Hybrid work exhaustion is making flexibility look foolish

Pen notebook and crumpled with handwritten note TOXIC PRODUCTIVITY, means desire for productivity at all times, inability to stop working and take adequate time to rest and recharge

During the pandemic, offices shut down and employees were forced into remote work life. For some, this was a welcomed change. Many employees had been requesting remote work options for years leading up to the pandemic. For others, it was a tough transition away from their normal office routines.

For leadership, the sudden and rapid shift required quick adaptations and policy changes. New technology had to be sourced, purchased and implemented, and teams had to figure out a new cadence in a remote work setting.

Now, as things return back to normal, many companies are requesting that their employees return to the office. However, for much of the workforce, this invitation back to the office hasn’t been welcomed. According to Gallup’s 2021 State of the Workforce study, 91% of employees who were able to work remotely due to the pandemic wish to continue doing so.

To meet employees in the middle, some companies have turned to an alternative solution—hybrid work. Hybrid work mixes remote work and in-office work together to, theoretically, provide ultimate flexibility.

However, hybrid work is not without flaws, and, for many, hybrid work has actually turned out to be more exhausting than in-person or remote work on its own. In fact, 80% of human resources executives report that their hybrid systems are actually exhausting for employees. Take a look at what can make or break the success of hybrid work for your business.

Why hybrid work can lead to exhaustion

Hybrid work sounds like the ideal blend between in-person and remote work. This style of work allows employees to continue to work from home at certain times while returning to work in the office part-time.

Unfortunately, while it sounds all very nice in theory, hybrid work can quickly lead to exhaustion and even burnout for varied reasons. The following are all reasons why hybrid work might not be as successful for your company as you had hoped:

1. Continually working in a state of flux

In some situations, hybrid work leaves employees exhausted from working in a continual state of flux. Employees might need to undock and bring home laptops and other workstation items each time they leave the office. Then, they need to set up their workstation at home, only to tear it all down and try to remember to bring along important components to the office the next day.

This can be an annoying extra task and may lead to inefficiency. Employees are continually starting and stopping what they are doing as well as wasting copious amounts of time setting up and tearing down workspaces.

Not only that, but daily routines don’t stay the same. This leads to a lack of consistency in daily life, which can be frustrating and tiring.

2. Having unclear expectations

One of the number one reasons why employees get burned out by hybrid work is because of unclear expectations. When hybrid work is rolled out without clear policies and guidelines in place, it can leave employees confused. This becomes a particularly messy situation when different managers give different answers to the same question.

If employees aren’t sure when they are supposed to work from home and when they are expected in the office, or what they are expected to accomplish in both settings, it can lead to difficult situations where employees fail to meet an expectation of which they weren’t aware in the first place.

3. Feeling disconnected from coworkers and the company

Moving between in-office and at-home work can leave employees feeling more disconnected than ever from their companies and coworkers. Communication can quickly break down, and employees might no longer spend as much time collaborating with one another as before.

This is particularly problematic when it is unclear what channels should be used for communication. Some people might be having conversations directly with each other in the office, while others are using digital channels to talk. Important information can quickly be lost in the mix, and key players can be left out of decision-making processes.

This can also create an imbalance in mentorship and networking. Those who are in the office more frequently might get more face-time with the boss. Those who spend more time at home might begin to feel disconnected and left out.

4. Being frustrated by desk options

When everyone worked in-office, employees usually had their own dedicated workspaces. Every day, they arrived at the same desks and the same setups. This made it easy to quickly start the day.

In some cases, hybrid work involves a rotating desk or open-space plan. Employees must find a desk when they arrive or sign up through an online platform to request a specific space. This can be irritating when there is a lack of availability. No one wants to show up to the office only to fight for a spot to sit down and work.

How to make hybrid work successful

Hybrid work can be exhausting, however, it doesn’t have to be. There are ways in which leadership can create a successful hybrid work environment.

1. Ask employees what they want

Start by surveying your employees to determine whether or not hybrid solutions are the right fit for your team. If employees indicate an interest in hybrid work, dig deep into what they believe that will look like. This can help you align expectations and prevent miscommunication early in the process.

2. Establish clear policies

In order to balance what your employees want and what the business needs, take the time to establish and communicate clear policies to every team member. Items you should cover in your hybrid work policies include:

  • Expectations around scheduling. Will employees set their own hybrid schedules? Will their managers dictate when they show up? Are there specific requirements that have to be met? Make sure your policy details this information clearly.
  • How communication should take place. With people working both in-office and from home, where should teams go to talk about projects? If someone has a conversation in the office, how should that information be translated to remote employees?
  • Whom the policies apply to and why. You might not be able to offer the same remote flexibility to every department and team. If you are going to be operating with multiple styles of work, make sure everyone understands where they fall in relation to expectations.

3. Find the right technology for your team

It is incredibly important to keep information and communication standardized and synchronized. Make sure that you have the right technology in place for both in-person and remote employees to be successful. This should allow for collaboration that is seamless from any location and should make project management easier for blended teams.

4. Create culture in creative ways

Hybrid work doesn’t need to result in a disconnected workforce. In fact, there are companies that have operated as fully remote from day one. These companies are using creative ideas to instill company culture and connection.

For hybrid work, consider hosting an in-person event once a month where everyone comes to the office on the same day. Schedule face-time with remote employees and consider a virtual post-work event. Make sure that during onboarding, employees have the chance to connect with coworkers and that company values are clearly defined and reinforced.

Hybrid work holds a lot of promise. However, for many employees, a poorly executed hybrid style of work is more exhausting than remote or in-person options. Pay attention to your own workforce and look for ways to create a better approach.

Termination Letter Writing (With Examples and Template)

Emploinment termination letter. Unfair dismissal concept.

When you are in charge of managing employees, whether directly or through a human resources role, there may come a point in time when you need to terminate an employee. While terminating an employee is rarely an enjoyable task, a properly composed termination letter can make the process much smoother.

One key document during the process is a termination letter. An employee termination letter serves as an official termination notice. It is a simple correspondence that outlines important information regarding the end of an employee’s time with your business.

In this guide, we’ll help you learn everything you need to know about writing an employee termination letter, along with termination letter examples and samples.

What Is a Letter of Termination of Employment?

