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Managers Need to Understand Priorities – Friday Distraction

13 hours 5 min ago

One of the things I like to do when I travel is read. Especially on flights. I figure it’s a good use of my time because I might not have access to WiFi. The same is true in the office. I try to schedule my day, so I can do work that requires a lot of concentration during times when I feel I will be interrupted less. It’s all about understanding priorities and optimizing schedules.

Today’s Time Well Spent from our friends at Kronos reminds me that this is also true when it comes to changing priorities and making time for employees. Sure, managers will schedule one-on-one meetings with their team, but sometimes conversations need to happen outside of regularly scheduled meetings. And managers need to find time to accommodate them.

Create “open office” hours. Remember how college professors would post times when they would be sitting in their office waiting for students to stop by? Well, if you’re a manager who has lots of meetings and off-site events, consider setting up office hours. That way, you can be available for employees and they know when to expect you.

Practice management by walking around (MBWA). Instead of making employees find you, add a morning or afternoon routine that allows employees to see you. Maybe in the morning you can grab a coffee and just walk around. Stop and say hello. Start casual conversation. Employees will appreciate it. And you might learn a few things too.

Stop by “happy hour”. I understand the reluctance of hanging out and having an adult beverage with colleagues. But sometimes being friendly can be a great relationship builder. I can also tell you from experience that many times, employees would say to me, “I’m glad you’re here. I have this issue and I’ve been hesitant to stop by HR.” So, grab a club soda and find out what’s going on. You can always leave early.

Use technology strategically. Today’s tech allows organizations to automate and scale many tasks. The cartoon mentions timecard approvals, but there are many more. It brings consistency and frees up manager time. So, they can spend it with employees. It’s a huge benefit to the business.

Once managers understand that making time to talk with employees is one of their top priorities, they will look for ways to build that into their schedule. That includes changing the way they manage their time and looking for technology to help them reduce boring, repetitive tasks. And that’s a win for everyone involved.

The post Managers Need to Understand Priorities – Friday Distraction appeared first on hr bartender.

Categories: Blogs

How to Find Budget Dollars for Employee Recognition

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 02:57

Let’s face it. Sometimes as much as HR and the organization want to create and implement a program, the resources simply aren’t available. As a result, we have to resort to the “no-cost, low-cost program options”.

I thought about this as I was planning my agenda for this year’s WorkHuman Conference, pioneered by Globoforce. I’ve been to every year since its inception and it continues to get better. This year’s conference is being held April 2-5, 2018 in Austin, Texas. And it’s not too late to join us! (Check out the promo code at the end of this post for a discount.)

Anyway, back to the conference. I saw that one of the sessions this year was titled “Show Me the Money: 5 Unexpected Places to Find Recognition Budget” and reached out to the speaker Rob Schmitter, solutions architect at Globoforce, to see if he would give us a sneak peek. Thankfully, he said “yes”.

Rob, I’d like to think that everyone understands recognition is important. But I could see some organizations questioning whether or not they need a “formal” program (versus an informal one). What’s the one statistic that can help companies start to consider formal recognition?

[Schmitter] For me, it’s less about a statistic and more about a realization. If you want better business outcomes (less attrition, more engagement, higher sales, more profit), then create a better employee experience. Products and services will come and go, but it’s your employees that are the constant and the driving force behind those products and services. They don’t invent themselves.

It stands to reason that more engaged employees deliver better products and are more likely to ‘Wow’ your customers. That’s what drives better business outcomes. Companies that focus on human workplace practices like trust, relationships, feedback, empowerment, growth and appreciation consistently out perform their competition because their employees are more engaged.

To me, the first step in implementing any program is conducting an internal assessment. How can organizations conduct an assessment of their recognition programs?

[Schmitter] Conducting an internal assessment of existing recognition programs can be a difficult task. Here are three things to keep in mind:

  • Know where to look.
  • Get the full cooperation of those owners to come clean in terms of activity and spend.
  • Realize you’ll never identify everything, especially when a formal, centralized program does not exist.

I’ve seen some pretty clever (and sneaky) rouge programs over my 30 years of total rewards experience. That said, I do have 3 favorite places to look first.

  • Finance. Specifically, manager and employee expense items that can’t clearly be categorized or understood.
  • Compensation. Any ‘one-time’ employee payment should be clearly understood and pay close attention to the ‘Other’ category. Most organizations have one and this can be a gold mine.
  • Payroll. What payments do they see that look suspicious in nature?

There are plenty of other places to look too, but these are your best bets. Oh, one last thing, whatever dollar figure you come up with in terms of spend, triple it! That’s what our research suggests the real spend is…

I don’t want to give away your session during the WorkHuman Conference, but one of the things you’re going to discuss is how to get the budget for recognition programs. Are there any assumptions that HR pros need to keep in mind when asking for budget dollars to implement a recognition program?

[Schmitter] During the conference, I will be sharing 5 places that can help fund your recognition program and it’s very unlikely that just one will provide all the dollars you need. In fact, sourcing budget is generally an exercise in identifying or shaving off a little budget from a multitude of sources.

All that said, getting approval to invest in a recognition program almost always comes down to return-on-investment (ROI), as it should – organizations can’t afford to invest in just a ‘feel good program’. It has to deliver some value back to the business. The good news is that the investment in recognition, on a per employee basis, does just that.

I believe the return on the investment ratio just can’t be beat with any other HR management tool. We have some great case studies (and will be sharing a couple more during WorkHuman) that demonstrate some impressive results and it’s that kind of data that will ultimately get your investment approved.

Unfortunately, the reality of business is that we don’t always get everything we ask for. But in the case of recognition, having a program turned down can be perceived as the company saying, “it’s not important”. How can senior leaders balance recognition with budget demands?

[Schmitter] I think the conversation is finally moving away from recognition not being important. More and more senior leaders realize now the opportunity that a strategic, social recognition program presents. The research and results just can’t be ignored anymore.

That said, having your program funding request denied is still a reality and more likely due to poor program strategy and design versus the idea that recognition is not important. To overcome the budget approval obstacle, make sure that your program can demonstrate real ROI. Take on some big HR or business objectives and design a thoughtful program around those objectives. Be sure to have your success measures in place and documented when you go for approval. Just like you have a compensation strategy, you should have a recognition one too.

Last question. Even though we’re talking about how to get budget dollars, what’s one “no-cost” recognition strategy that organizations can implement, while they’re trying to get the budget?

[Schmitter] I’ve always thought that one of the best forms of recognition is to be a great listener. It acknowledges to others that you hear them and that what they have to say is important. You may not agree with it, but the simply act of not being dismissive or uninterested tells others that you appreciate them, that they have a voice and that they belong in the conversation. It feels good and is cost free!

My thanks to Rob for sharing his ideas. If you’re not already subscribed to the Globoforce blog, take a moment to check it out. And as promised, you can use promotion code WH18INF-DBU to get a little discount on your WorkHuman Conference registration.

We spend a lot of time on this blog talking about the increased focus on employee engagement and retention. Part of the way organizations can create an engaging culture and keep employees is by recognizing them.

The post How to Find Budget Dollars for Employee Recognition appeared first on hr bartender.

Categories: Blogs

4 Things Companies Need to Compete In a Digital World

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 02:57

I recently flew from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles. It’s a five-hour flight. The WiFi was down. Sad to say, I (and a whole bunch of other passengers) had no clue what to do with our time. If I had known, I could have brought a book with me. I’m just so used to occupying my time with my iPad. I mean, technology is wonderful. I can order my favorite sub sandwich using an app on my phone. I can deposit checks. There are so many things we can do. Of course, that’s when it works.

