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HR Revolution

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Are you an HR fan? If yes, please let me know where you work and if no, then join our club.

This article is not about pointing fingers and blaming HR departments for the mess most companies live in, it’s about knowing for a fact that HR departments nowadays are not more than a bunch of people with bachelor degrees talking all day about employee development and cultural transformation while in fact they are the genuine reason many employees are running for their lives out of the company.

Now is the time to start what is called “The HR Revolution”.

HR is supposed to be the key driver of business performance; however, in real life this is just a theory. That is why I present here not only the problem but also its solution because let’s face it, we want to work in a place where we feel comfortable, safe and above all enjoy a transparent work environment.

Problem 1: You can’t handle the truth

HR staff always seeks to intentionally hide some facts about work, such as salary for instance. Have you ever been in an interview for a job and when told about the salary your eyes shone, only to realize after having to quit your old job that the salary you thought you will get turned out to be the average salary or the money you get during the training period only?

My point is: HRs often mislead employees, they have the info but they don’t think you deserve to know the whole truth.

Solution: Be a professional

Professionals don’t lie because lying means someone is not doing the job right. HR professionals should work with the company and make sure to eliminate any deficiencies that could force them to hide some information from employees.

Problem 2: This is for your best interest

What is it with HR and policies? Is it the power syndrome or what? Why do they enjoy forcing policies and enjoy watching employees suffer?

Solution: Openness is the key

No doubt that without rules, chaos will rule. You should, however, be reasonable when putting them. Why not hold a meeting with the entire company and discuss these rules with your employees?

Open discussions about this kind of stuff truly show how much you care. And as an HR member, you have every right to force penalties upon whoever doesn’t follow the rules, but first inform them about the broken rule and don’t catch them off guard.

One last thing regarding this issue, managers and higher-level employees are not excluded, meaning that rules apply to them as well. If you want a professional environment then act professionally.

Problem 3: Can’t keep a secret

HR officers are known for their big mouths. Gossip finds its way to the whole entity sooner or later.

Solution: Don’t kiss and tell

If an employee comes to you with a problem, take on the responsibility of being this employee’s secret guardian. If you can’t help them with the problem then don’t “kiss and tell.”

Problem 4: There are other problems too

HR employees have no clue what goes on inside the company. They won’t know if your manager is abusing you or not, or that your department hasn’t been achieving its target for months now.

While everyone in the company is trying to figure out solutions for real problems, we find HR personnel sitting in a corner probably preparing for the next time management course for a group of employees that doesn’t even have a time management problem.

Solution: Get involved

Hire an HR professional who knows a lot about your business. It is always good when employees know that someone has their backs.

HR staff with good knowledge about your business and employees will undoubtedly put this knowledge to good use.

Bottom line:

Now is the time to turn around the bad reputation that HR departments everywhere are plagued with. Like I mentioned earlier, now is the time for an “HR Revolution”.

By: Hend Salah

Photography: Mahmoud Mansi

EDITORS: Sarah Shalaby & Nada Adel Sobhi

Articles

Was it Critique,Training or Bluntly Bullying?

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Artwork & Writing By: Rim Abdelhamid

At one of the call centers I worked in, since day one, the manager and the trainers who were supposed to help us learn and get adapted to the job, they kept telling me how much negative and depressing they think I am. They even went as far as calling me a DEAD person. My manager enjoyed making fun of me by imitating how he thought I used to speak or how I sound, saying that I have speech disorder -because this is “funny”- just a joke! He even tried to get others to join in. It was always the same excuse: they’re “trying to help me get better at my job!” Even though it had nothing to do with my performance and it started the first day I started work.

Let me tell you why -them trying to help me- was a lie? How this is not a critique but in fact bullying? What is the aim of bullies? What are the types of bullying in general? How do they start? And how to stop it?

What workplace bullying is…

When giving a critique one gives it based on actual facts. They could give a certain advice, or simply just tell the person what they’re doing wrong, etc… But it’s never calling them names; that’s abuse. What makes abuse turn into bullying is it not being on all employees but a specific one targeted, and over a prolonged period of time (not just one incident). The harassment behavior could be by one or more colleagues (subordinates and/or superiors), where the one being targeted is unable to defend his/herself. In that case it’s no longer a bad management issue, or a bad behavior by one individual but in fact one person being alienated; BULLIED.