A letter of termination of employment, frequently called a termination notice or termination letter, is an official correspondence used to document and explain the end of a worker’s employment with an organization. Companies will use these letters to explain to an employee the details surrounding their termination, including key information such as when their last day of work will be and when they can expect to receive their last paycheck.

There are two ways an employee might be terminated—voluntarily or involuntarily. Voluntary termination occurs when an employee resigns, quits, or completes a contract. An involuntary termination takes place when a business terminates a person’s employment with or without cause.

When Should You Provide a Letter of Termination?

You should provide a letter of termination to an employee immediately after informing them of their end of employment. If you operate in the state of Arizona, California, Illinois, or New Jersey, a termination letter to employee is a legally required document. While you might not be legally required to provide this letter to employees in other states, it is still a business best practice. Ideally, providing this document in a timely manner will allow an employee the most time possible to find a new job.

Termination Letter Template

If you are tasked with writing a termination letter, you can use the following termination letter template to help you get started. For more inspiration, check out the termination letter examples below as well.


Dear [Employee’s Name],

This letter is to inform you that your time of employment with [Company Name] is terminated effective [date of termination] due to [factual reasons for termination].

[Insert any applicable documentation or details if termination is with cause]

Your final paycheck will be provided to you on [date] and will include [compensation such as unused leave].

Your health care benefits will continue through [date].

Please return the following company property to Human Resources immediately:

[Property to be returned]

If you have any further questions, please contact me at [phone number] or [email].



[Job Title]

Termination Letter Examples

If you need help writing a termination letter, use the following examples as a showcase of how to include the right amount of details in your letter. Be sure when using a template or example to replace all copy with relevant information.

Termination Letter Example 1: Layoffs

September 12, 2022

Dear Stanley Meris,

Over the past two years, COVID has taken a toll on the profits of ABC Edge Agency. As we look forward, we are forced to reassess our budgets and spending in order to mitigate losses. In restructuring our company, we have determined the best course of action is to eliminate 200 positions at the company. I regret to inform you that we will remove your position as customer service representative as of September 13, 2022.

Your final paycheck will be provided to you on September 13 and will include all unused leave. Your healthcare benefits will continue through September 30, 2022.

Please return the following company property to Human Resources before your last day with the company:

  • Cell phone
  • Laptop
  • Headset

If you have any further questions, please contact me at 777.555.3333 or [email protected].

Thank you for your hard work over the past three years.


Karen Filips

CEO, ABC Edge Agency

Termination Letter Example 2: With Cause

September 12, 2022

Dear Brandie Waters,

This letter confirms our conversation today, informing you that your employment with ABC Retail is terminated effective immediately. You have been terminated for the following reasons:

  • On August 10, you received notice of a no call no show violation.
  • On August 23, you received a second notice of a no call no show violation.
  • On September 1, you were put on an improvement plan (see attached signed document).
  • On September 9, you receive a third notice of a no call no show violation, putting you in violation of your improvement plan.

Your final paycheck will be provided to you on September 13. Your health insurance benefits will continue through September 30.

You must return the following ABC Retail property to human resources immediately:

  • 5 Employee Polos
  • 1 Headset
  • 1 Radio

Should you have further questions, please contact me directly at 888.999.2222 or by email at [email protected].


Phylis Wall

District Manager of ABC Retail

Termination Letter Best Practices

When terminating an employee, use the following best practices to help guide the process.

  • Work with a lawyer: Depending on where your company is located, you may need to adhere to specific laws when writing a termination letter. To ensure that you obey all termination of employment laws, consult with a lawyer before you begin the process.
  • Have a conversation first: Before you hand the termination of employment letter to a worker, have a conversation with the employee one-on-one. Let the employee know about their termination prior to providing them with the document.
  • Don’t get personal: While you must include details explaining the reason for terminating an employee in your termination letter, make sure you keep it professional. Even if you struggled with an employee’s behavior or attitude, a termination letter is not an appropriate place to include a personal rant. Doing so is not professional, and it can put you and your organization at risk of a lawsuit.
  • Be clear and concise: In some cases, providing a notice of termination to an employee can be difficult. You might be tempted to try to soften the blow by including extra information in your letter. However, a termination letter should be kept short and to the point. This letter should only contain pertinent information about an employee’s termination, not an expression of your sadness or remorse.

To learn more about how to handle employee hiring and termination, stay tuned to our employer insights center, where you’ll find helpful guides and articles specifically designed for the modern employer.

Work Schedules for Employees: A Supervisor’s Guide

Calendar software showing busy schedule of manager with many meetings, tasks and appointments during the week, time management organization at work concept, business person using agenda on computer

Developing work schedules for employees is necessary for business efficiency and productivity. There are numerous methods a manager can use to schedule employees and numerous work schedule options available that work for various business needs and policies.

Below we offer a guide to support you in evaluating the types of work schedules available to determine which work best for your department or organization.

What Are Work Schedules?

The determined times and days of the week that an employee is to work are referred to as their work schedule. Work schedules impact an employee’s payment, job responsibilities, and benefits eligibility. Federal, state, and local laws can also impact work schedules.

Why Are Employee Work Schedules Needed?

Improves efficiency. Knowing when employees are scheduled to work reduces time spent attempting to figure out where employees are and making adjustments, so you can focus on productivity.

Ensures legal compliance. There are numerous labor and employment laws to abide by, and effectively scheduling employees makes it easier to abide by them and assess compliance.

Provides consistency. It is easier to manage employees when you know when and where they are, allowing you to delegate more effectively and do your job better as a manager, too.

Helps calculate labor costs. Proper scheduling practices help to ensure you don’t over- or under-schedule staff to meet your demands, which means you don’t overspend or come up shorthanded.

Improves customer and client satisfaction. Customers and clients like to know they’ll be well taken care of and when they can expect to reach someone within your organization or at your call center, and proper scheduling of employees allows you to schedule employees based on skill sets to meet these needs.

10 Employee Work Schedule Options (with Examples)

Here are 10 different types of work schedules with examples.

Full-Time Schedules

Full-time work schedules are those that meet the hours defined as full-time by the company. In many instances, full-time employees work for the same number of hours and days each week. Employees with full-time schedules can be paid hourly or based on a salary, depending on their job classification. Most full-time employees are eligible for employer-sponsored benefits.

