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NEWSLETTER

How to Give Negative Feedback More Constructively

By Brenda Smyth

 You’ve got to be brave to give honest feedback.
 You’ve also got to be tactful, compassionate and objective. Because nobody really likes being criticized. And it’s important to carefully consider these interactions according to open.buffer.com, because people are more likely to remember criticism inaccurately and more strongly.
 If the real point of your negative feedback is to help an employee grow, your delivery has to be spot on. You don’t want the recipient of your critique to feel attacked case in point… to become defensive or shut down without considering what you’re saying. But you also have to be careful not to sugar coat it—so the employee misses the point.
 It’s also important to consider each situation carefully before reacting. New employees need more cheerleading—more encouragement and praise. Experienced employees who are more confident in their abilities are more likely to appreciate negative feedback as a way to help them continue improving weaker skills. And you’ve got to be sensitive to the varying personalities on your team.
Here are ten suggestions for delivering negative feedback:
1. Enter the discussion with the right purpose: Helping the other person improve. If you’re angry, get control of your emotions before you begin talking with your employee.
2. Build strong relationships over time. We are all much more likely to accept negative feedback from someone we trust. Daily interactions with members of your team will help build trust and mutual respect.
3. Don’t only give negative feedback. Make sure you are just as quick to point out positive work as you are to find fault. If your only encounters with employees are to criticize, your encounters will soon be demotivating.
4. Be clear and specific. Don’t beat around the bush in an effort to be kind. Use tactful words that aren’t personal. If the situation is serious, tell them. And be clear on what improvements you expect in the future. If there are numbers supporting your discussion, share them with the employee.
5. Don’t bury it between compliments. Although this one sounds like a contradiction to #3 above, it’s tricky. You do want to compliment the stronstopg work of employees over time, but perhaps not in the same conversation as the negative feedback. Offering both in one conversation can dilute what you’re saying. Several sources however (psychologytoday.com) do suggest sandwiching bad feedback between good. So take this on a case-by-case basis—if there were negative and positive aspects of a particular project where it makes sense to discuss them in one conversation, go for it.
6. Don’t put it off. Don’t save up your multiple criticism for one BIG event. Quickly and gently address issues as they happen so the employee can make corrections and progress steadily.
7. Criticize privately. Don’t deliver your remarks in earshot of the employee’s colleagues.
8. Don’t make it personal. Stick to the facts by stating the behavior or results you’ve seen. Statements that begin with “you” are more likely to cause a combative reaction (unless you’re praising someone). Stick to “I” statements when possible.
 1. Wrong: “You don’t seem to care about your deadlines.”
 2. Right: “I depend on you to stay on schedule and I noticed that you missed your last three deadlines.”
9. Use the word “yet.” “I like the direction this article is headed, but I don’t think we’re there yet.” Tacking on that one little word softens the delivery and implies that you’re leaving room for improvement, suggests Jocelyn K. Glei for hbr.org.
10. Allow for discussion. Encourage interaction by asking questions that help you understand causes of poor performance or behavior.
Don’t shy away from giving negative feedback to employees. Delivered thoughtfully, it helps each of us improve.

New Facts About Older Workers

By Steve Bent  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has provided new facts on this rapidly expanding area of our workforce.
Employment

  •  For workers age 65 and older, employment tripled from 1988 to 2018, while employment among younger workers grew by about a third.
  •  Between 1988 and 2018, employment growth for women age 65 and older outpaced that for men.
  •  Among people age 75 and older, the number of employed people nearly quadrupled, increasing from 461,000 in 1988 to 1.8 million in 2018.
  • Participation in the Labor Force
  • The labor force participation rate for older workers has been rising steadily since the late 1990s. Participation rates for younger age groups either declined or flattened over this period.

Employment Projectionsolder worker

  •  The total labor force is projected to increase by 6.6% from 2016 to 2026, while the number of workers age 65 and older is predicted to rise by 57.6%.
  •  By 2026, workers age 65 and older are expected to account for 8.6% of the total labor force, up from 5.8% in 2016.
  •  The labor force participation rate of people age 65 and older is projected to increase from 19.3% in 2016 to 21.8% in 2026. This contrasts with the overall labor force participation rate, which is expected to decrease from 62.8% to 61.0%.

Work Schedules

  •  Over the past 20 years, the number of older workers on full‐time work schedules grew two and a half times faster than the number working part time.
  •  Full‐timers now account for a majority among older workers—61% in 2018, up from 46% in 1998.

Earnings

  •  In 1998, median weekly earnings of older full‐time employees were 77% of the median for workers age 16 and up. In 2018, older workers earned 7% more than the median for all workers.

Education

  •  In 1998, 1 in 5 older workers had less than a high school education. By 2018, fewer than 1 in 10 older workers had less than a high school diploma.
  •  The percentage of older workers with a college degree grew from 26% in 1998 to 42% in 2018.

