How Bad Human Resource Practices Cost You Millions

How Bad Human Resource Practices Cost You Millions


Many potential clients seek a silver bullet when it comes to the hiring process. They want to set up electronic application systems and implement pre-employment testing to objectively and efficiently screen applicants so they can hire the best candidates.

They want to optimize the process, to speed the days to hire-up. They want candidates fast. They want a paperless process and a filtering system to eliminate candidates that don’t match their requirements.

Unfortunately, not being sure of what you’re doing, and working with unwise counsel, is a minefield you do not want to find yourself in and the results could be downright explosive.

I recently did some preliminary research on Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) cases that have headlined in the past several months, painting a damaging picture of some very prominent companies. The cases revolved around such factors as:

  • Pre-employment testing
  • Unlawful employment application questions
  • Disability discrimination

In actuality, many organizations, even those with the best intentions, ask questions that can inadvertently result in disparate treatment across a broad spectrum of minority candidates. Organizations also rely on invalid forms of pre-employment testing as a screening tool, ones they may not aware might disqualify minority candidates at a higher rate than non-minorities.

As a rule, the organizations that I meet with are not looking to hurt anyone or prevent any person from working at their organization as long as they’re qualified for the position in question. Most not only recognize the benefits that diversity brings to their organization but also share a worldview that embraces all cultures and all people. Regrettably, however, what’s in their heart does not matter one whit to the attorneys and the EEOC who show up to investigate claims of discrimination.

It’s easy to assume that the EEOC focuses only on large corporate organizations, high-profile global entities, as evidenced in such headlines as:

  • BMW to Pay $1.6 Million and Offer Jobs to Settle Federal Race Discrimination Lawsuit
  • Target to Pay $2.8M to Upper-Level Applicants in EEOC Settlement
  • United Airlines to Pay Over $1 Million to Settle Disability Lawsuit

On the contrary, there are many small to mid-sized organizations that are being dragged into court as well. For example:

  • Stack Bros. to Pay $140,000 to Settle EEOC Age Discrimination and Retaliation Suit
  • Texas Oil Field Services Company Pays $30,000 to Settle EEOC Retaliation Suit
  • EEOC Sues Seymour Midwest for Age Discrimination

No organization is too small to escape the potential penalty of discrimination, whether intended or unintended. All it takes is one or more disgruntled workers or applicants.

What might surprise you is that the same risk exists for those working in the nonprofit, church, or ministry sectors—you are just as vulnerable to the consequences of poorly managed human resource practices as any profit-driven enterprise. No altruistic or religious influence will stand up in court as an adequate defense or mitigate damages against your organization. This is just a sampling:

  • EEOC Sues United Bible Fellowship Ministries for Pregnancy Discrimination
  • Inconsistencies in Termination Decision Wipe Out Good Samaritan Ministries Victory
  • King’s Way Baptist Church Sued by EEOC for Retaliation
  • Nonprofits, churches, and ministry organizations are generally subject to state and federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination.

What should you do?

Do what great organizations do, and invest in solid HR practices. A qualified HR staff is fully trained and capable of helping you navigate successfully through the practices that can prevent costly litigation and eliminate those practices that might be unintentionally discriminatory.

You need a comprehensive human resources connection that your HR staff can source for this kind of guidance. We’re the map to get you through this minefield.

But it’s not just about risk management. Superior HR practices generate superior job candidates.

Want to read more about the cases cited in this article? Find more information and source articles here.

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Mark A. Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 20 years of HR experience.  In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance Human Resource programs. Visit them at In HIS Name HR or  Send Email

Success In 2019 ~ HR Trends In The Workplace


Enjoy watching Claudia Wert of Wells Fargo Advisors and Mark Griffin discuss In His Name HR and trends to look out for in 2019.

 

 

About Mark: With over 20 years of Human Resources experience at both fortune (Kodak, Quaker Oats, and Merck) as well as small and mid-sized companies, Mark has seen it all in the workplace.

About Claudia: A retirement plan specialist with Wert Investment Consulting Group, a wealth management practice within Wells Fargo Advisors. Her team advises on $260 million assets under management for high net worth families and businesses. Claudia’s partner, Robert Wert, was recognized in 2018 by Forbes magazine on their list of Best-In-State Wealth Advisors.