Example: A standard full-time schedule is working five eight-hour days, like 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an hour for lunch, Monday through Friday.

Part-Time Schedules

Part-time work schedules are those where the employee works less than what’s considered full-time in a given week at a company. Since most organizations consider 40 hours a full-time work week, part-time work would be any regularly scheduled hours that fall under 40 hours per week. A part-time employee’s schedule sometimes changes from week to week, as well.

Example: An employee who works Monday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. would work five five-hour days, or 25 hours per week, which equates to part-time.

Fixed Schedules

With a fixed schedule, the employee works the exact same days and hours from week to week, which is typically predetermined before employment commences. Fixed schedules often stay the same throughout one’s employment with an organization, and both part-time and full-time schedules can be fixed work schedules.

Example: A part-time fixed schedule could be Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. weekly, and a full-time fixed schedule could be Tuesday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with 30 minutes for lunch each week.

Flexible Schedules

Flexible schedules operate similarly to fixed schedules, with some flexibility built in. The key difference is the flexibility to start and end at different times of the day, as long as the total number of weekly hours is met. Some employers require workers to be on-site or working during core business hours with the flexibility to alter their start and end times outside of those hours. Some companies might allow their employees to work some hours in the office and the rest remotely or at home.

Example: A full-time, flexible schedule requires employees to work 40 hours per week and be at work Monday through Friday between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., with the option to arrive between 7:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and leave between 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Split Shifts

A split shift schedule is where an employee works one part of their shift, clocks out, and then clocks back in to work the second part of their shift. Split shifts are common in the service, hospitality, and transportation industries.

Example: A server clocking in for their lunch shift, then clocking out for a few hours, and then clocking back in to help with the busy dinner rush would be considered a split shift schedule.

Rotating Shift Work Schedules

With rotating shifts, workers go in for a series of night and day shifts. Industries that operate 24/7, like some hospitality businesses and the healthcare industry, typically have shift workers.

Example: A nurse that is scheduled to work three night shifts, has two days off, and is then scheduled to work three day shifts, would be considered to have a shift work schedule.

On-Call Work

On-call schedules are those where employees are on-call to work if needed outside of their standard shifts. Employees are typically on-call for late evening or very early morning hours outside of their normal working hours. These types of schedules typically rotate between employees.

Example: Someone being available to work if called in from Monday through Thursday from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. once a month.

Compressed Work Week

A compressed work week schedule means the employee works a standard number of hours in fewer days. In other words, if your standard work week is 40 hours over five days, the individual would work 40 hours in fewer days.

Example: A common compressed schedule is a 4 X 10, or four ten-hour days. Another common example is 4 X 9 and 1/2 day Fridays, which equates to four nine-hour days and one four-hour day, with the standard being that the half day, or four-hour day, falls on Friday.

Seasonal Employment Schedules

As the name implies, seasonal schedules are based on various seasons of the year and are temporary positions. Seasonal work can be part-time or full-time for the duration of a specific season, such as Christmas, wintertime for ski resorts, or the time leading up to the Fourth of July to help sell fireworks. Seasonal work is common for businesses that rely on the weather to offer certain services, like white water rafting, hiking, swimming, and skiing, and in retail settings that need additional staff for busier times of the year, like around the holidays.

Example: A retail store that hires extra cashiers from October through to the end of December to support the busy holiday season would be offering seasonal employment.

Freelance Work Schedules

A freelancer is hired to do specific work for an individual or business, though they are not considered employees of the organization. In some instances, a freelancer’s schedule might be set by the organization if agreed upon by the freelancer, though in many instances, as long as the work gets done, freelance workers define their schedules. Freelance work often pays by the project vs. by the hour.

Tips to Create Employee Work Schedules

  • Determine the needs of your organization based on the type of work, shifts that require covering, and so on.
  • Research employment laws pertaining to your business and consult legal guidance to ensure compliance.
  • Inquire about what employees would prefer.
  • Create a work schedule policy that defines scheduling rules and guidelines.

Finally, once your team’s work schedules are determined, find a place to post them for all members of the team to see. That way, it can save time and efficiency for the entire team.

“How Many Pay Periods in a Year?”

Wooden blocks with the word Payroll, money and a forklift. Payroll is the sum total of all compensation a business must pay to its employees for a set period of time or on a given date. Taxes.

Operating a business comes with various tasks and responsibilities. As an HR or finance professional, one of the jobs you may have to deal with, depending on the structure of your company, is managing payroll. You need to have a system in place to ensure that all the employees get a regular paycheck on time.

Employers can choose how and when they pay their employees, but must keep a few things in mind:

  • Pay your employees in a consistent manner. Select a payday frequency and stick with it.
  • Adhere to any specific state laws pertaining to pay period frequencies.
  • Communicate the payday frequency with your employees.
  • Be punctual in distributing the paychecks.
  • Follow the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) when managing payroll.

If you follow the FSLA and any state regulations, you can choose the type of payday frequency and pay periods that work best for your business type and structure. Assessing the type of people you employ, how large your company is, how many pay periods in a year you’ll need, and what the schedule will typically look like can help you make the right decision when setting up the payroll.

This guide answers questions you may have about this topic as you prepare to pay your employees.

The Importance of Understanding Pay Periods

Your employees will want to know the frequency of their paychecks. So, it’s vital to establish a pay period upfront. A pay period consists of the following components:

  • Hours the employee has worked during a set timeframe.
  • A beginning date and end date.
  • A consistent pattern of beginning and end; the next period begins where the last one left off.
  • The same amount of time for each pay period.

The key to creating a payroll that works is to be consistent. Then you’ll know how many paychecks in a year they’ll get and how often they will receive one. You can pay your employees differently as long as the employee’s pay period remains consistent. For example, you may choose to pay the salaried workers less frequently than the manual laborers. Typically, low-wage earners are paid more regularly since they may rely on their paycheck from week to week.

What Are the Different Pay Periods in a Year?

There are four main pay periods from which to choose. These are as follows:

Weekly Pay

A weekly pay period is on a schedule that comes out once a week. Employers need to pay their employees at the end of every week. As a result, if you choose this pay method, you’ll need to schedule 52 or 53 payroll disbursements, depending on if it’s a leap year or not.

