HR Topics https://hrtopics.com The Website and Blog of HR Author and Speaker Lori Kleiman Thu, 22 Feb 2018 15:01:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 62519299 2 Solutions for HR Departments to Simplify Human Resources https://hrtopics.com/simplify-human-resources/ https://hrtopics.com/simplify-human-resources/#respond Wed, 21 Feb 2018 15:00:20 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=3687 Human Resources is critical in all businesses. Often, the same questions and issues arise, but many HR departments do not have a way to simplify human resources processes or search for the answers to these common questions and issues. Until now! HR Topics has developed a tool for simplifying human

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Human Resources is critical in all businesses. Often, the same questions and issues arise, but many HR departments do not have a way to simplify human resources processes or search for the answers to these common questions and issues. Until now! HR Topics has developed a tool for simplifying human resources with hacks that every HR department should have and will want to have to become more productive and efficient.

Does your #businesss need help to simplify human resources processes? Here are 2 great solutions!

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In today’s business climate, small business owners, managers and HR Departments of One, especially those who have HR as part of a larger position in their company, want to know what they do not know and don’t have hours to research answers on the internet. They are continually searching for HR solutions and want a quick route to the same answers. Moreover, no one wants to be an expert – they just want to know enough to get the job done.

 

Survey Reveals HR Departments Need Help to Simplify Human Resources

HR Topics has compiled a proprietary survey from more than 550 businesses that helps to pull together the human resources puzzle in small business.  The survey highlights concerns of most business managers, owners, and even small business professionals!

 Top HR Issues Facing Business Owners

simplify human resources - survey results

The survey, which consisted of participants nationwide, includes businesses from various sectors of the organizational enterprise including non‐profit, manufacturing, professional services, education, construction, and travel.  The average business size of survey respondents was 73 employees, with a median number of 176 employees. The difference between the average and the median further highlights the diversity of participation from family businesses and start‐ups, as well as publicly traded and larger operations. The participants are all organizations with operations based in the United States regardless of the ownership structure. Some participants have foreign owners, but the complexity of global human resources is not one we will address here.

The survey revealed that business owners continue to share that they just don’t know what they do not know. Should they bring in HR, outsource or just keep doing it with a combination of in-house team members?

 

2 Solutions (or Hacks) to Simplify Human Resources

hr hacks - simplify human resources

Those dealing with human resource issues are continually looking for hacks to avoid the endless searching and wondering if they are doing things the best way.

We have developed an amazing resource called HR Hacks. This book and online resource center is a one-stop shop that provides a bit of education, along with forms, tips, and tricks and then space to create your individualized action list. The idea is to give you lots of solutions and ways to use the materials – and then let you get back to work.

We recently updated HR Hacks for 2018 and it now includes more templates, training, and resources to help you simplify human resources. Additionally, if you opt for the 1-year membership to the HR Hacks online resource center you get new information and training each month on various complex HR processes including compliance, recruiting and so much more.

To address the concern of HR structure, we have developed a propriety model – The FIPE™ model. This tool helps business leaders decide the best next step when it comes to building your HR department.  The FIPE™ model will help you evaluate if you need to add a Full or Part Time HR resource, and then determine whether the right option for the position in your organization is an internal or external option.

Download our complimentary FIPE model below to help you determine what the right fit for your organization is!

FIPE Model Cover

Grab Your Complimentary Download

The FIPE™ model helps business leaders and managers decide the best next step when it comes to building your HR department.

Thanks for grabbing the FIPE model! Check your inbox for the download!

Both of these great resources were developed by an HR person with the sole intention to help simplify human resources in your business. We hope you check them out!

 

 

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3 of My Favorite Tips Every HR Department Can Use https://hrtopics.com/3-favorite-tips-every-hr-department-can-use/ https://hrtopics.com/3-favorite-tips-every-hr-department-can-use/#respond Thu, 08 Feb 2018 15:00:07 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=3572 Today’s world is VUCA: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. To say we operate in a time of information overload is an understatement. HR best practice guides, compliance update reminders, new apps, business books, newsletters, blogs, and on and on it goes. How are we to ingest this constantly revolving door

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Today’s world is VUCA:

Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous.

To say we operate in a time of information overload is an understatement. HR best practice guides, compliance update reminders, new apps, business books, newsletters, blogs, and on and on it goes.

How are we to ingest this constantly revolving door of information and make sense of it all? And, further, how do we apply what we learn from these valuable resources in our careers as HR professionals?

Need some help in your #HR Department? Here are 3 of my favorite tips!

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3 Tips for Getting a Better Handle on Your HR Department of One

I’m often asked what has worked for me when it comes to staying abreast of the HR landscape and handling my HR department, all while working on driving my career forward. I discussed some of these in my Favorite Tips for an HR Department of One:

 

But let’s really narrow this down today. Here are my three favorite tips if you want to have it all in your HR professional career.

Tip #1: Use a Calendar for Reminders

There is no way to keep track of every deadline, registration, and communication deadline by just hoping you’ll remember. Even when you get into a routine, the rules change frequently and quickly.

hr department - calendar for tracking important dates

For instance, the EEO-1 report was always due in September—at least for the past 30 years of my career it was. But now… It’s due next month! That’s right, if you have over 100 employees, you need to file the report by March 31, 2018.

Thankfully, you can use technology to track this. Get our list of critical HR dates below, add them to your calendar, and set them to recur annually. Be sure to do the same with dates that might be specific to your position, company, or industry. Once you’ve done this, you can shift your focus away from trying to remember when the next big deadline or milestone is due and onto more pertinent matters.

HR Critical Dates

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Tip #2: Stop Reinventing the Wheel

You don’t have all the answers… and why should you? In human resources, someone has likely created that policy, dealt with the employee situation, or created a new benefits package that will help you recruit top talent. Why spend your time rebuilding these elements or processes if they already exist?

My suggestion is that you reach out, get to know other folks in your area and share resources. I wrote HR Hacks for this very reason; because too many small HR departments were staring at a blank page, unsure of where to start. Belonging to a mastermind group has been a critical component of my growth and a huge help in this area. I would never have grown my first business to almost a million dollars with six full-time employees if it were not for my Vistage group.

hr department - network and mastermind to stay current

That’s why I am passionate about and run mastermind groups today. If you don’t have access to one locally, you might even want to consider starting your own. I was honored to hear at a recent SHRM meeting that, after hearing me speak at SHRM 2017, a group formed and continue to meet at Starbucks once a month to brainstorm and problem-solve. It doesn’t have to be complex or expensive. Just find your group and start meeting!

business books for hr department

Tip #3: Never Stop Learning

The way we do things today is dramatically different from how we did them 18 months ago. How do you stay on top of these seemingly never-ending changes in the HR and professional worlds?

In all honesty, it doesn’t take a lot of time, but it does take commitment. My top tip for staying engaged, even as the general business world changes, is to get content from three to five business books a month.

Personally, I don’t read that much because I don’t have much time to. But, remember Cliffs Notes from high school? The same is available today for business books. The vendor I’ve used for 25 years is Summary.com.  For a reasonable fee, I receive summaries of the top business books. I can quickly review what business leaders are talking about and be sure that I stay up-to-date on the latest theories and vocabulary.

Bring More Stability to Your HR Department

In sum, here is what you need to take away from these 3 tips for getting a better handle on your HR department:

  1. Find vetted solutions and give yourself the luxury to use shortcuts.
  2. Get to know your community of fellow HR professionals or business owners. You never know what sort of valuable information or resources you each have to share with one another.
  3. Study up on what you need to know, even if it’s only in a summarized format.

At the end of the day, these three tips all roll into one simple idea: that you need to be more engaged with the external world if you want to do a better job managing your smaller HR one.

 

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Getting Control of the VUCA World: Volatile, Uncertain, Ambiguous and Complex https://hrtopics.com/getting-control-vuca-world/ https://hrtopics.com/getting-control-vuca-world/#comments Wed, 31 Jan 2018 14:00:13 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=3519 VUCA has become an interesting buzz word in the business world. We all live it, but do you really understand what it is all about? VUCA stands for a volatile, uncertain, ambiguous and complex. Is there anyone who cannot say that some part of their life touches on these issues? 

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VUCA has become an interesting buzz word in the business world. We all live it, but do you really understand what it is all about?

VUCA stands for a volatile, uncertain, ambiguous and complex. Is there anyone who cannot say that some part of their life touches on these issues?  Whether it is your ever-changing business or dealing with multiple generations (at work and home!), we all have some level of VUCA during any given week.

vuca world - uncertainty

The world at large is ever-changing, and our organizations and employees are doing all they can to keep up.  The days of going off to a strategic planning retreat, planning a 5-year vision and executing it are gone. We now operate in a world that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) on a regular basis.

What do you as the HR leader, business owner or manager have to do to adapt to this new and ever-changing world?

As an #HR leader, #business owner or #manager, how do you adapt to a #VUCA world? Here are some tips!

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When we look at the VUCA situation before us, there is a combination of two factors. First is the amount of data we have at our disposal. The second is the complexity of the landscape in the future.  By understanding the relationship between data and prediction, you can tackle the situation with some tools that will define a more certain outcome. This chart depicts how you can approach each situation to understand which element of VUCA is at play.

VUCA flow

 

Much of the initial VUCA literature came out of the military.  The SCAILES framework was presented by By Dr. Dale L. Moore, Dept. of the Navy.  He defines seven tools that will help leaders operate efficiently in a VUCA world. Specific tactics for leadership in a VUCA environment are also shared by US Army Colonel Eric Kail.  Essentially, literature and the studies from these two sources encourages leaders to think about the bigger business picture than just the issue in front of you.  If you feel that your business is in a continual VUCA spin, consider some of these tips:

  • Constant scanning of industry
  • Allowing multiple solutions to one issue simultaneously
  • Empowering your workforce to try new solutions
  • Innovation as a culture of your business
  • Celebrating failures as a learning opportunity
  • Lifelong learning
  • Organizational structure that gives power throughout the team

Innovation is no longer a hot idea to solve our current problem. The entire team has to be on the lookout for faster and better ways to tackle issues and meet customer demands.  Often it is about what seems like the craziest idea, something we have never heard of before and what we think we want to do for the future.

