Ask "Z"

Should you hire someone who’s critical right off the bat?

June 9, 2021
Q. I have a great job candidate who mentioned that he finds certain aspects of our hiring process intrusive and ineffectual. HR seems to think that this hints at a worrisome attitude. Even though the candidate may be right, should I be worried?

Old dogs should learn new tricks

March 10, 2021
Q. It seems that technology in the workplace is running away from me. The younger people in my company are using and embracing all these online productivity tools that I know little about, and I’m left in the dark. I’m in the twilight of my career and have little desire to learn all that. I’m sure there are many others who feel the same. Your thoughts?

Penalty flag on the office decor

January 13, 2021
Q: I’ve been a Washington Redskins fan for most of my life, and my office shows it—posters, helmet, throw-rug, etc. Now that we’re returning to the office, I’m wondering what my employees will think if I don’t remove the “Redskins” motif, now that the team dropped the offensive nickname. I’d like to keep all my memorabilia. What would you do?

The positives and negatives of revealing a positive test

December 9, 2020
Q: I tested positive for COVID-19 while in a long stretch of working remotely. All of us at the company are telecommuting through the winter, so I’m safely quarantined. They don’t know I’ve been stricken. Should I tell them? What would you do?

No bonuses are ruffling feathers

December 9, 2020
Q: In past years we were pretty generous with handing out bonuses to all employees. But this year, we told them our finances couldn’t support it. They are noticeably downtrodden over this. What can I do or say now?

Does she deserve a raise?

November 11, 2020
Q: I’ve been informed by some insiders that my administrative assistant is not happy with her salary. She has not approached me, but since I know what her tasks are and how she performs them, as well as what the going rate is for an admin in our market, she is compensated fairly. What can I tell her if she hits me up for a raise?

Don’t tolerate sloppy writing

November 11, 2020
Q. My younger employees don’t seem to care about grammar or punctuation in their correspondence. I’ve asked them to proofread their writing before sending it off, but I’m getting the impression that they don’t feel that’s important. What should I do?

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?