The weekly pay system is common for companies that employ manual labor workers and low-wage employees. However, keep in mind that since you’ll be running payroll more frequently, you’ll also have more administrative work and costs per year.

Biweekly Pay

The bi weekly pay period is the most common and popular. When using this system, you’ll pay employees every two weeks instead of every week. It needs to be on the same day every two weeks, though.

Since you will be only paying every other week instead of each week, you won’t have as many payouts per year. So, how many biweekly pay periods in a year are there? There are 26 bi weekly pay periods in a year as opposed to 52 (or 53) with a weekly pay period system.

This pay schedule may work out well for mid-sized to large companies because employees get paid regularly, and employers see a reduction in administrative costs for payroll management.

Monthly Pay

Monthly pay periods must be paid once a month and follow the same date every month. This pay period may be the most convenient for employers, but low-wage earners are not too keen on it. If the company employs mostly high-wage earners, it would be an ideal pay period because of the reduction in administrative costs.

Semi-monthly Pay

A semi-monthly pay period provides a paycheck for employees two times each month. This differs from the bi weekly pay period. Semi-monthly is scheduled on the same two dates of the month, usually the 1st and 15th or the 15th and 30th. However, the day could (and will) vary.

A bi weekly pay period will be on the same day every other week, but the dates will vary.

Which Pay Period Works for Different Businesses?

You can use whichever pay schedule and pay period that works best for your business model. Some companies prefer one pay system over another based on the structure of their business. Here are some tips to help you determine which method is best for your company:

Consider whether you have mostly high-wage earners or low-wage earners. The employees’ needs are important to consider. Since you want to attract and retain top talent, you’ll need to think about how your employees will want to be paid.

Think about the company’s cash flow so you don’t get into a tight jam every month. You need to be sure you can keep things operating smoothly from a financial standpoint, too.

Assess whether your employees are salary, hourly, or both. If you have employees in both categories, you may decide to split the pay periods between the two groups of employees.

Look at the size of your company. How many employees do you have to pay? If you have a large number of employees, it may make sense to pay less often because of the amount of administrative time it will take to process payroll. Keep in mind that you must balance this need with the needs of your employees.

Whatever pay period you decide to use for your employees, it’s essential that you stick with it. Why is this so vital? If you are haphazard in paying your employees, it won’t look well for the company. You also may be in violation of the Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act. Not paying on a regular basis could result in missing a payment, which could cause serious legal problems.

Demotions in the Workplace

Promote or demote symbol. Businessman turns cubes and changes the word 'demote' to 'promote'. Beautiful yellow table, white background. Business, demote or promote concept. Copy space.

Within the workplace, certain scenarios might necessitate demoting an employee. Demotions can be a valuable solution for dealing with budget cuts, restructuring your company, or responding to poor employee performance.

Prior to demoting an employee, it is important to understand what a demotion entails, when it is appropriate to demote an employee, and the pros and cons of demotion. This can help you determine whether or not demotion is the right solution for your specific situation.

What Is a Demotion?

A demotion takes place when an employee is shifted from one role to a lesser role in the company. For example, if an employee is a manager, a demotion might return them to a line-level employee.

Demotions can be permanent, or you can use them as a temporary solution. A demotion does not have to result in a direct departmental demotion but could instead involve shifting an employee from one team to another. The exact details of a demotion will depend on the reason for demoting an employee.

When to Demote an Employee

There are numerous scenarios that can result in the demotion of an employee. The following are all reasons why you might decide to demote an employee:

  • An employee is underperforming: Often, a demotion is an alternative to letting an employee go. If you have an employee who is not meeting their productivity or revenue goals, you might consider demoting them to keep them on their team while they improve their performance. In this case, you might consider a temporary performance-based demotion. An employee can earn their original role back by showcasing improvement.
  • An employee is failing to adhere to workplace policies: If an employee is not following company policies and has been written up for misconduct, a demotion is an alternative option to terminating the employee. Similar to performance issues, this might be a temporary demotion used as part of a performance improvement plan.
  • An employee needs further training: In some situations, an employee might lack adequate training for their role. In this case, demoting the employee to a position where they can learn the skills they need can help ensure they continue to earn money while becoming prepared for increased job responsibilities later.
  • An employee wishes to have less responsibility: There are situations when an employee no longer wishes to have their current level of responsibility but would like to stay with your company. In this case, they might voluntarily request a demotion. This is a great choice for employees who are in good standing with the business and simply wish to strike a different work-life balance.
  • A department is being dismantled: When a company goes through restructuring, entire departments might be dismantled. In this case, a demotion is an option for keeping quality employees.
  • A merger has taken place: If more than one company merges, it usually leads to downsizing teams or shifting department structures. Similar to dismantling a department, a method for retaining employees during a merger is to demote them into available roles.
  • Budgets are being reduced: When a company experiences unexpected financial strain, it can lead to the necessity of reducing personnel budgets. Demotions allow you to retain employees while lowering costs.

What Are the Benefits of Demotions?

The following are all benefits of employee demotions:

  • Training opportunities: In some cases, employees fail in their current roles due to a lack of training. Through a demotion, you can provide a paid-training opportunity that will prepare that employee to be successful throughout their career. This can help reduce frustration and lead to improved confidence.
  • Retaining talent: Just because an employee is not a good fit for one role doesn’t mean they aren’t a good pick for another. Demotions allow you to shuffle talent to the best role to fit their skills and talents.
  • Weathering financial difficulties: During financially uncertain times, demotions can help you balance your budget and make it out to the other side. This, in turn, gives you the chance to promote employees down the road.
  • Improved work-life balance: For some employees, a demotion is a welcome experience. With fewer responsibilities, they can focus on improving their work-life balance and discovering what it is in their career that makes them tick.

What are the Drawbacks of Demotions?

The following are the drawbacks of demoting an employee:

  • Leads to resentment: In some situations, an employee who has been demoted will be unhappy and displeased with their new role. This can lead them to become disgruntled and lack motivation in their new position.
  • Creates an uncomfortable team dynamic: If an employee is demoted from a manager role to working on the same team they once managed, it can create a difficult team dynamic. It might be hard for a former manager to let go of control and follow the leader who replaced them.
  • Causes an employee to leave: Even if you demoted an employee in an effort to retain them, the reality is that it might cause them to leave your company. If they feel their demotion was unwarranted, they might seek employment elsewhere.

