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News Roundup: Young workers, robots, violence, compliance & more news of note

What Really Motivates Workers in Their 20s
Jeffrey Arnett, Harvard Business Review: “Our recent 2015 Clark University Poll of Emerging Adults, asked a national sample of 1,000 21- to 29-year-olds a wide range of questions related to education and the entry to work. We focused on ages 21 to 29 because the goal was to examine the transition to work during the twenties. The results were illuminating, and provide important information for anyone who works with or employs emerging adults. Here are some of the highlights.”

In defense of Millennials
Justin Bariso, Inc.: “The truth is, there is major anger and disconnect between the generations in today’s workplace. I’ve seen it firsthand consulting for various companies, from the Fortune 500 to small businesses. Read any article attempting to characterize Millennials, and you’ll see a firestorm of comments at the end: Millennials eager to defend their generation against negative propaganda, and those from other generations who support the attack. The emotions and feelings expressed are real, and they are indicative of a major communication gap.”

Robots at work
In The Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth Dwoskin’s article Before a Robot Takes Your Job, You’ll Be Working Side By Side looks at a report by Forrester Research, which estimates that, “… automation would erase 22.7 million US jobs by 2025 — 16% of today’s total. However, that decline would be offset somewhat by new jobs created, making for a net loss of 7%, or 9.1 million jobs.” The report also discusses how robots will transform the nature of work. Insurance Journal also talks about the issue of robots in the workplace, with Olivia Solon discussing Cobots that will make human-robot work interacti0ns safer. While robots may be very efficient at some work tasks, they are largely mindless and can cause severe injuries or death when they intersect with humans. Enter “cobotics” or “collaborative robotics”: “Unlike older generations of robots, “cobots” have sensors and safety features that let them detect and react to nearby humans. This allows for the perfect pairing: the machines’ strength and precision with employees’ ability to see, feel, think and adapt.”
At Workers Comp Insider, Tom Lynch also looks at The AI Robotic Tsunami: Coming To A Workplace Near You. And in another take on robots in the workplace, Robert Wilson or offers his amusing take on things:
If My Robotic Vacuum is Any Indication, Mankind is Safe for Now

More on the on air-shooting: HR employment law attorneys weigh in
Robin Shea at Employment and Labor Insider: The on-air shootings at WDBJ-TV: When bad things happen to good employees
Eric Meyer at The Employer Handbook: The #WDBJ-TV tragedy and how companies can prevent workplace violence
Related: Erik Eckholm and Richard A. Oppel Jr., New York Times: Virginia Shooting Spotlights Riddle of Workplace Safety

Requiring an Employee to Return from FMLA Leave “Without Restrictions” or “Fully Healed” Is Playing with Fire
Jeff Bowak, FMLA Insights says: “Do you know what happens when you maintain a policy or practice that requires an employee to return to work without restrictions or “100% healed”? You pay. A lot.” He cites a recent EEOC case and talks about the problems with a “fully released” approach.

Plans Don’t Respond to School Emergencies, People Do
Brian Armes & Guy Bliesner of Campus Safety make the case fro the importance of training and drills as a part of emergency planning: “During a stressful emergency, cognitive function drops and manual dexterity lowers considerably, so people usually default to their training.”

The American workplace bolsters the confidence of men, and destroys the ambition of women
Cassie Werber, Quartz: “While companies may differ in many ways, there is broad acknowledgment of a deeply ingrained ideal worker model,” the researchers wrote. That ideal was someone who worked long and late, took on extra projects, was adept at self-promotion, and was always connected via phone and email. Here women judge themselves and are judged harshly: both women and men think it’s more difficult for women to conform to the ideal stereotype because of other commitments, like having families.”

Leading with Happiness
Alexander Kjerulf, Chief Happiness Officer says that he sees a new type of leadership emerging, ” one that is motivated primarily by doing good. Or, in other words, by increasing happiness.” He expands on this leadership and cites a number of examples.