The idea of learning is changing at all levels of the organization.  Employees want programs that are much more experiential and access to leaders and meaning of their position. Regardless of the role in the organization, employees need to understand your strategy relating to their job and where you want to be so they can be aligned with the plan.

vuca - align your team to achieve organizational goals hr

The solution to operating in a VUCA world is to have a team that is aligned and will make decisions that lead you towards critical organizational goals. To accomplish this, you must have a professional leader who is open and shares with the entire time.  You want employees that are strategically positioned, understand your culture and how you need to impact change.

Managing in a VUCA world is becoming critical to how we approach human capital management, and you have got to be that person that integrates technology and media into what you are doing today and every day.

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HR Compliance in 2018: What Every Human Resource Department Needs to Know https://hrtopics.com/hr-compliance-2018/ Wed, 24 Jan 2018 14:33:44 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=3503 Human Resources can feel like an ever-changing target in small business today.  Owners and managers do all they can to keep up with HR compliance, but there is always something new.   All this while trying to run your business, but you know that without employees you have nothing.  You can

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Human Resources can feel like an ever-changing target in small business today.  Owners and managers do all they can to keep up with HR compliance, but there is always something new.   All this while trying to run your business, but you know that without employees you have nothing.  You can demystify human resources if you know what to look for. To ensure HR Compliance in 2018, we are keeping an eye on these key areas for small business, and if you do too, it will make it easier to tackle your human resources responsibilities.

Federal Agencies and Laws in Congress

The new Secretary of Labor was appointed April 2017 and is still getting settled in the role. Secretary Acosta has a number of vacancies as of the first of the year, which slows down enforcement and new initiatives. What we do know is that the issue of a salary cap for exempt employees is not dead. During his confirmation hearings, he stated that he believed the cap should be changed to the $31 – 33,000 range, so HR professionals are anticipating the overtime issue being revisited in 2018.

Keep your #business ahead of the curve with HR Compliance in 2018 by focusing on these 5 ever-changing areas.

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Congress is considering a few new laws that will impact the definition of joint employers, and give employers that operate in multiple states a safe harbor provision for paid time off. And then… there is tax reform.  It will be interesting to see how all those issues impact our businesses.  Keeping an eye on Congress is always key for small business owners as employment-related compliance can be a major issue.

Harassment in the Workplace

Harassment is a topic that cannot be ignored given everything that is happening in the media.  It is essential that all businesses have written harassment policies and train employees on those policies.  A formal reporting process should be established and employees need to feel comfortable coming forward to discuss issues if you want your business to stay out of the news!

workplace harassment training for hr compliance 2018

State Laws Continue to Weave a Tangled Web

Every state is passing a variety of laws that impact employers, and local municipalities are making things even more complex passing laws that impact small geographic regions.  Be sure you know your obligations for your area that impact:

  • Minimum Wage
  • Paid Time Off
  • Salary History information
  • Ban the Box
  • Gender discrimination

Marijuana Laws

While the legalized use of marijuana is still a State issue, we have to keep a close eye on what the Federal government may do to streamline the law and enforcement.  And, given the ease of travel these days, businesses have to consider how their policies and drug testing will be impacted if an employee uses marijuana in a state where it is legal for recreational use.  We see medical marijuana approved in many states, and complying with these regulations is another issue HR departments will need to address!

Employee Handbooks

Your policies and procedures are only good if they are current. Often, employee handbooks are written, and additional policies are added during the year. Management rarely goes through and reviews the full handbook to be sure it is current and encompasses all relevant laws. Review your handbook to be sure it includes all new obligations, states an employment at will relationship, and discusses policies that are currently in force in your organization.  And don’t forget to update handbooks for new technology issues, such as allowing employees to use their personal smartphone or other mobile devices to access company websites and social media platforms.

hr compliance 2018 update employee handbook

These are just a few of the high-level human resources issues we see impacting small business at the start of 2018.  It is essential that the small business owner find resources to stay on top of human resources compliance and best practices if you hope to keep top talent and stay out of the news!

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Providing Employee Feedback to Ensure the Long-Term Success of Your Star Employees https://hrtopics.com/using-feedback-ensure-long-term-success-star-employees/ https://hrtopics.com/using-feedback-ensure-long-term-success-star-employees/#comments Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:44:02 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=3484 One thing we know from research is that most employees want a job where they are aligned with the company and making a difference.  It does not mean they have the solution for world peace, but that what they are doing every day supports the goals of the business. This

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One thing we know from research is that most employees want a job where they are aligned with the company and making a difference.  It does not mean they have the solution for world peace, but that what they are doing every day supports the goals of the business. This is why ensuring that you are aligning your star employees with the company and its goals is crucial to the long-term success of that employee. And it all starts with providing employee feedback.

providing employee feedback for success

If an employee has the desire to work towards helping the company reach its goals, it is essential that you provide continual feedback to them. This allows them to understand the value of their efforts. However, instead of thinking about this feedback as managing performance, turn your focus to communication with the team that allows them to connect and succeed.

Nurture your star employees by providing valuable feedback on their efforts to help your company reach its goals! #HRTips

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Now, I am not saying you no longer have performance management conversations and documentation – they are vital to every organization, especially when it comes to compliance. The first step in any issue with an outside agency and your employees will be a request for documentation.  That still has to exist in those situations that just aren’t successful.  For compliance purposes, you should still have a written review that happens annually.

Embarking on the New World of Providing Employee Feedback

As you embark on the new world of ongoing feedback, there are a few steps you will need to consider.  As you see in the image below, there is a continuous circle of communication that should be taking place.

feeback and the communication circle

Discussing how it is going, and then helping the employee eliminate roadblocks when they exist are two steps in this communication circle.  Two additional critical steps in this process are coaching and motivating. It is these two steps that are often missed in the traditional performance management conversations.

Another essential part of the communication circle is Setting SMART goals. This is as critical as ever.  If you are not familiar with the acronym,  it stands for:

Specific – exactly what is the employee to do

Measurable – how will you know when the goal is completed

Action-oriented – The employee is in control and needs to take the steps for success

Realistic – the ability to complete the goal is within reach

Time-bound – there is a defined target by when the goal should be completed

The idea is to create goals that employees understand clearly and have success factors that are quantifiable to both the employee and manager.


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Whether the conversation you are having with employees is about the plan for the future or their individual goals, we know that frequent one-on-one interaction between manager and employee is most effective. Consider different conversations throughout the year that will provide various levels of information about your strategic plan, and motivate them to align with their part in the success.

Give employees meaningful feedback on how they are both aligning and progressing, and ask for their input on how they might like to be more involved.  This will often help you identify the members of your team that will help you move your business where you want to go!

 

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Make 2018 the Year to Invest in Your HR Career https://hrtopics.com/invest-in-your-hr-career/ https://hrtopics.com/invest-in-your-hr-career/#comments Mon, 08 Jan 2018 20:22:10 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=3293 Now is the time for setting goals for 2018 and likely you have at least one that has to do with getting ahead in your current position, finding a new job, or figuring out a way to make more money. That’s why now is the time to invest in your

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Now is the time for setting goals for 2018 and likely you have at least one that has to do with getting ahead in your current position, finding a new job, or figuring out a way to make more money. That’s why now is the time to invest in your HR career to start achieving your goals.

So many of us desire to get our careers to the next level. And while you may know what is needed to take the next step in your HR career, you don’t always have all the skills today to get yourself there. Thankfully, in the HR industry, there are a number of options one can choose to help increase their knowledge, develop new skills and advance their standing in the profession. Today, I’ll be sharing some great ways you can increase your value so you reach your goals for getting ahead.

5 Ways to Invest in Your HR Career

To get on the track to growth and advancement, the first step is determining what new skills you need to acquire in the new year to get you where you want to go. So, what are some of the ways to find out what’s going to make the biggest impact? Here are five suggestions.

Informational Interviews

Ask people who have the job you want to meet for coffee or lunch.  Ask what software, skills or courses are most important to their success. Even better, find the leader of the team you want to be on, and ask them what makes a great team member.

invest in your hr career by interviewing

Look at Job Ads

Look at job ads for positions you want, not so much to apply, but take inventory of what they’re looking for. Are their skills or software programs that are mentioned over and over again?  Do they ask for certification or course of study?  How many years of experience is needed?  Keep track of the keywords so that you can add those to your resume in the future.

Industry Certifications

Almost every field has a certification these days, and odds are if you want to make an impact and get to the next level, you’ll need one, too.  In HR, we know that higher salaries and more mission-critical positions are given to those with certifications.

Here is a great graphic of all the ways certified HR professionals benefit from the designation:

invest in your hr career with certifications infographic

This is true of every industry, so find out what certification makes sense for you and how quickly you get it done!

Colleges, Universities, Certificate Programs

If you are looking to change your area of focus, look at what programs are being offered today.  This can be a great way to learn what’s needed (and popular) by seeing the commonalities. The institutions do the research for you – they know what employers want, and offer courses to meet those needs.

Consider your own style and how you are most effective at learning new material. We all absorb information differently, and you can choose from online classes, self-study, and traditional classroom work.  Some are all day workshops; others spread materials over many weeks.

You should also consider if you are interested in additional benefits such as connection with the instructor, networking with classmates and the ability to go back and review materials through online portals that may be available.

invest in your hr career with education

Most employees decide what they want, ask their supervisor to fund it and then accept the answer. That’s great… if the answer is yes, but your long-term goals may not align with the organization, and their budget may not cover what you need.

