Category Archives: Management

6 Effective Ways To Improve Employee Morale

Do you like your job? What about the place where you work, is it a pleasant atmosphere? Does your boss seem to appreciate you? Do you hope to remain employed there indefinitely? If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, more than likely, you have a fulfilling job. However, if you dislike the workplace environment and/or your supervisor and even dread going to work each day, there is still hope that you can turn things around. Rather than thinking of yourself being stuck in a rut you have the potential to play a leadership role and improve employee morale in the workplace.

What Is Employee Morale?

First of all, what is employee morale? It can be defined as a positive condition where workers have favorable attitudes about their jobs and the company they work for. They are satisfied with their job status and position and understand just how important their duties are in attributing to their employer’s success. Overall, they would like to see this company grow and prosper. Hence, each is willing to do his/her duties and do them to the best of their ability to ensure favorable results.

Workers that contribute to employee morale generally possess the following traits as they:

  • love their jobs and rarely, if ever, dread coming into work
  • respect their employer and plan to work there on a long-term basis
  • get along with most other coworkers and make all efforts possible to see that operations
  • within their department flow smoothly
  • are less likely to take days off or come in late or leave early
  • respect their supervisors and feel they get the support they need
  • are willing to go that extra mile to solve problems or help prevent them
  • are more dedicated to their job than social affairs at work
  • don’t feel overworked or underpaid
  • don’t engage in unethical activities as employee theft

Employee morale requires that workers cooperate with one-another and work as a team. This means being willing to fill in for other workers’ duties when someone is absent. Each person must actively engage in his/her assigned responsibilities rather than expecting others to pick up the slack for them. Likewise, each must be willing to help others out instead of complaining, seeking revenge, or doing other things to cause friction. Overall, workers must maintain a level of maturity and integrity plus go with the flow rather than against it.

The Costs of Poor Employee Morale

Each employee must realize how detrimental poor employee morale can be for a company. Low morale can seriously hurt an employer’s bottom line. First of all, it leads to high absenteeism. For each sick day a worker takes, the employer is paying him/her for a day’s work this person never done. Those who take numerous sick days cause a bigger loss in productivity than they realize, especially when they use them all up. Second, employees who become stressed out can cause problems in their department. Likewise, high stress leads to health problems, especially for workers who step out for a smoke break two or more times a day. Medical issues usually cost employers hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Poor employee morale causes high employee turnover. Of course, employees who dislike their jobs and scorn their employer are more likely to quit. When workers quit their jobs, especially without notice, businesses suffer as production is greatly slowed or possibly halted. As a result, companies must spend money in advertising for replacement workers and training them in. The costs of employee turnover may be anywhere from 30% of an entry level employee’s annual salary to 400% of the salary of high-level worker.

How Employers Can Boost Employee Morale

If you feel your company makes no effort to build employee morale, you can take the lead by making the following suggestions to your supervisor:

1. Praise each employee for work well done: Remember employees are people too. When they do a good job, they need acknowledgement from their supervisor. If a worker makes a great deal of effort and never hears anything positive from his/her boss or if the boss fails to communicate altogether, the worker will feel that the boss doesn’t appreciate them. If an employee receives praise, they will know they’re doing the right thing and will be encouraged to continue working hard. Whenever possible, a supervisor must inform their workers of the results of their hard work. For example, they can announce the total amount in sales or the money one saved the company.

2. Encourage communication: Communication is one of the most important aspects of productive work and good employee relations. A supervisor must be calm and understanding and easy to communicate with. If two or more coworkers experience conflict amongst themselves, rather than have the workers fight out their problems, the boss should be notified and a solution must be rectified. Likewise, a boss must be willing to accept feedback. This can be done by a suggestions box as well. Periodic meetings should be held as necessary.

3. Keep workers informed about the employer: Workers like to know how the company they work for is doing. Hence, their supervisor must hold a periodic meeting to keep them aware. For example, a retailer can hold a monthly meeting informing employees about sales in the previous month or a fund raising agency can tell workers how much in donations were collected in total. Companies should tell their workers about goals they have set, why they’re important, and whether they have been met or not. Even if the business is not doing so well, workers like to know that too. If there are gaps in communication of a company’s performance, then gossip and rumors ensue. On the other hand, well informed workers can contribute ideas on how to improve operations.

4. Offer perks for good work performance: Production gets redundant after so long, especially when workers don’t know their work benefits their employer. As a result, employees tend to slack off. Not only must employees stay informed about their work performance, but be encouraged to improve it. Therefore, each department must set goals on what that unit wishes to accomplish for the week and reward all employees if the goals are met. Such rewards can be $25 gift certificates, a company paid lunch at a nice restaurant, or free tickets to a local event as a baseball game.

5. Make the workplace pleasant: Reporting to the same old drab office or warehouse setting day after day gets old. If the workplace looks run down and the company has no intention of sprucing things up, they are likely to lose interest in their jobs and just flat out, hate this place. A dirty break room is disgusting, especially if it lacks a clean refrigerator and has old, beat up microwaves that are seldom cleaned out Unkempt restrooms not only are a big turn-off, but an annoyance as well. Employees who are forced to tolerate these miserable conditions may conclude that either this company doesn’t care about them or can’t afford improvements because it isn’t doing all that well. Hence, they are likely to walk out the door soon.

Repainting the walls with bright, lively colors enhances the place greatly. Replacing worn out carpeting with new can make a big difference. Providing a sanitary break room and clean, well-stocked restrooms with no broken sinks and toilets enhance the appeal of the workplace as well. Decorating the place for upcoming events and holidays make employees feel at home, especially at Christmas time. Large companies often have murals on their walls, sky lights, and new upholstered couches.

If your workplace looks run down, dismal, or disgusting, by all means suggest to your supervisor or HR what improvements can be made. Even the smallest improvements can boost employee morale.

6. Offer training or opportunity for advancement: Employees like to acquire gainful skills that will enhance their careers or lead to advancement. The more skills a worker learns, the more empowered and fulfilled he/she feels. For example, a warehouse employee may want to learn to operate a forklift or an office employee may want to learn how to use a particular Microsoft application. Even those who lack computer skills may want to learn how to operate a computer. If there is a duty or function in your workplace that you would like to learn, let your supervisor know.

In Summary

If you dislike your employer, before walking out the door, don’t be afraid to make suggestions on how to improve things. The workplace can be augmented in so many ways and need not cost the company a fortune. In the end, your supervisor will act more favorable towards you. Take the lead. Help boost employee morale.

Tips About Friendship at Work

Friendship Among Co-Workers

Friendly relations among the employees of a company—from the highest to the lowest ranks—sustain morale and make each workday pleasant. But most authorities agree that while an amicable relationship with co-workers is ideal, it is wiser not to let office friendships develop into intimate ones.

