Bullying – Is it happening in your workplace?

In the news lately there have been an overwhelming number of stories about children and adolescents being a victim to a bullying. Did you know that reports of workplace bullying are on the rise? It’s been a hot topic in the HR realm – adding anti-bullying policy to your handbook, but is it still happening in your workplace right under your nose? Are you missing some of the signs?

Teasing and banter is common in workplaces, but when does teasing cross the line? I’ve done some digging and found 3 helpful guidelines about when bullying may be happening right under your nose.

David A Davis, the National Director of Client Training at Ogletree Deakins, provides us the following guidance:

  1.  The teasing and banter is not returned. The person on the receiving end does not reciprocate the behavior.
  2. It is directed at one person only. The focus of the jokes is a single individual, not many.
  3. The banter is personal and generally focuses on weakness, deficiency, or inferiority.

These three signals may help us to better identify sensitive situations that could result in complaints of bullying. No one wants to work somewhere that is so uptight that banter is outlawed, but I think this lays the framework for when banter and jokes cross the line.

So now what?

It’s great to have an anti-bullying policy at work, but if that is where the effort stops, then the policy is falling short. Here are a few things you can do to minimize these sensitive situations:

  •  Train managers on the warning signs and encourage them to report sensitive situations or step in. By interrupting the sensitive situation, it puts a stop to situation. Once the situation has been stopped, work with the manager and employees involved to resolve and change behavior.
  • Do not wait and hope the situation will resolve itself, especially if the issue has been reported. Get involved and be armed with what is and is not acceptable behavior in the office.
  • Bring in a trainer and host a training session on workplace bullying. In the training, be sure to examine management styles to ensure managers are aware of behaviors of their own that may be construed as bullying.

Like all sensitive situations, it’s better to address them instead of sweeping them under the rug. Avoiding dealing with the issue could result in bigger issues down the road.

If you haven’t reviewed your anti-bullying policy in a while, it may be time! If you think your policy may need some revamping, Peoplescape can help!

 

Social Media and Recruitment

Love it or Hate it, social media is not going anywhere. Along with it comes the debate over whether or not to use it in recruitment and then, how and when to use it .

I’ve heard arguments on so many sides of it.

“Don’t Use It”
Social media profiles can give potential employers more information than they need to make employment decisions. For example, the photos may tell you information about age, gender, and national origin. The profiles may tell you about religious beliefs or sexual orientation. The content on their page may suggest political affiliation or show details about out-of-work activities that don’t pertain to employment decisions. The fear seems to be primarily around discrimination.

“Use It”
There are numerous benefits to using Social Media in your recruitment strategy. Employees can reach out into their networks and post about open positions and that leads increased engagement. Not to mention, you can reach passive job seekers more easily than using a standard job board.

Then there’s the question of how and when and which sites to use?

This question may be easier answered depending on the Social Media platform. For job postings, consider encouraging individual employees to post the link to your ATS on their social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn about open position in the company, especially if a number of your successful hires have come from referrals. This should also be embraced on a company level – embrace Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as marketing and recruiting tools. From a recruiting standpoint (directly contacting potential candidates), I tend to prefer LinkedIn as it is the most popular Social Media site for posting about professional details.

I’ve heard discussion about researching a candidate’s social media profiles after you have selected your final candidates. This again could still put you in hot water with learning information about the person that is protected. There seems to be a lot of chatter about an employer’s ability to limit or monitor an employee’s off-work activities. The EEOC held a meeting last year to hear information about topics surrounding Social Media and one recommendation that came from an attorney in that meeting was to use a 3rd party company to review social media profiles to avoid the potential of seeing sensitive information.

All in all, I’m a supporter of leveraging social media to reach more potential candidates and increase engagement. The more people that see and share your job posting, the larger and better pool of candidates an employer gets to pick from! Where I draw the line? Beware of reviewing social media content on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to make employment related decisions – there’s just too much sensitive information you may be able to pull from these sites to sway decision based on appearance, politic views, non-work activities, protected classes, etc. rather than on the merits of their skills and experience.