Consider this instead: You put a significant amount away each year in your retirement plan (hopefully!), why not take some of those dollars and invest in your future through education and certification? Think of the impact $750 you spend today can have on your total income for the future.

What better way to kick off the new year than to give yourself the gift of the career of your dreams!

Want to get started investing in your HR Career? We have two great opportunities for HR professionals available now. Our first is our HR Test Prep LIVE Class that starts on January 30th to get you ready for the SHRM or HRCI certification test. The second is to grab a copy of our book, Taking Your Seat at the Table, which is designed to help you design the path of your HR career.

 

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Communicating Your Company’s Anti-Harassment Policy to Employees through Effective Anti-Harassment Training https://hrtopics.com/anti-harassment-policy-training/ Mon, 18 Dec 2017 18:19:51 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=3224 You do not want to be the next company on the evening news! The only way to ensure that does not happen is by clearly communicating to your employees your company’s anti-harassment policy through effective anti-harassment training, so they understand what will and will not be tolerated. Communicating Your Anti-Harassment

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You do not want to be the next company on the evening news! The only way to ensure that does not happen is by clearly communicating to your employees your company’s anti-harassment policy through effective anti-harassment training, so they understand what will and will not be tolerated.

Communicating Your Anti-Harassment Policy to Employees

Let’s be clear on one thing. The conversation with employees on your company’s harassment policy cannot just be a one and done training; it must be an ongoing message that is incorporated into your company culture. Harassment, discrimination, and bullying in the workplace should all have a zero-tolerance message in your workplace – without exception.

Employee’s Rights and Responsibilities

When it comes to harassment, employees have both rights and responsibilities.

They have the right to a workplace free of harassment and discrimination. At the same time, they have the responsibility to work with the organization to ensure the workplace is harassment free.

It is crucial that you communicate this to them, so they understand this responsibility. Otherwise, they will most often deter to ignoring wrongdoing they see in order to not get involved.

ensure employees know their responsibilities on harassment in the workplace

Employees are also responsible for their own behavior and to report any activity they feel is contrary to the policy of the organization or public policy in general. It is imperative that employees understand this and that leadership takes a role in creating a process for them to communicate these activities.

Customizing Anti-Harassment Training and Delivering It Frequently

Because we know that people receive messages in a variety of ways, it is essential to consider how you will communicate your anti-harassment message to your team throughout the year.

What works for one person may not work for others. So… here’s what I suggest:

Just talk to them!

using anti-harassment training to communicate with employees

Use a mix of videos, oral presentations and written tools during your training to ensure all employees are on board and understand your position on harassment. A great way to reinforce the behaviors you want in your workplace would be to find people celebrating diversity and supporting others and send out video messages throughout the year.

It is a best practice to have external training every 12 – 18 months on harassment to enforce the seriousness of the message. New hires should always receive harassment training from your human resources or office professionals.

Take advantage of your anti-harassment training and use it as an opportunity to create bonds with employees, so they never feel alone in the process. You can achieve this through an internal source (HR Department or management) or consider bringing in an expert to help facilitate.

Have a Formal Harassment Policy to Share

You should have a formal anti-harassment policy in your handbook. Encourage all employees to review your harassment policy, and the rest of the handbook, to be sure you are following best practices.

share anti-harassment policy with employees

Send your anti-harassment policy separately to all employees during the year for review and as a constant reminder. Also, send short emails on occasion reminding employees of their rights and responsibilities and a “thank you,” or “in case you missed it” announcement when leaders or employees exhibit the behavior you are looking for.

Get Employees Involved in the Anti-Harassment Process

Many team members want to feel they are doing something to move anti-harassment forward. Ask trusted employees if they would like to buddy with a new team member the first 90 days to be sure they are comfortable in their work environment.

A great exercise to get employees involved in the anti-harassment conversation and process is to ask them to submit funny clips from movies and TV that exhibit unacceptable behaviors. Here are two examples that go a long way to show employees what you will not tolerate.

Example 1: The Big Bang Theory – Egg Salad Sandwich

Example 2: North Country

Why Should You Care?

We all know the legal ramification of not addressing harassment in the workplace. The past few months television has made our focus on the topic even more critical; You definitely don’t want to end up on TV.

However, that is not the real reason to focus on anti-harassment training and developing a strong anti-harassment policy for your workplace. Employees today have options. If they are not treated right and don’t think that their voice will be heard, they will just go elsewhere. You have put time and energy into training employees, not to mention significant cost. To have them leave over a disrespectful workplace is a shame.

More than all that, it is just the right thing to do!

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A 2017 Year-End Thank You Gift for You! https://hrtopics.com/2017-thank-you/ Mon, 11 Dec 2017 14:55:29 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=3129 2017 is almost over! Where did the time go? And did you “get it all done?” If not, we totally get it. It’s hard to stay on top of everything, especially if you (like so many!) are an HR Department of One… As we look ahead to the new year,

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2017 is almost over! Where did the time go? And did you “get it all done?” If not, we totally get it. It’s hard to stay on top of everything, especially if you (like so many!) are an HR Department of One…

As we look ahead to the new year, we’d like to offer a simple “thank you” gift that will hopefully make your 2018 a little less stressful — an HR Perpetual Calendar of important dates through the year. Consult it often, and stay on top of those important HR tasks!

HR Critical Dates

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Thank you for a wonderful 2017. We look forward to LOTS more with you in the coming year!

Lori

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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6 Steps Leaders Can Follow to Help Stop Harassment in the Workplace https://hrtopics.com/harassment-in-the-workplace/ https://hrtopics.com/harassment-in-the-workplace/#comments Mon, 04 Dec 2017 15:55:49 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=3184 Harassment and discrimination issues are flooding the news. What we do not hear as much about, however, is the massive impact harassment in the workplace can have on businesses. Businesses compete for both employees and customers. Each expects you to have ethical workplaces that treat people with respect. Employees have

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Harassment and discrimination issues are flooding the news. What we do not hear as much about, however, is the massive impact harassment in the workplace can have on businesses.

Businesses compete for both employees and customers. Each expects you to have ethical workplaces that treat people with respect. Employees have options, and they are no longer willing to work in organizations that allow harassment, discrimination or bullying. Moreover, customers are fleeing from companies and brands that are associated with harassment and discrimination suits.

harassment in the workplace headlines

As a leader, you must take steps today to ensure your working place is harassment-free for the sake of your employee’s and your business’ future. Here are six steps to get you on the right path.

6 Steps to Help Stop Harassment in the Workplace

1. Define Harassment

Businesses often go to the definition of harassment from the equal employment opportunity commission. That is not enough. Your harassment definition should include other definitions as protected by law. It should also include a common-sense approach that regardless of the law, we treat each other with care and respect.

Be sure to let employees know that any behavior that makes them uncomfortable is reason to raise a concern.

workplace harassment

2. Encourage Conversation

The first line of defense is giving all employees permission to tell others, regardless of place in the organization, that they just aren’t comfortable. If an employee is not comfortable vocalizing their concern, they should speak with a supervisor, human resources or any member of leadership.

In this step, we want to encourage all employees to come forward. The issue may not rise to the level of harassment, but only by starting the conversation can your organization determine what the best steps are.

3. Have a Formal Reporting Process

There needs to be a formal, approachable way for employees to file a complaint. In the past month, many have heard about the process in the US Congress for filing a harassment complaint. Your organization cannot have a 90-day process before someone gets help.

reporting harassment in the workplace

Ensure that you designate in your company a group of people employees can speak with, who are at various levels in the organization and of both genders. Make the policy easy to access and solution oriented.

4. Train Managers and Employees

We know from multiple Supreme Court cases that it is the responsibility of every business to explain what harassment is and how to file a complaint. The next step is training managers on the steps to take once a complaint is made.

Managers MUST understand that any conversation is a complaint and they are obligated to act. The training can be 60 -90 minutes, but to be effective, live training with conversation, policy review and discussion of situations should be included.

5. Investigate All Claims

All claims must be investigated in a timely manner appropriate to the complaint. That does not mean you have to drop everything, but you should be ready with a process that will look into the issue at hand.

Talk to all parties involved and ask for both sides of the story. Most importantly observe the actual workplace.

Often there is a situation that can be difficult to know who is right, but a reasonable solution can often be an apology and agreement that the behavior is unacceptable and won’t occur in the future. For more serious complaints, the solution may be disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Your investigation should always end with a resolution and a conversation with the complainant to let them know you have taken action.

6. Lead by Example

The most critical step in stopping harassment in the workplace is to ensure that your senior leadership team is treating every member of the team with respect always. These individuals often set the culture of the company and must be held as the example for all.

leaderships role in ending harassment in the workplace

Consider if comments that seem inappropriate are made in closed-door meetings, what might really be going on with your staff. Hold managers and leaders to a higher standard and be clear that disrespectful behavior is never tolerated.

Harassment in the workplace must be monitored at all times. Managers are responsible to keep their eyes and ears open to ensure a workplace free from harassment and discrimination. While bullying may not be illegal today, it is unacceptable in the workplace and will often lead to behaviors that are illegal.

As a leader, you are obligated to provide a workplace that is free from harassment and discrimination. To do this, you must ensure that your team is trained, policies are followed and your line in the sand is clear.

Most importantly, when it comes to harassment, walk the walk and talk the talk!

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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Employee Competency: The “What” AND the “How” https://hrtopics.com/employee-competency/ Mon, 27 Nov 2017 10:55:08 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=3120 Rebecca and Kate attended similar schools, took similar courses, achieved similar grades, landed similar jobs in similar companies… Yet Kate has been much more successful in her career, having been promoted several times whereas Rebecca is still in her original position. How could this be? The answer is because Kate

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Rebecca and Kate attended similar schools, took similar courses, achieved similar grades, landed similar jobs in similar companies… Yet Kate has been much more successful in her career, having been promoted several times whereas Rebecca is still in her original position. How could this be?