When a Close Friendship Develops

Over a period of time it is more than likely that you may build up a close friendship with a fellow worker. When someone’s companionship is important to you, you will naturally want to see that person outside of working hours. When this occurs, make a conscious effort not to spend time at the office discussing with your friend the things you did the night before and the plans you have for next week. Maintain an impersonal relationship in the office.

If Romance Blossoms

Should a close friendship become romance, discretion is even more important. A couple in love who work in the same office can easily become the office joke if they don’t discipline themselves. After all, the romance may founder, and should that happen, you’ll be all the happier that everyone didn’t know about it.

Friendship on the Executive Level

As with lower-echelon employees, it is considered discreet for executives in the same company to avoid close friendships with each other. It is believed that in certain instances such friendships between executives can adversely affect their business judgements and decisions.

Social Gatherings of Company Personnel

Sociability among co-workers

The temptation to invite a few people from the office to your home can be a strong one. Perhaps a group of you have a good time together during the lunch hour, or possibly one of the girls is so humorous—making everyone in the office laugh—that you think she’d be lots of fun at a party.

When you gather them all together away from the office, how ever, the result can be deadly—no fun, no laughs, just a dull evening. Also, there’s the possibility of discovering that one or two of your fellow workers are less attractive after they’ve had a drink or two, and incidents can occur that result in strained feelings.

Even if none of these things happen, a small social group within a large office inevitably isolates itself from the rest of the staff. Its members become cliquish, with their own jokes and topics of conversation. The effect on the general office morale is anything but good.

Sociability between senior and junior executives

An invitation to lunch, an occasional drink together after hours, a game of golf once in a while, usually constitute the somewhat impersonal social relations between senior and junior executives. However, a senior executive will from time to time invite a few of the younger or newer men in the firm to his home so he can get to know them better and meet their wives if he hasn’t already done so.

Extending strictly social invitations is the prerogative of the senior officer, and under no circumstances should a junior executive be first to do the inviting.

Should a high-ranking executive entertain you and your wife, it is a polite gesture for you to reciprocate but it is not necessary that you do so. When a junior executive does entertain his superiors, he does so as naturally as possible. Whether he plans a formal or informal dinner party doesn’t matter. What does matter, though, is that he does not try something his household cannot handle. For instance, when Mr. and Mrs. Junior Executive have no household help, it would be foolish for them to try to entertain in the same formal manner as someone with a chef or a cook and a waitress. A simple meal, well prepared, and served either buffet style or at the dining room table, is in much better taste than a pretentious one that doesn’t turn out right because it’s too much for one person to handle.

Plan a company dinner you can manage with ease. Do things as nicely as you can. The really important thing is that a host and hostess be gracious and, without appearing anxious, do everything possible to make sure everyone enjoys himself.

Sociability between executives and employees

Employees should be their most pleasant selves when invited to visit executives of the company. But no matter how friendly a party gets, remember next thy at the office not to act in an over-familiar way. You might be on strictly formal terms with your superior at the office but the party may have been so gay and chummy that he was calling you by your first name and urging you to call him by his (something you wouldn’t normally do). Don’t keep it up the next day at work; go back to addressing him as you always have.

If you are a secretary visiting your executive’s home, be particularly careful not to adopt an intimate tone when speaking about him to his wife. Equally unacceptable is talking about him as though he were a naughty little boy whose every action at the office has to have your approval.

2 Main Things You Need to Travel As a Businessperson

Anyone planning a trip for a businessman should prepare two main things for him to take from the office: Information and Supplies.

1. Information:

A file of information for the trip. If you are the traveller’s secretary or assistant, you can help him by preparing an information folder for each appointment. Each folder should contain:

  • A list of the names and positions of the people he plans to see during that particular visit, and his reason for seeing them.
  • All correspondence or memos that deal directly with the appointment, plus any papers that might be useful as background or supporting ammunition during his meeting.
  • A list of people he might try to see if he has the time, just to keep up old acquaintances.

Arrange these folders in order of appointments, so that he can consult each in turn beforehand. It is best to play safe and include every paper the traveller could possibly want; a record is of no use to him in the files when he is miles away in a customer’s office.

2. Supplies He Will Need to Get Things Done

There are many little things a busy man needs when he is on a business trip. For example, he may find it a nuisance to correspond with his office unless he has own supply of stationery and stamps with him. Or if he must prepare reports as he goes, but forgets to take report forms, his work is made more difficult. If you arrange trips, here is where you can provide that “something extra” in considerate planning.

The best way to make sure that none of the essentials will be forgotten is to write up a list and then assemble everything, checking off each item as you get it. An example of a well-prepared check list is given below. Naturally, you will probably add or remove items, depending on your traveller’s needs.

  1. Stationery of all kinds
  2. Pens and pencils
  3. Envelopes, airmail & plain
  4. Erasers
  5. Envelopes addressed to the company
  6. Clips
  7. Large manila envelopes
  8. Scissors
  9. Memo paper
  10. Rubber bands
  11. Stenographer’s pad
  12. Blotters
  13. Legal pads
  14. Scotch tape
  15. Carbon paper
  16. Calendar
  17. Address book
  18. Mail schedules
  19. Legal folders
  20. Pins
  21. Business cards
  22. Bottle opener
  23. Dictation equipment
  24. Ruler
  25. Mailing folders or boxes for dictation belts or tapes
  26. Band aids
  27. Cash
  28. Aviation guide
  29. Personal checkbook
  30. Timetable
  31. Office account checks
  32. Paste
  33. Expense forms
  34. Stamp pad & stamps
  35. Other office forms
  36. Postage stamps

A business trip can be tiring and discouraging, or it can be comfortable and rewarding. Much depends on the planning and preparation that go into it. You can make a contribution to the success of a business trip if you plan it thoroughly, with the traveller’s needs in mind.

How to Make Flight and Hotel Reservations for the Business Trips

Thanks to the Internet, it has become so easy to reserve flights and hotels these days. Although the last stage can be done through the Internet, all the companies and business people should know the detailed procedure which is explained here in this article. Make sure to read these 2 articles here and here too.

Pointers on Flying

If a businessman is pressed for time and cost is not a major factor, he can get aboard a first class jet and arrive swiftly, comfortable and well-fed. If both time and money are a consideration, he can go jet economy class, which is actually cheaper on many commuter runs than propeller first class. If the only consideration is keeping expenses to a minimum, the traveller can fly propeller economy class.

First class jet and economy jet seats can be on the same plane, as can first and economy class propeller accommodations. On first class flights, either by jet or propeller aircraft, excellent meals are served. The meals on economy flights, although usually of fine quality, consist of sandwiches and beverages. Some airlines, however, are inaugurating a “one class” schedule. That is, the traveller will be able to get first class service and meals at prices only slightly higher than those for economy class.

