Crystal Spraggins

About the Author

Crystal Spraggins, SPHR, is an HR consultant and freelance writer who lives in Philadelphia. She also writes at her blog, HR BlogVOCATE. For the past 15 years, Crystal has focused on building HR departments in small- to mid-sized companies under the philosophy that "HR is not for wimps." She is also the CEO and Founder of Work It Out! and partners with HRCVision, a full-service HR consultant practice specializing in leadership and diversity training. Contact her at crs036@aim.com.

Don’t Make Employees Be Naughty Instead Of Nice

Editor’s Note: The holiday season is here, and TLNT is getting into the spirit with some classic holiday posts. Look for them through Christmas Eve. When I was a kid, we had a name for those other kids who were always causing trouble — instigators. Confusion, noise, and conflict swirled around these rabble-rousers who, when they weren’t actively making…

Five Really Good Reasons to Give HR a Little Love

Poor HR gets so much hate. Sadly, some of it is justified, but there’s also a lot to appreciate about HR. For example: 1. We know more than you think I’m not talking about best practices, workplace trends, or breaking employment law-related news, I’m talking about important stuff, like who in the company…

Just What Really Is “Top Talent,” Anyway?

Editor’s Note: Readers sometimes ask about past TLNT articles, so every Friday we republish a Classic TLNT post. The business community (and that definitely includes HR folks) talks a lot about “top talent.” We gab about how to attract top talent, develop top talent, engage top talent, and retain top talent. We even talk…

Managing Up: What The Heck Is It And Why Should You Care?

Editor’s Note: Readers sometimes ask about past TLNT articles, so every Friday we republish a Classic TLNT post. Regardless of what you do or where you do it, most likely, learning the fine art of managing up will help you do it better. But what does it mean to manage up? I once mentioned…

The Three Hallmarks of a Dysfunctional Workplace

In Anna Karenina, Russian author Leo Tolstoy famously wrote “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” The same could be said of workplaces. At least, each dysfunctional work environment I’ve ever encountered was dysfunctional in its own way. Some were ruled by narcissists, others by cowards, and…

The One Thing Every Great Leader Cares About Most

Today I was reminded in a potent and somewhat painful way that leaders have a truly awesome responsibility. When leaders speak, others are obligated to listen. When leaders direct, others are obligated to follow. It’s the nature of positional power. And because formal leaders have positional power, every leader who aspires to greatness…

How Uber Is Pushing Us to Answer the Challenges of the “Freelancer Economy”

While reviewing a client’s policy manual the other day, I asked whether the sick leave policy — which allows employees to use sick time to care for unwell family members — should more clearly define the word “family.” The client told me “no.” She said family structures have evolved so much in recent…

Corporate Accountability Needs to Be More Than a Management Notion

No one disputes the importance of accountability in healthy workplaces, but the meaning of the word seems to escape many. Here’s a case in point: During a monthly “lunch and learn” with a group of company leaders, the topic veered to performance management and the problem of late reviews. Senior leadership was often…

Here’s Why Incumbents Shouldn’t Hire Their Replacements – Period

The other day I had a phone interview with a potential employer about a part-time position, and the employer told me the incumbent was “very interested” in her replacement and would want to meet the new hire and orient him or her to the organization. I almost hung up the phone right then…

The Mark of a Leader: What Does Your Communication Say About You?

Last week, TLNT republished an article from the vault in which John Hollon wrote that when it comes to good bossology, “There is no such thing as over communication.” How true. In fact, when ZipRecruiter analyzed 250,000 job ads across a variety of industries, they found that 51 percent mentioned “communication” as a…

Why Isn’t HR Driving Company Culture?

The other day while with a client, I mentioned something about the organization’s culture, and the client grumpily replied “I’m sick of hearing about the culture!” I laughed and said, “Hmmm…. You’re the second CFO to tell me that! I’m sorry, but it can’t be helped — culture drives everything.” The CFO apologized…

Why Meddling Management Can Be Just as Bad as Micromanagement

It’s long been established that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Why then, do so many leaders beg to disagree? If not, how to explain the prevalent leadership practice of inserting oneself (loudly and with much fanfare, in some cases) squarely between Point A and Point B, when there…

It’s Hard to Get Off Easy When You Make a Really Bad Hire

There’s a certain type of manager you only have to work with for, oh, five minutes, before concluding that they really suck. Why? Mostly because said managers are extremely talented at making everything about them. As far as they’re concerned, you and your opinions are mostly garbage. (So if you’ve ever wondered why…

Yet Another Management Challenge: Coping With the Narcissistic Boss

Of all the offensive managerial types, the narcissist has got to be one of the worst. For our purposes, the term “narcissist” does NOT refer to those with narcissistic personality disorder (although God knows you don’t want someone with this diagnosis in your workplace). Instead, we’ll be talking about your garden-variety but nonetheless…

Workplace Inequality: Can We Talk About How We Treat Each Other?

The other day a friend asked me what I thought about the rape allegations against Bill Cosby, and I told her. She said she thought he was probably guilty, too, and it bothered her how some people were complaining about his “tarnished legacy” and whatnot, considering the circumstances. I told her I understood,…