In this edition of HR News Roundup, we feature news about drug testing and opioids, service animals at work, leaderships styles, how Siri and Alexa are changing the workplace and more. Plus, as a bonus, we feature some humor about job interviews.

Will drug testing become a thing of the past?

Robin Shea, Employment & Labor Insider, notes recent studies showing that some employers are scaling back on drug testing efforts, particularly in states that have legalized marijuana. But not so fast – Shea says that “Incremental “tweaks” might be the best course for employers.” She offers several caveats to think about before you make any changes.

What Can Employers Do to Fight the Opioid Epidemic?
Lauren Dixon, Talent Economy

In May 2017, the Federal Reserve discovered that employers are finding it difficult to fill open positions, partially due to a skills gap and also because many applicants can’t pass a drug test. When a job involves heavy machinery, having mentally aware workers with fast reflexes is important, but opioids hinder brain function and productivity, resulting in an increase in workplace accidents and workers’ compensation claims.
Most of these claims now involve opioid use, though it varies by state. In a study of 25 states, Workers Compensation Research Institute found that 88 percent of Arkansas’ workers’ compensation claims where a pain medication was prescribed involved opioids. The lowest in the study was in New Jersey, which had 60 percent of claims involving the class of drugs.

Who Let the Dogs in? Handling Requests for Service Animals at Work
David L. Johnson, HR Daily Advisor

It seems like I’m seeing more and more people with service animals—particularly “comfort animals” meant to ease anxiety or similar problems. Delta Airlines has had such a problem with comfort animals causing issues on its planes that it recently announced it was tightening its restrictions. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers must provide “reasonable accommodations” to employees with disabilities. Does that mean you must allow disabled employees to bring their pets to work? Well, it depends.

The Rewards Of Being An Ambidextrous Leader
Jack Zenger, Forbes

Which competencies are most important for their subordinates’ successL “Driving for Results” or “Building Relationships.” Zenger looks at the results of business surveys on this question, and makes the case for why becoming ambidextrous appears to pay off.

You’re Fired! — No, I Quit!
Daniel Schwartz, CT Employment Law Blog

You’ve agonized over firing an employee. You hired her over a year ago and it just isn’t working out. The employee is kind, conscientious and punctual, but just doesn’t have the skills needed for the particular position.
But you’ve made up your mind. You’re firing her at a meeting this afternoon.
In that meeting, the employee stops you part way to say that she too has been thinking the job hasn’t been a good fit and asks if she can resign instead.
Can you still accept the employee’s resignation?

How Siri and Alexa Are Changing the Workforce
Eva Sage-Gavin, Human Resources Executive

As HR professionals, we can encourage our organizations to invest in our employees’ skills and to help them join up human and machine capabilities to radically change the way we operate. There are three areas where we can guide our leadership to respond to these changing needs: by reimagining work, by focusing the workforce on areas that create new value, and finally, by investing in “re-skilling” and getting the most out of human and machine collaboration.

Don’t Get Too Comfortable at That Desk
Steve Lohr, New York Times

First there were individual offices. Then cubicles and open floor plans. Now, there is a “palette of places.”
New office designs are coming to a workplace near you, with layouts meant to cater to the variety of tasks required of modern white-collar workers. Put another way, it means people don’t sit in just one place.

More noteworthy HR news

HR News from the lighter side

This week, all our lighter side items have a direct relation to HR. First, we have
‘No donuts, except on Fridays’ and 8 other crazy workplace rules

Next, we move on to the 10 worst job-interview performances/

And related to job interviews, the comic below is one in a series called “Nailed It” by New York Times bestselling author Nathan W. Pyle. You can find 9 more examples of his job interview humor here.

comic about job interviews

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