15 Tips on Writing Effective Harassment Policies

harassment policies bully poster
Writing an effective harassment policy will help keep employees safe and create a friendlier culture

Only 26% of employees believe their organization can swiftly handle workplace harassment complaints, according to the report “Reality of the Modern Workplace: Understanding Employee Empowerment.”

The report also found that 1 in 6 American employees avoid reporting an issue, most likely out of fear of repercussions.

Then again, maybe they simply don’t know what to do since 48% of employees don’t even have an employee handbook, and 76% of employees have no way of submitting an anonymous complaint.

If your agency has similar issues, it’s time to fix them.

The first step? Designing better harassment policies.

We’ll give you 15 tips for writing effective harassment policies in today’s post.

But first, let’s look at why harassment policies are so important.

The Purpose of Harassment Policies

First and foremost, effective harassment policies help employees be treated equally and feel safe in the workplace.

When employees know the behaviors that aren’t allowed in the workplace, and they know exactly how they’ll be punished if they engage in prohibited behavior, they’re less likely to harass fellow employees.

It will also protect your agency from lawsuits.

One of the first things judges look at is if agencies in a harassment suit provided adequate care, resources, and training to prevent harassment from occurring in the workplace.

And ultimately, a well-written harassment policy will help create a culture of respect and civility – dramatically lowering the instances of harassment.

15 Tips on Writing Effective Harassment Policies

Harassment policies need to be written so that people can easily identify harassment and they know precisely what will happen to them if they harass coworkers.

To help you write your own harassment policy, here are 15 tips for making it clear and effective:

  1. Expand your harassment policy beyond sexual harassment and make sure it includes race, ethnicity, age, national origin, disability, and religion.
  2. Provide a crystal clear definition of harassment and a detailed list of prohibited behavior, including harassment that could occur at work-related functions or online.
  3. Explicitly grant protection from retaliation to employees and bystanders who file harassment complaints.
  4. Describe your process for anonymously filing complaints.
  5. Let employees file complaints with someone outside of their chain of command to avoid unnecessary conflict or fear of retaliation.
  6. Ensure that you will protect the identity and confidentiality of the employees who file harassment complaints, especially if complaints can’t be filed anonymously.
  7. Allow for an impartial investigation into harassment complaints, either from within your organization or from a 3rd party.
  8. Pledge to your employees that you will take immediate corrective action when harassment occurs.
  9. Detail the specific penalties and consequences for harassing employees, including termination.
  10. Do not take any action involving an alleged victim of harassment without first receiving their consent.
  11. Include emotionally-charged language that helps your employees viscerally understand your policies and the seriousness of harassment (i.e. say “target” instead of victim and “predator” instead of perpetrator).
  12. Post your harassment policy throughout your organization, on your website, and inside your employee handbook and orientation materials.
  13. Train all managers and supervisors in appropriately handling harassment complaints, and outline their roles and responsibilities when a complaint is filed.
  14. Emphasize that employees are protected from discrimination when it comes to employment decisions, such as hiring, firing, and transfers.
  15. Require that someone in a position of authority must give employees who file harassment complaints updates about the status of their investigation and the punitive action taken against the harasser if they’re found guilty.

Want a Complete Guide to Effective Harassment Policies?

While the harassment policy tips we just gave you are helpful, they’re often not enough.

If you want to give your harassment policies a complete overhaul (or finally create your first harassment policy), then you need in-depth guides that show you how to do it.

We can give them to you.

We provide a series of books, videos, and courses on sexual and non-sexual harassment policies and best practices, such as:

  • Harassment Prevention for Employees – State and Local Government Edition
  • Harassment Prevention for Managers – State and Local Government Sector Edition
  • Investigating Workplace Harassment: How to Be Fair, Thorough, and Legal
  • The Sexual Harassment Handbook
  • The Workplace Law Advisor: From Harassment and Discrimination Policies to Hiring and Firing Guidelines: What Every Manager and Employee Needs to Know

Start using these resources and many more to design an effective harassment policy by getting your free trial of Enterprise Training below.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

Schedule Free Consultation

California SB 396: Here’s Everything You Need to Know (And More)

California SB 396 updated and expanded the anti-harassment training requirements of AB 1825
California SB 396 updated and expanded the anti-harassment training requirements of AB 1825

Do you know what California SB 396 is?

You should if your an employer in California.

Senate Bill 396 (SB 396) updated California’s harassment prevention law on October 15th, 2017 by amending Assembly Bill 1825.

The new amendments went into effect on January 1, 2018.

To help you quickly understand SB 396, we’ll go over exactly what amendments were made to AB 1825, what are the terms you should know, and what specifically you have to do now to comply with the law (or face the consequences).

By the end, we’ll give you a simple checklist for easily implementing these changes.