Berks Community Television Mission Berks Community Television’s mission is to enhance the unity and strength of the community by providing:

♦ A medium for community dialogue and educational opportunities

♦ A source of information of local, national and international origin

♦ A forum for the exchange of ideas on issues and topics of community interest

Is Facebook Really Risky in the Workplace?

Is Facebook Really Risky in the Workplace?


Learn how to make social media use in the workplace a win for everybody.

What is your organization’s policy on social media? It’s time to better understand this powerful tool and make it work for you.

Research from Fierce, a Seattle-based training and development company, concludes that 80 percent of workers log onto Facebook during working hours.

Facebook is not going away. LinkedIn is right behind, and if you don’t know what Instagram or Snapchat is, well, you’re just missing out. Having worked in an era before these tools existed and then became popular, I offer you some vital insights from a Human Resources perspective.

Transforming connections and communications

In an age of smartphones, websites, and computers with preloaded social media integration, social media technology is standard fare in most environments. Customers routinely “check in” and post photos from restaurants, shops, attractions, and events. Pastors tell attendees to tweet quotes from their sermons. Celebrities make big announcements on Twitter, and the most important world news breaks on social media first. It’s not going anywhere. In fact, it’s growing, integrating, and upgrading faster than ever.

Despite this prominence, only 51 percent of organizations have any policy on social media. Some organizational leaders feel participation hurts productivity or even contributes to interpersonal problems (think of publicly bad-mouthing leadership), yet many more believe its use is crucial to good morale and a happy working environment, and current research bears this out.

Today, a whole new generation of workers considers social media a nonnegotiable aspect of their job environment. In a recent study by Fast Company, 40 percent of college students and 45 percent of young professionals said they would turn down a job or accept less pay rather than work for a company that disallowed social media use.

Be clever in how you integrate social media usage into your  organizational culture and policies. If you have bans on social media, review and amend them to fit the times. If you don’t have a policy yet, remember these key points before issuing sweeping prohibitions on the technology:

  • When treated as adults, most employees behave as adults.
  • Give great guidelines up front—don’t wait for a crisis. Regularly encourage responsible posting on social media.
  • Assign someone who understands social media to create a vision of how your company can be positively perceived or promoted online, and then articulate that vision clearly.

Risk vs. Reward

Without guidance, employee involvement with social media can be risky, but social media remains an excellent tool to engage participants and current or future customers and get your message out. The right use of this powerful tool can benefit everyone involved.

Many opportunities exist to mobilize your workforce to connect with others and broadcast a healthy and positive image of your company or non-profit. Some of the most productive and profitable companies have integrated it well, and so can you.

What type of policies do you have in place on social media?

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Mark Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 20 years of HR experience.  Follow Mark on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

Lead Employees to Excellence In HIS Name HR LLC

Lead Employees to Excellence


Yes, it’s possible for you to lead employees to excellence at work, home and in their communities.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ~Ephesians 2:10

A valuable part of leading sustainable for-profit organizations is introducing your employees to community relations. Part of leading people is developing them to be the best they can be, not only in the workplace but within their families and communities as well.

Look at your people from a whole person perspective—they’re far more than just “workers.” Provide your people the opportunity to do good works, to achieve greatness in their lives, and they will do great things for you. Developing your people’s skills, both in and outside the company, can positively impact the communities in which they live and you do business.

Encourage your people to be their best in every aspect of their lives.

Many organizations now put programs in place that help match employees’ interests to community volunteer opportunities. Some organizations shut down for an entire week to help build homes with Habitat for Humanity, for example. What do you do? What more can you do?

Imagine an organization that inspired their people by running a contest where each employee participated by demonstrating how their volunteer organization is the most impactful. The prize? The winner would receive a considerable reward to help fund their efforts.  This article provides a great deal of information on what Elexio has done to encourage employees to look far outside their own communities.

If you are promoting good works performed by your employees, not only in the workplace but also in the world we live in, you are doing great things for God. You are building a “Kingdom-Minded” Organization.

Help our community of readers

Do you have HR practices that support these ideals? Do you help your employees help others? How do you find your employees’ strengths and match them to community involvement? Share your ideas and inspire fellow readers. We would love to know how you encourage your people to shine.

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Mark Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 20 years of HR experience.  You can learn more about his recently published book for College Students, College to Career: The Student Guide to Career and Life Navigation HERE.  Follow Mark on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

 

How to Increase Team Productivity with the MBTI Personality Test

How to Increase Team Productivity with the MBTI Personality Test


Personality clashes and disparate problem-solving styles are all too common, even in the most motivated organizations. Someone’s true character is often revealed in the way in which he or she acts and reacts in situations with others. The ripple effects can be devastating. They can even dam up the works altogether if you don’t take action—the right action.

