Safety & Human Resources

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All documents are in MS Word format.

General Health Safety Plan-great for establishing your company’s safety policy and complying with OSHA employer responsibility guidelines.

Performance Appraisal-covers all the bases when evaluating your employee’s performance and setting goals for the future.

Employee Manual Template– 57-page comprehensive employee manual. Take a look and see all the things you didn’t think about! This employee manual rocks!

Having A Difficult Conversation

The smell is killing me! That’s what my crew came to me with 3 days after we hired a new technician. Apparently, the new guy had a serious body odor problem. After working for 6 hours on the floor here in Arizona where the temperatures can reach 115 in the summer, the crew piled back into the van and made their way back to the shop. By the time they arrived, they made it very clear to me that something had to be done! My technicians didn’t want to address the issue with the new guy directly so they came to me and asked me to handle it. I knew if my crew couldn’t take it, my customers certainly weren’t happy about it.

If you manage people, chances are good that one day you will need to hold a difficult conversation.

People dress inappropriately and unprofessionally for work. Personal hygiene is sometimes unacceptable. Flirtatious behavior can lead to a sexual

harassment problem. Vulgar language on the jobsite can damage your reputation…you get the idea.

These steps will help you hold difficult conversations when people need professional feedback.

Steps to Provide Feedback in a Difficult Conversation

  • Seek permission to provide the feedback. Even if you are the employee’s boss, start by stating you have some feedback you’d like to share. Ask if it’s a good time or if the employee would prefer to select another time and place. (Within reason, of course.)

* Use a soft entry. Don’t dive right into the feedback – give the person a chance to brace for potentially embarrassing feedback. Tell the employee that you need to provide feedback that is difficult to share. If you’re uncomfortable with your role in the conversation, you might say that, too. Most people are as uncomfortable providing feedback about an individual’s personal dress or habits, as the person receiving the feedback.

  • Often, you are in the feedback role because other employees have complained to you about the habit, behavior, or dress. Do not give in to the temptation to amplify the feedback, or excuse your responsibility for the feedback, by stating that a number of coworkers have complained. This heightens the embarrassment and harms the recovery of the person receiving feedback.The best feedback is straightforward and simple. Don’t beat around the bush. I am talking with you because this is an issue that you need to address for success in this organization.
  • Tell the person the impact that changing his or her behavior will have from a positive perspective. Tell the employee how choosing to do nothing will affect their career and job.
  • Reach agreement about what the individual will do to change their behavior. Set a due date – tomorrow, in some cases. Set a time frame to review progress in others.
  • Follow-up. The fact that the problem exists means that backsliding is possible; further clarification may also be necessary. Then, more feedback and possibly, disciplinary action are possible next steps.

You can become effective at holding difficult conversations. Practice and these steps will help build your comfort level to hold difficult conversations. After all, a difficult conversation can make the difference between success and failure for a valued employee. Care enough to hold the difficult conversation.

Hire for Today’s Need and Tomorrow’s Vision

Remember that you’re hiring for the future. While a new employee has to make economic sense for today’s tasks, the best hires are people who position you to profit as your business moves into the future. New people should provide the skills you need in the future, not just match the job demands you see today. Be clear about your strategic direction for the future, and then hire the talent to help you achieve it. Look for people that have skills that will help them grow with you.

Understand the Job

Finding the right people to hire is much easier when you first analyze the job you want to fill. Ask yourself what traits and kinds of people do the best in this job? Is it an eye for detail? Or maybe it’s the ability to connect with customers.If you’re lucky enough to have a top performer already in the job, learn from them.

Observe their behavior, ask them questions and talk with their peers to get a clear understanding what characteristics make them effective in their job. This kind of job analysis drives your selection standards—do a good job at this first step and the rest of the hiring process will be faster, easier and yield a better match.

Be Legal

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency responsible for enforcing Title VII (Civil Rights Act), Title I, Title V (Americans with Disabilities), Equal Pay Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. If an interviewee feels he has been denied a job because of discrimination, he can file a lawsuit with the EEOC.

If the claimant ultimately wins the lawsuit, remedies may include, among other things, compensatory damages, back wages, reinstatement and possibly punitive damages. Make sure your hiring process is legal. (For more information see the EEOC web site.)