Let’s dive in.

What Does SB 396 Mean for California Government Agencies?

To answer that question, let’s make sure we understand what AB 1825 is.

AB 1825 mandates agencies with over 50 employees to provide at least 2 hours of training and education regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees within 6 months of assuming a supervisory position, and once every 2 years thereafter.

SB 396 makes multiple amendments to AB 1825 and further requires agencies with over 50 employees to include training inclusive of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

Let’s take a look at the SB 396 amendments to get crystal clear on the specific changes to the law.

What Amendments Did California SB 396 Make to AB 1825?

California SB 396 made 5 amendments to AB 1825.

We summarized those amendments for you below:

Section 1

Section 1 of SB 396 states that employers must “amend its current poster on discrimination in employment to include information relating to the illegality of sexual harassment.”

This means your new sexual harassment and discrimination posters must affirm the rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming employees.

You can obtain amended signage from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

Section 2

Section 2(c) of SB 396 is what requires employers with 50 or more employees to include training that covers harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation as part of the required 2 hours of training for supervisors.

Section 2 expands on this mandate and states that your sexual harassment training and education curriculum must include practical examples of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

You must also include “prevention of abusive conduct” as part of your training and education curriculum.

Abusive conduct is defined as “conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests.”

The section goes on to say that any “repeated infliction” of verbal abuse, physical misconduct, or sabotage of a person’s work environment can be construed as “abusive conduct.”

Section 3

Section 3 of SB 396 amends and expands section 14005 of the California Unemployment Insurance Code.

Section 3 also adds transgender and gender nonconforming individuals to the list of “individuals with employment barriers” which guarantees them access to employment “programs of rigorous and high-quality education, training, and other services” that do all of the following:

  • Align with the skills and needs of industries in the economy of the state or regional economy involved.
  • Prepare an individual to be successful in any of a full range of secondary or postsecondary education options, including apprenticeships.
  • Include counseling to support an individual in achieving the individual’s education and career goals.
  • Include, as appropriate, education offered concurrently with and in the same context as workforce preparation activities and training for a specific occupation or occupational cluster.
  • Organize education, training, and other services to meet the particular needs of an individual in a manner that accelerates the educational and career advancement of the individual to the extent practicable.
  • Enable an individual to attain a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent, and at least one recognized postsecondary credential.
  • Help an individual enter or advance within a specific occupation or occupational cluster.

Section 4

Section 4 and 4.5 of SB 396 authorizes the appointment of “community-based organizations that serve transgender and gender nonconforming individuals” to the California Workforce Development Board.

Section 5

Section 5 of SB 396 affirms that section 4.5 of Sb 396 will go into effect if AB 957 is approved by the Governor on or before January 1st, 2018 (which it was).

What are the Terms and Definitions You Should Know Regarding Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Individuals?

As you update your training manuals and courses, it’s important to understand the terminology of topics related to transgender and gender nonconforming individuals.

Here are some of the key definitions you’ll need to know to comply with SB 396 that come from the Fair Employment & Housing Council Regulations Regarding Transgender Identity and Expression:

  • “Gender expression” means a person’s gender-related appearance or behavior, or the perception of such appearance or behavior, whether or not stereotypically associated with the person’s sex assigned at birth.
  • “Gender identity” means each person’s internal understanding of their gender, or the perception of a person’s gender identity, which may include male, female, a combination of male and female, neither male nor female, a gender different from the person’s sex assigned at birth, or transgender.
  • “Sex” has the same definition as provided in Government Code section 12926, which includes, but is not limited to, pregnancy; childbirth; medical conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding; gender; gender identity; and gender expression, or perception by a third party of any of the aforementioned.
  • “Sex Stereotype” includes, but is not limited to, an assumption about a person’s appearance or behavior, gender roles, gender expression, or gender identity, or about an individual’s ability or inability to perform certain kinds of work based on a myth, social expectation, or generalization about the individual’s sex.
  • “Transgender” is a general term that refers to a person whose gender identity differs from the person’s sex assigned at birth. A transgender person may or may not have a gender expression that is different from the social expectations of the sex assigned at birth. A transgender person may or may not identify as “transsexual.”
  • “Transitioning” is a process some transgender people go through to begin living as the gender with which they identify, rather than the sex assigned to them at birth. This process may include, but is not limited to, changes in name and pronoun usage, facility usage, participation in 2 employer-sponsored activities (e.g. sports teams, team-building projects, or volunteering), or undergoing hormone therapy, surgeries, or other medical procedures.

What Rights Do Transgender Individuals Have in the Workplace?

DFEH issued guidelines for transgender rights in the workplace in 2017 – meaning, you need to include them on your posters and in your training.