The answer is because Kate brings a unique set of behaviors to her role, so that she not only completes the assigned tasks of her job but consistently goes above and beyond due to her understanding of the “behaviors” or “competencies” that are most valued by her company.

HR professionals can support Kate and help Rebecca by facilitating a process of identifying the shared competencies that most influence individual, group, and organizational success. The process often begins with identifying specific employees that consistently perform beyond expectations on the “WHAT” of their job. In HR Hacks, we offer a template for evaluating your top talent. These are the employees that consistently exceed revenue targets, quickly resolve customer challenges, produce highly effective marketing campaigns, build collaborative production teams, etc. When you look at what these people have in common, you can begin to identify the underlying competencies that are influencing organizational success. The six we focus on in HR Hacks are:

  • Talent
  • Ambition
  • Behaviors
  • Performance
  • Engagement
  • Potential

The HR professional can help to codify your competencies into defined competencies. For example, it may be that a shared characteristic among the high performers at a company is the ability to work within a group setting. HR leaders know that these characteristics can be defined as “teamwork” and provide a mutually understandable definition of “teamwork”, such as “the ability and willingness to align one’s own behavior with the needs, priorities, and mission of the organization.”

The next step (and one that is sometimes left out) is to define the competency at several different levels so that teamwork can be translated to fit the range of roles within the organization. For example, an entry level or lower paid employee may demonstrate teamwork by actively participating in team meetings supporting team decisions, assisting in team meetings; whereas a more senior level employee may demonstrate teamwork by providing information and ideas to support collaborative decisions, solving mutual challenges, and resolving conflicts within and across departments.

Ultimately, a “Competency Model” emerges that is defined to meet a reasonable number of levels within an organization (i.e., three to five levels). To get an example of a final teamwork competency click here.

Competencies can be incorporated into a variety of HR systems, including performance management where employees are rated on the level of where they consistently demonstrate behaviors.  Many companies use their competency models for purposes of promoting and developing employees, reinforcing their commitment to the fact that “how” a person behaves is as important as “what” a person achieves.

Kate figured this out on her own, but Rebecca hasn’t. Perhaps HR can help not only Rebecca but others like her who want to be successful but just don’t know “how”.

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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Connect with Your Team: Don’t Go It Alone! https://hrtopics.com/connect-team/ Mon, 13 Nov 2017 10:55:07 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=3109 We all have day to day stuff to get done, and often just doing it the way we’ve always done it is the easiest. Lots of employees have ideas, but who has time to listen to all of it? And so many of the ideas are self-serving and expensive that

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We all have day to day stuff to get done, and often just doing it the way we’ve always done it is the easiest. Lots of employees have ideas, but who has time to listen to all of it? And so many of the ideas are self-serving and expensive that you’ll never implement them anyway! But then, there is the one gem hidden in all those ideas that can add clients or profits to the bottom line.

The old days

Remember the old suggestion box? We had them hanging all over the businesses. Employees used to love to stuff them full of all sorts of ideas. Human Resources tried to remember to empty them every so often, and then sort through what made sense. We had committees that evaluated ideas, and often gave monetary awards or prizes to those that made sense. Unfortunately the norm was that even of the good ideas, very few of them actually ever got implemented. Eventually the suggestion box disappeared.

Empowerment takes over

In the 1990’s, we decided to empower our workforce on the front line instead of sending suggestions up to management and waiting for replies. That was great for the employees that understood the strategy of the organization, had good common sense and aligned decisions in the moment with what was good for the business. How many of those employees do you have? Many businesses ended up with people making all sorts of decisions that didn’t make sense, spending money they didn’t intend, or creating a situation where different departments and areas of the business were all running differently.

So where are we today?

What we know is that employees want to be involved. They certainly have good ideas, but things are often spinning so quickly that there isn’t time to sit and flesh the idea out in a way that works for the business. Employees want to be valued for expertise, and seen by the leadership team in a professional way.

Why not Shark Tank the suggestion box idea? What if you had a formal presentation 2-3 times a year for employee presentations? You could have a production committee that would preview and elaborate on ideas. Mentors could work with viable “contestants” to gather data and create the presentations. Then leadership can spend a half day hearing the best of the best. Those that seem viable would receive a cash award and the presenter and their mentor could become responsible for implementation.

In my on-site work with management teams called Employees: Can’t Live With ‘Em, Can’t Live Without ‘Em, we work collaboratively to get creative. This is just one idea to tap into the potential of your team. Managers need to find time to connect with their teams. Likely you will find that there are many ideas that will help add to your business at many levels by engaging team members at all levels.

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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Where’s Waldo – Your New Team Member May Be Right Under Your Nose! https://hrtopics.com/wheres-waldo/ Mon, 06 Nov 2017 10:55:45 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=3070 The face of your candidate pool has likely changed a great deal in the last 20 years. We know that people are moving from one job to the next more quickly these days. But is that a problem? Yes, you spend time training only to have them leave in many

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The face of your candidate pool has likely changed a great deal in the last 20 years. We know that people are moving from one job to the next more quickly these days. But is that a problem? Yes, you spend time training only to have them leave in many cases, but at the same time you are able to hire “new blood,” which brings other experience and ideas into your business.

What are the stats?

The facts and figures of employees in the workforce have also changed dramatically in the past 20 years.

  • People now have an expected 100 year lifespan.
  • Most people will work 60-70 years during that lifetime.
  • Two income households has increased to impact more than half of Americans.
  • College graduation has increased to 44% in 2009 versus only 27% in 1992.
  • Average time spent in a job is 4.5 years.
  • Skills learned on the job will only last 5 years.

Think career lattice – not career ladder

waldoEmployees and managers often think of growth and development as looking for the next promotion. But that isn’t always the way to grow, and often not what your employees are looking for. Not everyone is cut out for leadership, but everyone can learn new things and add value to your team. The idea of the career lattice is to help employees develop and pick up new skills, without necessarily giving them additional pay or titles. Employees today want to learn and grow, but they are often less concerned with promotion. They know themselves well enough to know they aren’t interested in management, but that doesn’t mean they want to sit at the desk and do the same work for 20 years.

Learning can take on many faces

Helping employees gain experiences that crate a career lattice isn’t as complex as it sounds. Reviewing the chart below from our book HR Hacks will provide a number of ideas for successful training and development of human capital. Most importantly, consider self-directed training, which is putting the responsibility for training in the hands of the employee. We all learn differently and asking the employee for their idea of what would work best for them is the first place to start. Think of training as experiences, not just learning as you put together customized development plans that will address your future needs.

Accepting what we cannot change

Don’t judge the employee who wants to make a change in their career based only length of employment. Dig deeper into why they made changes and what they learned from those experience.  What can you offer to pull that all together and provide a longer career option? What are your current employees thinking?  Be sure to offer experiences that augment their daily work so they don’t have to leave your organization just to learn something new. Create avenues and opportunities for employee development that will allow them to stay with your team and grow personally.  A win-win for employee and organization is an equation where two plus two will equal five!

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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A New Definition of Teams: Adding Augmented Reality https://hrtopics.com/adding-augmented-reality/ Mon, 30 Oct 2017 09:55:41 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=3057 As professionals in the workplace, we have to carve out time to look into the future. The crystal ball of what may or may not be coming down the pike is essential information to have as you evaluate options and create new initiatives for your business. Human Resources in the

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As professionals in the workplace, we have to carve out time to look into the future. The crystal ball of what may or may not be coming down the pike is essential information to have as you evaluate options and create new initiatives for your business. Human Resources in the future is one of my favorite topics to explore this time of year as I update my Yes! You do have a crystal ball program for 2018.

One of the hot new human resource topics is focused on augmented reality. The conversation is now turning to how technology can support employee productivity in the workplace, not replace it. The idea of augmented reality is to take what currently exists, and overlay it with options and solutions. For instance, think of the Pokemon Go game that was all the rage last year. The game creators didn’t have to create a world for the game…. they used the world that existed, and overlaid the game elements right on the smart phones we all carry every day. It was both convenient and engaging for the user. But the key is that it didn’t replace the person working the game.

What is augmented reality?

In a recent SHRM article, they discuss the advantages of using augmented reality to supplement the level of expertise of employees. They explain that augmented reality is supplementing or improving on what a person sees or interacts with. This is opposed to virtual reality where something that does not exist is created. For example, can sales people use augmented reality to show a customer how a new product would look in their space, rather than having to get on a plane and fly to do the demo? Can a manager use a system to layout a new manufacturing line in 3 or 4 different ways to see how the team might maneuver around the equipment before it is actually placed on the floor?

Technology as a team member

As we focus on workforce planning in the future, technology will be part of the game. Every industry and position is creating new apps and systems that work alongside employees to add to the level of productivity and quality that can be produced. It is essential that managers and human resource professionals work together to understand how the technology can support the work being done by the team and communicate that effectively to the team. HR Topics has created an app that will support those new to human resources that ability to learn and practice vocabulary.  Team members don’t need to live years in a position to understand the terms, they can practice in the line at the grocery store and be up to speed in a matter of weeks. Check out HR Cards on the app store to learn more!

Communication is key

Communication in the workplace today cannot be emphasized enough, and it is critical as you begin to bring augmented reality into the organization to interface with your human capital.  Employees are scared of being replaced by technology. Taking the time to explain how augmented reality can assist in their role, not replace it, is key. But honesty is also important…. you must make employees aware of what the future has in store for their role. Just like the position of blacksmith was virtually eliminated when Ford made the Model T common place and the horse and buggy became obsolete, some positions will disappear.