But it got me thinking. Every business today is a part of the digital world we operate in. You don’t have to be a technology company to be a part of our digital world. It also means that companies need to figure out how to compete for business. And I don’t mean complete against technology companies, although that could be the case. Think of compete in the sense of competing for attention.

I recently attended a conference where the speaker talked about four things that companies need to compete in the digital world.

  1. Innovation: I recently wrote a post about Teresa Amabile’s article on Harvard Business Review about encouraging everyday creativity. Those little acts of creativity can yield big organizational results. But it involves more than saying, “Poof! Be creative now.” Organizations need to create environments where employees feel their ideas are welcome and supported.
  1. Utilization: This is the actual technology. Organizations want technology that automates boring and repetitive processes along with scales for cost-efficiency. Companies don’t have to be early adopters. They do need to be effective adopters. Regardless of what you’re in business to provide, it’s essential to use technology when it makes sense.
  1. Customer Experience: Organizations need to always be striving to understand what customers really want. Ultimately, they want to partner with customers. That partnership will do a couple of things: 1) customers will share their wish list of improvements for the product or service, 2) if you take care of your customers, they will refer their friends.
  1. Employee Experience: Speaking of partnerships, companies should look to partner with their employees. It’s about designing jobs that employees want to apply for, creating engagement, and forming a trusting positive relationship between managers and employees. Employees should be well trained to use the company’s technology and understand the value of the customer.

These four components create the company’s financial strategy. Innovation drives operational strategy. Technology fulfills that strategy. Employees implement the strategy. And customers buy-into the strategy (both literally and figurately). Think of them like a table. They all need to be there in equal parts or the table will be wobbly.

Business competition continues to be great because of the war for talent. People are a key differentiator in business. As finding talent gets tough, competition increases. Organizations that want to actively compete will need to spend time thinking about how technology plays a role in their innovation, utilization, customer and employee experiences.

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Hollywood, FL

The post 4 Things Companies Need to Compete In a Digital World appeared first on hr bartender.

Categories: Blogs

Should HR Give Employees Advice – Ask #HR Bartender

Sun, 03/18/2018 - 02:57

Let’s face it, human resources professionals often know personal things about their employees, like how much money they make. As a result, it can be tempting to want to help employees tap into community resources. That’s not a bad thing, if it’s done the right way. Today’s reader note wants to know more about how to help their workforce.

I work in employee relations/training department for an organization in the human services/non-profit field. I’ve been doing some research to find resources for HR professionals, like myself, who primarily employ and support staff who are often living close to or below the poverty line.

Generally, I’m looking for resources or best practices on providing and informing staff of community supports. For example, we link our employees to information about subsidized child care resources, job training, etc. We do have an employee assistance program (EAP) which is heavily utilized, but I often feel like our employees could use supplemental information. Any thoughts on some written resources I can reference?

Because there’s the opportunity to cross over into legal issues, I asked our friend Heather Bussing if she would lend her experience and thankfully she said “yes”. Heather is an employment attorney and regular contributor at HR Examiner. You know her from this post about the importance of job references. (It’s still one of my favorites.)

Please remember that Heather’s comments shouldn’t be construed as legal advice or as pertaining to any specific factual situations. If you have detailed questions, they should be addressed with your friendly neighborhood labor and employment attorney.

Heather, thanks so much for helping with this reader note. Let’s start with EAPs. For those readers who might not be aware, what’s an employee assistance program and why should organizations offer them?

[Bussing] Many organizations provide Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to employees and often their families and domestic partners. The programs available vary widely, but usually include resources and referrals for substance abuse, counselling, and community resources for health and family care issues. Some companies offer access to an advice nurse, help with adoption, daycare or elder care resources, and some provide even provide assistance gender identity issues. The nature and extent of the programs depend on the employer’s size, commitment to the program, and ability to pay for the services.

I completely understand this HR pro’s situation. I’ve worked places where the majority of employees worked for minimum wage, which was very close to poverty. Before we talk about what options are available, in general, are there any words of caution that HR needs to consider before giving employees advice?

[Bussing] In many places, working for minimum wage is poverty. Most people cannot survive on a minimum wage job without family and public assistance.

Not being able to afford healthy food, reliable transportation, daycare, and basic necessities quickly becomes an HR problem because people have trouble showing up for work and staying healthy. The stress of poverty is something that many employers don’t understand or appreciate. And it disproportionately affects women and people of color.

So before giving someone advice, make sure you truly understand their situation, what is needed, and how you can effectively help. It’s easy to make assumptions about what someone else should do based on our own experiences, when the truth is that the situation is often more dire than you can imagine.

Are you aware of a place where individuals could find out what community assistance programs are available? I must admit I couldn’t think of one place that centralizes all of that information. It’s all over the place based on the type of need (i.e. food, shelter, financial, medical, etc.)

[Bussing] There is rarely a central place where people can learn about community resources because some are offered by local, state or federal government, and others are provided by nonprofits, churches, or neighborhood organizations. Sometimes a community will have a central resource that can refer people to the organizations they need. But usually, it’s a research project.

Start by searching ‘human services’ agencies, ‘community action’ organizations, ‘health clinics’, ‘public housing’, and ‘food banks’. Find out if they keep a list of other community resources and talk to someone at each of them so you understand what they do, who qualifies for help, and how to participate and include this information in your list of resources.

If HR were to inform employees about options they can research and apply for, are they liable if something happens such as the employee is denied support or feels they’ve been discriminated against?

[Bussing] If HR and the employer do not control the decision making or provide the actual services, they will generally not be liable. But when employees are struggling, it often creates attendance and performance issues that can result in adverse employment actions that may be discriminatory if race, gender, religion, age, or other protected factors are involved and a motivating factor in the decision. Issues can also arise that fall under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). So, before you discipline or terminate someone who is having difficulty because of poverty, understand it is often the symptom of a deeper difficulty that may be improved with assistance by the employer or community resources.

Last question. For organizations that are in this position, is there anything they can do to help the situation?

[Bussing] Always start with what your own organization can do. Even if raises aren’t possible, offering other kinds of benefits often are. Sometimes something as simple as providing employees with a public transportation pass can make all the difference. And when the employer provides the transportation, they can often take advantage of tax savings and other governmental incentives for doing so.

Starting a garden, organizing clothing exchanges, especially for kids’ clothes and shoes, and offering flexible hours can all help and don’t cost a lot to do.

I want to extend a huge thanks to Heather for sharing her thoughts and expertise. This isn’t an easy subject. Heather’s comment to look inward first is spot on. I can see where that would apply to individuals as well as organizations.

Human resources has the opportunity to make employees lives better, both from creating internal change as well as communicating external resources. But it takes empathy and education.

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the MBTI Users Conference in San Francisco, CA

The post Should HR Give Employees Advice – Ask #HR Bartender appeared first on hr bartender.

Categories: Blogs

Know When to Upgrade Your Technology – Friday Distraction

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 02:57

(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by our friends at Kronos, a leading provider of quality workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. For the fourth consecutive year, Kronos has been named one of the Best Workplaces for Women according to global research and consulting firm Great Place to Work. Congrats to them! Enjoy the article.) 

You know I’m an Apple fan. So, every time the latest iPhone or iPad comes out, I go through this big internal debate. Should I or shouldn’t I upgrade? I’m sure you do the same when your favorite technology provider comes out with their latest and greatest.

That’s why I couldn’t help but laugh at this Time Well Spent cartoon from our friends at Kronos. Not only because I do remember the days when I wore a pager and had to call in using a pay phone, but because I laugh at myself for the upgrade debate I have every time a new piece of tech comes out. The truth is I should follow the thought process that organizations use when it’s time to consider upgrades.

