Friday, February 9, 2018

#MeToo Focus in the Caribbean

The morning after a day in Jamaica starts off with a bang in Julie Pugh's session covering Harassment in the Headlines most recently refenced by hashtags #MeToo and #TimesUp.  Her session was titled Have Your Life Jacket Handy: The HR Professional's Role in Addressing Pre-Lawsuit Procedures. Whew! That's a mouthful! However, being prepared is a big deal and deserves our attention, understanding, and consideration to avoid a mouthful of curse words (quietly of course) when you get handed your first EEOC complaint or lawsuit.  Believe me, they are not fun to deal with!

I have personally had my share of harassment (especially sexual) complaints during my tenure in HR.  So far this year, I have delivered a couple of programs as well as conducted a couple of investigation and it's only February! The stories I could tell would make you wonder what type of work is actually being done in the workplace.  Matter of fact, I shared one of them in the session that helped Julie make her point about other types of complaints you can get besides harassment.  The one I shared was constructive discharge and sexual harassment. 

What I found new and interesting in this session is to look at documentation related to the topic and remove things like the word "confidential". For example: Don't tell employees in person or in harassment policies that their conversation or complaint will remain confidential.  Why? Because it won't! You can't keep it confidential.  Again, why? Because you may have to conduct interviews, talk to management, attorney's, etc.

So, what can you say or write instead on using the word confidential?
      • Say we will be "discreet", or
      • We will only share on a "need to know basis"
In addition, Julie mentioned an example of a time she was conducting training when someone in the room asked for a definition of an inappropriate behavior.  She redirected the question to make a point about how managers need to be constantly vigilant about what is discussed in the workplace while another manager got up and demonstrated the inappropriate behavior in front of the whole group.  She politely took the person to the side to have a private conversation about how inappropriate her demonstration was and how that type of reaction and attitude is exactly what they are trying to avoid in the workplace.  I can't tell you how many times employees and managers have taken pot shots at some of the main points of a harassment awareness training I was conducting.  What a great lesson on how to deal with those outbursts. 

Constant vigilance and awareness of surroundings was a key suggestions Julie shared.  As an example: she mentioned the timely resignation of Steve Wynn, Chairman & CEO, of Wynn Resorts and Wynn Macua due to sexual misconduct allegations he denies.  This occurred after we set sail from Fort Lauderdale.  It seems something about this topic is coming out weekly these days.  It's sad that it's not a surprise.  

Continue to educate staff and management about the importance of this topic from a risk management standpoint.  Most importantly, prevention is key and communication is key to prevention.

Finally, I should mention that Julie's employer where she is Partner, Graydon was one of the sponsors for #HRCruise2018 - thank you Graydon & Julie!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Workplace Wellness Takes SAIL

It's Showtime at sea for attendees of the 1st Annual #HRCruise heading to Haiti and Jamaica.  After a great opening session by Greg Hawks, the first session of the week began with Brad and Suzanna Cooper with US Corporate Wellness.  They have walked attendees through a well thought out, detailed and thoughtful presentation about what corporate wellness should look like.  In my experience wellness programs have been very narrowed.  For example, when I first started my career, there was a $100 prize for the employee who lost the greatest percentage of weight.  I was only 23 at the time without a great deal of other influences buying for my time.  It was a cinch.  I won! I went out and bout a brand new suit to wear to work with my winnings.  I was excited, proud and focused.  I had willpower.

However, the wellness program was only focused on one thing, weight loss. A strategically planned program will consider so much more like smoking, stress, spirit, mental, physical, exercise, sleep, and so much more.  Sleep today is a huge thing for me.  The light bulb when off when I heard Brad say that without a good nights sleep, I have over a 40% chance of eating junk food in the afternoon.  He was right, I know what I need to eat or drink.  I am a Weight Watcher (recently rejoined) for gods sake.  I know I don't get good sleep and knowing this helps me understand at least one reason why I am constantly sabotaging my success towards my weight loss goal.  

There are so many other great takeaways from this great speaking duo and as I write this blog post, brad asked everyone starting with me to speak out about their one takeaway.  So I typed them up for your to review here. 

Takeaways from the attendee's: 
  • Increase communication of wellness initiative as an ongoing process
  • Tailor your message to your audience such as generation ally different employees
  • Creating lasting and meaning full change in wellness - not a one time shot like my personal example above
  • Try-in, Buy-in ~ Let employees try something to help
  • Focus on the individual - one size does not fit all
  • Tracking what I want to be a year from now and track progress towards that goal
  • Scarlett Letter - you don't have to be perfect on your wellness journal
  • Corporate Social Responsibility tie into wellness
  • Even if your good about exercise in the morning but sit a lot at work doesn't give you a free pass
  • Never use any phone sitting down - get up and move
  • Being intentional
  • Maslow's Hierarchy of needs - Top is now Social Media
  • You are all so sexy, I want to be you!
  • It's just not fitness and's about so much more like Financial Wellness
  • Create ways to have impact without intrusion
  • Mini SWOT analysis of individual company specific wellness programs
  • Wellness Wheel
  • Traveling trophy in the office when teams win challenges
  • Utilization Review of programs 
  • Wellness coaching & EAPs
It's showtime! What are you going to do to improve your overall wellness program?