Where do we go from here?

As a manager of human resources professionals, be sure that you are watching your industry and identifying the technology that is on the horizon. Look at other industries that overlap and see what they are using. As an organization, think about the positions you will need in the next 36 months. Create career development plans with your teams that will prepare them for those roles in the future.

Jobs don’t become obsolete overnight. Focus on your crystal ball and make sure that you are prepared for the future of human capital.

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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Debunking the Millennials Myth https://hrtopics.com/millennials-myth/ Mon, 23 Oct 2017 09:55:39 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=3046 Millennials are the workforce of today – and as many in my world know – some of my favorite team members. They were born post 1981, and have seen an awful lot in their lives. Think about it, Millennials have seen the incorporation of technology into our daily lives, lived

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Millennials are the workforce of today – and as many in my world know – some of my favorite team members. They were born post 1981, and have seen an awful lot in their lives. Think about it, Millennials have seen the incorporation of technology into our daily lives, lived through 9/11 and the crash of the economy in 2008. Many saw loyal hardworking parents lose their job through no fault of the own, know what it means to be “upside down” in a mortgage and have enormous student debt. There aren’t many of us who have lived through that in our first 30 years. And most importantly – they are 40% of the workforce today, and increasingly seen at top levels in organizations. So, let’s stop talking about Millennials as an issue, and embrace the new workforce for what they bring.

Celebrate Millennials!

In my first HR consulting firm, I only hired millennials. Today, I talk about hiring millennials in my program, Where’s Waldo. We review great interviewing techniques that helps to differential the great candidates from those that would not work for your team. It doesn’t matter the generation of the candidate, it’s the manager and human resources role to find the candidate with the right skills to fit the role and the organization.

Millennials have characteristics that I value and expect in all candidates. Review the list below, its descriptive of what we see in millennial workers.millennials

  • quick to get a job done
  • research oriented to get answers to questions and move on
  • value work life balance
  • understand commitment to a team
  • looking ahead to build a path for the future
  • constantly wanting to learn and grow
  • unbounded reach when looking for resources

Doesn’t that describe every employee you’d love to have on your team? Yes, some millennials are lazy, entitled and disengaged. But I bet you can think of people in all generations that have those characteristics. They aren’t just millennials!

Time for an attitude adjustment

In my first book, Fire HR Now, I have a funny story about the 1960’s. Think about the leaders back then. They looked at their candidates as a group of hippies wanting to come into the workplace and thought it was crazy! They had long hair, wore loose fitting clothes, smoked pot…and imagine – they listened to the Beatles! They wouldn’t possibly do a full day’s work. What’s happening now… we can’t get rid of them! The hippies of the 1960’s are working well into their 70’s, and having careers they never dreamed were possible. So, enough about millennials and their bad work ethic. They know what you are thinking and hear what you say…. maybe that’s why they are moving on from your organization.

Getting engaged with millennials now

While they do tend to “think they know it all”, they offer all of us the confident feeling they have to participate in conversations sharing a view of an issue that others would have never thought of.  When their idea won’t work – there is often a piece of the suggestion that causes the group to alter the original assumption. Focused on a desire to move ahead, they are sponges that will happily soak up what the team has to offer as feedback, and use that input to move initiatives forward. And… think of the technology skills they bring to your office that you never even knew existed!

Build your team

You can’t avoid having a workplace full of millennials, or you won’t have a workplace. Instead think of all the good things they can bring, and embrace them for their skills. Yes, they like to shine, so give them projects to complete and be the star. Millennials are here to stay – and will likely be engaged in the workplace for a long time to come. And if your have anyone on your team that is not adding value, providing top talent and driving your mission forward – make a change. They are the workforce of the future, and if you hire the right ones you’ll hope they never leave. Much like the hippies of the 1960’s!

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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Winter Is Coming! What HR Pros Should Remember https://hrtopics.com/winter-coming/ Mon, 16 Oct 2017 09:55:14 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=2984 As we move into fall, it’s time to give thought to how you are going to handle issues when the snow begins to fall (for most of us at least!). And for those of you lucky enough to live in mild climates, there are always hurricane’s, storms, floods, etc. that

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As we move into fall, it’s time to give thought to how you are going to handle issues when the snow begins to fall (for most of us at least!). And for those of you lucky enough to live in mild climates, there are always hurricane’s, storms, floods, etc. that every business has to deal with unexpectedly. While you can have a formal policy for addressing issues of weather, we tend to need to consider, and deal with, each situation as it arises. There is typically not a one-size-fits-all for your employees or various organizations. What is important for all organizations is to discuss policy in advance with managers so that all are on the same page.

The law is clear – if an employee doesn’t work, you don’t have to pay them. However, the minute they take a phone call from home or their cell phone, answer an email or work on a project, they are working. This can be especially complex if you have a non-exempt workforce that is able to work remotely. A well written resources can be found on the site – about.com. Their article helps management teams think through both the legal and social obligations they have to employees.

Managers should know what authority they have to advise employees, and all employees should know who and how to contact the organization in the event of hazardous weather. Forbes had a great article you may want to review on this topic. The most important take away is to be both flexible and fair to all employees. You can find yourself in deep water if you allow one group to work from home when others that may not have Internet or computer access from home have to find a way to work.

We need our employees at work – only in the worst of circumstances will our clients understand why we don’t have our team in place. Most employees will often do their best to get to work, arriving a few hours late – while others choose to stay home because it’s just too hard to make the trip. Is there a way in your organization to reward those that at least make the effort to get to the office? Most managers understand that getting to work can be difficult in inclement weather, and dangerous for some employees given their travel requirements between home and the office. While we don’t want to put our employees in harms way, we still need to run our business and meet the demands of customers.

Consider a policy that pays employees who arrive within 90 minutes of their start time a full day pay to reward the behavior you want. You can also consider a policy that aligns with your community public transportation or school system as an acceptable reason for calling off work. However, this still has to consider the issue of pay. An excellent resource on legal topics – The HR Specialist — has a flow chart that I find helpful in sparking productive conversations with management teams.

In the end there may not be a clear right or wrong path. What is clear is that you begin the conversation now so that when the time comes to make management decision your team is aligned with the background they need to work with employees in a way that fits your culture and is compliant with law.

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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5 Keys to Managing an HR Department of One https://hrtopics.com/5-keys-hr-department-one/ Mon, 09 Oct 2017 09:55:51 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=2945 It is increasingly common that a sole practitioner run the HR department for an organization. The position varies from a high level HR leader to an organizational team member doing HR alongside other functions for the organization. Regardless of the experience and totality of the position, sole HR practitioners can

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It is increasingly common that a sole practitioner run the HR department for an organization. The position varies from a high level HR leader to an organizational team member doing HR alongside other functions for the organization. Regardless of the experience and totality of the position, sole HR practitioners can rely on these tips to get the job done.

1. Time Management. HR people are pulled in many directions. Your CEO wants you to bring down costs, employees think you are there to meet their every need. Outside entities are constantly calling with reference checks and compliance obligations. Clearly define the actions you need to complete to meet the goals of your organization – and let the rest come later.

2. Publicize your goals. Others will define your role in a way that suits their needs. Work with your manager to create 3-4 meaningful goals that support your organizations strategic plan – then make it clear that this is what you are working on. Empower yourself and your HR function by saying no to those things that don’t fit into your goals or schedule. Hang your goals in the office for all to see.

3. Get control of your internal processes. Completing an HR assessment is a critical step to understanding where you may be loosing time or have non-compliance issues. Constantly evaluate your processes and make life easier for yourself.

4. Vendor Management is key. Know who your key vendors are and reach out to them to take critical tasks off your plate. Review contracts annually and ensure you understand the deliverables. Set a meeting with your vendors to review the agreement and see services they may have to ease your workload.

5. Connect with others. You need to get out of the organization and see how others operate to bring new ideas to your role and complete goals without reinventing the wheel. Mastermind groups and non-profit boards are a great way to meet others with similar interests outside your organization and share ideas and resources. Look for connections you can make today.

All sole practitioners bring valuable assets to the table – but flying alone doesn’t mean you have to do it alone! Using these tips you should be able to identify the areas that create alignment within your organization and give you back control of your day. Find others you can count on to gain control and elevate your HR function.

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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Leadership Theory and the 5 C’s of Survival https://hrtopics.com/leadership-theory/ Mon, 25 Sep 2017 09:55:05 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=2878 Are leaders made or born? Maybe a bit of each. We have heard a great deal in past years about leadership theory, and it all makes sense! A factor that we now know must be considered is the specific situation, what makes a great leader in one instance may not

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Are leaders made or born? Maybe a bit of each. We have heard a great deal in past years about leadership theory, and it all makes sense! A factor that we now know must be considered is the specific situation, what makes a great leader in one instance may not make great leaders in another. Research by Kirkpatrick and Locke in the 90’s all but put an end to the once believed trait theory on leaders. They take a closer look at the person and the situation to determine if leadership is effective in a particular situation.

A recent article in Inc. Magazine looks at the Five C’s of Survival that leaders need: Charisma, Capable, Creative, Credible, Convincing. In thinking about leaders we have all enjoyed working with and following into the battle cry of business, these resonate. While not ever leader is strong in each of the traits, you can see where they need to be present at some level. At the same time, it’s easy to see how characteristics such as “Convincing” and “Capable” may change with the situation.

Reviewing the literature, there are steps we can take to be sure we embrace these characteristics and are doing what we can to be great leaders. Consider where you are at this point and which of these steps you might be able to take to enhance your leadership image.