Here are the highlights:

  • Employers and interviewers should not ask questions designed to detect a person’s gender identity
  • Employers should not ask questions about a person’s body or whether they plan to have surgery.
  • An employer who requires a dress code must enforce it in a non-discriminatory manner.
  • Transgender or gender non-conforming employees may not be held to any different standard of dress or grooming than any other employee.
  • All employees have a right to safe and appropriate restroom and locker room facilities. This includes the right to use a restroom or locker room that corresponds to the employee’s gender identity, regardless of the employee’s assigned sex at birth.
  • Where possible, an employer should provide an easily accessible unisex single stall bathroom for use by any employee who desires increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason.
  • All single-user toilet facilities in any business establishment, place of public accommodation, or state or local government agency must be identified as all-gender toilet facilities.

In addition to the above guidelines, employers are required to address a transgender or gender nonconforming individual by their preferred name and pronoun, as detailed in the Fair Employment & Housing Council Regulations:

“If an employee requests to be identified with a preferred gender, name, and/or pronoun, including gender-neutral pronouns, an employer or other covered entity who fails to abide by the employee’s stated preference may be liable under the Act.

An employer is permitted to use an employee’s gender or legal name as indicated in a government-issued identification document only if it is necessary to meet a legally mandated obligation, but otherwise must identify the employee in accordance with the employee’s gender identity and preferred name.”

Quick Checklist of What You Need to Do to Comply with SB 396

To make sure you don’t get bogged down by the details and can simply enact the changes set forth by California SB 396, here’s a checklist of the changes you have to make to your training courses and manuals:

  • Update posters regarding harassment and discrimination policies
  • Update dress codes and standards
  • Train employees to use the proper terminology when discussing gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation
  • Train employees to use a coworker’s preferred name and pronoun
  • Train supervisors to identify and prevent harassment related to gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation

That about covers it for SB 396, but here’s something you should think about…

How comprehensive and up-to-date is your current harassment and discrimination training program?

An outdated program could teach your employees, supervisors, and managers information that is no longer relevant, or is even frowned upon or illegal.

The last thing you want to do is make it easier to incur a lawsuit or liability.

That’s why we created “Smart Workplaces: Sexual Harassment Prevention for Office Managers & Supervisors California AB 1825 and all 50 States.”

It’s a full-fledged sexual harassment program that covers everything you need to know about identifying and preventing sexual harassment in your office or agency.

You can check out that program and thousands more for free today.

How?

By signing up for a 14-day trial of Enterprise Training below.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

Schedule Free Consultation

 

Do These 9 Things to Resolve an Employee Harassment Complaint

 

An employee harassment complaint can be resolved quickly if you take the right actions.
An employee harassment complaint can be resolved quickly if you take the right actions.

An employee harassment complaint is one of the most difficult issues you as a manager must know how to resolve.

One of your primary duties as a manager is to provide a safe work environment for your employees, which means reducing and eliminating all forms of harassment.

As the video below points out, “It’s your job as a manager to know what to do when an employee reports a harassment claim.”

In this post, we’ll help you understand exactly what you need to do to resolve an employee harassment complaint.

First, go ahead and watch the video below for a few quick tips.

Then, continue reading because we’ll give you the precise legal definition for harassment and show you how to handle an employee harassment complaint tactfully and effectively and how to prevent it altogether.

What is a Legally Legitimate Employee Harassment Complaint?

When it comes to harassment at work, you should know the precise legal definition for harassment so that you know what it is when it happens.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Harassment is:

“Unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.”

But that’s not what makes harassment illegal. Petty slights, annoyances, or mild isolated incidents aren’t illegal. What makes harassment illegal or unlawful is when:

“Enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.”

Here’s a list of offensive conduct that could create an intimidating, hostile, or abusive workplace:

  • Offensive jokes
  • Slurs
  • Epithets or name calling
  • Physical assaults or threats
  • Intimidation
  • Ridicule or mockery
  • Insults or put-downs
  • Offensive objects or pictures
  • Interference with work performance

If you receive an employee harassment complaint that meets these requirements, there are specific actions you should take immediately that we outline below.

How Should Managers Handle Employee Harassment Complaints?

When dealing with employee harassment complaints, you should aim to be methodical and detailed to avoid any legal repercussions and so you can effectively resolve the conflict and achieve justice for the potential victim(s).

With that in mind, here some of the things you need to do after receiving an employee harassment complaint:

Take the Complaint Seriously but Impartially

You should accept an employee harassment complaint as potentially true without passing judgment on whether it is true or not.

Your job is to assist in finding the truth, which means you have to remain objective until the investigation into the complaint has been concluded and sufficient evidence has been collected that proves or disproves the harassment complaint.

Treat the Person Who Reported the Complaint with Respect

As the video in our intro pointed out, “It’s not easy for an employee to come forward about harassment. It’s embarrassing and demeaning.”

