3 Things Managers Do That Disengage Employees

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Engagement is often viewed as just an "HR thing" when in fact, managers play an even more important role in engaging employees day-to-day. Managers, however, may not realize how their actions engage or disengage employees and how that affects their team's performance and productivity. Here are 3 things managers do which can unintentionally disengage employees.

1. Devalue

Unfortunately, feeling undervalued is a common problem in the workplace and it affects engagement considerably. Instead of focusing on performance and creating value, employees who feel devalued spend their energy trying to defend or prove their value and typically underperform in the process. There are a number of common reasons and situations that could cause an employee to feel devalued, such as:

  • not being recognized or acknowledged for a job well done, or ignored
  • being passed over for a promotion or transferred/assigned to a new area
  • feeling under-challenged or that they are working below their capabilities
  • receiving a lower than expected pay increase, performance rating, etc.
  • being unfairly treated or denied a request for leave, additional flexibility, etc.
  • not being listened/responded to or asked for their input

Managers usually don't intend to make employees feel devalued, but the absence of acknowledgement and the effects of how they treat other employees or the decisions they make can inevitably backfire and leave employees feeling undervalued and disengaged.

2. Distrust

Trust is also vital to employee engagement. Loss of employee trust in leaders or their managers can create havoc on engagement. Disengaged employees who lose trust in their managers spend more time wondering what truths their managers are trying to hold back from them or questioning their manager's honesty, than creating and driving results.

Managers can lose employees' trust in ways that they may not realize. Saying one thing and doing another is a major reason that trust can be broken. If you promise something to an employee (even if it was years prior), they expect you to follow-through. Keeping your word and being consistent is the best way to keep employees' trust.

Micromanaging or over-controlling how tasks are completed and limiting employees' autonomy can also create distrust. If employees feel like you don't trust or believe in their capabilities, they may reciprocate and not trust you. Trust is a two way street, and you must be willing to give trust to gain it.

Other ways managers create distrust inadvertently are by publically criticizing employees or drawing attention to their weaknesses, keeping secrets and withholding information, making changes without honestly communicating why, telling half-truths, not practicing what they preach, and sugarcoating problems or situations. Every manager makes one of these mistakes at one time or another and the negative effects can be difficult to reverse.

3. Disconnect

Employees become disengaged when they don't have a good connection with their manager, or when a positive dynamic with their boss changes. For many employees, their boss is one of the most important people in their work-life. As a result, positive, supportive relationships between employees and their managers play a critical role in engaging employees.

When employees and managers stop communicating with one another regularly or when a positive manager-employee relationship turns sour, a disconnect can occur. Being able to resolve and manage conflicts with employees is a skill managers need to maintain their relationships and connections with employees.

Sometimes disconnects happen without managers realizing it. For example, managers can commonly grow apart from employees with significant tenure or those that don't need as much development. Also, managers can often find themselves operating in a vacuum, busily engaged in tasks and projects, but failing to make time for their people. They may become invisible to their staff or a particular employee. They may also not spend enough time trying to develop rapport with employees.

Connecting, developing trust, and valuing employees are three key ways managers can drive engagement. In the ongoing quest for an engaged, productive, and high-performing workforce, managers must realize how their everyday actions or lack of action can disengage employees and give them the skills and insights to create an engaged team.

Additional Resources

Management & Leadership Development

ERC offers a range of courses to develop supervisors, middle managers, and leaders including popular topics such as communication, conflict resolution, time and priority management, emotional intelligence, and performance management. 

To Pay or not to Pay Interns?

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It's that time of year again. Time to start thinking about hiring an intern to build your business' talent pipeline or support some special projects. As you start to begin the hiring process for an intern, you may be asking: should you pay or not pay the intern? If you do pay them, you may be wondering what should you pay interns to be competitive?

To Pay or Not to Pay Interns

Back in 2010, the Department of Labor released guidelines for internship programs under the Fair Labor Standards Act as well as a Test for Unpaid Interns. According to these guidelines, unless your intern meets all of these factors, e.g., the internship is mainly educational in nature and doesn't benefit the organization, they should be paid. As a result, we recommend playing it safe and paying your interns since most internships do not comply with all of these criteria. In fact, there have been a few recent cases where former interns have sued their companies over unpaid work.

Beyond legal consequences, however, from a talent attraction perspective, talented interns (especially in technical fields) can be in high demand. Paying them helps make the internship more attractive and eliminates a reason to not select your organization for an internship. With so many students seeking internships and a limited supply of technical talent, it's best to pay.

