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Managing employees: 10 readers’ choice articles


It’s a new year, and Insperity wants to honor its devoted readership by sharing 10 articles on employee management that business leaders have consistently found most helpful.

Not surprisingly, these articles focus on taking care of your employees.

People are the backbone of your organization. You can have a clever business strategy, a differentiated product and spiffy, new technology, but without a dedicated team, your dreams will remain dreams.

The following articles take you through the natural life cycle of an employee. What questions do you ask candidates in a job interview? How do you set them up for success and reward them when they achieve? And how do you handle conflict, poor performance and, regrettably, employee termination?

Enjoy a basic primer on many aspects of managing employees, curated by you:

1. Difficult conversations with employees: 9 crucial rules to remember

For many business leaders, when it comes to difficult conversations with employees, initiating a simple talk can be a real roadblock.

Whether it’s a performance issue or employees feuding, there comes a time when leaders must break the silence.

It’s easy for managers to brush the issue under the rug. They often don’t know how to handle the situation or emotional employees.

But avoiding these conversations can make the situation even worse. The longer you wait, the more it can affect the workplace environment and productivity.

Try these tips to put your fears in the rear-view mirror so you can focus on growing your business.

2. Calling in sick: What to do when employees lie

Poor Gloria. She had a horrible case of the flu and spent Friday and Monday in bed – or so she said when she called in sick. But not according to her coworker John, who says he saw pictures on Facebook of Gloria with a group of women on Friday celebrating and preparing for a friend’s wedding.

What is an employer to do?

Use these eight tips to determine the appropriate response (and potential disciplinary action).

3. Dealing with difficult employees: A 5-step plan

As a business owner, manager or HR leader, you need to be an expert at dealing with difficult employees.

A difficult employee is not just a problem between one employee and another. If one person makes life difficult for the company, discontent can fester and become a major distraction. The air of dissent affects everyone and can cause a dramatic decrease in productivity and the departure of other employees.

If handled correctly, you have the power to diffuse the situation and return the team to productivity.

Here’s a five-step plan that can help you diplomatically and effectively resolve these situations.

4. Managing emotional employees: 10 tips for keeping your cool

Every leader dreads managing emotional employees.

Whether it’s tears, anger or screaming fits, the extremes of emotion can leave both the supervisor and the employee – and anyone within earshot of the outburst – feeling embarrassed and stressed.

How do you stay calm and get your point across when confronted by emotional employees? How do you prepare for this scenario?

Here are 10 tips for managing emotional employees.

5. Employer responsibilities to employees: 7 ways PEOs help

The more time you spend managing employee issues, the less time you have to run your business.

But by ignoring your employer responsibilities to employees, you could cause a rift in your workforce and create potentially costly legal battles.

Fortunately, many of these concerns can be alleviated by outsourcing to a Professional Employer Organization (PEO).

Here are seven scenarios where a PEO can come in handy.

6. 5 ways employees could be scamming your time and attendance system

What is time clock or time card fraud?

Well, remember that kid from elementary school who was always trying to figure out a way to change the grades on his report card? He’s still out there. Only now he’s an adult, and he’s trying to figure out a way to scam his company time sheets. He’s adding to his pocket and taking away from your bottom line in the process.

While most employees are honest, there are usually a few you might want to keep your eye on. When it comes to time clock fraud, even padding each work day with just a few extra minutes adds up.

Here are five common ways your employees can dupe your time and attendance system.

7. How to create a successful employee referral program

In sales, your most qualified leads usually come as referrals from satisfied customers. In recruiting, a referral from one of your satisfied employees can be just as powerful.

An employee referral program can significantly increase your company’s qualified talent pool.

Most of the time, the referrers (your current employees) have a good understanding of what you expect from staff members. Therefore, the candidates they refer are more likely to have the skills you’re looking for. This can speed up the initial screening process so that you can hire qualified talent quicker.

Let’s explore how to encourage participation with incentives and launch a successful referral program.

8. Coaching employees: 5 steps to making it more effective

Coaching employees is the key to building and maintaining a self-motivated staff.

Initially, it will take extra time – the whole teach-a-man-to-fish process versus just catch-a-man-a-fish. But the results are worth the investment.

The better you coach, the more prepared your team will be to achieve their goals.

Successful coaching guides employees in the right direction but promotes independent thinking and team collaboration to overcome obstacles.

Follow these steps to make your coaching and feedback process more effective.

9. Comp time vs. overtime – What you need to know

When employees work more than 40 hours in a week, can they be paid with compensatory time (comp time) vs. overtime? In many cases, overtime pay is the only option.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs what employers must do under federal law. Understanding and properly applying the FLSA is essential for any company, whether you have four employees or 40,000.

Following the law is important for obvious reasons, however, there are also intangible benefits.

Learn everything you need to know here.

10. Common new-hire mistakes to avoid at all costs

Congrats! You’ve made an excellent new hire and are excited to see what fresh talent can bring to your team. Their success, however, may depend on your ability to avoid common new-hire mistakes.

If you don’t fine-tune your new-hire processes, it can cost your company in time, morale and financial resources.

When you add the hard costs of hiring with the opportunity cost of not having your team at full capacity, it can prove costly for companies — making successful hiring a matter for budget-savvy businesses to seriously consider.

While many of us recognize the best practices for onboarding that will increase a new hire’s likelihood of succeeding in their role, new-hire mistakes happen.

Avoid these common slip-ups to keep new hires engaged and confident in their decision to join your team.

For more employee management tips, download our free e-book: How to develop a top-notch workforce that will accelerate your business.