Are you complying with all the proper state and federal labor laws?
If not, it could cost you everything.
In large corporations, an entire human resources (HR) department navigates the complex minefield of federal and state labor laws. Most small organizations think of HR as an afterthought, or HR responsibilities like hiring, benefits, compliance, and payroll falls to a few people who aren’t properly trained. This can be a pricey mistake. Laws concerning overtime, unlawful termination, and equal rights are just a few areas that trip up organizations, big and small, all the time.
Labor laws fill volumes and are quite complex. Plus, labor laws vary from state to state! Even Walmart ran intotrouble recentlyand incurred $4.83 million dollars in back wages, penalties, and fines for violatingThe Fair Labor Standards Act. The mistake? Managers were misclassified and not appropriately compensated for overtime work. Unlawful termination is another problem that has cost organizations like UPS, Carmike Cinemas, and Dial Corporation dearly. Yes, it’s tricky.Do you know the laws?
It gets worse—the government is ramping up efforts to check up on organizations and crack down. The Obama administration has allotted $25 million for the sole purpose of investigating those misclassified as“independent contractors,”hoping to reclaim lost tax revenue and pad the IRS’s coffers. Be smart. Remember that stiff penalties and lawyer fees can decimate your organization.Are your workers properly classified?
Stay legal and remember these 3 key points:
•Child labor,non-resident labor, andequal rights legislationare the three areas where small organizations most often fail to comply.
• Both state and federal laborinformation is freeand available online.
Most organizations with fewer than 100 people benefit from outsourcing labor law compliance and other human resource tasks toHR professionals. The alternative is risky: employees are often uninformed about and under-trained in labor law compliance. Look out! Federal fines could be in store for you. In addition, HR often falls outside an employee’s main job focus, so getting it wrong or spending valuable time away from primary tasks can cripple productivity in a small organization. Get the right person trained or on your team to comply with labor laws.
Regrettably, staying legal has never been more difficult or important.
Sexual Harassment and Your Responsibilities Under the Law
You can’t open a news website without seeing another #MeToo circumstance being reported. As a result, many organizations have a “zero tolerance” policy for sexual harassment in the workplace, but what does that really mean to you, as a leader? Or you, as an employee? What is sexual harassment? In this interactive presentation, you’ll learn:
What sexual harassment is—including the verbal, visual, and physical conduct that could be considered or perceived as harassment
What your rights and obligations are under the law
What you can do as an employee to support a harassment-free work environment
What you should do as a leader to help provide a harassment-free workplace
What to do if you feel you may have been the subject of sexual harassment
Steps your organization can take to better your work environment
Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace. It simply should never be tolerated. Come learn how you can help free your workplace of harassment and make it one where all employees will grow and prosper.
For more information about the TRACS conference click here.
About The Speaker
Mark is an accomplished HR expert with a fresh perspective. He believes in challenging people to think differently when presented with obstacles in any situation. His passions are inspiring, motivating, and helping others. Peers describe Mark as creative, proactive, determined, and eager to learn. Just a few of Mark’s professional skills include organizing, presenting, and problem solving.
Mr. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resources Administration from Saint Leo University. He earned his MBA from Bloomsburg University while interning for Congressmen Kanjorski as a military liaison during the first Gulf War. Mark has completed several executive education programs at the University of Michigan.
Prior to leading In HIS Name HR, Mark worked for Quaker Oats Company, Kodak Inc., and Merck Inc., and private companies Woolrich, Conestoga Wood Specialties, and Valco Companies Inc.
In addition to helping people professionally, Mark also believes in helping people personally through volunteer work. Mark has coached leaders on “Business as a Mission,” traveling to Eastern Europe, India, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic.
If your organization is having an identity crisis. You may be the last to know. The clues aren’t usually obvious, but you may sense something is wrong.
Do you spot any of these patterns emerging?
More and more employees are leaving
Quality and/or performance is trending downward
Your organization is missing deadlines
Your clients or customers are complaining more
It’s getting harder and harder to find good talent
These issues are not random blips on the landscape. They reveal deeper problems, those below the surface. Greater attention to structure and organization may be needed, but there is a core issue at stake: Organizational Identity.
An identity crisis may happen for a number of reasons. Some reasons are inevitable. Some are regrettable. But, many times an identity crisis starts from what are, initially, positive changes. What is positive at first, like growth or increased capabilities, can morph into quagmire without attention. This drag causes confusion and does not just hinder your workers but will inevitably affect your customers and outside contacts, too.
An identity crisis will likely coincide with these circumstances:
A change in key management, ownership, or structure
A new technology replacing an old way of doing things
Expansion into a new territory or demographic
Offering new services
Expansion and increased public visibility
New or changing partnerships, associations, or clients
Organizations, if they last long enough, experience seasons where renovating identity is crucial. This is a good thing. What your organization stands for or why it exists may seem obvious to you, but it needs routine upkeep to ensure everyone shares a cohesive vision. Creating and cementing your organization’s Mission, Vision, and Values are essential to new and continued success.
Organizational Identityanswers the questions:
Who are we?
Why do we exist?
How do we share that vision beyond ourselves?
Core values and identity should be found together—in a partnership with owners and employees. It should be built from the ground up to forge something solid and genuine. Identity can never be reduced to platitudes or window dressing. It shouldn’t stop at a new logo and updated policies. It must be the foundational way that your group functions, together and with the outside world
Organizations like charity: Water, Starbucks, and The Coca-Cola Company, for example, have all crystallized their organizational identity for us. But, more important, they have all reinvented or re-clarified themselves as times have changed and found continued success. With some effort or outside expertise, you can usher in higher performance for your organization, too.