Will a technology upgrade increase revenue? The first question that organizations ask themselves is “Will this technology bring us more revenue?”. Pure and simple. The technology might allow the company to offer more products and services. Or maybe it would allow customers to purchase more. Maybe it will make the customer experience “easy to buy, easy to use, and easy to share with others”.

Would a technology upgrade decrease expenses? It’s also possible that the new technology would quickly pay for itself and decrease operational expenses. While it might not be an increase in revenue, a decrease in expenses could be large enough to justify the upgrade. Even a small decrease in expenses could also be reinvested back into the customer experience, ultimately resulting in greater customer satisfaction (and hopefully more revenue!)

Can a technology upgrade improve productivity? Sometimes technology doesn’t directly bring extra revenue or less expenses, but it does automate repetitive work. This allows the organization to use headcount in a very productive way on activities that matter to customers and employees. Don’t discount this approach, using technology to make the workforce more productive can create better employee and customer satisfaction (positively impacting the bottom-line).

Does our current technology hold us back? There’s one other question that companies ask themselves when it’s time to upgrade. Maybe the current tech is working just fine, and the employees love it. But if the company’s competitive set is upgrading, then there could come a point where the old technology keeps the organization from moving forward. Customers will come to expect the new technology. If those expectations aren’t met, customers may go elsewhere.

Maybe the next time Apple announces the next new product that everyone must have, I need to step back and use the same process that companies use to decide if it’s time to upgrade their technologies.

The post Know When to Upgrade Your Technology – Friday Distraction appeared first on hr bartender.

Categories: Blogs

6 Reasons to Attend the 2018 SHRM Talent Conference – #SHRMTalent

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 02:57

I know there’s a lot of conversation right now about the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference taking place June 17-20, 2018 in Chicago. I’m excited to be attending this year.

But I want to talk about a conference that happens before SHRM Annual. It’s the SHRM Talent Conference & Expo. This year’s event will be taking place April 16-18, 2018 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. As the name implies, SHRM Talent is focused on talent acquisition, development, and management. It’s a smaller event, so the sessions are more interactive and the opportunities for networking are terrific.

I’ve had the opportunity to attend SHRM Talent for a few years now, so I thought I would share a few reasons that you might want to check this event out.

Size. SHRM Talent is the right size. I’ve mentioned this already, so I won’t belabor the point. But for people who have attended SHRM Annual with its 20,000+ attendees and said, “never again”, consider this event. It’s in a hotel (not a convention center). It’s big enough for great learning and networking but small enough to see everything.

Seminars. There are seminars on the front/back. If you’ve been trying to decide between going to a formal workshop and attending a conference, SHRM Talent allows you to do both. The seminars being offered include:

Recertification credits. The conference is preapproved for SHRM-SCP and SHRM-CP recertification credits. And your certification portal will automatically be credited, so you don’t have to spend your time worrying about codes and paperwork.

SMART Stage. If you love short presentation formats like DisruptHR and TEDtalks, the conference offers something similar on the SMART Stage. One of the sessions that caught my eye is Joey V. Price’s “Building Your Business Brand and Creating a Social Army”. And I’m going to be talking about “Four Ways to Measure Your Social Recruiting Strategy”.

Location. It’s in Vegas. I believe that conference locations are important. Attending a learning event doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun too. I love using conferences to work and recharge at the same time.

Expo! If your organization is looking for something new in the talent space, here’s the opportunity to check out HR companies, have conversations, learn something at a couple of demos, etc. The professionals in the expo hall are super knowledgeable.

According to The Conference Board’s C-Suite Challenge 2018, the number one concern facing organizations is attracting and retaining talent. That means recruiting and retention should be priority numero uno for human resources departments. Conferences are great places to learn new things. They’re also good places to remember the basics. Sometimes we need to get out of the office to be reminded.

So, I’m not saying don’t go to SHRM Annual. Frankly, I’m going to both. SHRM Annual has a different purpose and vibe. If you haven’t been to SHRM Talent, this might be the year to check it out. Because talent is going to remain a top priority for businesses for a very long time.

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the SHRM Annual Conference in Washington, DC

The post 6 Reasons to Attend the 2018 SHRM Talent Conference – #SHRMTalent appeared first on hr bartender.

Categories: Blogs

Employee Engagement Roadmap: It Is Not Too Late to Create Yours for 2018!

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 02:57

(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by our friends at Workify, an all-in-one employee engagement platform that makes it easy for companies to understand and take action on what’s motivating and demotivating employees throughout the employee experience. Enjoy!)

Over the course of last year, we talked a lot about employee engagement. We’ve discussed how to effectively measure it using employee net promoter score (eNPS), the importance of setting realistic expectations for the company’s engagement efforts, and strategies for getting to the root cause of engagement issues. However, one of the biggest challenges that organizations face is not having a clear employee engagement plan for the year to guide activities. As a result, they don’t accomplish nearly as much as they wanted to (or as much as the senior management team expected).

The question becomes…how do we make employee engagement a part of our everyday activities. How does engagement become a part of culture? The answer is by creating an employee engagement roadmap. Roadmaps are plans that match short-term activities with long-term goals.

In today’s business environment, organizations create roadmaps for a variety of key processes. For example, organizations create product roadmaps. They have customer and candidate experience roadmaps. When someone is hired, the company provides the new employee with an employee roadmap.

Here’s Your 2018 Employee Engagement Roadmap

In the context of employee engagement, organizations can create roadmaps that connect their actions with their long-term goals. Here’s a sample employee engagement roadmap.

The specific activities would include:

First Quarter (Q1) – During the quarter, companies can spend their time creating an initial baseline. This gives them a place to compare results, which will come in handy later in the year. Trust me. In addition, the company can conduct their first drill down survey to get more specific details.

Second Quarter (Q2) – In this quarter, organizations could launch both new hire and exit feedback mechanisms. This allows the company to gather insights closer to real-time, which means they can address any issues faster and not allow them to fester.

Third Quarter (Q3) – At this point, six months has passed, and the organization has probably made some changes based on the drill down survey and new hire / exit feedback. Time to conduct a new baseline survey. Also, let me add that this might be a good time to give management some tools with a “Leadership 360” assessment and coaching.

Fourth Quarter (Q4) – After the new baseline, the company should follow-up with another drill down survey. Those results can be reviewed in the company’s annual operational planning session and used to update the roadmap for 2019.

All along the way, regular employee “lifecycle” or pulse surveys can be used to monitor progress. Also, organizations should always be prepared to accept and implement ad-hoc suggestions. Be prepared to try new things.

Convincing Senior Management the Company Needs an Engagement Roadmap

I completely understand that having a roadmap isn’t enough. HR has to convince the senior management team to support it. And by support, I mean not only with their words and actions but with a budget and headcount. Here are three steps to consider:

1. Show the connection between engagement and the bottom-line. We already know employee engagement is an important topic for businesses. So, I’m not going to belabor the point. If you’re looking for some data and trends, check out Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends Report 2017.

2.  Start with getting a few key executives that are willing to be roadmap sponsors. I don’t want to say this is an easy sell, because it’s not. Organizations have strategies and resources they need to balance. But getting resources becomes an easier sell when the organization can visualize the roadmap.

3.  Start small. Slowly build support and momentum. That’s how roadmaps have impact and become a part of company culture. As one HR professional to another, consider the concept of under promising and over delivering. Take a small goal, hit a home run, then go ask for more.

It’s Not Too Late to Create a Roadmap

No organization wants their investments toward employee engagement to lose value. Employee engagement is too important. By using an employee engagement roadmap, the company can stay focused, use resources wisely, and measure progress on their overall effort.

I hope you like the roadmap idea and will use it in your organization. Our friends at Workify have created a guide to help you get started. Take a look. It can be a great first step toward having a true impact on employee engagement.