Your job as a manager in this situation is to treat the complainant with respect and kindness. You should exhibit honest empathy and offer genuine comfort.

Delivering a harassment complaint and enduring the ensuing investigation into the complaint can leave an employee feeling vulnerable and afraid, which can lead to poor performance at work.

Ensure that the complainant feels comfortable with you, and do whatever you can to make them feel as comfortable as possible while at work.

Always Investigate the Complaint

If an employee harassment complaint matches the guidelines set forth by the EEOC then it must be investigated – even if the complainant insists on not pursuing an investigation, or the complaint was delivered to you informally.

If you don’t investigate the complaint, you could face legal repercussions if more complaints are filed later and law enforcement discovers you didn’t investigate the situation after the first complaint.

Even worse, you could allow a bully or predator to continue harassing more employees when you had a chance to stop him or her.

Keep The Harassment Complaint as Confidential as Possible

An employee harassment complaint can quickly polarize your office. Some workers will side with the complainant while others will side with the accused – creating unnecessary tension, conflict, and gossip.

Worse yet, if details regarding the complaint are leaked, damaging the reputation of the complainant or accused, you could be sued for defamation and liable for damages.

Follow Established Procedures

If your office has a handbook, it likely has procedures for handling a harassment complaint. It’s best to follow those procedures exactly as they’re laid out to avoid mistreating the complainant and to avoid taking illegal or negligent actions during an investigation.

If you don’t have a handbook that deals specifically with employee harassment, then consider creating one.

Never Investigate a Harassment Complaint on Your Own

You should never investigate an employee harassment complaint on your own. The first thing you should do after listening to an employee harassment complaint is to contact HR.

All investigations and proceedings should be led by an HR professional, an internal affairs officer, an outside manager trained in conducting internal investigations, or a law enforcement official.

Write Everything Down

It’s critical that you record every interaction with the complainant and accused harasser, along with anyone else you interview or interact with as part of the harassment investigation. Include dates, names, and documents in your notes.

Keeping a meticulous journal of the proceedings will protect you in case a complainant accuses you of malfeasance in an investigation, retaliation after an investigation, or that you ignored a complaint and never conducted an investigation at all.

Take Appropriate Action Against the Harasser

After you conclude the investigation with the help of HR and anyone else, decide if the accused harasser is guilty. If he is guilty, then discipline him accordingly.

You may need to terminate him if his actions were especially dangerous or egregious, such as stalking or threatening the complainant.

If the harasser wasn’t violent, but was mean or ignorant, as in the case of excessive office pranks or insensitive jokes, then counseling or a leave of absence may be appropriate.

Whatever you decide to do with the harasser do it quickly, document it, and encourage the rest of your employees to speak out when they see harassment.

Don’t Retaliate Against the Complainant

This should be obvious to you, but it is illegal to punish someone for complaining about harassment, even if the claim is unfounded and dismissed after a proper investigation.

This means you can’t do any of the following as a result of an employee harassment complaint:

  • Terminate a complainant
  • Discipline them
  • Cut their pay
  • Demote them
  • Change their shift or work hours
  • Change their job responsibilities
  • Isolate them
  • Exclude them from meetings or other office functions
  • Or threaten any of the above

Now, if you’re a sensible manager you wouldn’t do any of these things anyway.

However, to legally protect yourself, you should take extra precaution against performing any actions that would imply retaliation against a complainant – because again, they can sue you even if their complaint was unfounded.

How Can You Prevent Employee Harassment Complaints?

If you want to prevent employee harassment complaints you have to learn how to prevent employee harassment.

To do that, you’ll need high-quality training that can teach your employees how to spot and prevent harassment in the workplace as well as training that teaches you and the rest of management how to prevent and mitigate harassment in the workplace.

But you probably don’t have the time nor the budget to afford a lengthy seminar or speaker.

What you need is on-demand training you can watch from any device, anywhere for quick and easy learning.

Where can you find high-quality employee harassment training that you can access immediately with nothing more than an internet connection?

Right here at Enterprise Training.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

Schedule Free Consultation

 

10 Important Government Facilities Management Trends in 2018

The Government facilities management trends in 2018 will encourage new technologies and responsibilities for FMs
The Government facilities management trends in 2018 will encourage new technologies and responsibilities for FMs

From the public sector to the private, facilities managers roles and responsibilities are changing.

It used to be about simple building maintenance.

Now it’s about construction planning, energy management, and workforce efficiency.

We’ll help you navigate the changing face of facilities management by going over 7 Government facilities management trends in 2018.

But before we do, let’s clearly define facilities management.

What is Facilities Management?

According to the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), facilities management is:

A profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality of the built environment by integrating people, place, process, and technology.

