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January 30, 2013

Outsourcing – Really Can Make Your Job Easier!

Filed under: Engagement9:00 am

Recently a news article caught my attention that really gave a new spin on the thought of outsourcing jobs.  An employee of a U.S. software developer, whom they referred to as “Bob,” independently outsourced his own job to a software developer in China for $50,000/year.  Bob was described as a “model employee” who “never missed deadlines,” according to  Instead of doing his own job, Bob reportedly spent his days at work (using the term loosely) on eBay, social media sites, and watching cat videos, while collecting his six-figure salary.  He would report his progress to management by email each day, and then go home.  Unbelievable!

While some people are skeptical that this could or did happen, what’s an employer to do?  How do you know your employees are really working?  Apparently, Bob’s job didn’t require customer contact, but it sounds as though he may not have had much contact with his manager, either!  Regular and meaningful conversation with Bob may have made a difference.  Asking Bob about progress on his projects, if he had any pain points, or even what his logic was behind certain aspects of his work would surely have helped keep Bob engaged.  Perhaps his references weren’t checked before he was hired, or they were poor references.  Since there is no test for lazy, (cat videos, really?) checking reliable references and background information are essential to finding a good hire.  One could also assume that Bob lacked loyalty to his company.  If he was a high performer, shouldn’t he have been getting more of management’s attention to foster growth and commitment?  Lastly, monitor your computer systems regularly and often.  You, too, could have an employee in China!

Click here to read Bob’s story.


January 28, 2013

Total Compensation – What Perks and Factors are Important for your Employees?

Filed under: General HR Buzz8:15 am

The area of compensation is one that has expanded to look at not only the dollar piece of compensation, but the “total compensation” package.  This part has always been interesting to me, as the additional components of total comp carry different values of importance among organizations and employees.   Another interesting component is how these perks and factors have changed through the years, based on technology and the different generations.

Recently, CareerBuilder published a survey exploring what factors are important to employees and what motivates people to stay.  With the onset of the new year and the media repeating consistently that  more employees are looking for jobs elsewhere, it is a good idea to know what these 3,900 full-time workers who participated in the survey have to say.

Factors that are important to those surveyed include:

  • 59%               Flexible Schedule
  • 48%               Being able to make a difference
  • 35%               Challenging work
  • 33%               Ability to work from home
  • 18%               Academic reimbursement
  • 17%               Having an office
  • 14%               Company car

As far as perks, these are the ones most requested:

  • 40%               Half-day Fridays
  • 20%               On-site fitness center
  • 18%               Ability to wear jeans
  • 17%               Daily catered lunches
  • 16%               Massages
  • 12%               Nap room
  • 12%               Rides to and from work

So what, ultimately, are the factors that entice employees to stay?

  • 70%               Increasing salaries
  • 58%               Better benefits
  • 51%               Flexible schedules
  • 50%               Employee recognition (awards, cash prizes, company trips)
  • 48%               Ask employees what they want and put feedback into action
  • 35%               Increase training and learning opportunities

“What determines job satisfaction is not a one-size-fits-all, but flexibility, recognition, the ability to make a difference and yes, even special perks, can go a long way,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Being compensated well will always be a top consideration, but we’re seeing work-life balance, telecommuting options and learning opportunities outweigh other job factors when an employee decides whether to stay with an organization.”

Although some of the survey results may not be practical for your organization or be representative of the needs for your employee population, many of the items listed above are basic fundamentals of doing the right thing.  Our society has changed and consequently the work environment has changed.  We must respond in the right ways to retain employees and improve morale, which ultimately should lead to a successful organization.

More information gathered from the survey can be found by clicking here.


January 25, 2013

HR Fact Friday: Performance Reviews 101 – Just Do It!

Filed under: Performance Pro6:00 am

There are at least three reasons performance evaluations are so important.

  1. They are an employee’s report card – how well is he/she doing?
  2. They present an opportunity to praise a good employee and manage a not-so-good one.
  3. Finally, if done right, they can be helpful evidence for an employer in legal disputes with employees or former employees.

The problem we are seeing trend most recently regarding performance reviews . . .

  • Are you evaluating your top managers (e.g. CEO, CFO, CHRO) and your highest compensated employees?

Here are some tips for doing good performance reviews:

  1. Evaluate ALL your employees (including top management)
  2. Be honest and take time to do a good job
  3. Evaluate for the whole period (e.g. one year) – don’t short-time someone
  4. Evaluate only job-related matters
  5. Don’t “soft pedal” or “slam” due to personal feelings of like or dislike
  6. Don’t evaluate when angry.

