A good job can be like a good marriage.

A good job can be like a good marriage.

Today my wife and I have been married 47 years. Three years ago I published this post and I thought it was still apropos, so I am republishing it.

Today is my wedding anniversary! Now you may think was does this have to do with anything in HR? As I have reflected on my marriage I found a lot of similarities with working for a good company. I share these with you below.

Seven similarities

# 1- Courting

In a good marriage, you spend time courting each other. My wife and I dated for over two years before we married. That allowed us to get to know each other before making a commitment. Companies and prospective employers should do the same. I am not recommending you spend two years but I am suggesting you take more time before you make the decision. Get to know each other better before you say “I do.” I tell all my clients “Hire slow, fire fast.” Fortunately for me, I have not had to do the “fire” part and if you select your employees more carefully you might not have to either.

# 2- Adjusting to each other

Seeing someone first thing in the morning is a lot different than dating them. Having your new partner being grumpy, out-of-sorts, or bright-eyed and bushy-tailed before your coffee gives you a different perspective on who they are. Do they pick up after themselves? Do they assume you are doing various things that you have not agreed to do? The answers to those questions reveal different people than you may have expected. Employees are the same way. Their work habits may not jive with yours. They may not be as neat as you are or may be an OCD neat freak that drives you up the wall. Regardless there is a period of adjustment that everyone undergoes. If you don’t realize this then a separation, aka turnover, may soon be coming.

# 3- Allowing learning and growth

When you get married, particularly if you are young, you will learn, grow, and change. Your partner will as well. If the two of you do not realize that and allow for that you will face many a difficulty. The person will not always be the exact person you said “I do” to on your wedding day. Starting in a new job is the same way. Both you and the company should expect that you are going to learn, grow and change. There should be encouragement for that process in both a marriage and a job. If that process is not happening with both sides then the relationship will become stale, and like stale, bread eventually it goes to the birds.

# 4- You have to enjoy each other

In today’s employment parlance this means you have to be “engaged” in your job. The more engaged you are the more you enjoy the relationship. It works the same way in a marriage. If you are no longer engaged in your partner you will dread waking up beside them and spending time with them. In a job, there is nothing worse than waking up and dreading going to work because you hate the job. The same thing holds true in a marriage.

# 5- You have to allow for mistakes

There is an old line that says “I don’t make mistakes. I thought I did once, but I was wrong.” No one is perfect. People make mistakes, sometimes more than once. Marriage partners that punish the first failure are like companies that punish employees that make mistakes. You distance both and may eventually lose. In both marriage and in a job there has to be a big dose of forgiveness that allows the person to correct and learn from their mistake. There is no progress otherwise. It does not mean you forget the mistake, because if the mistake is repeated then the person is not learning and not a match for the relationship.

# 6- Overlook the wrinkles

The more time we spend with each other and grow old together the more you have to overlook the wrinkles that have developed. You may see another person that is more vibrant but you have to think “Is it worth it to replace what I have?” If you keep helping each other learn, advance, stay challenged and stay engaged you will not need to replace anyone. I find employers that want to quickly terminate an employee without really making an effort to be as distressing as a married couple who want to dump a partner without making an effort.

# 7- Celebrate

Today it is not in vogue to have long-term employees. Authors who discuss the future of work, myself included, say you probably should not expect an employee to stay more than four years. If they stay more be happy. Although I say it, it saddens me. I think much of that is because the company does not keep the relationship interesting. Perhaps with the other changes that are occurring in the world of work, we might be able to fix this.

I am happy to say my wife and I will be celebrating tonight. In reality, we celebrate all the time. That is part of the secret of keeping engaged with each other for all these years. I hope there are many more.

Happy Anniversary Sherry Haberman!


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Money isn’t always the reason employees work.

Today’s post is brought to you by my friends at SocialMonsters.org

You need happy employees to have a productive, successful business. While giving your employees a raise is one thing you could do to improve employee satisfaction, ultimately, money can’t buy happiness. As an employer, you need to facilitate a work environment that retains high-performing employees for longer periods. Your employee retention plan should include small and cost-effective ways of improving company culture and rewarding your team in ways other than higher salaries. Here are five small ways you can make a big difference in employee satisfaction:

1. Give Small Tokens of Appreciation

Little perks can go a long way in boosting employee morale, and you can use them to incentivize hard work and bigger results. For example, reward employees who reach specified sales benchmarks with gift cards or tickets to see movies, games or concerts. You could also provide longer lunch breaks and set up the employee break room to facilitate more refreshing off-time. For example, set up some barriers that give employees their own personal space for their breaks, and have another area of the break room that encourages fun social interaction, with activities like ping-pong, foosball, or board games.