Thanks for the corporate sponsor of this event which can actually be a great incentive option for wellness programs: Corporate Traditions - a company that allows you to let your employees pick their favorite gifts.


Monday, January 15, 2018

Bereavement Leave FAILs When it Comes to Flexibility

The following was originally posted on the WomenofHR site on 7/14/15. I am reposting here because I will be referring to it in upcoming presentation where I have done some additional research around this topic of Bereavement Leave. My mission is to change the minds of management around the world to improve their culture so that employees feel more comfortable taking the time off they need to "do the work" as you will see in my story below as well as "grieve" which is not a simple 3-5 day process! More to come on this topic in upcoming posts. Thank you in advance for reading and sharing!

Bereavement Leave Fail from Women of HR

When you’re managing employees and they have a death in the family of someone who has been sick for a while and they have made you aware of the situation, what do you do? Worse yet, what do you do when an employee calls you on their way out of town to tell you that their brother was killed the night before by a hit and run driver? They continue to tell you the reason they are heading out of town immediately, before any funeral plans are announced, is that their brother’s wife is in critical condition in the hospital. The oldest daughter of her sister-in-law who is dealing with the loss herself and worrying about the condition of her mother needs help. The employee has no idea when the funeral will be, let alone where her brother’s body is at the moment, and what will come of the criminal case surrounding the hit and run. What do you do when you take a look at the bereavement leave policy and it says “up to 3 or 5 days,” depending on location of the funeral and how close the deceased is to the employee?

Well this very thing happened to me, but luckily I didn’t really have a boss to report to other than cancelling one of the classes I was scheduled to teach and holding it online instead of in person. Thankfully, I had an independent contractor I could lean on for my outstanding consulting projects. I’m not saying things didn’t get lost in the shuffle because I did miss responding to emails and phone calls for a couple months due to trying to stay caught up with what is current when I finally got back. Had I been working a job that restricted the amount of time I took off, I am sure in many cases my job would be in jeopardy or gone upon my return. Since my brother was dead, I would not have had Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to fall back on either. My sister-in-law doesn’t fall on the covered list of “immediate family members,” plus she had her kids to take care of her. So the boss would have had their hands tied on what flexibility they could lend to this horrible situation. Even the military exigency leave would not have been applicable, even though my brother did retire with over 20 years of service to the US Air Force.

The long and short of it is that I was actually out of commission, so to speak, for about three weeks. Out of commission for me is that I physically was not able to be present for a typical bricks and mortar 9-5 job, but I did work while I was away through mobile devices, and was able to keep up with the critical parts of my jobs as instructor and consultant. The problem is most employees don’t have that flexibility nor do their managers understand the intricate details of what the employee is going through. That is why I am writing this post because I too would never have understood an employee having to be away for that long without actually having gone through it myself. Perhaps if managers read this they will have an open mind and open heart to what the employee is going through. A paradigm shift, if you will.

You see the following had to be done, and was done, with the help of my niece and nephew primarily:
  • Visit sister-in-law to see how she was doing and what I could do to help (repeat daily with updates) 
  • Find the body and get permission to have it sent post autopsy to the funeral home 
  • Visit the crash site to see how this happened in person and collect personal belongings thrown all around the site due to the vehicle flipping 
  • Since the driver had not come forward, have a sign made and erected along the edge of the highway near the crash site asking for information 
  • Participate in TV interviews and share them on social media to help get the word out about the vehicle the authorities were looking for based on eye witness accounts of the incident 
  • Visit his workplace to get details going regarding final check, insurance, retirement and pick up his personal belongings 
  • Research how to obtain a copy of the autopsy needed for the insurance and get his wife’s signature and fax 
  • Meet with the funeral home to set up the local funeral, service back home, and burial back home (with many calls and email follow-ups) 
  • Pick up his uniform and take to the dry cleaner then to the funeral home 
  • Stop by the highway patrol office to get copies of accident reports needed for the insurance so the funeral could be paid for 
  • Meet with the district attorney to get permission to obtain his personal belongings from the vehicle at the impound lot 
  • Meet with the state trooper at the impound lot to see the vehicle mangled and retrieve all personal belongings 
  • Research possibilities for transportation of the body from one state to another to include a military escort from the service to the grave site 
  • Keep out-of-town family members up-to-date on progress so they could eventually make flight plans 
  • Coordinate pictures and videos to be taken in all three locations for his widow since she was still in the hospital and could not attend 
  • Go through his personal belongings at his home and garage to bring meaningful memorabilia to the funeral home for the services 
  • Collect pictures from family members representing all 46 of his years to develop a slideshow for the services 
  • Pull music that was meaningful to him for the background of the slide show and edit and reedit (multiple times) to work correctly 
  • Attend the funeral, transport the body, attend the local service and bury him 
  • Return to go through his things with his widow upon her release from the hospital so his garage could be cleaned out and mail sentimental things to his mother, brother and nephew 
Now that is certainly all I can remember now four months out so I am sure I have missed some things. As a manager you must not just see this list as a tactical “to do” list, you have to consider the psychological impact each of these tasks and toll it has on the employee. For weeks I was go, go, go but a couple days after the burial, it finally hit me. He was dead! He was never coming back! His killer is still at large! I couldn’t even get out of bed for two days straight. I had to see a doctor to help me emotionally because it was affecting me physically. Now how much time do you think all this should take? Three to five days is a joke and is not a one size fit all policy that will work for every employee situation.

