Category Archives: Management

What Your Boss Could Learn by Reading the Whole Company’s Emails

Source: Frank Partnoy, The Atlantic, September 2018

Employee emails contain valuable insights into company morale—and might even serve as an early-warning system for uncovering malfeasance.

Related:
Text Analysis Systems Mine Workplace Emails to Measure Staff Sentiments
Source: Alan Rothman, LLRX, September 22, 2018

….Today the text analytics business, like the work done by KeenCorp, is thriving. It has been long-established as the processing behind email spam filters. Now it is finding other applications including monitoring corporate reputations on social media and other sites.

The finance industry is another growth sector, as investment banks and hedge funds scan a wide variety of information sources to locate “slight changes in language” that may point towards pending increases or decreases in share prices. Financial research providers are using artificial intelligence to mine “insights” from their own selections of news and analytical sources.

But is this technology effective?….

….. Now text analytics is being deployed at a new target: The composition of employees’ communications. Although it has been found that workers have no expectations of privacy in their workplaces, some companies remain reluctant to do so because of privacy concerns. Thus, companies are finding it more challenging to resist the “urge to mine employee information”, especially as text analysis systems continue to improve.

Among the evolving enterprise applications are the human resources departments in assessing overall employee morale. For example, Vibe is such an app that scans through communications on Slack, a widely used enterprise platform. Vibe’s algorithm, in real-time reporting, measures the positive and negative emotions of a work team. …..

Investigating the predictors of workplace embitterment using a longitudinal design

Source: E Michailidis, M Cropley, Occupational Medicine, Advance Access, September 3, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:

Background:
Embitterment has been described as the emotion generated by an event experienced as unjust. Although clinicians working in occupational health services readily recognize features of embitterment in organizations, little attention has been given to workplace embitterment. Research is warranted to identify predictors and features of employees’ embitterment.

Aims:
To explore the predictors and the chronicity of workplace embitterment over 6 months.

Methods:
A longitudinal study investigating the chronicity of workplace embitterment and its antecedents among employees from various occupations. Data were collected by online questionnaires including measures of workplace embitterment, organizational justice and employees’ perceptions of supervisory control.

Results:
The survey was completed by 352 employees at Time 1, and 169 at Time 2. The final sample (assessed at two time points) was 147 employees. The feeling of workplace embitterment appeared to be very stable during the 6-month period. Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that perceptions of distributive injustice, informational injustice and employees’ perceptions on supervisory over-control in Time 1 significantly predicted embitterment in Time 2. Only the relationship between employees’ perceptions of supervisory control and embitterment remained significant after controlling for baseline levels of embitterment.

Conclusions:
This study provides evidence for the negative impact perceived organizational injustice can have on employees’ experience of workplace embitterment. Results indicate that employees who perceive their supervisor as being over-controlling are more likely to suffer from workplace embitterment. The finding that workplace embitterment is stable during a 6-month period highlights the need for effective interventions in ameliorating and preventing workplace embitterment.

Are Social Media Searches Still Risky?

Source: Maureen Minehan, Employment Alert, Volume 35 Issue 16, August 6, 2018
(subscription required)

Gone are the days of employers casually reviewing social media to assess prospective hires. Instead, they are formalizing their social media screening practices.

That’s the conclusion of the 2018 MRINetwork Reputation Management Study, released in late May. According to the study, 18% of employers have formalized their process of reviewing candidate social media profiles and another 17% are considering doing so in the future.

“We would never hire without seriously searching all platforms,” one study participant noted.

How To Fire An Employee Returning From Leave

Source: Maureen Minehan, Employment Alert, Volume 35 Issue 15, July 24, 2018
(subscription required)

An employee has major surgery and uses six weeks of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave during recovery. While he’s absent, another employee takes on his duties and finds a major mistake had been made in a calculation on an important project and a number of assigned tasks were incomplete or poorly done. Normally, this level of performance would result in termination, but you can’t fire someone just returning from leave, can you? Isn’t that just asking for a lawsuit?

Terminating an employee who is returning from any type of protected leave can be tricky, but it’s doable if you have the right evidence and documentation. Courts will look closely to be sure the termination isn’t a pretext for illegal discrimination, but if the business justification is clear, they are apt to side with the employer.

Five Common Employer Social Media Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Source: Sara H. Jodka, Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 44, No. 1, Summer 2018
(subscription required)

While social media based discipline is an issue for employers, there are a number of other social media related issues that employers should be aware of. In this article, five are addressed, starting with the most familiar and common offender, social media discipline. Social media has been and will continue to be an issue for employers. It has become the way people, especially Millennials, who make up a significant amount of the restaurant-industry workforce, communicate. When most employers think about social media in the workplace, they tend to think solely in terms of the high-profile social media firing cases where employers have terminated employees for posts made on social media. While social media based discipline is certainly an issue for employers, there are a number of other social media related issues that employers should be aware of. In this article, five are addressed, starting with the most familiar and common offender, social media discipline.