2. Equip Employees with Helpful Tools

Employees know when the software and hardware you’ve given them isn’t top-of-the-line. Using cutting-edge technology to accomplish their jobs makes employees proud to work at your company. When you give your employees everything they need to perform well, you set them up for success, reduce frustration and improve overall morale. For example, investing in a high-quality web conferencing solution that enables your team to collaborate more easily can streamline their workflow. This not only makes their job easier but also increases their productivity and, in turn, boosts your bottom line.

3. Invest in Your Employees’ Careers

Employees aren’t just looking for a good salary; they’re also looking for a job that invests in their long-term career plan. Showing you care about their bigger-picture goals outside your company helps you retain smart, high-performing employees. For example, give your employees free tuition for courses in your industry. Continually provide them training to enhance their education and boost their resume. This makes your team members feel their job is well worth their time.

4. Show them You Value Their Time and Independence

Show your staff you value their time and that you trust them to use it effectively. Only talk to them or hold meetings when it’s necessary, and give them the freedom to get things done on their own. Rewarding extra work-time with overtime pay also shows them you value their time. Research suggests that micromanagement is a major killer of employee morale. Giving your staff more space and freedom to manage their own time and tasks is a cost-effective retention strategy.

5. Provide Remote Opportunities

Remote opportunities can boost both productivity and employee satisfaction, research shows. A study from Stanford showed that telecommuting employees took fewer long breaks and sick days than employees working in offices. Giving your team members the option to work from home when possible shows you respect their time and freedom, and it helps them avoid the hassles and expenses of commuting. Allowing employees to work from home shows you trust them and motivates them to demonstrate high performance from afar.

Bottom Line

Employees aren’t just looking for a higher salary from their job but also an environment that makes them feel respected, rewarded and engaged. Little things that show you care about their time and their long-term goals can go a long way in boosting employee satisfaction, productivity, and performance.


Future Friday: Creativity in Recruitment

by Michael Haberman on December 14, 2018 · 0 comments

To be successful in the future HR must exercise some creativity.

The headlines read “One million more jobs than candidates.” Companies are struggling with finding workers to fill their positions. This is requiring those in charge of finding talent to be more creative. One suggestion for a creative approach comes from an interview with Cheryl Cran, a “future of work expert” and founder of nextmapping.com, which was published in Area Development. Cran offered the example of an HVAC company that was struggling. They did a survey to find out what their employees had in common and why they worked for the company. They discovered that many of them enjoyed outdoor activities, such as hunting and camping. Exercising their creativity, the “company creatively decided to put a recruiting booth at a series of hunting and fishing tradeshows within their states and was able to recruit quite effectively.”

How can you exercise your creativity? What do your employees have in common beyond their jobs with you? Where can you go to find people with those interests? The future is about being creative and getting out of your typical rut.


Surveys can be valuable tools for HR.

Today’s post is written by Freddie Tubbs, who is a human resources manager at Academized. He regularly takes part in HR and business events and contributes columns to Paper Fellows and Australian help blogs.

While your business may already use surveys to find information and answers to the questions you have about your customers, using this data resource in your own company can do wonders for how you operate.

Of course, there’s no denying that each member of staff and employee is an essential cog in your operations, and if you can provide them with the best experience possible you can maximize your efficiency, productivity, and output.

Today, we’re going to explore the types of surveys your HR department can start implementing to get a foundation of where your business is at, as well as sample questions to help you get started.

Surveys for Recruitment

One of the main functions of HR is to recruit new employees who are such an important process since you’re going to want the right talent for the roles you have, as well as ensuring that individual is suitable for your company culture.

To find out all this information, you’re going to need to ask the right questions. There are multiple ways you can apply this, whether that’s questions to engage your applicants to find the right person, or surveying to see how effective they thought your application process was; helping you optimize the way you recruit.

 Candidate Engagement Questions

  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • What is important to you when it comes to working for a company?
  • Do you engage with our company’s online presence in any way?
  • What made you want to apply for a job in this company?

Candidate Experience Questions

  • What did you think of our recruitment process?
  • What are the three improvements you would make and why?
  • Would you apply to this company again?
  • Would you refer others to apply to this company?

Investigating Your Company Culture

These days, the condition of your company culture is so important. If your company has a toxic culture, this can cause so many problems. Not only will productivity and output be low, but your employees also won’t be happy where they’re working, and you’ll get through employees so quickly, potentially losing your best talent.

