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November News

November 2010

HR Mastery Groups 2011

If all or part of your job includes HR responsibilities and you’re looking for a wise group of peers to serve as your HR “think tank,” then our HR Mastery Groups are for you! These two-hour monthly meetings are the perfect opportunity to share and resolve your HR issues, to brainstorm how to enhance your HR initiatives, programs and practices, as well as to share your HR expertise, wisdom and experiences with other HR professionals.

The first half of each meeting is an open discussion on key issues members are experiencing. The second hour is a focused discussion on topics chosen by the members which can include guest speakers, sample sharing and other activities. We start off the year brainstorming topic areas, so I can tailor the topics to member interests and needs.

Another plus of participating in HR Mastery is that all members will also receive my HRxpress Hotline services at no cost throughout 2011! Got an HR question, just call or email me.

Don’t pass up this wonderful opportunity! Our next groups are beginning in January, so call or email Arlene today to explore the benefits of these groups and how you can participate.

If you know a storm is coming, prepare in advance. Discuss the options with staff before you find yourself in a tight situation. Have an emergency strategy for handling the work remotely, staggering schedules, closing down and catching up. When proactive is possible, that’s always your best solution.

If you’re not
having fun
with your
human resources,
call Arlene today
at 952-996-0975


Tactful Terminations

I was contacted by Associated Press this week regarding what employers are doing about the sensitive issues related to closing the office in snow emergencies or handling employee absences even when the business is open. You’ll find the article below.

So what do you do when your employee works in another state, at his home, and you’ve decided to end his employment? How can you tactfully and sensitively communicate this message? This is the question one of my clients faced this month.

The manager was going to take two days to drive to the employee’s area of residence, take the person out for a meal and terminate the employee at that time. She couldn’t meet at the person’s home office and do the termination. And she didn’t want to do it over the phone. So the next best option was at their regular off-site restaurant meeting place.

Of course, this decision just didn’t sit right. Imagine being terminated in a public setting where you feel that everyone is watching your reaction!

This circumstance is really not that uncommon. I’ve had lots of clients who conduct their employees’ performance appraisals at restaurants. “Let’s go out and celebrate your review! What’s your favorite restaurant?” And then the lunchtime discussion focuses on the employee’s performance.

This is fine, as long as you’re not sharing lots of constructive feedback. I surely wouldn’t want my “weaknesses” or “opportunities” shared in public with the people dining at the next table overhearing.

So that means that you only take your top performers out to lunch for their review. And your struggling performers know that their review isn’t good because their performance review meeting is in your office and not at a restaurant.

In these more informal times and with more remote workers, we need to determine in advance how are we going to effectively handle the easy and the difficult communication. We need to strategize this in advance and plan the communication with the employee when we set up the remote relationship. Of course, the same concerns and protocol need to be established with the employees sitting next to you.

So what did the client do? We bounced ideas back and forth. One of the ideas we came up with was to rent a conference room at a hotel or business center and conduct the meeting there. That allowed the privacy that would be needed for the discussion. They ended up utilizing their teleconferencing capability and had the meeting computer-to-computer but with a face-to-face dialogue. This was one of their usual forms of communication, so although it sounds like the George Clooney movie “Up in the Air,” it was one of their normal methods of communication and it worked for them.

Based on your knowledge of each individual employee, determine what setting works best for him/her so you can really get your message across. Communication isn’t always a one-size-fits-all process. As managers and business owners, it’s our responsibility to focus on the tone of the setting as well as the message we’re communicating.

Copyright (c) 2010 Arlene Vernon, HRx, Inc.

About Arlene Vernon

Arlene Vernon, PHR, partners with small businesses as their Human Resource Xpert to create their HR systems and solve their HR problems.

If you have gaps in your HR operation, have an employee problem to solve, or want to enhance your managers’ skills, call Arlene today. Learn
how HRx can save you time and help you avoid costly HR mistakes. HRx, Inc., 574 Prairie Center Drive #135/285, Eden Prairie, MN 55344, 952-996-0975,

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