Archive for July, 2017

Is it Time for a Workplace Clean Up?

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Nobody would accuse me of obsessive neatness.  Clutter and Creativity both start with “C” for a reason!

Even I agree there are some important HR functions that need an annual power washing.

Old Policies

Most companies have old workplace policies that no longer function, like two left shoes missing the rights.  Often a written guideline is tighter (or looser) than actual practice, or we are doing something altogether different than the “handbook” states.  Paid time off, sick days, adverse weather, expense reimbursement, call-in pay, vacation accrual, after hours work and dress codes may have changed over the years.  Check your policy closet for all the things that no longer fit.

Performance Reviews

What rating would you give to your own performance review process?  Does it meet or exceed expectations?  Most HR managers say “no”.  Too often, reviews are defensive or perfunctory.  If you accept inadequate reviews because you believe they will support you in a future employee claim, think again.  The opposite may be true.

This year, ask what you expect from a review process.  Is it about rewarding the right people for the right things?  Is it about tying company goals to individual behaviors?  Is it simply a way to ensure managers and employees are talking about important things?   Get clarity around the purpose of reviews and you will find the right method for you.

Stop the Insanity

Data is a funny thing.  Most of us have more than we will ever use, like that out-of-date case of alfredo sauce from Costco (“it was a good deal”).  Data can create important insights or become a source of confusion.  Every year, judge how well you collect, access and use data in your workplace.   Smart business leaders say useable, meaningful data is important for solving people challenges and making better decisions.  So often, data about hiring, employee retention, market pay, satisfaction and exit interviews prove our gut instincts wrong. (Alfredo sauce is cheaper by the single jar in the long run.)

Let’s be Different

We spend so much mindshare benchmarking with others.   Each Spring, consider how your workplace can be different.  Do you have an answer for the candidate who asks “what makes this place special”?  Is it hard to find great people for key roles?  Maybe you look and act too much like everybody else.  Paint your front door a bright color and add a catchy door chime.  Be different than your competitors for talent!

Merit Pay

Merit is defined as “superior quality or worth” by Webster, so why do we call our annual pay increases “merit” raises?  This Spring, away from the pressure of pay review time, decide if your system is working.  Is it overcompensating some roles because of the power of the annual “merit” raise?  Is it making you non-competitive in the market for scarce skills when the dollar pool is spent on all those non-merit raises?

Few enjoy the clean up process but all appreciate the results.

At CAI we build engaged, well-managed, low-risk workplaces. If your company could use an HR partner, please contact us at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746 or learn more at CAI.

Bruce Clarke serves as CAI’s President and CEO, and has been with CAI since 2001. Bruce practiced labor and employment law with the national labor law firm of Ogletree Deakins for 18 years. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and was selected as one of North Carolina’s Legal Elite by Business North Carolina Magazine. Bruce is 100% committed to helping companies maximize employee engagement and minimize workplace liabilities.

Separation Checklists are a Must!

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

An employee’s separation requires a lot of preparation both prior to the last day and following the separation. This includes items such as a  replacement requisition, job knowledge sharing activities, file reviews, preparation for termination meeting, etc. Additional items may include everyday tasks like removing voicemail and email (so that you don’t have clients leaving messages in a “black hole.”) From a compliance perspective there are items like final payroll calculations, and benefit information processing.  With so many related activities there many opportunities for ‘misses’ that can create headaches for any size company. Because of all of the moving parts involved in employee separations, it is important for companies to have a checklist of action items to address upon the separation of an employee.

CAI recommends having two separation checklists –  The Involuntary Separation Checklist and The Separation checklist. The Involuntary Separation Checklist  can be used in situations where the employee is not aware of their upcoming departure from the company. The checklist is broken down into sections for the preparation of the separation (prior to the employee knowing about their termination) to after the employee has been notified. The Separation Checklist should be used for most employee separations.

Having a checklist in place will ensure employee exits go smoothly and that tasks aren’t missed. A smooth exit can also help minimize employee relations issues in knowing that the employee has all pertinent information needed for their separation (pay, benefits, etc).  It can also provide a paper trail if later down the road there are questions regarding an employee’s exit (“did the employee return their company keys?”)

CAI delivers HR, compliance, and people development solutions to 1,100+ NC companies to help them build engaged, well-managed and low-risk workplaces. Contact us to find out how we can help your company.

Emily’s primary area of focus is providing expert advice and support in the areas of employee relations and federal and state employment law compliance as a member of the Advice & Resolution team for CAI. Additionally, Emily advises business and HR leaders in operational and strategic human resources areas such as talent and performance management, employee engagement, and M&A’s. Emily has 10+ years of broad-based HR business partnering experience centering around employee relations, compliance & regulatory employment issues, strategic and tactical human resources, and strong process improvement skills.

