Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

The holidays are “the most wonderful time of year,” as best said by Bing Crosby. Your staff members are a little bit cheerier and your advertisers may be friendlier. As the season has quickly come upon us, caution yourself and your staff to the disasters of which are possible during year-end celebrations. Last year, according to a poll conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management, 61 percent of companies in the USA held holiday parties. Before any office festivities ensue, take the opportunity to look at your newspaper’s classified advertising department’s interpersonal relations with one another. To best evaluate your unique department, it’s wise to observe the interactions and trends among staffers, and then decide upon a course of action before planning your party.

When faced with shifts in technology and procedure, managers need to take a simple, clear approach to communication. Aligning departments with company goals and providing the education necessary to help employees transition are key to successfully navigating change.

With June and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month coming to an end, there is still a need for tolerance and acceptance in the workplace for people with dissimilar sexual preferences. To continue our Sensitivity Training series, we will focus on sexual orientation in the workplace.

May is Mental Health awareness month, which makes this the perfect month to focus our Sensitivity Training series on mental health in the workplace. Today, mental illness stigmas are more rampant than ever. In his article “Mental Illness, Stigma, and the Person in the Office Next Door,” Professor James T. r. Jones writes about how he hid his diagnosis of bipolar disorder for over 28 years. He states that people today stigmatize mental illnesses more than they did 50 years ago. That “job applicants hide hospitalizations or gaps in employment due to mental illness, because they fear disclosure will keep them from being hired. Families of those with mental illness,” he continues, “are so embarrassed that they are afraid to acknowledge the condition to their loved ones.”

Building camaraderie and having fun at work are attributes of the nation’s greatest work environments. According to the Great Places to Work Institute and the Gallup Organization, organizations with such qualities are ranked among the best places to work year after year. As April rolls around, practical jokes, when done appropriately, can be a comical part in the fun.

You know it’s going to be a tough one, you may have even mapped out an approach, never-the-less, you are going to experience a conversation that is simply hard to handle. And, while it’s tempting to avoid the situation all together, that merely creates a toxic working environment, which often times leads to collateral damage— be it your coworkers, your productivity or your actual employment. Although the conversation is hard, you must handle it and you must do so delicately.

Respected leaders operate with integrity and honesty. They may not always be right, but they can be trusted to assure justice. An effective leader, whether in sales management or in the U.S. Marine Corps, holds the same ideals and principles. Leaders are the most influential member of a team, but remember they are, in fact, leading a team. It’s not always easy to live up to the characteristics of an effective leader, but these traits will ensure your staff’s success and loyalty to you, and can establish morale, order and discipline.

One of the most important elements for a successful change is communication. Managers need to clearly communicate the reasons of the change, the steps of the change and the expected impact of the change, as well as being able to listen to their employee’s ideas and concerns about what is happening.

Every organization has two forms of communication systems. One, a formal network that provides information made up of memos, reports, meetings and such. And two, there is the grapevine — that unformulated, omniscient network of the “truth” in the company. The prior is highly structured and has very little room for change. The grapevine, on the other hand, is undocumented, less permanent and open for interpretation.