Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Carnival of HR: Keeping You Informed

HR bloggers keep working despite the holidays, bringing you valuable information. Find it here at The Career Encouragement Blog. You will find out information for the present and the future. You will learn about leadership and culture. And as the New Year of 2009 approaches read about self assessment.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

And The News Just Keeps Getting Better: More Possible Legislation in 2009

I had the opportunity to hear a webcast today, sponsered by SHRM Atlanta. Two attorneys were talking about the upcoming administration and Congress and what that might mean for employers and HR. Well let me tell you, nothing I heard improved my "impending 2009" mood.

Here is the list of things that need to be watched for:
  1. Healthcare reform- Nothing new in that. Several attempts at nationalized legislation. Not sure what will happen but something is coming.

  2. Employee Free Choice Act- I have talked about this one. It is starting to get national play. Still high on the union "wish list", but the UAW's unwillingness to help the auto companies may have soured some support for it. But still big.

  3. RESPECT- This is the supervisory law that changes the definition of supervisor and takes away assigning and directing from their definition as a supervisor. Now to be a supervisor they must, for the MAJORITY OF THEIR JOB, "hire, transfer, suspend, layoff, recall, promote, discharge or reward." If they don't then they will be considered part of the bargaining unit. Nothing like having your first line supervisors being union members too.

  4. Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act- Sounds like it will impose safety regulations beyond OSHA.

  5. Health Families Act- All employers will be REQUIRED to provide 7 PAID days of sick leave to all full time and part time employees if you have more than 15 of them.

  6. Family Leave Insurance Act- Employers of 2 or more employees must provide insurance and up to 12 weeks of paid leave.

  7. Working Families Flexibility Act- Gives every employee, on an annual basis, the opportunity to negotiate work hours, schedule, or location of work. The employer must respond within 14 days. If the employee doesn't like that the company then has to renegotiate. (I am not sure to what end.)

  8. Employment Non-discrimination Act- Provides protected class status to gay, lesbian and bisexual workers. One version includes transgender workers, who self identify.

  9. Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act- Changes the statute of limitations on filing pay discrimination.

  10. Paycheck Fairness Act- Requires that pay between men and women has to be proven to have been decided on some other factor other than sex (education, training and experience) and (here is the problematic part of the burden of proof) the difference must be based upon "business necessity."

  11. Equal Remedies Act- takes the caps off of monetary damages imposed by the CRA of 1991 and puts all discrimination penalities on par with race.

  12. OSHA- the number of inspections will be stepped up.

  13. Minimum wage will go to at least $9/hr.

  14. Comprehensive immigration reform will put the burden solidly on the employer, will modify the I-9 and, hopefully, will improve employment verification.

Well there you go. If something strikes your fancy (of fear into your heart) check it out. Help legislators make informed decisions.

BTW, now would be a very good time to do an attitude survey with your employees. Find out if you may have some trouble brewing. One organization I know that does a very good job of this is Intellectual Capital Consulting. Check them out if you would like more info.

Friday, December 12, 2008

He Knows If You've Bad or Good... So Be Good..

The refrain from the song Santa Claus is Coming to Town is "He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake." Don't we wish that was really true. The unfortunate truth is that quite often we don't know if employees are being bad until it is too late, and Santa isn't telling. An article in the Wall Street Journal Online, Businesses Say Theft by Their Workers Is Up, tells the story that many businesses have seen an increase in money and goods walking out the door with employees who are having economic difficulty. A number of employers are reporting that it has become a big problem. In 2007 companies on average lost $2.4 million to employee fraud.

One of the disappointing things about this is that quite often the person that is taking is the last person you would expect. They are a trusted employee. Though when I read that I was not suprised. A federal fraud investigator once told me that the most common embezzler in the U.S. was the trusted whitehaired grandmother worker who is the right-hand of the male president of the company. She has check signing authority and she usually takes over a $1 million before she is caught.

So the lesson here is to be more aware. Watch for unusual patterns of behavior. Do you have an employee working late that does not typically do so? Watch inventories closer and be aware of what may be walking out the door.