How to Demote an Employee

If you have determined that demoting an employee is the right fit for your situation, use the following steps to help make the process as positive for everyone involved as possible:

  • Give them plenty of notice: Never blindside an employee with a demotion. This is particularly important if you are demoting them due to performance or behavioral issues. Address issues as they occur and bring up demotion as a possibility if improvements are not made. In the case of budget issues or restructuring, try to let employees know as early as you can about the possibility of demotions.
  • Have a one-on-one conversation: Don’t demote an employee through email. Instead, sit down with them to discuss the demotion in detail. Let them know the reason for the demotion and inform them what will happen next.
  • Don’t get personal or emotional: An employee might react strongly to a demotion. While you can’t control their anger or sadness, you can remain calm and keep the conversation professional. Let the employee know you are happy to let them take some time to process the conversation if they are particularly upset.
  • Clearly define their new role: Make sure that you provide your employee with a documented explanation of their position. Never assume that they know their new responsibilities, even if they were previously working in a managerial role on the team. Provide clearly defined expectations for them going forward.
  • Outline training and coaching opportunities: If you had to demote an employee because they couldn’t yet meet the expectations of their previous role, explain the ways in which you plan to support them going forward. Offer training and coaching that they can take advantage of to grow in their career.
  • Document the demotion: Make sure you keep copies of all notices you provide to your employee regarding their demotion. It is best to document the demotion with a written letter after your conversation. This should outline the date of their demotion and details their new position within the company.

If you are looking for more resources about hiring and retaining talent, make sure to check out our employer insights center.

Retaliation Definition – Incidents and Outcomes

Dictionary definition of word retaliation, selective focus.

Understanding the retaliation definition can help top management in a company avoid violations of this nature. Human resources managers, supervisors, and other staff need to be aware of the specifics of workplace retaliation so that this doesn’t become a problem in the office.

When employees report an incident to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or are involved in an investigation with them, they cannot be subject to any forms of workplace retaliation. Everyone in the company should know the retaliation definition to help reduce misunderstandings on the topic. Additionally, preventative measures can be put in place to avoid these issues.

What Is Retaliation in the Workplace?

You may be wondering, what does retaliation mean? This is a term that is specific to workplace retaliation. It consists of a manager or other employer retaliating against another employee because of their involvement in a “protected action.”

What is a protected action? Of course, not everything is protected. Suppose an employee is underperforming or has done something against company policy. In that case, a manager has a right to act, possibly demoting or disciplining the employee. If the employee files a complaint about this, their action would not be protected. However, if the employee engages in a protected action, such as reporting discrimination or sexual harassment, and the employer retaliates against them, that is illegal.

A protected action involves an employee reporting any wrongdoing to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or upper management. The federal anti-discrimination laws enforced by this entity prohibit retaliation.

What Actions Are Protected From Retaliation in the Workplace?

Some of the specific actions an employee may take that are protected from retaliation include:

• Filing a discrimination charge based on any protected category, such as race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information

• Filing a harassment charge based on a protected category, as mentioned above

• Complaining to the employer or other entity about discrimination or harassment

• Testifying in an investigation or lawsuit related to employment discrimination

• Reporting sexual harassment

• Asking for disability accommodations

• Reporting being asked to participate in discriminating against other coworkers

• Reporting unsafe working conditions or OSHA violations

Workplace retaliation laws also apply to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Equal Pay Act (EPA). So, any employee that reports on violations in these areas is protected from retaliation, too.

What Actions Are Retaliation?

Actions that fall into the category of retaliation in the workplace may be overt or subtle. Both are prohibited and may be grounds for disciplinary action.

Overt actions may include the following:

• Hindering the employee from participating in meetings or other events

• Keeping the employee from getting a raise

• Hindering the employee from a promotion

• Demoting the employee to a lower-paying position

• Reducing the number of hours that the employee receives for work

• Giving the employee a negative performance review

• Moving the person to an unfavorable department or location

• Making the employee’s work environment uncomfortable in some way

Subtle actions that may be classified as retaliatory are:

• Exclusion from activities that may be more personal in nature. For example, company picnics, employee birthday celebrations, coworker lunches, etc.

• Ignoring the employee in an obvious manner. For example, as soon as the person walks into the room, the manager walks out or talks in a whispered voice, making it obvious that they don’t want to include the other person.

• Extreme micromanagement of the employee.

• Creating a toxic environment for the employee.

• Being overly critical (especially if the manager was previously not this way).

Employees are always protected from retaliation whether their claim turns out to be true or not if they honestly believe it to be true. However, the employee must show a direct connection between the action and the retaliatory behavior.

Take Action to Prevent Retaliation in the Workplace

The best way to prevent retaliation in the workplace is to be proactive. Preventative steps by the management can keep the workplace operating smoothly and ensure leaders are following proper protocols. The following action steps help ensure that retaliation in the office doesn’t become an issue:

Put Guidelines in Place

Company leadership must have written policies that guide management, human resources, and employees about workplace retaliation. You can put these policies and rules in the company handbook, so everyone has easy access to them. Make sure they clarify the EEOC, anti-harassment, and anti-discrimination laws.

Hold Training Sessions

Once your written policy guidelines are in place, bring the staff together for a training session to review the information. Make sure they understand what retaliation in the workplace is, allowing employees to ask questions if they’re unsure about the information.

When new candidates are hired, make the training part of their onboarding experience.

Establish Procedures for Employees Who Have a Complaint

Employees should know what to do if they have experienced retaliation from someone in management. The company handbook and training should outline the steps they should take if they feel any of their rights have been violated. For example, they believe they were denied a promotion due to anti-discrimination laws, etc. Sometimes it can be easily established that discrimination was not the reason for being bypassed for promotion. When employees feel there is transparency and protocols for addressing these issues, you’ll have less stress.

Make Sure the Management Documents All Discipline Issues

Whenever an employee must be disciplined (which will happen from time to time), be sure the manager or supervisor in charge documents it thoroughly, providing the reasoning behind the discipline.