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Workplace violence: Best prevention practices

The recent brutal execution style murder of journalists on live TV shocked the world. For HR managers, the violence was particularly chilling – the killer was a disgruntled ex-employee with a long history of work grievances. In his job at WDBJ-TV, he had been placed on a progressive discipline plan and was referred to the organization’s EAP. When behavior and performance issues escalated, he was fired from his position some two and a half years ago. It was a troubling termination that required the involvement of security. In this series of clips, WDBJ-TV station manager talks about the employment issues.

While it’s not possible to prevent all workplace violence, the right policies and plans can help to minimize the likelihood. In response to these recent troubling events, we’ve gathered several resources, including ESI EAP’s video presentation on workplace violence: Seven Best Practices for Avoiding Workplace Violence.

Here are some additional violence prevention resources:

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Labor Law Roundup: Alphabet Soup & More

Jon Hyman of Ohio Employer’s Law Blog says that employers tend to associate retaliation with the big employment statutes (Title VII, the ADEA, the ADA, the FMLA, and the FLSA). But he notes there are dozens of other federal statutes that protect employees from retaliation. In particular, “Employers that operate in a federally regulated industry need to be aware of the alphabet-soup of statutes that could give rise to a potential retaliation or whistleblowing claim.”

He offers a handy alphabetized list with brief descriptions of what they cover: Retaliation alphabet-soup

Additional resources on federal and state labor laws:

Summary of the Major Laws of the Department of Labor
The Department of Labor (DOL) administers and enforces more than 180 federal laws. These mandates and the regulations that implement them cover many workplace activities for about 10 million employers and 125 million workers.
Following is a brief description of many of DOL’s principal statutes most commonly applicable to businesses, job seekers, workers, retirees, contractors and grantees. This brief summary is intended to acquaint you with the major labor laws and not to offer a detailed exposition. For authoritative information and references to fuller descriptions on these laws, you should consult the statutes and regulations themselves.

Employment Law Guide
Laws, Regulations, and Technical Assistance Services – covers 24 major laws enforced by DOL in plain, easy-to-understand language.

Help Navigating DOL Laws and Regulations
Sorted by topic, by audience and by law: “The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is committed to providing America’s workers, employers, job seekers, and retirees — with clear and easy-to-access information on how to comply with federal employment laws. This information is often referred to as “compliance assistance,” which is an important part of the Department’s efforts to protect the wages, health benefits, retirement security, employment rights, safety, and health of America’s workforce.”

New and Small Businesses

State Labor Laws

State Labor Laws
State labor offices, state minimum wage laws, state child labor laws, other Labor Laws, state labor associations, annual state labor legislative report

SHRM: State and Local Statutes and Regulations
Access the text of various state employment laws in SHRM’s State Employment Law Charts. Use the drop down menus to select your state(s) and employment law(s)

SHRM: State Workplace Law News

Labor and Employment Laws of the Fifty States, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico

Posting Compliance

FirstStep Poster Advisor

Wage and Hour Division (WHD) – Workplace Posters
This Advisor is designed to help employers comply with the poster requirements of several laws administered by the Department of Labor (DOL). These laws require employers to display official DOL posters where employees can readily observe them. DOL provides the posters at no cost to employers.
The Poster Advisor only provides information about Federal DOL poster requirements. You may want to contact your State Department of Labor to obtain information about your state’s requirements.

Poster Page: Workplace Poster Requirements for Small Businesses and Other Employers

There are many, many commercial sources for state-specific posting requirements and posters – free copies are generally available from state Labor Departments. But for multistate employers, there are also various one-stop shops and compliance subscription programs available through a Google search. See Labor Law Poster Frequently Asked Questions.

Related Prior Post

Social Media opens an array of employment law resources

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The lighter side: The more things change….

There’s a common French proverb: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” A similar common saying is that there’s nothing new under the sun.