Most conflicts stem from misunderstandings. By being proactive and decoding the personalities in your organization—that is, working to understand the different ways in which people see and understand the world while interacting with others, you can help your employees to work together harmoniously. When employees have a strong grasp of the personalities of their colleagues, they can leverage each other’s strengths and sharpen one another (Prov. 27:17).

 

Read The Full Post Here

 

 

Are Your Employees Mentored?

Are Your Employees Mentored? Employee Commitment Series


This blog series focuses on nine areas that keep employees committed to your organization. In our opinion, employees stay committed when they are Involved, Paid Well, Asked for Input, Challenged, Empowered, Trusted, Valued, Appreciated, and Mentored.

Employee Commitment Series

Do You Mentor Your Employees?

There are many factors that affect employee motivation and performance in the workplace. Although often overlooked, mentoring is one such factor. Mentored employees are employees who feel valued. As such, a mentorship program in your workplace is vital to employee happiness. In fact, workplace mentorship could be the catalyst you need to help your employees drive high performance.

What Is Workplace Mentoring?

Workplace mentoring is an organized learning partnership with employees. It involves sharing information, insights, knowledge, and experiences. The aim? To increase productivity and employee value.

All successful organizations have one trait in common—great leaders. But it doesn’t end there. To build a sustainable success, leaders must share their knowledge and values with employees. Mentoring is an effective way to pass on this knowledge.

Mentoring shouldn’t be restricted only to new employees. Even tenured employees often need guidance. The personalized leadership provided by a mentoring program can yield great rewards.

Why Is Workplace Mentoring Important?

Mentorship is vital to the culture of large enterprises and small organizations alike. A study conducted by the Chronus Corporationshows that mentorship programs are popular with Fortune 500 companies. In fact, about 71% of these companies offer organized mentorship programs. Another study, among Millennials, reveals that more than 79%think mentoring is crucial to attaining their career goals. But what benefits can you derive from having a mentorship program in your workplace?

Training Employees

To get the best results from your employees, there is no doubt you need to train them well. But the training doesn’t have to be through crash courses or organized seminars. Some of the most valuable knowledge we pick up as humans comes through informal settings.

A mentorship program provides the training avenue employees need. It’s through mentoring that employees gain or update the knowledge needed to perform at work.

Infusing Leadership Skills

Leadership is one of those skills that can’t always be learned effectively in a classroom. A mentoring program, however, is a great avenue through which employees can pick up invaluable skills. This can prove to be of great benefit to the organization in the long run, as a new generation of leaders is already saddled to handle the reins. Transitions can therefore be smoother and retirement gaps easier to fill.

Reducing Attrition

From a managerial perspective, reduced attrition is the most important benefit of a mentorship program. A potential for growth and development is one of the major motivational factors that ensure employees stick with an organization.

A mentorship program gives employees a necessary sense of belonging. Employees in a mentorship program believe they have a great potential for career progression, which helps them experience their work as rewarding and keeps them contentedly right where they are.

Putting a Mentorship Program in Place

So, think about this again: Do you mentor your employees? If your answer is no, or your yes carries a tinge of uncertainty, you have yet to maximize the productivity of your employees. Organize a mentorship program today. Get your HR department involved, develop a brilliant program, and watch as you achieve results you didn’t think were possible.

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In HIS Name HR helps organizations build high-performance Human Resources programs. Visit them at In HIS Name HR.

Mark A. Griffin is the founder and chief consultant of In HIS Name HR LLC. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Why Pre-Employment Testing May Cost You Millions


Is your organization unknowingly violating federal and state employment laws? If so, you’re not alone. Many unsuspecting professionals in both profit and nonprofit organizations manage via flawed human resource practices.

Why is being compliant with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) laws through proper HR practices important? Read the following cases to understand how organizations that thought they were doing things right discovered the hard way that they were not.

Large Company Cases

Target to pay $2.8M to upper-level applicants in EEOC settlement

Tests for upper-level jobs screened out blacks, Asians and women, EEOC says.

Target Corp. has agreed to pay $2.8 million to thousands of rejected job candidates for upper-level positions because tests they were given disproportionately screened out applicants based on their race or gender.

