Suck Less 101: 5 things employers can start doing right now to suck less

Power isn't balanced between workers and employers. Employers can run terrible hiring processes, treat employees like crap, shelter and hide abusers in their ranks, refuse to provide proper training, under-resource their staff, and more, and there's not a ton your average employee can do about it. They just have to endure the slings and arrows (for now. Workers need to build more power). 

Most employers want to be counted among the Good Guys, in their heart of hearts. But few want to actually do anything differently to get there. Here's 5 relatively easy things that employers could start doing right now to better serve their communities and their workers. 

Put salary ranges on job postings.

We all know you have a budget for the position. You can be clear about what it means (a great example is a recent Management Center posting, which stated "The salary range for Associate roles is between $50,000 and $60,000, with exact salary depending on experience and new staff rarely starting at the top of the range." Easy peasy. Stop wasting people's time. Vu Le over at Nonprofit AF has a great and convincing piece on this. 

Stop making applicants fill out applications.

You can have a human person look at a resume and parse it. I promise. I've worked enough places where we did it despite high applicant volume, so I don't believe a single HR person who says they get too many applicants to have a human screen them, and you shouldn't believe them either. If the application is more than name, email address, maybe an EEOC section, and some fields to copy/paste or upload their resume/cover letter, then you might have a bad process. I'm fine with a few specific questions to get a better idea of who your candidates are, but if you have one of those "personality test" questionnaires, or if you require applicants to put their work history for the last 7 years, field by field, into a form, then you don't deserve to have any employees. Plain and simple. 

Stop being stingy with raises.

I understand you got a bottom line, but look at your team. If your most valued staff came up to you and said that you need to give them a raise or they'll leave, what would you give them to stay? Good news, you just did market research! Because you're the market, and you now know what that employee is worth to you. Change their rate now, before they have to ask you. Pay people what they're worth, and quit trying to get away with giving people less... it's a quick way to show that you don't really value them. Plus, only giving people raises when they ask for them is an express train to Discrimination Town because, shockingly, white men are generally more apt to negotiate for more money! And women who do negotiate tend to be punished for it. The mechanism for that discrimination isn't conscious, either; it's all wrapped up in socially ingrained biases that most of us have. You might well be discriminating against an employee and not know it. This exercise will help you stop doing that. 

Stop asking for references up-front.

You're not gonna contact those references until you're deep in the hiring process (at least, you shouldn't be; if you are we got a whole nother problem here), so don't ask them from everyone at the application stage! Plenty of folks will have (completely legitimate) privacy concerns about having their info blasted. And applicants should be able to give their references a heads-up that they may be contacted soon for a specific job; not only will references be better prepared (and thus better able to walk you through specifics on your candidate), they'll be more on alert for calls from unknown numbers and the like, which will help you get in touch with them faster. It's a win/win and some of y'all are playing it lose/lose.

Thank your employees.

Thank them personally, in person or in writing or ideally both, when they do good things. Not only does this feel good (everyone likes affirmation!), it makes it much easier to build the rapport you need to have in order to deliver harsher and more developmental feedback. When your staff knows, knows that you value them and recognize when they do great work, its much easier to accept you as a credible source of critique and developmental feedback. A good guideline is to give around 6 bits of positive feedback for every piece of developmental or critical feedback. 

There are so many more things you should be doing better (obvs) but these are really good, easy places to start. And you gotta start somewhere.