Sure, humans are humans, and all the world over no matter how customs or traditions vary, people are more alike than they are different. But with today’s breakneck speed of technological change, do those proverbs still hold true?

Check out the Mindset List of the Class of 2018. It’s published each year by Beloit College. Originally created as a reminder to faculty to be wary of dated references, it became “a catalog of the rapidly changing perception of each new generation as they make an important transition.” It offers a glimpse into “the cultural touchstones and experiences that have shaped the worldview of students entering colleges and universities in the fall.”

If you’re one of “the olds” it’s a startling look at a very different worldview. If you’re an HR manager or a supervisor, it might give you a window into your upcoming new hires. Here are a few entries from this year’s list.

  • “Good feedback” means getting 30 likes on your last Facebook post in a single afternoon.
  • Attending schools outside their neighborhoods, they gather with friends on Skype, not in their local park.
  • During their initial weeks of kindergarten, they were upset by endlessly repeated images of planes blasting into the World Trade Center.
  • Since they binge-watch their favorite TV shows, they might like to binge-watch the video portions of their courses too.
  • Female referees have always officiated NBA games.
  • When they see wire-rimmed glasses, they think Harry Potter, not John Lennon.

Keep your eye out for a new list soon – plus, it is fun to surf past lists.

For another view of how life changes, BlazePress offers thirteen cartoons that sum up how the world has changed for the worse — a humorous but unflattering look at yesterday vs today, particularly in regard to the impact that technology has had on our lifestyle. Here’s a sampling.


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Cyber security experts say senior executives, HR need to be involved

Cyber attacks are a growing organizational threat – it seems that every week, we learn of a new data breach. While the tendency is to think of cyber threats as outside events and therefor the purview of the IT department, increasingly, the threat is coming from “inside the house.” In a recent study on the retail industry and cyber crime, Deloitte Insights reports that, “The many high-profile breaches in recent years have shown business leaders that efforts to prevent, detect, respond to and recover from cyber incidents require the collective wisdom and authority of executives across a range of functions.”

This is particularly true since many of the newer attacks specifically target individuals who hold privileged information in organizations – “such as chief financial officers, heads of HR and other senior leadership and boards of directors across enterprises.”

Organizations need to broaden the scope of cyber security prevention and risk management responsibilities to include HR and other disciplines. And security experts agree: training employees to mitigate risk is important.

In CIO magazine, Jennifer Lonoff Schiff discusses the 6 biggest security risks that companies face and suggests ways to address those risks. She queried dozens of security and IT experts to determine the six most likely sources, or causes, of security breaches. Here are the top causes – her article also addresses what businesses can, and should, do to protect against them.

1.  Disgruntled Employees
2.  Careless or Uninformed Employees
3. Mobile Devices (BYOD)
4. Cloud Applications
5. Unpatched or Unpatchable Devices
6. Third-party Service Providers

In Security Magazine, Steven Chabinsky suggests the need to apply risk-based approaches to reducing the insider cyber threat, and that a program must be multi-disciplinary in approach, including active participation from a company’s security and IT department, as well as human resources and other senior managers.

“Organizations should consider creating an insider cyber threat program, led by a senior manager. This program would ensure that policies, resources and oversight are in place to assess and implement company controls that specifically deter, detect and mitigate the risk from employees, contractors and business partners.”

He offers a range of suggestions, from pre-employment background checks to increased monitoring and audits.

Increasingly, risk management specialists suggest that savvy employers should provide cyber security training for employees. Travelers suggests that, “New hire training and regularly scheduled refresher training courses should be established in order to instill the data security culture of your organization.” They offer a list of topics that a curricula should address. See our prior post: Thwart cyber security threats through employee training.