The payout was announced Monday by the Minneapolis Area Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and will be disbursed among more than 3,000 people, said Julie Schmid, acting director for the agency in Minneapolis. Source

BMW to Pay $1.6 Million and Offer Jobs to Settle Federal Race Discrimination Lawsuit

GREENVILLE, S.C. – The U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina today entered a consent decree ordering BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC (BMW) to pay $1.6 million and provide job opportunities to alleged victims of race discrimination as part of the resolution of a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The lawsuit, filed by EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, alleged that BMW excluded African-American logistics workers from employment at a disproportionate rate when the company’s new logistics contractor applied BMW’s criminal conviction records guidelines to incumbent logistics employees. Source

United Airlines to Pay over $1 Million To Settle Disability Lawsuit

Supreme Court Lets Stand 7th Circuit Ruling That Reassignment Is Reasonable Accommodation

In a case that garnered nationwide attention, air transportation giant United Airlines Inc. has agreed to pay more than $1 million and implement changes to settle a federal disability lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that United’s competitive transfer policy violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The law requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee or job applicant with a disability, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship for the employer. By requiring workers with disabilities to compete for vacant positions for which they were qualified and which they needed in order to continue working, the company’s practice frequently prevented employees with disabilities from continuing employment with United, the EEOC said.  Source

Small to Medium Sized Company Cases

Stack Bros. to Pay $140,000 to Settle EEOC Age Discrimination and Retaliation Suit

Employees Were Fired at Superior, Wis., Firm for Turning 62, Federal Agency Charged

MADISON, Wis. – Stack Bros. Mechanical Contractors, Inc. of Superior, Wis., a major heating and plumbing contractor in northern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota, will pay $140,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to EEOC’s suit, Stack Bros. discrim­inated against Randy Virta and Karen Kolodzeske by firing them when they turned 62 in 2014. Stack Bros. also retaliated against Kolodzeske for resisting its plans to fire her, EEOC alleged.

According to Julianne Bowman, director of the EEOC’s Chicago District, which includes Wisconsin, the agency’s pre-lawsuit investigation revealed that both Virta and Kolodzeske repeatedly warned Stack Bros.’ owner that his plan to fire them when they turned 62 was illegal. However, the owner refused to relent, and, after firing Virta, retaliated against Kolodzeske for her complaints by denying her a raise, suspending her without pay for two days and creating a hostile work environment while waiting for her to turn 62. Virta and Kolodzeske had worked for Stack Bros. for 16 and 25 years, respectively. Source

Texas Oil Field Services Company Pays $30,000 to Settle EEOC Retaliation Suit

Only Female Roustabout Fired for Reporting Sexual Harassment, Agency Charged

DALLAS – An Iraan, Texas oil field construction and services company will pay $30,000 and furnish other relief to settle a retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC’s suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Pecos Division (4:14-CV-00073-DAE), charged that Garrison Contractors, Inc. fired its only female roustabout, Elma Garza, after she reported being sexually harassed on the job.

Hired by the company in January 2012 as a dump truck driver, Garza spent most of her employment as the company’s only female oil field worker. In this roustabout position, Garza worked side by side with her male co-workers fixing oil and gas leaks, digging ditches and cleaning heavy equipment. EEOC said that during her employment, Garza was subjected to lewd comments about female organs and sex. EEOC contends that when Garza reported the unwanted conduct, the company retaliated against her by terminating her.

Retaliation for reporting sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.  Source

EEOC Sues Seymour Midwest for Age Discrimination

Agency Alleges Company Rejected an Applicant Older than Its Ideal Age

INDIANAPOLIS — Seymour Midwest, a Warsaw, Indiana, hand tool manufacturing company, violated federal law when it rejected a 58-year-old executive upon learning that he was older than the company’s ideal age range of 45-52, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to EEOC’s suit, Seymour Midwest selected Steve Maril, from a pool of applicants for its senior vice president of sales position, to participate in an initial, email-based interview. In addition to questions about Maril’s experience and willingness to relocate, the company asked whether Maril was within its ideal age range of 45-52. When Seymour Midwest learned that Maril was older than its ideal age range, the company refused to hire him.  Source 

Church and Nonprofit Cases

EEOC Sues United Bible Fellowship Ministries for Pregnancy Discrimination

Organization’s Policy Requiring Pregnant Employees to Resign Is Discriminatory, Federal Agency Charges

