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Business solutions items — Jan. 5

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Email prank is problem on job

Q: While I was away from my desk, a co-worker used my computer to send out a very offensive email under my name. “Hannah” included everyone in our department on this message. When I confronted her, she laughed and said it was just a joke. She refuses to send another email explaining that the offensive message really came from her. Our company monitors employee email accounts, so Hannah’s prank could get me in trouble. My boss might be able to help, but I hate to complain because I already feel like an outsider here. I am almost 50, while my co-workers are in their 20s and 30s.

A: Since there was nothing funny about this fake email, Hannah must be an immature idiot. Despite your discomfort with reporting her, she should not be allowed to get away with such an unprofessional stunt. But before taking the matter to your boss, give her one last chance to do the right thing.

For example: “Hannah, the email which you sent from my computer was extremely inappropriate and could create a lot of problems for me. Unless you agree to send another email explaining what you did, I will have to ask our manager to handle this issue. It’s your choice, but you have to decide now.”

If your childish co-worker still refuses to cooperate, present the facts to your boss and ask him to either require a retraction from Hannah or send out an explanation himself. Should he also find this amusing, you will know that you are in a truly juvenile environment where you can probably expect more of the same.

— Marie G. McIntyre

McClatchy-Tribune News Service


Study asks why workers leave

There’s a time-worn saying that employees join companies but leave managers. It turns out that may be less true than it used to be.

TINYpulse is a company that does “employee engagement” surveys for companies. Results from 40,000 employees at 300 companies this year indicate that workers are more likely to leave jobs because they don’t care for their peers or the top executives, not because they’re at odds with their direct supervisors.

The surveys found that employees most want pleasant, team-oriented co-workers and top management to whom they feel connected.

The responses suggest that employees crave communication from “the brass” about the organization’s mission, vision and values; they want to understand the big picture and how their own jobs fit into it.

The two high priorities revealed by the surveys — camaraderie among peers and communication from the top — are understandable in today’s flatter, do-more-with-less workplaces.

Fewer layers of middle management make it more important for even entry-level workers to know and buy into the mission.

It’s also vital in downsized work groups for co-workers to get along, to share the workload, and have mutual respect.

Something of a surprise: The TINYpulse surveys found that most workers think their managers are effective in outlining their duties and accountability. About 82 percent said their personal responsibilities were clearly conveyed by their bosses.

But only 42 percent of employees thought they were getting enough communication from top executives.

Also, many want the communication to be two-way. They crave input on the processes and policies attached to their jobs. It’s a reasonable request. After all, who knows the job better than the one who does it?

— By Diane Stafford

Kansas City Star

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