  • Interact: Get out of your office and see what is going on around you. Ask your employees what is going on with them personally. Approach your hourly workers for casual conversation to make the connection, ensuring your vision is carried out.
  • Be positive and engaging: Make sure the organization knows that you are excited about the mission. There may be struggles of the day, but show your confidence that the team will get it done.
  • Trust others and respect their position publicly: Empower employees to make the right decision for the organization. Give public praise, and when asked to solve a problem that falls into another leader’s area of expertise, defer to them!
  • Use the respect you have earned: Once you have earned the respect of your team, be sure that you are given the same public attention. When you are running a meeting, insist that phones are off – and if people come late let them know that is unacceptable.

While the literature on leadership seems never ending, there are always nuggets we can take away from it. A great leader is always learning and trying to improve and new insights help up drive our careers and organizations to new levels of expertise.

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

Photo used under the following license.

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Why Employee Happiness Is So Important https://hrtopics.com/employee-happiness/ https://hrtopics.com/employee-happiness/#comments Mon, 18 Sep 2017 09:55:44 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=2871   A study shows that employees are 12% more productive when they are happy…so the simple answer is Yes! The study out of the University of Warwick shows that when employees are happy our profits increase. This also helps to explain why companies like Google and Zappos have invested in

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A study shows that employees are 12% more productive when they are happy…so the simple answer is Yes! The study out of the University of Warwick shows that when employees are happy our profits increase. This also helps to explain why companies like Google and Zappos have invested in employee support and satisfaction. Google, for example, has seen a tremendous impact – as much as 37% added productivity. This is added work employees can complete without sacrificing quality. For some organizations, it’s as simple as changing the old-fashioned break room into an area with couches, televisions and a place to just relax together during the day. Think of the communication that might occur over a ping pong table by a team trying to solve a complex issue.

There is supporting data which highlights the impact on business when employees are unhappy. A recent article from HRM Asia points out that employee happiness should be considered as part of a company’s business objectives. Higher levels of engagement and productivity are just two of the benefits of having a satisfied workforce. Not surprisingly, many of the themes that led to employee satisfaction included doing meaningful work, a sense of empowerment, being part of something larger, and appreciation from the bosses.

Think about this cost to the bottom line next time your employees ask for you to sponsor a company softball team, or have an idea for a dinner out that may cost a few hundred dollars. If you are spending tens of thousands of dollars a year on recruiting, can that be saved by a few changes in your environment to move employees from sad to happy? Consider a “happiness framework” in your office — one that will create a culture of happiness throughout the organization, and also address employee concerns at the same time.

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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What You Need to Know About Compensating Employee Travel https://hrtopics.com/employee-travel/ Mon, 11 Sep 2017 09:55:33 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=2859 It’s a question I get all the time: If an employee travels for work, what hours does the company have to pay for? The Fair Labor Standards Act guides all rules relating to employee pay. While there are state laws that are more generous toward employees and must be followed,

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It’s a question I get all the time: If an employee travels for work, what hours does the company have to pay for? The Fair Labor Standards Act guides all rules relating to employee pay. While there are state laws that are more generous toward employees and must be followed, the laws regarding travel are generally those mandated at the federal level. So let’s take a look at how you can easily decipher what you need to know about compensating employee travel.

What You Need to Know About Compensating Employee Travel

The first step is to determine who is exempt from the overtime regulations under the FLSA. An employee being paid a salary does not necessarily mean they are exempt from overtime. They must meet one of the 5 strict characteristics of the law.

The FLSA is clear in the requirement to pay for travel, although a bit odd. The law states that you must pay an employee for any time that falls within their normal workday – regardless of the day of the week. So, for example, if an employee works 8:30 – 5, and takes a 4pm flight on a Sunday, you would only need to pay for 1 hour – from 4-5pm. For the full regulations, see the FLSA.

If an employee is working at another location, but not overnight, some travel time could be required. The employer is required to pay for travel time but may deduct the amount of time the employee would have normally traveled that day to get to their regular work location. If your employee goes to other locations during the day, then all time must be paid as time worked.

When the employee is out of town for a period of time, the only time that must be paid is that which is during the employee’s normal workday and/or they are actually working. For example, if a non-exempt employee is at a trade show until 10pm, they must be paid for all hours. However, if the show is over at 4:30 and they are free to explore the city they are in, they need not be paid.

Most importantly – keep track of all time spent by your non-exempt staff. Issues regarding proper pay tend to surface years later and without valid documentation the Department of Labor is most likely to take the word of your employee.

This is a very tricky area of law, and this article is not legal advice. It is provided to give context to the conversation and help you determine if issues exist in your organization that require further review. Please consider the laws for your state, and seek legal counsel when making final decisions.

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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Workplace Privacy: How Closely Should We Monitor? https://hrtopics.com/workplace-privacy/ Tue, 05 Sep 2017 09:55:00 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=2862 Open office designs became popular to break the traditional barrier between management and employee. The idea of open space is to increase collaboration among work groups and allow for more flexible work environments. But have we gone too far? We all value privacy in our daily lives. There are times

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Open office designs became popular to break the traditional barrier between management and employee. The idea of open space is to increase collaboration among work groups and allow for more flexible work environments. But have we gone too far?

We all value privacy in our daily lives. There are times that work calls for concentration that just can’t be achieved in open office environments. On occasion, we all need to make that personal phone call – or speak to a spouse in a way that we just don’t want others to overhear. Like anything in business, there has to be a balance. Do we need to resort to microchipping our employees? Probably not. But depending on the situation (and the employee), business owners and managers might want to consider how much privacy to give employees – and when to take control.

If you are required to work in an open environment, consider taking some charge of your own time – and allow employees the permission to do the same. Many open work environments today provide for private spaces that can be reserved as needed. Encourage employees to reserve this space a few hours each week at a minimum. Establish boundaries of when and how to ask for time from others, understanding that your needs may not always meet the needs of the business unit at the moment you want them met.

And as we talk about privacy in the workplace, we must always consider our legal obligations. You should always notify employees of what you will – and might – monitor. The equipment is yours and you have the right to look at anything you feel is relevant. At the same time, you may choose to monitor web access and instant message that are being sent. An overview of privacy rights should be considered and employee communication on the topic provided to ensure that the rights of the company are protected at all times.

Employees need privacy, but that doesn’t mean we have to go back to the old fashioned way of closed-door meetings and assigning offices to senior managers. Consider ways to embrace a flexible environment which balances camaraderie and communication with the business need to manage talent and information.

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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Is Unemployment Really the Expense You Think It Is? https://hrtopics.com/unemployment-expense/ Mon, 21 Aug 2017 09:55:28 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=2824 Unemployment expense is a line item in all businesses. Businesses often don’t realize that unemployment is an insurance product which covers the benefit to those that are unemployed. The business is only responsible for a small amount paid per employee as an insurance premium. As such, the cost to a

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Unemployment expense is a line item in all businesses. Businesses often don’t realize that unemployment is an insurance product which covers the benefit to those that are unemployed. The business is only responsible for a small amount paid per employee as an insurance premium. As such, the cost to a business for a proper termination is not an overwhelming financial impact and should not be considered if it’s time to make a change.

How is unemployment calculated?

Unemployment insurance differs greatly from one state to another. The program itself is mandated by the Federal Government but regulated by the individual states. In HR Hacks, we provide a tool about unemployment and how to calculate the rate for your state, and specifically your employee population.

Evaluate your current unemployment rate. You can find this number by looking at the tax rate in your payroll system. If you are unsure, here is a great table with rates by state. The rate you pay is a combination of the range your state sets, and the salary cap for the tax.

If you have a great deal of turnover, your cost of unemployment insurance will increase. Each state has a salary cap on the insurance, so the more people that are hired and starting at zero the higher your total expense at year end. Likely, you will have to pay unemployment taxes on some employees that do not stay with your company all year and contribute to your high unemployment.  For this reason, we recommend you to look at the total W2’s issued last year for analysis.

What can you do about unemployment insurance?

Fighting unemployment claims is a frustrating and time-consuming activity. Consider the impact if you can reduce your rate by even 1%. If it is a significant number to your organization, we encourage you to engage the activities below. If the number is not a driver in your operation, then unemployment may not be worth a great deal of attention.

To reduce unemployment expense, consider these actions:

  • Improved hiring; check out a past blog post on recruiting.
  • Know the amount of time your state allows you to “test” an employee. This IS NOT your introductory period in your handbook. Many states will allow a period of time you can separate an employee and not be responsible for the unemployment.
  • Document the issues with performance and have employee sign notices of poor performance.
  • Provide a suspension without pay prior to termination.

Whether you determine unemployment tax is critical to your business or not, as a leader and/or HR professional, understanding how the number is calculated is an important part of running your business.

THIS IS HIGHLIGHTED IN HR HACKS – get your copy today!

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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Terminating Employees May Be a Blessing! https://hrtopics.com/terminating-employees-blessing/ https://hrtopics.com/terminating-employees-blessing/#comments Mon, 14 Aug 2017 09:55:10 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=2800 There are those employees that will never be top talent, and no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get them on your page. You aren’t doing them a favor by just letting them coast in a job. They aren’t learning anything new, and know quickly they are in

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There are those employees that will never be top talent, and no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get them on your page. You aren’t doing them a favor by just letting them coast in a job. They aren’t learning anything new, and know quickly they are in a dead-end job. You want to provide feedback and communication and always consider terminating employees to be your last resort.

Unfortunately, not all communication with employees is positive. When issues arise regarding performance, it is critical that you address it immediately. Your goal is to identify any job-related issues as early as possible and coach the employee to improve. If you have concerns about an employee’s performance, you need to discuss those concerns with the employee immediately. With immediate feedback, employees can improve, and if they don’t improve, your decision to terminate the employment relationship should not come as a surprise.

Nine step process in coaching and termination

Leaders must be willing to terminate poor performers. While it will always be the worst part of a management role, retaining employees that are not productive will pull down the productivity of the entire team. After constructive conversation and training, the decision may have to be made to terminate the employee.

