work occur around some major event, such as getting transferred to another region, getting a bad performance review, or getting fired.

While it would be unnecessary to go to DEFCON 1 each time an employee is fired, if the employee has a record of violence, some caution may be required.

If on the other hand the employee overtly shows his disappointment with the termination and threatens to retaliate somehow, get the police involved.

6. Reduce Work Related Stress

Stress at work can be caused by a number of factors, such as heavy workload, long hours, over-supervision, tight deadlines, and even boring work.

A research published in a WHO report concluded that “assaults may occur more frequently among highly stressed workers than among those experiencing less stress.”

To prevent violence then, you need to examine the trends in your company. Are there frequent reports of chronic stress? If yes, what changes in organizational structure and policies need to be made to correct this? Can you go the extra length and establish stress reduction facilities, such as gyms in your company?

Take Your Company Off The Statistics

In my quest for reliable information on this topic, I came across a good number of stats, most of them showing how prevalent work related violence is.

Quite surprisingly, although violence is generally on the increase, one stat revealed that work related violence, though common, is not increasing. It rather seems to have declined in recent years.

Clearly, some business people have taken steps to get their companies out of the negative statistics.

So can you.


By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support

7 Important Interview Questions You Probably Aren’t Asking

Woman in job interview

7 Important Interview Questions You Probably Aren’t Asking

Asking the right questions will help get the right talents into your company. But with so many possible interview questions available, how can you narrow down on some of the best.


Recruiting and training new employees costs a wad of company dollars and resources. Add the fact that about 46% of hires wash out within the first 18 months, and you begin to see why you need to be sure, every time, that you are hiring the right candidate.

While the right candidate should be someone who has the skills and experience needed for the position, other factors come into play in determining if this is someone who will also stay with the company.

An interview with prospective candidates no doubt provides the golden opportunity to make this decision.

Truth be told though, there is nothing fun about interviews, not for the interviewer, and certainly not for the candidate. Even after reading this article, interviews will still not be fun.

But they will be more effective because in here, we have zoned-in on some of the most important and revealing interview questions.


1. How will your skills and experience enable you to fulfill the requirements of this position?

Note how this question is worded. The aim is to get candidates talking about their skills and experience.

It is one thing to write a set of skills on a resume, and quite another to show how the various facets of a skill will fit into the various requirements of a job position, and that is why this question is so important.

It gives candidates an opportunity to put their skills into dynamic situations and show how deeply rooted they really are.

To make this question more effective, you might mention a unique situation, read out a few skills from the candidate’s resume, and ask how they will use these skills to handle the situation.


2. Mention five work related activities you really enjoy doing.

The purpose of this question is to establish ‘purpose’ (this will make more sense in a bit.)

A Forbes article that focused solely on this question phrases it this way – “When in your life have you been so passionately focused on an activity that you lost track of time, and what were you doing?”

This line of questioning is important because candidates are naturally more suitable for a position if their passion and purpose align with that of the position and company.

Happy Business Woman
A candidate whose purpose align with the open position will have the drive needed to excel

Asking candidates to list work related activities they enjoy doing, possibly up to the point of losing track of time is a great way to know their passion and purpose, and if these fit into the activities of the open position.

If they do fit, you can be fairly certain this is a candidate who will work, not just for the next paycheck, but to see the company succeed.


3. Walk me through the first five things you would do if you got this job.

Kristi Hedges, a Leadership Development Consultant stated (and we very much agree) that this question can help you understand some of a candidate’s work-related qualities, such as “Strategic Thinking, Prioritization Skills, and Execution Style.”


4. Why should we hire you?

Be prepared to get a wide range of responses on this one. Some candidates may even consider “Because I’m pretty” to be good enough.

One reason this question is so important is how challenging it is. It prompts candidates to market themselves and show exactly why they are a better choice than everybody else.

And a candidate’s self-marketing pitch is vital in selecting the right candidate from the torrent of applications you get for each open position.

It helps you see what this candidate brings to the table that others might not. In the process, you also get to gauge the candidate’s confidence and self-awareness – qualities that are important for strong careers.


5. Have you noticed anything about the company that you think should be improved? Please explain.

If the response to this question is “Not at the moment”, it doesn’t mean the person is not the right candidate. It often takes time to understand how a business works, and how it should be improved. In fact, a candidate who responds “No” is far better than one who utters gibberish instead.

However, if a candidate takes a moment to arrange his thoughts, and then articulately explains where your company sucks, and what can be done to make things better, you’ve got yourself a winner.


6. What are your weaknesses?

There could hardly be a better question to gauge a person’s attitude and honesty. If a candidate cannot think of one single weakness they possess, it is likely because their weaknesses are deal breakers, and they have decided to keep them all hidden.

Then again, for those who are honest enough to respond with actual weaknesses, if the response is something like “I feel sleepy 23 hours a day”, then you can understand why some people choose to say they’re perfect instead. With a weakness like this, a candidate is not getting this or any other job until something is done to change the situation.

And so above all else, this question helps you identify weaknesses that would make a person unsuitable for the job.


7. Talk about a time that you took a risk and failed, and one where you took a risk and succeeded. What was the difference?

We want to believe you are recruiting workers who will stay with your company, and can grow to become leaders. That is why this question found a spot on our top 7 list.

Leaders take decisions, often involving a fair amount of risk. A new recruit who plans to grow with the company should thus show a fair amount of entrepreneurship.

(Read this blog post to find out how to prepare employees to handle leadership positions from the beginning of their careers.)

In her article, Kristi suggests that you ask this question to identify a candidate’s “risk-taking ability and tolerance, self-awareness, honesty, and conceptual thinking.”


Yes, The Right Questions Can Help You Get The Right Candidate

Factually, you cannot be completely certain each time you hire that you made the right choice, it just doesn’t work that way.

But if your interview questions are able to reveal, among other things, that the candidate truly has the necessary skills, and that their purpose aligns with the position and company, you have a much better shot at recruiting the right fit.


By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support