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HR News Roundup: FLSA, benefits study, HR future skills, dealing with a narcissist and more

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The New #FLSA Overtime Changes: Make Sure Company Policies Are Aligned
HR Bartender guest post from Paycom

So how should HR pros approach policy changes before the [FLSA] ruling goes into effect? Auditing your policies surrounding the issue at hand – overtime – could be a good start. Do the existing policies cover which employees can and cannot work overtime? Do your current policies consider work done on mobile devices as hours worked or travel time? I spoke with Paycom Chief Operating Officer Stacey Pezold and she shared with me that today’s companies have more to consider as it relates to how regulations impact operations.

Related: Final Overtime Regs: What You Need To Know (Video)
Related: What About Virtual Overtime? How the New Rule Will Impact Mobile Work

Employee Benefits Study Reveals Top Priorities and Concerns

Hub International Limited recently undertook an in-depth small-middle market employee benefits study: Employee Benefits Barometer: SMB Perspectives and Priorities in an Era of Disruption. More than 400 senior-level human resource and finance executives at U.S. companies with 50-1,000 employees were surveyed. The study revealed unexpected priorities, missed opportunities and the disconnect between HR and Finance.

How “Neutral” Layoffs Disproportionately Affect Women and Minorities
Alexandra Kalev, Harvard Business Review

In an effort to be transparent and fair to employees, organizations use formal rules to decide who stays and who goes during layoffs. But my analysis shows that because companies rely heavily on position and tenure to make those calls, they wipe out most or all of the gains they’ve made in diversity. The reason is simple: Companies in cutting mode see the roles that women and minorities tend to have as expendable. For the most part, if they’ve made it into management they’re either junior to midlevel, recently appointed, or working in areas such as human resources, legal departments, and public relations — functions that are beneficial but aren’t usually perceived as core to the business. When women and minorities are in line positions, they often work on small, nonessential product lines that can be jettisoned fairly easily.

Are You Ready to Handle Political Tensions In the Workplace?
Mathilde Pribula, TLNT

More than a quarter of HR professionals are already reporting an increase in workplace political volatility compared to previous election seasons, according to a recent Society for Human Resource Management poll. The same study found only 24% of organizations have written policies on how to handle political activities, though 72% say they discourage it.

When work and politics mix, the risks are widespread. Employees may not feel safe or respected. Recruiting, retention and productivity can be impacted, as can brand loyalty and customer retention.

Related: Our prior post Is your workplace prepared for political conflict this election season?

The skill sets need for the HR professional of the future
Miachael Haberman, Omega HR Solutions blog

I came across an article directed at the Chief Information Officers, in other words the IT leader, which talked about the skill sets the CIO of the future will need to have to be most effective. Not too surprisingly this skill set works well for the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) as well. In fact they work well for the HR professional at all levels. I have written about each of these skill sets in the past but thought it would be constructive to revisit them.

Why Sheryl Sandberg Thinks You Should Cry at Work
Suzanne Lukas, Inc.

When you talk about women in business, Sheryl Sandberg’s name comes right to the top. A Facebook Executive and author of the best-selling Lean In, Sandberg is a household name. When her husband, Dave Goldberg, died unexpectedly at the very young age of 47, we felt terrible for her. She admitted, after his passing, that her book had assumed a supportive spouse and didn’t focus on the challenges faced by the single mom at work.
She understands a bit better now. (Although, in fairness, she can’t possibly understand the challenges of the single mom in a low paying job. Sandberg can afford household help. Most single moms–and most married moms–don’t have that kind of financial flexibility.) And one thing she seems to be advocating is acknowledging that life can be really, really hard. And that can involve crying. At work.
Unfortunately, for most of us, crying and work don’t go together.

How to Successfully Work with a Narcissist

Christine Hammond is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and writer for In this 1 hour webinar, she shares effective approaches when dealing with a narcissist in the workplace, and tips for how to avoid becoming the narcissist’s target.  Learn to identify the different types of narcissists; four things every narcissist needs to survive – and how to use this to your benefit; how the narcissistic cycle of abuse works and how to avoid their trap; and the best negotiation tactics to win an argument with a narcissist.

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ADA Reasonable Accommodation: Expert Insight

If you read HR Web Cafe with any regularity, you know that when it comes to FMLA and related leave laws, we are big fans of Jeff Nowak, employment law attorney who maintains the FMLA Insights blog. If his blog isn’t on your regular reading list, it should be!

In May of this year, the EEOC offered guidance on reasonable accommodation under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). Nowak offered an analysis and summary at the time. He noted that:

“All Requests for Leave Must be Treated as a Request for a Reasonable Accommodation. Yes, you read that correctly. If the EEOC ever was ambiguous on this point before, it’s cleared it up now — each time an employee requests leave from the job because of a medical condition, the request must be analyzed through the lens of FMLA and ADA.”

