Bring Your Own Device to Work? Party Foul or Best Idea Ever?

Have you considered adopting a “Bring Your Own Device” policy at work? Think BYOB party rules except this would be giving the responsibility of purchasing smart phones and/or laptop computers for work entirely to the individual employee rather than the company paying for these work-related items. Of course, the pro’s for you as an employer include cost-savings on such devices, and simplifying the workplace technology policies by eliminating at least a couple electronic devices from the list. But what about the downside of this concept? Here are a few reasons why we would NOT suggest adopting a policy like this in your workplace.

1. Your company data is all held on someone else’s phone – which means you lose proprietary rights to most (if not all) of it. Of course, the exact details on this would need to be ironed out in litigation, but trust us, it won’t be fun or end favorably for you as the employer.
2. What happens if a device is lost or stolen? Who replaces it? The ambiguity here gets quite messy. The company’s information is on the device, but the employee is fiscally responsible for the device. So who pays when something happens in the course of doing work required by the job description?
3. How do you purchase software for the laptop? Again, who is financially responsible here if the software is required to perform the essential functions of the job?
4. Who supports the software? Do you have an IT department that is responsible for going on employees’ personal devices to perform software updates? Again, this becomes quite messy as the lines are not clearly drawn between employer responsibility and employee responsibility/privacy.
5. Although allowing the employee to choose their device (for instance, the age-old fight between iPhone addicts and Android loyalists) may seem easier, it won’t be easier to wipe their personal device clean when they leave work.

In the long-run, it’s best to have a work device for work to be done. You can allow for the employee to use the work device as their personal phone/computer as well, with the understanding that upon termination of employment, they will lose all personal data on the device. Giving the employee a little bit of freedom to use the device (within reason) at their discretion for personal tasks and affairs, is a better scenario for you as the employer than requiring the use of a personal device for work-related tasks.

Want more information on how to protect your company from these types of policy decisions? Consider an HR audit and complete review of your existing policies and procedures in order to make the best changes moving forward as we enter the last few months of 2016!

The Unknowns Have Arrived!

“Millennials are the world-wide phenomenon that dominates social media feeds, branding initiatives, and the corporate world. We’re all obsessed with what millennials are, were, and could be. Meanwhile, unknowns made up 25% of the U.S. population in 2015, a larger cohort than boomers or millennials.” – Isvari Mohan, LinkedIn contributing author

When bloggers write about generations, chances are good we are talking about the millennials (those roughly born between early 1980s – mid 1990s). There has been a good deal of discussion about how millennials work in the current structure of the workplace amongst the remaining members of the Silent Generation as well as the large number of Baby Boomers and Generation Y’ers in the workforce today. But now, we are looking at a whole new crop of workers entering the adult world – yep, the millennials aren’t the newest kids on the block anymore. Welcome the unknowns! If you are younger than 20 years old in the year 2016, you are actually not a millennial according to the newest generation studies, as shared by Isvari Mohan in a recent article on LinkedIn. You’re actually an unknown, or a post-millennial, or a member of Generation Z or the iGeneration or plural…the majority hasn’t quite decided yet on the name that’s going to stick for this new crew.

Of course, the unknowns (my favorite moniker for this new generation) have many similarities to the millennials – from their tech-savviness to arguable self-obsession and creative, out-of-the-box thinking, millennials and unknowns are not markedly different to the eyes of their older Baby Boomer and Generation X parents. But they are sure to make a new mark on the workforce, as they are similar to the Silent Generation in that the unknowns are too young to remember a world without problems or the ideal economy and power of America in the 1990s. According to Mohan, “All we know is growing up in a world plagued by economic crashes, failed wars, and an obsession with terrorism. According to the marketing firm Frank N. Magid, we are the least likely to believe that there is such a thing as the American dream.” How depressing is that?

