7 Things Great Employers Do

How do you get your workforce engaged in the work they are doing? This is a question that comes up quite a bit, as employers are attempting to get their employees involved, productive, and enthusiastic about their work. There are 7 things great employers do that creates a “feel good” approach to getting your employees engaged and creating a work culture that others will envy!

[tweetthis]There are 7 things great employers do that creates a work culture others will envy![/tweetthis]

1. Start with your leaders – Choose involved, creative leaders who want to make a difference and get others excited about your business.

2. Build a strong HR team – HR influences managers to make business decisions – use the HR team to create positive changes throughout your organization.

3. Get down to the basics – Tell employees what is expected of them. Don’t think that employees will connect with an abstract mission or vision if they don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing day-to-day. Be clear and direct.

4. Don’t use the economy as an excuse – Make changes, give (realistic) hope to the employees, be upfront with them. This will go a long way in reassuring employees that your business is around for the long haul!

5. Hold your managers accountable, but trust them too! – Be supportive of your managers, but also make sure that you are holding them accountable and keeping your standards high for your management team as well as their employees.

6. Have a straightforward approach to performance management – Fairness is key in performance management – keep the same standards across the board and treat everyone equally. Streamline your processes so that everyone in the company goes through the same performance management evaluations.

7. Don’t manage to the metric – Yes, utilize tools at your disposal for gauging employee engagement. But do NOT make the actual engagement less important than the measuring of it.

Call Me Cait: Examining Diversity in the Workplace

If you haven’t heard of Caitlyn Jenner, I’d like to know where you’ve been hiding so I can join you! With the premiere of the new TV show Call Me Cait just around the corner on the E! network, and the much publicized news of Caitlyn Jenner’s entrance into the world exploding all over social media, it’s nearly impossible to avoid the prevalence of transgender issues in the world. Of course, from my perspective, this easily translates into a question of how transgender and diversity issues play out in the workplace as well. Preventing harassment in the workplace is a responsibility that falls on the employer, and as stories such as Caitlyn’s become more prominent in the media, it’s an important time for employers to become educated and protect their companies from possible litigation. Caitlyn has already paved the way for this summer’s reality TV hit, Big Brother, to introduce the first transgender contestant, Audrey. What’s next? As more and more stories are shared, the likelihood of this affecting your own workplace increases.

As a product of the millennial culture, I find that many of my peers have been raised in a society where #diversity is acceptable. It is a commonly held belief among young adults today that a person’s identification as #transgender does not change the core of who that person is, or their capabilities in the workplace. However, as we have discussed before on Peoplescape’s blog, the generational differences that are seen in today’s workplace make it an interesting melting pot of values, morals, beliefs, and tolerances. It is imperative that you, as the employer, set guidelines and rules in a WRITTEN format for all employees to sign, agree to, and abide by during their employment. [tweetthis]Employers need WRITTEN policies for employees to sign and abide by. #transgender[/tweetthis]
Otherwise, your less-than-accepting employees are opening you (as the manager/owner/supervisor/CEO) up for liability. As we all know, for any employer with 50 or more employees, managers must be trained on sexual harassment every two years in California. Recently, bullying was added in to that mandatory training as well. It would be my suggestion as an HR professional to also include a slide or two on #transgender identity within your required sexual harassment supervisor training. I would also propose that your workplace harassment zero tolerance policy be included in the employee handbook for every new hire to sign as part of their orientation.

According to CalChamber, “Sexual harassment in the workplace spurs huge lawsuits, affects productivity and damages your company or organization’s reputation.” A payout for this type of lawsuit easily hits the millions! Another easy way to protect your company is to follow the requirements regarding law postings that must be displayed in a common area to which all employees have access (i.e. the lunch or break room). Combined, California law and federal law under both Title VII and the FEHA guidelines, protect against harassment regarding gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, pregnancy, disability, race, ethnicity, and national origin. In regards to the recently headlining transgender issues, this raises interesting questions regarding whether gender is defined or adopted, as transgender individuals identify as one gender although they may biologically be a different sex. With these changes on the horizon, it’s best to be prepared and stay protected with your legal postings, handbook, training, and open door policy!

Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

Take Me To Church….Just Not While I’m At Work

In June 2015, the Supreme Court issued a decision that will forever change the face of religious discrimination in the workplace. In EEOC vs. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., the court ruled that an employer cannot make employment decisions based on a candidate’s religious practices. In this particular case, Abercrombie did not hire a job applicant because she wore a hijab, or head scarf, which went against the company’s “Looks” policy forbidding “caps” from being worn on the head. During the interview, the candidate made no mention of her religious views, but did wear the black hijab during her interview. She was determined to be qualified for the position, with the exception of her head scarf which conflicted with the company’s “Looks” policy. Although the applicant did not expressly state that the hijab was worn as part of her religious beliefs, the Supreme Court ultimately ruled that she was discriminated against in the company’s decision not to hire her for the sales position.

What does this mean for discrimination in the workplace moving forward? If an employer knows OR EVEN SUSPECTS that an applicant or employee wears certain items of clothing due to religious beliefs, as is the case with this applicant and her head scarf, it is best to err on the side of caution. Here are a few steps that every employer can and should take to ensure that religious discrimination is not a factor in your hiring practices or employee relations.

[tweetthis]3 Steps EVERY Employer Must Take to Avoid Religious Discrimination in the Workplace.[/tweetthis]

Step 1: Walk the fine line of assumption versus dialogue. This case sets the bar for common sense assumptions – something that is not black and white but is in fact, subjective to the interview panel or supervisor. Although it is illegal to ask an applicant or employee what their religious beliefs are, be aware and use common sense in offering accommodations where it appears that a religious accommodation may be necessary (i.e. a job applicant wearing a hijab when your “Looks” policy prohibits caps).

Step 2: Even if a policy applies to ALL applicants, do not assume it is therefore a neutral policy. This case clearly determined that a policy that applies to everyone is still in violation of Title VII rights.

Step 3: All assessments and assumptions made by the employer should be fully defined by the interactive process between employer and employee/applicant to ensure that all protected classes are being safeguarded. This case not only tells us that religion will be protected, even in the case of company policies and dress codes, but that other factors should be considered as well – age, gender, pregnancy, national origin, presumed disabilities, etc.

Dress code policies are a touchy subject in human resources these days, and should always be reviewed by experts to ensure compliance and legal protection for the employer. Religious discrimination is something that can be avoided if your policies are accurately documented in accordance with the law.

The solution: Make sure your employment policies are in accordance with legal requirements, consult an expert on training for harassment, discrimination, bullying and management training, and stay apprised of new case law and decisions regarding this very controversial and sensitive subject. Employers are allowed to have dress code policies, but the terrain is getting tricky to navigate, so be cautious and make sure your policies are backed up by a bona fide job requirement – not personal preference. Peoplescape consultants are trained in all of these areas, and we are just a phone call away!

What’s Your Status? Facebook Branding in the 21st Century

“People spend money when and where they feel good.” – Walt Disney

As a master of invoking emotion in the hearts and minds of children everywhere, Disney was able to sell a brand worldwide that still brings in millions of dollars every year, decades later. When a product speaks to a person, that person feels something – and is able to justify spending money on something that is important to him or her. In this same token, products on Facebook are using emotional responses to create a recognizable brand. Using videos, catchy lines, and triggering feelings in individuals viewing their Facebook page, companies such as BMW, McDonald’s, 3M, and Budweiser have all seen success this year with their social media branding. How can companies that are not as well-known as these use similar strategies to make an impact?

At the top of the list for successful strategies in Facebook branding for the companies mentioned above were the following:

  • Visually stunning (science based or otherwise) videos which stylishly
  • Partnerships with socially successful brands such as MTV
  • Building on the momentum of popular events such as concert festivals
  • Piggybacking on popular holidays, sharing photos of holiday treats
  • Announcement of the brand’s presence on another social media site such
  • Gratitude towards fans
  • Videos that pull at the heart strings
  • Short videos that feature humor to grab the viewer’s attention

Why is social media branding a topic that HR Consultants would be concerned with and want to share with our clients and readers? Put simply, branding is about people and organizations, and so is Peoplescape. We want to offer a full range of people-oriented services to our clients, and because we know the business of people, we know how important it is for you to reach your target audience through social media branding.

