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August 21, 2014

Recruiting Top Talent – Is the Recession the Only Blame?

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Hiring & Jobs — Charisse Rockett, PHR, HR Content Manager @ 9:59 am

The national average of time to fill an open position in June reached 24.9 working days, including the time to post, source, and hire.  Compared to the recessionary period in the summer of 2009, the time to fill has increased by nearly ten days, when the average was 15.3.

During the recession the talent pool was overflowing with applicants.  Hundreds of r­ésumés flooded recruiters in response to a single job posting.  The response left recruiters thinking they could be choosy and wait for the top talent to show, which generally during the recession worked.  Now, other problems are factoring in to the long time-to-fill open positions, such as:

  • Waiting too long to make an offer risks the loss of the top candidate.
  • Unable to find skilled workers in the talent pool.
  • Expecting no learning curve, thus fostering an unwillingness to accept candidates that may need only minimal training.
  • There is simply more job openings, 4.7 million at the end of June, compared to 4 million in June, 2013. 

Employers should examine recruitment and hiring processes to ensure they are streamlined and efficient and make changes wherever they find obstacles.  Performing this self-audit will clearly define the company’s acceptable standards for recruitment and hiring and will help find and hire a solid, talented workforce quickly.

 

Source:  Zappe, John. “Employers Find That Time-to-Fill Job Rates Are Growing, Hit 13 Year High.”  Available here.

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August 14, 2014

If It Looks Like Retaliation – It Probably Is!

Filed under: Discrimination,Legal Issues,Title VII — Tags: — Charisse Rockett, PHR, HR Content Manager @ 7:39 am

An interesting case from Salt Lake County, Utah, recently caught my attention.  The county was facing a sexual harassment claim.  The complainant’s coworker, Michael Barrett, helped her successfully win her case.  Barrett is a hero, right?  Wrong.  Shortly after assisting his coworker, Barrett was demoted.  Now, if that wasn’t enough to scream, “Retaliation!” the county hired a replacement for his previously held position.

Barrett, now knowing his way around the justice system, filed suit against the county alleging his demotion was a retaliatory action and violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The county argued that he was poor worker.  However, Barrett successfully presented evidence of his 14 years with the county having received multiple promotions and positive performance reviews – until that fateful moment when he began helping his distressed coworker.  The court ordered that Barrett be paid the same amount of pay in his new, demoted position that he had received in the old job, and that the newly hired, innocent employee not be removed from Barrett’s old position.  The county, of course, appealed.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, whose rulings govern Utah employers, upheld the previous court’s decision.  They agreed that Barrett had presented sufficient evidence to demonstrate that he had been retaliated against by the county.  The 10th Circuit also agreed that the trial court had ordered an appropriate remedy to Barrett and the new hire.

Notable in this case was the supervisor’s actions.  HRLaws.com reported that, “The disciplinary proceedings that resulted in his demotion began almost immediately after his ‘supervisor learned of his involvement in the sexual harassment complaint.’”  Interestingly enough, other witnesses that were involved in the case were disciplined and the supervisor who administered some of the disciplinary actions lost the records for them.  Convenient.

Employers should be aware that employees have the right to complain about illegal treatment in the workplace.  They have the right to assist other employees, as witnesses, in a claim.  Any adverse employment actions against a complainant or a witness should be taken with extreme caution (and experienced legal counsel) so the action doesn’t even appear to be retaliatory.

 

Source:  www.hrlaws.comUtah – Employment Law Letter

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August 7, 2014

Retailers Increasing Minimum Wages

Filed under: Compensation,General HR Buzz — Charisse Rockett, PHR, HR Content Manager @ 2:01 pm

Home furnishings retailer, Ikea, recently announced an overhaul to their wage structure that will increase their average minimum wage to $10.76 per hour by January 1, 2015, which is a 17 percent increase, and is well above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.  The increase will not be adjusted across the board, but will be a market-based adjustment from $8.69 per hour to $13.22 per hour depending on the cost of living in the city in which the store is located.  Ikea estimates that about half of its United States workforce will benefit by the increase which will be based on the MIT Living Wage Calculator.

Rob Olson, Ikea’s acting president for the United States and its chief financial officer was quoted as saying, “We are of course investing in our co-workers.  We believe they will invest in our customers, and they will invest in Ikea’s stores.  We believe that it will be a win-win-win for our co-workers, our customers and our stores.”  Ikea’s goal is to promote a “better everyday life” for their people.

Gap is another retailer that will be increasing its minimum wage to $10 per hour January 1.  This specialty retailer had set its minimum wage at $9 per hour in February.  Their new wage policy will benefit more than two-thirds of its 90,000 U.S. employees.  Gap reported more than a 10 percent increase in their applications for employment after they announced the increases.