The post Employee Engagement Roadmap: It Is Not Too Late to Create Yours for 2018! appeared first on hr bartender.

Categories: Blogs

How to Support the Creative Process of Ordinary People

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 01:57

I loved this Harvard Business Review white paper by Teresa Amabile titled, “In Pursuit of Everyday Creativity”. From a business context, we’re constantly focused on creativity and innovation. We place value on it.

My takeaway from the white paper is that we tend to label people as “creative” versus looking at a creative process that anyone could use successfully. It also raised some questions about how we view creativity. For example:

How do people learn a creative process? I’ve heard of “creativity” training, but do those programs outline a creative process or just dive into creative activities? Both are important. But I can see organizations that adopt a creative process also being open to the outcomes of that creative process. Most creative processes have a:

  • preparation step,
  • ideation step, and a
  • implementation step.

These three steps are very similar to most business strategies. The preparation step might mirror the assessment or analysis phase in many business models. Ideation would be similar to brainstorming or problem-solving. And implementation would be same, maybe with the addition of a debrief.

When do employees learn it? Many organizations look for employees to demonstrate creativity in the hiring process, so is the assumption that individuals will come to the company with knowledge about creativity on Day One? Or can employees learn a creativity model during orientation and onboarding?

Maybe it’s a little bit of both. New hires might come to the company with some creative experiences, then learn the company’s creative process during orientation and onboarding. Not only does that provide employees with a framework, but it also sends the message that the company values being creative so much that they have adopted a process to encourage it.

How can managers support it? And this is probably the most important question. Once the organization buys-into a creative process, and educates employees on how to use it, then what activities can managers do to support the process and the outcomes that are a result of using the process.

The worst thing the company can do is tell candidates that creativity is important during interviews, promote a creative process during onboarding, and then, not support it in the daily operation. Managers need to be given the tools to encourage creativity. In addition, they need to be trained on how to deal with the terrific (and less than terrific) ideas that come out of the creativity process.

If organizations want to encourage creativity at every level of the business, they must figure out how to put some structure around it. I don’t view that as counterintuitive. The structure isn’t around the ideas, results, and outcomes. It’s around the process. Every employee that follows the process won’t have the same outcome. And that’s what creativity is all about, right?

The post How to Support the Creative Process of Ordinary People appeared first on hr bartender.

Categories: Blogs

Bookmark This! #HR Project Management Edition

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 02:57

I was in a meeting recently where someone commented that HR pros don’t know project management. And I thought, really? Managing projects is one of the largest responsibilities we have in human resources. It could be a small project like organizing an employee event or a large scale project such as implementing a new software solution. Regardless of size, projects are an important part of what we do.

As such, we should manage projects well. That means having some understanding of project management terminology, processes, and techniques. Some of the activities that come to mind are launch meetings, maintenance plans, communications, pilot programs, and project plans. It got me thinking about my list of go-to project management resources, so I thought I would put together a list.

First off, I have a couple of books on my shelf about managing projects. “Project Management Step-By-Step” by Larry Richman and “Project Management in 24 Hours” by Nancy Mingus. Both of these are practical how-to guides for the project manager. I use them as a regular resource.

In addition to books, I read a couple of project management blogs on a regular basis. So, if you’d rather read blogs instead of books, check out these couple of posts:

Top 10 Project Management Blogs to Follow in 2017

The 58 Most Insanely Useful Project Management Blogs and Resources

You might not want to follow all of these, but look for blogs that keep popping up on lists. That’s one of the reasons I like reading those “top lists” articles because I look for trends.

Another way to learn how to manage projects is by actually doing it. There are several apps on the market that can assist with managing projects. For example, when we were doing some recent updates to HR Bartender, we worked with the developer using Basecamp. Here are some articles on the topic:

From The 7 best project management mobile apps

From Zapier: The 18 Best Free Project Management Apps

From PC Magazine: The Best Project Management Software of 2018

Again, the goal isn’t to download and test-drive all of these. That would quickly turn into its own project! Think of your needs, look at the names that continue to show up, and then select 2-3 (max!) to try.

I’m not sure that there’s an expectation for HR professionals to obtain their Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification. But knowing the principles in terms of scheduling, budgeting, evaluation, etc. is essential. I recently heard an easy to remember way to manage project data that I plan to incorporate into my project management toolkit. Call it the 3 C’s:

  1. CONFIRM existing information
  2. CLEANUP incorrect information
  3. CONFIGURE processes for the future

There’s one other aspect of project management that we need to keep in mind. It’s the people part. Successfully managing projects requires communication, decision making, problem solving, and conflict management. Not only does HR need to know these things, but they need to make sure that everyone else knows them too. Because part of the reason that HR needs to know the principles of project management is so they can help the rest of the organization learn them too.

So, I’m curious. What books, blogs, or apps are on your project management resource list?

P.S. Today’s image was taken at the 2017 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference. This year’s conference will be held in Chicago, IL on June 17-20, 2018. Hope to see you there!

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Categories: Blogs

How to Create a Vision Board on Pinterest

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 02:57

I don’t know about you, but I have some plans for the future. However, sometimes simply writing down goals isn’t enough. I want to see more than the words. I want to see the future.

Vision boards can be a good way to do that. They are a tool used to help clarify, concentrate, and maintain focus on a specific life goal. Literally, a vision board is any sort of board on which you display images that represent whatever you want to be, do, or have in your life. I’m thinking a perfect place to keep a vision board is Pinterest.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a 5-day plan for learning Pinterest. Since then, I continue to see activity and engagement on the platform. My experience with Pinterest is that it’s less of a dialogue or conversation platform and more of an inspiration, utilization platform.

If you’re looking for a way to stay focused on a goal, consider creating a vision board to help make that happen. Here are five things to note:

  1. You can make it secret. Not ready to share your vision board with the whole world? No problem. Pinterest has a feature that allows you to make a board “secret” so only you can see it.
  1. Section it to fit your needs. Pinterest recently added a nice feature where a “board” can have “sections”. So, your vision board could have a personal AND a professional section. Or it could have wellbeing sections like in the Gallup-Healthways’ model: purpose, financial, social, community, physical.
  1. Pin images, articles, and quotes that help you achieve your goals. One of the things I like about Pinterest is that I can pin a variety of things – images, articles, quotes. I can pin stuff from the internet and photos I’ve taken or articles I’ve written. Bottom-line: it’s flexible. 
  1. Change it when you want to. After pinning something, you can move it to another board, or delete it completely. Let’s say you pin a list of the top leadership traits. Couple months later, you see a better list. Delete the old one and replace it with the new one.
  1. Delete what doesn’t work. One of the downsides to vision boards can be a feeling that you look at it and say, “I’m not getting to my vision fast enough.” Or “I’ll never achieve the goal.” It’s important to remember that our goals change regularly, and we have to be willing to let go of some goals in order to make other ones happen. Vision boards must be flexible to be effective.
  1. Your vision board can be portable. I’m not against the bulletin board type vision project, but there’s something nice to me about having my vision board with me all the time. If I’m at a conference, and I hear something, I can immediately post it. Versus going home, then finding/printing/posting it.
  1. When you’re ready, you can share it. There might be components of your vision board that involve coworkers, family or friends. Maybe you want to start a business. Or move to a different city. Pinterest allows you to share boards with others.

Vision boards can help us with our career goals, life goals, and maybe even retirement goals. We have the flexibility to create something that fits our needs. Because the goal with a vision board is to make it happen. So, if it works, take advantage of what Pinterest can offer.

