In this edition of HR News Roundup, we talk about year-end HR tasks, toxic work behaviors, telework and more. Don’t miss the cute holiday-related story from the lighter side.

How to Spend the Last Two Weeks of the Year

Sharlyn Lauby of HR Bartender offers advice on how HR managers can make the most of the of the last few weeks of the year when many employees are off enjoying the holidays. Usually, it’s a good time to address some administrative matters and to prep for the coming year. She offers a handy lists of HR tasks to take advantage of this time.

And in another great suggestion from Sharlyn that could tie in with using your year-end time productively, she offers 10 Resources for Developing #HR Competencies, pointing to 10 free downloadable guides from SHRM. She describes them as wonderful tools to help with developing HR competencies. The guides focus on various experience levels from early career to executive level.

For another idea of how to put your year-end to good use, Cort Olsen of EBN offers 5 benefit plan action items to address before the end of 2017, with a list compiled by employee benefits attorney Chris Beinecke.

Does your work culture increase your liability re: phone usage & driving?

Vehicle related accidents are the leading cause of death on the job, and a significant source of work-related injuries. But are organizations at fault for putting employees and others at risk? In the Washington Post, Frederick Kunkle’s examines the issue in his article “The boss made me do it”: 43 percent admit using smartphone because of work while driving, survey says. If an employer texts or calls an employee who is on the road, does that create a liability risk for the employer?   The survey found that 43 percent of respondents who drive were in touch with work either by talking on the telephone (38 percent); texting (17 percent) or emailing (10 percent). Of those who engaged in work-related communication during their drive, 54 percent were 18 to 44 years old. More than a quarter of those who drive said that their employer called or texted them even though the boss knew the employee was behind the wheel.

Rethinking Telework
Carol Patton, Human Resources Executive

“Ironically, creating an agile work environment can involve limiting a popular employee benefit — telework. For some companies, the practice hasn’t held up its end of the bargain. Consider that IBM, Yahoo, Google and Best Buy have reversed their direction on telecommuting by either restricting or ending work-from-home programs.
Indeed, the appeal of telework has diminished at a small but growing number of employers over the past couple of years, with some companies concluding that such workers are not as productive, engaged, creative, responsive or flexible when adapting to changing market demands.
As an extension of this shift in thinking, HR professionals are increasingly being forced to re-evaluate the policies and practices they have in place as it pertains to how and where work is getting done.”

The Economic Value for Employers of Workplace Drug Testing
Scott Howell, EHSToday

Employees who abuse prescription drugs are two to five times more likely to take unexcused absences, be late for work, be injured or violent at work, file workers’ compensation claims, quit or be fired within one year of employment, according to the National Safety Council.

Furthermore, 70 percent of the 14.8 million Americans who abuse drugs are employed. When an employee abuses drugs, employers and payers take on the risk of workplace injuries, compromised productivity due to absenteeism and presenteeism and liability.

Opioid crisis forcing employers to take drastic health plan steps
Who Is Most at Risk for Opioid Death and How to Help Them: Columbia Research

Leaders’ Toxic Behaviors—And the Courage Required to Stop Them
Tim Cole, HR Daily Advisor

The question for Human Resources professionals—and all employees—is this: “How could someone rise to a level of authority that they become toxic—and what are our responsibilities when we see it happening?”

Holiday Parties & Perks in 2017

Is the recent spate of harassment charges putting a damper on holiday office parties? In HRE Daily, Tom Starner says that in a survey of HR reps, 80% of those contacted said they plan to hold a party this year … although the number of those who will not hold a party has ticked up by 4%. Fewer of those that do hold parties will serve alcohol (47% vs 62% last year), which could reflect a wariness about creating an environment that might encorage inappropriate behavior. In another survey, Michale O’Brien looks at the state of year-end bonuses. Just over half (51%) said year end bonuses would be the same or higher, while only 10% said they would be lower or much lower.

Related: The Key to the Successful Annual Bonus is Truth, Clarity & Alignment

Reimagining Effective Cross-Functional Teams
Sally Blount and Paul Leinwand, strategy+business

Effective teamwork of any sort requires finesse, but this is especially true for cross-functional teams. For cross-functional teams to perform well within more traditional organizational structures, three key guardrails must be put in place.

More noteworthy HR news

HR News from the lighter side

Looking for a new angle on recruitment? Maybe you need to focus your efforts on a younger demographic. Apparenly, that’s what UPS is doing … check out these would-be drivers in their tiny trucks. (Warning: tear-jerker alert) These videos are illustrations of the delivery organization’s super great Wished Delivered program, a great charitable initiative. It’s not only a great program, it also reinforces the UPS brand.

UPS even has a driver training program!


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