Women at Work – 1940

woman-at-work-guide1943 to be precise.

What follows is an excerpt from the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine; written for male supervisors of women during World War II.

*****************

Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees

There’s no longer any question whether transit companies should hire women for jobs formerly held by men. The draft and manpower shortage has settled that point. The important things now are to select the most efficient women available and how to use them to the best advantage. Here are eleven helpful tips on the subject from western properties:

1. If you can get them, pick young married women. They have these advantages, according to the reports of western companies: they usually have more of a sense of responsibility than do their unmarried sisters; they’re less likely to be flirtatious; as a rule, they need the work or they wouldn’t be doing it — maybe a sick husband or one who’s in the army; they still have the pep and interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.

2. When you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some time in their lives. Most transportation companies have found that older women who have never contacted the public, have a hard time adapting themselves, are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It’s always well to impress upon older women the importance of friendliness and courtesy.

3. While there are exceptions, of course, to this rule, general experience indicates that “husky” girls— those who are just a little on the heavy side — are likely to be more even-tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.

4. Retain a physician to give each woman you hire a special physical examination — one covering female conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit but also reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job. Transit companies that follow this practice report a surprising number of women turned down for nervous disorders.

5. In breaking in women who haven’t previously done outside work, stress at the outset the importance of time — the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.

6. Give the female employe in garage or office a definite day-long schedule of duties so that she’ll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them but that they lack initiative in finding work themselves.

7. Whenever possible, let the inside employe change from one job to another at some time during the day. Women are inclined to be nervous and they’re happier with change.

8. Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. Companies that are already using large numbers of women stress the fact that you have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and consequently is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.

9. Be tactful in issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can’t shrug off harsh words the way that men do. Never ridicule a woman — it breaks her spirit and cuts her efficiency.

10. Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around women. Even though a girl’s husband or father may swear vociferously, she’ll grow to dislike a place of business where she hears too much of this.

11. Get enough size variety in operator uniforms that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can’t be stressed too strongly as a means of keeping women happy, according to western properties.

**********

note: I realize this has circulated on the interwebz for a number of years now, but I still find it fascinating.

 

Share

Women at Work – 1900


sewing“In 1900, only 6 percent of married women worked outside the home, usually when their blue-collar husbands were unemployed. Among wives with children at home, very few worked at all. Almost half of single women held jobs, but they usually stopped working when they married or, at the latest, when they got pregnant, and most never worked for pay again. About a third of widowed and divorced women worked, typically out of economic necessity. Never-married women with children were virtually unknown.”

“In 1900, three out of four working women were engaged in domestic service, farming, or factory work, particularly in the nation’s textile mills and shoe factories. A third of working women were domestic servants. Teaching and nursing were the only professions generally open to women; female managers and officials were rare.” 

The First Measured Century – PBS

**********

 image: Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies

Share

I Still Like Cover Letters

mailboxI belong to numerous Facebook groups filled with members who are sourcers, recruiters, HR folks, techies, and assorted “talent” pundits. At least once per month, I swear to you, a lengthy thread emerges when someone posts something along the line of “do you still want to receive cover letters from candidates?”

People get riled up! It’s almost as hot a debate as the other old conversational standby in these groups about “Agency vs. Corporate Recruiters.” (That one, by the way, is also a crowd-pleaser; routinely getting 72+ comments within 24 hours.)

 

The “no cover letter” crowd is adamant:

  • not needed because I can find everything I want about a candidate online
  • I don’t read them anyway
  • I haven’t looked at a cover letter in 10 years!

Those who like cover letters point out that:

  • a cover letter can tell a story
  • if no one else submits a cover letter, the candidate can stand out
  • for positions that require writing skills, a cover letter is a must

I sit firmly in the “yes” camp.

I recently sat down with the folks at the Louisiana Job Connection and discussed “How to Spot a Leader Just from Reading a Cover Letter.” Really. In the article I talk about how I look for “The Four I’s” when perusing a cover letter:

  • Impact
  • Innovation
  • Improvements
  • Inspiration

As I opined, whether you’re a hiring manger, recruiter or HR gal sifting through the inbox, when you receive not only the resume/CV but also a cover letter “you can weed through all the job-search buzzwords and spot candidates with genuine leadership skills or leadership potential.”

Does that make me a dinosaur?

 

Share

Will They Stay or Will They Go?

SHORT STAY 3You know what’s a hot buzzword lately? Stay interviews. The stay interview is nothing new but it does seem to be gaining traction – at least as a topic for conference sessions and general chit chat amongst business leaders and HR folks; I myself have had 3 very different conversations within the last few weeks.

I reccently shared my thoughts with the folks over at Small Business Trends (go check it out) where we discussed both the purpose and the format of stay interviews and also tossed out some sample questions to ask employees when you’re trying to determine if they intend to hang out with you for a bit longer. Questions like:

 

  • “What keeps you here?”
  • “What do you like most about your job and work in our organization?”
  • “What motivates you to do your best work, and how can I support you in that?”
  • “What is it about working here that you wouldn’t miss if you went elsewhere?”

Should managers be having these conversations with employees on a regular basis? Of course they should. Do we have to turn everything into a formal HR process? Of course not. The thought of assigning yet another form or checklist to the oversight of the HR overlords makes my eyes twitch.

This resides firmly in the domain of people management…you know…with the managers. Maybe they could gather this information by, oh I don’t know, having actual human conversation with their staff? Amazing! What a novel concept!

I’m a fan of “stay interviews” (although I refuse to call them that); certainly much better than what most of us do now which is saving up these questions to ask Joe Employee when he’s already decided to “exit.”

 

Share

Carnival of HR: News, Updates and Fun Stuff

Female_animal_trainer_and_leopardA few weeks ago we learned that the HR Carnival’s Ringmistress of 7 years, Shauna (Moerke) Griffis was ready to pass the stewardship of the Carnival to the next willing participant. Always up for an adventure, I opted to step into the fray.

The Carnival of HR was started in 2007 by Suzanne Lucas (@RealEvilHRLady), passed on to Allison Green (@AskAManager), and then managed by Shauna (@HR_Minion) beginning in 2009. I hope to continue their great work and keep this community going strong as we ramp up to our 10th Anniversary in 2017!

What IS a blogging “Carnival?”

A blogging carnival is a social media meme in which a group of bloggers submit blog posts to a “host” who compiles the posts into one collection that is then published on their site on the prearranged day. The posts and bloggers are generally focused on an similar area of interest, such as Human Resources, and may or may not have a theme which unites the posts on a specific question or topic. Carnivals occur on a regular schedule, monthly/biweekly/weekly, and the carnival hosts change after each event. You can find more information about blog carnivals here.

So what’s the deal with the Carnival of HR?

The Carnival of HR is a monthly carnival that focuses on Human Resources, Recruiting, Business, and Management blogs. Each carnival brings together a diverse collection of posts that will make you think and introduce you to new blogs and new writers. If you chose to participate this can also be a great way to drive traffic to your site.

How can YOU participate?

I’m looking for 2016 Carnival of HR hosts (you can see the schedule here) so if you’re a blogger and want to have some fun send me an email and let me know!

I’ve decided (for now) to move to a monthly schedule (as opposed to bi-weekly). But that doesn’t mean we won’t host more than 12 Carnivals during the year – in fact we have a special HR Tech Europe edition scheduled for March! So, if you ever want to host a special (i.e. off schedule) Carnival, just let me know.

 

********

image credit: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Vallecita’s leopards: Female animal trainer and leopard.

Share
error

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word.