Certain airlines have a service between major cities whereby the traveller can simply go to the airport and get aboard the plane. He pays his fare on the plane, eliminating bothersome reservation procedures.

The traveller is the one who must choose the type of accommodations he will want. You can help him by giving him all the information possible on airline services so that he can make an intelligent choice.

You might find the Official Airline Guide, published by American Aviation Publications, Inc., 139 North Clark Street, Chicago 3, Illinois, helpful. The book is an alphabetical listing of the cities in the United States and its possessions, and Canada. It tells of the airlines servicing each city, and gives information on car rental and air taxi services there.

Making a Plane Reservation: After the traveller decides which air line he will use, you should get that line’s timetable. Remember, however, that the timetable is subject to change. You should check all times carefully when making the reservation.

When placing reservations, you phone the reservations desk of the individual airline. Make sure that you get the name of the reservations clerk so that you can make any further arrangements through that person. This will save your traveller time, because it will get his reservations handled much more quickly and efficiently. It also eliminates that “I’m sorry, but I think Miss Jones can help you” problem.

A typical conversation might go something like this:

“Good Morning. This is Mr. Doe of the Wilson Company. I would like to make reservations for Mr. Paul flouts of this company on American Airlines flight No. 6 from New York to Los Angeles, economy class, at 10:00 a.m. on July 15. Is space available?”

“Yes, Mr. Doe, we have economy class space available on flight 6 on July 15, but that flight leaves at 10:35 am.”

“That will be satisfactory. When does the plane arrive in Los Angeles?”

“It gets into Los Angeles at 1:30 p.m., Pacific Standard Time. It’s a non-stop jet flight.”

“Thank you very much. Please book Mr. Houts on that flight. May I have your name in case any question arises?”

“Surely. Just ask for Jon LeCompte at the reservations desk. And now let me take down complete information on Mr. flouts.”

“The reservation is for Mr. Paul Houts, the Wilson Company,313 Fifth Avenue,New York City. The phone number of the company is WA-6-223 3, and Mr. Houts’s home phone number is HA-7-7019.”

“Thank you very much, Mr. Doe. I have Mr. Bouts booked on that flight.”

It is not always possible to get just the flight you want. This is no reason to be disheartened. Tell the reservations clerk to put your traveller on the waiting list for the flight he wants. Then if reservations become available you will be notified. While you are waiting you can phone any of the other airlines to see if they can accommodate your traveller  If after this you are still unable to get the reservation, consult the reservations clerk, who can, in most cases, suggest a suitable alternative.

Note: As soon as you receive confirmation from one airline, cancel any other arrangements you may have pending for some other flight. This will help you keep the good will of the people you deal with at the airlines. It will also show consideration for other people who may be on the waiting list for that flight. Wouldn’t it make you happy if someone would cancel just in time for you to get the seat you want for your traveller?

Unless the traveller has an account with the airline, you or he will have to pay for the tickets when they are picked up. Many air lines have credit plans that make it possible to travel now and be billed later. Check with the airline you decide to use if your traveller wants to do business on a charge basis.

Be sure to Confirm Reservations

One last word about air travel reservations: It is necessary to re-confirm plane reservations for each lap of the trip, except for the initial point of departure. The traveller should do this in each city on his itinerary. You confirm, or re-confirm, a reservation simply by calling up the airline ticket office and telling them that you would like to confirm a reservation. It is best to ask for the person at the reservations desk that you spoke to when you first made the reservation. Make sure that you give the clerk all information as to flight number, date, destination, and the like.

Reservations must be confirmed at least six hours before flight time on domestic flights. On international flights, reservations must be confirmed twenty-four hours before flight time. You are thoughtful if you remind the traveller of this just before departure.

Pointers on Train Travel

In order to give the traveller complete in formation on rail reservations and accommodations, you should know just what is available. The various types of Pullman accommodations are listed below:

  1. Upper or lower berth: A single bed, with a space provided for personal articles. Toilet facilities are located at one end of the car.
  2. Roomette: A private room, usually for one person, with a bed folding into the wall and with a sofa seat for daytime use. Toilet facilities are in the same room.
  3. Bedroom: A private room with a lower and upper berth. The lower serves as a sofa for daytime use. Toilet facilities are in the same room.
  4. Compartment: A private room with lower and upper berth. Toilet facilities are in the same room.
  5. Drawing room: A private room with lower and upper berth, and a sofa that can be converted into an additional lower berth. There is a private toilet adjoining.

Not all overnight trains have all of the above accommodations. Some day commuter trains have none of them. Most of the time tables for the various lines list the accommodations available. If the information you want isn’t in the timetable, you can get it either from the reservations desk of the railway or from a travel agency. Find out, too, whether the train has a diner or club car, observation car, and so on. By telling the traveller these facts you smooth his way toward a more pleasurable trip.

Making a Train Reservation

When you are ready to make the reservation you will find that the procedure is similar to that of making plane reservations. You should have a concrete idea of what you want before you phone. Note that railroads will not make reservations for the entire trip if it is broken by plane travel; air lines, on the other hand, will handle plane reservations all the way through, despite interruptions.

You can find all the schedules and timetables for all railroad and steamship lines in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico in the Official Guide of the Railways. The Guide is published by the National Railway Publications Company, New York. Single copies can be purchased and the publication can also be obtained by subscription. Included in this publication is information such as accommodations offered by the different lines, mileage between stations, maps of the roads, and so on.

Another source of information is the individual line itself. You can either telephone or call at the company’s offices personally.

When you are ready to make the reservations, it is best if you become acquainted with the “passenger representative” of the rail road. If you do, you will have an advantage in that you can deal with the same person every time you have to call. If you don’t know the passenger representative, call the reservations desk.

It is considerate to give the person you are talking to complete and precise information on departure point and destination, time, train number and accommodations desired. 11 what you want is not available, this enables him to suggest an alternative.

If your traveller wants to do business with the railroad on a charge basis, accounts based on his personal credit rating are available. These accounts work in a manner similar to that of the airline accounts. If the traveller has no account, you or he will have to pay for the tickets when they are picked up.

Whoever picks up the tickets should check them carefully. Check for time, date, destination, train number, railway station, and the like.

Travelling by Automobile

If the business trip is fairly short, the traveller may want to go by automobile. Being a member of the American Automobile Association will be a great help if this is the case. Aside from their emergency road service, they will prepare a special “Triptik” which is a detailed, up-to-the-minute strip map of the entire trip. Also provided with this service is a list of recommended hotels, motels and AAA service stations along the route.

The AAA will also help its members obtain advance hotel and resort accommodations.

If your traveller is not a member of the AAA, you can get all the necessary road maps at any local gas station.