[tweetthis]Creating a loyal fan base on Facebook means generating views, likes, and shares.[/tweetthis]

Creating a loyal fan base is equivalent on Facebook to the number of views, likes, and shares that a company receives. How many views are you currently getting on your Facebook business page? Do you have a Facebook page? Peoplescape is looking to expand their audience on all forms of social media, and we would love to help you do the same for your company. Targeting a generation of social media addicts is the way to go if you’re looking to attract new brand followers, and these are a few easy ways that we can all do it!

understand personality in the workplace

Who are You? How To Understand Personality in the Workplace

[tweetthis]“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” –Anais Nin #Personality[/tweetthis]

Truer words have never been spoken, and whether you realize it or not, you’ve heard this exact same thing many times (just in different words). From the glass half-empty versus the glass half-full debate to the awkward photos of the blue/black vs. white/gold dress circling social media in the spring of 2015, the manner in which we see the world is shaped by who we are. The same can be said for any professional organization – the employees working in a department will shape the atmosphere of that particular work dynamic because of their individual personality, beliefs, attitudes, and actions. That being said, we need a tool that allows us to determine the suitability of candidates for essential job duties we are looking to fulfill. We do not necessarily need to know if someone is an analyzer or a driver, but we do need to know if they are suitable for the job. Every person is a complex being made up of numerous pieces, and we cannot just box someone in to one personality type if we wish to see true success and fit for the job in our assessment and selection process.

Because our specific personality will affect our work attitude, behavior and performance in important ways, it’s critical for employers to understand the importance of personality traits and their potential causes for concerns in the candidate’s ability to team with others, his or her approach to problem- solving, and the candidate’s ability to take initiative and act as a team leader. Therefore, a state-of-the-art job suitability assessment being used prior to placing an employee within your organization is a remarkable tool to help you understand how suitable this person really might be for this role in your company and on your team.

The most commonly used selection tool worldwide is the interview; yet, 95% of interviewers are untrained, using only their experience to interview the candidates instead of specific interview training and guidelines. Interestingly enough, the validity rate for the most commonly used selection tool is the lowest. That is the beauty of job suitability assessments – they identify essential traits needed to perform well in a specific job role. Instead of characterizing an individual as one personality type, a job suitability assessment will identify a myriad of traits that the candidate holds, and analyze how those traits will affect their job performance. If we as HR professionals conduct interviews based on our experience alone, there will undoubtedly be bias as we question what the impact of this candidate will be on me personally as a co-worker as well as the impact on the company as a whole. Often, interviewers identify with one or more characteristic, a shared baseball team, or bonding over a neighborhood hangout when analyzing a candidate. This bias comes into the decision-making process as the subjective factors carry weight that should be decided by objective measures and job suitability.

Unlike a basic personality test that asks a handful of questions to identify a person as one type, a comprehensive job suitability assessment tool will actually measure 175 factors that can help predict employee engagement, motivation, interpersonal skills, and retention factors. The combination of factors for each specific job is weighted and targets qualifications and engagement with the particular role. Can you imagine the increase in productivity, enhanced teamwork, decrease in employee turnover, and the cost savings that the use of these assessments could create in your workplace?

According to Today magazine in late 2014, working in any type of setting calls for people to get along in order to meet deadlines and be productive. This is a valid argument, as conflicts among people in an office environment can slow down projects, threaten deadlines, create unnecessary criticism, and make for at times, a toxic atmosphere. In order to have a successful working relationship with your peers and supervisors alike, it is important to utilize the knowledge that we have about personalities. For instance, type A personalities are task-driven, crave order, and like to stay on task. On the flip side, free thinkers and the technologically-savvy millennials thrive on creativity and flexibility. Having individuals of these questionably oppositional personality types work as an efficient unit can be quite the challenge.

Equipping your employees (and especially training your managers!) on how to deal with personality types of all kinds can greatly increase your productivity and company culture. Here’s how!

1. Use assessment tools to determine the complex personality makeup of each employee, and what works for each one.

2. Choose your battles – this tip is useful in life in general. Not everything is worth the fight.

3. Don’t take it personally. Many times, workplace conflicts are a result of different personality types, working styles, or morals and values. Remember this, and do not take every workplace discussion or disagreement too seriously.

