Posts Tagged ‘Human Resources’

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

 

5 Great Ways to Annoy the HR Manager

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

Stay in the HR profession long enough, and you will begin to realize that there are certain ‘universal truths’ that every company faces. One of those truths is that some employees will not pass up a good opportunity to get ‘under the skin’ of their HR manager.

Here are just a couple of ways those employees can skillfully accomplish that mission:

1. If you are a line manager and you need to provide bad news to an employee, simply blame the decision on HR.

For example, “I proposed a higher salary increase for you, but you know HR, they disagreed. If you have problems with your increase, go talk to HR.”

This is most effective when you can further add, “I’m only doing this because HR told me I had to………….”

2. Fail to read and respond to information regarding benefits or any other important items.

Even though clear communication was repeatedly provided to you, along with specific instructions and deadlines for a response, ignore it. If HR talks about it at a meeting, act like you weren’t present at the meeting.

This method also works well when you say, “Oh yeah, I got it but I didn’t read it.”

3. Wait until you want to fire an employee before coming to HR for help.

Don’t bother wasting time with performance improvement coaching, disciplinary action, and/or that pesky documentation that must accompany all such actions prior to firing an employee.

This works best when the employee issues have festered and gone unchecked for months.

 4. Present an unqualified close friend or relative as the ‘perfect’ candidate.

Become indignant when the HR manager requires that normal hiring filters and protocols must occur. Act as if it is some sort of personal attack against your integrity.

This approach is most annoying when you can bring up an example of someone else who was hired as a referral, and they didn’t have to ‘jump through all of these hoops.’

 5. Become a world-class tattletale.

Feel the need to report every perceived slight or unfairness to the HR manager. Don’t take responsibility or try to resolve the problem yourself, instead go directly to HR for a ‘quick fix.’

Make sure that everyone is aware that you are only sharing this information for the good of the organization, and not personal gain.

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.

Source material: thebalance.com

Photo credit: Pixabay

Tuesday Morning Humor for the HR Pro

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

As HR professionals, we often are asked to present information in a concise and compelling manner. Charts are an effective way to get your point across. All charts tell a story.  For example, the line chart below illustrates how to address the gap between your intended career path and your actual career path:

This pie chart helps to explain the true value of your Facebook ‘friends’:

This bar chart explains how time is ‘warped’ while waiting for your computer to start-up at work in the morning:

Meanwhile, this graph illustrates the value of patience when on hold with the cable company:

Finally, when dealing with computer issues, this chart demonstrates the effectiveness of various problem-solving techniques.

Now, don’t you feel better on this Tuesday morning?  On a more serious note, if the charts and graphs you’re using to track your HR progress need updating, or perhaps the results they show aren’t what you would like, we’re here to help.  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

Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad-based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team.  He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations.

 

chart source: GraphJam.com

How HR Can Help Managers Conduct Effective Meetings

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Today’s managers and their employees are busy. There’s never enough time in the day to ‘get it all done.’ As an HR manager or someone who is acting in an HR role, you can help your managers maximize their time and accomplish their objectives. Meetings that begin without a plan go astray quickly and become big time wasters. CAI’s Tom Sheehan shares his tips below to help your managers understand the keys to successful and effective meetings.

Here’s the thing about meetings. They all start off with good intentions. Someone calls a meeting to communicate an important update or new initiative. The next thing you know, you’ve wasted an hour of your time sitting through what appears to be a ‘stream of consciousness’ discussion with no real outcomes. While the exchanges may have therapeutic value, little else is gained.

Follow these four simple rules to improve meeting effectiveness:

1. Don’t hold a meeting without a documented agenda

Without an agenda, you have laid the groundwork for a rambling ‘free for all.’  How will you know if your meeting is getting off track if you never bothered to define the track?

2. Discuss progress vs. goals

During tactical staff meetings, make certain that the start of each meeting is dedicated to a review of how the team is progressing relative to its goals. You may also want to give a quick update on how the company is performing toward its goals.