The traveller may want to leave his own car at home and rent one for the trip. If this is the case, you can get in touch with a car rental firm in your area- There is a service charge plus a mileage charge ranging from around six to fifteen cents a mile. You can leave the car at any of the branch offices of the firm in any city. The cars are covered by accident insurance, which protects the driver as wall as the renting firm. Car rental is a very convenient service, but it can be expensive.

Making Hotel Reservations

Never wait until the last minute to make hotel reservations. Begin the job as soon as the travel arrangements are decided. It sometimes takes a long time to get the travel plans just right, but you can begin making hotel reservations as soon as you know the traveller’s destination and approximate time of arrival.

Most communities have a local hotel association you can phone for information. The association is usually happy to supply you with the names of reliable hotels.

You can get a wealth of information from the Hotel Red Book, issued annually in June and published by the American Hotel Association Directory Corporation,221 West 57th Street, New York, New York. This book lists hotels by state and city, indicates the number of rooms, rates, and whether the hotel is on the American plan where rates include meals or European plan, where they don’t. It also gives the telephone and teletype numbers for each hotel, and tells whether or not the hotel belongs to a chain.

Another source of information is Leahy’s Hotel Guide and Travel Atlas of the United States, Canada, and Mexico, published by the American Hotel Register Company, in Chicago.

If you don’t have access to any of these sources, you might write to the Chamber of Commerce in the city of destination, asking for the names of recommended hotels, but remember that it takes quite a while for correspondence to travel back and forth. You will need a lot of time to write first to a Chamber of Commerce and then, after receiving a reply, to a hotel. Perhaps there is no vacancy at the time the traveller needs a room. You would then have to write to some other hotel. Usually you won’t have time enough for this exchange of correspondence.

If the traveller is going by automobile, you can get information on places to stay from Lodging for a Night, a book published by Duncan Hines, Inc., New York. This book lists good hotels, inns, motels and overnight guest houses.

How Reservations Can Be Made

Below are mentioned some of the ways you can go about making hotel reservations:

1. You can call the hotel directly. Some hotels list their numbers in the directories of distant cities to make it easier for customers to call and make reservations.

2. Some hotels, particularly in large cities, have a service where by you can phone the hotel in your city and have reservations made for you at the hotel in the city of destination. This service, of course, applies only to hotels in the same chain. If this service is available, you receive your confirmation from the hotel in your own city. You can get the information from the Hotel Red Book.

3. You can make the reservation by letter. Naturally, there must be enough time for an exchange of correspondence before the traveller is to leave on his trip.

The following letter asking for a hotel reservation is short and to the point, but gives all necessary information.

Sherman Square Hotel

70th Street and Broadway

New York, New York

Gentlemen:

Please reserve a single room with bath for Mr. John Rafferty, beginning Friday night, April 17. Mr. Rafferty plans to leave the afternoon of April 20 and would appreciate knowing your check-out time.

Since Mr. Rafferty will not reach New York until Friday night, please hold the room for late arrival.

Please confirm this reservation as soon as possible.

Yours very truly,

Henry Roe

4. If your firm has a teletype machine and the hotel chosen also uses this service (you can find out from the Hotel Red Book), send a teletype message.

5. If you don’t have too much time to make reservations, send a night letter to the hotel. You might say something like this:

Please wire collect confirmation single room with bath for John Rafferty April seventeenth through twentieth. Hold for late arrival. Advise checkout time.

6. You can make reservations through the Hotel Reservation Service of Western Union. Phone your nearest Western Union office and give the Reservation Service the destination, arrival date and time, length of stay, room requirements, and the hotel preferred. They will take it from there. They will handle anything from a single- city trip to a complete travel itinerary, for business or pleasure.

7. The traveller may have to leave on very short notice. When this happens, try Western Union’s “Reserve and Hold” service. All arrangements are made while the traveler is en route. When he arrives, he calls the Western Union Reservation Desk to get details of his reservation. There is a charge for this service, but when time is short, the traveler will be grateful indeed if you can get him his reservations quickly.

No matter what method you use to make a reservation:

  • Give the traveller’s name and address
  • Explain the type of accommodation desired
  • Give the date of arrival
  • Indicate the approximate time of day the traveller will arrive
  • Mention the probable departure date
  • Ask what the hotel check-out time is (it may conflict with the traveller’s appointments)
  • If the traveller will arrive in the late evening, mention the fact that the room is to be held for late arrival.

Always get written or wired confirmation of a hotel reservation. If some mistake has occurred at the reservation desk of the hotel (and that is possible even in the best-run hotels) the traveller will not have a leg to stand on without the confirmation. He will at least be able to put up a good argument if you have provided him with the confirming letter or wire. If you have been thoughtful enough to do this, the hotel will be obliged to find a spot for him.

If the traveller is going by car, he may want to make reservations at motels along his route. Various independently owned motels have formed associations that aid you in making reservations. You simply go in person to the association motel nearest you and request reservations at one of the other associated motels. The clerk will then either phone or send a teletype message to the motel and have them reserve rooms. You then pay him the price of the room and he gives you a ticket which the traveller presents to the motel clerk where his rooms are reserved. Once the traveller reaches his first stop, he can have the clerk there phone ahead to make his next reservation. There is usually no charge for this reservation service.

Cancelling Reservations

In order to save the traveller’s time and money there are certain procedures you should follow when it becomes necessary to cancel reservations. Below you will find the correct ways of cancelling reservations and also how to get refunds on unused tickets or deposits for the traveller.

Occasionally a traveller may change his plans en route. If he does, he probably will have to handle the cancellations himself. The traveller should always try to give as much advance written notice as possible to the airline or railroad of any cancellation.

Airlines will usually make refunds en route, and the traveller can cash in his unused tickets at the airline office in the city where he happens to be.

If your traveller brings his unused airlines tickets back with him, return them to the airline at the point of purchase, or to the Refund Accounting Department address shown in the Official A Wine Guide, with a short covering letter. Mention the date, city of departure and destination, ticket number, and the cost.

Your letter might read:

Manager, Passenger Refund Accounting

American Airlines, Inc.

910 SouthBoston

Tulsa,Oklahoma

Dear Sir:

Re; Ticket No. 1oI-15-4M

New York CitytoPhoenix

Flight No. 507

The above ticket was issued to Mr. John Rafferty of this company for use on April 17.

Unfortunately Mr. Rafferty was forced to cancel his reservation and would now like a refund on the ticket. The fare paid for the ticket was $700.30.

Please make the check payable to John Rafferty. The ticket is enclosed.

