Water Cooler Talk is the term / euphemism given to those types of conversation where employees are typically complaining about something or someone in their workplace.1375098856_Angry-Minion-icon

The conversations usually go like this:-

“I’m looking for another job, this place doesn’t pay me enough”; or
“…I’m not doing it. It’s not my job!”; or
“…he/she doesn’t know what they’re doing, why are they even here?”; or
“I just need some time off to help at home while my wife is in hospital!”

And the list goes on…and on…and on…

Meanwhile, in another room similar conversations are going on around the supervisors-only coffee machine…

“..they want a pay rise, but are not prepared to put in the effort!”; or
“..why do I always have to tell them how to do their job, it’s not rocket science?”; or
“..my team is driving me crazy and I’m over all their whining – what do they want?”; or
“..he wanted a week off! He’s only been here two minutes”

Sound familiar? Actually, we’re considering writing a book to record all of the workplace complaints heard during the course of the work we do. Volumes 1 and 2 are full; we’re onto Volume 3 now. Mind you, our trilogy probably won’t be a best-seller because whether you are a business owner or the CEO of a not-for-profit organisation, you will hear these kinds of workplace complaints every other day and we have no doubt that you really don’t want to read about it as well.

So, when you’ve had it up to the chin with reacting to workplace issues, then it might be a good time to meet with one of the Workwise team –to consider what proactive steps you can take.

If you are hearing similar water cooler / supervisor’s coffee machine talk then Workwise recommends you review your human resources system tools that inform employees of company expectation and performance measurements. As well, consider a review of your workplace culture and ask yourself if it is meeting your expectation.

If you research the reasons why an employee may be satisfied at work or alternatively is not happy in their job, you will find there are a number of criteria a workplace will be measured against, such as:
• Levels of remuneration
• Availability of mentoring/coaching/growth & learning opportunities
• Job challenge
• Level of appreciation for the worker, the work they do & their opinions
• Strength of leadership
• Ability for worker to receive/provide constructive feedback, encouragement & praise
• Availability of the resources needed for workers to complete their tasks
• Committed co-workers, teams and leadership to quality work and the company mission/vision
• Communication of company expectations
• Enablement of workers to perform at their highest levels

So next time you walk past the water cooler, listen in to what your employees are saying. Then on the way back to your office, consider which of the above might need remedial action to help you build a better team or improve workplace relations.

Workwise has a number of items in our tool kit to assist and its  just a matter of customising them to suit your workplace and budget. From team building workshops & performance review models to dispute resolution tools (eg workplace mediation/Investigations), we’re sure to have something that will assist your employee relations and build a stronger workplace culture.

Is it time to call Workwise yet?
9792 4451

Authority To Deduct Monies from WagesJ0222015

So, you’ve overpaid your employees, what can you do about it?

First step is to advise your employees what has happened; apologise for the inconvenience it may have caused and then negotiate with them a pay-back arrangement (we suggest you try for 50% then equal payments from following pay runs for x-number of pay runs until it is all paid back).

Act immediately upon discovering the mistake, don’t wait until the employee has had an opportunity to spend all of the over payment. A financial windfall can burn a hole in anyone’s pocket!

You must have written permission from an employee to deduct the money from their pay. Don’t, under any circumstances deduct the money without first talking with your employee and having their written permission on file.

Don’t assume they will be willing to pay you back! Know your rights and obligations. You have a right to seek the return of the over payment but it can get sticky if the employment relationship with a particular employee has been on rocky ground in the past.

If the employee refuses your request to pay back the money, your options may be limited and you may have to consider pursuing it via a civil court – and of course the relationship with the employee will certainly be down the tubes if it wasn’t already. If it is a large sum of money then of course you would want to pursue it, however be aware of the costs involved in taking the matter through the courts – and we’re not just talking of the financial cost, what about the time, stress and potential loss of productivity involved?

So, best review your systems and constantly renew your knowledge of applicable rates of pay to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

A free “Authority To Deduct Monies” form is available to any Workwise Members who contacts our office this month in regard to this E-bulletin.