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Posts Tagged ‘Susan Heathfield’

New Job Titles Like Ninja & Evangelist Become the Norm

If you’ve read a job description lately and spotted words like “ninja” and “evangelist,” you’re not alone. In fact, some job titles are becoming creative and downright quirky.

Just look at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the 181 year-old publishing company. According to a piece in The Boston Globe, its receptionist does what a greeter is supposed to do — Hillary Creedon is friendly. She says hello to visitors, answers phones, and hangs up coats. As for the 22 year-old’s name? Director of first impressions.

She told the newspaper, “There is a stereotype that comes from being a receptionist. Clearly there’s a difference.”

Is there really a difference though? Read more

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Is It Time To Ask For A Raise?

Are you kidding? Of course not.

That might be what HR guide Susan Heathfield might have said if she wasn’t trying to be diplomatic.

But Heathfield does remind employees that it really isn’t the best time to ask—”not looking like a team player” is the least of your worries—with a few exceptions.

  • If you were promoted but didn’t get a raise, you should consider asking for one.
  • If your workload substantially increased, you should consider asking for a raise; Heathfield defines “substantial” as taking over the leadership of a project you’d previously been only participating in, or doubling the number of employees who work under you.
  • “My costs have gone up” is not a convincing reason to ask for a raise.
  • Last, when asking for a counteroffer if you’ve gotten another job elsewhere that pays more, make sure that offer is rock-solid before using it as a negotiating point.

HR Pro: ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of Being Sued’

According to the Wall Street Journal and the EEOC, age-discrimination allegations by employees is up 29% this year. With so many boomers still in the workforce, who’s surprised? But if it’s a legitimate business decision—you have to let the older employee go—how do you avoid a lawsuit?
Susan Heathfield, management and organization development consultant for her own company and “guide”, recommends:

Just do your homework. Make sure your managers are well-trained about documenting performance for each employee. Note that I did not say just underperforming employees, I said, each employee.

Then, follow up with employees who are not performing. Coach and counsel, try to help the employee improve, and document each of these steps. If all else fails, document a formal improvement plan with the goal of really effective communication with the employee. Do these steps correctly, over a period of time, and you will know, both legally and ethically, that you did your best to help the employee succeed.

Will you never be sued? Most likely not, but keeping a paper trail and proving that you really did try will prevent any lawsuit from spiraling out of control.

No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

Free Bagel
flickr user AndrewVDill

Working in HR right now? You might not have your hands totally full hiring new candidates…just a guess. If that’s the case, and you’re looking to help your company cut costs without taking away real employee perks, make sure you’re getting the most mileage out of your existing benefits.

Susan Heathfield, blogger at Human Resources, just posted an interesting take on employee perks. “I have long believed,” she wrote, “that companies need to do a much better job of educating employees about the cost of the benefits they receive and the reason the benefits are being provided.”


I worked with a small Web design company whose president decided to bring in Friday lunch as a way to build his team. Team building was the sole purpose for the lunches. After a couple of months passed, he was approached by a group of employees who wanted to bring the food back to their offices instead of eating with the group. He reminded them of the reason why he brought in the lunch and explained that eating at their desk was not an option.

The next time I saw him, the story was even funnier, another group of employees approached him and said they didn’t want to eat in every Friday. He said, fine, the lunch is a voluntary team building event. Their response? Well, if it’s a voluntary event, than we’d rather that you just give us the money so we can buy our lunches somewhere in town…

Is this happening to you? Are the bagels and peanut butter sandwiches being taken for granted?