How HR Can Address a “Trainwreck” Like Amy Schumer

How HR Can Address a “Trainwreck” Like Amy Schumer

When hiring new employees, keywords such as, passion, enthusiasm, ambition and self-motivation are probably among the top qualities you deem as important in an ideal candidate. These are all things I’m sure “Trainwreck” star Amy Schumer possessed when her boss employed her at the satirical men’s magazine, “S’nuff.” Although she was committed to her profession, she was often challenged in her career and love life due to poor choices and unhealthy habits.

As an employer, you play an important role in developing your team’s talent and encouraging them to perform at their best.  But in some instances, you may encounter an employee who requires some reassurance in their career, for reasons that may include: a stressful job environment, a bad breakup or maybe because they’re not sure which career path they want to pursue.

Learning how to effectively address these behaviors will not only help you become a better manager, but it will enable you to build a solid and dedicated team. Whether it be someone who enjoys one too many glasses of wine, has commitment issues or requires a little motivation, the following are three lessons that can be learned from Schumer’s character in “Trainwreck.” With the proper tools, you can develop confidence and readiness to approach negative workplace behaviors that may adversely affect your organization.

Overcoming Alcoholism

In “Trainwreck,” Schumer plays Amy, a borderline alcoholic with inappropriate workplace behaviors. Although alcohol isn’t illegal, arriving to work still under the influence of alcohol from last night’s escapades can be problematic in the workplace. This is especially true in a healthcare setting, which may leave staff and patients vulnerable to serious adverse health and safety risks.

According to Psychology Today, high-functioning alcoholics (HFAs) typically do not realize the extent to which their drinking affects others. The fact that they are “functioning” and able to go to work, excel in academics, and provide for their family feeds their denial. They’ve convinced themselves that they deserve to drink because of their hard work or stress and that if life appears “put together” on the outside then they are entitled to continue drinking.

Psychology Today recommends approaching an HFA from a place of compassion and not from a position of judgment. Employers should express how his or her drinking is negatively affecting their job performance and how you perceive it as affecting their peers. In order to prevent them from getting overly defensive, you should place emphasis on your feelings and concerns, rather than stating how you think he or she should be living or acting.

Increasing Employee Commitment

With a string of failed relationships, Amy is a serial dater with ongoing commitment issues—partly due to her father telling her at an early age that he and her mother were getting a divorce because monogamy wasn’t realistic. When it comes to the workplace, getting commitment from Millenial employees has its unique challenges. Nicole Fallon, Business News Daily Assistant Editor, equates hiring Millennials to dating, “You start and end a string of relationships with people who may [appear] great at first, but eventually one or both of you feel the need to move on.”

Millennials, the largest group in today’s multi-generational workforce, are perceived as a generation with having short attention spans with separate values and different interests. “Millennial employees want to feel like they are part of something bigger than just their job,” says Tom Turner, Co-founder and President of DSI. “They want an understanding of how their position plays into the company’s success.”

Inc. suggests that Millennials must feel like their work is valuable. “Companies that clearly define their mission, vision and values create an opportunity for their employees to buy into a larger sense of purpose and community,” says Amanda Slavin, founder of Catalyst Creativ. Additionally, “Millennials crave freedom and flexibility.” By creating systems that allow for them to work remotely and have experiences outside of the normal workplace while still working on behalf of the company, they are less likely to look outside of your company to achieve these experiences.

Keeping Employees Motivated

What motivates you may not motivate your colleague next to you. In the movie, Amy portrays an uninspired writer with negative habits and no drive to change. But after meeting a sports doctor on a work assignment, she realizes that in order to establish a meaningful relationship she needed to change her ways. In the context of managing a multi-generational workforce, you must keep in mind that motivating Baby Boomers may not be the same for Millennials. A “one size fits all” approach is not effective. Different things motivate different people and that’s increasingly prevalent in today’s workforce consisting of Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials.

“It’s essential for the management team to work together to create policies and procedures with the unique perspective of each generation in mind,” says Hillary Comeau, Marketing Associate and Social Media Manager at Genesis HR Solutions. “When employees feel like they have a voice in the workplace, motivation usually follows.” For example, including employees in the decision-making process and soliciting feedback makes you appear more in touch with your team’s opinions. There may be challenges while motivating a generationally diverse team, but establishing a strong, cohesive unit will benefit both your employees and business.

With these strategies in mind, you can help employees like Amy Schumer’s character in “Trainwreck” become stronger team members. Healthy, committed, and motivated employees are more likely to help their organizations succeed.

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