Oct 20

There’s Always That One…The Difficult One

difficultWhile I’m sure we all occasionally wish our workplace could be full of high-performing, intrinsically-motivated, exceedingly engaged employees who are always happy and satisfied and never complain, argue or make unreasonable demands, truth is our workplaces are made up of real people.  It’s the variety of the unique experiences, skills, temperaments and other characteristics that provides us with a workplace that keeps us interested and engaged.

Any of our employees can have a bad day or days.  These real people have headaches, aging parents, money troubles, unfulfilled dreams…any number of distractions that plague them during the workday and can cause us to have a challenging day.

But, then there’s always that one.  The truly difficult one whose attitude is so twisted it routinely causes you problems.  They keep things stirred up.  This employee needs constant attention and causes lower productivity, employee complaints and, ultimately, increased turnover, if not appropriately addressed.

Robert Bacal, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Dealing with Difficult Employees, says “…difficult people mainly use their conduct to control their situations and other people’s reactions. Because people respond differently to the difficult person, the difficult person can manipulate, control and influence the reactions of those involved in the encounter. Even if bad things happen to difficult people, the payoff is that they have created the situation, and that gives them a sense of control.”

So, we must address the bad behavior.  Ignoring it just perpetuates it.

I’m a fan of the direct approach.  Providing unemotional feedback regarding how their behavior is impacting others and ask for their cooperation in making changes.  Sometimes when I’m having this conversation, the employee acts surprised to hear that they are problematic.  It’s interesting to hear how they believe they are the hardest worker and couldn’t possibly be causing problems.  I don’t try to convince them.  Rather, I offer suggestions for how they can alter their interaction with others to contribute to team cohesiveness.

Sometimes that works.  Sometimes it doesn’t, but even if it doesn’t have prolonged success, it’s a great starting point.  And now, I have a second conversation. I refer to our original discussion, but now state specific expectations as well as the consequences of failure to meet the expectations.  And this time, the difficult employee is not surprised to hear there’s an issue.

If there is a repeat of the behavior, you have to be the strong one.  You must follow through with the consequence.  Remember the difficult employee is that way because the behavior has worked in the past.  If you’re not willing to take the next step, then you’re decided to allow the bad behavior to continue.

joycex125Joyce has over 30 years of progressive human resources experience in the private sector environment.  She holds a Business Administration degree from Emmanuel College, Franklin Springs, GA; was awarded Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation by the Human Resources Certification Institute and holds an Advanced Certificate in Internal Investigations.

She has served on the board of the HR Florida State Council since 2007 and currently serves as Immediate Past President.  She has been a member of the Florida State University Center for Human Resource Management Board since 2008 and was a Board Member of the Big Bend Society for Human Resource Management from 2006 through 2009, serving as President in 2008.  She served on the Big Bend Business Leadership Network Board from 2005 until 2007 and currently serves on the Springtime Tallahassee Foundation Board.  She is a past-president of Extra Point Club, a Florida State University Seminole Booster organization.

Joyce has been named a Tallahassee Volunteer of the Year Finalist and Leon County Schools Volunteer of the Year.  She was selected as one of the “Twenty-five Women You Should Know in Tallahassee” and was honored with the designation of the Florida Resources Professional of the Year in 2008.  In 2009, the Florida Trend Magazine featured her as a Trendsetter in Human Resources.

Joyce resides in Tallahassee, FL and is a member of Big Bend SHRM.

Click here to find other posts written by Joyce.

Talk to Joyce at:



Chastain Consulting



Jul 29

The Top Six NEW Reasons You Should Attend the HR Florida Conference & Expo

HRFL16 Banner

The clock is ticking—we’re just over 30 days away from the 2016 HR Florida Conference & Expo. Are you as excited as I am? Whether it’s been a few years since you attended, or you joined us just last year, or you’re new to the conference, this year’s volunteer conference team has gone above and beyond to give you the best conference yet, with many bonuses and events that you don’t want to miss!


  1. In addition to our world renowned keynotes, expert master and concurrent speakers, we also invite you to be the expert and participate in one of our conversation hubs. Submit your topics by the registration desk and meet up with colleagues throughout the conference to interact in small groups. These hubs bring together HR professionals to discuss and share your experiences and best practices within the HR profession.


  1. More credits than ever available this year! This year’s conference has been preapproved for up to 14 SHRM professional development credits and 15 HR Certification Institute general recertification credits for attending the entire conference (including sessions during both lunch hours).


