It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…
1. My boss keeps touching my hand
My boss will sometimes touch my arm or hand. Most of the time I think that he does it to get my attention, although lately he seems to be doing it more often. But that could just mean that he is comfortable with me as I’m his secretary?
One afternoon, he grasped my fingers in both of his hands – he was asking me to do something, but he then held on to my fingers for a strangely long time. I flipped my wrists, effectively breaking the contact. Also, he has now taken to telling me that I am “perfect.” I arranged something tricky for him, and he touched my arm, smiled, and told me that I’m perfect.
I’ve noticed that he doesn’t touch any of the other employees, only me. I don’t know what way to take this and would appreciate an outside perspective.
Tell him that you’d like the touching to stop. This doesn’t have to be a big, awkward conversation that causes tension in your relationship — it’s all in how you say it. For instance: “Oh, I’m not a toucher!” — said cheerfully and briskly and then moving right along to something work-related.
If he continues after that or does anything else that makes you feel like he’s violating your boundaries, then it’s a more serious issue. But try this first and see it if solves the problem.
2. My manager sounded thrilled with my work, but my written review was less glowing
I have a question about performance reviews. My work is project-based and I work on five or six projects at any given time. Leaders from these projects gave input for my first performance review, and based on my interactions with them throughout the year, I was expecting pretty positive feedback. During my meeting with my supervisor to discuss the review, my supervisor said really positive things like “I got comments from your project leaders that you were a rock star on X project, indispensable on Z project, couldn’t have done it without you on Y project…” That was really great to hear, but then I discovered that in the written review that’s going into my HR file (which my supervisor wrote), the praise is all flat. It contains phrases like “competent project manager,” “able to juggle assignments well,” and “speaks articulately.” There is no mention of any of the really strong praise that I had heard personally throughout the year as well as from my supervisor in the review meeting itself.
Do you have any idea why that might be the case? Should I have asked my supervisor about why he didn’t include that praise? I didn’t really realize the discrepancy in the reviews until after our meeting was over and now I think I’ve waited too long to bring it up. I’m worried that this is going to set me up for a low raise when I feel that the quality of my work merits a more substantial one.
Some people are far less effusive in writing than they are in conversation, which might be the explanation here. But it’s absolutely reasonable to ask about it. I’d say something like, “Could I ask you about my written evaluation? When we’d talked, I had the sense that you were giving me a very positive assessment, but when I read the written review, it seemed a lot more tempered. I came away from our in-person conversation thinking I’d really done a great job, but the written review has me less sure.”
3. What’s the point of giving bonuses?
Please explain to me the point of bonuses in the workplace. I understand bonuses for exceeding sales quotas for sales people or a “sharing of the wealth” when a company has a spectacular year. But why give employees an “incentive” for what is basically doing the job they were hired to do? CEO’s who get many times their salary to efficiently manage a company, admission coordinators in health care who admit people, middle managers that get a bonus for the company meeting goals when they have no ability to affect those goals. How do these bonuses benefit the company?
Like any other compensation, they’re part of retaining and (to some extent) motivating people. Some bonuses mean “you did an exceptionally good job this year.” Others mean “the company did exceptionally well this year and we want to share some of the results of that with you.” That kind of thing builds loyalty in people and makes them feel like the company recognizes their work and like they’re sharing in its success.
You might think that the company could accomplish the same thing with a raise, but it’s often easier to give bonuses than raises — raises are generally permanent and can put people in a salary category that doesn’t quite make sense for their role. Bonuses allow you to give an extra shot of compensation without making it a forever thing.
4. What recruitment data should I be tracking?
I work for a nonprofit without an HR dept and I’ve inherited the intern recruitment process. (I work in marketing, so I don’t have training in recruitment.) We have a fairly competitive program, with dozens of applications each semester. But I’m not sure what (if anything) I should be tracking during recruitment.
I keep track of all the applications each semester, of course, so I can set up interviews and let candidates know if they’ve been selected or not. But after I’ve selected a candidate and notified the others, is it typical to keep some kind of spreadsheet or record of the past applications? Or is there something else people typically track when they’re recruiting?
It sounds like you’re not using an electronic application system, but rather just accepting resumes and cover letter that don’t get put into any broader system? That’s totally fine, and often makes perfect sense for smaller organizations. In that context, there’s not really much you need to track. I’d separate out any applications that are strong enough that you think you might want to reach out to them about future openings. And you might want to have a record of who’s applied for a job in the past and what they’ve applied for — in case they apply again, or someone else in your organization is meeting with them for some other reason. But that’s not necessary, just something some organizations find useful to do.
Some organizations also track stats on the demographics of their candidate pool, so they can watch to make sure that they’re recruiting and hiring a demographically diverse staff. But that’s usually something you don’t see with smaller organizations, in part because of the resources it takes to collect that information and in part because smaller employers aren’t typically subject to required EEOC reporting.
Also, you’re required by law to keep all applications filed away somewhere for one year (and for two years if you’re aware that the applicant is over 40 — which means you should just keep them all for two years to make it easier), in case an applicant later sues (so that their materials and your notes are available for any litigation). But other than that, there’s no standard set of stuff to track.
5. Does my employer have to give me time off to interview while I’m in my notice period?
I am looking to hand in my notice tomorrow and as yet still have to seek new employment. I just can’t take my current boss’s mood swings, screaming, shouting, and throwing stuff (not at me) any longer. But by law am I allowed to ask for time off to attend interviews while I am working my notice period? I know once I hand in my notice, he is going to be really difficult about things. I would just like to know the rules/laws of where I stand.
You’re certainly allowed to ask, but your employer isn’t obligated to grant you time off for interviewing. However, since you haven’t started job searching yet, it’s probably going to be a non-issue — it’s unlikely that you’re going to have interviews scheduled in the next two weeks if you haven’t sent out applications yet.
my boss keeps touching my hand, the point of bonuses, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.