More recently, Nowak  conducted a webinar with EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum on EEOC’s New Resource on Leave as an ADA Reasonable Accommodation. You can watch the entire webinar on demand at the above link or you can download the webinar slides.

One other option – check out Nowak’s posts on the webinar, where he summarizes key take-aways:

This post offers a recap our guidance in the webinar on how an employer should address an employee’s requests for multiple extensions of continuous leave. It covers reasonable accommodation and handling employee requests for extensions through an interactive process, which documents and builds the case for undue hardship.

This post offers a recap guidance on how an employer should address an employee’s intermittent absences and unreliable attendance after FMLA leave has exhausted. It also covers issues such as indefinite leave, 100% healed policies and automatic termination policies.

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How to make your employees happy: 30 quick tips

Happy employees are productive employees. While that might be conventional wisdom, a study conducted by economists at the University of Warwick found that “happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive.” Jonha Revesencio talks about the study and the benefits of happy, engaged employees in an article in Fast Company: Why Happy Employees Are 12% More Productive

He notes that despite the research, other studies show room for improvement:

From the looks of it, there’s certainly room to improve on the happiness factor. A recent Gallup survey found only 13% of employees are engaged at work, meaning the vast majority of working adults doesn’t enjoy their work. By one recent measure, this costs US companies roughly $450–$550 billion annually. Looked at another way, though, poor worker engagement is an opportunity for companies to boost their productivity by investing in employees’ welfare and workplace happiness.

How do you boost happiness and yield higher employee productivity and happiness? For a start, here’s a helpful infographic from Unum by way of that offers 30 tips to make your employees happy:


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HR News Roundup: Harassment, HR roles, perks, mental health & more

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Sex harassment myth: “He said/she said” is no big deal
At Employment & Labor Insider, Robin Shea uses the sexual harassment suit that Gretchen Carlson has brought against Roger Ailes, head of Fox News, as a jumping off point to examine an all-too-common myth in these types of cases: “This case won’t go anywhere. It’s just a he said/she said.”

Related: Jon Hyman of Ohio Employer’s Law Blog:
Developing an anti-harassment culture is key to stopping workplace harassment

5 Roles That Will Power 21st Century Human Resources Departments
Kavi Guppta, Forbes

The human resources department of the 21st century will favour specialization over a generalized, one-size fits all approach to workforce management. The responsibilities that fall onto the plate of a Chief Human Resources Officer and his or her small “jack-of-all-trades” team will now be spread out across a functionally diverse stack of specialists.
So what kind of fully stacked team will your human resources department require?
Here are five roles that will make up a powerful human resources team for 21st century companies.

How We Rewrote Our Company’s Mental Health Policy
Kelsey Meyer, Harvard Business Review

Imagine how you’d react if one of your employees crawled her way into your office with a broken leg or became visibly ill at her desk. You wouldn’t ignore her physical health or tell her that she really needs to keep her personal problems at home; you’d help her to the emergency room and ask how you can help during her recovery.

The truth is that your employees’ health is rarely as obvious as a broken bone or the flu. Sometimes, your employees silently struggle with illnesses that you never see — but their need for inclusive, supportive healthcare and adequate accommodations is just as great.

Policing takes a major mental health toll on officers
John Violanti, Business Insider

Contrary to public opinion that police work is “routine,” their job is very often filled with traumatic, dangerous and stressful occurrences. Suicide is a leading killer of police officers, with 102 officers taking their lives in 2015. That is in addition to the 51 officers killed while a felony was underway and 45 officers who were accidentally killed. Our recent study found that the police had a 69 percent greater risk for suicide than other working populations.

As a former police officer and now a professor of epidemiology and public health, I look at the toll that policing takes on mental and physical health. Police officers pay a high price for their work.

Amazon Is Offering A Jaw-Dropping New Perk For Its Seattle Employees
Alexander C. Kaufman, The Huffington Post

Amazon is betting that jungle-like terrariums filled with exotic plants may be a better employee perk than free lunch or a foosball table.

Errand Running: The new time-saving employee benefit
Erin Krehbiel,

Work-life blending has produced a whole new set of challenges for employees and employers. At all times of day there is a mix of work and life tasks that often demand to be performed in opposition or simultaneously. Today’s busy workforce needs realistic benefits that solve day-to-day challenges and maximize convenience. With the goal of helping employees de-stress, focus, and make life easier, more and more companies are turning to the new time-saving employee benefit of errand running services.

Don’t Get Blindsided by Family-Leave Laws
Kristen Frasch, HRE Daily

Probably the most telling piece of information he shares though — as does Mark McGraw in this HRE Daily post from May — is the fact that the number of family-responsibility-discrimination cases are going way up. McGraw and Spiggle both cite a report, Caregivers in the Workplace: Family Responsibilities Discrimination Litigation Update 2016, showing a 269-percent increase in the number of family-responsibility-discrimination cases between 2006 and 2015.