  1. Have you been keeping up with the official 2016 HR Florida Conference Ambassador? Manny the Manatee has traveled the world via planes, trains, and automobiles and is excited to host you at the Hilton Bonnet Creek, where he’ll be making his rounds with photo ops and all sorts of conference-time fun! Don’t miss out on all of his adventures across the state as he helps us promote the conference. Click here to check out his Facebook page!


  1. We offer plenty of opportunities to exercise your mind—we want you to exercise your body, too! Join us Monday morning for a BOOTCAMP Workout sponsored by FitKit. FItKit CEO and corporate fitness consultant Amie Hoff will lead us for a 30-minute total body workout that will get your heart pumping, muscles sculpted, and body fit. This is a fun, high intensity class that uses bands, tubing, and your own body weight to strengthen and tone the body with cardio moves that torch calories. All fitness levels welcome. Registration begins at 5:45 and class will run 6-6:30am.


  1. Monday night, we invite you to join the party—poolside. After a day of informative sessions, slip into some flip-flops, grab a beverage, and watch this year’s duck race in the lazy river. You can purchase your rubber ducky at the Silent Auction inside the expo hall. Proceeds benefit the SHRM Foundation and everyone can enjoy the race.


  1. As you are packing your bags, don’t forget your flapper dress or your zoot suit for Tuesday night’s party in the Great Gatsby mansion, sponsored by Right Management. Don’t have a costume? No problem! We’re providing a trio of hair, makeup and costume professionals to get you in the right frame of mind—and time!


That’s just a sneak peek – more surprises are in store, and we can’t wait to see you next month!


Go to the conference website for all of the details and register now! http://www.hrflorida.org/mpage/2016agenda


Jun 28

HR Florida State Council is seeking Volunteer Leaders for 2017!

volunteerbanner1Are you an HR professional seeking an opportunity to get more involved in the HR Community? Or perhaps you are a current volunteer leader who would like to volunteer at the state level. Well, we have news for you! HR Florida is currently seeking applications for volunteers to serve in various capacities on our State Council. As a 100% volunteer entity consisting of 28 SHRM affiliated chapters across the state, we coordinate professional development efforts, and serve as the conduit for communication among SHRM and chapters as well as at-large members.

Check out the many ways you can volunteer by visiting www.hrflorida.org or simply by clicking on this link http://bit.ly/28Uv1T2



May 24

Call to Action: Fair Labor Standards Act Overtime Regulations

On May 18, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) released its final regulations making changes to Part 541 governing overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Here are the key elements of the new regulation:

  1. Salary Threshold Changed to $913/week ($47,476 per Year)

This threshold doubles the current salary threshold level. While this level is slightly lower than the threshold in the proposed rule, it still encompasses many employees that are currently classified as exempt. SHRM was disappointed that DOL did not offer a more reasonable increase and set the threshold, as it has in the past, at a level designed to encompass those employees that are clearly not engaged in exempt-type work.

  1. Automatic Salary Threshold Increases Every 3 Years (Not Annually) to Maintain Level at 40th Percentile in Lowest-Wage Census Region

DOL reduced the frequency of the automatic increases in response to concerns raised by SHRM and others. Instead of annual increases, the threshold will be adjusted every 3 years to maintain the level at the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census region (currently the Southeast region). Automatically updating the salary threshold, however, does not allow the government to take into account changing economic conditions, specific impact on certain industries, or regional differences. It also denies the public the ability to have input on the threshold as required by the regulatory process.

  1. Duties Test is Unchanged

The absence of a duties test change is a significant win for the thousands of SHRM members who expressed concern in this area. DOL did not make changes to the standard duties test.

  1. Effective Date is December 1, 2016.

SHRM advocated (with the support of HR Florida) for a longer implementation period than the standard 60 days and the final rule provides additional time for employers to prepare. With the rule going into effect on December 1, 2016, HR professionals should review their current workforce immediately to determine which employees are affected, whether to re-classify those employees, and execute a communications strategy. HR should keep in mind the periodic adjustments and set a regular review process.

  1. Highly Compensated Employee (HCE) Exemption Is Now $134,004 Per Year

The final rule retains the methodology in the proposed rule setting the threshold at the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally.

While the final rule contains some limited improvements, it is critical for Congress to pass the Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act (S. 2707 and H.R. 4773), which would nullify this rule and require DOL to perform an economic analysis of how changes to overtime regulations will impact nonprofits, small businesses, and employers in other vulnerable industry sectors before issuing a new rule. Visit SHRM’s call to action to quickly and easily send an email to your members of Congress to ask that they cosponsor this important workplace legislation.  http://www.advocacy.shrm.org/overtime


Currently the list of cosponsors in Florida includes:

Jeff Miller, District 1

Bill Posey, District 8

Daniel Webster, District 10

Richard Nugent, District 11

David Jolly, District 13

Dennis Ross, District 15

Gus Bilirakis, District 20

If your Member of Congress is not listed here it is absolutely critical that you request that they sign on as a co-sponsor, not just give support to the bill.