Monitoring Employees Through GPS Technology: What Is Legal and What Are Best Practices?

Source: Elizabeth Austermuehle, Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 44, No. 1, Summer 2018
(subscription required)

Employers that use GPS technology to track their employees’ locations and activity can help improve a company’s efficiency and ensure compliance with labor and safety laws, however, important legal and employee privacy issues also are implicated. Employers are encouraged to take steps to ensure that GPS monitoring activities do not violate applicable laws or employees’ trust.

The Employment Doctrine That Screws Over Workers

Source: Moshe Z. Marvit, Jacobin, August 7, 2018

It’s called “at-will employment.” But for workers, it simply means employers hold all the cards.

Last week, over a hundred Latino workers mounted a wildcat strike at a UPS facility to protest the actions of a racist supervisor. One of their coworkers, Antoine Dangerfield, took out his phone and began filming the walkout, his excitement growing as he realized what he was witnessing. Dangerfield posted the video online, where it quickly netted millions of views. Shortly after, his employer offered Dangerfield $250 to take the video down. Dangerfield explained to them that that’s not how the internet works, and that he couldn’t remove the video. So, they fired him.

This may seem like a bad reason to fire someone, and Dangerfield’s employer may even admit that it was a bad reason to fire him — but it is still probably legal. That’s because the US, for the most part, follows the at-will rule of employment, where an employee can be terminated for good cause, bad cause, or no cause at all. (Montana is the only state that has some form of just-cause rule.)

…. An employee’s right to quit her job stems from her right to be free from involuntary servitude. An employer may be inconvenienced when an employee up and leaves, but rarely is the whole enterprise put in jeopardy. When an employee is pink-slipped, on the other hand, they lose their livelihoods, their health insurance, and potentially their homes and other assets. Far from creating a balance in the relationship, the at-will rule tilts things toward the employer — who already has outsized power. ….

….The other major exception to the at-will rule is contractually negotiated just-cause. This largely exists for two groups of employees: unionized workers and high-level executives…..

Increasing minority employment: Are you ready to recruit?

Source: Mary Lou Egan, Marc Bendick Jr., Employment Relations Today, Early View, First published: 23 July 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
To increase employment from desired race or gender groups, employers nearly always first turn to recruiting from outside their organization. But a few years after such initiatives are undertaken, diversity numbers typically remain low or even decrease, turnover among recruits from the sought‐after groups is high, and the efforts are threatened by their recurrent cost. Employers need to break this fruitless cycle by thinking more strategically. Without an inclusive organizational climate that retains and fully utilizes minority employees after hire, simply recruiting more such employees will not lead to sustainable changes in workforce demographics. Drawing on empirical research, this paper describes six “red flags” that identify workplaces not ready to recruit. Only after organizational changes address the deficiencies identified by the red flags will the time for minority recruitment be at hand. But by then special focused recruitment may not be necessary; when employers change their workplace cultures to become truly inclusive, word gets around.

How managers can spark, not squelch, our motivation

Source: Futurity, June 22, 2018

Does your boss empower you to make your own decisions? Or are you stuck with a micro-manager? New research from Gavin R. Slemp and Lara H. Mossman at the University of Melbourne identifies the best ways for bosses to foster motivation—and it’s not through overseeing every little thing…..

Related:

Leader autonomy support in the workplace: A meta-analytic review
Source: Gavin R. Slemp, Margaret L. Kern, Kent J. Patrick, Richard M. Ryan, Motivation and Emotion, Online First, May 17, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Leader autonomy support (LAS) refers to a cluster of supervisory behaviors that are theorized to facilitate self-determined motivation in employees, potentially enabling well-being and performance. We report the results of a meta-analysis of perceived LAS in work settings, drawing from a database of 754 correlations across 72 studies (83 unique samples, N = 32,870). Results showed LAS correlated strongly and positively with autonomous work motivation, and was unrelated to controlled work motivation. Correlations became increasingly positive with the more internalized forms of work motivation described by self-determination theory. LAS was positively associated with basic needs, well-being, and positive work behaviors, and was negatively associated with distress. Correlations were not moderated by the source of LAS, country of the sample, publication status, or the operationalization of autonomy support. In addition, a meta-analytic path analysis supported motivational processes that underlie LAS and its consequences in workplaces. Overall, our findings lend support for autonomy support as a leadership approach that is consistent with self-determination and optimal functioning in work settings.