Top Trends in HR: Ones to Watch in 2015

Look out, world. Now that we’ve all gotten accustomed to the idea of those pesky millennials infiltrating our workplaces, we have a new crew to look out for! Generation Z is on the rise, applying for and landing internships at companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, and VMWare. Generation Z is those born between 1994 and 2000, which means these companies are looking at high school students for their source of talent. Brand awareness is key for this group, so companies are best served to get their social media marketing and brand in shape when recruiting these teens and young adults to internships at their organization. For smaller companies, this means that you may have a department of just three individuals – one being a baby boomer, another a Millennial, and the third a Generation Z intern. So how do you get them to work together and be productive and efficient with vastly different working styles? Here are a few tips that employers can apply – whether you have 5 employees or 5000.

• MILLENNIALS are moving into leadership roles.
o These young men and women (roughly born between 1980 and the mid 1990s) are now taking leadership roles within the workplace. A whole new crop of workers is coming in to the picture (the Generation Z interns mentioned above), and that means millennials are moving into management positions. Employers need to know how to work with (and sometimes for) these individuals, and understand what makes them tick.
• HONESTY is now a valued concept in the workplace.
o The younger generations demand honesty and transparency – no gimmicks, just cut to the chase.
• THE SKILLS GAP continues to widen.
o As colleges continue to offer degrees in liberal arts, but hands-on job experience outweigh the value of these liberal arts degrees, the skills gap continues to grow. The educational institutions need to get on board with the reality of workplace demands, or the skills gap will continue to widen over the next several years. Although college graduates are coming into the workforce, their education does not line up with the needed skills across many industries.
• Another major trend is the continuing “JOB HOPPER” movement – those fascinating millennials may also have something to do with this growing phenomenon.
o No longer are the days of 30-40 year loyal employees. Job hopping, aka the continual job search, is evident as over 80% of employed people are currently looking for other job opportunities.
• Of course, technology and SOCIAL MEDIA RECRUITING have taken a huge rise and are allowing people to search for jobs with greater ease and availability. SOCIAL MEDIA is also being used by employers to attract talent, as many of the younger generation have technology constantly at their fingertips.
• SUCCESSION PLANNING has become a hot topic as well, as more baby boomers are hitting retirement age.
o Companies may try to retain some of these older employees for an extended time, in order to transfer their knowledge to the younger generation of employees. Succession planning and cross-training are two concepts that are often overlooked in the workplace, because they do not become an issue until an employee leaves the organization. However, it is critical for companies to have some type of succession plan or cross training implemented in order to ensure that there is not an information gap along with the growing trend of skills gaps within the workforce.
• WOMEN are joining millennials in management positions.
o Societal trends such as couples choosing not to have children, more women attending college, and delayed adulthood are all contributing to this trend. Forbes magazine estimates that of the highest succeeding companies (from a financial marker), 37% have women in a leadership role.
• One of the most recognized trends in recent years, which continues to flourish in 2015, is FLEXIBILITY for employees.
o Many employers now offer telecommute options and we’ve also seen an increase in employers hiring temporary workers and independent contractors or consultants. Millennials and Generation Z’ers are also accepting contract roles versus finding a “real job.” Long-term stability and job security are not priorities for these younger workers. Take for instance, Task Rabbit. A website that was previously used for personal assistants, errands, and small tasks is now being used by these young workers for contract positions and project work.
These non-traditional career options are partly the result of heightened technology use and awareness worldwide. Freelancing has become a much more common occurrence, and job seekers consider these options when evaluating their next role. As such, it behooves employers to seriously contemplate implementing these variables in their workplace in order to attract the younger generation of talent that is seeking this flexibility in large numbers. These trends are all indicative of the societal changes we’ve seen across the board, from technology to social media to flexibility in work and in life. It will be interesting to see what 2016 brings to us in the world of HR trends and hot topics.