4. View your co-workers as a team. Everyone is there for the same purpose, and each person brings a different perspective to the table. Use that to your advantage; do not allow it to become a stumbling block to success.

5. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – Sing it with me! Everyone deserves it, everyone craves it. And it really doesn’t take that much effort to give a little bit of it.

Granted, some personality traits are a tad more difficult than others to work with day in and day out. Egos get in the way, grumpiness affects the entire team, and gossip can destroy a department. So before any of those things gets out of control, identify the source of the problem and tackle it head on.

Leverage the strengths within your organization to create positive change. Influence the productivity of each department, and encourage healthy competition amongst your employees. The changes you’ll see may not be automatic, but considering the personality strengths and weaknesses amongst the team will lead to a more dynamic and thriving company culture. Our perspectives change our environment – each employee brings value. But, these job suitability assessment tools bring you an added scientific and tested method for success. The wisdom of math algorithms and psychology to produce an objective assessment is a valuable tool to add to your toolkit of knowledge that each individual brings to the role (your own perspective). Objective measures add to the richness of our own perspective and intuition as managers and leaders, which also should not be underestimated. It is in this combination of factors that true success can be found for your company. Peoplescape can offer these job suitability assessment services to your company, so that you can effectively combine the hiring manager’s intuition, experience and knowledge with objective measures of job suitability, and interview training for your managers to create the gold standard in selection strategy for your organization.

“Under new management” – A tragedy or a seamless transition?

It’s happened to all of us, you go to your favorite restaurant or neighborhood hangout and there’s a banner outside “under new management” or “under new ownership.” Depending on your personal experiences and what you’ve heard from friends, neighbors and relatives, this could be a blessing or terrifying change. Imagine how a business transition like this felt or looked for the employees of the establishment?

[tweetthis]How business transitions are handled can make all the difference to employees.[/tweetthis]

As an HR professional, I’ve assisted with changes both in ownership and management. I must say that the way business transitions like this are handled can make all the difference to the employees and the image projected on the local community. Here are a few wins and losses of my experiences with management change:

1. Speak to the employees first before sharing the news with the public or affiliates of the company – WIN!
By speaking to the employees first, the current and future management companies show their commitment to the staff that has carried the business this far and can avoid rumors from destroying the positive outlook of this strategic move. Note: Check your compliance with the WARN Act! You may have certain legal obligations of giving notice to your employees!

2. Waiting to tell the employees whether they will be re-hired or not – LOSS!
Inevitably, the new management company will want to be selective about individuals they keep and who they opt not to hire. This is a tough position for both the current and future management. My recommendation is to move swiftly with communication. This may mean having difficult conversations with employees who have been with the company for a long time, but the sooner you communicate to those who are not being rehired, the sooner you can tell the remaining employees that they are being retained. In one of my experiences, the in-coming management waited until just a few days before the transition to communicate who was being retained and this was a serious blow to morale. In this situation, the job abandonment rate was high and some of the employees they hoped to retain went out and found a new job out of fear of the unknown.

3. Have the transition team meet weekly (or twice a week) to discuss critical items and answer questions that have come up – WIN!
There are a lot of pieces to the transition puzzle and it helps to have continuous communication as well as clearly defined tasks assigned to one individual for follow up. This doesn’t mean there won’t be teamwork, but when push comes to shove, one person needs to champion each task to avoid duplication of work. Throughout the process employees will have a lot of questions and it’s crazy to think any individual will have all the answers. By meeting weekly, or more frequently, and discussing the questions, you guarantee that the answers are uniform across the board and if further information is needed, it should be added to the task list with a champion to get the answer.

4. Be prepared and organized for the transition day with individualized packets for each employee – WIN.
Whether it’s on-boarding or off-boarding, we all know there is a lot of paperwork involved and having incomplete or missing pages could have serious ramifications. I recommend having packets with each employee’s name on it. Go through the packet with employee and explain each form and what they need to do with each item. I have tried the “buffet line” of paperwork and it always seems that paperwork is missed or goes missing. So while making packets is time consuming and uses extra supplies, you will not regret the small extra expense for the peace of mind that paperwork is complete, secure, and organized.