A facilities manager (FM) is responsible for making sure the building and everything in it (people and objects) function properly and harmoniously.

IFMA has laid out 11 core competencies that every facilities manager should acquire:

  1. Communications – Management and oversight of the development and use of the facility communications plan
  2. Quality – Development and management of the creation and application of standards for the facility organization
  3. Technology – Ability to plan, direct and manage/oversee facility management business and operational technologies
  4. Operations and Maintenance –  Ability to assess and manage the conditions and operations of the facility
  5. Human Factors – Development and implementation of practices that support the performance and goals of the entire organization
  6. Finance and Business – Management and oversight of the financial management of the facility organization
  7. Emergency Planning and Business Continuity – Plan, manage and support the entire organization’s emergency preparedness program
  8. Leadership and Strategy – Ability to lead the facility organization, plan strategically, and assess the services needed to meet organizational requirements
  9. Real Estate and Property Management –  Ability to develop and implement the real estate master plan
  10. Project Management – Ability to plan and oversee projects
  11. Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability – Ability to plan, manage and support the entire organization’s commitment to protecting the environment

With these skills, a facilities manager can ensure the successful operation of the building and everything in it.

Beyond these skills, there are new tools and methods for facilities management that are being developed every year.

Below, you’ll find the newest emerging facilities management trends in 2018 for the public sector (although they apply to the private sector as well).

Government Facilities Management Trends in 2018

Increased Demand for Outsourcing

In 2013, over half of facilities management was outsourced in North America, according to Global Industry Analysts, Inc.

This is attributed to the cost-benefit of outsourcing – it’s simply cheaper to hire an outside facilities manager than to train one in-house.

If you’re on a tight budget, consider outsourcing as a cost-effective solution to the rising cost of in-house managers.

The Internet of Things is More Important Than Ever

The Internet of Things (IoT) is taking over the world, and facilities management is not exempt from its conquest.

Facilities managers have LiFi, smart meters, and cloud-based HVAC systems at their disposal to totally control the energy output of their buildings.

IoT is set to be one of those Government facilities management trends that will continue to be relevant in the years to come, so pay close attention to this one.

More Regulations Requiring the Implementation of “Green Technology”

47 states and a few territories and cities use the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) as a model for operating their facilities. It’s adopted in accordance with the regions Governmental codes, but sets a standard by which regions can regulate effective facilities managers.

The 2018 IECC will focus much more on energy-efficient technologies and systems – emphasizing ease of use and conservation.

This facilities management trend towards greener technology means that FMs will be required to track their buildings energy inefficiencies, and consider newer, better upgrades and installations for less costly energy emissions.

Increased Use of Building Information Modeling

Since 2003, when the U.S. General Services Administration first rolled out the 3D and 4D Building Information Modeling (BIM) program, it’s become even more commonplace.

BIM expands the role of facilities managers from maintenance to design and construction. If your facilities managers aren’t using this in your Government buildings yet, they need to start.

Increased Mobility of Workers and Managers

Another technology-driven facilities management trend is the ability of FMs to manage assets and collaborate with coworkers from anywhere at anytime.

With the rise of rugged devices such as thermal imaging cameras and tracking devices, there’s no longer an excuse to operate remote buildings without connectivity.

Location-based services (LBS) also help evolve the role of FMs. Through LBS, FMs can get up-to-date inventory data on supplies for multiple sites and facilitate ordering.

Increased Need for Government Leadership Development and Government Succession Planning

According to Jones Lange LaSalle, the average age of facilities managers is 49, while the general working population average mean age is 43.

Here’s the worst part:

Less than 1% of millennials are planning a career in facilities management.

This means facilities managers are creeping toward retirement and no one will fill their positions.

To counteract this trend, you should increase your Government leadership development and implement a strong Government succession plan.

Transformed Work Environment for Increased Productivity

Facilities managers are now expected to keep up with workplace design trends.

Workplace design plays a pivotal role in attracting and maintaining millennial employees, and both Governments and corporations have a vested interest in keeping their employees as long as possible.

From open-seated areas to quiet spaces to cafes, FMs will be tasked with creating unique spaces that increase employee engagement and productivity.

Integrated Systems for Greater FM Productivity

2018 will be the year of productivity, both for how buildings are designed and for how facilities managers perform their job.

Instead of separate tools and methods for executing tasks like estimating, bidding, or reporting, FM’s will be expected to use powerful software that delivers real-time, data-driven insights.

Big Data Driving Facilities Management

As in most other industries, big data is necessary for driving measurable improvements.

Collecting and analyzing data can help facilities managers detect future power outages and equipment failure.

It can also help FM’s achieve greater energy efficiency by detecting and mapping energy consumption patterns and wasteful practices or equipment.

The more information an FM has about their building the performance of the technology installed in the building, the better decisions the FM can make to decrease costs and improve performance.