Additionally, each of us needs to ask Senator Bill Nelson to provide the bi-partisan support he prides himself on by becoming a cosponsor to S. 2707. Senator Rubio has already signed on as a cosponsor.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Bob McCormack (813-221-7439; bob.mccormack@hrflorida.org) or Don Works (407-246-8433; don.works@hrflorida.org) on this important and time sensitive issue.


Apr 25

Delegation: Doing it Well

delegatingMany of us have been told to delegate – especially when we let slip to upper management that we feel overworked.  “Delegate more,” comes the smug advice.  But when we try to delegate, it goes badly.  Feeling that we could do it better and faster if we did it ourselves, we hurry through instructions, omitting major helpful pointers, and then are angry when employees fail to do what we wanted and we are forced to rush to finish the project ourselves. Meanwhile, employees often feel “dumped on” and frustrated, and high achievers may question whether the only recognition they receive for their good efforts is more work.  But it doesn’t have to be like that.  Most supervisors have simply never been taught how to delegate effectively; there are 4 steps.

First, some tasks should not be delegated or should not be delegated right now.  You must classify tasks as (1) important, meaning crucial to achieving the goals of the department or the organization and/or (2) urgent, meaning that it has a rapidly-approaching deadline.  If something is neither important nor urgent, no one should do it; delegating such a vain task will be considered busy work. If the task is both important and urgent, you had probably better do it yourself this time because time is of the essence and success is crucial.  Other tasks, however, such as those which are important but lack a tight timeframe and those which are urgent but where a mistake is not so costly are appropriate to delegate at any time.

Second, you must evaluate both the employee’s ability to do the task and his or her attitude.  If either or both indicate a lack of readiness, you must take action to correct them.  For example, an employee who is willing but lacks certain skills could be sent to training, given samples or templates, or provided with contacts to call for help.  An employee who is able but whose willingness is questionable needs to be made to understand why he specifically was chosen.  He must see what is in it for him – that it is a valuable developmental tool, perhaps a chance to be seen in a way in which he wishes to be perceived, or to gain new skills, to position him for promotion, as recognition of his expertise, etc.  The supervisor must explain why this particular employee was chosen for this specific task – not just because the boss wanted to dump his work on someone and he was handy or because this employee won’t yell as loud as someone else.

The third step is to anticipate all possible questions, concerns, and fears the employee might have about undertaking the new project.  Here are some key issues that a supervisor should discuss:

  • Be specific about what needs to be accomplished.
  • Explain the “big picture” and the stakes.
  • List each stage and explain relevant past history.
  • Explain what resources are at the employee’s disposal to accomplish the task.
  • Alert the employee to potential problems.
  • Explain how what the employee will do may affect others.
  • Determine interim report times.

Most importantly, explain to the employee how this new task fits in with the mosaic of their existing work.  Supervisors, whenever you add something to an employee’s plate, it is your duty to assist them in time management.  You must help them to rearrange their plate, lest they fail to understand the respective significance of the new task to the rest of their jobs.  In addition, the quality with which an employee works on the delegated task will be in direct correlation to their understanding of how this new task figures into their overall performance evaluation.

Finally, step four, is follow up.  The supervisor should express appreciation and explain the results of the employee’s efforts.  She should reiterate why the person was chosen and the benefits for them.  In addition, the supervisor should set the stage for another effective delegation by asking what went well and what could have been done better and acknowledge his or her own shortcomings.

Following these four steps and being more thoughtful in your planning should make delegation a win-win for all people in your workplace!

J Lenora BreslerJ. Lenora Bresler, JD, SPHR, ASC graduated at age 20 from law school, J. Lenora Bresler is an attorney, SPHR, and leadership and engagement speaker, author, trainer, and coach.  She is the owner of Bresler Training, LLC. dedicated to assisting organizations to create the best leaders, teams, and relationships on earth.  An in-demand keynote speaker and consultant and a favorite with HR Florida audiences for years, J. Lenora specializes in bringing strategies that can immediately be applied. Her most recent book is Instant Insight: 15 Questions to Great Relationships. J. Lenora also teaches all modules of the certification review courses for two separate universities.

J. Lenora is Immediate Past President for Mid Florida SHRM, and currently serves as Editor for the HR Florida Review Magazine.


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