This month’s roundup of HR News focuses on HR’s new role, managing conflict, productivity, retaining top performers, and more news we found noteworthy.

HR’s New Role
Peter Cappelli and Ranya Nehmeh. Harvard Business Review

HR’s focus on minimizing personnel costs was not a problem when job markets were cool. But now keeping positions filled and preventing employees from burning out or becoming dissatisfied are the priorities. To meet the fundamental challenge of hiring and retaining good people, HR needs to return to its traditional role of taking care of employees. It must play a lead role in persuading top management to treat employees better and to change company policies on pay, training, layoffs, vacancies, outsourcing, and restructuring.

Uncovering 5 Hidden Stages of Conflict
Marlene Chism, Smart Brief

Many leaders avoid honest conversations because they fear that honest conversations could ignite conflict with the other person … But conflict is not really the problem. The problem is mismanagement, which includes avoiding, undermining,or reorganizing departments instead of facing the issues head-on.
In short, most of us avoid conversations that could actually save time, increase productivity and build trust.

Related: Leveraging 4 Dimensions of Better Conflict cCnversations

Who Is Productive, and Who Isn’t? Here’s How to Tell.
Aaron DeSmet and Angelika Reich, McKinsy & Company

If productivity is down in your organization, it may be a sign that at least some employees are unmotivated and unhappy—and that other employees are feeding on that dissatisfaction, further eroding productivity and creating attrition. On this episode of The McKinsey Podcast, McKinsey senior partner Aaron De Smet and partner Angelika Reich talk about McKinsey’s latest research on employee productivity and share their perspectives on a few types of workers, ranging from those who bring fellow employees down to those who raise them up.

What to Do When Your Top Performer Shows Signs of Attrition
Cloey Callahan, WorkLife

A high performer in the workplace can deliver 400% more productivity than the average performer. Even in a tighter talent market, these especially high performers are likely to land other jobs where there are more opportunities for them. That’s why it’s absolutely necessary for workplace leaders to spot the signs of when a high performer is considering leaving and have an action plan in place.

This Is How to Be a Great Manager: 4 Powerful Secrets from Research
Eric Barker, Barking Up the Wrong Tree

What makes companies great? Gallup did research to find out — real research. They surveyed 24 companies in 12 different industries measuring productivity, profitability, employee retention and customer satisfaction. They ended up looking at over 2500 business units and interviewed 105,000 employees.
And what was the thing that made all the difference? Good managers.

Ending the Employer-Employee Relationship-Resignation vs. Termination
Lin Grensing-Pophal, HR Daily Advisor

“One could argue that in the majority of situations an employee should be given the opportunity to resign. Many times, an employee is fired for not meeting performance standards, not meeting the supervisor’s expectations, due to personality differences, or they are just not a good fit for the job,” says Denise Heekin, Esq., a labor and employment attorney for Bryant Miller Olive. “Allowing an employee to resign in such situations provides them with the opportunity to start fresh without a negative mark in their employment history. This concept should apply equally to employees whether they are in the top echelon or just starting off in a career. In some jurisdictions, it might also save an employer from having to pay unemployment.”

HR News Roundup: Quick Takes

From the Lighter Side  …

We probably all can remember a particularly favorite teacher who would go to great lengths to educate and inspire us. This cute 12-second clip shows the lengths a great teacher will go to for students. (link to Twitter/)

We have only one more item this issue. We offer a masterclass in “how to be a bad boss and probably get sued” as well as a disturbing glimpse into a bygone era of employee management via memos to employees from the infamous Edward “Tiger Mike” Davis, owner of the Tiger Oil Company.  Although he died in 2016, his legend lives on. In his obituaries, he was described as “the world’s meanest boss.”  We can get a real read into the management style that led to this reputation by studying “The Tiger Oil Memos” courtesy of Letters of Note.  Warning: Mike used salty language in his memos, although he would not tolerate his employees using curse words:

“I swear, but since I am the owner of this company, that is my privilege, and this privilege is not to be interpreted as the same for any employee. That differentiates me from you, and I want to keep it that way. There will be absolutely no swearing, by any employee, male or female, in this office, ever.”

A few more choice excerpts:

“Do not speak to me when you see me. If I want to to speak to you, I will do so. I want to save my throat. I don’t want to ruin it by saying hello to all of you sons-of-b*tches.”

Per Edward Mike Davis’ orders, there will be no more birthday celebrations, birthday cakes, levity, or celebrations of any kind within the office. This is a business office.
If you have to celebrate, do it after office hours on your own time.

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