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the Flora Icelandic HR Management Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland

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Categories: Blogs

Organizations Don’t Change Until People Do

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 02:57

Organizations decide they’re going to change all the time. Especially during times like we’re experiencing today, when recruiting is tough, engagement is a challenge, and retention is a top priority. It’s not unusual for an organization to say, “We need to change so we can get the best talent and crush the competition.” But organizational change doesn’t happen just because:

  • Something goes offline, like a system
  • A kickoff meeting happened to start a project
  • An acknowledgement was made that change needs to happen
  • An email was sent to all interested parties
  • A training session was held for employees

Instead, change happens when the organization creates a process and a set of tools that yield the desired outcomes, mitigates resistance, increases adoption, and drives the organization faster. So how do organizations create that process? Well, I ran across this acronym that might help. It’s a five-step process called ADKAR.

  1. Awareness of the need for change
  2. Desire to participate and support the change
  3. Knowledge on how to change
  4. Ability to implement change
  5. Reinforcement to ensure change sticks

Think of ADKAR as a linear process and you need to accomplish one step before you can move to the next step. If your organization is going through a change initiative and you’re thinking about implementing a model like ADKAR or any model for that matter, it would be important to get employees ready. Even introducing a change model is change. Here are three ways to get the organization prepared.

Communication: Managers need to set expectations, using a variety of communication methods and styles. Not only is it important to communicate, but to do it frequently and effectively.

Training: This can be a combination of delivery methods such as classroom, refresher, just-in-time, and microlearning. And training needs to be more than simply telling employees “this is the way it’s going to be”. It needs to be effective.

Reinforcement: Everyone needs to set the example for the new expected behaviors. Both managers and employees should recognize positive behavior. Managers and employees should expect to be held accountable.

While we can rely on the steps in change process being consistent, change takes place by the person. So the length of time in each step could be different. Add to that the fact that change is always happening. At any given moment, we are all processing several changes: big, small, and all in a different stage of the process.

At times, dealing with change can sound so simple. But it’s really not. Organizations should find a change management model that works for them and train employees how to use it. Because change isn’t going away anytime soon.

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the Wynwood Walls in Miami, FL

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Categories: Blogs

Creating an HR Function – Ask #HR Bartender

Sun, 03/04/2018 - 02:57

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses accounted for 62 percent of net new jobs. They play an important role in our economy. But one of the biggest questions that small businesses face is how to successfully grow their organization. Specifically, when and how to bring the HR function into the company. That’s what today’s reader wants to know.

Our firm has about 80 people, and we’ve decided it’s time to ramp up our HR function. Until now, it’s been handled by accounting and some outsourced vendors. What we really need help in is recruiting, but we also need to build training, HR coaching, and other strategic HR services and systems. Who should our first hire be:  a recruiter? HR generalist? Strategic HR leader? Of course, we don’t have an unlimited budget. Your help would be appreciated. 

I think this is a great question. Let’s walk through the advantages and potential disadvantages in creating an HR function.

Recruiter: This is often the first hire that organizations make. Talent is a key differentiator for organizations and they want the best. Right now, it’s tough to find qualified candidates. So, having someone dedicated to the talent acquisition process makes a lot of sense. The reader’s note mentions other HR functions like training, coaching, etc.

The company will have to eventually decide if they are going to bring in a second person to cover the other non-recruiting needs of the company. Chances are the recruiter would report to that second person. The decision will have to be made whether hiring the junior person first makes sense.

Another option is for the company to invest in developing the recruiter. That’s going to be dependent on the company’s resources and time. The faster you need the training, coaching, strategic HR, the less likely you’ll have the time to develop internal talent.

HR Generalist: You might be saying to yourself, “A generalist knows a little bit about all the functions of human resources. They’re the ideal position to bring on first.” And you’re right. A generalist should be able to handle recruiting, training, coaching, etc. Can they handle strategic HR? Hmmm…don’t know.

This situation is similar to the recruiter. The company will have to decide if the generalist is capable of doing everything the company wants and needs. If not, the company might need to bring on another person. The organization can also make an investment into developing the HR generalist for greater responsibilities.

HR Leader: I don’t know how much budget the company has to hire someone, but let’s get this out on the table. Hiring a strategic HR leader for a small organization will cost you. That being said, the leader will have the experience to build a human resources function from nothing.

Organizations considering this approach should be open with the HR leader about their goals. In this situation, the HR Leader’s job is two-fold: 1) build an HR function, 2) hire and train their replacement. There are HR pros who have built careers on setting organizations up for success and then planning their exit strategy.

Each one of these hiring options has their own pros and cons. Companies need to decide what’s important to them in making this decision. Ask the question, “What are we trying to accomplish? Which position gets us there?” All of them can. Some of the roles will require time to develop skills and resources for training.

One other thing to mention. We’ve been talking about hiring an HR pro. Which kinda implies hiring someone from the outside. These same philosophies would apply if the company is considering giving an internal candidate a role to create the human resources department. The company can also engage a strategic HR consultant to work with an internal employee to get the function up and running.

The good news is that organizations have option when it comes to creating their human resources function. Make the decision based on company needs and goals . . . and budget.

P.S. Today’s image (captured at the 2106 HR Tech Conference) reminded me that it’s time to start thinking about the HR Technology Conference & Expo. The event will be held September 11-14, 2018 in Las Vegas. Keynote speakers include Mike Rowe and Randi Zuckerberg. Use the promotion code TW18 and save!

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Categories: Blogs

It’s Okay to Never Grow Up – Friday Distraction

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 02:57

When I was younger, I wanted to be a school teacher. Then a tax attorney. Of course, I’m neither of those things. But that’s okay. I’m happy with what I do.

More importantly, I’m content with the possibility that what I do right now will change. In fact, that could be quite exciting. Today’s business world is moving so quickly that it’s possible I’ll do something in the future that hasn’t even been invented yet!

That’s why I really loved this Time Well Spent from our friends at Kronos. It reminded me that I have the ability to do new and different things. It made me feel like I don’t have to ever grow up. Let me clarify that doesn’t mean I have license to act like a petulant child. It means that we don’t have to settle for jobs that don’t make us happy and satisfy our passions.

Here are a few things to think about.

Take an inventory of what matters to you. Both in terms of work and perks. Jobs are complex things. There will always be something in our job that we don’t like (example: filing). The question becomes can we live with it. Same with compensation, benefits, and perks. I don’t know if we’ll ever have everything we want (Would you turn down more money?). But do you have “enough”? That’s for each of us to decide.

Compare what you want with what you have. Sometimes it’s easy to focus on all of those things we don’t have (such as paid parental leave) that we lose sight of those things we do (like short-term disability). I’m not saying one is better than or replaces the other. But sometimes we need to carve out a few moments to think about the number of things that we want (see above) versus what we already have.

Make it a regularly scheduled event. Your list of priorities will change over time. So will the list of things you have access to. Maybe when you started at your current job, flexible work wasn’t available. Now it is. So it’s place on the list changes. It’s also possible that when you started, phased retirement wasn’t on your radar. Now it is so it matters. Our wants and needs are a constantly moving target, so give this exercise the attention it deserves.

It doesn’t matter if you’re doing the job you’ve always dreamed of since kindergarten. Or whether you’re doing something related to what your college degree is in. Or whether you have a college degree. Because we never really have to grow up…we can continue to grow, learn, and create the job we want.

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Categories: Blogs

Should You Use Your Real Job Title on LinkedIn – Ask #HR Bartender

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 02:57

I’d like to think that most business professionals know they need to have some sort of presence on LinkedIn. The platform has 467 million members from at least 148 different industries, including all of the Fortune 500. There are over 100,000 recruiters on LinkedIn.