However, using surveys and the right questions, you can highlight the weak and strong areas of your company culture, ensuring you’re able to make the right improvements.

Questions about Company Culture

  • Do you feel like you’re respected at work?
  • How importantly do you rate feedback?
  • Do you feel like you are listened too?
  • Do you like the atmosphere at work and why?
  • Do you feel like you can trust your leaders?
  • Would you say you are happy while working here?
  • What suggestions do you have to make this a better workplace?
  • Do you feel like you are fully supported enough to complete your job?

Monitoring Your Employee Experience

We’ve already spoken about the importance that employees have within your company, which is why you’ll need to be proactive in making sure you’re looking after them and ensuring they’re happy and supported while working for you.

What’s more, you’ll need to make sure you’re surveying all areas of your employee experience and how much they engage with your business; both in and out of work.

“Any employee who loves to work in your business and engages with many aspects of it is going to be retained much longer, meaning you won’t get through staff so quickly and you won’t need to keep wasting your time on hiring and training processes” explains Mary Turner, an HR manager for UK Writings and Study demic.

Questions for Employee Attitudes

  • Have you had enough training to complete the job you do successfully?
  • What are your three favorite things about being an employee here and why?
  • Are you happy working here?
  • What are the three top things you would like to improve or change in the company?
  • Do you feel appreciated working here?

Questions for Monitoring Employee Engagement

  • Do you know what the company’s goals and values are?
  • Do you know and understand the company mission statement?
  • Are you motivated to help the company achieve these goals?
  • Is the company maximizing the use of your skills and experience?
  • Would you like to be more or less engaged with the company and why?
  • Are you motivated to want to be successful in your current role?

“Even if you have employees leaving, whether they’re taking a different path or trying something new with their life, you’ll have exit meetings which provide a great opportunity for you to ask questions to gain information on this unique, and typically more honest, perspective of your business” shares Jason Harper, a recruitment professional for Boom Essays and Essay Roo.

 Questions for Employee Exit Meetings

  • What are the reasons you were looking for a new job?
  • What are the reasons for you wanting to leave?
  • Have you previously raised any concerns you’ve had about the company?
  • What didn’t you like about your job?
  • Do you feel like you had everything you need to complete your job?


As you can see, it doesn’t matter what area or stage of your business your employees are in; there are numerous questions you can ask to help you gain an accurate idea of what people think of your business and how you can improve for everyone involved. Get it right, and you’ll be maximizing your business’s opportunities for success.


From the Archive: Icy weather, the “zone of employment” and workers’ compensation

by Michael Haberman December 11, 2018

Tweet Very disagreeable seems to have arrived early this December 2018, so I have decided to republish this post from last January. Take heed on how to handle slips and falls by employees. It is winter time in the Northern Hemisphere. As a result snow and ice has fallen making areas treacherous for travel, especially […]

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Future Friday: Will “Human skills” be enough in the future?

by Michael Haberman December 7, 2018

Tweet Fast Company magazine published an article titled 5 Myths about the future of work that you need to stop believing. These include: YOU NEED TO BE A QUICK LEARNER TO SUCCEED- It is not really the speed at which you learn something, it is whether you master the skill or not that is important.  […]

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3 Things Employees Look for in a Workplace

by Michael Haberman December 6, 2018

Tweet   Today’s post is brought to you by my friends at SocialMonsters.com The things that employees look for in a workplace has changed and evolved over the past few years. This can make it challenging for some employers to keep up. If you take a look at the latest trends, you might be easily […]

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Employers just keep messing up!

by Michael Haberman December 5, 2018

Tweet In the past month, there were multiple stories of employers messing up compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. Here are the stories: Alabama Installation Company to Pay $134,097 to 22 Employees After U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Finds Overtime Violations U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Sacramento-Area Gas Stations Paying $45,957 to […]

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The Penalties for Misclassifying Independent Contractors

by Michael Haberman December 4, 2018

Tweet Recently a company in Louisiana agreed to pay nearly $250,000 in penalties for improperly classifying employees as independent contractors. Specifically, “…an electrical contractor based in New Iberia, Louisiana – has paid $249,278 in back wages to 117 employees” according to the press release from the USDOL. The employer was charged with not paying required […]

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From the archive: Which industries do you think are hit the hardest by FLSA violations?

by Michael Haberman December 3, 2018

Tweet This two-year-old post is still relevant. Wage violations occur in these industries as much today as they did two years ago.  With the December 1, 2016 deadline for changes in the new overtime regulations a great deal of attention is being focused on the Fair Labor Standards Act. A recent study conducted by TSheets, […]

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