Operational Excellence is More Important Than Ever

Facilities managers have to achieve operational excellence in 2018 and beyond or risk losing millions of dollar.

According to the CBRE Institute, there are 3 ways FM’s can drive operational excellence:

  • Efficient cost management and value creation: accomplished through cost reductions, cost avoidance, and risk management initiatives.
  • Maintaining high occupant and client satisfaction: accomplished by managing occupancy, providing safe and functional work environments and providing ap­propriate property or campus amenities.
  • Proactively stewarding property and infrastructure: accomplished through adopting disciplined approach­es to corrective maintenance, preventative maintenance, and customer requests.

Government Facilities Management Requires Cutting-Edge Training

If you’re a budding Government facilities manager or in charge of developing facilities managers, then you know that training is essential.

All Government FMs must be Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act (FBPTA) compliant.

We can help you do that.

From the basics of facilities management to sustainable energy efficiency, we provide authorized training to help you or your employees become FBPTA trained.

We’ll even provide LEED certification and completion certificates.

If you want to keep up with Government facilities management trends, then check out Enterprise Training below.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

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6 Effective Strategies for Managing Remote Employees

 

You can start managing remote employees effectively by using a few different tactics and strategies
You can start managing remote employees effectively by using a few different tactics and strategies

Employees regularly working at home has grown by 115% since 2005, resulting in 3.7 million employees (2.8% of the workforce) now working from home at least half the time.

These statistics come from Global Workplace Analytics, and they showcase the trend of companies allowing or encouraging employees to work remotely.

Government agencies are also riding the remote employee trend.

According to the United States Office of Personnel Management, the number of eligible teleworkers in the Federal Government has increased from 29% in 2012 to 46% in 2015.

So how do managers effectively manage remote employees?

As you might know (or have experienced), managing remote employees requires different tactics and strategies than what you commonly use to manage office workers.

For that reason, we have a video for you below that details ways to manage a virtual team effectively.

The main point of the video is this:

“The key to making those kinds of situations work [managing remote employees] is…clarity of what good performance looks like. The clearer you are on what good looks like, the easier it is to evaluate.”

You can hear all of the points made about managing a virtual team by watching the video below.

After that, we’ll give you 6 tips for better managing remote employees.

Best Practices for Managing Remote Employees

There are many things you can do as a manager to help your remote employees improve their productivity, stay connected to their team, and deliver great work on time.

Here are 6 best practices for managing remote employees:

Build Real Relationships with Your Employees

In general, if you want your employees to respect you and respond to your requests, then you have to establish rapport and build a genuine relationship with them.

This will be the foundation for working through both job-related and personal problems with employees.

Strong relationships also protect you from unwarranted condemnation from employees if you make a mistake.

And a strong relationship with your remote employees will make them more likely to motivate themselves and deliver what you ask of them because they’ll no longer just care about doing their work to get paid, they’ll want to do their work to please you, too.

Use Video as Often as Possible When Communicating Remotely

Similar to building solid relationships with your employees, video communication helps you connect on a more emotional level when conducting meetings remotely.

Since over half of human communication is nonverbal, you’ll need a better medium than email to deliver your message.

Video calls help you be more persuasive, but they also help you judge your employees’ reactions to tasks given, and help you understand your employees’ feelings about their jobs, and gives you insight into any issues your employees might be dealing with.

All those nuances are lost through text.

Video helps you maintain a strong relationship with your employees, and helps you detect and fix any problems quickly before they get worse.

Schedule Meetings That Accommodate Every Employees’ Time Zone

If you have quite a few remote workers, chances are they don’t all live in the same time zone, which presents a serious scheduling issue:

One or more of your employees will be meeting early or late in the day, or at some other inconvenient time to make the meeting work for everyone else.

Managing remote employees is all about making that faraway person still feel appreciated and part of your team.

To maintain that kind of relationship, you should try to schedule meetings that work for that one person or group of people who always sacrifice their time to meet someone else’s requirements.

This proves to your remote employees that you value their time and you’re willing to work in their best interest – which compels them to do the same for you.

Set Clear Expectations

As the video in our intro pointed out, the key to managing remote employees is “clarity of what good performance looks like.”

Remote employees have more freedom, which means they need more structure and clearer targets to stay on track.

Make sure you create individual development plan goals for every new and existing employee and regularly review those goals with your employees, especially the ones working remotely.

Furthermore, every employee should know their daily and weekly tasks and projects.

By making your expectations clear, and precisely defining your employees’ work requirements, you’ll avoid confusion and incomplete tasks.

Focus on Completed Tasks, Not Activities

One other expectation you should set with your remote employees (and yourself) is to focus on completed tasks (deliverables), not activities.

You can’t monitor your remote employees’ behavior, so you have to focus on the one thing you can monitor: what they produce.