There’s also plenty of LinkedIn advice. One school of thought is to think of LinkedIn profile as your “online resume”. But that raises the question, is it okay to make your job title on LinkedIn recruiter-friendly? That’s what today’s reader note is all about.

The article you posted on the dilemma of creating a resume and a LinkedIn profile for one with a dual career was most helpful. It’s a dilemma I face, and I’ve been unable to receive good guidance. The article reaffirmed that I am doing the right thing. I have an HR and a healthcare compliance background. The two are interrelated but are definitely separate career paths. The resume was no issue – just simply create separate ones for healthcare HR, non-healthcare HR, and healthcare compliance. The bigger issue was LinkedIn.

At first, I combined HR and compliance on my LinkedIn profile. However, I found that it then lacked focus and my skills for either were buried in verbiage and didn’t stand out. My job prospects and income potential are probably better in healthcare compliance as that is a narrower field with less applicants; and often requires a Juris Doctor (JD) and Certification in Healthcare Compliance (CHC), which I have.

As I mentioned, HR and healthcare compliance are interrelated, and I do list some of my HR experience that is relevant (i.e. internal investigations) and HR certifications on compliance applications, but the focus is on the regulatory aspects and leadership experience gained in HR and the military. The largest issue that seems to be killing my prospects is my job titles. They have mostly been HR director though more than half of my job duties have been in the healthcare compliance area. My employers would not change my title. Obviously, I have to list my true title to be consistent with reference checks, but the dilemma is when your job title is one thing and the duties are another.

Instead of going to one person to help answer this question, I asked several talent acquisition professionals for their thoughts. These people using LinkedIn all day, every day to find the best talent. Here’s what they told me:

Matt Craven, senior sourcer at Schneider Electric said, “Definitely! The whole idea of a posting is to attract qualified candidates. Some company job titles are company specific and to the outside world candidates will not know what they are really applying to. Plus, in most organizations job titles are very generic.”

Ed Han, an “in the trenches” recruiter, seconded Craven’s comment by saying “Especially in some organizations, the title may be meaningless to anyone outside of the organization.”

Suzanne Crest, HR Manager for SRK Consulting Inc., US shared how she used this strategy in her own personal job search. “I had to do this during my job search last year. Although my current title was HR Director, my duties were really those of an HR Manager. The Director title must have scared some recruiters away, because after I made the switch, I started receiving a lot more response to my job applications.”

Beth Hudson, community recruitment marketer at Recruitee, reminded us not to overstate qualifications. “I think it’s perfectly fine, as long as the candidate doesn’t exaggerate their actual position. If the person wasn’t in a managerial position, they shouldn’t put ‘manager’ just to look better. Fibs will be caught! If they aren’t, then you’re not applying to the right companies.

However, if you are looking to secure a certain type of role, I think it’s fine to ACCURATELY change the title to be more appealing to those companies hiring for that role.”

My friend Jennifer McClure, CEO of Unbridled Talent and DisruptHR, recommended taking some time to come up with the right adjustments. “I think it can be a little tricky. If you’re just generalizing your responsibilities – something like HR and talent – then maybe that works. However, if you’re change your title to something that reflects a specific position – like manager, director, etc. and then if you’re selected for an interview, or it comes out that your title is something different (less than), then it looks like the candidate is trying to inflate their qualifications.

I think it would be better to be general in LinkedIn’s headline field, but use your actual title in the Experience section, and describe what their role involves there. Mary Faulkner’s profile is a good example – In her headline, she lists Talent Strategist & Business Leader, but has her specific title in the Experience section.

For me, it comes down to is someone trying to appear to be something, or a level they’re not, versus trying to make weird, or non-descriptive job titles specific to their organization more relevant on LinkedIn.”

Dominique Rodgers, an HR specialist in Portland, Oregon, added to McClure’s comment. “With the plethora of deliberately ridiculous job titles, sometimes you have to do it. Does your business card say you’re the People Ninja? Or Chief Executive of Awesome? NOOOOOOO. Tell me something I can translate into real business speak, but as Jennifer McClure says, don’t inflate.”

Andrea Cale, HR advocate and former SHRMStore manager, suggested focusing on accomplishments versus titles. “In my experience, when you list your responsibilities and accomplishments, most recruiters can ascertain the level of work you were doing in the role, even if the title didn’t reflect that work. Also, the type of organization you work for with that title can shed light on why the title didn’t match the responsibilities.”

Patricia Spiegel Montville is an independent recruiter and LinkedIn trainer. She suggested “listing the actual title and in parentheses list the duties or a more commonly used title. For example, Human Capital Manager (HR Manager).”

Keirsten A. Greggs, the TRAP Recruiter, offers a suggestion for employers. “I worked in organizations where people had both descriptive and formal job titles. For internal purposes they used their grade/level + labor category (i.e. Sr. Principal Software Engineer). For their business cards they used more descriptive titles like ‘Senior Java Developer’.”

I want to thank everyone for weighing in on this issue. My takeaway from their insights was it’s okay to make adjustments but be prepared to explain the rationale. I haven’t said it lately, but I want to thank everyone for the notes and questions. I love getting them and working on finding answers for you. So, keep those questions coming…

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after thoroughly enjoying brunch at Elizabeth’s in New Orleans, LA

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Categories: Blogs

Think #Workflex – A Win for Both Employers and Employees

Tue, 02/27/2018 - 02:57

I think I’ve mentioned to you before that I’m a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Advocacy Team (aka the A-Team). The A-Team was created by SHRM Government Affairs to keep HR pros in the loop about public policy issues that impact the workplace.

As a human resources professional, it can be a challenge to keep up with legislation and compliance matters much less stay on top of the ones being discussed by our legislators. One of the benefits of being on the A-Team is a quarterly webinar where they talk about issues that are being discussed in Washington. Personally, I find the one-hour investment well worth my time.

So, why am I telling you all this? Because on the last call, SHRM shared some information about H.R. 4219 (also known as the Workflex in the 21st Century Act). This legislation is focused on two hot topics in our workplaces right now – paid leave and flexible work.

A Little Background about Paid Leave

Nine states and over thirty localities have implemented some type of paid sick leave legislation over the past few years. What’s interesting about this development, is that all paid leave isn’t the same. I don’t want to add confusion to an already complex issue, but I found an article that explains the different types of paid leave on titled “How New York’s New Paid Family Leave Impacts Your Organization (Even If You’re Not in NY)”. It’s important to note that we’re talking about paid sick leave today (not paid family leave).

According to Lisa Horn, director of congressional affairs at SHRM, many SHRM members have expressed frustration about all the different types of leaves available and suggested that it would be awesome for there to be legislation that gives employees the benefit while at the same time gives employers the flexibility they need to run their business.

So, SHRM developed the Workflex in the 21st Century Act to accomplish those two goals: 1) provide employees with guaranteed paid leave and a workflex option AND 2) give employers the flexibility to create and administer a policy that aligns with their business and culture.

Workflex Legislation: A 21st Century Solution

Before I give you the high-level overview of H.R. 4219, keep in mind that all legislation is detailed and complicated. For a more comprehensive read, check out the workflex page on the SHRM Policy Action Center website. Basically, the Act does three things:

  1. It’s voluntary for employers. Organizations can voluntarily offer employees a qualified flexible work arrangement plan that includes a federal standard of paid time off and options for flexible work.
  1. It pre-empts state and local provisions. Workflex would be an ERISA covered plan so employers that opt-in to Workflex would be pre-empted from state and local paid leave sick laws.
  1. It’s fiscally responsible. Because the law is voluntary, organizations have the ability to decide if this fits their budget. And if they do opt-in, they have some control over the types of flexible work options they offer to employees.