Consider these steps for an effective meeting on performance alignment when a situation requires immediate change:

Taking the final step

Using these nine steps, you will often make it clear to the employee that their job is in jeopardy. This has the advantage of meeting your obligations of compliance, and often encouraging the employee to find a new job sooner rather than later! As an update to HR Hacks in 2017, we provide community members with a template to write a separation letter. No manager likes to fire people; by following this process, you will either turn the situation around or know that you did all you could before the inevitable happens.

THIS IS HIGHLIGHTED IN HR HACKS – Get your copy today!

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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Engaging Employees https://hrtopics.com/engaging-employees/ https://hrtopics.com/engaging-employees/#comments Mon, 07 Aug 2017 09:55:50 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=2798   We spend more time with our co-workers than we do with the people we choose to spend our life with. But we don’t get a choice in who our co-workers are. It’s this reason that employee engagement is a priority today. This is not a new concept. We’ve had

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We spend more time with our co-workers than we do with the people we choose to spend our life with. But we don’t get a choice in who our co-workers are. It’s this reason that employee engagement is a priority today. This is not a new concept. We’ve had company picnics, holiday parties and monthly gatherings for years in organizations. What has changed today is the way in which we engage employees.

How do I get my employees engaged?

What employees want are connections, both personal and professional. Activities can take on a wide variety of programming activities. Many of your planned engagement activities will have an obvious focus on business and productivity. That’s fine; employees expect to see that connection. The goal is that they provide a sense of community at the same time. In a blog post from last year, we provided a number of ideas that are still applicable today.

In addition to scheduled communication and activities, there are several technology platforms that can be used for informal relationship building. Employees are used to turning to social media to stay connected, and they want to have the same systems available at work. Consider those commonly available such as private Facebook or Linked In groups. This allows the more informal conversations about who is in the office, project progress, and general announcements about babies, weddings etc. that create connections.

Engaging employees with each other

You can’t expect everyone to be best friends, but a certain degree of professionalism and comradery is a realistic expectation and one that is desired by your employees. Employees want to be connected, why not give them opportunities for that in the workplace.  The water cooler is likely gone, so why not replace it with a casual sitting area or games?

It is not management’s responsibility to determine, plan or execute every event.  A great way to get employees involved is to assign a month and theme to members of your team.  Ask employees or groups to take charge of events.  In HR Hacks we have recommendations for activities that consider both business and wellness related topics.  Think about what is important to your organization, and plan the events accordingly.

Why should I spend time on engagement?

The goal of any engagement activity should be to elevate the mission of the company and remind employees, “We’re all in this together.” It should not take time away from work. Creating these ties has proven to elevate the problem-solving ability of teams.

THIS IS HIGHLIGHTED IN HR HACKS – Get your copy today and receive a FREE employee engagement calendar!

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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What Should HR Be? https://hrtopics.com/what-should-hr-be/ Mon, 31 Jul 2017 09:55:22 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=2795 We’re talking so much these days that HR should not focus on administration, what does it really mean to focus on strategy? HR may not be planning the strategy for the organization, but they need to be involved. More importantly what I tend to stress is that they need to

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HR adds value in today's ever changing business world.

We’re talking so much these days that HR should not focus on administration, what does it really mean to focus on strategy? HR may not be planning the strategy for the organization, but they need to be involved. More importantly what I tend to stress is that they need to be strategic in the initiatives they start. Our recent blog points to reports on the same topic.

Align new HR programs with the success that drives the business forward

HR should focus on employee productivity. A good HR partner will connect with management peers to understand what they need in their departments. Where are the bottle necks, are there new skills they need from candidates? Is the real issue the need for more people, or is it time for a job design and evaluation project. Not sure how to start this? Use the performance management process in HR Hacks to determine necessary training and ensure that employees have the tools they need to succeed.

Engagement belongs to HR – and everyone else!

Engagement and teamwork have to be fostered. Department managers often let this fall to the bottom of their to-do list. HR can develop programs that involve all levels of the organization. The initiatives can be a way to highlight successes, disseminate corporate level communications and allow for the development of cross functional solutions.

Bring technology to your organization. A recent report showed that 30% of employees will leave if your technology is not up to date. Innovation is critical, why not look at ways to use apps and other social media platforms to highlight company specific programs. Integrate the employee experience with artificial intelligence to support employee ongoing needs that are strictly administrative.

So what is HR for you?

HR does not have to be the place an employee goes when they need a new ID card, or a copy of their paycheck. HR should be tuned into what drives the organization forward and what matters to the leadership team. Then the job of HR today will be the face of the leadership team driving these initiatives throughout the workforce. HR should be the area that’s responsible for enabling employees to get work done in efficient and productive ways.

This is how HR adds value in today’s ever changing business world.

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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Retaining Employees is NOT as Hard as You Think! https://hrtopics.com/retaining-employees-not-hard-think/ https://hrtopics.com/retaining-employees-not-hard-think/#comments Mon, 24 Jul 2017 09:55:38 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=2790 Employees today see work as part of their personal brand. They want to work for organizations they are proud to say they are affiliated with. And this benefits the business as they talk about you, your products, and services within the community. We know employees are looking for collaboration and

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Employees today see work as part of their personal brand. They want to work for organizations they are proud to say they are affiliated with. And this benefits the business as they talk about you, your products, and services within the community. We know employees are looking for collaboration and communication throughout the organization. Sounds good to me as a business owner!

Retention is an issue all businesses face, so why do employees leave? The 2017 Deloitte Learning Study tells us employers what employees want from our organizations. The list below is reflective of what we all hear, and can be brought into every organization. It may take time to get going, but once these practices become part of your culture, it’s not all that hard!

You can retain employees if you have:

Meaningful Work – Employees want to feel they have made a contribution, not just finished a task. Provide autonomy to get the job done, select candidates that fit the soft skills needed in a position.  Allowing employees to work small empowered teams will often provide the level of impact desired and retain them on your team.

Supportive Management – Employees want to know what you want from them, and the tools to succeed. Be clear when you agree on goals, and then be available to coach for success. It is meaningful when employees see that you are investing your managers too. Finally, employees want the performance management programs to be flexible enough to move with the changes in your business.  Check out our recent blog: Who Wants to Be Managed, Anyway?

Positive Work Environment – Every day doesn’t have to be a party, but it should be a happy productive environment. Be flexible, while you need people in the office most of the time, if there is an occasional need to work from home is it that big a deal? Employees just really want managers to be fellow human being, recognize a job well done, and include them throughout the day. You’ll be surprised how far a daily hello and occasional thank you will go!

Growth Opportunity – Differentiate growth from promotion. We all want to grow – it doesn’t mean we want to take on more responsibility. Provide training and support on the job, to learn new ways of doing projects and cross train on other skills. Allow the employees to self-direct what they want to learn, and how they will get the knowledge. You will be retaining talent that is constantly learning and bringing you new ideas.

And probably the MOST important retention tip:

Trust in Leadership. Without trustworthiness, you won’t have an employee base you can count on. People today care about your mission and purpose. They need to know that if you say something will happen it will, or at least you’ll circle back and let them know why not. It is imperative that your leadership team is transparent and honest with employees.

Most of our employees worked through the bad times of 2008 – 2011. They were there when you needed them, but they came out of that time wanting more. Employees know that the loyalty of the 1950’s providing jobs for life are pretty much gone.  The new expectation is that the time they are with you they will be treated as adults and given a role that allows them to flourish as people.

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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Top Talent: How Do You Keep ‘Em? https://hrtopics.com/top-talent-keep/ Mon, 17 Jul 2017 09:55:13 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=2747 The task of retaining top talent is the responsibility of all team members. When creating a plan for retention of employees, step one is identify your top talent. The truth is, you don’t want everyone to stay. What you want are those team members that understand where you are going

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First identify your top talent, then keep them!The task of retaining top talent is the responsibility of all team members. When creating a plan for retention of employees, step one is identify your top talent. The truth is, you don’t want everyone to stay. What you want are those team members that understand where you are going and what needs to be done to get there.  Without asking you a million questions and creating drama!

Employees who fit into the top talent category are not necessarily the people who have been around the longest, or have a relationship with the customer you think you can’t live without. They are the people who have the work ethic and institutional knowledge that would put your organization at a disadvantage if you lost them. Top talent are the people you want on your team in twenty years and in whom you are willing to invest the time and resources to get them where they need to be to serve the organization for the future.

All organizations should identify top talent as approximately 2-3% of the employee population. These are not necessarily people in management today, but the team members that you are counting on driving the business forward 20 years from today. They may never become management, but are still a critical component of your success. Remember, too many chiefs can be a problem – consider top talent across the organization by engaging those that will follow with precise and committed engagement.

I consider employees who are top talent to exhibit the following characteristics day in and day out:

  • Ambition
  • Performance
  • Engagement
  • Behavior
  • Potential
  • Talent

It is essential to actively engage your top talent and ensure you are providing opportunities for advancement, connection to the mission of the organization, and support for their personal growth and development. You don’t want a situation where you spend three years grooming top talent, only to find they have gone to your competitor because they offer better health insurance.  A recent article in Entrepreneur magazine provides 10 tips for retaining top talent.

In our toolkit, HR Hacks, we provide a worksheet that helps you identify the employees you would put into this important category. Be deliberate about your top talent, identify them, engage them and allow them to help you grow the organization so everyone can benefit.

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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Big Ideas and New Tools Gained at SHRM National! https://hrtopics.com/ideas-tools/ Mon, 10 Jul 2017 09:55:06 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=2779   The national HR conference was held 3 weeks ago in New Orleans. Over 15,000 professionals attended, and I was glad to see that once again small organizations were represented in force. There were a number of hot topics, and lessons learned on the exhibit floor. Since many of community

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The national HR conference was held 3 weeks ago in New Orleans. Over 15,000 professionals attended, and I was glad to see that once again small organizations were represented in force. There were a number of hot topics, and lessons learned on the exhibit floor. Since many of community are not able to attend, I am taking space this week to share some of my “hot topics” from the event.  I spoke twice, but these are lessons I learned as an attendee.