Plus, if your organization is using interns to grow a talent pipeline and has plans to hire the intern as a full-time employee following their internship, it's always a good idea to pay them. It shows that you are willing to make an investment in your intern and not trying to take advantage of their work.

What to Pay Interns

If an intern is considered an employee and is to be paid, you need to comply with minimum wage and overtime provisions when determining what to pay interns. Generally, however, interns are paid more than minimum wage. Compensation usually varies for interns based on their major, degree type, and role. Like employees, differences in pay rates usually stem from skill and labor demand. Across national and local pay studies of interns, here are a few general trends:

  • Engineering interns are one of the most highly paid types of interns, typically earning between $15.00-$18.00 per hour.
  • Information technology/computer science interns are also one of the highest paid types of interns, earning between $12.00-$17.50 per hour.
  • Accounting interns are paid higher generally than other types of interns and earn between $12.25-$15.00 per hour.
  • Research, general business, marketing, health, HR, communications, and social sciences interns, generally earn lower pay as interns, usually between $11.00-$15.00 as their skills are in less demand.

Don't forget that benefits are also part of interns' compensation. Close to one third of local employers do not offer any benefits to interns, but the widespread majority offer at least one perk. Interns are often offered these four benefits:

  • Paid time to attend the organization's social events or networking events
  • Rewards and recognition
  • On-site perks such as a cafeteria or fitness center
  • Training, development, and mentorship

Some organizations even offer interns paid holidays, credit towards benefits for time worked if hired after graduation, performance incentives, subsidized parking, and 401(K) - though these benefits generally aren't common.

Interns are a unique segment of the workforce and similar to employees, it's always a good practice to benchmark your pay rates, benefits, and employment practices for interns to see how they compare with other employers. Make sure you're paying fairly and competitively with other employers in the region. Otherwise, you could lose out on some exceptional young talent to your competitor next door.

View the Intern & Recent Graduate Pay Rates & Practices Survey

This survey reports data from Northeast Ohio employers about their internship and recent graduate employment and pay practices.

View the Results

No Change in Membership Dues – 13 Straight Years!

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ERC is pleased to announce that its membership dues will not increase in 2012. This is the 13th straight year that members have enjoyed access to ERC services, surveys, research, information and group purchased savings without a dues increase! 

“We are delighted to be in a position to maintain the dues structure for our membership,” comments Pat Perry President of ERC. “ERC is delivering significantly more services, faster and conveniently at the same dues level that we had back in 1999. As a result, members continue to have the ability to measure and showcase remarkable returns on their ERC investment.”

International Sales Managers Earn Higher Salaries in Northeast Ohio & Midwest

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According to the 2012 EAA National Sales Compensation & Practices Survey, which surveyed nearly 800 organizations throughout the United States, employers in Northeast Ohio pay International Sales Managers more than other regions of the United States. Similarly, employers in the Great Lakes region (which includes Ohio) also report paying higher compensation for International Sales Managers when compared to organizations in other regions of the United States.

Specifically the survey showed that employers in Northeast Ohio reported median total compensation of $165,000 for International Sales Managers. This median total compensation was significantly higher than the national median of $128,323.

Total Compensation for International Sales Manager

 

National

Northeast Ohio

Great Lakes Region

10th Percentile

$85,905

$103,000

$88,548

25th Percentile

$102,115

$116,780

$102,750

Median

$128,323

$165,000

$139,722

75th Percentile

$180,552

$184,868

$190,000

90th Percentile

$216,664

$199,155

$221,645

Source: 2012 EAA National Sales Compensation & Practices Survey

The data seems to suggest that employers in Northeast Ohio, as well as those in the general Great Lakes Region, pay their International Sales Managers more than employers in other regions of the U.S.

In general, international competencies are highly in-demand, and employers in our region seem to be paying a premium for global skills - at least for international sales management talent.

For more information about ERC's Surveys click here. Also, ERC members can now access international resources and pay data through our HR Help Desk. Email hrhelp@yourerc.com for more information about these new resources!

4 Ways to Become a Manager Employees Want to Follow

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4 Ways to Become a Manager Employees Want to Follow

Are your managers people who your employees want to follow?  Do your managers regularly encounter resistance and wonder why they can't achieve the results they want or why their employees won't follow their lead? More importantly, are employees just following managers because they are the boss, or because they are genuinely inspired and motivated by their leadership?

"Why won't they listen and follow me?" is one of the most common frustrations managers have. Few realize, however, that it takes more than just authority, a position of power, and demands to get people to truly follow you and engage in your vision. Engaged followership is also not something that happens overnight. It takes days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years to position yourself as a trusted, respected, and emotionally intelligent leader that people take pride in following. You earn your followers with your words, actions, and attitudes.

