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One Bad Apple Is All It Takes To Destroy a Friendly Work Environment

 

It’s al old saying — not to mention a Jackson 5 song — and it’s true: It only takes one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch. There’s a recent study from Sweden of just how disruptive workplace “incivility” can be.

While the business world has become increasingly sensitive to the damaging effects of bullying, It turns out just-plain-rudeness is also surprisingly toxic. Small meannesses such as leaving someone out of an email thread, the occasional dirty look, or ignoring a coworker affect not just the direct recipient, but also anyone observing the nastiness.

The study identified five problems incivility causes. Amy Morin, writing for Forbes, summarizes them.

Decreased Job Satisfaction — If there’s a person no one likes to meet with, or if the seating geography of a break room is determined by people avoiding sitting near someone, those times of day bring a negative feeling into an otherwise satisfying work experience.

Higher Turnover Rates — One nasty coworker can result in higher turnover rates because he or she can create an unpleasant environment that no one is happy to stay in, regardless of salary, benefits, and perks.

Sleep Problems — Employees with rude coworkers are more likely to suffer sleep deprivation, most likely from the background stress levels difficult person produces. Obviously, being tired makes this stress harder to deal with and can affect work quality.

Poor Mental Health — Other studies have found bullying and harassment produce negative psychological effects, and this study found a similar impact with incivility.

Rude Behavior is Contagious — When behavioral norms are influenced by nasty behavior, particularly when it goes uncorrected, an entire environment can be ruined. The study found people observing rudeness are more likely to view it as acceptable and begin practicing it themselves. The study even found they were more likely to provoke trouble with their coworkers.

Rude employees are often left with their behavior uncorrected because they tend to be the kind of person who “brings a gun to a knife fight,” and everyone would rather give them a wide berth. Still, this destructive behavior needs to be corrected, no matter how unpleasant it may be to confront the person.

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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What to Do About ROAD Warriors In Your Office

We’re not talking Mad Max here, or Furiosa. The ROAD warrior we’re talking about here is a R.O.A.D. warrior, with the initials standing for “Retired On Active Duty.” This is the employee whose motto would be “Just in it for the paycheck.” This type of worker may technically be doing his or her job, but only by exerting as little effort as possible. Excellence is totally out of the question. If they do something well, fine. If they don’t, just as fine as far as they’re concerned. One ROAD warrior is a concern; when you have multiple ROAD warriors, your office culture has a serious problem. These people act as motivational black holes, taking zero initiative, and setting an utterly dispiriting example for coworkers with whom they’re not likely to connect anyway.

Jason Forrest, writing for Builder, says companies needs to fix a ROAD warrior problem, one way or another. He says, “I believe wholeheartedly that with enough coaching from their leaders, everyone will either be coached up or coached out. You don’t have to go around firing everyone.” He sees two things that should be done.

Forrest believes the ROAD warrior’s direct supervisor is the key to revitalizing the employee’s interest in the job. “People don’t quit on companies so much as they quit on managers,” says Forrest. A manager needs to invests enough time in developing a stronger relationship with a ROAD warrior to create a feeling of being cared about, supported, and empowered. This can, in turn, stimulate the ROAD warrior’s personal loyalty to the supervisor and thus a desire to excel.

Second, Forrest points out that the best employees feel a sense of camaraderie with their coworkers, and a ROAD warrior’s relationships need to be strengthened. He suggests team-building efforts that have the ROAD warrior needing to collaborate with others to accomplish an achievable goal — this gets the coworkers to work together, learn to depend on each other, and then cement their bond with a feel-good success.

If it all goes well, your ROAD warriors may find unexpected satisfaction in their jobs, and be great for the company. If it doesn’t, since no one really wants to be a ROAD warrior, the employee will probably wind up hitting the, um…well, you know.

Naomi Thalenberg

Naomi is a reporter for TINYpulse, living and breathing everything employee engagement. She does this by always keeping her workstation fully stocked with dark chocolates.