HOUSTON – United Bible Fellowship Ministries, Inc., an organization that provides faith-based, community social services, violated federal law when it forced female employees out of their jobs because of their pregnancies, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Shamira Johnson worked as a resource technician, providing home care assistance to disabled individuals. Her duties included housecleaning, light laundering, administering medication, cooking and assisting with personal hygiene and grooming. United Bible terminated Johnson and other pregnant employees according to its “Pregnancy in the Workplace Policy” which required pregnant women in direct client-care positions to stop working during their pregnancy and reapply for a vacant job once they were no longer pregnant. Johnson did not return to work at United Bible after her pregnancy. The policy also unlawfully required applicants to disclose their pregnancy when applying for employment.  Source

Inconsistencies in Termination Decision Wipe out Employer’s Victory

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently erased the victory of the Good Samaritan Ministries in an employee termination case, Ledbetter v. Good Samaritan Ministries, et al., — F.3d —- (7th Cir. Feb. 6, 2015), sending the case back to the trial court for further litigation.

The employee, Linzie Ledbetter (male), worked in a homeless shelter and food pantry. After a shelter resident complained about Ledbetter’s alleged threat to evict her, Ledbetter’s supervisors met with him and warned him that such behavior could result in disciplinary action, including termination. As a result, Ledbetter filed an EEOC charge—and later, a federal lawsuit—claiming race discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Shortly thereafter, Ledbetter filed a second EEOC charge for race discrimination and was subsequently warned again about his behavior toward the shelter residents and toward his co-workers. The day after his supervisors learned of the second EEOC charge, they fired Ledbetter, prompting a third EEOC charge and another lawsuit for retaliation.

In the trial court, Good Samaritan Ministries and its supervisors argued that Ledbetter’s termination was not prompted by the second EEOC charge, because they had decided to fire him five days before they even knew of the charge. The trial court agreed with their argument and granted summary judgment in their favor.  Source

King’s Way Baptist Church Sued By EEOC for Retaliation

Kindergarten Teacher at Church’s Christian School Fired for Complaining About Sexual Harassment by Pastor, Federal Agency Charges

ATLANTA – The King’s Way Baptist Church, Inc. of Douglasville, Ga., violated federal law when it fired a kindergarten teacher at its King’s Way Christian School for reporting sexual harassment by its chief executive officer / pastor, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed recently.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, the pastor repeatedly subjected the teacher to sexual harassment by touching her inappropriately and made veiled threats to her if she should complain. When the teacher complained about the harassment, rather than taking measures to prevent any further harassment, King’s Way fired her.

These actions violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from firing, demoting, harassing or otherwise retaliating against employees because they complained to their employer about discrimination on the job. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. The King’s Way Baptist Church, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:15-cv-03816) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. EEOC is seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the former teacher, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent future discrimination.  Source

Miscellaneous Cases Of Interest

Employers Beware: EEOC Stepping Up Disability Discrimination Enforcement

On the heels of that news, 10 of the 22 lawsuits filed or settlements reached by the EEOC in May included allegations of disability discrimination. That’s a .455 batting average for the ADA, which is none too shabby in anyone’s book. Some of the issues addressed by the EEOC in the past month include:

A $72,500 settlement with an Akron, Ohio, medical transportation services company, which fired an EMT-paramedic with multiple sclerosis instead of providing additional leave as a reasonable accommodation.

A $110,000 settlement with Norfolk Southern Railway Company, which medically disqualified a track maintenance worker because of degenerative disc disease without doing an individualized assessment of whether he could perform the essential functions of his job.

A $90,000 settlement with a Tennessee nursing home facility, which terminated an HIV-positive nurse.

An $18,000 settlement with an Alabama athletic apparel retailer, which fired a legally blind sales clerk (who lost his full use of his sight while serving in the Army) without any consideration of whether an accommodation, such as a magnifying glass or a new computer monitor, might be reasonable.  Source

 

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At In HIS Name HR LLC our primary role is to assist the client to identify needs, develop an action plan and facilitate change to enhance the success of your organization. Our management, human resource, and training services are designed to improve quality, safety, productivity, efficiency, and communication while improving employee morale.

With our vast experiences spanning many industries we will create the HR programs that will drive excellence. Contact us today. You will be glad you did.

Don’t be left unprepared.  Contact us today.  You will be glad you did. 