Sincerely,

Robert J. Roe

The carbon of this letter will give you a record of all the pertinent information you should need to follow up later if there is some delay or error in the refund. It is important that you remember, how ever, to expect some delay in refund if the tickets were paid for by check. When payment has been made in cash, an immediate refund can be obtained by presenting the tickets at the ticket office. Or the amount of the refund can be credited to the account of an air travel card holder.

Pullman refunds cannot be obtained en route. For refunds, send the unused tickets to: The Pullman Company, Passenger Department,79 East Adams Street, Chicago 3, Illinois.

When you wish to cancel a hotel reservation, write the hotel a letter of cancellation if there is time. This is the polite thing to do, especially when you have requested the room be held for late arrival.

When a hotel has requested a deposit in advance, as some of the smaller hotels do, try to have your deposit returned. You may be successful if the cancellation is made in sufficient time before the intended arrival date.

To cancel motel reservations that have been made in advance, usually it is necessary to notify the motel by 6:00 p.m. on the day of your intended arrival. To obtain your refund you can either go to the motel, or, if this is impossible, give the motel your name and address and have them send you a check. Although 6:00 p.m. is usually the latest time for cancellation, it is considerate to give the motel as much advance notice of cancellation as you possibly can.

Using the Services of a Travel Agency

The easiest method of obtaining reservations, either for domestic or foreign travel, is through the services of a travel agency.

If you have had no previous contact with an agency, obtain a list of qualified travel agents from The American Society of Travel Agents, Inc., 501 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York.

You can make the agent’s job simpler by giving him complete information on what you want. Tell him the traveller’s name, his business and home phone numbers, and detailed information on dates, times of arrival and departure at each city, and the type of transportation preferred.

As far as expense is concerned, there is no charge for obtaining airline or hotel reservations because the agency receives a commission from the airline or hotel. There is a charge for obtaining rail reservations, unless they are part of a “package” deal; that is, a prearranged package tour. The service is excellent and generally everything is planned without a hitch. You owe it to your traveller  however, to make sure that everything is perfect. For this reason you should always follow up with the agency. Call them a few days be fore the scheduled departure to make sure that all reservations are in order and that everything is ready for a pleasant, well-planned trip.

Arranging Appointments

When making appointments for a traveller keep in mind the pointers below:

1. When arranging the traveller’s appointments, make sure that you get all the necessary information from him. This means the name of the person to be visited, the date, location, and time of the visit, the phone number of the firm and any special remarks or reminders about the visit.

2. If an appointment is made quite a while before the actual visit, it is best to confirm the appointment with the secretary of the per son to be visited, a few days in advance of the actual visit.

3. Always find out from the traveller if he has made any appointments on his own. If he has, include them in the appointment schedule.

Once the appointment schedule is set up, make sure that the traveller has at least two copies (one for his wallet and the other for his briefcase) with him.

How Does the Secretary Get Visitors at Office

One of the most important aspects of a secretary’s work is the way in which she handles visitors. She is a reflection not only of the company’s public relations image—as is the receptionist—but of her executive’s personal image. She is a key figure in building good will both for him and for the company through her attitude of considerateness regardless of the relative importance of each caller.

Smoking at the Desk

SecretaryIn most modem offices smoking at the desks is allowed. But because smoking is an objectionable habit to many people, if you do smoke be discreet. When a visitor approaches your desk and you are smoking, either put out your cigarette or place it in an ash tray to one side of your desk while you are talking to the visitor. Do not smoke while you are conversing with him.

Never put lighted cigarettes any place but in an ash tray. If you rest them on the edges of desks and cabinets, unsightly bums can be the result.

Rising to Greet Guests

Unless your desk is hidden from view, there is no need for a secretary to rise to greet guests, unless she wishes to do so as a mark of friendship or honor.

When the Visitor Has an Appointment

If her executive is free, the secretary can call on the intercom to say Mr. Jones has arrived for his 10:30 appointment. However, if her executive is occupied with another visitor or is on the telephone, the secretary places a note before him explaining that Mr. Jones has arrived and is waiting. If the person already in the executive’s office is a co-worker, or a personal friend or relative, the secretary can announce the caller on the intercom and need not use a note.

If he can’t immediately wind up what he is doing, or has fallen behind schedule in his appointments, it is courteous for an executive to leave his office to greet the man who is waiting for his appointment and explain that he needs only a minute or two more to finish up what he is doing. If the executive does not or cannot perform this courtesy, the secretary can smilingly make the same explanation to the waiting visitor.

When the Executive Is Not in His Office

On occasion an executive will have been called out of his office just before a visitor arrives. When this happens the secretary should apologize for her executive and explain the circumstances.

You can say, “Good morning, Mr. Smythe. Mr. Rogers was called into the plant about ten minutes ago because of a production problem. He should be back any minute now. Do you mind waiting?”

If an unexpected emergency will keep the executive out of his office for more than a few moments, you might explain it this way:

“Good morning, Mr. Smythe. I’m so sorry, but Mr. Rogers was called to the office of the chairman of the board a little while ago. I’m not sure when he’ll be back. I tried to reach you, but your office said you had already left. Can you wait?” The visitor can then decide whether to wait, come back later or make another appointment, or even see someone else—the executive’s assistant, for instance, if he has one.

When the Visitor Has to Wait

If the visitor has to wait, the secretary invites him to be seated and gets on with her work. If the guest is particularly important, she may ask if there is anything she can do for him. She makes no effort to “entertain” waiting visitors, but responds pleasantly to their small talk, just as a receptionist does. If direct questions are put to her about the business, she avoids them adroitly, pretending complete ignorance of the topic, if need be, or changing the subject.

When the secretary tells a receptionist a caller will have to wait, it is courteous for her to come out to the reception room and explain to the visitor the reason for the delay. If this is not possible—if she is taking dictation, for example—the receptionist will have to ex plain the delay. When the executive is ready to see the visitor, the secretary can either call the receptionist and tell her to send the caller in, or she can go out to the reception room and escort him in herself.

Announcing a Caller

If the secretary is told to send the guest right in, she may do one of two things. If the caller is known to her employer, and has visited the office before, she may nod to him and say something to the effect that, “Mr. Michaels is free. Won’t you go right in?” However, if it is the caller’s first visit, or he is an infrequent caller, the secretary should accompany him to the door of her employer’s office, open it if it is kept closed, step to one side and say, “Mr. Michaels, here is Mr. Roper.”

When older people or dignitaries or women are announced in a business office, it is considered proper to mention the guest’s name first. For instance, should a church dignitary visit your executive, the polite announcement would be: “Bishop McLaughlin, Mr. Michaels.” (Refer to the chart in the back of this book for the proper titles by which to announce officials and dignitaries.)

Members of the executive’s family are allowed to enter his office unannounced, unless there is a guest in the office. In this case, the secretary announces their arrival on the intercom right away.