Let them know that all you want is the correct finished product – which requires setting clear expectations – and that they can use any methods to get the job done in the way that works best for them.

This can actually increase employee engagement by allowing them the freedom to be creative and inventive. They may even create better work processes that they can share with other members of your team.

Encourage Continuous Learning

Building a culture of continuous learning is essential for agencies to continually improve their processes and develop skilled employees.

But remote employees usually can’t attend in-house training or instructor-led seminars – it’s often too expensive to fly them out for just a one or two-day event.

But the cost of eLearning changes that.

With eLearning, your remote employees can educate themselves on essential subjects and topics in their home office or hotel room.

This type of education is often superior to long-form training because it uses a method of education known as microlearning.

Microlearning uses quick, easy-to-consume lessons instead of extended learning sessions – resulting in learners absorbing the information faster and retaining it longer.

The easiest way to provide eLearning opportunities to your employees is to find a proven platform that teaches a multitude of courses across a range of subjects.

And since you’re a Government agency, it would be helpful if the platform you choose specializes in teaching and training Government employees on both the Federal and State level.

Where will you find such a platform?

Right here at Enterprise Training.

Take Care of Your Remote Employees’ Education with eLearning

We provide courses for remote employees teaching them how to communicate effectively when telecommuting and how to maximize their productivity.

But we also provide courses for all types of jobs they may be performing, from IT training for IT exam preparation to project management training for getting things done efficiently and on time.

Whatever you need to run a high-functioning agency and manage remote employees, we have it ready for you.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

Schedule Free Consultation

 

17 Benefits of Agile Project Management

The benefits of agile project management apply to software and non-software pursuits
The benefits of agile project management apply to software and non-software pursuits

 

Government agencies need to respond to policy changes and the needs of the public quickly.

To do that, they need a method for completing projects efficiently.

Traditional project management methods like waterfall take a long time to plan and execute –  resulting in projects being finished past the deadline or long after a policy change has taken effect.

Agile project management, on the other hand, encourages you to swiftly gather the materials you need, execute a part of your plan, and build on the feedback you collect in the process.

This guarantees that the final product or service you produce will serve the people it’s supposed to serve more effectively.

There are many more benefits of agile project management, and we’ll take a look at those a little later in this post.

First, let’s define agile project management and look at its guiding principles.

What is Agile Project Management?

Agile project management was created by a group of software developers in 2001 with the release of their manifesto.

The agile framework focuses on continuous improvement, flexibility, input of the team, and the delivery of high-quality results.

Unlike other project management methods which work in a linear, sequential manner toward the final product, agile project management creates a prototype, tests it, and uses feedback to iterate that process until a final product is ready to be launched.

Instead of breaking up the process of planning, researching, building, testing, etc. into separate parts, agile project management does it all at once so project managers and developers can judge the progress and quality of their product faster and more effectively.

To help you understand the original intent and benefits of agile project management, here are its 12 principles as outlined in the manifesto:

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

What are the Benefits of Agile Project Management for Government Agencies?

While the benefits of agile project management were intended for software developers, they do extend to non-software pursuits.

According to PM World Journal Vol. V, Issue VIII Benefits of Agile Project Management in a Non-Software Development Context – A Literature Review, there are many benefits of agile project management for organizations doing work outside of software.

The author of the article reviewed 21 case studies and found 17 reported benefits. Here are all 17 benefits the researchers found, listed from the most cited benefit at the top to least cited benefit at the bottom:

  1. Better collaboration in the team
  2. Increased customer interaction
  3. Increased productivity and speed
  4. Increased flexibility and the ability to cope with change
  5. And a better understanding of goals, tasks, and requirements
  6. Increased transparency and visibility
  7. Increased quality
  8. Customer-centered value-add priority process
  9. Increased knowledge sharing
  10. Increased cross-organizational collaboration
  11. Better focus
  12. Impediment removal process
  13. Increased individual autonomy
  14. Decreased customer complaints
  15. Increased motivation
  16. Clear sense of progress
  17. Improved resource allocation

This list should give you a clear idea of what you can expect if you use the agile project management framework in your agency.

Which may leave you wondering, “how do I implement agile project management?”

We answer that question below.

How to Implement Agile Project Management in Your Agency

Reading the Agile Manifesto will give you the philosophy of agile project management, but how do you turn those principles into actionable practices?

By learning the method from an organization that actively teaches it to Government agencies.

No expensive speakers or weekend seminars required – you can learn the agile method in your office right now.

The cost of eLearning has made it easy for new managers and experienced managers alike to learn and apply tactics and strategies for running a better office and getting more done. All you need is a computer and an internet connection.