And let’s not forget what this Act does for employees. We talk a lot about the importance of recruiting the best talent, engaging employees to achieve maximum productivity, and employee retention. This Workflex Act is designed to give employees a benefit that they want and are actively seeking out when they look at future job opportunities.

How You Can Help Make Workflex a Reality

Remember the old Schoolhouse Rock song, “I’m Just a Bill”? Well, we’re at the “stuck in committee on Capitol Hill” step. LOL!

Seriously, this is one of those moments where HR has a real opportunity to make a difference for employees and the business. The Workflex legislation was recently introduced by Rep. Mimi Walters (R-California). Now, it needs people – like us – to start talking about it with our legislators.

So, after you check out the Workflex page on the SHRM Policy Action Center, if you like what you see and want to support it, here’s what you need to do. It’s not a lot – only two quick things.

  • Consider writing or calling your representative. If you’re a member of the A-Team, you can do this via the SHRM Policy Action Center. If you’re not, you can send a note via Countable, Resistbot, or whatever communication method works for you.

Oh, my apologies, one more thing. If you have a Twitter account, you can save the #WorkflexBill hashtag to stay current on what’s happening with the bill.

Advocating for our profession is an integral part of being a human resources business leader. But it means getting involved from the beginning to help our legislators understand what organizations and employees want.

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Categories: Blogs

Employee Access to Payroll Records – Ask #HR Bartender

Sun, 02/25/2018 - 02:57

One of the departments that HR works closely with is payroll. In my career, I’ve had jobs where I was directly responsibility for payroll and in others, I wasn’t. Either way, HR and accounting need to partner so employees aren’t confused. Like in today’s reader note.

I live in Ohio. My company uses a website to ‘give’ employees electronic access to their paycheck stubs, rather than issue paper. Since being hired, I’ve complained several times that the system doesn’t recognize me, and I can’t see my paycheck stubs.

Recently, I was given the choice of being terminated or resigning of my own free will. I walked. But, I still cannot access my past paycheck stubs. I fear that I will need them in the future months to show employment, for tax purposes, etc. Do I have any legal ‘right’ to these and does the company have to give me access, even if it’s in the form of paper copies?

No one in the payroll office seems willing or able to assist. I want to write a letter, but I need to know if I have any legal leg to stand on via either Ohio or federal law in case they say ‘Well, we can’t help it your password and remote access doesn’t work. Tough luck.’ Hoping you can help, because Google has been zero help in this!

To help us understand more about accessing payroll records, I asked our friends at Foley & Lardner LLP if they could help and thankfully they said “yes”. Archana A. Manwani is senior associate with the firm based in Los Angeles, California and advises clients on a wide array of personnel-related matters including employee discipline, wage and hour, and disability accommodation.

I know you guys already know this, but please remember that Archana has a regular full-time job as a lawyer and she’s doing this to give back to the profession. Her comments should not be construed as legal advice or as pertaining to any specific factual situations. If you have detailed questions, you should address them directly with your friendly neighborhood labor and employment attorney.

Archana, in this scenario, the reader is asking about payroll records. Are payroll records governed by state law or federal law?

[Manwani] There is no federal law requiring that private employers provide their employees with access to their payroll records. However, many states have their own laws that do require such access. Employees can review their state’s agency websites to get more information. For example, the state of California has an agency called the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement that addresses wage and hour issues, and a simple search on their website provides information regarding pay stub access.

I could see a lot of companies, in an effort to save paper, giving employees electronic access to their payroll records. Does the law address at all the company’s obligation to provide employees with access to their payroll information?

[Manwani] This varies state by state. Many states have laws that require the employer to grant their employees access to payroll information. For example, California has a specific statute (Labor Code Section 226(b)) that requires employers to permit both current and former employees to inspect and obtain copies of their payroll records. The California law imposes a penalty if the employer does not comply with an employee’s request within a certain period of time, so it is important to confirm if one of these state laws applies to you.

This might sound like we’re splitting hairs, but if an organization has an electronic payroll system (like the one described in the reader note), do they have an obligation to provide paper copies to employees upon request? Why or why not?

[Manwani] This is a common question and again, will depend on whether the employee is in a state that legally requires access to records. If the state does not require such access, then the employer will not have an obligation to provide the employee with paper records.

If the state does require such access, like California, then the employer has to ensure that the employee can access and obtain the records. If an employer’s system provides the employee with electronic access and the employee can readily log on and access his or her pay record (either on the internal system or as a PDF), then it is unlikely that the state law will also require the employer to provide paper copies. If, however, the employer’s system does not provide easy access – like the scenario described in the reader note – then the law will most likely require that the employer provide paper copies to the employee upon request, as the electronic system is not complying with the requirement to give employees access to their pay records.

Let’s say for a moment that the company doesn’t have an electronic system. If an employee loses their paycheck stub and wants to get a copy from the company, is the company obligated to provide it? And out of curiosity, can they charge employees for duplicate copies?

[Manwani] This again will depend on whether the employee works in a state that requires employees to have access to their records. For example, in California, the company would be obligated to provide the records within 21 days of the employee’s request.

Whether or not the employer can charge for these records will also depend on whether there is a state law permitting the employer to do so. Some states, like California, have laws that explicitly permit the employer to charge for copies of personnel files but do not have laws that explicitly permit the employer to charge for copies of payroll records, and it would therefore be best practice to not charge the employee for a duplicate copy of his/her pay stub. As many employees have personal emails and computer access, an employer that is trying to reduce paper costs could offer to send the employee electronic scans (or PDFs) of the paystubs in order to avoid duplicate paper copies. The state agency websites should have information regarding whether employers may recover the costs of providing copies.

Last question, this reader mentioned “Googling” for information about this situation. What suggestions would you give to an employee who is trying to find out information about employment matters using the internet? 

[Manwani] The internet can be a great resource, but it can also be a source of a lot of incorrect information! If an employee is trying to search for information online, it would be best to visit verified websites – such as state agency sites, law firm websites, or human resource forums like HR Bartender or the Society for Human Resource (SHRM) website – rather than personal blogs or websites where unverified people are offering advice based on their own personal opinions.

My thanks to Archana for sharing her knowledge with us. Let me add that if you’re looking to stay on top of labor and employment law issues, be sure to sign up for Foley & Lardner’s electronic newsletter or follow one of their blogs. They are on my must-read list.

Even if HR doesn’t have responsibility for payroll, many employees go to HR first when it’s time to answer a payroll question. HR can play a significant role in helping employees understand expectations and how to resolve their own payroll challenges.

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby exploring the Castillo de la Real Fuerza in Havana, Cuba

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Categories: Blogs

Quality is Everywhere – Friday Distraction

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 02:57

(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by our friends at Kronos, a leading provider of quality workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. For the first time, Kronos was named one of the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For according to global research and consulting firm Great Place to Work. Congrats to them! Enjoy the article.) 

I know sometimes when I think of quality, I tend to think of traditional manufacturing. But I have to remind myself that quality exists everywhere. Our friends at Kronos remind us in today’s Time Well Spent that it includes human resources and payroll.

But how does HR and payroll measure quality? Well, the good news is we can draw a few ideas from traditional manufacturing. Here are four ways:

  1. Processing time. Does it take what the organization considers to be a reasonable amount of time to complete a task? One of the first processes that comes to mind is time to fill. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), average time to fill is 42 days. For some organizations, it could be longer. What steps can HR take to improve processing time?
  1. Delivery time. This relates to processing time. Does HR and payroll deliver results in a way that makes sense for the organization? I remember years ago going to work for a new company where the managers complained that my predecessor would always schedule training at the worst time. They wanted the training, just at a time that was better for the operation.
  1. Cost. I’m not talking about HR and payroll becoming revenue generating departments. We can save that conversation for another post. But HR and payroll should always be thinking of ways to streamline expenses. Cost also refers to value. The activities being managed by HR and payroll should be viewed as valuable to the rest of the organization.
  1. Reduced waste. I view this as more than a cost issue. Reduced waste is also about time. It’s true that HR and payroll are very process driven. And we have a compliance component to consider. But do we think of ways to reduce administration and bureaucracy? Technology can be a big help in reducing waste.