HRN Performance Solutions are employee performance experts. We offer a range of solutions and services to address improving both organizational and employee performance through proven and effective performance management methodologies. These solutions range from consulting, to forms, to Performance Pro, our online, automated employee performance management system.


January 23, 2013

“Mustang Sally . . . Better Slow Your Mustang Down”* or the DOL Will

Filed under: Legal Issues6:00 am

Kenneth McPeek Racing Stables had to pay back wages to 142 employees totaling more than $59,000 following a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) investigation.   Kenneth McPeek is a horse farm that breeds, trains, and sells thoroughbred racehorses and participates in commercial racing at various racetracks throughout the United States.

The investigation revealed that several non-exempt employees were improperly classified as exempt and were not receiving proper overtime payments.  Adding insult to injury, the employer did not maintain accurate records of the employees’ work hours and failed to post the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) poster in the workplace.

The FLSA requires that workers be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and one and one-half their regular rate for every hour worked over 40 in a week.    Employers are required to maintain accurate employment records and are prohibited from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under this law.

Worker misclassification is only one of several areas the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division will be watching closely in the upcoming year.  This case illustrates the importance of employers not only classifying their employees correctly, but keeping accurate records and making sure they have all required employment posters in place.

*“Mustang Sally” lyrics by Wilson Pickett


January 21, 2013

Is MLK Day a Holiday for Your Organization?

Filed under: General HR Buzz6:00 am

With Christmas already a distant memory, many employees are probably ready for another holiday.  Well, you are in luck if you work for 31% of the employers who observe Martin Luther King Day, which is Monday, January 21.  About 3 in 10 nonfederal employers will give all or most workers Monday off with pay, according to a recent survey from the Bloomberg Bureau of National Affairs.  Organizations with a union presence are more likely to observe the holiday, along with federal employers.

In case you are wondering when Martin Luther King Day became an official holiday, keep reading for a little history refresher.  Martin Luther King is best known for his nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.   Following his assassination in 1968, a campaign began for a federal holiday in King’s honor.  It wasn’t until 1983, however, when it was signed into law by Ronald Reagan, and first observed on January 20, 1996.  At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such and even used alternate names or combined it with other holidays.  In 2000, it was officially observed in all 50 states on the 3rd Monday in January.

It may be said that Martin Luther King brought to light many issues which resulted in changes in HR laws regarding discrimination and diversity.  Whether or not your company observes the day as a paid holiday, it’s a great time to reflect and remember some of the quotes from Martin Luther King.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

From the “I Have a Dream” speech, Aug. 28, 1963


January 18, 2013

HR Fact Friday: NLRB and Facebook

Filed under: Privacy — Tags: , 6:00 am

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is now controlled by appointees of President Obama and is more employee-friendly than often has been the case in the past. This new NLRB has issued a number of opinions for even non-union employers. The NLRB has told employers that employee Facebook communications may well be communications with co-workers protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA protects the right of employees to act in concert (by communications or actions) to address or improve the terms and conditions of their employment.

The NLRB has provided a sample social media handbook policy which it believes is compliant with the NLRA. A copy of this sample policy is found on the NLRB website: The NLRB also announced that employer arbitration and class action waiver agreements imposed as a condition of employment violate the NLRA because they limit employee rights to act collectively. Many courts have disagreed with the NLRB on this ruling. Recently, the NLRB also ruled that a policy prohibiting defamatory statements about the company may violate the NLRA if they are written so broadly that they can be construed as prohibiting employee statements criticizing management. Finally, the NLRB has ruled that employer contract disclaimers commonly found in employee handbook acknowledgment forms may violate the NLRA because they could chill employee discussions aimed at improving their working conditions and/or creating a union and thus changing at-will status through a collective bargaining agreement. The bottom line? Non-union employers used to dealing with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Labor (DOL) now must accept the reality that the NLRB also will be broadly imposing its own regulatory framework on such employers. Learn what the NLRA requires of you and comply!


January 16, 2013

Difficult People Require Courageous Strategy

Filed under: General HR Buzz6:00 am

After reading several articles on how to deal with difficult people, I realized they are everywhere!  They can be co-workers, neighbors, customers, schoolmates, and even family members.

The question is how we deal with them when we can’t change them.  Progress comes when we realize the only thing we can change is how we react to them.  When we remain calm and positive around them, we may find we are better able to control the strong emotions they evoke in us. If we put forth the effort to understand their personality and their background, we can begin to have insight into them as an individual.  They may still annoy us, but we begin to develop a strategy for dealing with them.