The Value of a Strong Company Culture

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

We hear the phrase “corporate culture” in conjunction with any description of any business these days.  In fact, the phrase is so commonplace it sounds less and less important the more it is used.  Still, those responding to the aforementioned survey all agree that workplace culture is an extremely important component in the success, or failure, of a business.

A 2016 survey from the Workforce Institute at Kronos and WorkplaceTrends concluded that HR professionals, managers and employees are not in agreement when it comes to who actually has the power to create, influence or destroy corporate culture.  The survey included 600 HR professionals, 600 managers and 600 non-managing employees across the U.S. workforce.

Most of us are aware of the perils of a negative corporate culture when we read about yet another company who gets it wrong. When there are multiple and frequent changes in leadership style combined with a creating  a culture so focused on success at any costs, quality and ethics can be sacrificed and trust within an organization spirals downward. 

Netflix is know for getting it right. They promote a corporate culture built on trust and a certain amount of autonomy among its employees.  When the company shifts focus or enhances their product offerings, employees are immediately on board and driven to be a part of its success.  

So, who should be responsible for defining corporate culture? Thirty-three percent (33%) of HR professionals surveyed believe HR should define corporate culture. Twenty-six percent (26%) of managers felt the executive team should define the corporate culture, while 29% of employees surveyed felt they should define the corporate culture.  Strangely, another 28% of the employees felt that no single group actually defines the culture in the workplace. 

Employees ranked the three most important factors impacting corporate culture. Fifty percent (50%) felt compensation was the #1 factor.  Number two (#2) was co-worker respect and support, and #3 was work-life balance.  However, only 29% of managers and 25% of HR professionals felt compensation would be the #1 factor to impact corporate culture. 

HR professionals responding to the survey felt the #1 factor would be “managers and executives leading by example,” followed by #2 “employee benefits”, and #3 coming in as “a shared mission and values.” 

Assuming this survey is representative of corporate America across the board, perhaps the truest answer and most successful strategy for defining corporate culture is for all three groups to work together.  Corporate culture is an important recruiting and retention incentive.  Likewise, the wrong corporate culture will impair your recruiting efforts and drive away your existing employees.  Collaboration across the employee, management and Human Resources components of your organization is key to creating a corporate culture which appeals to your employees, can be fostered by your managers, and can be supported by HR. Work together to stand united and to create a stronger brand for your organization.

CAI delivers HR, compliance, and people development solutions to 1,100+ NC companies to help them build engaged, well-managed and low-risk workplaces. Contact us to find out how we can help your company.

CAI’s Advice & Resolution Advisor Renee Watkins is a seasoned HR professional with a diverse background in Human Resource. Renee provides CAI members with practical advice in a wide range of human resource functions including conflict resolution, compliance and regulatory issues, and employee relations.

 

Photo Credit: Pixabay

HR’s Role in Organizational Change

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

Nothing remains constant except change itself.”  “Change is inevitable. Change is constant.”  “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

We have all heard the adages about change and are acutely aware of how important change is to the success of an organization. So why is organizational change so challenging?  Based on the details of a recent study, ‘Where Change Management Fails” from Robert Half Management Resources, the reason organizational change usually fails is basic.  It’s communication.  Or more specifically, lack of communication.  The study (which included 300 senior managers at U.S. companies with 20 or more employees) notes that most organizational change efforts struggle in the executional phase on the foundation of insufficient or disjointed communication.

Survey respondents were asked, “Where do most change-management efforts commonly fail?” Only 10% said “strategy development,” for example, while 46% said “execution.”

Drilling down a little further, the research asked, “What is most important when leading your company or team through a major change?” 65% answered “communicating clearly and frequently” – far outdistancing “managing expectations” at 16% and “outlining goals” at 9%.

The research concluded: “The survey findings further suggest clear and frequent communication can be the remedy for what ails change-management efforts.”

To counter the tendency of employees to rely on past practices and the old way of doing things, clear and frequent communication of the facts is the ideal. Even if this is not possible, open communication about why decisions or facts cannot yet be released and an honest statement about when they might be known, and what people can do in the meantime, is better than nothing.

In a communication void the rumor mill takes over, usually with damaging results, and HR practitioners can use their knowledge, skills and opportunities to minimize the chances of this happening.

HR has a role to play in making sure implementers understand the importance of communication in engaging people, stabilizing the environment, reinforcing the important change messages and preparing for the future. HR can help clarify messages and ensure that people understand the multiple channels available and the many forms communication can take such as one-to-one and team meetings; formal briefings; town halls; emails; newsletters; intranet; podcasts and many more. HR can also use its many touch points with employees to play its own part in the communication process and can ensure that others are equipped to do the same.

Communicating with employees doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition. It’s largely an investment of management time and thought.  As this study demonstrates, it’s a most worthwhile investment.

CAI delivers HR, compliance, and people development solutions to 1,160+ NC companies to help them build engaged, well-managed and low-risk workplaces. Contact us to find out how we can help your company.

Guest post by Lauren Hardwick, CAI’s HR Manager