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Human Resources
Nov 4, 2019

Avoiding HR Nightmares: Train Your Supervisors

Sponsored Content provided by Lisa Leath - SHRM-SCP, President, Leath HR Group

Budget season is upon us. I’d like to encourage my fellow business owners to add training dollars for supervisors into next year’s budget. Here’s why.

Consider that supervisors are the face of your company to employees. They represent the brand, the CEO, the broader leadership team and the organization as a whole to team members on the front line. Given the fact that your people are the most expensive assets you have at the company, it benefits the bottom line to ensure supervisors who lead and manage people are trained to actually know what they’re doing! For your 2020 budget, consider training supervisors on three issues: the law, company policies that support your culture and how to be a better leader.

The law.  Many of our clients have the best intentions when it comes to interviewing, promoting, rewarding and managing employees. However, as supervisors, they don’t fully understand parameters with regards to employment law. Ignorance is not bliss in Uncle Sam’s eyes, when it comes to understanding sexual harassment, discrimination (think disability, gender, age, national origin/language) from hire to retire. According to EEOC public records, employers across industries paid out ~$11,000,000 in settlements in one month - October, 2019! It would be reasonable to assume that employers paid out more than that in other out-of-court settlements. In most cases, a simple training program could have prevented bad behavior and avoided a complete HR nightmare – lawsuits, headaches, remedial training, and bad PR that impacts reputation with clients and employees, future or current.

Company policies that support your culture.  The CEO of McDonald’s just got fired for having a consensual relationship with an employee, which the board considered to be a terminable offense due to a lapse in judgement. Does McDonald’s have a fraternization policy and did the CEO blatantly ignore it? Or was the CEO of this conglomeration himself unaware of the policy? What policies do you have and do your supervisors understand the intent within each policy? Subsequently, do supervisors at your company know what their roles are to support policies and mitigate liability on behalf of the company? Supervisors should be adept at reading the handbook and applying policies to situations that are often grey. If you question their ability to do so, it’s probably time to put together a training program that focuses on HR 101 – company policies that support your mission and culture. 

How to be a better leader.  Leadership training programs are usually the first training dollars to be cut from a budget. They’re seen as non-revenue generating to most CFOs but this year, consider investing more instead of less in this bucket. IBM and Workhuman created an Employee Experience Index that directly correlates management behaviors to drive outcomes that business owners and CFOs care about – work performance, discretionary effort and retention. These three things can be quantified into dollars.  Start with a baseline, train your supervisors to be better leaders, then look at the results. You’ll be pleasantly surprised on the outcomes and return on the investment, year over year.

This budget season, invest in your training budget for supervisors. In doing so, you will drive business outcomes and avoid costly HR nightmares. If you need help, Leath HR Group is a great resource.

Lisa Leath, SHRM-SCP is the President of Leath HR Group. She is a strategic HR leader with clients across industries, from start-ups to $100M+ in annual revenue. Before starting the business in 2017, she was VP, Human Resources at an international pharmaceutical organization with 7 global locations. Prior to that, she spent 8 years with a Fortune 300 manufacturing company at multiple plants in Employee Relations and HR leadership roles. Her first job out of Penn State was in NYC, where she worked in HR at a large intellectual property law firm. No matter the business or industry, the approach to her career has remained consistent – stay on the cutting edge of benchmarked best practices, then tailor “next practice” HR solutions to specific industries and situations. She has a reputation for building great processes and strategic direction for demanding clients. Lisa is a Senior Certified Professional through the Society of Human Resource Management. 

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