Ask "Z"

Corner that rabble rouser

October 7, 2020
Q: It’s come to my attention that one of my senior VPs has been posting strong political content on social media. Most employees are aware of this and many are resentful of his views. The talk has turned to what might happen if enough people find out where he works and decide to complain to us directly, possibly resulting in upset customers or even the loss of a client. What should I do?

Any suggestions for our empty suggestion box?

September 10, 2020
Q: We put up an employee suggestion box, and month after month, despite the fact that we know there’s a lot on employees’ minds, it’s usually empty. What do you think is going on here?

Meanwhile, back at the office…

September 10, 2020
Q: For the most part, our employees are back in the workplace at least a few days a week. However, some who are parents say they can’t return at all. I don’t mind, but it’s obvious this is causing resentment from the ones who show up. Morale is sinking. What can I say?

Never shut off the idea spigot

August 13, 2020
Q: I have a loyal employee who does a good job with every task that is assigned to him. One problem: Every original idea he’s ever suggested is absolutely terrible and he has not even a smidgen of clever, original thinking. Yet it would be quite awkward to actively disinvite him from brainstorming meetings or cut him from group projects. What to do?

Lights … camera … awkwardness

July 9, 2020
Q: Our staff has been given a project to record dozens of short first-person presentations on video. We’ve found that a few folks are depressingly wooden, formal, and uneasy on camera. Is there a simple way to snap them out of their stage awkwardness?

Social justice: yes, get involved

July 9, 2020
Q: At work there’s been a lot of discussion about social justice issues, and several of my employees have said that talking about it is not enough; we should be doing something about them. What actions can and should we take?

Shouldn’t we place more value on our values?

June 10, 2020
Q: We have our company’s core values plastered all over the place, but little by little you can sense that they’re being pushed aside in the name of profit and expediency. This has happened in more than one place I’ve worked. How do I call attention to this without seeming like a complainer or a troublemaker? I can just hear it now: “That’s what you’re bothering us with?”

Make working from home work for everyone

May 14, 2020
Q: Before the coronavirus hit, our company had less than half of its employees working remotely. Now everyone is working off-site and many people have been struggling with it. What are your thoughts on a strategy to make this work for all involved?

Tell the truth, warts and all?

May 14, 2020
Q: Our company took a hit financially. So far, no layoffs, but I don’t know what the future will hold. Should I just be blunt with staff about our tenuous position and risk further damage to morale, or should I be silent and hope that we’ll pull through?

She’s great! When should I tell her?

April 9, 2020
Q. One of my workers is a high-potential employee whom I am seriously considering grooming for a VP job. My question is, should I inform her now, or wait until she proves herself a bit more? If I tell her now then I probably owe it to her; if I wait, I’m liable to lose her to another employer. Your thoughts?