Thank you for reading and I hope I make a difference in how you see a similar situation in your employee’s future.

Friday, November 10, 2017

How Emergency Management Can Fit into Businesses While Taking the Burden off HR

Guest Post By Kendall Herbert, Emergency Management Specialist

Accidents, Emergencies, and Natural Disasters happen every day, and their repercussions can affect everyone. Emergency managers are the experts who assist work centers and businesses to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a wide range of emergencies that could happen. Some insight they offer are:
·       Preparedness: Informing and preparing employees for any type of hazard they could encounter, such as natural or man-made disasters. As the saying goes “Failing to prepare, is preparing to fail” via Benjamin Franklin.
·       Planning: Many plans and procedures can be created to lessen the impact from disasters. Some typical plans include:
o   Business Continuity Plan: This will be a guideline for how business will be conducted when an incident or accident occurs.
o   Evacuation Plans: When there is a fire or other emergency, employees need to know how to evacuate the work center and rendezvous in the designated safe meeting place.
o   Evaluating Risks: Every location is different and so are the risks. These variables can factor in potential vulnerabilities that could affect a business. Some examples are earthquakes, hurricanes, or railyard accidents.
o   Mutual Aid Agreements (MAA) / Mutual Understanding Agreements (MUA): MAAs and MUAs are used between different organizations to assist one another throughout the entire incident.
·       Recovery: After an incident occurs, everything will not magically fix itself. Emergency mangers create plans and understand how to get the ball rolling during the recovery operations.
·       Mitigation: This is used to limit the effects or losses during incidents and makes it easier to recover.

Emergency managers are an asset to all organizations all shapes or sizes. Nobody has the ability to stop disasters from happening, but emergency managers will utilize their knowledge to help businesses prepare for the inevitable, and have a smoother recovery process. Businesses can have emergency managers in place to prepare, plan, and recover from these emergencies, and in return would allow everyone to get back to work sooner. Who wants to say no to more time working, quicker recovery processes, and less damages?

How prepared is your organization?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Is the Good Ole' Boy Network a Myth or Reality?

The following was originally written in 2011 and posted on the Women of HR site here:

As I prepare for a program on harassment and discrimination to be delivered at the Danville Community College later this month, I was reminded of this post and thought I would share again here. From the archives:

From Women of HR
By Donna Rogers, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
The following are a few hypothetical (not really) life stories related to human resources, being a woman in what is still in some circles ‘a man’s world’ and organizational behavior.

At the end of each story, I challenge you to put yourself in the position of anyone in this story and comment on whether or not you think the “good ol’ boy” network is a myth or has a touch of reality. There are no right or wrong answers. Have fun!

Myth or reality?

A fully qualified female non-commissioned officer applies for a commissioned officer position within a department for which she is the only female. The department sits just outside the main office area of the control tower for a huge contingency of male pilots who currently fly with other male co-pilots due to the aircraft type. Women are not allowed to fly this type of aircraft. The department is made up of 2 long term male non-commissioned officers, 1 male commissioned officer, and 1 female non-commissioned officer who works as an administrative assistant – and also happens to be the applicant.

In the building, friendships are strong, male dominated communications with a tint of sexual harassment are common place, and a layoff of the co-pilots is pending due to the base switching to more modern solo piloted aircraft. The position is filled with a male co-pilot who would have lost his job had this position not been available due to the aircraft switch.

Myth or reality?

A fully qualified female civilian employee has an idea to promote HR related services to members of the organization that will improve efficiency and effectiveness of their operations while generating revenue for her own department. She has the support of her boss and together they pitch the idea to the company attorney to minimize organizational risk and ask for professional advice.

