Resources for Managers

Sep 25, 2013

A woman attending a convention heard two men making what she considered sexist remarks. A few years ago, in the same situation, she might have chastised them in person or pulled aside a convention staffer to point out the offenders. But this is 2013. The woman took a photo of the men and tweeted her outrage for the world to see.

One of the men ended up being fired—but so did the woman who sent the tweet. The employer said she “crossed the line” by “publicly shaming” the men.

Welcome to the murky world where employees, technology and workplace rules intersect. In A Necessary Evil: Managing Employee Activity on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter … and the Hundreds of Other Social Media Sites (SHRM, 2013), author Aliah D. Wright covers how to manage employee activity on social media sites from LinkedIn to Twitter to Facebook and more.

Wright, an online editor/manager at the Society for Human Resource Management, opens with a primer on social media and its impact on privacy and anonymity. She covers best practices for managers, such as getting familiar with social media; recognizing that employees will use these sites (and not discouraging employees from doing so); reminding employees that what goes online can live forever; and encouraging employees to use social media in ways that are appropriate to the workplace, such as creating LinkedIn or SHRM Connect profiles.

Wright urges employers to let employees use social media at work. She notes that the increased employee engagement that comes from allowing social media use “may outweigh the perceived loss of productivity.” She urges employers to fight the desire to control social media use and instead work to integrate it into the organization.

A tool for that integration is a social media strategy. Twenty-eight percent of organizations already have formal strategies for social media, Wright reports. She profiles how IBM was an early leader in social media, recommending in 1997 that its employees go online and later creating its own in-house social networking software. Examples from other companies show employers using social media to tap employees’ knowledge and share opinions.

Tips for embracing social media include building your firm’s own social site, writing a social media policy and promoting the business value of having employees on social media.

Wright touches on topics such as asking for personal passwords (don’t), using social media to screen job candidates (legally tricky), and letting employees know whether their work-based accounts belong to them or to the employer.

A social media resource guide updates readers on a host of social media sites, their target audiences and more.

Buy the book online at the SHRMStore.


In The First 90 Days (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013), Michael D. Watkins guides readers on avoiding failed transitions and starting strongly in their new jobs, whether those jobs result from promotions, reassignments or positions with new organizations. This edition updates the original 2003 best-seller with new advice about managing career changes.

Watkins points out avoidable “transition traps,” which are actions by new leaders that undermine them at the start. Trying to take some kind of early action—any kind—to make a mark is one trap that can backfire and create resistance among staffers. Another trap is arriving in an organization as a savior bearing “the” answer to its problems, which can alienate employees.

Transition failures stem from problematic interactions between the new leader and the new role, Watkins notes. All the failed leaders he studied had had successes in the past. But when they misunderstood a new job situation, weren’t flexible enough to adapt to it or tried to repeat success with earlier tactics, they crashed.

The First 90 Days, based on a decade of research, shows readers how to reduce that risk of early failure and how to be effective in a new position faster.

Buy the book online at the SHRMStore.


Written as a fable about a fictional manager’s day-to-day workplace trials, Have a Nice Conflict (Jossey-Bass, 2012) illustrates what can go wrong between employees and how to move from unproductive conflict toward positive relationships.

Sales manager John Doyle has just heard the news: He didn’t get the promotion he expected. And he’s lost two employees, both of whom said he was the reason they left. With that opening, authors Tim Scudder, Michael Patterson and Kent Mitchell show Doyle’s growth from an abrasive manager to a good listener who understands himself and his co-workers better, and who can turn aside from a brewing dispute.

With his job on the line, Doyle starts meeting with a mysterious advisor who models behaviors Doyle needs to learn—seeing the world from others’ perspectives, interacting differently with different people, finding out what motivates others, and understanding that their motivations may be different from his.

The five steps include anticipating conflict by understanding others’ different values; preventing conflict by acting in ways that don’t set off others’ “conflict triggers”; identifying your own and others’ approaches to conflict so you can handle situations productively; managing your way out of conflict; and resolving the conflict.

Tools in the book include a summary of the lessons Doyle learns, references guiding readers to other resources about conflict, and graphics outlining the basics on conflict stages and value systems.

Buy the book online at the SHRMStore.


Upgrading technology means building on what’s already there and evaluating what was done in the past, rather than tossing out the old and starting from scratch. The same is true for leadership. Authors Giselle Kovary and Adwoa K. Buahene offer practical tips to help you upgrade your leadership skills, with special emphasis on tailoring leadership to meet the needs of multiple generations at work.

Upgrade Now: 9 Advanced Leadership Skills (n-gen, 2012) is based on the authors’ decade of work with more than 50,000 leaders, managers and employees, as well as their research on how to engage a multigenerational workforce. This volume identifies nine key skills leaders should upgrade, and its pithy chapters outline what to learn about each skill and how to apply it in your workplace now. Upgraded skills include the following:

Improve the work environment. The single biggest positive influence a leader can have in engaging employees is improving the work environment. The book covers how collaborative leadership, empowerment, team building and especially flexibility all contribute to a better environment. Readers get a questionnaire to help them uncover their own personal attitudes and approaches to work style and workplace culture and to think through how they can improve their work environment today.

Facilitate career development. Employees often crave real developmental opportunities, and good development practices help keep good employees onboard. Readers learn about the four typical types of career paths as well as the various individual patterns careers can take—one employee might need specialized formal education for an expert occupation, while another employee might need an “entrepreneurial pattern” with frequent moves.

Empower employees. Many leaders don’t delegate or aren’t sure how to delegate effectively. Yet delegation not only empowers employees, it also frees the leader or manager to do other tasks.

Kovary and Buahene walk managers through a three-step process for delegating work to employees successfully.

Buy the book online at the SHRMStore.


InterviewStream has launched ivMessage, a video-messaging tool that allows business professionals to send one-way video communications online. An Internet connection and webcam are needed to record and distribute messages.

Contact: 877-773-3164 ||


CSO Research Inc. has launched CSO Connect, a recruitment tool that offers employers an innovative way to connect with students and alumni of CSO’s client colleges. CSO Connect is designed to bring employers and students together, help recruiters control data flow, and align recruiting efforts with organizational staffing strategies.

Contact: 866-705-4201 | |


Doximity has launched Doximity Talent Finder, a career-matching service that allows hospitals, health systems and other employers to view the professional profiles and resumes of Doximity members. The service allows recruiters to search quickly for a variety of experience and skills criteria.

Contact: 650-200-3901 | |


The Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation has introduced, an online learning program designed to train relief workers in disaster readiness and response. The web-based program is designed to provide access to affordable, high-quality training tools and support.

Contact: 310-752-0200 | |

Book briefs are compiled by Leigh Rivenbark, a freelance writer and editor in Vienna, Va.


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