Cancelling an Appointment

Occasionally there is reason for cancelling an appointment, but this should not be done lightly. Only a matter of absolute necessity makes the cancellation of an appointment excusable.

If an executive is called away and knows he will not be back in time to keep a scheduled appointment, his secretary should telephone the individual who is due for the appointment, explain the circumstances, and offer to make another appointment.

Should you have to call and change the time of an appointment for any reason, be as gracious as possible. Perhaps you could say, after introducing yourself: “I am sorry to have to ask this favor. But would it be possible for Mr. Springer to come to Mr. Michaels’ office at three o’clock today instead of two o’clock? Mr. Michaels has been asked by the president of our company to attend a very important luncheon meeting which will probably last until well after two o’clock.”

When the Executive Is Behind Schedule in His Appointments

If he is badly off schedule, it might be best to try and cancel one appointment, so he can catch up. The next best thing is to point out to him that he will have to make up time and ask him to cut short the next one or two appointments. If he is agreeable to this, you can let him know when the allotted time is up for each one.

Interrupting When a Visitor Is Present

Should your executive have on his schedule a meeting at a specific time and a visitor is in his office as the hour approaches, the secretary may enter the office, apologize for the interruption and remind him that an appointment is coming up. The time of the appointment should not be mentioned. A vocal reminder is better than a note because then the visitor is alerted to the fact that he should depart.

Allow enough time for your employer to end his talk with his visitor unhurriedly and still reach his appointment promptly.

When Your Executive Does Not Want to See the Caller

When you are certain your executive is not interested in seeing a certain individual, be polite but definite in refusing him. You can say something like this:

“I wish I could be of help, Mr. Gray, but right now Mr. Michaels will see only those directly connected with a new project. He will be involved in this for some time, and I think the best way to reach him would be by letter.”

Some people have a flair for turning people down in such a way that they feel they’ve been honored rather than refused. Try to cultivate this manner by treating even the unwanted guest solicitously. Never try to raise your own sense of self-importance by acting in an unpleasant, rude manner.

When the Visitors are Office Personnel

Many executives today maintain an “open door” policy for members of their company. Naturally, executives on the same level are free to come and go as they please, unless the executive has a visitor from outside the company. When lower echelon personnel indicate that they’d like to see your executive, try to first find out why. You can sometimes prevent someone from going over his immediate superior’s head and thereby causing ill feeling, or you can point out that your executive is not the right one with whom to discuss this matter. If you feel the problem merits your executive’s attention, make an appointment for the employee and explain the problem to your executive so that he will have some idea of what to expect.

If the employee will not tell you his problem, do not refuse him an appointment as you might an outsider. Set up an appointment for him and inform your executive that Charles Cole, the new young salesman, or John White in the mailroom, has asked to see him but is reluctant to tell you why.

The secretary will interrupt her executive whenever a company employee comes in with an emergency work situation.

When the Caller Has No Appointment

In a majority of cases, it is left to the secretary to decide how the caller without an appointment will be handled, since she knows her executive’s business needs and his schedule. It is her job to protect him from unnecessary interruptions.

First she must find out what the visitor wants. If he doesn’t volunteer the information, she must politely ask for it (see page 107).

If she feels that her executive will want to see the caller, she asks the caller to wait and goes into her employer’s office (unless he has told her to handle such situations over the phone or intercom). She gives the executive the visitor’s card and states his reason for calling. When the executive is with someone, whether a company employee or another visitor, she does not interrupt him, but waits until he is free. The caller without an appointment must, of course, expect to wait.

The executive may be free at the moment and consent to see the caller but if he has an imminent appointment the secretary should remind him, saying, “You have ten minutes until Mr. Grant arrives for his three o’clock appointment.” She lets her employer know the minute Mr. Grant comes in.

At times visitors without appointments refuse to state their business. The secretary then politely asks them to write far an appointment. She can say, “Unless I know what you wish to discuss with Ms. Michaels, I cannot announce you. This is a rule laid down by Mr. Michaels. I would suggest that you write him, telling him what you want to see him about and asking for an appointment.” If the caller is persistent, she should be firm but treat him courteously.

When her employer has an assistant, the secretary usually turns unknown and uninvited callers over to him; or she may refer the caller to another person in the firm.

She might say, “I think Mr. Gray in our Accounting Department would be more familiar with your problem than Mr. Michaels. Do you mind if I telephone Mr. Gray’s secretary and find out if he can see you now?”

If she can arrange the meeting immediately, she should give explicit directions for reaching Mr. Gray’s office, or she can accompany the visitor there. Should Mr. Gray be unable to see the caller until another time, she passes that information on, telling him the date and time if a future appointment is arranged.

How to Answer the Phone Calls As a Businessman

Phone Etiquette for the Businessman

Telephone calls and ringing telephone bells are the bane of many a businessman’s life. For this reason the handling of telephone calls is usually turned over to the secretary, with the average businessman rarely placing a call himself and receiving only those his secretary thinks he will want to take.

Making and Taking Your Own Calls

The latest trend encourages men to answer their own telephones and make their own calls. Those who go along with this idea claim it saves their time and patience to handle telephone calls themselves. Men who oppose this idea claim that it wastes time, rather than saves it, for them to place their own calls and to answer every incoming call, a number of which can be handled by the secretary alone.

Some companies adopted the policy of having men handle their own calls only because so much time was being wasted by secretaries manoeuvring to give their employers status by putting him on the phone after the other fellow. Secretaries are not wholly to blame for this childish nonsense. The question of who gets on the telephone first is a matter of foolish pride with many businessmen.

The following simple common-sense rules of courtesy can solve this problem:

Inter-office calls. The junior in rank should be on the line first, regardless of who initiates the call. If the two men are of equal status, the one who is making the call gets on the line first.

Local calls. The one making the call should be on the line first. Long distance station-to-station calls. The one making the call should be on first.

Long distance person-to-person calls. The one receiving the call should be on the line first.

Announcing Oneself

The man who makes his own telephone calls announces himself to a woman as “This is Mr. Jackson of Linwood and Sons.” To a man he would say, “This is Jackson of Linwood and Sons.”

A woman introducing herself over the telephone says, “This is Miss Terhune of Smithfield Brothers.”

Answering the Telephone

When a man answers his own telephone he says, “Herrick speaking.” Or he may mention his department, such as, “Accounting, Mr. Herrick.” Or ‘Payroll, Herrick speaking.”

A woman answering her own telephone says merely “Miss Collins” or “Miss Collins speaking.” If she is part of a division or department, she might say, “Advertising, Miss Collins.”

Telephoning for an Appointment

If you are asked what day and time suit you best, when you ask for an appointment, don’t reply that you are free to come any time. That leaves the situation right where it was. The proper answer helps the person with whom you are speaking to arrange a time that best suits you. Say, “I can come in any morning between ten and eleven.” Or, “I can come only on Fridays after two o’clock.”

