How should I deal with a good employee who avoids team meetings by calling in sick?

How should I deal with a good employee who avoids team meetings by calling in sick?Q: One of my employees often calls in sick and requests to work from home. I’ve noticed she phones in sick on days there’s a team meeting scheduled and feel she’s avoiding them. I cannot fault her work as she exceeds expectations, even on the days she works from home. However, I do need her in the office. What is the best way to bring this up with her?   A: Although this employee’s productivity is not an issue, this situation may set a bad example within a team and have an impact culturally on what is or is not acceptable. There is also the potential that this employee will not last long-term and – given that she is exceeding expectations – this needs to be addressed. The consistent lack of attendance at team meetings can most definitely create knowledge gaps as well as growing voids in the relationships between team members. The frequent sick leave needs to be investigated. As it is specifically around meetings, this raises some red flags that it may be an internal issue. It may suggest that she is either avoiding presenting her work, which is unlikely as her work is exceeding expectations, but perhaps she doesn’t know this, or alternatively, she is avoiding a specific individual or people on the team. 1 Investigate: This staff member may be having challenges in her personal life and the fact that it is around meetings may be a coincidence, so this needs to be dealt with sensitively. Tread softly. Having a discussion with her is essential. It is only after this conversation that you move forward. 2 Approach – start positive: It is important that the individual is aware that the quality of her work is strong and she always exceeds expectations. It is important to start with a positive and to show full recognition for this; perhaps recognise recent pieces of work that have been strong. You will need to approach the fact that she has missed multiple meetings, but do this in a concerned tone rather than a disciplinary one – you wanted to make sure all was okay and to see if there was anything you could do to support her going forward. 3 Approach – Core of the issue: This could go a number of ways as the problem may be an unjustified lack of confidence in her work, a health issue, a clash with another individual at work or a personal issue. You will need to respect how much or little she decides to divulge and the level of action needed after will depend on this feedback. How you react to this feedback will be very important to your on-going relationship. If it is simply an on-going health issue and is cleared up you can simply move on to point four. If there are personal or team member issues, you will need to show support take the necessary action to resolve this.   4 Approach – Explanation of the knock-on effect to the team: Following on from this, it is worth discussing the overall value of attending these team meetings. It is important for all team members to be aware of the overall team objective and be aware of the knock-on effect missing meetings can have on the group. This is not about you being pedantic on time and attendance; you need to explain the overall team effect on potential productivity and inadvertently the need within the team for this to be resolved. While showing concern and flexibility, it is also important to be very clear on the expectations of your team members. 5 Ongoing support: This is an employee who is exceeding expectations, which is not easy to find, so support will be essential, especially if this is a personal issue. Before this conversation, you will also need to consider your working-from-home policy. It may be worth investigating if she could work from home officially on certain days, but not on meeting days. It is important to show the ongoing support for this individual through a structured process reviewing on a weekly/monthly basis if deemed necessary. Having had a discussion like this, it is important going forward that the employee still feels like you are in her corner and have the level of trust needed to still progress within the organisation.             Rory Walsh Regional Manager – Cork Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group This article first appeared in the business section of The Sunday Independent on the 5th of August, 2018, and the original article can be viewed here. ...

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How can I build up staff morale even though I don’t have a budget for team building?

  Q: I recently took up a new role as a mid-level manager at a small advertising agency. I’m very excited to put my stamp on the place, especially when it comes to working relationships as I have noticed that many employees are generally unhappy in their job and I want to fix this. I’ve approached the CEO about a team-bonding activity, but he says it is not in the budget. What other ways can I improve the general atmosphere in the company environment?   A: In the current job market, employees and candidates expect more than just a paycheque. Compensation and benefits now often include a more holistic approach, encompassing employee well-being and corporate social responsibility. Attracting and retaining the best employees for your organisation is an ongoing challenge and, according to research, “unhappy” or disengaged employees are less productive, less reliable and less flexible. Here are some ways to begin establishing a more positive work environment.   1 Measure: While a perception that “most employees are generally unhappy” is a concern, taking a clear measure or barometer of sentiment creates a much clearer snapshot of the level of engagement and motivation in the organisation. This measure can then be viewed in conjunction with performance or sales data, for example, in order to establish an overall “state” of the organisation. This should help to build your business case for change and also provide a baseline to measure the impact of your intervention at a later date. 2 Involve others: Any intervention developed should involve the input of others on the team. Pushing ahead with an event or a plan, without asking...