Have Regular Meetings with HR to Review Disciplinary Action

Before management writes someone up or disciplines them, it’s important to meet with human resources first to discuss the situation. Human resources can advise the supervisor about whether they are within their rights to take disciplinary action.

Also, everything will be documented with another party, showing they had a valid reason for the action, and they’re protected legally.

PIP Programme– Performance Improvement Plan and How to Use One (With Template)

Performance improvement plan text on blue clipboard on top of a keyboard with pen and potted plant on wooden desk.

When employers have an employee with performance issues, they often implement a PIP programme (Performance Improvement Plan). A PIP is a formal document that outlines an employee’s performance issues, as well as clear guidance on how they can improve. Ideally, performance improvement plans will support an employee so they can remain gainfully employed with the organization, resulting in a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee.

Where Do You Begin With a Performance Improvement Plan?

First, you need to define why a performance improvement plan might be necessary. A PIP can be a powerful tool for employers to use for a number of performance issues, including when:

  • Behavioral concerns have been persistent.
  • The employee is struggling with meeting sales or quantity targets.
  • The employee is consistently missing assigned milestones and goals.

A PIP tends to be most effective when clear goals can be set for the employee, specifically when it comes to performance issues. Some behavioral concerns, such as harassment or poor professional conduct towards others, can be challenging to address with a PIP. However, running late for work, meetings, and so on can be addressed with a PIP.

Once a clear reason for a performance improvement plan is defined, an effective PIP can be developed to foster a productive conversation between the manager and the employee.

How Do You Develop a PIP?

Ideally, your organization will develop a PIP programme that guides managers with policies and procedures to help develop a PIP plan for employees when needed. A PIP programme can support consistency in how and when a PIP is implemented, which helps to mitigate discrimination concerns and inconsistencies regarding the treatment of employees.

To develop a performance improvement plan, there are some key elements to include:

  • The purpose of the PIP: Provide a statement that describes performance expectations and how not meeting them impacts the department or business.
  • Why the employee is being placed on a PIP: Clearly outline the reasons for implementing the PIP, including the specific issues with evidence to back up the comments.
  • Develop measurable goals and objectives for improvement: Share the goals and objectives the employee is expected to meet, including how to meet them, such as specific training, working with a coworker, and so on.
  • Provide a timeline: Include a timeline and the projected end-date of the PIP, or the date by which you expect the employee to meet the goals.
  • Define the outcomes: Include what will happen if the PIP goals and objectives are met and what will happen if they are not.

How Do You Determine if a PIP is appropriate?

If you’re considering a performance improvement plan for an employee, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the employee have persistent performance issues? If the employee makes a single mistake, then a conversation for course correction should be had. However, if the issue is persistent, then a PIP is a wise consideration.
  • Can the performance issues be corrected with a PIP? If the issues at hand cannot be corrected by utilizing a PIP to support the employee, then it shouldn’t be used, as it would prolong the inevitable and wouldn’t be fair to the employee (or the company, for that matter).
  • Will the employee be surprised by the PIP? Ideally, when a PIP is implemented, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to the employee. They should be aware of concerns through regular performance review discussions that have led to them receiving a PIP.
  • Has the employee been provided with the appropriate support to succeed? You want to ensure the employee has been provided with the proper training to succeed in their current position. If they haven’t, the best first step is to ensure they receive the accommodations needed to succeed. If there continues to be an issue, then a PIP might be in order.

Performance Improvement Plan Template

The following performance improvement plan example can be used as a guide for you to develop one for your organization.

Purpose of Performance Improvement Plan

The reason for this performance improvement plan (PIP) is to outline concerns with your work performance, clarify expectations for the position, and give you the opportunity to address the outlined concerns to remain in good standing with [Employer Name].

Performance Improvement Plan

As discussed with [HR or manager], this PIP document serves to offer you a plan to correct your performance in the following areas:

  • Concern #1: You are expected to [employer expectations]
  • Concern #2: You are expected to [employer expectations]
  • Concern #3: You are expected to [employer expectations]

Actions to Take to Address Performance Concerns for Course Correction

To correct your performance, you must complete the following goals and objectives within [number of days].

  • Improvement Goal #1: [Employee Goal]
  • Improvement Goal #2: [Employee Goal]
  • Improvement Goal #3: [Employee Goal]
  • Improvement Goal #4: [Employee Goal]

By following the action plan outlined in this PIP, we are confident you will be able to meet the expectations of your position, [Position Name], in the [Department Name] department at [Employer Name].

If you are not able to meet the expectations outlined above by [date], you will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

[Supervisor Signature]

[Supervisor Title]

[Employee Signature]

[Employee Title]

How to Implement a PIP

Once you’re clear a PIP is the right course of action:

  • Develop the PIP using the guidance above.
  • Have a conversation with the employee outlining the PIP purpose and goals.
  • Provide the employee with a copy of the PIP to review and sign.
  • Track the employee’s progress. Have a conversation at the mid-way point of the PIP timeline to assess how the employee is doing. From there, if they meet the expectations of the plan by the deadline, you can move forward with employment as usual. If they do not, however, it’s time to take the next disciplinary action according to your company’s policies.

Sometimes, employees need clarity to improve their performance based on what’s provided with a PIP meaning work improvement assistance is required for the employee to fully appreciate expectations and where they are falling short. Receiving a PIP can be daunting for an employee, though if explained in the best possible light, they’ll understand that the goal is for them to succeed.

On a final note, a PIP is a legal document that could be used in court proceedings and claims against the company. It’s best to share your PIP template with your legal team to ensure it is legally compliant.

Retention Rate Definition (and Formula)

Drawing of a figure in suit flying toward an open door marked "Exit" and a huge magnet draws him back into the room.

Analyzing a company’s employee retention rate is essential so leadership can determine if there are departments or areas that need improvement. If so, they can work on developing strategies. Assessing the employee retention rate can also give insight into the overall health of a company. Consequently, you can create employee retention strategies to combat high employee turnover rates.

What Is Employee Retention Rate?

An employee retention rate measures how many employees are retained at the company during a specific period. You can do this by comparing how many employees are at the company on a starting date with how many of the same employees are still there on the ending date. The starting and ending date is for a measurable period that the company chooses, such as one quarter or a year.