College and debt are too huge factors looming over the heads’ of these young unknowns. According to a 2013 survey by Ameritrade, almost half (46% to be exact) of the unknowns are concerned about student debt, and over a third (36%) are worried that they won’t be able to afford college at all. This is such a sad and alarming statistic for someone in the millennial generation such as myself who was afforded the opportunity to go to college with very little debt and a post-graduate degree which has served me well both in the workforce and in understanding culture and the way the world works. As a big believer in education, it is hard to imagine an American dream that does not involve the chance to attend college and pursue your educational goals for this new generation.

Enough of the bad news…let’s take a look at the positive attributes that the unknowns will bring to the table. Technology is not just a cool new idea (like it is for some of the older millennials) it is life for the unknowns. This new generation does not know life without technology. YouTube and Instagram and Snapchat are all normal and everyday, not anything innovative or new. Unknowns are also quite tolerant, forward-thinking, global and diverse. They grew up in nontraditional households, with biracial families, and in a world where same-sex marriage is legally recognized. The unknowns are also the last American generation to be majority Caucasian. This is a huge game-changer not only socially, but across political lines, economic lines, and so much more. The majority rules ideology may change quite a bit with the lack of an actual majority in many workplaces around the nation.

The downside of the technology know-how of this generation is that they have short attention spans, and approximately 11% of these young people have been diagnosed with ADHD, which is no surprise considering the immediacy and instant gratification with which they do life. Unknowns also appear to be more realistic than millennials in terms of money and technology, and are more independent and entrepreneurial. In fact, many of the unknowns studied in various surveys over the past few years have stated that they value friendships, fulfillment in their jobs, and independence (they want to move out of their parents’ house a whole lot sooner than the seemingly less-inspired younger half of the millennial generation). These kids are the offspring of Generation X parents, many of whom possibly adopted the “helicopter parent” approach. In other words, their parenting strategy consisted of reminding the kids that they weren’t really all that special in a world of seven billion people, and encourage them to stay healthy, work hard, and do something with their lives. Instead of trying to be their friends, parents of the unknowns most often acted as parents and coaches – guiding but not spoiling.

Of course, all of this is new information, and some of this generation we speak of when discussing the unknowns are actually still in daycare. So much remains to be seen of what they will be, how they will fit into the larger picture of the workforce, and what impact they will have on the world as a whole. Studying the generational differences in our organizations is important to the ongoing success of companies understanding their employees and organizing teams and departments to ensure the most efficiency and productivity, while learning about peers and becoming more tolerant and accepting of everyone around us.

Final Overtime Ruling: How Does It Affect Your Business?

The final overtime ruling was issued back in May of this year by the federal government regarding salary requirements for exemption status. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), overtime exemptions for executive, administrative, and professional employees is based on a minimum salary requirement (among other factors such as time spent on certain tasks, managing others, and much more). Usually, California labor law is more generous to employees than the federal law, but as it stands now, the federal law is actually more substantial. Which means California employers must follow the federal standards of $913 per week or $47,476 per year in order for an employee to be classified as exempt under these categories. The final ruling becomes effective as of December 1, 2016 so make sure you are in compliance with this, and perform the necessary classification studies and exempt/nonexempt status reviews before the deadline or your organization can face hefty fines for noncompliance. Follow this link for more information from the Department of Labor: https://www.dol.gov/featured/overtime.

If I haven’t completely bored you to tears with the nitty gritty on this topic, here’s a few basics that we can all benefit from learning in terms of how this actually applies in the workplace in our day-to-day lives.

1. The salary cap for overtime pay will be doubled! So this means a lot of people will likely be affected by the change. Make sure you review your employee exempt status ASAP.
2. Consider the pros and cons of giving some of your employees a nice raise…in order to keep them in the exempt status that makes them ineligible for overtime pay.
3. Consider the effect of changing hours for these employees in order for your company to stay in compliance. Cutting hours may sound like a solution from the employer’s perspective, but consider how that could result in turnover or other potential issues for your organization if employees are unhappy with the results of those changes.
And here’s an interesting fact for you to consider. According to @YahooFinance, “Since 1975, the share of workers who qualify for overtime pay has plummeted from 62% to 7%, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. With the new rules, 35% of workers will be eligible.” Time will tell if these new numbers will impact the workforce as expected. Stay tuned in to your favorite HR blog (that’s us, by the way!) for updates as this unfolds.