5. For the out-going management, celebrate and commemorate the years of success – WIN
This is the lasting impression left with the employees that you have worked with for past years. Consider doing a reception for the employees with a catered meal and have key management members or the CEO/Owner say a few words. Saying “thank you” goes a long way. You never know when your professional paths may cross again and you want the lasting impression to be something along the lines of “they cared about us” “they appreciated my contributions to the workplace” “They saw the job through to the end” While it may seem like a completely obvious answer, the most critical element to the change is communication. The more answers you can provide, the fewer rumors will successfully circulate. Getting the buy in from the employees can definitely assist in the shaping of the public optics of the change because if the employees are comfortable and excited about the change, they will communicate this to patrons, friends, relatives, and the like. Very few people like change, especially in their workplace, but with the right finesse and on-going communication, you can minimize disruption and successfully guide your team through the transition.

employee resignation

I Quit! Did You See It Coming?

Almost every HR professional has at least one story of a “creative” employee resignation.

From an employee saying they’re going to lunch and never returning, to an employee bringing a Marching Band into the office to play him out, some of the stories sound like a scene out of the movies. If the employee was obviously disgruntled, it may not come as a surprise that they make their exit in a grandiose (and possibly disruptive) way.

What if the resignation is coming from one of your top performers? When the resignation letter hits your desk, were you prepared for it? About a month ago, CNN Money came out with an article about job-hopping to gain salary increases, and these are increases that are much larger than your average company would offer as an annual increase. While the examples they used were extreme, with the number of available jobs on the rise, employees may be more willing to test their luck in the job market.

[tweetthis]Available jobs are on the rise, and your talent may be on the move.[/tweetthis]

Have you checked in with your top talent lately? If not, it may be a good time to do so. Let’s talk about some of the warning signs that your talent may be gearing up for a change.

1. The Wardrobe Upgrade: An employee who usually has a more casual style that starts wearing a tie a few times a week may be interviewing. It could also just be a wardrobe change.

2. Wacky Scheduling: Your most consistent employee, in at 8 and out at 5 suddenly starts shifting their schedule around. Coming in an hour or two late, leaving a little early, or even taking an extended lunch could be another warning sign of meeting with a potential new employer. On the flip side, it may be that the employee is dealing with non-work related issues, like tending to a sick loved one. Either way, a sudden change in schedule on a continued basis when they previously were very consistent may warrant a check in conversation – especially if the wardrobe upgrades seem to coincide with these days!

3. Salary Stagnancy: When was the employee’s last increase? Was it a standard 2-3% increase or merit based? It’s unrealistic to try and give everyone a raise to keep them, but if an employee hasn’t seen a raise in en extended period of time, they may listen to articles like CNN Money and Forbes that tell them they could command more by leaving. (It may also be time to do a salary survey to see if your salaries are still on par with the market!)

4. Decline in Product: Whether it’s efficiency or quality, if an employee is becoming disengaged their work product may decline. That’s not to say you should panic if an employee has one bad project, but if their work may decline over multiple projects, they may no longer be fully invested in the work.

5. Life Events: Getting married, a new child, or the declining health of a loved one can be a game changer. This one usually has less to do with the employer, but having a conversation with the employee as soon as you learn about the life event could help you plan for the future. You may also be able to discuss flexible work schedules, telecommuting, and the various types of leaves available to the employee. If the employee knows they have options, they may be more inclined to stay.

You can never guarantee that an employee is going to stay with the company forever, but taking the time to check in and test engagement levels may help you to build action plans around key employees or start planning and resourcing for the future.

What are some warning signs you have seen in your workplace?

The Case for Paid Maternity Leave

Did you know?  [tweetthis]Among global rankings of maternity leave programs, the US sits very near the bottom.[/tweetthis]Nestled among the ranks of countries like Swaziland, Lesotho and Papua New Guinea, we are one of the few countries in the world that do not have paid maternity leave. From a new mother’s standpoint, it seems incongruent to the costs of having a new baby, the critical bonding time, and the need for stable finances during this hectic time.