So, what problems have you seen that were evident of an identity crisis? Help us and our community of readers to learn from your experiences
Every workplace has friction—that’s the simple truth. Anytime you have a few people working together on something, differences surface that create drag. We shouldn’t be surprised when conflict or tensions arise. Instead, we should be prepared and have some tactics on hand to facilitate a cooperative working environment and healthier relationships. Friction has a bona fide upside.
In my decades of work in the field of Human Resources, I’ve learned that 3 major things have the potential to create workplace conflicts:
Lack of emotional control
Indefinite goals and boundaries
Here’s an example of all three creating a common situation of friction:
Project X must be finished in two months. The lower level manager fails to set legible parameters on a project when expectations and roles are not defined for the work. As the manager delegates the project, too much is left to speculation. Co-workers attempt to complete the work, but soon run into interpersonal problems as different ideas emerge. Frustration increases, tempers flare, morale sinks, and passive aggressive sabotage and gossip start. In other words, gridlock. A few team members inform the manager; however, by then, emotion is driving the situation. Decision-making is maligned and communication continues to falter. The project is tanking.
What to do?
A lot of repair work is needed to get things back on track and keep the project moving forward. First—and this is important—ditch email as a resolution tool. A sit-down, face-to-face meeting is necessary, and a concise description of roles and responsibilities must be presented. But a few other things are invaluable, too.
It’s important to reestablish a healthy culture with the team and ensure acceptable behaviormoving forward. This shouldn’t be done by lecturing. It shouldn’t be expressed in an exasperated tone either. Rather, make sure you conduct your meeting by modeling respect and integrity. Assume the best in your co-workers and back it up with words and actions that make it clear. Graciousness and amiability should preside, not hostility and annoyance.
Get the Right “Game Face” On.? Prepare yourself. Your “game face” must be a commitment to the greater good plus good faith efforts to buoy the environment and create a better working situation. It’s crucial to find common ground. This can be done with a simple and sincere reference to everyone wanting to do well, or a mention of some of your company’s most important values, or by outlining the basic goals of the project. It may be wisest to use a bit of each.
Conflict = Opportunity for Improvement.? It’s normal to dislike friction. Just remember, excellent organizations and great leaders have a habit of transforming conflict and tensions into occasions that make things work more smoothly, efficiently, and improve the positive bonds between employees. Don’t shrink from this opportunity. Instead of dreading conflict or becoming paralyzed by it, realize that conflicts can harvest new ideas and innovation—not just in how your company works, but also in how co-workers connect with each other.
Grace, empathy, forgiveness, cooperation, and better listening can be the result. If you treasure-hunt in the situation and invite that same positive attitude from your employees during conflict, better times are ahead.
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.
As a long-time veteran in the field of human resources (HR), I’ve seen telecommuting storm onto the scene through advances in technology. Telecommuting employees complete work from remote locations, and sometimes the method backfires.
In February 2013, Yahoo!’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, killed the long-standing policy that allowed employees to work from home. The news sent shockwaves in every direction, especially throughout high-tech industries. Many wondered whether the decision was a step backward and a signal of changes to come elsewhere.
Two months later, Mayer spoke at a human resources conference. She clarified that the new rule applied to just 200 of the 1200 Yahoo! employees. She reinforced the idea that collaboration and innovation happen best in an interactive environment. Even though the change was drastic for a tech company, she wasn’t backing down.
Many people feel their best work happens when they are uninterrupted and left alone, but even the best worker can hit some snags.
Five Common Pitfalls in Telecommuting
Misalignment of organizational vision
Loss of focus
Derailed project or job expectations
Poor time management Burnout (as work hours lengthen at a remote environment, like one’s home)
Remember, the key principle for an ideal telecommuting situation is this:
Working from home, or from another remote location, should include the same qualities that make work at the office productive.
Five Workplace Features that Help Telecommuters Succeed
Workspace boundaries – Can the employee shut the door when they need to work and otherwise maintain a good work-life balance?
Ability to concentrate – Will children, friends, or other obligations frequently interrupt the employee?
Organization – Can they make a schedule and stick to it?
Productivity – Have they been given expectations and goals? Can they get help quickly if they hit an obstacle?
Focus and Fitness – Can they take short, regular breaks throughout the day to stay fresh and avoid fatigue or burnout?
What single safeguard makes telecommuting most effective? Ajob description!
Do the groundwork and craft a solid job description for a telecommuter before telecommuting takes effect. When a manager latches onto telecommuting as a hot trend without making the necessary preparations, trouble lies ahead.
A job description is not only important from an employee management standpoint; it’s a strategic necessity.
Your organization’s productivity and growth can be stymied when skills and competencies are unknown variables. Be definitive.
What’s the future for telecommuting?
Telecommuting is here to stay! The kibosh on telecommuting seen at Yahoo! won’t be the norm. While a number of organizations may rein in their telecommuters, many organizations will increase their use of telecommuting.
They will also recognize the high value of the expertise from contracted workers through portals and agencies like UpWork.com, Fiverr.com, and Guru.com. Specialized workers will continue to work from home, their local coffee shop, or other spots as the trend becomes normalized and wireless networking becomes more widely available worldwide.
Now is the perfect time to set expectations and boundaries to make the best of the situation.
How many people do you know who telecommute? What has been your experience? Would love to hear from our readers.
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.
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:
Unlawful employment application questions
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.
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
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
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 inmost 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?
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.
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 Facebook, Twitterand LinkedIn.
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).