Johnny C. Taylor Jr.
| Special to USA TODAYJohnny C. Taylor Jr., a human resources expert, is tackling your questions as part of a series for USA TODAY. Taylor is president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest HR professional society.The questions are submitted by readers, and Taylor’s answers below have been edited for length and clarity.Have a question? Do you have an HR or work-related question you’d like me to answer? Submit it here.Question: I’m a new manager for a hire that has just entered the workforce. She is hardworking, but her emails sometimes lack etiquette. Punctuation and spelling are often incorrect, and the tone isn’t always appropriate for a workplace setting. How do I have this conversation? – AnonymousJohnny C. Taylor Jr.: I see this as a learning opportunity. One for you, as a people manager, and one for your direct report, as someone who is new to the workplace.As a first step, I recommend setting up a one-on-one meeting with your employee. If you don’t already have them, I strongly recommend adding a recurring meeting to your schedule. This not only helps you stay connected and on the same page, but provides a safe, open space to discuss expectations. During your conversations, rather than flag mistakes, approach this as a chance to share company protocol, communication expectations, and even some Office Etiquette 101.These conversations should be dialogues, not monologues. As a people manager, you should offer guidance and feedback, but also leave room for your employee to ask questions and address their concerns.You mention your report is new to the workplace. Learning the ins and outs of office protocol, including email etiquette, is important, but it’s rare this happens overnight. Consider pairing her with a workplace buddy – a seasoned member of the team who can show your new report the ropes and answer any questions she may have as she adjusts to a new office environment and a new role.I also encourage you to connect with your HR team and see if your organization offers any professional development opportunities. If so, there may be a few business writing courses to help your report gain more familiarity with professional tone and format. It may also be helpful to show some examples of professional and effective emails you have written to better set expectations.Remember – constructive feedback is critical in building productive, supportive relationships with your team. Best of luck!Work got you stressed and burned out?: Here’s how to talk with your manager about itCareer move: Can I ask for my old job back? Ask HRJob tips: How to prepare for a virtual job interviewFrom lighting to sound, here are 5 tips to prepare for a virtual job interview.ProblemSolved, USA TODAYQ: I’m searching for a new job. I am a hard worker and feel that I am highly qualified. However, I have a chronic illness that forces me to stay home occasionally. I don’t want to mention this during my interview, but should I? – AnonymousTaylor: The answer is in your question: You’re under no obligation to disclose a medical condition during a job interview. That said, I understand your desire to be transparent with potential employers.I’ll start by sharing that under the Americans with Disabilities Act , it’s illegal for employers to discriminate against a person based on a disability, or even a perception of a disability. However, before applying to a position, I suggest doing a little research into the company and study the job description. Often, job descriptions will provide details about physical requirements and whether remote work is acceptable. If it’s clear the accommodations you need aren’t possible, this might not be the best fit for you. If you do decide to disclose your condition during the interview, you’ll want to be prepared. Can you discuss how you can successfully work from home? Are there accommodations you would need at home or at work to support you?Once you’re hired, you can start the conversation with your employer about specific accommodations you may need. Your manager may request medical certification to provide guidance and verification of an illness, injury, or disability. If covered under the ADA, your future employer is obligated to provide a reasonable accommodation, absent undue hardship.At the end of the day, disclosing your medical condition during a job interview is a personal choice. If you believe you need a reasonable accommodation if hired, you may feel compelled to disclose your chronic illness or disability. Conversely, you can choose to wait until you have the job offer in hand. Know that you would be well within your right to do either.Best of luck to you!
Johnny C. Taylor Jr.