How do you become a manager people want to follow? Start simple. Ask employees these questions on a regular basis.

How are you?

This question conveys that you care not just about the work, but about employees as people. Naturally, employees follow managers who care about them and will resist managers who show indifference to their needs and interests. Managers who take time to have intentional conversations, demonstrate an interest in the people who work for them, and learn about employees as individuals, gain followers. Care elicits trust and trust breeds followers. Here's a quick self-check to determine how well you are showing you care about your people:

  • Do you know your employees' spouses and children's names?
  • Do you know your employee's birthday? 
  • Do you know what your employee does for fun?
  • Do you know what your employee's personal goals are?
  • Do you know what your employee's personal challenges are?
  • Do you ever go above and beyond to help employees with something non-work related?
  • Do you ever call or visit employees to see how things are going at work and personally?

How can I support you?

Do you convey that employees are at work to serve you and help you reach your goals, or do you believe that you are there to serve them and help employees reach their objectives? Asking this question shows that you are focused on serving employees and their needs and not just yourself. Conversely, when employees sense that you are just trying to use them as a means to an end, they usually won't follow you.

Great managers who are followed are those that serve their people by resolving problems and going to great lengths to support their people. They view their role as servants to their followers and not their followers as servants to themselves. This mindset radically changes their behavior as managers. They become more concerned with how they can meet their employees' needs and prioritize those needs above their own.

How can I help you succeed?

People want to work for a winning team. Employees follow managers who make the right decisions and lead them in the right direction. Exceptional managers pave the way for employees' success - not their failure.  They get people from point A to point B.

In order to do this, managers must be effective at managing work and achieving results through others to gain the respect of their followers. Managers who are able to lead and coach their teams and employees with effective problem solving, goal-setting, planning, and management of the work, have team members who want to follow them.

Similarly, managers who help their employees and their teams do better gain followership. Managers who show their employees the right way to work, help them develop their skills and capabilities, redirect them when they do something wrong, and build a competent team gain followers. People follow managers that make them better employees.

What do you think?

People want to follow managers who are interested in their perspectives, suggestions, and involvement. It makes them feel important and purposeful. When invited to contribute to a new project, be involved in creating a new product/service, or asked to provide their views on an issue, employees feel empowered. Managers who consistently ask employees for their opinions, ideas, and involvement and consider a diversity of perspectives can gain lasting followers.

Don't ask these questions just once or even a few times. Keep asking them of your employees (perhaps in different ways) over and over again. They will make employees feel cared for, empowered, worthwhile, and supported -- and those positive feelings will inevitably help turn an average employee into an engaged follower.

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Thinking of You

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by Pat Perry

On behalf of the entire ERC family, we wish to express our sincere thoughts and prayers to the Chardon community. We are especially mindful of the victims of this tragedy and our hearts go out to their families. 

United Way of Geauga County has set up a Healing Fund to help support those in need relative to this devastating event. If you wish to donate, you can contact the United Way of Geauga County at (440) 285-2261.

Proposed Changes to FMLA

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In 2012, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced proposed changes to Military FMLA and changes which would affect Airline Flight Crew Employees.   Secretary Solis discussed the amendments at Joining Forces for Caregivers, an event held Monday January 30th, 2012 in Washington, D.C.  

“Keeping the basic promise of America alive means ensuring that workers, from our servicemen and servicewomen who keep us safe at home to the flight crews who keep us safe in the skies, have the resources, support and opportunities they need and have rightfully earned,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis in a press release. “The proposed revisions… are an important step toward keeping that promise.”

Changes to Military FMLA

Changes proposed would permit an employee to take leave during or following an immediate family member’s deployment for matters related to the person’s service (e.g., military briefings, financial or legal arrangements).  The 26-workweek option would be extended to care for family members who are veterans with an illness or injury that occurred in the line of duty, including conditions that have arisen only after the veteran had left the service.   The five days a family member can spend with a military member while on rest or recuperation is likely going to increase up to 15 days.   The FMLA coverage, which only covered the National Guard for qualification of exigency leave in 2012, would also extend to family members serving in the armed forces.

Airline Flight Crew Changes

Due to the way crew members currently work, the hours are difficult to track.   The proposed changes are intended to create a more accurate and simple way to account for the hours.   The proposed revision for airline flight crew employees would add a special hours of service eligibility requirement and specific alterations for calculating the amount of FMLA leave.

For more information, contact Scott Vaka at CareWorks USA at 614-760-3536 or scott.vaka@careworks.com.

Administrative Jobs Experience Slower Salary Movement

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According to the 2012 EAA National Wage & Salary Survey, though administrative jobs experienced salary increases of at least 2% from 2011, most administrative jobs in the survey continue to see slower salary movement compared to other jobs.