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CIPD HR Awards 2018

Collins McNicholas were honoured to attend the CIPD HR Awards in the Intercontinental Hotel, Ballsbridge on Friday 16th February last as these awards celebrate and reward outstanding achievements in people management and development, honouring the valuable contribution that HR and L&D make to the success of every organisation.  What a wonderful lunch event it was too giving us an opportunity to meet industry leaders, network with other finalists and the judging panel, meet the lovely Kathryn Thomas who was MC for the event and enjoy a tasty lunch and musical entertainment in a top class setting.  The overall event was kindly sponsored by Sanderson and Irish Times Executive Jobs.   It was evident from the submissions and coverage on the day that all finalists are demonstrating the highest standards of HR and L&D across Ireland.  Collins McNicholas were a finalist in the ‘Embedding a Culture of Workplace Wellbeing’ category which was sponsored by Health Ireland, Department of Health.  This award recognises organisations which place employee well-being centre stage and have embedded a strong culture of workplace well-being ensuring that leadership, culture and people management capability and practices are supportive of employees’ physical and mental well-being at work.  Many organisations have seen such benefit from improved practices including an overall positive impact in the areas of engagement, motivation, team work and performance.  We were delighted to be listed as a finalist in this category along with the other category finalists including Central Bank of Ireland, Lidl Ireland/Lidl Northern Ireland, Musgrave operating Partners Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, Ulster Bank and WALK – congratulations to WALK on being the overall category winner....

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Collins McNicholas Galway Team Welcomes New Team Leaders!

  Collins McNicholas Galway welcomes the appointment of Eoghan Curtin and promotion of Christopher O’Toole to Team Leaders! Eoghan is a highly experienced Account Manager with 12 years recruitment experience across all industry sectors with multiple agencies in Ireland, Canada & Switzerland. A native of Bushypark, Galway, Eoghan holds a Masters of Business and a Bachelor of Commerce from NUIG and is currently completing a degree in Data Science and studying French and German to a professional level. Christopher O’Toole has received a promotion to Principal Consultant Team Leader to manage the Technical Engineering Division within the Galway office. Christopher is an experienced Account Manager having grown within Collins McNicholas from Junior Recruitment Consultant to Principal Team Lead within 5 years. During that time, he has had ample success, particularly in recruiting for specialist Engineering and Scientific roles for a range of clients. Prior to joining Collins McNicholas, Christopher spent a number of years working in the recruitment industry in Dublin.  A native of Oughterard Co. Galway, Christopher is a graduate of NUIG having obtained an honours degree in 2011.           Michelle Murphy Director Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services...

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How do I handle a bullying complaint when I have never witnessed any problems?

Question: A member of my team has come to me with an allegation of bullying about a colleague. I have never witnessed it, so I am unsure how to address the matter. I feel it is my responsibility to protect my staff, but I haven’t any evidence. Have you any advice on how to deal with this sensitive issue? Answer: Workplace bullying is a very real and common occurrence that can be incredibly difficult to deal with. It is a legal minefield and can also be difficult for a manager to prove. It can come in many forms, from a boss singling out an employee or a colleague playing repeated pranks to a peer choosing to ignore another individual’s contribution to a project. Bullying can be defined as “repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, at the place of work and/or in the course of employment, which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individual’s right to dignity at work”. In this ever-changing busy environment, managers can sometimes dismiss bullying accusations as personality or management-style clashes. Others may recognise the problem, but lack the confidence or skills to deal with it. Bullying is not in any job description so, as a manager, you need to be vigilant and ready to deal with a situation where someone comes to you in confidence about possible bullying. Bullying is likely to affect the employee’s self-esteem, not to mention productivity and then they can also bring this home to their personal lives. Trying to pass bullying off as management...

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How to Bounce Back After Making an Uncharacteristic and Costly Mistake at Work.

Question: I am a marketing manager of a pharmaceutical company and really enjoy my job. Normally I receive nothing but praise from the owners of the company and have always felt confident in my role. But a few weeks ago, I made a major mistake that cost our company an important client. My boss was clearly disappointed and he had to explain the situation to the owners. I feel that since it has happened, I have been sidelined and my confidence has been seriously knocked. How can I express my regret, earn respect and build my confidence again? Answer: It is almost inevitable that occasionally in our working lives mistakes occur. We have to own up to them, fix them if possible and then move on. Unfortunately, your mistake seems to be continuing to impact on how you feel about the organisation, your work and your relationship with your team. You have to take some action to ensure that it doesn’t continue to impact on your work. Here are some steps that might help to move forward. 1 Forgive yourself Although this sounds like a cliche, thinking through your error, accepting your mistake, and moving on personally will impact on how you can move on. It appears that your error in judgement has impacted your confidence negatively and this will affect your work. However, you have said that your record previously was exceptional, you were well received by your team and often acknowledged for this success. You need to try to focus on these positive reflections of yourself, rather than negatives. Take the time to consciously forgive yourself for...

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