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Oversharing His Holiday on Facebook May Not Have Been the Best Idea

Many of us love to share the details of our lives on Facebook with our friends. For some people, it’s as if something didn’t even really happen if it’s not in a Facebook update. A great meal, a child’s silliness, and our vacation pix are all likely to be presented for our friends’ online amusement. But it’s that last one that cost Rodney Jones his job, according to Eric Goldman writing for Forbes. It’s a cautionary tale for social-media devotees.

Jones used to work as the activities director for Accentia Health and Rehabilitation Center of Tampa Bay, Florida. When he needed surgery on his shoulder, Accentia granted him three months of FMLA medical leave. Before his return, his doctor felt Jones needed more recovery time, and Jones offered to return to Accentia for “light duty.” Accentia decided instead to grant Jones an additional 30 days of non-medical leave, after which he’d return to work with a “Fitness for Duty Certificate” from his doctor in hand.

So Jones went to Busch Gardens Theme Park in Tampa twice and took a three-day trip to St. Martins. Naturally, he posted pictures of his good times on Facebook, including a “picture on the beach, posing by a boat wreck, and a picture of … wading/swimming in the ocean.”

When he reported for work, Accentia fired him. His supervisor stated the reason for termination as being that Jones had shown poor judgement as a supervisor and due to “the negative impact that his Facebook posts and text messages had among the associates as Accentia Health.” It’s not unreasonable to imagine the company felt he’d tricked them into giving him more leave than he really needed.

Jones thinks the company believes he abused his FMLA leave, and he took Accentia to court — he claimed they’d interfered with his FMLA leave. The judge was not impressed with his arguments and dismissed the case.

Companies have terminated employees for social-media activities plenty of times before, especially when the employee says one thing to a company — or a judge — while Facebook updates reveal the opposite to be true. If Jones has just enjoyed himself without having to show everyone, he’d have had a job to return to from vacation…sorry…leave.

Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement reporter for TINYpulse. When she's not busy digging into and covering the latest workplace trends, she's wrangling with her three (yes, three) cats and rooting for the Seahawks.

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Employee Support Is Strong for Closing the Gender Pay Gap

If companies wonder how workers feel about compensation adjustments that level out pay between men and women, a new Glassdoor study finds that 93% of American employees surveyed are in favor of seeing the wage gap between men and women closed. Worldwide, the number’s 89%.

Workers often don’t think their own companies are the problem. 7 in 10 people on average worldwide believed their own company paid equally, though women were less likely to make that assumption. In the U.S. there’s slightly less confidence in one’s own company, with 70% overall choosing to believe the best — 77% of the men and 70% of the women. A third of U.S. women surveyed believed their employers were part of the problem, nearly twice the number of men who thought so.

Around the world, women are concerned about whether or not they were being payed equally. In the U.S., about two thirds think they’re being fairly compensated, while a third feel they deserve to be paid more. (5% of women don’t think women deserve equal pay.)

Though the percentages shift slightly a bit across the countries in the survey — United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, The Netherlands and Switzerland — the story’s the same everywhere: More men feel they’re being paid fairly and don’t think their company has a pay gender gap; more women feel they’re not being properly compensated and that a gender gap does exist at their company.

The survey points to some things companies offering equal pay should do. Glassdoor suggests they promote their equal-pay practices since, for example, 67% of U.S. workers surveyed wouldn’t even apply for work at companies with a gender gap in pay. Worldwide, 81% of women wouldn’t apply. For companies that do still have a gender gap, that leaves a vanishingly small talent pool to draw from. (63% of workers older than 55 may apply to such a company, but 81% of people from 18 to 24 won’t.)

Employees are eager to see companies step up, with 45% of U.S. workers ready for new policies that close the pay gap, and two thirds looking for more transparency in how compensation is calculated anyway. About 20% think female employees should request raises more frequently to help close the gender gap in pay. And 39% approve of the government stepping in to force companies to pay men and women equally.

Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement reporter for TINYpulse. When she's not busy digging into and covering the latest workplace trends, she's wrangling with her three (yes, three) cats and rooting for the Seahawks.

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The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants at Work Too

What can we say? Love happens. And it happens plenty at the office, as CareerBuilder’s just-released annual Valentines Day report reveals. 37% of people surveyed have dated someone from work. And 33% have actually married someone they met at the office, such as, the report notes, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Brad Pitt.

The survey was conducted for CareerBuilder by Harris Poll from November 4 to December 1, 2015. It included 3,252 full-time, non-governmental workers across a range of company sizes and in a variety of industries. Here’s what they found out about office amour.

12% of peoples’ office romances began late one night at the office, while 10% bubbled to the surface at Happy Hour and at chance meetings out in the world. 9% got hit by Cupid’s arrow at lunch. Nearly one in ten reported their relationships were the result of love at first sight. Not everyone acts on their feelings, of course, with 8% deciding they’ll just settle for having a platonic work spouse.

26% of women dating at work have gone out with someone higher up in the company. 20% of men have done the same.

Many work couples — about a third — conclude it’s best to keep their connection secret. (Maybe this is partially because 17% of office romances involve at least one married person.) Of the couples loving on the QT, 25% of them have inconveniently bumped into other coworkers out of the office. 17% admitted their relationship, while another 10% just said, “Nope, nothing happening here.” Lying may not matter anyway, since 65% of people surveyed said they were very confident they knew of all of the hookups — public or otherwise — in their offices.

What about office romances that don’t last? 5% of people surveyed said they’ve left a job as the result of a broken heart.

Robby Berman

Robby Berman is a reporter, father, and musician who creates and discovers good stuff for the Internet world.

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The 5 Best and 4 Worst Jobs at Walmart

As a nation, we tend to pay a lot of attention to Walmart as one of the country’s most ubiquitous employers. Now Terence Loose, writing for Philly.com, has put together a list of the five best and four worst jobs you can have at the massive retailer.

Note: Walmart has just announced they’ll be increasing their minimum wage to $10 an hour, and giving all of their U.S. employees at least a 2% pay raise. The figures below reflect salaries before these increases go into effect.

The Five Best Jobs at Walmart

  1. Store Manager: Who knew you could make $150,000-$250,000 working at Walmart? It reportedly comes with a “great benefits package” and the chance to work with a diverse array of people. On the other hand, it’s hard: You’re responsible for supervising everyone, meeting financial goals, inventory, payroll, and managing merchandise shipments.
  2. Assistant Manager: The average pay is $48,311 if you count benefits. The job entails meeting store sales and financial goals, guideline compliance, associate supervision, and customer service supervision.
  3. Shift Manager: You might have to work weird hours, but you can make a bundle, $78,000 if you count the $18,000 cash bonus and the $3,200 stock bonus, among other things. It’s great for getting training and moving up, though it comes with long hours and is tough on one’s work-life balance.
  4. Pharmacy Manager: If you’ve got a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy or PharmD and have a pharmacy license, you can expect to make an average of $160,000 a year for being in charge of a Walmart pharmacy.
  5. Order Filler: Working out of a distribution center moving product onto Walmart trucks will get you an average $43,120 yearly. You’ll also be 21% happier than other Walmart employees, according to CareerBliss (requires sign-in).

The Four Worst Jobs at Walmart

  1. Cashier: At an average $9 an hour, the physically demanding job of checking people out is no party, with high stress levels, difficult shifts, and fewer hours in slow seasons.
  2. Inventory Control Specialist: Hours tend to be long and late for the people who are responsible for inventory coming in and going out of a store, and you’d make an average of $10 an hour.
  3. Sales Associate: Sales associates are Walmart’s floor staff who earn an average of $9 an hour, doing an assortment of in-store tasks, including fielding customers’ questions.
  4. Customer Service Manager: The worst managerial position, making a mere $22,470 a year, these folks get change for cashiers, prep and audit cash registers, and handle customer complaints and concerns. They also train employees.

Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement reporter for TINYpulse. When she's not busy digging into and covering the latest workplace trends, she's wrangling with her three (yes, three) cats and rooting for the Seahawks.

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Performance Reviews Are Getting Their Own Performance Review

For the last several years, companies have been getting increasingly skeptical about the value of annual performance reviews — particularly the ones with numerical employee rankings — and at this point are seeking a better way to assess employees’ work.

Among the first companies to move beyond the annual review was Adobe, who came to consider the review process a “soul-crushing exercise,” losing often valuable employees every year right after review time. As senior VP of global people and sales Donna Morris told SHRM, “We hired the very best, and then we brought them into an organization and on an annual basis said, ‘You were exceptional when you came in, but now, relative to your peers, you’re only average.’ That doesn’t feel good.” The company switched to more frequent, less formal conversations back in 2012, and the company considers them far more useful.

Manjur Ahmed, writing for The Daily Star, sums up five good reasons performance reviews don’t work:

  • They’re time-consuming: Since it can take a manager up to 12 hours per review. Multiply that by the number of employees and add on the time it takes to do the HR paperwork.
  • There’s no follow-up: Until next year’s review.
  • The reviewer is biased: When the personal relationship between manager and employee can’t be removed from the appraisal, leading to unfair rankings.
  • The reviewer is afraid of spoiling relationships: When the reviewer doesn’t want to hurt employees’ feelings so criteria are applied inconsistently sometimes having as much to do with individuals’ sensitivity as performance.
  • Different review techniques by different departments: Make company-wide comparisons meaningless.

Ahmed suggests four things to do instead of these reviews:

  • Create a feedback-rich culture: Where people are free to provide feedback to each other.
  • Encourage employees to continually self-assess: And to informally share those assessments.
  • Hire the best people possible: And support them with a constructive culture.
  • Invest in leadership development: So managers have the skills required for bringing out the best in their staff.

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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Union Membership in U.S. Unchanged in 2015

New data from the U.S. Department of Labor out Thursday show that union membership in 2015 in the U.S. was 11.1%, unchanged from 2014.

Union members were more likely to be male, work in education, protective services, training, and at libraries, according to the data. Although union membership did not necessarily increase, union members earned much more than non-union members: a median of $980 per week compared to $776 per week for non-union workers.

New York had the highest level of union members at 24.7%. South Carolina had the lowest at 2.1%. Meanwhile, political efforts to reduce union membership have taken a toll in other states.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Thursday that union membership in Wisconsin fell below the national average in 2015 for the first time. The paper attributed the decline to two laws passed by Gov. Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers: one repealing collective bargaining for public workers and another making Wisconsin a right-to-work state.

Overall, the public sector has a substantially higher rate of union members at 35%, compared to 6.7% in the private sector. Union membership among private-sector workers was highest in the utilities, transportation and warehousing, education, and telecommunications industries.

Since 2005, union membership has increased just slightly. In 2005, there were nearly 13 million union members compared to 14.8 million in 2015. Overall, union membership has declined from 17.7 million in 1983, the first year the government began tracking membership.

Neal McNamara

Neal has spent a decade working as a newspaper reporter, which is one of the worst jobs in America job according to some career websites, but he actually likes it a lot.

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Presidential Candidate Releases Workers Bill of Rights

Yesterday, Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley released a “Workers Bill of Rights for the 21st Century.” While we’re neither endorsing nor refuting O’Malley’s views and proposals, the bill’s articles serve as a strikingly concise portrait of a constituency to which many of us belong. Each article awards the right to a solution for a specific issue making life harder for American workers. (O’Malley’s original version includes proposed solutions.)