Safety and Health

  •  While fatal occupational injuries to all workers declined 17% from 1992 to 2017, workers age 65 and older incurred 66% more fatal work injuries in 2017 (775) than they did in 1992 (467).
  •  Workers age 65 and older had a fatality rate that was nearly three times the rate for all workers in 2017.

SMART LEADERS DO THESE THINGS TO STOP SEXUAL HARASSMENT

By Cameron Bishop

   Unlawful sexual harassment has long been a problem in the workplace. However, starting with the Bill Cosby allegations and exploding with the Harvey Weinstein story, this is now the most visible employment issue in corporate America. As a manager or leader in your company, it’s long past time you made sure you’ve done what’s necessary to protect your employees as well as your organization. Today, while there are still an overwhelming number of victims too scared to speak out for a number of reasons, many victims of sexual harassment are less frightened to speak up. #MeToo has laid bare the painful reality of how prevalent sexual harassment is in the workplace. In turn—and in remarkable numbers—victims are calling out business leaders in many industries for alleged bad behavior and these leaders are stepping down in eye-popping numbers. The resulting emotional turmoil, business disruption, and injury to personal reputations are causing significant damage to businesses, internally and externally, and to many individuals involved.
There are no federal regulations against sexual harassment, so states are doing it themselves
   It is so bad that in March 2018, the State of New York passed bipartisan legislation forcing companies doing business there to adhere to much stricter sexual harassment prevention laws. The City of New York added over a dozen more regulations for businesses there to follow on top of the state laws. These laws were effective October 9, 2018. This makes New York the fourth state in the country to pass mandated sexual harassment prevention training, joining California, Massachusetts and Maine. Maryland’s new law designed to prevent employers from asking employees to waive their future right to report sexual harassment went into effect on October 1. With the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements gaining momentum, how long do you think it will take other states to pass their own legislation?
The statistics are overwhelming
  According to EEOC Statistics, during fiscal year 2016, more than 13,000 administrative charges alleged sex-based harassment. As more victims find their courage to speak up and speak out, this issue will continue to dominate the news. Meanwhile, harassment complaints made within company human resource programs and to government agencies will continue to rise. Your organization faces potentially devastating legal risks if you ignore sexual harassers at any level of your organization. Furthermore, if the actions turn out to be serial in nature, the damage to your company’s reputation can be beyond repair—especially if it is at the top of the organizational chart. In today’s climate, the wisest business practice demands you proactively flush out inappropriate behavior and end it swiftly and decisively.harassment
What should you be doing about sexual harassment? Consider the following action steps: 
1. First off, review your current anti-harassment policy and audit the effectiveness of complaint reporting mechanisms and anti-retaliation precautions. Ask yourself:

  • Does your policy meet current legal standards and recommended practices? For instance, in light of whistleblower laws, how does your policy address the confidentiality of internal investigations and their results? Does it provide guidance for handling complaints about off-duty sexual conduct, including conduct that took place years ago? Or, behavior that—while offensive—had no direct connection to the workplace or a current employee? Are you addressing “false reporting” appropriately?
  • Does your policy truly encourage and empower employees to come forward without fear of reprisal? If your office has rumors or “open secrets” about inappropriate sexual conduct, you need to consider changing definitions of what constitutes inappropriate sexual harassment. In addition, add more reporting channels, beef up your investigation protocols, and clearly detail the range of remedial actions imposed for a violation.
  • Does your organization hold employees accountable—especially at the executive level—for their bad behavior in a meaningful manner? If not, what changes must you make to the workplace’s culture to ensure this happens? Cultural change has to begin at the top. If leaders are not modeling appropriate behavior, how can you expect rank-and-file employees to do so?

2. Identify vulnerabilities by connecting historical and current complaint data. Can you identify trends by geographic location, business unit or job category? What has been the company’s approach to investigating and responding to those complaints? For instance, has your response stopped the inappropriate behavior? Or, has the employee gone outside the company for assistance, such as filing a charge with a government agency? If so, what has been the agency’s response? If your company were considering such a self-critical audit, I would advise evaluating the data on a privileged basis through your legal counsel.
3. Consider conducting an anonymous employee survey to determine whether unreported and still-festering harassment issues, rumors or open secrets negatively affect the company and pose continuing legal risks. Use a third-party administrator to ensure employees of the survey’s confidentiality.
4. Update your training programs to address the current situation in the #MeToo world we live in now. Companies cannot ignore the high-profile complaints and high-level terminations occurring in industries and government bodies across the country. Be thorough in scheduling additional training for all employees, at all levels in your company.
5. Finally, spend time on leadership buy-in before rolling out the updated policy. Conduct C-Suite, manager and supervisor meetings and “refresher” training so leaders know what to expect of them and the employees who report to them. Educate leaders regarding how best to promote a workplace culture free from harassment, and spell out for them the potential consequences—both to the company and to them individually—of failure to achieve such a culture.
As with implementing any workplace policy or procedure, it is advisable to consult with your employment counsel for assistance in addressing these important and evolving issues.

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