Importance of Understanding Retention Rate

Employee retention is an essential part of operating a successful business. If you have a high turnover rate, you’re spending a lot of money on replacing employees. You have money invested in the employees’ training, which is lost if they leave. You also must spend additional funds to recruit, interview, and hire new employees when they leave. A company with a high retention rate will be healthier and better positioned for the future. Implementing strategies for retention is a key element of success.

Knowing the retention rate will alert companies to any issues they may need to address. It also provides them with better insight as to how their current employee retention efforts are doing. If the rate is low, they know modifications are necessary. If it’s high, they can keep on the same path they’re on.

Most companies perform employee retention rate calculations regularly, such as quarterly or annually, so they can keep on top of this issue.

What Is the Retention Rate Formula?

Let’s look at how to calculate retention rate. You can use the following formula to get a retention rate:

Determine the total number of employees who were at the company at the start of the period (we’ll call this amount “A”).

Next, count the employees again at the end of the period and see how many of the original employees there are (this amount is “B”). To find out how many employees are left, you can subtract “B” from “A” (this is “C”).

A – B = C

Now, you will perform the second part of the calculation. Take the number of employees that left (“B”) at the end of the period and divide it by the total number of employees (“A”). For example, B ÷ A. The answer will be a decimal, which needs to be converted to a percentage, so you’ll have the rate. Multiply the decimal by 100 and simply add the percentage sign. Now you have the retention rate. The full formula looks like this:

Step 1: A – B = C

Step 2: B ÷ A = decimal x 100 = retention rate

Examples of Retention Rate Formulas

It’s easier to understand the retention rate calculation by looking at some examples. These examples take the formula and put it into practice.

Example 1

A marketing firm has 50 employees at the beginning of the first quarter. On the last day of quarter 1, 42 of the original employees still work there. Let’s plug in our data to determine the retention rate.

Starting number of employees is: 50

Number of employees who left during the period: 8

Remaining number of employees is: 42

Calculation: 50 – 8 = 42 employees remained during the quarter.

The next step is dividing the remaining employees by the total number of employees at the beginning: 42 ÷ 50 = 0.84

Now, multiply 0.84 by 100 to convert it to a percentage. The retention rate is 84%.

Example 2

A local auto dealership has 245 employees at the beginning of the fiscal year. Of the 245 original employees, 185 were still employed at the company on the last day of the year.

Starting number of employees is: 245

Number of employees who left during the period: 60

Remaining number of employees is: 185

Calculation: 245 – 60 = 185 employees remained over the course of the year.

The next step is dividing the remaining employees by the total number of employees at the beginning: 185 ÷ 250 = 0.74

Now, multiply 0.74 by 100 to convert it to a percentage. The retention rate is 74%.

Example 3

A production company has 1,565 employees at the beginning of the calendar year, and 1,425 of them remain at the end of the calendar year.

Starting number of employees is: 1,565

Number of employees who left during the period: 140

Remaining number of employees is: 1,425

Calculation: 1,565 – 140 = 1,425 employees remained during the quarter.

The next step is dividing the remaining employees by the total number of employees at the beginning: 1,425 ÷ 1,565 = 0.91

Now, multiply 0.91 by 100 to convert it to a percentage. The retention rate is 91 %.

Tips to Increase Your Retention Rate

If your retention rate is lower than you expected or wanted, you can implement these tips to help improve it:

  • Hire right. Start with employees who match the business culture and are a great fit for the job.
  • Have an open-door policy for employees who are having problems or difficulties in the workplace.
  • Be sure to reward your employees according to their performance. You can use merit increases, job promotions, and other incentives to keep them engaged.
  • Offer training and educational opportunities, so employees continue to grow and thrive.
  • Provide a salary and benefits package that makes employees feel the compensation is fair.

Interview Questions for Managers

Successful job interview with boss and employee shaking hands and smiling.

When you are hoping to hire a new manager to lead a team, you want to ensure that you pick the ideal candidate for the job. Managers are responsible for more than simply overseeing day-to-day operations. They are integral in motivating and keeping employees engaged. In fact, a recent survey by Gallup revealed that 70% of the time, employee engagement is determined entirely by the manager.

For this reason, using the right manager interview questions is important when screening a potential hire. In this guide, we’ll start by taking a look at the top manager interview questions to ask, along with insights into what you should be looking for in a candidate’s response. Finally, we’ll offer a few bonus tips for handling the interview process for managerial positions.

Top Manager Interview Questions

When you invite a candidate to interview for a manager position, you’ll want to prepare a standard list of manager interview questions to ask each potential hire. This will help ensure that you can easily compare candidates and will prevent bias in your interview process. The following are a few examples that you can include in your list, but be sure to add your own questions that are geared toward industry or business-specific needs.

How much experience do you have as a manager?

One of the first things you’ll want to establish is the amount of experience a candidate has managing others. When you ask this question, pay attention to a few key items in their answer:

  • The number of employees they managed in past roles. Often a candidate will share this as they explain their previous experience, but if not, ask for clarification.
  • The total number of years the candidate has experience working in a leadership role. Remember, this doesn’t have to be a formal managerial position. Many top candidates for manager roles are those who have been willing to step up and lead even without a formal job title.

Describe your management style.

This open-ended request will allow the candidate to share details about how they view themselves as a manager. This can help you understand whether or not their management style will be an ideal fit for the needs of the team they will be taking over. Pay attention to the following key insights during their answer:

  • The candidate’s level of self-awareness. Do they seem to be able to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses?
  • Whether their style is a good fit for your company culture — make sure their management preferences align with company values.
  • Do they have the ability to be flexible in their management style based on the needs of their employees?

How do you handle conflict among your direct reports?

Most managers will eventually need to help mitigate conflict on their team. How they handle this difficult situation will play a big role in their team’s success. Pay attention to the following as you listen to the candidate’s answer:

  • Whether or not they have experience dealing with conflict among their employees. If they indicate that they have never dealt with conflict, it might be a sign that they are unaware of conflicts that arise among their direct reports.
  • The ability to empathize with others while still being confident enough to address issues. You want a manager who can blend kindness with fairness.
  • Their creativity when seeking out solutions for dealing with conflict.

How do you motivate your employees?