 Contact Us In HIS Name HR LLC

Using a Third-Party Workplace Complaint Investigator Is Critical to Your Success

Using a Third-Party Workplace Complaint Investigator Is Critical to Your Success


No organization, no matter how well run, is immune to employee workplace complaints. Whether you employ fewer than 50 employees or manage thousands, some form of complaint will inevitably be filed at some point in your organizational existence. In our diverse experience with for-profit and nonprofit organizations, including colleges, universities, churches and ministries, we have witnessed complaints in a variety of areas, including:

  • Discrimination, such as on the basis of gender, disability, religion, race and age.
  • Harassment (sexual and non-sexual)
  • Bullying
  • Theft and other ethical impropriety
  • American with Disabilities Act
  • FMLA and medical-related leave issues
  • Retaliation

With the potential liability being so high, and the risk of negative publicity, the benefits of using an outside investigator are apparent: Outside investigators provide your organization credibility, privilege (confidentiality) protection and, most importantly, protect against employee perception of any retaliatory action by management.

Credibility

Using an outside investigator highlights that you, as an organization, take concerns of misconduct seriously. This proves to employees that you want to objectively find out what really happened and are willing to accept the consequences. An outside investigator is an independent fact-finder who plays no part in any next steps of discipline or future advancement opportunities. The investigator arrives at the workplace with a well-defined and articulated role: to objectively perform fact-finding, which includes collecting facts about a specific complaint and potentially any related complaints that might surface. That’s it.

An outside investigator’s only responsibility is that of a fact-finder. Why is this important? Because internal HR staff or management personnel would likely, when investigating, be viewed as less objective than an outside, neutral fact-finder. That means their investigation may never attain the credibility and objectivity required to withstand later scrutiny, should the matter reach employment litigation.

Privilege

Conducting a prompt, impartial and thorough investigation provides a solid affirmative defense to allegations of harassment and other misconduct, whereas when an investigation is performed by in-house or outside counsel, a conflict might arise, should litigation ensue. If the organization wants to use that investigation to show it did the right thing, a legitimate endeavor, it may find it has to waive attorney-client privilege with respect to strategic conversations. Using an outside investigator provides a bright barrier separating those sensitive discussions from the investigative process, so privilege can still be preserved.

When an investigation is offered as evidence that an employer responded appropriately to a complaint, the investigator might well be called as a witness at trial. If that investigator is also counsel for the organization, representation on that matter will likely be problematic. By using an outside investigator, the emotion is taken out of the equation. In His Name HR’s experienced investigators are independent of your organization, and that means no conflicts in terms of representation exist.

In His Name HR’s investigators are also well prepared for the eventuality of deposition or trial testimony. When the In His Name HR investigator is called, the employer feels confident because this investigator has conducted dozens of similar investigations where, in some instances, policy violations were found to have occurred and, in others, they did not. Our investigators refrain from using words like “we” and “us.” It becomes obvious to both judge and jury that there is no relationship that would cause the investigation to be guided in the organization’s favor. An outside investigator does not represent the organization, and their statements will be limited only to what they learned in the investigation—nothing else.

Retaliation

An employee who raises a concern is often poised to feel that the organization will retaliate against them for filing a complaint. Yet, in our experience, most human resources managers and other authority figures do not treat employees differently when concerns are aired about the organization, or even about individual managers.

Still, a complainant who has been overlooked for promotion months after the complaint may see things differently. We have met employees who participated in internal investigations who said that the internal investigator now “sees me as a problem or a complainer.” Most internal investigators are trained and prepared for this. However, whether real or perceived, it is an issue. Even if the internal investigator actually can separate what was said in the complaint, and operate objectively going forward, participants will likely never be convinced that the internal investigator can “unhear” what was said and not be influenced by it. On the other hand, using an outside investigator allows the organization to conduct a full investigation while the organization and employees carry on the business at hand without perceptions about the process weighing down the employee population.

Retain an Investigator

Cause for concern? It should be. We are all working in difficult times. Complaints are increasing almost daily. HR departments are overburdened. With the news escalating in the media surrounding harassment, discrimination and hostile work environments, employee complaints have now reached record levels.

Let us allay your concerns. Reach out to us and discuss having a trusted partner to help guide you and your Team in the event a complaint arises.

Contact us today. You—and your employees—will be glad you did.

In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance human resource programs. Visit them at In HIS Name HR or e-mail them here.

Mark A. Griffin is the founder and chief consultant of In His Name HR LLC. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Are Your Employees Appreciated?