If you’re interested in applying agile project management in your agency, we provide a full suite of project management courses such as:

  • Agile Principles, Methodologies, and Mindset
  • Agile Project Management Fundamentals
  • And (for the software developers out there), Managing Agile Software Development

To get started, just click the link below.

Experience the proven, easy-to-use, and cost-effective benefits of online training by scheduling your free online training consultation today!

Schedule Free Consultation

What New Managers Need to Know: 5 Tips for Success from Day One

Learn what new managers need to know to be successful in your new position.
Learn what new managers need to know to be successful in your new position.

Today, we’re going to tell you what new managers need to know.

We’ll start with this:

“[Becoming a manager] requires fundamental shifts in the way you relate to the people you’re working with.”

That quote comes from the video below which outlines a few major mindset and behavioral shifts you have to make to be a great manager.

After you watch the video, we’ll expand on it by giving you 5 additional tips for succeeding as a new manager.

What New Managers Need to Know

60% of new managers will “underperform” in their first 2 years, according to research conducted by CEB (now Gartner).

By “underperform,” they mean 60% of new managers “drive performance gaps and employee turnover across the entire frontline.”

What new managers need to know, as the video above points out, is that “you’re no longer a doer, you’re helping other people do.”

If you help them do well, then you can prevent falling into that 60% category, and your employees won’t leave their jobs, and their performance will improve instead of decline.

To help people do well, you’re going to need to change how you interact, coach, and deal with your employees.

Here are 5 tips to get you started:

1) Help Your Employees Accomplish Their Tasks

It can’t be stressed enough:

Management is not about you. It’s about everyone else.

Your job is to provide the coaching, direction, assistance, resources, and encouragement that your employees need and crave.

If your team fails, that means you’ve failed.

This is a heavy burden to bear, but if you can bear it, you’ll earn the trust, respect, and productivity of your employees that so many new managers will never get.

2) Don’t Be “Friends” with Employees, Be Friendly

You used to work side by side with the people you’re now managing. You used to be peers, and now you’re their superior.

That’s tough.

You don’t have to sever ties with your existing friends, but you should be extremely careful about making new friends with subordinates.

Since being a manager means you have to hold people responsible for their actions, you’re going to have to have difficult conversations with old friends and new employees who are doing the wrong things.

This can be hard to do if they look at you like you’re one of them.

What new managers need to know is that you can be friendly, but you have to be confident and steadfast too.

Let your employees (and friends) know you’re a mentor and confidant but that you’re not afraid of having serious discussions about their performance and behavior in the workplace.

3) Make Confident Decisions

Managers often fail because they fail to act.

They wait until they know everything they’re supposed to know. Or, they wait until their superior tells them what to do (But isn’t that why you’re a manager?).

Stop thinking and dreading about the “right thing to do” and start making confident decisions.

Fail forward.

The more you take charge (while also taking your employees’ wants and needs into consideration), the more respect you’ll earn from your team.

4) Build on What Was Created Before You – Don’t Tear It Down

The caveat to making confident decisions is to resist the temptation to change everything the previous manager put into place.

Keep in mind that the people on your team helped the previous manager create the current policies. If you start tearing them down to create anew, you’ll reduce your employees’ trust in you.

Instead, ask your employees what they currently like and dislike about workplace policies. Ask them what they want to change or keep.

Getting your employees involved will increase employee engagement and productivity. Plus, you’ll earn their respect and build your credibility as a manager who listens to his employees and takes action on what they say.

5) Review And/Or Create Individual Development Plan Goals with Each Employee

According to Gallup, “clarity of expectations is perhaps the most basic of employee needs and is vital to performance. Great managers don’t just tell employees what’s expected of them and leave it at that; instead, they frequently talk with employees about their responsibilities and progress.”

To clarify expectations with your employees, you should sit down with each one and create or improve their individual development plan goals.

This will help you understand their motivations and aspirations, and will let them know that you have their back and that you care about their success at work.

Bonus Tip: Seek out as Much Training on Management as You Can

The more you learn, the better you’ll manage.

What new managers need to know is that continuous learning, both for themselves and their employees, is the key to success in any field.

Seek out all the tools, resources, and mentors that will help you upgrade your knowledge and refine your skills.

While formal training is important and essential, it’s not always cost-effective or convenient – which makes the cost of Elearning look even better.

But it’s not just cost that makes Elearning so beneficial; it’s also the fact that it uses microlearning to enhance your retention of what you learned.

Even more than that, Elearning programs can be consumed on-demand so you can learn wherever, whenever.

The only problem is, where will you find ready-made Elearning programs for new managers?

Right here at Enterprise Training Solutions.

Discover What New Managers Need to Know Today

We have 12 videos and courses on the essentials of being a new manager that you can watch and apply right now. From living up to your roles and expectations to handling common challenges, our courses will teach you how to tackle a new management position with poise and purpose.

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