Build a Standardized Hiring Process and Use It

Don’t count on your conversational skills to choose between candidates. At a basic level, your standardized hiring process should include criteria-based screening of an adequate number of candidates, a background check, standardized assessments and structured interviews.

Many assessment and interview tools are available, all of which will provide much more reliable results than the traditional interview. The more important the position, the more rigorous the hiring process should be.

Hiring Top Talent Means More Profit

The right person will make contributions to your company’s productivity and profitability that far exceed salary cost. But the wrong person can cost you plenty.

A Bad Hire Is Worse Than You Think

According to the Harvard Business Review, 80 percent of turnover is caused by bad hiring decisions. These are costly mistakes. The U.S. Department of Labor calculates that it costs one-third of a new hire’s annual salary to replace him. These figures include money spent on recruitment, selection and training plus costs due to decreased productivity as other employees fill in to take up the slack.

But these numbers don’t reflect the intangible damages an exiting employee can have such as lost customers and low employee morale across the rest of the organization.

Interviewing Doesn’t Work

Traditional interviews don’t help you select top talent. In fact, a large study conducted by John and Rhonda Hunter at the University of Michigan on the predictors of job performance found that a typical job interview increased the likelihood of choosing the best candidate by less than 2 percent.

Worse, the traditional job interview is a highly subjective process. Interviewers often have a range of biases that dramatically affect their perceptions of individual job candidates. Despite the best of intentions, interviewers and supervisors have an unconscious tendency to favor people who are similar to themselves.

An interview-only hiring process can create teams that get along reasonably well – but lack the blend of skills needed to excel in business together. There is a real danger in simply collecting resumes and interviewing a few top candidates. Desktop publishing and resume writers can make almost anyone look good on paper.

Do a web search on ‘job interviewing’ and you’ll find thousands of websites full of advice on how to ‘ace’ the interview. We’ve seen well-rehearsed candidates give great interviews. Unfortunately, those great interviews do not predict success in the job; they predict success in doing job interviews.

The Most Neglected Aspect of Hiring

A job analysis is the most neglected aspect of hiring. Performed correctly, a job analysis provides a list of the personal attributes required to work effectively in the role. This list of attributes is identified first by breaking down a person’s job into logical parts.

Next, each job task is analyzed according to the knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes required to perform the job correctly. Once a business knows what the position requires, the hiring process is faster and more effective because job candidates are evaluated on a common set of criteria. When you know exactly what talents are required—you know what to look for and what to test for.

Turnover is reduced when the person fits the job. It’s just common sense: people love their jobs when the position matches their personality, attitudes, and skills. An effective job analysis is critical in achieving this ‘fit.’

Matching People to Jobs

Once a business understands what the job demands, there are several tools that help identify the right people for the job. Candidate screening, personality and skill assessments, performance-based interviews and behavioral based interviews all help identify top candidates.

No single technique on its own can predict on-the-job performance so companies need to use a blend of tools that reflect their needs. The research on hiring is clear on one point: using multiple selection methods gives you the best employees.

A multi-faceted approach can both streamline the process and ensure much better, fit—increasing employee retention and productivity. Hiring people does not need to cost a lot or take a long time. Once a business has a sensible hiring process in place, finding top talent is much easier.

Every person has different reasons for working. The reasons for working are as individual as the person. But, we all work because we obtain something that we need from work. The something we obtain from work impacts our morale and motivation and the quality of our lives. Here is the most recent thinking about what people want from work.

Work IS About the Money

Some people work for love; others work for personal fulfillment. Others like to accomplish goals and feel as if they are contributing to something larger than themselves, something important. Some people have personal missions they accomplish through meaningful work. Others truly love what they do or the clients they serve. Some like the camaraderie and interaction with customers and coworkers. Other people like to fill their time with activity. Some workers like change, challenge, and diverse problems to solve.

Whatever your personal reasons for working, the bottom line, however, is that almost everyone works for money. Whatever you call it: compensation, salary, bonuses, benefits or remuneration, money pays the bills. Money provides housing, gives children clothing and food, sends teens to college, and allows leisure activities, and eventually, retirement. To underplay the importance of money and benefits to people who work is a mistake.

Fair benefits and pay are the cornerstone of a successful company that recruits and retains committed workers. If you provide a living wage for your employees, you can then work on motivational issues. Without the fair, living wage, however, you risk losing your best people to a better-

Got Money? What’s Next?