References: http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2014/10/29/the-top-10-workplace-trends-for-2015/2/

The Top 5 Healthcare Reform Facts You Need to KNow

Ask any recruiter or candidate looking for a job in HR, and 90% will tell you that the biggest change for 2015 and 2016 is health care reform. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as ACA or ObamaCare, has set out with lofty goals and mandated personal health care coverage, as well as encroaching on an employer’s decision to provide health benefits to its employees. It is no longer the employer’s choice, but is instead mandated that for certain provisions to be followed. So, you may ask, what are the top five things that you need to know regarding healthcare reform, specifically as it pertains to the workplace? Here’s your cheat sheet, so get ready to take notes!

#1 – Most individuals are now required to have medical coverage – which means in many cases, employers will have to evaluate their options and offerings to employees.
#2 – Employers with 50 or more employees will face penalties as of 2016 if coverage is not offered to full-time employees, however, coverage does NOT need to extend to spouses. Also, employers with 2-99 employees are considered “small group” in the insurance industry world and are given certain considerations to follow.
#3 – Small businesses may qualify for tax credits! This is great news for our small business clients. Of course, the details vary and are specific to each client, which is why we are here to answer your questions and offer the best solutions for your company’s needs.
#4 – Employers are required to inform their employees IN WRITING of their insurance options by means of Summary Plan Descriptions. Are your handbook and SPD’s in compliance with the health care reform act?
#5 – More good news! Your company could be eligible for a medical-loss rebate. What does this mean in language that we can all understand (rather than the convoluted text of ACA and other acts like it)? Basically, insurance companies are obligated to use 80-85% of their premium dollars directly for insurance claims or healthcare improvements. If they fail to meet that target, the employer is entitled to a rebate that is then distributed amongst the employees. The potential of getting money back is always a good thing!
Healthcare reform is a hot button topic right now, and Peoplescape wants to inform our clients of the loopholes and intricate details of this act as it pertains specifically to your organization. These top five facts are helpful to all employers alike, but we’d love to give you a more personalized analysis of how ObamaCare is affecting your workplace. Remember, knowledge is power and we’re here to share ours with all of our clients.

References: washingtonnational.com, obamacarefacts.com, optimahealth.com, hhs.gov

Seeking a “Digital Native”

The phrase “digital native” is a fairly new term that is being employed by a number of companies, particularly in the media, digital, start-up and tech worlds. Doing a quick google search for “digital+native+jobs”, I found the following:

An ideal candidate is a digital native, who has a passion for learning and always uncovering new opportunities in the digital space, and who has a solid grounding in the world of digital media and technology.” – for Sr. Digital Strategist at Saatchi & Saatchi LA

The Social Media Manager is a digital native, skilled in onsite attendee engagement in a face paced environment.” – for Social Media Manager at Oracle

“Requirements: Digital native and experience with Google Docs or Microsoft Office” – for Administrative Assistant at Revzilla.com

These are just a few of the many came up. So what is a “digital native”? According to the Oxford Dictionary a digital native is “a person born or brought up during the age of digital technology and therefore familiar with computers and the Internet from an early age.” On the surface it seems like a harmless phrase to throw on to a job description, in fact, it seems likely that an employer might want someone like this for a Social Media position; however, if being a digital native is a requirement as seen in some of the posts above, are you unintentionally sending a message of age discrimination?

Would you consider someone who was born 40+ years ago (1975 or before) to be a digital native? To put this in perspective, Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft on April 4, 1975. So would you classify those born in this year as having been familiar with the internet and computers from an early age? Not to say that skills and competencies can’t be learned, but by definition, the term digital native seems to point more to a specific generational group.

The EEOC has not yet had a claim of age discrimination based on this qualification, but with claims of this type on the rise, I would venture to bet it is on the horizon. Furthermore, as we’ve seen in several cases, especially in California, statements such as the ones mentioned above can have an adverse impact on one (or more) protected classes by disproportionately hiring candidates under the age of forty.

At this point in time, I would use this phrase at your own risk, but seriously consider how and in what context you are using it.