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Off to work? HR pros want you to keep this info in mind

In a perfect world for human resource professionals, employees would come to work already knowing certain things. This knowledge would contribute to a smoother work environment and go a long way toward preventing problems later.

What would this inherent knowledge include? Danny Avery, a human resources consultant from Columbus, says there are general things that would help across the board in any work situation and are not specific to a particular company or industry.

“The first thing that comes to mind is getting along with others and knowing how to work with people,” he said. “Knowing how to manage their time and finances would also be very good for employees to already know.”

Avery is past state council director for the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) chapters and is currently working with a team of educators at East Mississippi Community College to develop a regional workforce training program.

Amy West often wishes employees already knew some things. She’s vice president, HR manager at Starkville-based Cadence Bank and the new president of SHRM’s Golden Triangle chapter.

“It’s really sad that employees don’t understand the importance of appropriate behavior and dress and what most people consider normal,” she said. “It makes it uncomfortable for HR people and the employees to have to tell them about general hygiene and dress. Inappropriate dress breeds other problems that are hard to deal with from an HR standpoint. We’ve talked about this with our employees during the last year, trying to impress upon them that to advance they must dress, act, think and behave the part.”
West, who’s been with the 520-employee bank over four years, also is concerned that many young people entering the workforce don’t realize the value of benefits other than pay.

She adds that general professionalism among employees and knowing how to properly interact with others in a work environment are also high on her list of top things she wishes employees knew.

At Wesley Medical Center in Hattiesburg, employment manager Truman Abbe lists some things he feels would be helpful for employees coming to fill out applications or for interviews already knew.

“We are looking for employees who are knowledgeable about Wesley and believe they would be a good fit here,” he said. “Our Web site is an excellent source of information for both patients and job applicants who would like to find out more about what services our hospital offers before they come in.”

He added that it would be helpful for applicants to understand the hospital’s mission of loving God, serving others and excelling in healthcare.

“It is our mission that drives the employees of Wesley Medical Center as they care for our patients and their families,” he said. “If an applicant is knowledgeable about the position for which they are applying and knowledgeable about the institution for which they will be working, they are better able to ask questions during their interview and are better able to communicate how their skills and abilities fit the needs of the organization.”

Abbe says Wesley Medical Center’s two-day orientation is extremely comprehensive and covers issues ranging from compliance to customer satisfaction. The organization also communicates with its 1,200 employees through a monthly newsletter distributed to all employees and volunteers.

“Additionally, our CEO holds quarterly town hall meetings with all employees and both the CEO and COO have monthly birthday luncheons so employees can share their experiences, suggestions and ideas about their jobs,” he added.

Appropriate dress is something Marilyn C. Agnew wishes employees of Tupelo-based BancorpSouth knew when they join the banking system’s large workforce.

“We have many inquiries from supervisors on dress code and how employees should dress,” she said. “Another issue is the ability to handle personal finances. In the banking industry, we would hope that our employees are able to handle their personal finances in a satisfactory manner.”

Agnew, vice president and employment coordinator, says good communication skills are important as employees relate to customers and to other employees.

Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at llofton656@aol.com.


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