From a business standpoint, there are some major advantages to joining the ranks of the 16% of US companies that do offer paid maternity leave. Some of these include employee retention, higher morale, and improved productivity. Don’t believe us? When Google increased maternity leave from 12 to 18 weeks, the rate of women leaving the company after leave fell by 50%! Think about the money you could save in recruiting!! Think about the new father who opted to work through his paternity leave and now has the stress of providing for mother and child, with only one income. The stress of this situation could have serious effects on work productivity.

Perhaps the greatest case for paid leave is the three states that currently have paid leave programs – California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. California’s program has been operational for more than 10 years and a 2011 study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that 91% of employers said paid leave either boosted or had no effect on their profits.

Paid leave has also aided in reducing the Gender wage gap. A 2012 study by Rutgers found that “Women who report leaves of 30 or more days are 54% more likely to report wage increases in the year following the child’s birth than are women who take no leave at all.” So while key industries are actively working to recruit women who have left to workforce to raise their family, wouldn’t your business be ahead of the curve, if you could retain these women after pregnancy?

On a much smaller business scale, many businesses and corporations fought hard to keep paid sick leave laws from being passed out of fear that it would be too costly. Today, there are 3 states and 18 cities with Paid Sick Leave laws and the effects of legally mandated time have had little to no effect on profit margins.

Yet, from the business standpoint the idea of mandatory paid sick leave is definitely scary, but we also know that all changes hold a certain amount of risk. Wouldn’t it be great to be one of the businesses that has a reputation for supporting women by being among the first to offer the benefit of paid maternity leave? Offering employees security and benefits can often lead to employee loyalty, referrals, and other morale building effects on the company culture as a whole. While this may be a topic that not all businesses support, it is something to consider as we move into the second half of 2015 and look at the new mandates for benefits in terms of sick leave and health care. Maybe maternity and paternity leave will not be too far off. Time will tell!

Recruiting Trends for 2015

#Career  #HRBlogs  #business

Job seekers are using these words and hash tags and sharing and liking updates and posts all over social media to land their next gig. How many employers are utilizing this same thing to attract their talent? What is branding all about? How can employers use social media to their advantage, and who is paying attention to this new trend in recruiting? Hash tags are quite possibly the ticket in to your ideal talent group. So let’s jump right in to the top recruiting trends for 2015!

According to a LinkedIn survey conducted in 2014, 4 years is the average length of time an employee stays at one job. Baby boomers cringe at this knowledge, because their worldview was much more about job security and company loyalty – keeping them at the same organization for 20+ years in many cases. The younger generations are in search of the next big thing; they are continuous job seekers, and their main loyalty is to improving their paycheck, career, status, etc. [tweetthis]With hiring budgets decreasing, social media is now a major factor in recruiting candidates.[/tweetthis]With hiring budgets decreasing, but the need for quality talent increasing as the skills gap continues to widen, social media is now a major factor in recruiting passive candidates (those who aren’t necessarily looking but are open to discussing new opportunities). Here are a few of the top trends to look out for, and how to make them work for your company – big or small!

1. TARGET your social media job posting – who are you looking for? You should be where they are! For example, LinkedIn groups focused on your target group, Facebook for the Generation X’ers, and Twitter and Instagram for the younger generations of millennials.

2. Make your recruitment functions entirely MOBILE – mobile job applications, mobile job postings, mobile apps for applying/searching.

3. Use the DATA at your fingertips – many recruitment software programs allow for data analytics. Use this information to find out what works for your company and what doesn’t, depending on the number of resumes submitted from various sources. I.E. are your Technical Web Developers seeing your job posts on Instagram or Twitter? What is the best source for posting for this group in the future? Where is the ideal talent pool hanging out?

4. BRANDING – what is your company brand? Is your brand recognizable? 60% of US leaders say that employer brand is a top priority in their company. What about yours?

5. Based on a report conducted by LinkedIn for Recruiting Trends in 2015, social professional networks are the top source of quality hires in the US. ASSIGN one employee in your HR department the task of keeping your company profile up-to-date on LinkedIn, as well as posting job opportunities, engaging in discussions within groups, and networking on LinkedIn.

6. Create a proactive TALENT BRAND STRATEGY. An astonishing 77% of US talent acquisition leaders say that talent brand has a huge impact on the quality of new hires. Engaging in social media to promote your brand is key!