Both retailers have a great desire to help their workers, and even though the minimum wage increases are a large investment, it is one they feel will help them reach their organizational goals and have a positive impact on the bottom line.

 

Source:  Greenhouse, Steven.  The New York Times.  “Ikea to increase Minimum Hourly Pay.”  Available here.

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July 31, 2014

HR Neutrality – Does One-Size-Fit-All?

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Performance Management — Charisse Rockett, PHR, HR Content Manager @ 1:12 pm

As HR professionals, we are always trying to make sure everyone is treated the same – that no one feels slighted or left out; that everyone is treated equally.  In certain instances that is a really good idea, especially if it keeps you out of legal trouble, (e.g. male/female, old/young, black/white).  But, are our HR practices becoming a one-size-fits-all?

Let’s take a step back.  Examining our motive for treating all employees the same should give us some insight as to whether this is a constructive practice.  Ask yourself these questions and answer honestly:

  • Am I afraid of a claim of discrimination or retaliation?
  • Am I trying to avoid conflict by applying policies the same way to all employees?
  • Am I ignoring an underlying employee performance issue that needs to be addressed?
  • Is treating all employees the same taking the easy way out? 

If you answered, “Yes” to any of these questions, you may be practicing HR neutrality.  Obviously, some policies must be applied the same way to all employees, like no smoking in the office.  But, must our top performers be treated the same as our mediocre or low performers?  No, but we must treat them fairly.  In fact, our treating employees fairly sometimes mean we treat them differently.  How?  A high performing employee doesn’t want to be treated the same as one they view as a slacker.  They want to be treated differently, because they deserve it.  There is nothing illegal about treating a high performer better than you treat your employee that is not meeting your expectations.  So next time you encounter a situation that previously the one-size-fits-all HR neutrality has been applied to, examine your motive for doing so, use empathy by putting yourself in your employee’s shoes, and always keep the human in Human Resources.  Oh yes, and you must deal head-on with the perceived slacker; they may just need clearer expectations, but you won’t know if you don’t ask!

 

Source:  Sackett, Tim.  “HR Neutrality:  Everybody Seems to Hate It – Except, of Course, HR.”  Available here.

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July 24, 2014

Setting Expectations for Success

Filed under: Communication,Performance Management,Performance Pro — Charisse Rockett, PHR, HR Content Manager @ 6:47 am

Have you ever tried to put a 500-piece puzzle together using only 386 pieces?  That is what it can feel like to an employee who has not be given straightforward expectations to accomplish their goals.  An important part of performance management is to set clear expectations for employees so there is no question as to how their work should get done.

When employees feel their goals and your expectations are undefined or ambiguous, they become frustrated, productivity declines, and you risk losing them.  To keep them committed to you as their manager and to the organization, you cannot leave anything to chance.  By including employees in the goal-setting process and then developing action plans with timelines, your expectations are clear and you are setting them up to succeed; the rest is up to them.

Learn more about HR Performance Solutions Performance Pro and manage your employees performance with ease.  Start your 30 day FREE trial today!

 

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July 17, 2014

Making Meeting Time Count!

Filed under: General HR Buzz — Tags: , — Charisse Rockett, PHR, HR Content Manager @ 7:55 am

Raise your hand if you think there are entirely too many meetings in your office!  You can put your hands down now.  Why do we feel this way?  Because many times, meetings become so routine that the focus is completely lost on why the meeting is being held and what it is supposed to accomplish.  Let’s face it, sometimes meetings are just simply time wasters!

To avoid having mechanical meetings, we have to plan better.  Following these tips will help re-engage and to re-focus your attendees so that meetings add value and achieve a specific goal.

  1. Create an agenda – Agendas set the rules for the meeting and answer critical questions.  Who (should attend)?   What (is the topic)?  Why (are we meeting)?  Where (will we meet)?  When (will we meet? How (are we to prepare)?
  2. Stay on track – Keep the goal of the meeting at the forefront and steer the discussion back to the agenda as needed.  If the meeting is scheduled for 30 minutes, then end it promptly.
  3. Limit attendees – Invite only those individuals that need to be there.  Don’t waste others’ time, unless they are critical to the mission.
  4. Summarize the meeting – Follow up the meeting with an email detailing the project, timelines, and assignments.  Make yourself available and hold employees accountable for reaching the goal.  Inform the attendees if additional meetings will be necessary. 

Giving meetings focus will help you and your team to accomplish much more in less time.  

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July 10, 2014

If You Look Busy and Feel Busy, Are You Being Productive?

Filed under: General HR Buzz — Tags: , — Charisse Rockett, PHR, HR Content Manager @ 6:00 am

For numerous years we have been told that multitasking is an asset.  As employers, we weren’t looking for singularly focused individuals, but those who could change gears quickly.  Multitasking was the answer to efficiency needs and time management skills.