3. Tactical and strategic discussions should be addressed in separate meetings

Oftentimes, these topics have mutually exclusive participants. By mixing the two together you can ‘cloud’ the discussion. For example, do you really want administrative staff involved in discussions that relate to establishing strategy?  Conversely, does an executive leader need to be involved in lower-level procedural tactics?

4.  Meetings must end with clear-cut and specific agreements around decisions and actions to be taken

The worst thing that can happen is to walk out of a meeting without confirmation about what has been decided. The reality is that each of us will interpret what was discussed through our own lens. As a result, without confirmation, we will apply our own set of rules to the outcome. A typical response at a subsequent meeting might sound like this…”well we talked about that change, but I don’t think anything was actually finalized.”

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.


Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad-based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s 
Advice & Resolution team.  He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations.

Why Human Capital Isn’t Enough

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

It’s pretty common today to hear leaders and organizations talk about “human capital.”

I can still remember when that term started frequenting our vocabulary a few years ago. As an HR leader, it felt like we’d stumbled onto something that might finally help us earn our legitimate seat at the executive table.

After all, most executives worship capital. Possessing financial capital usually means we are flourishing and able to seize opportunities. Capital is power.

So, finding a way to talk about employees and talent as a form of capital was brilliant. Even the CFO seemed to be on board with acknowledging that there was a real value in the collective knowledge, skills, and abilities of our employees. And, like any asset, if you make continued investment in it over time, the value steadily increases.

As a result of human capital being more widely used and understood, our talent management practices became intensely focused on developing employees’ individual competencies. The more each individual acquired skills and abilities, the more our human capital grew.

This model was highly effective when executed well. Jack Welch became a legend in part because of the training and development efforts he funded at GE. Human capital was seen as a competitive advantage by many.

But, then the game changed. The internet and social technology emerged to connect the world together in a way that had been unthinkable in the past. The days of doing work independently faded rapidly, and it became imperative to work together in collaboration.

Evidence of this shift can be seen everywhere. An online encyclopedia populated exclusively with user-contributed content nearly put traditional encyclopedias out of business. And, the most powerful operating system in the world was created by a community or programmers with no formal organization to manage their work.

The very nature of how we work and create value shifted.

The human capital model of human resources is incomplete, because it doesn’t account for the importance and value that exists through relationships. In today’s world, work is done together. And because of this, a new and highly valuable kind of capital has emerged: social capital

In order to compete effectively today and in the future, human resources professionals must not only work to build human capital, but also social capital. This will requires taking on new roles and skill sets for our organizations.

If you are are an HR professional or manage HR for your company, please join me on March 9 at the HR Management Conference to explore how HR must embrace our new role as Social Architect.

 

This is a guest post from Jason Lauritsen who will be speaking at CAI’s upcoming HR Management Conference on March 8 & 9th in Raleigh. Jason has been described as “a corporate executive gone rogue.” For nearly a decade, he spent his days as a corporate HR leader where he developed a reputation for driving results through talent. As Director of Client Success for Quantum Workplace, he leads a team dedicated to helping organizations make work better for employees every day.

Are You a Micromanager or Macromanager?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Are you a Micromanager?  Do others consider you to be?  Hopefully, the answer to both of these questions is “No.”  The term Micromanager is widely thought to be one of the most unflattering labels you can have if you manage people.  Micromanagers typically involve themselves so deeply into the smallest details of every project they manage it actually inhibits productivity and creates a very unpleasant workplace for the team as a whole.

Granted, not being a Micromanager is better than being a Micromanager. But is there something even better? Yes! A Macromanager.

Macromanagers deal with employees more efficiently, taking advantage of their individuality and contributing strengths to the overall team.  Macromanagers provide a work environment which allows a team to work together and empowers them to not only make decisions, but to also make mistakes and to learn from both.  This creates a bi-directional feeling of trust, while maintaining a sense of employee engagement and generating results.

