Don’t Forget Your Manners

There are so many elements that go into making an interview process successful.

From the HR side, the planning and preparation focuses on making sure all of the procedural elements are in place, which include asking the right questions. From the candidate side, the planning and preparation focuses on making sure that they are ready to answer all of the possible questions that will come their way.

Sometimes, what gets missed in the midst of all of this planning and preparing, is for both the HR and the candidate side to review the unspoken and yet expected etiquette that is inherit in any interview scenario.

Anna Post provides some practical tips for candidates in the following TedTalk:


While the tips Ms. Porter provides target an audience of perhaps a ‘younger’ job seeking candidate group, the message for any candidate is about meeting the expected expectations that HR recruiters are looking for.

Candidates are told to be prepared; to dress professionally; to be on time; to shake hands; to show respect by standing up when being greeted; to put their phones away during the interview; and to send follow up thank you e-mails after the interview.

If this is this is the expected etiquette which candidates expect to receive, what is the HR professional/recruiter doing to ensure that they are fulfilling these expectations?

Any interview process is a two-way interaction that reveals as much about the organization through the actions of HR professional with the candidates they meet.  It should go without saying that the organizational recruiter, the HR professional, should also be prepared; dress professionally; be on time; shake hands; follow up with candidates to let them know the outcome of the interview; and most importantly show respect by focusing their full attention to the candidate in the room. There is no place for distractions, such as a smart phone, when the purpose of an interview is to engage in conversation which is ultimately, a process of mutual respect.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How often to you shake hands with others when meeting them in a formal setting – is it a comfortable thing for you to do?
  2. What do ‘manners’ mean to you?
  3. How will you model interview etiquette as an HR professional?
  4. Thinking of your own interview experience as a candidate, which of Anna Post’s six interview tips do you need to work on in order to improve your professional image?

Don’t ‘Phub’ Your Way into Grievances

Many of you may not have heard the term “phubbing” or “being phubbed,” but you probably have done it to someone else, or experienced it first-hand.

In today’s workplace, we need new words to explain our interaction with technology. Phubbing is the combination of being snubbed by someone who is using their smartphone to ignore you. And it’s no surprise this social behaviour is affecting our workplace relationships.

Why should a HR professional who works in a unionized environment care about this concept of phubbing? Well, the main reason is it erodes trust, and whenever you erode trust in a unionized environment, you get more grievances.

More grievances make it harder to maintain positive labour relations in the workplace. Phubbing can very easily damage trust and employee engagement, and now research from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business is shining a light on this issue.

How do supervisors destroy trust, by violating the psychological conditions that breed trust and lead to employee engagement? Here are the results of the research:

  • 76 per cent of those surveyed showed a lack of trust in a supervisor who phubbed them
  • 75 per cent showed decreases in psychological meaningfulness, psychological availability, and psychological safety with phubbing

All of this will reduce employee engagement. HR needs to be aware of phubbing and how it affects its organizational cultural. HR must take the lead role in organizations by understanding the vital importance of face-to-face relationships in the workplace and put measures and practices in place to decrease opportunities to phub and to increase opportunities to have meaningful conversations.

Read more at about phubbing here.

Discussion questions:

  • What are five things HR can do to decrease the incidents of phubbing?
  • What are five things HR can do to formally increase the incidents of meaningful conversations between supervisors and employees?

Return to work. Too much? Too soon?

Injured man using computer

A fundamental element in any workplace safety program includes a return to work process for employees who have been injured on the job. In Ontario, clear policy guidelines are established by the Workers Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). These policies identify the steps required by all parties to ensure a successful ‘Work Reintegration’ process following a work-related injury.


Click here to read the steps required for the WSIB Work Reintegration program.

This particular program, and others like it in different jurisdictions across Canada, is based on extensive research and seemingly sound principles, that should honour everyone in the process including the injured worker. The reality of implementation, however, paints a different picture of how a poorly managed return to work program can have a devastating effect on the long-term recovery by the injured worker, especially when the injured individual’s credibility is called into question.

The Toronto Star recently posted an investigative piece on the complexities and potential consequences related to the pressures of work reintegration programs.

Click here to read the article.

The disconnect is significant between the positive intent of the WSIB policy guidelines and the negative results of a poorly communicated return to work strategy.

From a Human Resources perspective, we are often the ones called upon to make that initial contact with the injured worker, as required by the WSIB, within hours of the workplace injury taking place. It is no wonder that the Human Resources practitioner who makes this first contact is often perceived as a cold-hearted, ambulance-chasing bloodhound whose only interest is making sure that the employer’s financial interests are protected.

Yes, there are significant financial penalties imposed on employers when legislative requirements are not followed. There are also significant and long-term consequences when an injured worker is not treated with the respect that they are due, especially when they are vulnerable and in pain.

We, as Human Resources professionals, must learn how to straddle the legislative requirements imposed upon us with some element of dignity and respect for the injured worker. This takes time, patience and practice to strike the right balance between compliance with our legal obligations and compassion for our fellow workers, especially when they need our support the most.

Discussion Questions:

  1. If you were injured at work, how would you react if your employer called to ask you to come back to work as soon as possible?
  2. As a Human Resources practitioner, what is the first thing you will say to an injured worker when you are required to call them after their injury?
  3. The article discusses the negative perceptions of injured workers by other co-workers. What will you do if you see this happening in your workplace?