The attorney has been long time college buddies with the CEO and other members of the organization including those on the board of directors. This attorney also has the qualifications to offer the same services for a fee from his company. The idea is not approved by the CEO but later shows up as a service outreach of the company who employees the attorney.

Myth or reality?

A small independent contract offers HR related services to a governmental entity that is managed by a former small town business man who had previously served in a political position before his long tenured private career. The independent contractor develops an idea to cut costs for the client who had previously mentioned not having a budget at all for the services sought. The idea is shut down and the independent contractor is told they are moving in a different direction and a formal proposal would not be necessary. Later, the client announces a contract to be approved that is over twice what the independent contractor was going to charge for the same services they were previously told were moving a different direction.

The winning contract has had many past dealings with the decision makers as well as those around closest to him and in other positions across the state. Come to find out there were several other big players in the bidding process that were much larger and had connections both within that organization as well as within the larger organization.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Engaged Bride to Be = Discouraged Employee

The following was originally written in 2011 and posted on the Women of HR site here:

As I prepare for a program on harassment and discrimination to be delivered at the Danville Community College later this month, I was reminded of this post and thought I would share again here.  From the archives (although updated slightly with number of years married, etc.

By Donna Rogers, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Last week (in 2011), I was teaching a two-day Certified Public Manager session for a group of association members.  The session was called Human Resources: Productivity and Quality.  During one of our discussions regarding compliance related issues we covered the process of an HR Audit which included as one of many tasks, a review of posters that need to be posted at work sites.  One participant mentioned a poster that drew quite a stir when it first came out, which I personally was not aware of, pictured to the left here.  I asked her to send it to me and we later got into a discussion that this situation reminded me of during my early working years before my HR career.

At 23 years old, just after graduating from ISU with my undergrad in public relations, I obtained my first marketing director position officially after having been doing the job during my internship when two of our marketing directors moved on (all during one semester).  Of course at that age, I was all gung ho about moving up the ladder in the mall management business.  So I worked very hard for another two years and was pleasantly surprised with the prospect of promotion.  Life was really going well because my boyfriend of 5 years (now my husband of 27 years) had just proposed and I accepted.  Unfortunately, life took an unexpected turn for the worse when I went to work to share the news with the office.

Much to my surprise my boss (a female mall manager) suggested that I do not share the news with anyone else in the office and especially not her boss, the regional mall manager.  Still a bit naive of the ways of work for women, I asked why.  She proceeded to tell me that she thought it would hurt my chances of a promotion within the industry because Marketing Directors were expected to travel around the country moving from small to larger malls.  The idea of a female Marketing Director being married and possibly planning a family would not go well.  So I basically had to hide my engagement (and put the ring in a drawer when I went to work) for six months.  I was then promoted to a mall two levels above normal.  There were four levels of malls based on square footage and sales.  As a new Marketing Director, I would have been expected to start at a level one mall first. 

However, the promotion offer was for a level two mall.  I turned it down because that was not the company I wished to work for any longer.  The point is I had no idea I was being discriminated against (at least not from the same lens I look at the situation now).  The bottom line is harassment& discrimination comes in all shapes & sizes.  Be aware and try not to get discouraged.  Engagement is a time to celebrate! 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

54 Active Job Search Sites

I spent a couple hours today research job sites because my students are going to search them tonight in class and I was using an extremely outdated list.  While I could probably spend a few more hours, I need to move on to other course prep as today's topic is on Recruiting and Selection.  Unfortunately, a discussion about job sites is only a portion of the first topic Recruiting.  I searched a number of lists using google articles, etc. but made sure they were published either this year or last.  I also personally checked every link so I know they are active as of today for sure! I'd like to expand on the job search app list because I know that is definitely lacking.  If you know of any, please feel free to comment below, so I can add to the list next time and readers can use them immediately.  Anyway, I thought this list might come in handy for current talent management professionals as well as job seekers and career management professionals.  Enjoy!

Internet Recruiting Sites

Employment Hubs

Career Builder          
Career One Stop      
My Next Move           
National Job Network
Robert Half                
Simply Hired              
The Ladders                                     
USA Jobs                   

College Grads

Branch Out                  
Campus Pride             
College Central          
Internships (Jobs too)
Way up                        

Targeted Groups

Dice (Tech Jobs)      
FairyGodBoss (for Women)
Freelancer (gig jobs)
Idealist (Nonprofit Jobs)
Media bistro (Media Jobs)
PowertoFly (for Women)
Snagajob (Hourly Jobs)
TaskRabbit (Gig Jobs)
Upwork (gig jobs)     

Job Search Apps


Protected Class Job Sites

70 Million Jobs (Incarcerated)
AARP Job Board (50+)
Diversity Jobs            
Professional Diversity Network
Recruit Disability        
Recruit Military           
Vet Jobs                     
Women for Hire          

Others to look for

Employment Agency Sites
Newspaper Sites