Julie Giulioni, author of “Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want”, explains some of the differences between Micromanagers and Macromanagers:

micromgr.jpg

How can you become a Macromanager?  How can you make the transition all the way from Micromanager to Macromanager?  Try implementing these four traits of a Macromanager:

Focus on The Big Picture – Micromanagers get too deep in the weeds of a project rather than looking at things from a 10,000-foot viewpoint.  To be a good Macromanager, focus more of your energy and attention on the organization’s direction and strategy for the future.  In doing so, you can develop creative ideas on how to get there and trust your team to use their collective strengths to work out the details for success.

Understand Your Audience – Micromanagers tend to micromanage everyone, even those who do not need it. Macromanagers may occasionally need to provide more detailed guidance to a team member who is less experienced. When you see that team member begin to “get it,” step back before entering “Micromanager Mode.”  Have a stronger member of your team work with and mentor the less experienced employees.

Observe – Watch the progress of your team, keeping your distance.  As an experienced manager, you will recognize the cues that tell you when to engage and when to hold back.  Your responsibility is the successful completion of the project overall, so you should always be involved as a manager, mentor, advisor and member of the team.  Successful people surround themselves with successful people.  Give your team room to succeed and let them know you are there if they need you.

Welcome Feedback – Find a way to ask questions regarding progress without coming across as “interfering.”  As the manager responsible for overall success, you have the right and the responsibility to know what is going on.  Make sure your team understands you are not there to judge or to criticize, but to offer help and observations if and when needed. Open communication should be encouraged.

As a manager, you have larger responsibilities to the organization.  If you ever find yourself getting too deep into the weeds of any one project, you should ask yourself, “What should I be doing in my job that I am not doing?”  Chances are there is something else you should be focusing more time on. Your employees will thrive and progress more quickly with your guidance rather than your direct involvement.

renee

 

CAI Advice & Resolution team member 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.

Winter Months Bring Seasonal HR Challenges

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Winter months are just around the corner and with them comes colder weather.  We don’t get as much “white stuff” as our Northern Brethren but when we do things get messy.  Be reminded that employee injuries on employer owned and maintained parking lots may be covered by workers’ compensation and may be OSHA recordable depending upon circumstances relating to the injury.  If injuries occur at a reasonable time (just prior to or just after work) and injuries result in medical treatment, days away from work or restricted activity, both workers’ comp and OSHA record keeping come into play. winterweather

Winter weather poses a particular problem regarding parking lot and sidewalk injuries.  Both should be maintained free of snow and ice to prevent employee injuries.  Potential costly injures to customers, vendors and to the general public would not be covered by workers’ compensation but by an employer’s liability insurance.

Employers also need to be aware of the dangers of overexertion in winter months.  Liberty Mutual Insurance Company conducted a study a few years ago revealing that more than 25% of disabling workplace injuries resulted from overexertion.  Overexertion also poses a major threat to ones’ health and life outside of work, especially in geographical areas that experience extreme snow and ice accumulation like the Northeast this past winter.  Around 100 people die in the US every winter as a result of shoveling snow. For more tips dealing with colder weather go to https://www.ready.gov/winter-weather.

Perhaps a more vexing issue we deal with each year surrounds pay practices during inclement weather.  Exempt employees are paid on a salaried basis. If the company is closed, the exempt employee must be paid for the day(s) to maintain the exemption status. It is the company’s decision as to whether or not exempts are required to take a vacation day.  Keep in mind that if the exempt does not have vacation or PTO to cover the absence, the exempt must be paid.

If the office is open and the exempt decides not to report to work, the day can be charged to vacation or PTO. If in this situation the exempt does not have vacation or PTO, the company is allowed to dock for the day due to personal reasons. This is one of the allowed deductions under the FLSA without destroying the exemption status. Be reminded, however, that if the exempt works any part of the day, the exempt must be paid for the entire day. This often comes in to play when the exempt does not come into work but works a partial day from a laptop or other electronic device.

If you have more questions regarding your Inclement Weather Policy, contact CAI’s Advice & Resolution team today.

Performance Management is Changing

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

The following post is by Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO and President. The article originally appeared in Bruce’s News & Observer column, The View from HR.

Almost no one likes the performance management system at work, including employees, managers and HR.

Employees dislike infrequent feedback, the high-pressure focus on negative comments, ratings under 4 or 5, reviews given by untrained managers and too much subjectivity in ratings or comments.