Median salaries for Receptionist, Telephone Operator/Receptionist/Secretary, and Administrative Assistant to CEO jobs increased 2% from 2011 to 2012. Administrative Assistants of varying levels saw higher increases of 3%-5%.

Median Salaries for Administrative Jobs

 

2011

2012

% Change

Receptionist

$27,860

$28,474

2%

Telephone Operator/Receptionist/Secretary

$29,095

$29,587

2%

Administrative Assistant I

$31,517

$32,686

4%

Administrative Assistant II

$36,703

$37,831

3%

Administrative Assistant III

$42,380

$44,293

5%

Administrative Assistant to CEO

$47,879

$48,688

2%

Source: 2012 EAA National Wage & Salary Survey

The data from the survey is in line with other trends which suggest that administrative job salaries are rising, but at a slower rate than other jobs which are in higher demand.

 To participate or purchase ERC's Salary & Wage Surveys which report data from Northeast Ohio employers on over 400 jobs, click here.

Congress Passes Payroll Tax Cut Extension

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Congress had approved an extension of the payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits from February 29th, 2012 to 2013. The extension was passed by both the House of Representatives and Senate, and President Obama has signed the legislation into law.

The extension of the tax cuts will reduce payroll tax by 2% to 4.2%. It will also extend federal unemployment benefits. 

Salary Talk: Tips for Talking About Pay with Employees

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Salary conversations - such as negotiating an offer with a job candidate, confronting an inquiry about a pay increase from a current employee, or dealing with a complaint about pay - can be uncomfortable and difficult for employers. Pay is personal. It affects employees' ability to pay their bills, support themselves, and provide for their families. Salary matters, however, need to be discussed with objectivity and frankness by managers. HR can help facilitate these conversations in the following ways.

In the case of current employees, meet with managers to discuss employees' performance, tenure, skill set, scope of responsibility, and value to the organization. With job candidates, look at their skill set, scope of responsibility, experience and education, the job's value to the organization, and how other employees with similar skills and backgrounds are paid for the position.  Address how pay decisions will affect the team or department as a whole. Will other employees' pay increases be affected by giving an employee a higher pay increase, or will an increase exceed the range for the position? Is the employee eligible for a promotion or could they be transferred to a role with higher pay? How will the new employee's pay compare to other employees in the position? These are all important issues to consider when discussing pay with current employees or job candidates.

Next, understand the organization's needs, including how the organization is performing. If your organization has a strong track record of success and profitability, it may be in a better position to provide higher compensation or a pay raise. Success generally allows organizations to pay employees better. If performance is lagging or has been variable, it may be advisable to limit compensation costs.  Also, consider what the organization wants to reward and how it wants to pay employees relative to other companies.

Help managers talk about pay. Arm managers with the tools, information, and education to understand what is going on in the market relative to employees' compensation. This requires actually understanding the data yourself in order to communicate those trends back to them. Educate managers on the overall market trends for the positions in their department as well as how other companies of similar industry, size, and location are paying their employees. If your organization is truly paying employees fairly and based on the market, there's no reason not to be transparent with the data. Additionally, train managers on your organization's pay philosophy and compensation systems. Make sure they understand why your organization pays employees the way they do, the many issues that factor into pay decisions, the latitude they have in making decisions about pay (if any), and how to discuss employees' total compensation (i.e. benefits, rewards, etc.). Teach them how to explain to employees how they can earn a pay increase (i.e. gaining a promotion, enhancing skills, improving performance) in the future or provide alternative rewards if pay can't be adjusted. The trick to having pay discussions is to be able to justify your decisions and present options.

On a final note, recognize that compensation complaints are often the symptom of a larger problem in the employee's job or the workplace. Ask yourself if pay is really the issue because compensation is rarely a driver of engagement for happy, passionate, and motivated employees unless pay is perceived to be so unfair that it creates a major problem related to job satisfaction. Keep in mind that it will usually take much more compensation to satisfy an employee who is a poor fit for the job, has a bad manager, or is unhappy in the workplace. It may be worthwhile to explore these areas before considering changing their pay.

Additional Resources

Survey Information
Use ERC's compensation surveys to determine how other local employers are paying employees of all levels, from hourly to salaried to executive jobs. Click here to see our upcoming surveys schedule.

HR University
HR University is a comprehensive course for those who are newer to the HR profession or those who have limited experience or realize it is time for a refresher which covers topics including compensation and benefit plan design, performance management, staffing, and more. Click here for more information or to register for this series which begins April 26th.