Future of HR was a common theme for many of the presentations. HR is going through an evolution, and the professionals in the field need to get on board.  As I discuss in my first book, if you don’t own the strategy and goals of your organization, HR may not be the place for you. Both the business leader and HR need to agree to this – or it may be time to Fire HR Now!

HR must play offense. The skill sets needed for the future in many discussions are disruption and innovation. HR can’t be reactive to events as they occur. We have to get out of our comfort zone in payroll and benefits and get to a place of learning and continuous improvement.  If there is risk – take a chance… Mistakes should be seen as a learning opportunity for our organizations, and ourselves.

Continuous learning was also a constant theme. HR people must learn the business, as well as their constant need to stay up on HR compliance and best practices. I also advocate for HR professionals to get involved in the community and industry. Find places to learn new things, as well as new ways to do old things.

Don’t say there is no budget. We invest in our retirement, you may have to invest in yourself as well! Have you considered HR Certification? Think about joining our class starting soon!

Compliance – well, no shortage of conversations there! Most notably, the Dept. of Labor has a budget for additional labor focused solely on compliance. Need a copy of our HR Assessment – click here! Here are just some of the hot topics that were brought up at sessions:

  • New Secretary of Labor and what that will mean for us – thinking is “not so bad.”
  • The overtime laws – will they go forward or not?
  • Marijuana laws – where will they pop up next and what do you do about it?
  • Gender – states and local communities are now requiring a 3rd gender
  • Paid time off – requirements at a federal level
  • Changes to the OSHA law – now they can only go back 6 months!

A highlight was a keynote presentation by Patrick Lencioni, the author of 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. He broke teamwork down to people being humble, hungry and smart. Add those up, put them together and you’ve got a great team! He also had a great recruiting tip: Stop interviewing in the office. Get candidates out, see how they act in the real world, treat staff etc. That will tell you more then any interview ever could.

It was 3 packed days, so these are only a few tips I wanted to be sure and share. Let me know if you have specific questions, or want to know more.

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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Mentoring Matters https://hrtopics.com/mentoring-matters/ Mon, 19 Jun 2017 09:55:04 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=2743 The recently published article on Women in Leadership provided a compelling argument for mentorship. We know from research that formal mentoring programs are effective methods for developing leaders. They reinforce corporate values and provide development opportunities that are aligned with the needs of the organization. As I participated in the data

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formal mentoring programs are effective methods for developing leaders.The recently published article on Women in Leadership provided a compelling argument for mentorship. We know from research that formal mentoring programs are effective methods for developing leaders. They reinforce corporate values and provide development opportunities that are aligned with the needs of the organization. As I participated in the data evaluation, it because clear to me that HR needs to be more formal in the support of mentoring programs.

The HR.com/DDI report was clear that most organizations do not have formal mentoring programs. If formal programs do not exist, employees can only fill the gap by creating their own informal networks and resources. This may work for some individuals, but does little to drive organizational success. Employees looking for their own mentor or advisory group will be focused on what is best for their own development and career growth, whether it is inside or outside of your organization.

The data from this study supports other data gathered by DDI. Its report Women as Mentors: Does She or Doesn’t She shows that 63% of women never had a formal mentor. And it found that only 56% of organizations offered a formal mentoring program as a development opportunity.

A mentor relationship is a win-win for the mentor and mentee. Through scheduled connection and quick “hey, can I ask you something” conversations, both parties learn. The mentee gets an experienced view of a situation, including how to navigate the internal political climate of the organization.  At the same time, the mentor learns what employees struggle with internally, and how the new workforce looks at situations. Idea can come from these dialogs that are taken to the boardroom and impact organizational value.

Resources are available that allow organizations of all size to embrace the value of mentorship. In a small organization, make connections with other companies that may have a similar employee population or product. Make connections in your industry – and allow mentors/mentees to connect via skype.  Personal meeting can occur at annual conferences.  In larger organizations, a formal program should be established that will provide training and expectations for both parties. To learn more about mentorship, The National Center for Mentoring has a number of resources to get started.

I was pleased to be on the team with HR.com and DDI analyzing the data and creating the new report about Women in Leadership.  To hear a webinar on the full report June 22 – register here – completely free!

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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The Ceiling That Just Won’t Crack https://hrtopics.com/ceiling-wont-crack/ Mon, 12 Jun 2017 09:55:42 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=2739 In a new HR.com and DDI survey, participants were asked to comment on both the current presence of women in leadership as well as the programs their organizations offered for high-potential team members. I was part of the team asked to analyze the data and comment on what was happening in the

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Is there a crack in the glass ceiling?In a new HR.com and DDI survey, participants were asked to comment on both the current presence of women in leadership as well as the programs their organizations offered for high-potential team members. I was part of the team asked to analyze the data and comment on what was happening in the real world.  The data came from HR professionals throughout the world, and the consensus was clear – there are still significant lack of women in leadership positions.

This is supported by an article in Forbes stating that corporations understand the importance of diversity and inclusion. Unfortunately, the survey indicated there is a great deal of talk at the top – but little action. HR continues to be responsible for diversity in the advancement of employees, but with all they have on their plate, is that really a realistic expectation.

The report provided a number of key findings:

  • HR professionals report that few CEOs make gender diversity a priority or mandate.
  • There’s no major crack in today’s glass ceiling.
  • Smaller organizations tend to have larger portions of women leaders.
  • Few organizations accelerate the development of women.
  • HR is primarily responsible for these initiatives but typically lacks influence in holding executives accountable.
  • Corporate culture prescribes behavior.
  • The perceived importance of making gender diversity a priority differs by industry.

But it’s not all bad news.  A study by Equilar shows that in 2016 women did hold 21.6% of board positions. Women are certainly advancing, but not at the rate that we might expect given the conversations on the topics. And why does this matter? Because diversity at all levels is proven to make better decisions and allow for multiple viewpoints to be considered.

It is clear from the research that women must be the ones to take control of their own future. Don’t wait to be invited to the table, stand up and be noticed! Chart your career path, and take actions witch will give you the influence and reach you need to move into leadership!

To hear the full overview and get your own copy of the report, click here to register for a FREE June 22 webinar reviewing the findings.

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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Gauging HR’s Strategic Role: Survey shows progress, but more can be done https://hrtopics.com/gauging-strategic-role/ https://hrtopics.com/gauging-strategic-role/#comments Mon, 05 Jun 2017 09:55:18 +0000 https://hrtopics.com/?p=2727 That elusive “seat at the table” human resources professionals have been craving for years is now a reality in some circles but still a challenge in others. A recent study by Business and Legal Resources shows that HR professionals responding to a recent survey are not making the progress we might

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What can HR do to make more progress as a strategic partner working side by side with top-level management?That elusive “seat at the table” human resources professionals have been craving for years is now a reality in some circles but still a challenge in others. A recent study by Business and Legal Resources shows that HR professionals responding to a recent survey are not making the progress we might have hoped. So, what can HR do to make more progress as a strategic partner working side by side with top-level management?

The “2016 Strategic HR/HR Metrics Survey” from BLR referenced above gathered responses from 843 participants representing an array of industries, business types, organizational sizes, and locations. Among other things, the survey asked HR professionals about their strategic influence within their organizations and about their priorities for 2017. The survey results show that 42.8 percent of those surveyed say that they have “an influential seat within the inner circle.” Another 27 percent say they have a “major role outside the inner circle.”  Those numbers are in contrast to the 23.7 percent of respondents who say they have only a minor role and 5 percent reporting they have “no role” in determining strategy.

The survey also explored how HR professionals think they are perceived by management. Survey results show that 35.1 percent of the respondents believe they are viewed as “a strategic partner,” and an additional 29.5 percent believe they are seen as a “credible business partner.” Other participants were more pessimistic, with 30.8 percent saying they are viewed as a “provider of administrative functions” and 2.2 percent as “not really needed” or “unnecessary/window dressing.”

Getting in the Driver’s Seat

Especially when organizations are growing, HR and senior management need to be on the same page. Growth centers on the organization’s people, and that’s where human resources professionals come in.  Without HR in the driver’s seat, growth efforts can fall flat. People are the backbone of every business. If you don’t think so, look at your annual budget. Generally, over 50 percent of expenses have to do with employees – including the rent to house them, benefits to keep them happy, and insurance products to meet your compliance obligations. Someone has to be watching out for these things.  HR Hacks, the most recent publication from HR Topics has a tool to calculate the impact of employees on your bottom line.  Click here to learn more!

Human Resources professionals must stop waiting for an invitation to join the leadership conversation. Take control of your career and step up to the plate. HR professionals should create visibility so that they are in front of new, effective initiatives. It just doesn’t make sense to wait in the shadows while leadership is trying to implement something that doesn’t make sense for your team.

Finding the Starting Point

When planning a growth strategy, organizations need to keep employees in mind and recognize that needs change. Every part of the HR equation changes with growth – from recruiting talent, compensation philosophy, training and development, and even HR technologies.  HR should be the one watching all of that as an organization grows.

So where do HR professionals begin? The starting point is to form informal alliances with your leadership team.  Forging alliances will help HR gain authority by being trusted, influential, and credible.  Lori’s 3rd book, Taking Your SEAT at the Table provides steps and templates to help HR get involved now.

Lori Kleiman is an HR expert who presents to business people and groups. Click here to see a video of Lori in action. If you’d like to have Lori keynote one of her HR presentations at your upcoming event, click here, or email Lori directly at lori@hrtopics.com!

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