Quality measurements exist in every department. HR and payroll have to produce quality in their work by delivering results on-time and within budget. When that happens, they produce the value that the organization is looking for.

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Categories: Blogs

HR Pros: Your Next Workplace May Be in Space

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 02:57

Before you read today’s title and totally dismiss the article, take a moment to think about recent events in our space program. Elon Musk launched SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, the most powerful operational rocket in the world. NASA has a documented plan (with a timetable) to send humans to the Red Planet. It’s possible in our lifetimes that people (not just astronauts) will be able to visit and live on other planets.

This means that individuals need to be ready with the skills that will help them be successful. It’s estimated that a one-way trip to Mars will consume approximately 500 days. So, this scenario isn’t like our current workplaces where someone signs on to go to Mars, gets there, doesn’t like it, and can simply come back. OR they get to Mars and don’t like the people they’re living and working with, so they want to quit.

To successfully colonize Mars, individuals need to have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to handle the trip as well as work with others. And unless NASA plans to send an HR pro along for the ride, then part of our responsibility as business leaders is to help individuals get the skills they need prior to leaving this planet for another one.

The reason I’m floating this idea is because I’ve recently learned about a very cool event. The 2018 Cross Cultural Management Summit is focused this year on “Going Beyond Global” to include space. It’s being held March 22-24, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. The conference has partnered with the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute to create an interactive program that will use the Mars mission as a case study to present the potential cross-cultural management issues associated with creating a permanent colony on Mars.

Of course, this isn’t going to happen overnight. Any project of this scope and size will take a great deal of time and lots of resources. But that’s why we need to have these conversations now. The human resources profession will absolutely want to be a part of the discussion. And they need to be!

Think about what happens in your organization right now when an employee says they want to take a sabbatical, work from home, or the like. Imagine if an employee asked if they could work from Mars. What would logistics like payroll, benefits, etc. look like? How would they receive training to keep their skills fresh? How would their manager evaluate performance and coach an underperforming employee? Oh, and what happens if they decide they want to resign or retire?

I know some of you are saying, “The number of employees who will want to do this is sooo small. We’ll handle it on a case-by-case basis. Problem solved.” But let me push back for a moment. First of all, Elon Musk’s plan is to put a million people on Mars. NASA’s number isn’t quite as high but it’s large enough to need a talent management and organizational development strategy. In my experience, handling issues on a “as they come” basis is sometimes how we end up with inconsistencies, favoritism, and disengagement. Again, I don’t have all the answers here. But I do believe you have employees right now who would love to go to Mars. Organizations need to be ready.

This is a true opportunity to start thinking strategically about global HR – and beyond. I’m looking forward to being there and I just think this is so forward-thinking that I wanted to share it with you. The program has also been pre-certified for both SHRM and HRCI recertification credits. Dr. Zhiqing Zhou has promised to offer HR Bartender readers a discount on registration ($450 instead of $899)! Just reach out to him via the contact page on the summit website.

Years ago, the idea of regular people living and working on another planet was only available to us in movies like Star Wars or The Matrix. Today, it’s getting much closer to reality. We need to get ready.

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Categories: Blogs

5 Ways to Reinvent the Traditional Job Interview

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 02:57

Over the past couple of years, companies have been talking about “reinventing the performance appraisal”. Well, performance reviews aren’t the only process that’s being re-examined. Let’s take a look at the job interview.

According to LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends Report 2018, fifty-six percent (56%) of talent professionals say that new interview tools and methods are changing the way they hire. Now, like the traditional performance review, we can’t just stop doing interviews, but it could make some sense to introduce some new strategies into the existing process.

LinkedIn’s report cited five key areas where the traditional job interview isn’t helping HR and hiring managers make the best selections.

And they suggest five techniques that could provide more value.

  1. Online assessments. We’ve talked before about how cognitive aptitude tests can play a role in measuring a candidate’s ability to solve problems, apply information, and think critically. The key is administering the assessment at the right point in the interview process.
  2. Job auditions. Organizations can pay candidates to do a project so they can see the person in action. Think of this like a realistic job preview. Both the company and the candidate would get a real sense of what the employment relationship would be like.
  3. Casual interviews. This already happens in some industries. Instead of a formal conversation in a stuffy conference room, the job interview takes place over a meal or coffee. It’s a great way to get to know someone. Just be up front and don’t play any tricks on the candidate.
  4. Virtual reality (VR). I’m not sure how many organizations would make the investment in this type of interview format. I could see it happening in airlines where they already have simulators. Or organizations could do something similar to VR with a game like the “My Marriott Hotel” (which is no longer active, sorry!).
  5. Video interviews. These are especially helpful when you’re recruiting globally and don’t have the budget to meet face-to-face. However, video interviews aren’t exactly the same as in-person ones, so companies might want to provide some helpful tips to candidates.

As the business world changes, so do our processes. At least they should! And that’s a good thing. Technology is supporting us in ways we could never imagine. This doesn’t mean we have to turn everything upside down. Organizations can effectively manage change and introduce new ways of doing things by integrating a technique (like the ones above) one at a time.

P.S. If you’re looking for some new techniques to add to your talent acquisition process, I hope you’ll check out the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) virtual and in-person seminars. In particular, the one I’m facilitating on “Talent Acquisition: Creating Your Organization’s Strategy”. SHRM is offering a $200 discount on any SHRM seminar registration (except Certification Prep) made between now and February 28, 2018. Just use the code 18SEMALUMSP. And don’t forget the seminar has been pre-approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credits!

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Categories: Blogs

Why Employees Leave Companies in 2018 [poll results]

Sun, 02/18/2018 - 02:57

A few weeks ago, I asked the question “If you were to start looking for a new job today, what would be the number one reason?” And the majority of employees responded…

Better compensation and benefits.

So, as much as we might not want to admit that money drives career decisions, it does. And as human resources professionals, we just can’t ignore this. Money is still important and we have to find ways to take the money conversation “off the table”, meaning that employees need to feel that they are getting paid competitively both internally and externally. They also want relevant benefits that they can use.

It won’t be any surprise that not too far behind compensation and benefits was a three-way tie with opportunities for advancement, supportive management, and flexible work. In some way, I can see all of these reasons being interrelated. Is management supportive of flexible work? Are managers coaching and mentoring employees for future opportunities? Can team members move into positions of greater responsibility and still have a flexible work schedule?

While I tried to keep this survey simple and only allowed for one response, it’s obvious that the reasons employees leave in 2018 are multi-faceted. It also demonstrates how necessary it is for managers and HR to do regular stay interviews and exit interviews as a way to understand what their workforce likes about the company.

The one area of this survey that did surprise me was the less than 4 percent who cited they wanted better training and development. I wonder what employee expectations are when it comes to company training. Is it possible that all of the conversation about “owning your career” means employees feel totally responsible for their own development?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m an advocate for employee self-learning. But organizations still have an obligation to train employees. And train them well. Eventually, organizations will want workers to be ready to take on additional responsibilities. Employees want opportunities for advancement (as evidenced by these survey responses). So, let’s hope employees are getting more than enough training and it’s the best training ever.

I realize this is a short, unscientific survey, but it does give you some indicators about what employees value in their jobs. And there really aren’t any true shockers. So, organizations don’t have excuses not to address them.

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Categories: Blogs