I’ve read the surveys and studies dating back to the early 1980s that demonstrate people want more from work than money. An early study of thousands of workers and managers by the American Psychological Association clearly demonstrated this. While managers predicted the most important motivational aspect of work for people would be money, personal time and attention from the supervisor was cited by workers as most rewarding for them at work.

In a recent Workforce article, “The Ten Ironies of Motivation,” reward and recognition guru, Bob Nelson, says, “More than anything else, employees want to be valued for a job well done by those they hold in high esteem.” He adds, that people want to be treated as if they are adult human beings.

  • While what people want from work is situational, depending on the person, his needs and the rewards that are meaningful to him, giving people what they want from work is really quite straight forward. People want:
  • Control of their work: including such components as the ability to impact decisions; setting clear and measurable goals; clear responsibility for a complete, or at least defined, task; job enrichment; tasks performed in the work itself; and recognition for achievement.
  • To belong to the in-crowd: including items such as receiving timely information and communication; understanding management’s formulas for decision making; team and meeting participation opportunities; and visual documentation and posting of work progress and accomplishments. A perfect example of this is a monthly goal board we use for our service business. Every day we update the board showing the progress toward the goal. If the employees reach the goal, they are all bonused on the monthly volume they achieved.
  • The opportunity for growth and development: including education and training; career paths; team participation; cross-training; and field trips to successful workplaces. There are some really great seminars you can send your people to that will benefit them and your organization at the same time. We recently sent all of our supervisors to a 1 day seminar called, “Managing difficult people”. We sent our administrative staff to, “The Outstanding Receptionist”. Consider cross-training your staff so that anyone can do any job.
  • Leadership: people want clear expectations that provide a picture of the outcomes desired with goal setting and feedback and an appropriate structure or framework.

Recognition for Performance

In The Human Capital Edge, authors Bruce Pfau and Ira Kay say that people want recognition for their individual performance with pay tied to their performance. Employees want people who don’t perform fired; in fact, failure to discipline and fire non-performers is one of the most demotivating actions an organization can take – or fail to take. It ranks on the top of the list next to paying poor performers the same wage as non-performers.

We recently had an employee that was a constant problem. He couldn’t seem to get along with anyone and always seemed to have a problem. We kept him around and provided lots of feedback and follow-up but ultimately decided to terminate him because of the demotivation of the rest of our workforce.

Additionally, the authors found that a disconnect continues to exist between what employers think people want at work and what people say they want. “Employers far underrate the importance to employees of such things as flexible work schedules or opportunities for advancement in their decision to join or leave a company.

“That means that many companies are working very hard (and using scarce resources) on the wrong tools,” say Pfau and Kay. People want employers to pay them above market rates. They seek flexible work schedules. They want a chance to learn, and the increased sharing of rationale behind management decisions and direction.

What You Can Do for Employee Motivation and Positive Morale

You have much information about what people want from work. Key to creating a work environment that fosters motivation are the wants and needs of the individual. I recommend that you ask your employees what they want from work and whether they are getting it. With this information in hand, I predict you’ll be surprised at how many simple and inexpensive opportunities you have to create a motivational, desirable work environment. Pay attention to what is important to the people you employ for high motivation and positive morale. You’ll achieve awesome business success.

You Can Make Their Day

You can make their day or break their day. Your choice. No kidding. Other than the decisions individuals make on their own about liking their work, you are the most powerful factor in employee motivation and morale.As a manager or supervisor, your impact on employee motivation is immeasurable. By your words, your body language, and the expression on your face, as a manager, supervisor, or leader, you telegraph your opinion of their value to the people you employ.

Feeling valued by their supervisor in the workplace is key to high employee motivation and morale. Feeling valued ranks right up there for most people with liking the work, competitive pay, opportunities for training and advancement, and feeling “in” on the latest news.

Building high employee motivation and morale is both challenging and yet supremely simple. Building high employee motivation and morale requires that you pay attention every day to profoundly meaningful aspects of your impact on life at work.

Your Arrival at Work Sets the Employee Motivation Tone for the Day

Picture Mr. Stressed-Out and Grumpy. He arrives at work with a frown on his face. His body language telegraphs “over-worked” and unhappy. He moves slowly and treats the first person who approaches him abruptly. It takes only a few minutes for the entire workplace to get the word. Stay away from Mr. Stressed-Out and Grumpy if you know what’s good for you this morning.