Warning Signs an Employee is On the Way Out!

It’s the scenario every hiring manager dreads. You just spent the last two months screening applicants, sitting in an interview room, discussing options with your management team and department heads…and now you’re stellar employee that you just spent countless hours hiring and onboarding is on his way out the door. And the cycle continues! Back to the drawing board…but what if you could avoid that? What if you could spot the warning signs before that stellar employee walks out the door? What if you could make changes to their schedule, pay, challenges, tasks, or work environment to encourage him to stay with your company? Here are a few tips from our friends at @HRMorning to warn you that a stellar employee is on her way out!

  1. The employee has become increasing reserved and quiet.
  2. The employee tunes out in meetings and stops offering constructive contributions to the team.
  3. The employee is reluctant to commit to long-term projects.
  4. The employee shows little to no interest in opportunities for advancement within the organization.
  5. The employee seems to care less whether his or her performance will affect the next performance review…because frankly, he or she doesn’t plan to stick around that long anyway.
  6. The employee avoids interaction with his or her boss, as well as other members of management.
  7. The employee does the bare minimum (at best) and does not go beyond the call of duty in any way, shape, or form. Ever.
  8. The employee is less interested in training programs.
  9. The employee stops making suggestions for new ways of doing things in the office.
  10. The employee’s productivity level goes WAY down, but he or she could care less.

There are some others that didn’t make the list, according to the study conducted by Tim Gardner, an associate professor in business at Utah State University. These include:

  1. The employee is suddenly having lots of doctor’s appointment, taking more vacation than usual, or calling in sick more often.
  2. The employee is continuously late or leaves early.
  3. The employee fails to return phone calls and emails regularly.

Any one or two of these are cause for concern, but when an employee is suddenly exhibiting several of these characteristics, it’s definitely time to take notice! Is this an employee that you want to stick around? Then think about what you can do as a manager to change his or her opinion of the company. Are they lacking in challenging tasks? Wanting to take more training courses? Unhappy with their work space or requesting a flexible work schedule? Whatever the case may be, it’s worth the time to sit down and discuss the employee’s engagement, happiness with his or her current position, and ways that you can improve their overall interest in continuing to be employed by your organization. Before you let an employee walk out the door, think about the time it will take (manpower, money, and time are huge costs in the recruitment process!) to get another qualified person on board. And decide whether or not it’s worth an investment now to keep this employee on the job!

Show Me the Money! Minimum Wage Laws in Your City

minimuwageLA

Conducting periodic reviews of the wage that you pay to your employees is always a good idea. We suggest setting up a regular salary schedule review period for different categories of workers (administrative employee salary reviews in 2017, general labor positions reviewed in 2018, etc.) to make sure that everyone is addressed in a timely and efficient manner. The first step in this review is to make sure that all employees are at and above the current state minimum wage. So to get started, find out what the minimum wage is in your state by following this link: https://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm.

 

In California, where a large number of our clients currently headquarter their businesses, the minimum wage is set at $10.00 per hour as of this blog post. As of January 1, 2017, that amount will be raised to $10.50 per hour for companies with more than 25 employees. Gradually, there are increases set every year until January 1, 2023 when all companies (even those with less than 25 employees) in the state of California will be required to set the minimum pay at $15.00 per hour.

 

However, some cities also have their own minimum wage requirements. The City of Los Angeles will be raising their minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2020. San Francisco’s minimum wage rate is $13.00 per hour as of July 1, 2016. Confused yet?

 

With a state such as California that is often viewed as employee-friendly, employers can expect to see changes such as this continue in the future. There should be a designated human resources professional in your office, or someone that you outsource and can be reached by employees to answer questions about the minimum wage in your workplace. For companies that have offices in different cities, you must be sure to stay on top of the minimum wage increases for each of those locations. The easiest way is to stay connected via the Department of Labor website, as well as the city website pages that affect your company. This link is also helpful for our Los Angeles clients: http://wagesla.lacity.org/.

