Bobby Kerr is back with some expert business advice for SME employers

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Receiving a Reference of Employment:
This next listener emailed to say that they work under a self-employed contract services agreement as a senior manager in a major hotel. Their company has a policy of requesting references for senior managers, which this listener provided prior to their employment. They wanted to know if they are entitled to demand the same.

Bobby’s Advice:
What I didn’t like about this was the tone of the email, if you’re going to demand a reference you’ll get a reference but you’ll get a ‘John worked here from X to Y, end of’. A new employer will read between the lines and between the lines the reference will tell them not to hire John.

It’s all about tone and the tone of this email seems quite aggressive, it’s certainly not the way I’d go about getting a reference. People often forget that reputation is everything in this country. You’re much better off being consensual and leaving with a positive reference. It’s a very small world and the business community especially is very small. The way this email is written is aggressive and I certainly wouldn’t start off that way when looking for a reference.
 
Maintaining Canteens in the Workplace:
Starting this week’s Agony Uncle piece we had a HR employee who is responsible for the canteen in her workplace during the day. She had a problem with the mess that has been left in the canteen by her evening employees who were leaving the canteen looking like a ‘pigsty’ each evening. After speaking to her boss about the issue she was informed that they would not confront the evening shift supervisor and said it was up to her to sort it out.

Before Bobby gave his advice on this situation, Henry McKean took to the streets to get an understanding of peoples work canteens and how they were maintained.

People spoke about how difficult it is to keep canteens clean and that it is a very common problem in workplaces, with one person begging the question, “You wouldn’t leave it like that at home, why would you leave it like that in work?”. This was the general consensus among the public.
 
Bobby’s Advice:
The first thing this lady needs to do is get clarity from her boss on how far she can go here.  She’s on the day shift the problem is coming from the night shift, she isn’t on the night shift so she needs to know what her parameters are.

Her boss told her to sort it out, so if she goes ahead and suggests that if the mess continues they will be withdrawing access to the canteen she needs to know that she has the support from her boss to do so.
She also needs to work on the evening shift to see where the issue is coming from and to get closer to the situation. Unless you integrate yourself across the whole situation you’re not going to get a solution.
Start with the boss, get clarity and then go and work on the evening shift and get close to the supervisor to get a resolution.
 
Applying For the Same Job Twice:
And finally this week we had Ann who got in touch, about being called for an interview for a job three months ago which she cancelled. She’s now ready to move on to another job and would like to apply for the job again as the vacancy is still open. Can she apply again?
 
Bobby’s Advice:
I think she can but she needs to put herself in the shoes of the employer when it comes to potentially remembering why she cancelled the interview. We don’t know the circumstances are around her cancelling the interview. If her explanation for cancelling is genuine she has nothing to fear. Always with these things honesty is the best policy. Only Ann knows herself if she excused herself from the interview in the proper way or not. If she didn’t excuse herself in the proper way, I wouldn’t go back there.
 
If you have a business or SME related query you would like answered - you can get in touch with Bobby each week by simply sending a short mail to [email protected]
 

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