I. The Right to Balance Work and Family

Out of 185 countries, just three don’t ensure paid family leave: Oman, Papua New Guinea, and the United States. Childcare expenses are also a major headache for families.

II. The Right to a Predictable Weekly Schedule

Companies’ erratic and ever-changing work schedules have made personal and family scheduling nightmarish.

III. The Right to Full-Time Work

Companies often prevent part-time workers from working more hours by hiring additional part-timers instead.

IV. The Right to Overtime Pay For Overtime Work

As people work more hours to meet company needs, overtime pay can no longer be counted upon.

V. The Right to Earn a Living Wage

The current Federal minimum wage is keeping many working Americans in poverty.

VI. The Right to Bargain Collectively For Better Wages

Unions that protect workers may be in need of protection themselves.

VII. The Right to Retire In Dignity, Not Poverty

A decent retirement is becoming harder to achieve, with elder poverty a growing worry.

VIII. The Right to Equal Pay For Equal Work

There’s still a gender gap, and employers’ desire to keep wages secret allow them to pay people different amounts for the same work.

IX. The Right to Affordable Health Care

Many still struggle with health care coverage. In addition, workers’ health care rights are often assessed by the amount of services rather than their quality.

X. The Right to a Quality Education and Debt-Free College

Quality education isn’t yet available to every child in America, teachers are undervalued, and middle-class families struggle to afford college for their children.

XI. The Right to Read Trade Deals Before Our Congress Votes On Them

This should really go under a senator or representative’s Bill of Rights, since it addresses their unhappiness surrounding the secrecy of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty that may have a major impact on American workers.

Robby Berman

Robby Berman is a reporter, father, and musician who creates and discovers good stuff for the Internet world.

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Obama Addresses Workplace Issues in State of the Union Speech

Obama state of the union 2016

President Barack Obama gave his final State of the Union address on Jan. 12, 2016.

President Barack Obama gave his annual State of the Union speech Tuesday night, speaking on a variety of topics from the cost of education to the strength of the U.S. military. At a few points during the speech, Obama focused on work and how the labor market has changed over the years. Here are four key quotes from his speech about work:

“It’s not too much of a stretch to say that some of the only people in America who are going to work the same job, in the same place, with a health and retirement package for 30 years are sitting in this chamber.”

Obama was referring to the benefits that members of Congress (and perhaps the Supreme Court justices) receive, like a defined benefit pension plan and Congress’ above-average base salary of $174,000 per year. Companies don’t offer defined benefit pensions anymore, and wage growth has been largely stagnant, only recently beating inflation, according to the U.S Department of Labor. Obama went on to remark, “[For] folks in their 40s and 50s, saving for retirement or bouncing back from job loss has gotten a lot tougher.”

“It’s about filling the gaps in employer-based care so that when you lose a job, or you go back to school, or you strike out and launch that new business, you’ll still have coverage.”

Obama was referring to the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare. Before the passage of the law, which requires U.S. citizens to carry some form of health insurance, many workers would lose insurance after a job loss.

“The point is, I believe that in this new economy, workers and start-ups and small businesses need more of a voice, not less.”

In part due to the rise of small start-ups in the tech sector, the face of corporate America is changing. Obama may have been hinting that politicians in Washington are willing to work with sharing economy start-ups like Uber or Instacart (and perhaps the people who work for those companies) on regulatory issues.

“We’re in the middle of the longest streak of private sector job creation in history. More than 14 million new jobs, the strongest two years of job growth since the 1990s, an unemployment rate cut in half. Our auto industry just had its best year ever. That’s just part of a manufacturing surge that’s created nearly 900,000 new jobs in the past six years.”

It’s true — a government report released Tuesday showed that nearly 3 million people quit a job in November, the largest number since April 2008. The labor market is increasingly turning toward employees, which might cause employee retention problems for some organizations.

Neal McNamara

Neal has spent a decade working as a newspaper reporter, which is one of the worst jobs in America job according to some career websites, but he actually likes it a lot.

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