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Management Consulting and Training
Specializing in Human Resource Management

Proudly serving small businesses and not for profits for over 20 years

Consulting Services

Coaching for Effective Interviewing

In this series of individual coaching sessions we help you identify the employees you want and help you develop interview questions that get to your key issues.  We discuss the most effective interviewing styles and demonstrate how to use the interview style that is best for you.  Then, we conduct an interview together; in the final session, you conduct the interview and we observe.  After each interview, there is a debriefing with a Q&A session.  Learn who, what, when, where, why and how of interviewing in only 8 hours.  Conducted in four two-hour segments.  Target audience:  small business CEO’s.

The Spirit and the Letter of the LawPresenter

More than ever before, human resource policies and procedures have been shaped and continue to be monitored by the labyrinth of laws governing the workplace. From issues as topical as sexual harassment and age discrimination to wrongful discharges and civil rights actions, today's manager must be encyclopedic in his or her knowledge of the laws pertaining to employment. When a manager can not keep current, they must find be able to depend upon someone to do that for them.

Just The Basics can help to guide you and your staff through appropriate procedures in establishing the safe-guards that protect both your organization and its workforce. Where legal representation is appropriate, we refer our clients to some of the most able employment lawyers in the nation.

It is possible to substantially reduce your risk of paying unemployment compensation, as well as race, gender and age discrimination suits. You can install simple programs and friendly procedures which will help protect you and your organization.

Just The Basics helps you focus on the positive, productive side of legal compliance as it concerns Federal and State regulations.

Finding and Hiring New Employees

There is no question about how difficult it is to locate the talent and more difficult still to choose the right person for the job.  Difficult, but not impossible.

Your company is growing.  It has moved ahead on superior products, on vision, on sheer determination.  Fueling your growth with the people you need to develop the organization is a monumental task.  To the challenged entrepreneur, owner or president, choosing the people upon whose shoulders the future stands can be the single most critical component of the mission.  Whether you are hiring your first management team or the production and service employees, Just The Basics techniques can help you find and hire the talent you need.

Just The Basics' role in searching for new employees is to help you locate new talent or teach you how to do this for yourself.  You and your hiring managers can learn how to create a pipeline of people who will come to you for jobs and how you can use proven techniques to select just the right candidates.  Building on your "gut feelings", you can add the analytical part of the interview process to assure that the candidate you hire is the right person for the job.

Education and TrainingInstructor in Classroom

Just The Basics' approach to learning is to provide both education and training.  Education provides the theory; training is the application of that theory, practiced in the safe environment of a classroom until a comfort level is reached.  How business in America meets this challenge of education and training is the element which separates leaders from survivors. . . and perhaps America's leadership role in business globally.

Employees who cannot read cannot follow Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), warnings, labels, or the instructions required to keep a facility safe.  Employees who cannot do simple math cannot participate in Statistical Process Control (SPC) to implement Total Quality programs.

There is a humane way to implement literacy programs, one that makes employees feel that the company is doing something positive for them rather than "beating them up" for not learning in elementary school.  Your organization should be able to move into the future confident that employees have the skills to grow with the organization.  Just The Basics will create a continuing education program, including General Education Development (GED) preparation and fundamental math skills so that you can implement a Total Quality program or move to ISO 9000.

Today's employer needs a workforce capable of performing within a computer-driven information society.  Sometimes it is the manager or the CEO who has never taken the time to learn the computer.  Perhaps the son or daughter of the entrepreneur needs that little "extra" in social skills to make him or her really effective.  If your CEO Roundtable frequently talks about being on the "Net" and the only net you know is tennis, we can help.

Just The Basics will assist in developing employee education and training programs, providing the essentials in communication skills, and adaptability to a computer-driven environment.  Specific individualized programs for the most senior managers and owners can be developed and executed in total confidence.  Your heir apparent will be trained in business and social etiquette.  You will be trained to use a computer and navigate the "net" in a confidential environment.