In addition, theft from the outside increases in hard times, and just at this time of year in general. I visited a client the other day in a downtown office building where the street side doors were locked. To gain entry you had to go around to the other entrance to go past the security desk. There had been a problem with people coming in and going to upper floors and going through desks and stealing money. In a company I had worked in before we had a similar issue. We had a nicely dressed young man walking around the office stealing from purses in desks. He was stopped a couple of times, but he told people he was a new employee and was lost or people who saw him just assumed he was. The lesson in this is that you need to be alert, keep your valuables secured and not assume the best of people. Because we all know what ASS-u-me means. If you think someone should not be there then call security or management.

Having money taken, goods stolen, your identity lost is never a pleasant experience, but to have that occur in December and in tough times makes it all that much harder.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Overcoming Inertia: Get Your Lazy A** Moving!

Interia is defined as "...the tendency of a body at rest to remain at rest." To overcome intertia the body or object needs to be acted on by some outside force. (Your physics lesson for the day.) I went on vacation a couple of weeks ago and did no posting while gone. When I returned I tried to post again, but overcoming the inertia of being inert was difficult. So you have not seen much from me lately. (No one has been clamoring for my return, so maybe there is a message in that, hmmm...) Anyway, I was acted on by an outside force and it is getting me to post again. The outside force was the HR Bartender, aka, Sharlyn Lauby, who TAGGED ME. According to her blog the rules for tagging are the following:
  • Link to the original tagger(s), and list these rules on my blog.
  • Share 7 facts about myself in the post - some random, some weird.
  • Tag 7 people at the end of my post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs and/or Twitter.

7 Facts About Me

  1. I once studied monkeys and chimpanzees. Worked on a project that was teaching a chimp a specialized language.
  2. I abandoned that line of study 3 years into a Ph.D. Never looked back.
  3. I have raced in several triathlons, despite my size. I race as a Clydesdale.
  4. I am 57 and I have been married 37 years this December 18th. We were high school sweethearts.
  5. I regret that I never served in the military, even though I came from a military family.
  6. I have a wicked, sometimes ribald, sense of humor. (Scratch the sometimes, substitute often.)
  7. I don't understand people who have a victim mentality.


Cathy Martin of Find Your Metrics That Matter

Michael Moore of Pennsylvania Labor and Employment

Dan MacCarthy of Great Leadership

Phil Gerbyshak of Slacker Manager

Valeria Maltoni of Conversation Agent

Ann Bares of Compensation Force

Kris Dunn of The HR Capitalist

So there you go. I am off the couch and posting again. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Women Bosses: Still A Way To Go

This past year women have made major strides moving into positions of power in business, politics and the military. The Army has its first female four-star general, we had several female presidential candidates, we are getting another female Secretary of State and women show up in many power positions in the entertainment business both on the screen and off. And for the first time we have women from three different generations all in the workplace at the same time.

Things couldn't be better for women. Or could they? According to an article in the online version of Marie Claire it turns out that many younger women hate working for older women. In an article, entitled The Pink Ceiling, author Meredith Bryan discusses the difficulties many younger women have working for older women bosses. These include:

  • Older women bosses who are hopelessly fixated on sexism in the office

  • Women bosses who are tyrants and who see their female charges as competition (called the Queen Bee Syndrome)

  • They feel judged by "set in their ways" bosses who insist "This is how I had to work to get here"

  • Unprofessionalism from bosses who blur the personal and professional lines by "making friends" and being too personal. Women bosses give less feedback and constructive criticism than to male bosses.
Many of the younger women interviewed preferred to work for male bosses.

Bryan does hold out hope that this will get better as time goes by and more women make it into the upper company ranks. She states that currently records show that only 15% of executive postions are held by women.

I have often seen that women managers can be tougher in general than many male managers and I have seen them less tolerant of womens issues, sort of the "I have done it and made it" line of thought. But I think some of the things Bryan talks about are also generational issues as much as they are female boss issues. And like the one commenter to the article said, I don't think the glass ceiling or sexism has gone away entirely in the workplace, but it has reduced and many younger women have not had to deal with the issue yet. Hopefully many won't have to.

Human Resources is certainly a good test case for younger women dealing with older women bosses since the vast majority of the profession is female. So how about some comments from some of you and tell us about your experiences, either as a younger woman working for an older female boss, or as the boss dealing with younger women subordinates?

BTW, I want to thank a reader and student who pointed me to this article. I don't normally read Marie Claire , unless I have to sit while waiting for a haircut or doctor's appointment. Unfortunately I missed this one. And yes I do read womens magazines, as should all men occassionally, it is a good way to stay up on what might be important to the women in our lives.