Monday, February 21, 2011

Just Letting People Know Etiquette of Applying online

I know that navigating company websites to apply can be a daunting task. I also know that many of my readers (all 10 of you or so) will have no patience with people who do not intuitively know that someone has to navigate through multiple resumes and cover letters to decide on a group that is "best qualified" to be sent up to a interview. Here is the truth of the matter, on the administration side of things cut and pasted resume's and cover letters are extremely hard to read. In fact, while there may very well be a person whose qualifications are so "right" that I can decipher a resume that is cut and pasted into a little box erasing any formatting that helps me to zero in on experiences that could help my organization, I have not found one yet. I have to try very hard to decipher these and reading them is not easy.

Bottom Line: The site gives you the attachment option for a reason, use it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dealing with a Union Environment: "There is no Spoon"

Matrix - The spoon
Uploaded by Deepsound. - Full seasons and entire episodes online.

"Do not try to bend the spoon...That is impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth"
"What truth?"
"There is no spoon."
"There is no spoon?"
"Then you will see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself."

When dealing with a Union environment there are two types of organizations. The type that is wringing their hands and wondering what the Union will say about every decision they make and the type of organization that has won all of the policy battles and is actually managing their employees performance. This is what it is all about people. The more you pretend the Union does not exist the more you win. This is more for the line supervisor. Don't get me wrong, good Union reps will get you second guessing yourself all over the place, but that doesn't mean you roll over. Keep fighting the fight. Keep doing the right things for the right reasons. You have to drive the business and in the end they want that too.

All of the policy battles are just white noise. Policy is fine and it certainly makes it easy to make decisions on attendance and other such nonsense that should be taken care of already. But the real holy grail (the part that is in the management rights section of every contract), is the fact that you have the right to manage employee performance. The problem comes when you actually have to measure and have some sort of semi-objective means of evaluating that performance. But seriously, why else are we here?

I will tell you right now, you have no idea how many organizations have not made the leap to actual performance management. They are stuck just trying to get people to show up to work or complying with some other kind of basic policy. If you are doing this type of thing you are failing. That stuff should all be black and white. The real work starts when you raise the bar and say "Who is doing a good job and who is not." That is when your talent level really starts improving and that is something that, as long as you can back it up, the union has absolutely no say over.

"There is no spoon"

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday in the Real World

When working in a 24/7 operation sometimes your shift workers miss things.

The memorandum that was circulated through the management ranks has all the trappings of a Jedi Mind Trick. I have not seen their collective bargaining agreement, but I assume attendence is addressed. Most people will tell you it is hard to deviate from any attendence practice and terminate for one missed day or even two.

Unless you want to call it a wild cat strike, work stoppage, or some other kind of unfair labor practice, in which case well played sir (you will never win, but you get style points). Scorched earth approach to labor relations is always an interesting lifestyle choice.

The problem is that most of the arbitrators will probably be Steelers fans (Hmmmm do you think you could sneak an Eagles fan in there?).

You have to put this kind of stuff on your line supervisors to create a sense of belonging and responsibility to each employee's fellow co-workers. Healthy crews do not have these kind of issues.

1. Supervisors work with employee's to ensure everyone gets a fair shake.

2. One someone does get the shaft they have the knowledge that they will get a fair shake in a future scheduling because they are taking one for the team.
Honestly, if I want to see who my good line supervisors are at US Steel, I will see who works with a fully covered shift on Superbowl Sunday. If I want to see who my best supervisors are, I see who can work a fully manned shift without overtime on Superbowl Sunday.