Workers today have computers, tablets, smartphones, and many other distractions that were supposed to help them be more accessible and productive.  But, what does multitasking really accomplish?  It is reported that multitasking can be synonymous with timewasting.  Those who multitask spend “25 percent to 40 percent more time than people who focus on tasks individually.”  Looking busy has always been an admirable trait, but high producers outpace “Busy” dramatically, and are far more valuable to keep on your team.

Here are a few tips to achieve multitasking freedom.  Come on, you can do it!

  • Start small – by setting aside 20 minutes to devote solely on one project. Repeat for the next project, and the next.
  • Be scheduled – and set a specific time for each project or task to take control of your day.
  • No bells or buzzers allowed – during the scheduled work time, so turn off the email!
  • Shhhhhh – people are working, so try to be respectful of their work time and seek a quiet place to work, so you can accomplish your scheduled task.
  • De-clutter­ – your workspace.  A cluttered workspace makes concentrating on your work very difficult.  Cluttered workspace = cluttered mind?
  • Work – during your work hours and save the personal stuff for breaks and lunch periods.

If any of the above tips will throw you into shock, just dip your toe in the water before you dive in!

Source:  Zacharias, Anne.  The Business Journals. “6 Tips to Become More Productive by AVOIDING Multitasking.”  Available here.

 

 

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July 2, 2014

Employers Score a Win in PPACA Contraception Mandate

Filed under: Benefits,Insurance,Legal Issues — Tags: — Charisse Rockett, PHR, HR Content Manager @ 10:19 am

Monday, June 30, 2014, the United States Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling sided with Hobby Lobby when they decided that closely held private corporations do not have to include four of the twenty mandated contraceptive methods in their group health plans due to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the owners.  These four exempted methods of contraception will have to be paid from the employees’ pocket, or possibly the federal government will seek a way to cover the costs in accordance with the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act.

 

 

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June 26, 2014

Court Says Attendance May Not Mean Physical Presence

Filed under: ADA & Disability — Charisse Rockett, PHR, HR Content Manager @ 2:44 pm

A federal appeals court has ruled that for purposes of assessing/providing accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers must consider that attendance at the job may not mean physical presence at a specific place. The case involved an employee who asked to work from home when needed to accommodate her irritable bowel syndrome. The employer had allowed others to work at home, but not as frequently as was anticipated for the plaintiff/employee. The employer said that due to teamwork needs, physical attendance was an essential job function. The trial court agreed with the employer. The appeals court disagreed, however, and sent the case back for a jury trial. The appeals court said there was evidence that the plaintiff’s job could be adequately done from home and use of technology (e.g. Skype) could satisfy teamwork needs. The lesson? Employers who plan to insist on physical presence when denying an employee’s work-from-home accommodation request will have to prove that presence at work by technology will not work just as well.

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June 19, 2014

Ways to Inspire Civility in the Workplace

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Harrasment — Tags: — Charisse Rockett, PHR, HR Content Manager @ 11:38 am

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone said and did the right thing all the time and no one’s feelings ever got hurt?  That would be a perfect world, of which we know we do not live in, but one can wish!  Ensuring that employees practice civility in the workplace is a progressive activity.  Civility means to be courteous; polite.  It doesn’t sound that difficult to be nice, but because of various negative factors, we sometimes digress.  Following are some tips for resisting bad manners and encouraging civility in the workplace:

  • Personality conflicts – I always tell a group of new hires that we have (e.g. 100) employees, which means that we have 100 different personalities with 100 different ideas.  Some personalities are drawn to each other, while others repel.  Keeping the peace through personality conflicts is a challenge, but can be done.  Empathetically putting oneself in the other person’s “shoes” will help them to see the conflict in a completely different light.
  • Holding your tongue – Being aware of comments or phrases that may be common, but hurtful to some, is especially important to show respect for others.  Comments like, “Her elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top,” or “He must ride the short bus,” are completely unnecessary and are very insensitive.  Look for the good in others and focus on their strengths.
  • Lead by example – Instill in employees to do their part to lead by example.  Random acts of kindness and sincere compliments of a “job well done,” are encouraging speech and not speech that tears down.   

To summarize, incivility is degrading to all who are affected by it, regardless of whether it is directed at them or whether they are a witness to its harm.  When incivility reigns, it can quickly turn into a claim of harassment or a hostile work environment.  Train your employees to be respectful of others, and to look for positive qualities in them too.  Someday, they themselves, could be the victim, and what a lonely place that would be!  Teaching employees to be aware of and think about the effects of what they say or do, will certainly help them to be more thoughtful and considerate workmates.

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