Keeping employees motivated, even during challenging projects, is key to ensuring a team is productive. When asking a manager this question, you want to gauge how well they can match motivation to individual employee needs. Listen for the following:

  • Compare the candidate’s motivation style to the team they will be managing. Make sure it’s a good match for the culture of your business.
  • Pay attention to whether or not the manager has multiple methods for motivation. How flexible are they when working with employees who need a different style of motivation?

Tell me about a time you had to let an employee go.

Being able to handle terminating an employee is a difficult but necessary part of management. Asking this question will help you learn whether or not your candidate has experience handling this task. Listen for the following as they share their response to this open-ended manager interview question:

  • Indications that they are comfortable handling the difficult process of letting an employee go. Have they experienced this situation before?
  • The ability for them to empathize with employees. How do they handle keeping morale strong among their remaining team?

Tips for Interviewing Managers

Along with creating a standardized list of interview questions for managers, use the following tips to help optimize your interview process.

  • Take notes: Because you’ll likely be interviewing multiple people for a managerial role, make sure you take notes during each interview. Never rely on your own memory, as you can easily confuse one candidate’s response with another. Detailed notes will allow you to compare candidates after all interviews are complete.
  • Use a ranking system: As candidates answer each question, it can be helpful to try to rank their answers using a numbered scale. This can be an effective way of comparing the total score of each candidate. Keep in mind that you might need to use a weighted scale to ensure that the most important qualities are prioritized over nice-to-haves.
  • Think about the team: A manager needs to be a good fit for the team they will be managing. Throughout the interview process, make sure you think about each response in relation to the employees the candidate would be leading.
  • Involve more than one person: It can be helpful to have more than one person sit down with candidates for an interview. While you don’t want to run candidates through a needless number of interviews, having at least two different opinions can help ensure that any personal bias is taken out of the equation.
  • Be transparent: Throughout the interview process, make sure that you are being transparent with candidates about expectations for the role. When a candidate asks you questions, answer them honestly. This will help ensure that the person you hire knows what they’re getting into and is the right fit for your company.

When you need help hiring a manager for a leadership role in your company, be sure to check out all the resources available through Ladders Recruiter for employers. Recruit smarter, faster, and better with our tools.

Merit Increases as an Option for Your Employees

Young woman at desk clenches her fists and smiles with joy.

A merit increase is something that many companies give to their employees to recognize the outstanding work they are doing. When businesses implement these rewards properly, they can serve as a strong incentive for employees to perform at their best. However, whether you distribute merit increases through HR or directly, you want to have a strategic plan for doing so, using performance as a guide. This post will guide you through the information necessary to implement merit increases successfully.

Merit Increase Meaning

Understanding the merit increase meaning is at the top of the list before you can successfully put policies in place for it. What is a merit increase? In simplest terms, a merit increase is a financial reward given to employees after they reach agreed-upon business goals. Merit increases are also given to employees who go above and beyond with excellent performance. Most performance-based jobs work well with merit increases because they have an easy way to measure achievements.

A merit increase is different from a bonus. Although a bonus is also often given to employees for their hard work, it differs from a merit increase because it is just a one-time award. A merit increase is usually a salary increase. Some other types of merit increases are discussed below, but for the most part, the reward is long-lasting.

Types of Merit Increases

The most common type of merit increase is a pay increase. This salary bump motivates employees, inspiring them to strive for greater success in the workplace.

However, this isn’t the only type of merit increase employers may offer. Some businesses may give a high-performing employee a promotion. This is another type of merit increase and would come with a pay increase, too. Using merit increases keeps employees motivated and moving forward on the ladder of success. The more they succeed, the more the company succeeds.

Tips for Handing Out Merit Increases

For any good program to be effective, it’s helpful to plan the process carefully. To utilize a merit increase, you need guidelines in place. The following tips will help businesses when implementing a merit increase.

Be Consistent

Start with a clear and concise plan for merit increases. These should be directly connected to the employees’ performances. It’s best to put the merit increase policy in writing so that everyone can see it and understand what is expected of them. It also helps avoid any misunderstandings.

Once you have the policy prepared, stick to it consistently. Don’t use it for some employees and not others. You need to think everything through before developing the policy, so you are sure it’s something you can do. In other words, you must consider how it will impact the business if several employees meet their objectives and are due for a merit increase. You must follow through once you have implemented the policy. However, you can put a section that states that you will review the policy and make necessary changes annually.

Be Practical

You want to reward the employees, but at the same time, you need to be practical. As mentioned above, your goal is to provide an incentive for employees to achieve excellence. A merit increase can help employees achieve higher levels of excellent work. But you don’t want to overextend the company too much by offering impractical increases.

Solicit Advice from Department Heads

If your company has several departments, it is helpful to get advice from the various heads of the departments about the best way to structure the merit increase. They may have vital input about how the merit increase should work based on the mechanics of the department’s inner workings. Whatever the case may be, get advice from the parties who will be involved before developing a policy and before moving to the next step of training.

Implement Training

Once the merit increase policy is developed and written, you need to train the management and leadership on what the policy is. Since they will be the ones primarily distributing the merit raises or promotions, they need to be well-versed in how the process is supposed to go. You may need to have periodic meetings with the management to ensure that they are implementing the policy properly.

Follow-up and Restructure as Needed

Every year, you can assess the entire merit increase policy to see how it’s working. You can also determine how the business is performing. Reviewing these will help you determine whether the merit increase you’ve put in place is working well or needs any changes. If it’s based on a percentage point system, you might change the amount, or you could keep things the same.

Benefits of Merit Increases

Merit increases benefit not only the employees but also your business in the following ways:

Boosts Employee Morale

Employees will be motivated and inspired to work harder when they know there is a merit increase at the end of their work. Merit increases can give employees an incentive to achieve their goals, thus boosting office morale.

Identifies Business Priorities

When the company sets the policy for administering the merit increase, it also identifies the business’s priorities. By highlighting the types of performance the company will reward with a merit increase, employees and others know what is relevant to the business.

Enhances Employee Retention

Employees will be more likely to stay at a company that offers opportunities for growth and development. A company that rewards excellent performance by providing employees with merit increases will see greater employee retention. Employees will have a goal to work towards as they strive to get to the next level and achieve the merit increase.