We design education and training programs for individual clients, as well as offering special "groups of clients" programs. Some of our "client-only" training programs include:

  • Management for the first time supervisor
  • How to hire great performers
  • Management skills for middle managers

Compensation and BenefitsConference Leader

You do not want to pay too much for your talent, nor do you want to underpay someone who will then turn from you to another employer once you have them trained.  Compensation and benefit programs are not stand alone plans.  They are developed to attract and retain the kind of talent you need to grow.

Benefits like those provided under the law, such as the Family Leave Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act can be troublesome to a growing organization.  What to say to employees when they ask questions regarding those issues is as important as deciding what medical insurance to purchase or what base salaries to pay.

Just The Basics can be your resource when those questions arise or when you want a more formal (but simple) approach to salary planning, increasing 401(k) plan contributions, or benefit plan surveys.

Career Development and Management

Companies with existing Human Resource Departments may elect to work with Just The Basics to expand the human resource skills of the human resource professionals or senior managers in the firm.  We provide opportunities through training, skill building seminars or through ad hoc "second opinions" on difficult subjects.

While your HR person may want to handle the problem, a background or shadow approach may be an appropriate role for Just The Basics.  In such a role, Just The Basics is available to the HR professional at a level of involvement desired by that professional.  Shadowing allows your people to do the work and gain the experience, while providing a safety net in the event one is needed.

Good old-fashioned common sense works most of the time, but sometimes runs contrary to what the laws allow.  Just the opportunity to pick up the telephone and check will make everyone feel more secure about the action about to take place--especially when dealing with a difficult employee, a sexual harassment complaint, or firing someone.

Listening skills are a job requirement at Just The Basics.  Active listening allows us to hear the problem and to transfer as much knowledge about human resources to you as you wish to learn.  We transfer needed skills as they are required and desired, and before difficulties are allowed to mushroom into greater issues.  You control when and how problems are addressed, before they become out of control.

Career management for the CEO can be difficult to manage for small business owners. Just The Basics offers confidential advisory services for the CEO and heir apparent of your firm. 

Planning for Increased Productivity and Profitability

If you just took over as CEO of the firm, or if you just now have time to breathe and plan for the future, Just The Basics can work with you to develop a long-range human resource plan.  This plan will dovetail with your overall business plan and provide bankers, investors, and key stakeholders with the blueprint for hiring and managing key personnel.

Your ability to attract the talented players who will fuel the growth of new plants and new products development is directly related to your future success.

Human resources planning is no different from the planning required by any other aspect of your business--except that improvements in your equipment and facilities will result in a 25-30% productivity improvement, whereas human resources enhancements can result in up to 70% productivity improvement.  Productivity improvements drop straight to the bottom line, improving your profits.

Maintaining Morale During Change

When people don't know how else to label a problem, they frequently refer to it as employee morale.  The American Heritage Dictionary defines morale as "a spirit, as of dedication to a common goal, that unites a group".  You know when you have lost it, but do you know how to prevent losing it in the first place?

Today's employees are often confused, financially and professionally insecure, divided in their loyalties and unprepared to cope with the amount of change facing them everyday.

When management creates vacuums of information, communication, and leadership, employees fill in those gaps with their own information. We call those rumors and gossip.  They prevent you from successfully implementing change. Just The Basics will work with you to fill those "black holes" created by massive change.  We will help you create the systems and processes that prevent the vacuums and prevent the loss of employee morale.

We can prepare employees for change, manage with you through the massive change, and minimize declining productivity which always accompanies major change in organizations.

Additionally, change will ultimately reveal employees who cannot step up to the growth demanded by the organization.  A thoughtful, humane approach to these employees can preserve the reputation of your organization and allow the employee to leave with dignity.

HR Transformation

Many Human Resource Departments are moving away from a traditional, functional approach and engaging in strategic initiatives as true business partners.  In order to position Human Resources in this light, HR leaders are learning that a true transformation of the department’s skill sets and practices are required.  We provide coaching and guidance in transforming traditional Human Resource Management practices to align with and support the organization’s business imperatives.

The HR First Aid Kit

We begin where it hurts, then follow the Hippocratic oath - "first do no harm".  We are seldom called because our customers are looking to put in preventive measures.  They call when something hurts.  We fix the "hurt", then put the future preventive measures into place.

