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Labor Relations Insight

by Phil Wilson My 10 Top Takeaways from CUE

I am flying back today from the 40th anniversary CUE conference. If you aren’t a member of CUE you are really missing out. It is simply the best conference around for people focused on creating positive workplaces. I enjoyed presenting on two panels around the future of work. And today I had the honor of teaching some incredible leaders the ins and outs of Approachable Leadership.

The two panels on the future of work (and the future of unions) were thought-provoking for both the audience and the panelists. I don’t know what it felt like as the world shifted from an agricultural-based economy to an industrial one, but I think we’re all about to find out. The intersection

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Bending Over Backwards

Raymond Burse

Raymond Burse

Starbucks has gone to great lengths recently in an effort to earn the trust and loyalty of its workforce, including tuition help. In its latest move, the coffee shop will revise scheduling procedures to put an end to irregular scheduling practices for its baristas. The new policies are designed to end such practices as giving only a few days’ notice of working hours; sending workers home early when sales are slow; shifting hours significantly from week to week, and scheduling employees to close one night while opening the next morning (known as “clopening”). Employees seem cautiously optimistic, knowing that it is up to individual store managers to take the initiative to override the scheduling software in order to implement the new policy.

Kentucky State interim

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GPS For Finding Jerks in Your Company

Want an easy way to locate the jerks in your company? Look for departments with a lot of detractors. Chances are good that the department is run by a jerk.

“But how do I find these detractors,” you say. “And what the heck is a detractor anyway?”

A detractor is someone who actively runs down the company to others. The glass is always half-empty to a detractor. No matter what the company does, the net detractor will have something negative to say about it. This is as opposed to a promoter of the company, who will almost always have positive things to say about the company.

The detractor not only has something negative to say, he or she is vocal about it. The worst detractors will go out of their way to tell coworkers, family, friends and even the general public about the latest transgression of the company.

Every company

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Don't Be a Jerk

Don’t be a jerk.

Have you ever had a boss that was a jerk? Did you ever have to manage a supervisor who was a jerk? This is the topic of my new book. If you have a story you think might work, submit your story in the comments below. I will use the best examples to help illustrate best and worst practices for managers. If you contribute a story I’ll send you a free copy of the book when it is published, so send me your mailing address. By the way, if you don’t mind attribution let me know. If you want to remain anonymous let me know that as well.

Don’t be a jerk. You can sum up the basics of great management in

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Positive Employee Relations: What Should I Say to My Employees About Health Care Reform?

Most provisions of the new healthcare reform law don’t go into effect until 2014, and many of the provisions are poorly understood without further explanation in the regulation process. Most employers will simply choose to say nothing about healthcare reform until these uncertainties are resolved, but that is a mistake and misses a big opportunity.
Time of uncertainty are not times for withdrawal. That shows a lack of leadership. Employees will fill in the blanks in these uncertain times, and that usually makes things worse. A strong leader will address these concerns, even if he or she is confused too.
Unskilled managers believe they look weak if they don’t have all the answers. Strong leaders know that what employees want to know most is that the leader understands their concerns, is empathetic and will confidently plot a course as things become clear, even if at this moment

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Positive Employee Relations: How To Deal With The Arizona Immigration Law

Arizona recently adopted an immigration law that has caused turmoil across the country and is threatening the Arizona economy with a national boycott. No matter how business owners feel about the law or immigration in general, it is vitally important for Arizona businesses to quickly understand how to comply with the new law.
The Arizona law creates several new obligations for employers and penalizes companies who fail to properly verify the legal status of new employees. Here are 3 things Arizona employers must consider in the wake of this new law:
1. If you rely on day laborers you need to re-think your business model. One provision of the new law makes it a crime for an employer to pick up day laborers if it impedes traffic in any way. It is very common for construction and landscaping employers to pick up day laborers in the

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LRI Quoted In Human Resource Executive

Phillip Wilson, President of LRI, was quoted in the Human Resource Executive in an article on “Benefiting from Friends at Work” Phil said the focus should be on strong supervisor-team relationships instead of friendships. The article says:

And Phillip Wilson, president of the Labor Relations Institute in Broken Arrow, Okla., says that, while workplace friendships can be good, they are not the primary reason for productivity in the workplace.

“Remember that people leave bosses, not co-workers or companies. The No. 1 key to a positive and productive workplace is the quality of front-line leaders,” he says. “Get this wrong and a whole team of best friends won’t accomplish anything. But a good leader can get a team of people who don’t like each other to accomplish great

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LRI Quoted in Biz570.com Article

LRI’s president Phillip Wilson was quoted in the article “Banish the bane of a bad boss” by Christopher Cornell. In the article he cites a couple of the tests Phil offers to tell whether you’re a bad boss. Here is what he says:

Phillip Wilson, president of the Broken Arrow, Okla.-based Labor Relations Institute and author of “The Next 52 Weeks: One Year to Transform Your Workplace” has some tests to find out if you’re a bad boss. “Test No. 1: You constantly feel like you are “out of the loop” and it makes you angry. This is evidence that you probably shoot the messenger (you start running out of messengers after a while…).”

Another test: “You fire a lot of people. This is evidence that you are either a

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Positive Employee Relations: Is Authentic Leadership Universal?

All positive employee relations environments require strong, authentic leaders. But is authentic leadership universal? Does it apply across different industries or even different cultures?

Let’s say you’re a functional corporate director with a six-figure income and responsibility for a few million dollars of company business. Part of the people you oversee are hourly employees with high-school education working in one of the business units you oversee. How do you — who they might consider a “stuffed shirt” from corporate — effectively communicate with and coach them?

We run into this situation all the time with our clients. I believe that being “authentic” is the master key to relating, communicating and coaching in the workplace, no matter the environment. Here are 3 tips I give on authentic leadership:

1. It starts with a mirror. While nobody I know thinks of themselves as a “stuffed shirt from corporate” I’ve seen plenty of

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LRI In the NY Post

The New York Post quoted Phillip Wilson in an article that asks, “Are Performance Reviews a Waste of Time?” Wilson, President and General Counsel of LRI, agreed that in many cases performance reviews are not just a waste of time, “but counterproductive to a positive work environment.” Instead he suggests that regular feedback is more important — and more motivating — that formal performance reviews. Read the rest of the article here.

Read more of Wilson’s advice on creating a positive employee relations environment in his book The Next 52 Weeks.