Here are some other Business Cyber Security Tools

StaySafeOnline: Keep My Business Safe

OnGuardOnline: Small Business – This includes may resources to help train employees. Also see this excellent section on phishing scams

TrendMicro: Resources and Solutions for Small Business

Symantec: Small & Medium Business Information Center

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News Roundup: DUI Lessons; Are you a bad boss; Paid leave; Security robots & more news of note

A Simple Fix for Drunken Driving
Keith Humphreys of The Wall Street Journal reports on a unique approach to DUIs in South Dakota that is yielding surprising results – as well as lessons in motivation and changing behaviors: “Why do repeat offenders change their behavior in response to relatively modest incentives? Stephen Higgins of the University of Vermont addressed this question in his pioneering work on the treatment of drug addiction. In a widely cited 1991 paper in the American Journal of Psychiatry, he showed that, although his patients continued using cocaine in the face of great harm to their families, livelihoods and physical health, they could still be induced to refrain from it when promised a small reward, like $10 for a negative urine test. The reward was relatively trivial, but it was unlike other potential consequences because it was both certain and immediate.”

Are You a Bad Boss? 10 Signs That You Might Be
Dave McClure, CPA Practice Advisor: “Follow-up surveys, including the Gallup 2015 survey of workers in America, found that people don’t leave jobs – they leave their bosses. About half of the 7,200 adults surveyed said they have left a job in order “to get away from their manager.” Worse yet, it found that only about 30 percent are truly engaged in and committed to their jobs. These rest are ambivalent at best or disengaged at worst.”

Paid leave benefits are on the rise
Hadley Malcolm, USA TODAY: “Tech companies Microsoft and Netflix made headlines this week for significant improvements to paid parental leave policies. And the Navy also got on board with a more generous policy for new parents, announcing in July that it would triple paid maternity leave to a total of 18 weeks for those in the Navy and Marine Corps. The policy went into effect Wednesday.
Recent data shows that, in general, paid leave policies are on the rise. That includes paid sick, family and maternity leave, and time beyond the 12 weeks of unpaid leave required each year by the Family Medical Leave Act, according to a recent report from the Society of Human Resource Management. ”

College Athlete, Temp Worker Labor Board Cases Could Redefine Employee
Jim Snyder, Insurance Journal: “U.S. regulators are poised to decide two closely watched cases that have the potential to reshape labor laws by allowing college football players to unionize and forcing companies to take more responsibility for contractors.
The National Labor Relations Board may decide the cases as soon as this week, and the prospect of change is already rankling university presidents and business leaders. One case concerns contract workers at a recycling facility who are trying to draw the owner into labor negotiations. The other would answer a petition from football players at Northwestern University seeking scholarship and medical benefits.”

Effective Managers: Your Critical Link to Successful Strategy Execution
Towers Watson: “Effective managers, not just senior leaders, play a critical role in translating an organization’s strategic vision into winning actions and results. When the performance of neither leaders nor direct managers is seen as effective by employees, engagement levels drop by nine times. When employees perceive both top-level leaders and managers as performing well, both presenteeism and stress levels are lower.”

Every #HR Pro Should Own a Marketing Textbook
Sharon Lauby, HR Bartender: “There. I said it. The parallels between marketing and human resources are endless. As HR pros, we could really gain some creative inspiration from the principles of marketing … For instance, we can apply one of the most fundamental marketing models to our role in human resources. It’s called the 4P’s.
The 4P’s of marketing represent product, price, promotion, and place. They can also be used to describe the concepts as they relate to human resources. Here’s my take on how the 4P’s aligns with HR.”

Introverted and extroverted leaders: Bring on the battles
Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Smart Blog on Leadership: “My research on introvert-extrovert pairs in the workplace has shown that the relationships of high performing duos like Ricky and Liz don’t just happen. Even as leaders with experience under our belt, we can let those with different styles crawl under our skin. Introverts don’t talk fast enough. Extroverts won’t stop interrupting. And under stress, introverts tend to shut down and extroverts go into overdrive. That is when potentially productive conflicts become stalemates.”

Meet your security personnel of the future – at $6.25 an hour, might these security robots be a part of your future team?

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