Are Your Employees Appreciated? Employee Commitment Series


This blog series focuses on nine areas that keep employees committed to your organization. In our opinion, employees stay committed when they are Involved, Paid Well, Asked for Input, Challenged, Empowered, Trusted, Valued, Appreciated, and Mentored.

Employee Commitment Series

Employees Stay Committed When They Are Appreciated

The best way to create a healthy workplace environment is through communication and appreciation. As leaders of the management team, it’s vital you work out strategies to show your employees that you both value their work and appreciate their contributions to the team. With good employee communication and understanding, your organization can achieve high performance.

One initial step to great leadership is realizing that employees don’t just desire a paycheck—they need recognition and encouragement. In fact, a recent Harvard Business Review article stated that “people are more likely to jump ship when they have a horrible boss.” So, it is just not pay dissatisfaction that makes employees leave; typically it is poor leadership.

It’s easy to say “Thank you,” or “Good job,” and just be done with it, but there are countless meaningful ways to show support and respect for your employees while encouraging better performance.

Many of us being Christian leaders in the workplace, it’s also important to ensure we help people to understand their contribution to the greater good. There’s never been a better time to demonstrate inspired leadership and show your team members what a difference they make. We need to be a light in a dark world. I recently spoke to an employee at an organization who has never been to church. His only exposure to Christ was through Christians in the workplace. That is a hefty responsibility for us.

One issue that many leaders have, however, is a lack of understanding in terms of how to communicate with employees. Often, we take for granted our employees’ performance, which can lead to resentment and not feeling valued in the organization.

The following is a list of several ways that we, as leaders, can take the initiative to show our employees that they’re appreciated while keeping them on task:

Install a Rewards System

Employee recognition often holds more value if it’s peer-inspired, and putting employees in charge of honoring each other’s best efforts can be an ingenious way to inspire confidence.

By allowing employees to tout each other’s best efforts and choose their own reward plan, you build a culture of praise and ownership. But remember: The best ideas come from employees. Instead of you dictating what their rewards should be, put together a team to solicit ideas.

Spend Time Connecting

Absent leaders who don’t take the time to connect with their employees rarely see the best results. Your employees are hardworking contributors to the success of your business, and spending time connecting with them is vital.

From generating their best ideas to feeling a genuine desire to please you, making connections with your employees goes a long way toward forging a strong mutual relationship that will do wonders for you andthem.

Educate

Whether it’s having an instructor in or providing mobile learning, letting your employees engage in learning to develop their already strong skills demonstrates a great deal of faith in their abilities. When an organization, and a leader, invests in employees, it shows an appreciation for the value they have to offer, as well as faith in their expertise.

Nothing is more motivating for an employee than feeling as though their contribution is appreciated enough to nurture.

Get Feedback

Nothing says respect like asking for feedback. And while it can be difficult for employees to feel comfortable telling you what they really think, there are different methods to open the channel of communication.

From an online survey to developing an old-fashioned, Christian, open-communication bond, there are several ways to communicate how important your employee’s feedback is, both to you and the future of the organization. After all, nobody grows an organization alone—we require employee feedback.

Implement a system that encourages feedback, such as one that consists of a set of questions regarding their likes and dislikes in the workplace and on the leadership in the organization, and provide open fields to allow for free expression. Consider using a 360-LeadershipAssessment to help develop your leaders.

When employees feel heard and free to contribute, they’re far more likely to take ownership.

Reward Their Passions

One of the best ideas for incentives I’ve ever heard is setting aside time as a way to reward your employees. Giving your team the gift of time off for doing a bang-up job can be incredibly motivating. Encouraging them to take that time and indulge one of their passions is even better.

Whether it’s volunteering time at a local charity, ministry, spending time with their children or taking some time to partake in physical exercise, there are lots of nurturing and inspiring ways to reward your employees with time.

As leaders, it’s up to us to create the bonds we want to enjoy with our employees and the culture we’d like to implement on the job. Appreciation and healthy communication are vital to this dynamic, and there are many ways we can go about nurturing an inspiring work environment. Have you enjoyed particular success rewarding and motivating employees? Or do you have other inspiring ideas to share? If so, let us know.

____________________

 

In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance Human Resources programs. Visit them at In HIS Name HR.

 

Mark A. Griffin is the founder and chief consultant of In His Name HR LLC. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

 

 

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