Ahead of the curve: The future of performance management
Boris Ewenstein, Bryan Hancock, and Asmus Komm, McKinsey Quarterly

Yet nearly nine out of ten companies around the world continue not only to generate performance scores for employees but also to use them as the basis for compensation decisions. The problem that prevents managers’ dissatisfaction with the process from actually changing it is uncertainty over what a revamped performance-management system ought to look like. If we jettison year-end evaluations—well, then what? Will employees just lean back? Will performance drop? And how will people be paid?

Answers are emerging. Companies, such as GE and Microsoft, that long epitomized the “stack and rank” approach have been blowing up their annual systems for rating and evaluating employees and are instead testing new ideas that give them continual feedback and coaching. Netflix no longer measures its people against annual objectives, because its objectives have become more fluid and can change quite rapidly. Google transformed the way it compensates high performers at every level. Some tech companies, such as Atlassian, have automated many evaluation activities that managers elsewhere perform manually.

How to foster workplace passion
Naphtali Hoff, Smart Brief

It is important to note that the terms “passion” and “engagement” are often used interchangeably when referring to employee work attitude and effort. However, many experts point out that passion is really the goal because it expresses a long-term, intrinsic motivation to work at a high level.

Engagement, on the other hand, can be shorter-term in nature and often speaks to extrinsic motivators (such as praise, competition, incentives and the like) that push folks who normally assume a passive (or worse) posture to “get into it” for a period of time.

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, companies need passionate workers because such people can drive extreme and sustained performance improvement — more than the one-time performance “bump” that follows a bonus or the implementation of an engagement initiative. Passionate workers also possess personal resilience and an orientation toward learning. This can be particularly helpful for companies that need to withstand continuous market challenges and disruptions.

More People Work From Home Now Than Ever Before
Lydia Dishman, Forbes

Thanks to 24/7 connectivity, the boundaries between work and life are eroding, several studies have found. A survey from EY, a global assurance, tax, and advisory services organization, found that 64% of U.S. workers report they’re working two to four hours more a week, and one-third (36%) are on the job an extra five hours or more. No wonder satisfaction with work-life balance is sliding downward as well. Glassdoor’s most recent survey of employee feedback from about 60,000 company reviews revealed a drop in ratings from 3.5 (out of a possible 5) in 2009 to 3.2 this year.

A new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that part of the issue is that more people are working from home than ever before.

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MLK: love drives out hate

Inspiration: A cool message for a hot summer

MLK: love drives out hate

So far, it’s been a particularly stressful year in the world at large and the summer is heating up. There’s more than a little stress going around, and unfortunately, some of the stress appears to be creating rifts between us. And the whole hot mess gets brought to the workplace every day because, people being people, we can’t always neatly separate from our worries and our passions.

The police shooting-related deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile have sparked grief, anger and charges of racial bias and injustice. Nationwide protests have followed and show few signs of resolving soon. As police in Dallas protected the first amendment rights of protesters, a sniper took aim and claimed the largest loss of police life in a single event since 9-11. This terrible and sad event has caused tremendous shock and grief in the nation as a whole and in the law enforcement community in particular.

It’s almost too much to process. The nation is still reeling from the 50 lives gunned down in Orlandos’s Pulse nightclub, an event that held particular pain for the LGBT community.

And at a time when we need leaders to bring us together, we are in the midst of a highly contentious election which is further exacerbating our fears and our differences.

That’s why the “Love Has No Labels” viral video that was issued just before Independence Day is a breath of fresh air. Check it out to see why it has struck such a chord. John Cena makes a pitch for tolerance, unity and coming together in “We are America.”

There’s an accompanying website that focuses on combating prejudice and bias. It offers people’s stories about bias they’ve experienced and a bias quiz. It also offers tips and suggestions for how we can all confront bias in different settings. Between this and the videos, it might be a good topic for a brown bag lunch.

Here are just a few of the ideas for combating bias that we particularly liked:

Don’t laugh. Meet a bigoted “joke” with silence, and maybe a raised eyebrow. Use body language to communicate your distaste for bigoted “humor.”
Interrupt the laughter.

“Why does everyone think that’s funny?” Tell your co-workers why the “joke” offends you, that it feels demeaning and prejudicial. And don’t hesitate to interrupt a “joke” with as many additional “no” messages as needed.

Talk about differences. When we have friendships across group lines, it’s natural to focus on what we have in common, rather than our differences. Yet our differences matter. Strive to open up the conversation: “We’ve been friends for years, and I value our friendship very much. One thing we’ve never really talked about is my experiences with racism. I’d like to do that now.”

Focus on behavior, not beliefs. If you feel the need to ask questions about a friend’s behavior that’s changed, center the question on the behavior rather than assumptions.

Here’s another remarkable video from their series that was launched around Valentine’s Day.

Meet the cast:

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