Your arrival and the first moments you spend with staff each day have an immeasurable impact on positive employee motivation and morale. Start the day right. Smile. Walk tall and confidently. Walk around your workplace and greet people. Share the goals and expectations for the day. Let the staff know that today is going to be a great day. It starts with you. You can make their day.

Use Simple, Powerful Words for Employee Motivation

Sometimes in my work, I get gifts. I recently interviewed an experienced supervisor for a position open at a client company. She indicated that she was popular with the people at her former company as evidenced by employees wanting to work on her shift.

Responding to my question, she said that part of her success was that she liked and appreciated people. She sent the right message. She also uses simple, powerful, motivational words to demonstrate she values people. She says “please” and “thank you” and “you’re doing a good job.” How often do you take the time to use these simple, powerful words, and others like them, in your interaction with staff? You can make their day.

For Employee Motivation, Make Sure People Know What You Expect

In the best book I’ve read on the subject, Why Employees Don’t Do What They’re Supposed to Do and What to Do about It, by Ferdinand Fournies, setting clear expectations is often a supervisor’s first failure. Supervisors think they have clearly stated work objectives, numbers needed, report deadlines and requirements, but the employee received a different message.

Or, the requirements change in the middle of the day, job, or project. While the new expectations are communicated – usually poorly – the reason for the change or the context for the change is rarely discussed. This causes staff members to think that the company leaders don’t know what they are doing. This is hardly a confidence, morale-building feeling.

This is bad news for employee motivation and morale. Make sure you get feedback from the employee so you know he understands what you need. Share the goals and reasons for doing the task or project. In a service environment, don’t emphasize just square footage if you want a quality project finished quickly. If you must make a change midway through a task or a project, tell the staff why the change is needed; tell them everything you know. You can make their day.

Provide Regular Feedback for Employee Motivation

When I poll supervisors, the motivation and morale builder they identify first is knowing how they are doing at work. Your staff members need the same information. They want to know when they have done a project well and when you are disappointed in their results. They need this information as soon as possible following the event.

They need to work with you to make sure they produce a positive outcome the next time. Set up a daily or weekly schedule and make sure feedback happens. You’ll be surprised how effective this tool can be in building employee motivation and morale. You can make their day.

Motivating Your Staff in a Time of Change

Want to Know What’s Most Important About Motivation

In today’s turbulent, often chaotic, environment, commercial success depends on employees using their full talents. Yet in spite of the myriad of available theories and practices, managers often view motivation as something of a mystery. In part this is because individuals are motivated by different things and in different ways.

In addition, these are times when delayering and the flattening of hierarchies can create insecurity and lower staff morale. Moreover, more staff than ever before are working part time or on limited-term contracts, and these employees are often especially hard to motivate.

Definition of Employee Motivation

Twyla Dell writes of motivating employees, “The heart of motivation is to give people what they really want most from work. The more you are able to provide what they want, the more you should expect what you really want, namely: productivity, quality, and service.” (An Honest Day’s Work (1988))

Advantages of Employee Motivation

A positive motivation philosophy and practice should improve productivity, quality, and service. Motivation helps people:

  • achieve goals;
  • gain a positive perspective;
  • create the power to change;
  • build self-esteem and capability,
  • manage their own development and help others with theirs.

Disadvantages of Motivating Staff

There are no real disadvantages to successfully motivating employees, but there are many barriers to overcome.

Barriers may include unaware or absent managers, inadequate buildings, outdated equipment, and entrenched attitudes, for example:

  • “We don’t get paid extra to work harder.”
  • “We’ve always done it this way.”
  • “Our bosses don’t have a clue about what we do.”
  • “It doesn’t say that in my job description.”
  • “I’m going to do as little as possible without getting fired.”

Such views will take persuasion, perseverance, and the proof of experience to break down.

How do you motivate your employees? The Action Checklist for Motivation is designed for managers with responsibilities for managing, motivating, and developing staff at a time when organizational structures and processes are undergoing continual change and can help your organization.

Employee Motivation Action Checklist

This checklist is designed for managers with responsibilities for managing, motivating, and developing staff at a time when organizational structures and processes are undergoing continual change.

1. Read the Gurus

Familiarize yourself with Herzberg’s hygiene theory, McGregor’s X and Y theories and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Although these theories date back some years, they are still valid today. Consult a digest to gain a basic understanding of their main principles; it will be invaluable for building a climate of honesty, openness, and trust.