Normally, the first task of Just The Basics is to move a fast-growing organization out of the fire fighting mode and into fire prevention.  That permits even faster growth.  Revisiting issues once employees are gone is time consuming and expensive. Just The Basics can help your organization out of the emergency.  After the rescue, we can help you focus on the future. . . one without crisis.

It is the old forest and the trees scenario - when you are in the midst of the forest, it is hard to see anything but the trees.  An experienced and objective person can often offer insights into why that turnover is so high or why the team is not functioning as a team.  Most of the solutions are simple, but sometimes it takes a trained eye, that is not in the midst of the fray, to see the real problem.

Cultural Coaching

To ensure that an organization is leveraging the skills and talents of ALL its employees, a culture must be developed that accepts, values and manages different perspectives and approaches.  As organizations evolve through various diversity initiatives, leaders need to change and develop their competencies as well.  We work with executives and senior managers to help them define their role as the culture grows to leverage a diverse workforce.  Coaching is tailored to meet the personality and needs of each individual leader. 

Strategic Planning for Human Resources

CEOs today expect Human Resources to be a strategic planning partner.  More Human Resources executives are being given a seat at the Board table, so it's important they have something to say!

We offer a proven approach for Human Resource professionals to use to align their strategy with the long-term objectives of their organization.  Consulting is provided in the areas of:

  • Objective and Goal Setting
  • Establishing Success Criteria
  • Goal Execution

Measuring and Marketing Human Resources Effectiveness

Most organizations today expect Human Resources to operate as a Profit Center, as opposed to simply adding overhead costs.  This expectation leads Human Resources to take a more strategic, holistic approach instead of the traditional functional approach.  Consulting is provided in the areas of:

  • Determining Return on Investment for Human Resources Activities
  • Measuring Costs and Benefits of Interventions Such as Training
  • Aligning Human Resources Objectives with Business Imperatives

Measuring Human Resources effectiveness is not always enough to ensure that Human Resources has the budget and latitude necessary to be a strategic planning partner.  Human Resources must market its effectiveness within the organization and the business community.  We can share proven techniques for positioning Human Resources to ensure ongoing credibility.

Managing Workplace Diversity

As we move into the 21st century, new challenges and opportunities face business and industry with regard to recruiting a qualified workforce.  Protective labor laws have become complex and the dynamics of a culturally diverse workforce require sophisticated, thoughtful efforts to harness the talents and energies of every single employee.  We offer a range of consulting and training services that can assist organizations move from monocultural to a multicultural workplace including:

  • Development, Administration, and Analysis of Culture Audits
  • Executive Coaching
  • Facilitation of Teambuilding Workshops
  • Consulting Pairs Conflict Resolution
  • Awareness Training

Executive Coaching

Dr. Gravett shares her 25 years of management experience in public and private sector organizations by coaching busy executives.  Through one to two hour sessions, Dr. Gravett provides practical, proven techniques to improve employee relations; manage Generation X'ers; motivate employees during slow and peak production times; and effectively manage change.

Diversity Self Assessment

We have developed a self-assessment instrument that can help individuals determine their comfort level and receptivity to people who are different from themselves; places that are unfamiliar; and situations or activities that are new. This instrument highlights areas in which an individual needs to expand awareness or education within the diversity arena and can be used as a foundation for discussion about learning opportunities. The instrument is administered and scored with the help of a trained facilitator.

The EQ-i registration symbol is a validated self-assessment on the five key dimensions of Emotional Intelligence: Intrapersonal EQ; Interpersonal EQ; Stress Management EQ; Adaptability EQ; and General Mood EQ.  Dr. Gravett is a certified consultant and coach (CEQC) using this instrument.

Culture Audit

We have developed a culture audit that can be used in organizations that wish to determine what systems or activities should be changed in order to recruit, develop and retain a diverse workforce. This assessment assists organizations in their endeavor to target interventions to meet existing needs and issues and to prevent spending time, energy and funds on areas that are unnecessary. The audit results are compiled and interpreted by our consultants who can provide written recommendations to address the issues surfaced in the audit.

Please email Dr. Linda Gravett at lsg@justthebasics.com for additional information.