How bullying is like at the workplace?

You might think it is physical? But no, bullies are smart! It cannot be psychical because it could cost them their job and even get them arrested. However, it’s a mental abuse. For example, telling you something hurtful in a way of “joking” or putting you in situations that could affect the quality of your work like unrealistic deadlines. Also, it could be things like yelling, threats or sabotage. Whatever it is, it is an action that could cause stress to the victim. And could cause them to feel trapped and it is repeated over time.

In my case, I was forced by that same manager to work overtimes and on weekends. And even without extra pay. Spending every day, and almost 12-13 hours a day, sometimes with no breaks, with no time to eat and no way of getting good sleep or the rest my body needed. And I couldn’t risk losing my job. Why though? Why would someone bully another at work? POWER AND CONTROL. The bullies in this case just want to feel in control and they do it by bringing others down. In my situation, I was the only one in my team with past experience in that field, the only one who didn’t need training so that was my manager’s and the trainers’ way to “put me in my place”. They didn’t have any real critique so they tried to gain power by verbal abuse, by overwork, by putting me down and stressing me out.

What makes victims not speak sometimes or have a hard time reporting the issue? Because of the charming personality of the bully. You’d think you can tell that the person in front of you is a bully but it’s actually hard to tell. Since bullies manipulate others with poker face. They are self-centered and in some cases sociopaths but likeable.

I was always being told it’s an “advice”, they’re “helping” me. All in the midst of me being bullied. I was made to think I deserved the way I was treated.

In other cases, bullies could come after you in a non-direct way. For example, by emailing a manager telling them you’ll meet a certain deadline when it’s impossible for you to do so, they’re not coming to you directly but instead they’re putting you in a situation where you can’t really decline, knowing you’ll be in a hard and stressful situation. They could work on making you lose your job in that same manner. So basically, they’re not monsters hunting you down literally, they’re just that guy/woman sitting next to you smiling while putting you intentionally in stressful situations. Making you feel stuck all the time.

Well, how to stop bullies?

The thing about bullies is that they test their target victim. So, if you right away push back, you’ll be ok. But if they managed to get to you, they won’t stop easily. You need to always address the situation head on. Call out the behavior and leave the situation, no matter how awkward or uncomfortable it might be for you at that specific moment. Instant action is a must. You should also document every single detail big or small. The reason why sometimes bullying incidents go undisciplined is the lack of evidence. Stick to facts, to what happened and do not allow anger or other emotions to cloud your action. Then reach out to the HR and bring the incident to their attention.

To conclude the key to end bullying is to remain calm, confident and immediately push back, by calling out the action then reporting it if it’s repeated.

If there is anything, I wish I could have done differently is not letting my emotions control me. While I didn’t get angry, but instead I felt stuck, depressed and worthless. I let them put me down and I accepted the idea that I deserve to be treated this way, this is why I never reported what happened. I should have only focused on achieving my target because that’s what evaluates the quality of my work, not what anyone thinks. I wish I could tell my old self that: “Harassment, stress and overwork do not help anyone. Teamwork, respect and positive work environment does. Always know your work duties (targets) and your rights as well.”

If anyone who’s going through the same experience is reading this, I hope you know now what to do.

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Articles

Work Slave

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Written By: Yasmine Gazzarine

Edited & Published By: Mariham Magdy

Nowadays, HR managers struggle with work place ethics. At this critical time where every detail is shared on social media, we, as employees, are not prudent enough to choose what to share and what not to share.

On the other hand, HR is confused what could be the criteria to judge upon or what should be taken seriously and what should not be taken into consideration regarding the employees social media posts.

Let me take you through my personal experience; I’m a consultant and trainer, in addition to my full time job, out of my bigger aim to influence the new generation. One day I found my personal photo among my trainees printed by the work printer. In a way or another, I knew who printed it.

The surprise was that it’s my dear beloved boss who did so, I confronted him in front of the section head and he just snapped shooting “I’m your boss and I’m free to do whatever I see appropriate, you’re my subordinate and I got unlimited authority to investigate you”.