Of all people with whom we come in close contact in a day that we may deem “difficult” are our customers.  You simply cannot walk away from a customer, they must be dealt with.  Following are some tips for dealing with difficult people:

  • Don’t take their behavior personally.  You know when you see this person they can be overly demanding and they don’t always choose their words wisely.
  • Remain calm and treat them with respect.  Try to phrase any negatives you may need to deliver to them in a positive way.
  • Listen.  Many times difficult people just want to be heard.  You listening attentively to them may be the kindest thing anyone does for them all day!
  • Focus on the positive.
  • Make sure you leave them with a sincerely, kind word.

This is a starting point for changing your perception of the difficult persons that you come in contact with daily.  Putting these strategies into practice will improve your understanding of others and learn valuable lessons about yourself.


January 15, 2013

The Million Dollar Question

Filed under: Performance Management10:54 am

Last week we published a whitepaper written by our VP, Michele Lindsay.  If you haven”t read it, you are in for some great thought leadership surrounding the topic of strategic planning.  Michele poses the million dollar question (you will have to read the whitepaper to find out what it is!) and also provides some simple steps on how to tie organizational strategy to individual performance planning.  Something that sounds very basic, but clearly many organizations miss the mark in accomplishing this important objective.

Attention managers!  We”d also like to hear from you about your thoughts on sharing strategic plans with employees – what works and what doesn”t work.  So first, read Michele”s whitepaper (it”s a great tool to start the year off right!) and then take part in our short survey – both links are below.




January 11, 2013

HR Fact Friday: 5 Top Reasons Employees Quit

Filed under: Salaries & Pay6:00 am

5 ways to build a motivated and dedicated workforce.

The new normal for employment is just under five years. Five years with a company and we start looking towards greener pastures. As it turns out, when American workers take to the job boards this time of year to check off that first New Years resolution of getting a better job, they”re looking for a lot more than a salary boost. New numbers from Corporate Executive Board”s quarterly study of 50,000 employees over the second half of 2012 took a look at the biggest driver of employee exodus and found that it’s not just about the money in the post recession workforce.

According to CEB’s quarterly global labor market research the top five things employees look for when seeking a new job are:

  1. Stability
  2. Compensation
  3. Respect
  4. Health Benefits
  5. Work-Life Balance

Gone are the days where being able to bring your dog to work or having a stocked fridge of Mountain Dew was reason enough to change positions and work long, unappreciated hours at the cool start-up that burned through venture capital investment and went belly up 2 years later.  Now job seekers are looking more seriously at companies with stability, longevity in the marketplace, and that give the impression of having their act together.  Employees will sacrifice the top dollar to work at a company that they feel provides a long-term, secure growth opportunity.

Source: Forbes


January 9, 2013

Presenteeism and Wellness – Time to Make the Connection

Filed under: Work/Life Balance — Tags: 6:00 am

Are your employees physically at work, but not really at work?  You know, present, but not really there.  Presenteeism is the name of this behavior.  It is defined by as “the practice of coming to work despite illness, injury, anxiety, etc., often resulting in reduced productivity.”  And, because of the reduction in productivity that accompanies presenteeism, one manufacturing company, Whirlpool Corporation, embarked upon an in-depth analysis of the effect of presenteeism on their employees and the impact to their bottom line.

As reported by, Debbie Brandt, a senior manager of health and wellness at Whirlpool Corp., and her colleagues decided to analyze the underlying issues of presenteeism in their workplace.  They hoped to find what actually causes and influences employee presenteeism.  They discovered, “Presenteeism difficulties accounted for 53 percent of lost productivity costs running into the tens of millions annually . . . based on feedback from nearly 14,000 employees.  The three leading complaints linked to productivity issues were depression, fatigue, and neck or back pain.”  In response to their employees’ needs, they added health support – in the form of a health coach, a pharmacist, and an Employee Assistance Program counselor – at their nine primary work sites in 2010.  They have made good strides forward at resolving the issue and hope to have more data for analysis at the end of 2012.

Whirlpool is not alone in their desire to help their employees be healthier.  The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently conducted a poll of 405 SHRM members regarding wellness initiatives and how they can positively impact health care costs.  They reported that only 55 percent of companies offered a wellness program to their employees.  However, they found that 84 percent of respondents associated wellness initiatives with a reduction in overall health care costs.  SHRM also reported that 96 percent of respondents believe wellness programs can assist workers to develop healthier lifestyles.

While wellness programs have grown in popularity in the past few years, I believe we will see more organizations jump on the wellness wagon and work to motivate their employees to improve their lives.  The connection between healthy, happy, and well employees can be measured by the savings of previously wasted dollars spent on higher health care costs and presenteeism.

So don’t just be present at work, be there!

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