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bagseed grow

If you’d like to talk about how and when to terminate a poor performer, e-mail me.

Don’t underestimate the true cost of a bad hire: Productivity goes down, morale is low, and the time involved in meetings, coaching and counseling probably is not worth it in the end. Minimize the negative impact on the company’s bottom line: Get rid of the bad apple before it starts to spoil the whole fruit bowl.

When it comes to severance pay, there are no laws that mandate how much to give. Offer enough monetary “consideration” for the employee to sign away their right to file a claim or lawsuit. My basic rule of thumb for calculating severance is simple: exempt equals one month of salary for every year worked; for an hourly employee, two weeks for every year. Consideration can also be in the form of company-paid health benefits, stock, outplacement services, relocation expenses, etc.

Now the fun part: Who gets to deliver the message? Let HR handle it! Seriously, that’s what we are paid for. All terminations should be witnessed by another manager, preferably the employee’s supervisor or hiring manager. The message should be direct and to the point. Write up talking points and rehearse; ad libbing can get you into trouble. Nothing you can say or do will change the fact they lost their job and their livelihood. Remain professional, thank them for their service and wish them the very best in their future endeavors.

A few more words to wise: Keep it all business, and avoid the personal feelings that sneak in. I understand the desire to be nice when terminating someone. Many of my clients want to help ease the employee into unemployment by giving a longer period of notice, so the terminated employee can “work” and look for a job at the same time. While there are times when that is appropriate, don’t lose sight of how you got here in the first place. Also, keeping someone around who isn’t going to stick around is awkward; it can leave the rest of the team feeling uncomfortable, and in the end, you don’t get any “real” work from the exiting employee. You get short-timer’s disease and a disgruntled team.

If you opt for the severance route, please don’t use a template (new or old). I can’t tell you how many bad, outdated, inappropriate templates I have seen. An experienced HR consultant can help you. If there are special circumstances, nuances or a high-risk issue, HR will know when to pull in legal counsel. If you don’t have an employment attorney (not your corporate counsel), you should consider engaging one.

Allow me to bring you into a typical situation: An employee is not working at an expected level or is just not a good fit. You have several conversations with the employee, trying to make things work. It’s been a few months, and it’s not getting better — in fact, you think it’s getting worse. But you feel conflicted, because it’s a key position and the person is working on a project that needs to be completed. You have put the decision off for so long now, that the employee is dealing with a death in the family, a pregnancy, or a health issue. Now we really have a problem! To make it worse, through all the time, effort and energy involved in trying to coach and counsel this employee, no one bothered to document the conversations or even recap them in a simple e-mail to the employee. Now what?

Good Seed? Bad Seed?

Place the bag in a warm spot like the top of a hot-water heater or refrigerator, near a wood stove or on a high shelf near a hot-air vent. The most rapid seed germination occurs when temperatures remain consistently between 70 and 80 degrees. Make sure the paper towel inside the plastic bag remains damp during the entire testing period, moistening it if it shows signs of drying out.

Although still a bit early, many gardeners are itching to begin this year’s growing season. Being able to safely plant seeds outdoors is still some time away, but it’s not too early to assess seeds you have left over from past seasons and order in new supplies if necessary.

These seeds should be given high priority for planting in this year’s garden as they will only be less viable next year. Some experts say that seeds lose 30% of their viability each year past their longevity dates. Another way these seeds can still be used successfully is to overplant them. Using this technique, more seeds are planted in a given space increasing the germination rate significantly.

Viability is the seed’s capability to grow and develop. One way to test a seed’s viability, and thus avoid wasting time and garden space if the seeds prove to be no good, is to run a germination test. This involves little more than the seeds, some absorbent paper towels, water, a spray bottle, a plastic zip bag and someplace warm.

If what you mean by “go bad” is that the seed will spoil, then no, it does not go bad. If a seed has not been properly dried, then yes, the germination rates will rapidly decline. Seeds that have not been dried are called crop year seeds. When a plant goes to seed, Mother Nature fully intends for that seed to sprout the next season; everything needed for the seed to sprout and develop is present in its little package—including a little moisture. This will cause diminishing results in germination. HOWEVER, when dried, seeds can stand the test of time!

Another misconception is that seeds will inevitably deteriorate after a five year period of storage—which simply isn’t true. If germ problems arise with your stored seed, it is either a result of inappropriate handling or storage. By handling, we refer to missteps in the preparatory, planting, and/or watering stage of growing seeds, applicable to all growing methods. Some of these missteps can be using mechanical seeders that can damage the seeds, soaking seeds too long causing the seeds to drown, watering too much or not enough as seeds germinate, etc.. Even moving sealed buckets of seed from one storage area to another can be problematic when not handling the buckets with care.

All of the seeds at True Leaf Market have been put through a drying process that promotes longevity, including grains , flower seeds , herb seeds , and vegetable seeds alike. Albeit, there are several factors when storing and handling seed that can lead to germination decline. Keep in mind that the drying process does not make the seed immortal, but it does slow down the decline in germination substantially. If you’re buying high-germ seeds, storing them right, and handling them with care, they should last for years to come. A great example of seed longevity is the ancient grain uncovered in Egypt nearly two centuries ago.

The term “bad seed” gets thrown around a lot, leading to much misunderstanding as we’ve pointed out. In this case “bad seed” can refer to invasive species of plants that can harm and/or disrupt the ecosystem to which they are not native. A good example of this is purple loosestrife. Introduced to the United States in the 1800’s for decorative and medicinal uses, it has had a substantial impact since then becoming a dominant plant in wetlands. So seeds can be “bad” when referring to their effect on an ecosystem—a very different meaning from “going bad” in terms of spoiling. Nevertheless, the distinction is worth noting and considering when assessing the status of your seeds.

A type of ancient wheat seed called Farro (AKA Emmer) was found in ancient Egypt in the late 1800’s, and after being sealed-off for hundreds of years, the seeds sprouted just fine. “Fifteen stems . . . sprung from a single seed,” T.E. Thorpe said in an 1857 issue of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine article after testing centuries-old grain. It just goes to show how tenacious seeds are when given the right circumstances for storage: cool, dry, and dark—the elements needed to long seed storage.