For a moment I saw myself wearing prison outfit in dark dungeon dragging these feet cuffs and this big metal ball. Is working in an organization means being deprived from your free days? To cut it short I took my action to condemn this act as freedom trespassing which is illegal and unethical.    

That drives us to the concept of work place ethics, does that means policies and procedures within the organization?!, or is it a personal factor depending on the culture, behavior and heredity ?! Going through some search we can easily find that the work place ethics definition is “the ability to maintain proper moral value within the workplace”. It is an attitude that shapes the way an individual performs his/her job duties with high moral standards.

This leads us to a more important question “Do you want to be a boss or a leader?” supportive or frustrating? In my point of view, every boss should or better be a leader. If you recognize that one of your staff has a potential or a sparkling skill, please win this employee, benefit from him, make him or her your ambassador.

As he/she demonstrates his/ her skill inside or outside the work environment he/she makes the organization image very good. As he/she delivers the level of professionalism within your organization outside…imagine what would this add to you later on?

Moreover, the competition between work-mates should be healthy and for the best of the organization. There is nothing wrong if your subordinate excels you in some skills or in some domains. Work environment is all about integration.

May be if we put clear fine-tuned policies and procedures this can enhance or guide the existence of preferable work ethics and their application.

In the Egyptian work environments there are always written policies in the background but what really rule the situation are norms. Egyptians are emotional people who are prone to consider anything you post on social media a direct projection on somebody or a certain situation.

But as HR, shall we take what’s posted on social media seriously?! or am I supposed to monitor every post of every employee?! In my humble opinion if a post contains bulling sentence against a colleague or the organization I shall take it seriously only in this case.

Anyway to avoid such problems, simply set rules, communicate it and apply it over all the organization. Be aware not to encourage ever an employee who spread rumors or snitches even if it’s for your own benefit cause Karma always gives you back what you give.           

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Articles

5 Reasons Why Smoking is Good for your Employees and Workplace!

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Written By:
Mahmoud Mansi

The average number of smokers consume around one pack of cigarettes a day or less. During their working hours they will take at least five short breaks in order to smoke. During these short breaks there are various unnoticed benefits for the concerned employees and for the organization. No doubt smoking has its harms as a habit, however we can see a different perspective…

1-Back, Neck and Eye Pain Release

Continuous working on the desk causes back and neck pain, same goes with staring at the screen for a long time and forgetting to rest. Nonsmokers in most organizations tend to spend more time on their desks forgetting all about taking short breaks.

2-Brainstorming and Communicating

Many smokers would agree that during their “short breaks” they mingle very well with colleagues or managers, talk about KPI’s, discuss concerns related to work, suggest ideas, share solutions and communicate more freely than inside the office environment.

3-Meditation, Less Fatigue, More Focused

If not mingling with others, some of the smoking breaks are all about solitude, spending time with the self, breathing slowly and contemplating the view or some ideas. This solitude and quick meditation gives the person the chance to take a mental and emotional break from the stress environment then return back recharged and ready to complete the day.

4-Fresh Air and More Exposure to Sun

Employees are almost trapped all morning and evening at the office, they forget that they need to breathe fresh air instead of the air conditioner and be exposed to natural sunlight. Many employees suffer vitamin D deficiency because of that reason.

5-More Connected to Personal Life

Usually spending most of the time answering office calls, emails and delivering tasks on the laptop or doing some paperwork, employees forget to check their social media updates, call a family member or answer a message sent from a friend. Work keeps them detached from the community and it might cause increase in stress or anxiousness. With breaks employees tend to check their personal messages and have a chance to connect and fulfil their social needs.

Solutions!

Healthwise, smoking is harmful, and smokers – like all other people – are attached to a habit. Every person has a different habit that they wish to change or not!

The purpose behind this article is to see the other side, and how professionals can change the system of the organization in order to provide the discussed five benefits to ALL employees (smokers and non-smokers), and therefore have a working environment that cares about their employees’ backpain, neck pain, eye dryness problems, providing channels of informal communication and innovative ways to brainstorm, caring about employees’ fatigue and nourishing their souls and minds with meditation, giving a chance for employees to be daily exposed to the sunlight and nature, and giving some measured space for them to connect with their families and community.

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