Don’t use the name of a mutual friend as a means of getting an appointment unless you have asked for—and received—permission to do so.

Receiving a Call on Another Person’s Telephone

Occasionally an important telephone call will be referred to you when you are visiting in someone else’s office. Your host will usually invite you to use his telephone or you may ask permission to use it. If you wish, you may say you will take it outside at the secretary’s desk. Try to keep your conversation brief; your associate is waiting to resume your discussion.

If you have no need of a telephone in your work, and calls for you come in on someone’s else’s telephone, discourage all but important calls. Otherwise you are going to be a nuisance to the individual whose phone you use. Again, keep your conversations brief and to the point. Don’t tie up the phone for long periods of time, chatting with your friends.

Making a Call on Someone Else’s Telephone

If you have occasion to call long distance—perhaps to your home office or factory—from an office you are visiting, reverse the charges or ask the operator for the charges so that you can pay for the call—or at least offer to cover the expense. If the call is a local one it isn’t necessary to offer to pay for it, but you should not make a practice of telephoning from someone else’s office.

Placing and receiving telephone calls when you have a guest

Do not make a phone call when you have visitors, unless your visitors are related to the business that you want to discuss on the phone.

Regarding the incoming calls, only answer the calls that are too urgent. Ask your secretary not to connect the calls unless they are too important or are related to the visitor/visitors you have.

Should a telephone call of extreme importance, or of a private nature, come in while someone from your office is visiting you, courteously ask him to leave: “This is an important call I’ve been waiting for all morning. Will you excuse me? I’ll be in touch with you later.”

Telephone Interruptions

Should you be interrupted while you are speaking on the telephone—and this should occur only in an extreme emergency—try to finish your call. If you can’t, apologize to the person on the other end of the wire and say you will call back.

When a call is disconnected, whoever put in the call should ask the operator to connect him with the number again.

Should you pick up an extension telephone and discover you’ve interrupted a conversation, quickly say, “I’m sorry,” and hang up.

How to Professionally Answer the Phone Calls in Your Office

The way in which a telephone call to a company or an individual is answered by the switchboard operator has an important psycho logical effect upon the caller. A cheerful voice and inflection, plus careful enunciation, make the caller feel immediately that he is dealing with an efficient, dynamic company. Just the opposite impression is given by the voice that sounds bored and tired and that slurs its greeting so that the caller isn’t sure he’s made the right connection.

Answering the Phone

When you answer the phone calls you have to do your best not to keep the caller waiting. This is very important and make the caller realized that he has called a professional and reliable company.

The Phone Greeting

The greeting you give have to be accurate and be according to the correct time and also the company  name. This helps the caller understand that he has dialed the right number without having to ask. For example, “Good morning, The Palisades Company,” or, “Good afternoon, Bryant 9-8000.” Knowing that he has the right number, the caller merely has to ask for the individual he is calling. When your company requires a special greeting on holidays, sound as though you mean it when you answer a call with, “Merry Christmas; Palisades Company.”

If you work in a small office—perhaps a one-man company—and answering the phone is part of your job, give the company name and your own. For instance, “Briarwood, Incorporated—Miss Dunn speaking.” You may precede this with “Good morning” or whatever is appropriate to the time of day. But when the name of the company is a long one, it might be best to omit the greeting and just give the company name and your own.

The Case of the Vanishing Operator

Don’t annoy callers by doing a disappearing act the minute you answer the call, then coming back on to ask who the caller wants, and disappearing once again just as he is telling you. No one likes to be left talking to himself.

Also, when you ask someone why he is calling, listen until you’ve heard the answer—even though it is a long, complicated story. It only irritates callers if you ask them the reason for the call and then seem not to be paying attention because you are answering other calls.

Frequently company policy requires that the switchboard operator ask the name of the person calling. A very busy switchboard operator is permitted to use the somewhat brusque, “Who’s calling?” or “Who’s calling, please?”

Should a caller refuse to give his name, the operator may connect him with the secretary of the man he has asked for and leave it to her to find out the reason for the call.

Having the Caller Hold the Line

When the caller gives you the name of the person he wants to speak with, thank him and connect him.

If the line is busy, tell the caller, “Mr. Brown’s line is busy. Will you wait?” If he answers in the affirmative, say, “Thank you.” Re turn to him every minute to keep him posted; no one likes to feel he’s holding on to a line that’s been forgotten. You can say, “Mr. Brown’s line is still busy.” And don’t forget to say, “Thank you” when he says he will continue to wait.

When Mr. Brown hangs up, say, “Mr. Brown’s line is free now. Thank you for waiting.”

Should a caller decide not to wait when Mr. Brown’s line is busy, be sure you get his name, number and extension. Write them down, and say, “Thank you. I will tell Mr. Brown you called.”

Handling Problem Calls

When you plug in a call from someone who seems vague about what he wants or who he wants to speak to, or who is obviously a crank caller, don’t cut him off abruptly while you answer other calls. The problem here is not to let a caller of this type take up so much of your time that the switchboard lights up like a Christmas tree while he tells his tale. Listen to him closely to see if you can help him by referring him to a certain department or individual. If you must interrupt him to answer another call, say, “One moment, sir. I have another call to answer.” If you decide it is pointless to connect him with anyone, suggest that he write a letter to the company, explaining his problem.

Regarding the answering the phone calls in a business office, please also read the below articles:

  1. How to Answer the Phone As a Secretary
  2. How to Answer the Phone Calls As a Businessman

How to Deal with Your Junior Executives

If you are a high-ranking executive with junior executives under your wing, your attitude towards them can make a significant difference in how successfully they develop. If you treat them with apparent discourtesy, you discourage them from doing their best. More harmful, probably, is the fact that you also weaken their image of authority in the eyes of their subordinates.

Here are specific ways in which you can demonstrate your consideration for your junior executives, and in doing so show that you are solidly behind them.

1. Give each man the prestige and status he has earned

If a man has earned the right to certain privileges and status symbols, he expects to get them. It is a mistake to think that these things are unimportant; they matter to the executive, and their presence or absence is noted by his subordinates. Whether it is a larger office, or a listing in company directories, or a reserved spot to park his car, or just a name plate, see that a man gets it if his position deserves it. It is a small courtesy you can’t afford to neglect.

Show by your actions, too, that you accord his position the respect it deserves. It is disrespectful to by-pass a junior executive and deal directly with his subordinates. It is disrespectful to fail to include him in meetings, or to leave his name off routing slips when information is being circulated to management people, or to other wise suggest that he isn’t very important to you.

2. Give him the authority he needs

When a man is given a responsible job to do, he should also get the authority he needs to get the job done. If your junior executives have to come to you frequently for approval of plans, or if you frequently override the decisions they make, you are undermining their authority.