2.What Motivates You?

Determine which factors are important to you in your working life and how they interact. What has motivated you and demotivated you in the past?

Understand the differences between real, longer-term motivators and short-term spurs.

3. Find Out What Your People Want From Work

People may want more status, higher pay, better working conditions, and flexible benefits. But find out what really motivates your employees by asking them in performance appraisals, attitude surveys, and informal conversations what they want most from their jobs.

Do people want, for example:

  • more interesting work?
  • more efficient bosses?
  • more opportunity to see the end result of their work?
  • greater participation?
  • greater recognition?
  • greater challenge?
  • more opportunities for development?

4. Walk the Job

Every day, find someone doing something well and tell the person so. Make sure the interest you show is genuine without going overboard or appearing to watch over people’s shoulders. If you have ideas as to how employees’ work could be improved, don’t shout them out, but help them to find their way instead. Earn respect by setting an example; it is not necessary to be able do everything better than your staff. Make it clear what levels of support employees can expect.

5. Remove Demotivators

Identify factors that demotivate staff – they may be physical (buildings, equipment) or psychological (boredom, unfairness, barriers to promotion, lack of recognition). Some of them can be dealt with quickly and easily; others require more planning and time to work through. The fact that you are concerned to find out what is wrong and do something about it is in itself a motivator.

6. Demonstrate Support

Whether your working culture is one that clamps down on mistakes and penalizes error or a more tolerant one that espouses mistakes as learning opportunities, your staff need to understand the kind and levels of support they can expect. Motivation practice and relationship building often falter because staff do not feel they are receiving adequate support.

7. Be Wary of Cash Incentives

Many people say they are working for money and claim in conversation that their fringe benefits are an incentive. But money actually comes low down in the list of motivators, and it doesn’t motivate for long after a raise. Fringe benefits can be effective in attracting new employees, but benefits rarely motivate existing employees to use their potential more effectively.

8. Decide on an Action

Having listened to staff, take steps to alter your organization’s policies and attitudes, consulting fully with staff and unions. Consider policies that affect flexible work, reward, promotion, training and development, and participation.

9. Manage Change

Adopting policies is one thing, implementing them is another. If poor motivation is entrenched, you may need to look at the organization’s whole style of management. One of the most natural of human instincts is to resist change even when it is designed to be beneficial. The way change is introduced has its own power to motivate or demotivate, and can often be the key to success or failure. If you:

  • tell – instruct or deliver a monologue – you are ignoring your staff’s hopes, fears, and expectations;
  • tell and sell – try to persuade people – even your most compelling reasons will not hold sway over the long term if you don’t allow discussion;
  • consult – it will be obvious if you have made up your mind beforehand;
  • look for real participation – sharing the problem solving and decision making with those who are to implement change – you can begin to expect commitment and ownership along with the adaptation and compromise that will occur naturally.

10.Understand Learning Preferences

Change involves learning. In their Manual of Learning Styles (1992), Peter Honey and Alan Mumford distinguish four basic styles of learning:

  • activists: like to get involved in new experiences, problems, or opportunities. They’re not too happy sitting back, observing, and being impartial;
  • theorists: are comfortable with concepts and theory. They don’t like being thrown in at the deep end without apparent purpose or reason;
  • reflectors: like to take their time and think things through. They don’t like being pressured into rushing from one thing to another;
  • pragmatists: need a link between the subject matter and the job in hand. They learn best when they can test things out. As each of us learns with different styles, preferences, and approaches, your people will respond best to stimuli and suggestions that take account of the way they do things best.

11. Provide Feedback

Feedback is one of the most valuable elements in the motivation cycle. Don’t keep staff guessing how their development, progress, and accomplishments are shaping up. Offer comments with accuracy and care, keeping in mind next steps or future targets.

More Tips: Dos and Don’ts For Motivating Your Staff in a Time of Change


  • Recognize that you don’t have all the answers.
  • Take time to find out what makes others tick and show genuine caring.
  • Lead, encourage, and guide staff – don’t force them.
  • Tell your staff what you think.


  • Don’t make assumptions about what drives others.
  • Don’t assume others are like you.
  • Don’t force people into things that are supposedly good for them.
  • Don’t neglect the need for inspiration.
  • Don’t delegate work — delegate responsibility.