Managers dread the time required, confronting problem performers, the disconnect with important work, rigid forms and barriers to paying high performers more. performance

HR really gets edgy when managers use the system to manipulate pay, submissions are chronically late, the total time and cost required is excessive and unjustified halo reviews damage legal defenses in terminations.

What to do?

WorldatWork* published an extensive review of performance management trends in its Q2 2016 Journal. HR experts, practitioners and consultants put forth their best current practices and strategies.  Surprisingly, much of the action is with smaller employers (under 500 people) and manufacturers.

The big trends are 1) frequent conversations rather than annual reviews, 2) simplified or eliminated ratings scales, and 3) input from peers and others. In fact, most organizations using these trends have some combination of new techniques plus the best features of their former system.

Frequent Conversations

Ongoing feedback strengthens relationships and promotes clarity. Sometimes these conversations are difficult, but frequency allows timely correction and coaching rather than delayed criticism. When managers talk monthly or quarterly with employees, everyone knows more about expectations, successes and hurdles.  The conversation is less of a review and more of a check-in.  There might be a simplified annual review and a year-end pay discussion as well.

Get Rid of Ratings

In general, top performers are offended by any rating below perfect. A debate over 4.6 versus 5.0 is not useful and may damage retention.  Reviews are not good at delivering precision and repeatability in ratings, anyway.  So, if we are irritating our best people, overrating our average performers and super-overrating poor performers to get them a raise, stop the madness!

Peer Feedback

A less common but interesting option is peer feedback. Usually, peer feedback is ongoing in the form of kudos and applause for work well done.  Software makes this easy to do and is readily available (such as SoundBoard).  Targeted comments on specific dimensions such as company values, results achieved and leadership skills might be sought.  When you seek constructive feedback from peers, everyone needs training in the how and why. The impact of good data is powerful.

So far, the experience with new approaches is good. They still take time, but improved linkage to company values, to the work required and to employee skill growth is significant.  Traditional and annual systems are slightly better at identifying the poorest performers.

HR has driven most of this change.  Successful users say you must get top leadership buy-in. Managers need training to understand the new processes and why the changes were made.

The right performance management system can be a competitive business advantage and retention tool. The wrong one can be, well, like the one you have right now. Contact CAI’s Advice & Resolution team to help your goal of the right performance management system.

Bruce Clarke c

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.

Help Your Company Remain in Compliance in 2017

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

CAI’s 2016 Triad Employment Law Update was attended by nearly 200 HR professionals seeking information and updates on federal and state laws and regulations facing North Carolina employers.  HR experts from CAI along with attorneys from Costangy Brooks Smith & Prophete LLP presented on a variety of topics of significance to North Carolina employers. 2016_telu_header_2

A few highlights from this year’s conference:

  • On December 1, 2016, the Overtime Rule goes into effect and raises the threshold to $913/week or $47,476 per year; $134,004 for highly compensated employees. Be sure you fully understand the differences between an employee and an independent contractor.  The USDOL and NCIC have signed an agreement to oversee compliance with various regulations and work together to reduce employee misclassification, among other things.
  • Review your handbooks regularly.  Many employee handbooks contain a policy or language that may trigger a complaint by the NLRB. Ensure that your policies are not too broad or too vague, as this will leave them open to interpretation.
  • Regarding enforcement protections for LGBT, the EEOC states that employers must comply with federal law, even if state law conflicts or offers no protection for this group. LGBT charge filings and resolutions are on the rise as more employees become aware that they can file claims.  For further clarification, you can view the EEOC Fact Sheet on protections for LGBT workers here.
  • Workplace bullying can be physical, physically threatening or non-physical.  In North Carolina, there are currently no laws against workplace bullying but employers should not tolerate bullying on any level.  High turnover, low productivity, lost innovations and difficulty hiring quality employees can all result from workplace bullying.
  • According to ADAAA, employers have an obligation to engage in good faith in the interactive process to determine if an employee has a disability and whether there are reasonable accommodations that can be implemented. Reasonable accommodations under the ADAAA can include assistive devices, change in assignments, service animals and telecommuting.  Many employers have found individuals with disabilities to be productive and loyal employees.
  • Employers may use bonuses to satisfy part of the new standard salary level test. The DOL allows nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the standard salary test requirement. Such bonuses include, for example, nondiscretionary incentive bonuses tied to productivity or profitability (a bonus based on the specified percentage of the profits generated by a business in the prior quarter.)
  • North Carolina law does allow employers to test job applicants and employees for drug or alcohol impairment and regulates the procedures that employers must follow in implementing such testing. State law does not require employers to drug test, but it does regulate those employers who voluntarily choose to implement a drug-testing program.
  • Don’t put a non-compete clause in an employee handbook.  Have a standalone non-compete or employment agreement with a non-compete provision. When developing a non-compete, keep in mind that the narrower in geographic scope the better.  Be sure to have your job candidate sign this agreement before or on the first day of employment with your company.
  • Penalties for non-compliance of the ACA are $1,000 per enrollee for willful failures.  However, good faith compliance efforts can excuse penalties. The DOL has more information on their website.
  • Title VII prohibits religious discrimination and requires reasonable accommodations as it pertains to religion. Broadly defined, religion includes “Ultimate ideas” about “life, purpose, and death.”
  • Under FMLA an employee who has given birth is entitled to 12 weeks of leave.  Mothers who return to work and are breastfeeding must be provided breaks to express milk and have access to a clean, safe, private place for this purpose.
  • As November 8th nears, employers may want to consider allowing employees some paid time off to vote, if there is insufficient time for the employee to vote outside of working hours. Although there is no statute in North Carolina that mandates time off to vote, terminating an employee for taking time off to vote could be the basis for tort action for wrongful discharge. Employers should encourage their employees to exercise their right to vote.

More than 1,100 North Carolina employers trust CAI to help them minimize liability and maximize employee engagement, contact CAI at 919-878-9222 or email leeann.graham@capital.org to learn more about the many ways we can help you.

 

Are you Prepared for the New Overtime Rule?

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

On December 1, 2016, the new US DOL Overtime Rule will officially go in effect. This new rule determines which employees are exempt from overtime. Employers will not have to pay overtime to exempt employees. If an employee is non-exempt, employers need to pay overtime for actual hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a single work week. The FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) defines which jobs may be exempt from the overtime penalty depending on minimum salary and duties performed. Exemption categories include both a minimum salary threshold, and a duties test. Jobs will have to meet both standards to qualify for exemption.

Feeling overwhelmed? We don’t blame you. Where do you begin? How do you prepare?

Organization and communication are a major factor in businesses making the shift to compliance as painless as possible.

Below are 3 key steps in preparing for the upcoming deadline.

  1. Conduct an internal audit to identify positions and employees potentially affected.
    In recent research conducted by Paychex found that one out of five employers were not aware of the final rule, and 55% did not think the new rule applied to them.
  2. Educate your employees on time keeping and tracking overtime.
    Some employees might still receive a salary but are now required to log their worked hours. Set up training on proper time recording practices.
  3. Develop a communication plan.
    Talk to your employees, explain the new law and guidelines. Make them aware of benefit changes, if any, due to the necessary change in FLSA status from exempt to non-exempt. Misclassifications can cause challenges and serious financial consequences.

2016_telu_header_2In our upcoming 2016 Triad Employment Law Update Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina, lead attorneys from Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP and CAI’s HR experts will provide registrants with key information about current and proposed changes in state and federal employment law. Building the proper infrastructure to protect your business and effectively navigate the Department of Labor’s new overtime rules and related regulations is critical to every company’s success. One of the concurrent breakout sessions at the 2016 Triad Employment Law Update Conference will focus on protecting your business and cover the shrinking white collar exemptions, interns, joint employers, postliminary duties and the DOL’s approach to enforcing these new standards.

Want to learn more about the conference and who should attend visit https://www.capital.org/triadlaw.

Every workplace has questions that need to be answered, and the sooner the better. Contact CAI’s Advice & Resolution team today!