You should give every subordinate executive the degree of authority that his responsibilities require, and encourage him to use it. He will appreciate your confidence in him—and he will need it, if he is to become an effective executive.

3. Let him know he can count on your support

One of the surest ways to smother initiative in a junior executive is to encourage him to make decisions, then blame or ridicule him when he makes a mistake. This is especially rude when it is done in front of his subordinates.

The only considerate policy is to stand behind your subordinate supervisors. Show them that you will back them up, both in their dealings with their subordinates and in your dealings with higher management. Do your fault-finding with them in private, and make your criticism constructive. They should feel that you will take their side until they are proven wrong, and that even then you will not humiliate or be little them.

4. Don’t get too friendly with your junior executives

Familiarity may not always breed contempt, but there are other problems it can cause. It is difficult to take an objective view of the performance of someone who has become a close friend. It is even more difficult to criticize him, even though you may recognize that he needs it. And you are almost certain to create a morale problem when you show favouritism.

The rule about not getting chummy with subordinates applies to employees at any level below you, not just to junior executives. However, there is a special danger that a close friendship may develop between executives, even though they may be of different rank. There is not the same natural barrier between them that there is between an executive and a lower-level employee.

How to Deal with Your Secretary in a Good Manner

If you have a personal secretary, you probably spend a substantial portion of your working day with her. You probably know each other well, and know how to work well together. No matter how close your working relationship with your secretary is, be sure that you remember to treat her with courtesy and deal with her in the best possible manner.

Here are some important courtesies that secretaries appreciate from their bosses, as revealed in a survey of over two hundred executive secretaries in different parts of the country.

1. Remember to say “please” and “thank you.”

It’s never good manners to assume that because you have such a close working affiliation, you need not bother to use “please” and “thank you” in the daily course of your activities. “Please take care of this, Miss Kane,” rather that a curt “take care of this,” goes a long way toward making the work day more pleasant. Similarly, “thank you” to your secretary, spoken warmly and often, makes her work load seem lighter and her job more rewarding.

2. Don’t blame your secretary when things go wrong

When your secretary makes a mistake, point it out with a view toward preventing similar errors in the future, rather than waste time “placing blame.” Remember that when you let your secretary save face (she does this for you, constantly, in many diplomatic ways) by getting down to the business of making corrections instead of “rubbing it in,” you save time, energy, and avoid needless irritation.

3. Be open to suggestions

The employer who treats his secretary like a machine will get, inevitably, machine-like reactions from her. Let her know that you respect her intelligence and value her opinion. An occasional, “We’ll try it your way this time, Miss Ames,” does wonders for her feeling of usefulness.

4. Don’t “push” your secretary to work faster

It isn’t usually necessary to push a reliable secretary to work harder and faster; once she understands what has to be done, and when, she likes to establish her own pace. She’s willing to accept the responsibility for getting it done promptly.

5. Don’t discuss your secretary with others

This is a courtesy that every secretary appreciates. In the course of the boss-secretary relationship the employer sometimes learns facts about the personal life of his private secretary. Just as an employer expects his secretary to keep his private affairs confidential, the secretary appreciates an employer who keeps what he has learned of her personal affairs confidential. Also, the thoughtful employer does not make personal comments about his secretary’s appearance or her work, in the presence of others.

6. Be considerate in small things

Often, it’s the small irritations that are hardest to bear. When you know your secretary will probably have to stay overtime, do you wait until the last minute to tell her about it? Or do you give her the courtesy of letting her know as much in advance as you possibly can? When dictation or other work runs into lunch time, do you ask her if she has made a luncheon appointment? Even if she has not, she will appreciate your courtesy in having asked her, anyway.

7. Don’t try to reform your secretary

It’s bad manners to carp on small habits and little things your secretary may do that are not quite to your liking. If her assets far outweigh her little liabilities, keep in mind that most likely she is putting up with you as she finds you, too. You would probably be surprised at the number of things in your personality that your secretary would like to change, if she could.

8. Respect her privacy

Your secretary senses when to walk out so that you may talk on the phone in private or when to walk out quickly after introductions are made. She will appreciate it when you allow her a bit of privacy, too, when she has an important phone call, for example.

9. Maintain a sense of humor

A kind word, a bit of fun, a little relaxation at the right moment can do wonders for both you and your secretary when the going gets rough. It takes little effort on your part, and it pays off.

How to Fire an Employee Professionally and Properly

It is unpleasant to have to fire an employee. It is also costly, in several respects. Whatever training the employee received is wasted. To find and train a substitute will take time and money. You also pay a price in the inconvenience of being short-handed, even for a short time. And the dismissal may have a demoralizing effect on the other employees. Nevertheless, if it becomes necessary to fire someone, you must do it.

Here are suggestions for handling a dismissal with a minimum of unpleasantness and cost.

1. Give the employee warning

A sudden dismissal without some previous warning of trouble is rare. If you have done nothing about an employee’s earlier infractions or poor work, and then suddenly decide that he has to be let go, you are being inconsiderate. Every employee deserves the benefit of initial warnings about unsatisfactory work or behavior; ample chance for corrections and improvements; even a chance for a transfer to another department where he might do better. He should also have your encouragement and advice when he first experiences trouble.

When other employees know that this is your practice, they also know that someone who seems to have been fired without warning actually had abundant notice, and every chance to improve. This is important, because employees are fearful and resentful when it appears that firings are handled inconsiderately and seem to come without warning.

2. Have good cause when you fire someone

The power to dismiss an employee is not to be used capriciously. You must have a substantial reason before you can fire someone in good conscience. Again, the morale of your subordinates will suffer seriously if they feel that you will make up a flimsy excuse to fire an employee you don’t like. (If your subordinates are unionized, of course, the causes for which an employee can be discharged are probably spelled out in a contract.)

3. Don’t humiliate an employee whom you are firing

If it becomes necessary to dismiss someone, let him know about your decision in private conference. Climaxing a public disagreement in front of other employees by yelling, “You’re fired!” is inexcusable melodrama that disgraces the employee before his fellow workers. In the privacy of your office or a conference room, tell him not only that he is being dismissed, but also why. Even in private, you should not get angry with him; make it clear that you take this action with regret and only after trying to prevent it. If his reaction is an angry one, avoid answering him the same way and creating an ugly scene.

4. Give him any last-minute help you can

The reasons for an employee’s dismissal may be such that you can still recommend him to another employer. Certainly you can see that he gets any severance pay or other company benefits due him. Your company may permit you to allow an employee who is on notice for dismissal to take time off to seek a new job. The employee who is leaving will appreciate any help you arc able to give him—and your consideration won’t go unnoticed by his fellow workers, either.