 

If you have any questions or need clarification on your minimum wage policies, feel free to give us a call to review!

10 Ways to Spot Your Top Performers

Although top performers are not always easy to attract and retain, there are several things you can do to find and keep them! Top performers usually have a few things in common, such as: flexible, engaged, in tune with your company culture, and eager to improve. Here are some tips for you to spot those top performers and keep them around

  • Don’t Rule Anyone Out

Top performers aren’t necessarily your long-term or management employees. They can be in any department, with any length of tenure at the company. Don’t discredit anyone for superficial reasons. Be fair in your assessment of all employees.

  • Gauge Employee Engagement

Your top performers WILL BE engaged with your culture, your company, your goals and your future. Who’s there solely for a paycheck and who wants to see big things happen for the company as a whole, as well as for him or herself within the organization?

  • Day One of Employment is the Start Line

Begin tracking employee performance as of day one. Clean slate for everyone starts when they accept that offer letter and walk through your doors for the first time!

  • Leverage Your Existing People Data

What do you know about your people? Job history, payroll, benefits – all of this matters. Take a mental note.

  • Create Incentive-Based Goal Programs

Reward performance and your top performers are bound to shine!

  • Keep Your Flight Risks Grounded

Offer new challenges, training programs, promotions, and compensation/bonus increases to retain those top performers looking to constantly boost their career

  • Check The Attitudes

Every day at work isn’t going to be sunshine and roses for every employee. But how do these top performers handle stress? How do they interact with employees when under pressure?

  • Create Reports à Take Action

Reports and numbers and data really don’t mean a whole lot if you can’t take that information and do something with it.

  • Use Tools

Determine what projects require what skills, do personality and job fit assessments, and utilize tools at your disposal to recognize employee strengths.

  • Predict Employee Potential

Organizations with a successful feel as to who their top performers are will always be able to pinpoint the FUTURE top performers. Be aware of the characteristics and quality that can target potential within your employee groups!

Do Women Have Better Emotional Tools for Management Success?

Are you a #bosslady in your organization? Do you have women at the top of the organizational chart for your company? Thankfully, this is not as unusual as it was decades ago, when it was practically unheard of for women to be in positions of leadership. According to the Washington Post in 2015, “The number of female CEOs of America’s most influential companies is stuck at 5%, as it was the year before. While women make up 45% of the labor force of the S&P 500, few are climbing to the very top.” [1] So where are the women going? In a recent article by HR Morning, management consultant giant @KornFerry was referenced for a their study showing that women outperform men in 11 out of 12 key competencies for emotional intelligence. What??? That number is absolutely astonishing when you put it next to the measly 5% of women actually in power roles. So what gives?

 

If women have the key to successful talent management, then what’s the problem? Well, unfortunately, in today’s world women do still have to work harder to get to the top and are sometimes held back by things such as family obligations. But, if you are a company CEO or change maker, then it’s up to you to make a difference in your company for the rest of the women out there working hard to move on up the corporate ladder.

 

This particular study gives us great insight into how and why these changes can be implemented and what differences are still noted in the gender wars in our workplaces in the U.S. The study examined data from 55,000 professionals across 90 counties and in all levels of management. The data was collected between 2011 and 2015, and utilized The Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI) and suggests a huge need for women to take on leadership roles and for them to be offered the same opportunity for advancement as men.

Here are a few take-away points!

The greatest difference between men and women can be seen in the area of emotional self-awareness (women are 86% more likely to use this in the workplace).

  • Women are 45% more likely than men to use empathy regularly in the workplace.
  • The smallest margin of difference between men and women is in the area of positive outlook.
  • Women outperform men in coaching, mentoring, positive influence, inspirational leadership, conflict management, organizational awareness, adaptability and teamwork, and in achievement orientation.

 [1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/06/04/the-number-of-fortune-500-companies-led-by-women-is-at-an-all-time-high-5-percent/