The #MeToo Movement and a Biblical Approach to HR Practices
There’s never been a more urgent time than now to have HR professionals who are grounded in sound biblical principles. With the rise of the #MeToo movement, human resources consultants are in high demand as companies, churches, and organizations ensure best practices and deal with existing charges. How should biblical principles and economic thinking impact the way we approach human resources?
It’s almost impossible to open a news website without seeing a headline regarding sexual harassment or sexual assault in the workplace.
Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein… They represent organizations that have just gone mad, that have failed to protect their people. The list of organizations and accused persons continues to grow. I find it particularly offensive when I consider how I want my family—both men and women—to be treated in the workplace. I am dismayed to discover the extent to which organizations are failing to protect their employees from predatory and exploitative behavior.
Those of us who are Christian professionals in the workplace have an obligation to not only live by the law but also demonstrate behavior that is biblical, and not a reflection of the current aberrant culture. We must ensure that all we do, and all the policies we institute and the responses we make to issues are above reproach.
I am in no way claiming that Christian organizations are perfect. Some have also failed (some, spectacularly) in this area. This is not just a Hollywood or industry-specific issue; it is a moral issue, a sin that knows no bounds. The Christian community has had its own share of scandals. Church leaders have failed us, and international mission leaders have failed us as well.
At In HIS name HR, we serve organizations across all professional sectors. We have served for-profit and nonprofit enterprises, higher education institutions, including Christian higher education institutions, churches, and ministries. One thing is for certain, when you get two or more people together, issues and conflicts inevitably arise—at the very least, innocent misunderstandings—which, when not handled well, can lead to complete pandemonium.
The Three-Prong Approach
What should organizations do to protect their employees from harassment? We at In HIS Name HR believe that it is far easier to do than most realize. We suggest a three-prong approach:
Have a good policy in place that is easy to understand by both employees and managers. Have it embedded into your employee handbook and ensure everyone has signed for it. We promote having only a handbook. Most organizations can cover every topic in one handbook without adding additional policies. Having additional polices creates confusion, especially when you have to update multiple documents in multiple locations.
A best practice is to have the handbook online with a date embedded in the footer and have all employees in an employee meeting sign a receipt that they have been informed of the version and location. Then follow up in an email with a link to the handbook and a return receipt memorializing the fact that the employee has received the updated version.
Training should include awareness for all employees, and awareness, detection, and prevention for leadership. Employees need to know what is and is not acceptable in the workplace. For instance, there are two separate types of sexual harassment in the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: a hostile work environment and quid pro quo.
A hostile workplace is just that: a workplace that is hostile and what the average or “reasonable person” would deem inappropriate. The complexity derives from the interpretation of an offense—what is offensive to one person might be considered the norm by another person. What good training does is help both the offended and the offender navigate how to abate a situation that risks elevating to explosive.
The second type of harassment, quid pro quo, derives its name from the Latin expression meaning “this for that,” doing a favor for a favor, as it were, where something is given in exchange for something else. In its most negative connotation, in terms of harassment, it is used when a person in a position of authority exploits their power to pressure or manipulate a subordinate to submit to behavior or activity, typically sexual in nature, which either promises a favorable outcome or threatens them with repercussions. Such favors include promotion, pay increases or bonuses, while threats may be made to compromise employment, reputation, or future opportunities. Both employees and leadership must be able to recognize the signs of such quid pro quo, and have sufficient ability or recourse to safely put a stop to it.
One aspect of the training is to “be real,” to let everyone know that certain behaviors are not acceptable, whether in the workplace or anyplace. Let them know that they should not do it, tolerate it, or ignore it, and they should personally help make the workplace an environment we would want all the people we love to work in.
When a complaint is raised, it must always be taken seriously. One aspect we have built into the complaint approach is to formally let the complainant know that we take their complaint very seriously, and that it will be thoroughly investigated immediately.
“People are denying the reality that most women grow up and live their lives being harassed, if not assaulted, and being propositioned or being pursued inappropriately,” Liberty University English professor Karen Swallow Prior says. “Almost every woman I know, including myself, has had something like that happen to them. This is just the world we grow up in.”
We must honor and trust all complaints that are brought forward, while explaining that if the complaint is found to be untruthful, the accuser may be subject to discipline up to and including separation. This might seem harsh, however, it is important that the accused be equally protected before and during the investigative phase. I have led more than one investigation where the person who was accused was able to provide evidence to prove their innocence. In this instance, “Innocent until proven guilty” applies to both parties, the accuser and the accused, and both are entitled to fair and confidential treatment during the investigation.
The investigation itself should be swift, and conducted by trained professionals. The best practice, if the investigation is performed internally, is to ensure the person investigating has no reporting relationships with anyone involved in the compliant. Ensure copious notes are taken and the privacy of all involved is protected. This is paramount to prevent anyone who is accused or involved from filing charges against the organization for false accusations.
The best way to list the contact for complaints is to employ consistency by supplying a title versus a name. You should, however, make sure there are two ways for people to bring forward an issue—have both a female and a male as points of contact. This helps any complainant to feel more comfortable bringing the issue forward. Oftentimes, the person who feels harassed prefers to talk with a like-gendered person.
Finally, if your organization is small, consider hiring a third party to operate as the point of contact. Our firm offers this to its clients, which gives their employees increased confidence, knowing their issue will be dealt with swiftly and objectively by a third party.
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.
Enjoy listening to Guest Mark A. Griffin discuss “Human Resources and Higher Education” with host Drumm McNaughton, PhD.
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The Change Leader Inc. creates sustainable organizations that meet the needs of the 21st century students andemployers while implementing change in way that enables them to remain true to the history and values that made them successful.
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.
With operations in Melbourne Australia, The Ambitious Entrepreneur Podcast Network hosts weekly podcasts, broadcasting inspiring and informative interviews to an expansive growing audience worldwide.
Enjoy listening to Guest Mark A. Griffin discuss “Don’t ask what God can do for you; ask God what he wants you to do for him!” with host Annemarie Cross.
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The Ambitious Entrepreneur Podcast Network is the voice for Entrepreneurs and Small Business, featuring business experts, Thought Leaders, Disruptors, Innovators and Change Makers who are making a real impact in the world with their message.
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.
$305,000 in Employer Fines Upheld for I-9 Violations
Human resources can be complicated these days. Few would argue with that. But sometimes it’s the most basic human resources processes that can cause the greatest damage to any organization when not done right. And that disaster can be compounded if you lack a skilled professional to provide oversight.
When I say any organization, that includes any college, university, church, ministry, hospital, nonprofit or for-profit company, and even youth camps. Small organizations are not immune. No matter what size or kind of organization you are, if you employ staff, you must be diligent in following state and federal employment laws.
Recently, DLS Precision Fab, an LLC in Phoenix, Arizona, assumed they had made the right decision in hiring what appeared to be a seasoned HR professional. Much to their chagrin, despite his credentials, the human resources professional they hired proved inept and derelict in his duties when it came to maintaining the administration of the firm’s I-9s.
What is an I-9, you ask? Well, if you employ people and don’t know what an I-9 is, that’s a huge red flag, right there! Here is the definition as provided by ICE, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement:
Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form. (Source)
We, as an established HR firm, are continually astonished that organizations think that because they are a school, church, camp, or nonprofit, the I-9 is not a requirement. The law clearly states: “All employers must complete and retain Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, for every person they hire for employment on or after Nov. 6, 1986, in the U.S., as long as the person works for pay or other type of payment.”
All employers must have I-9s for every employee, regardless of the employer type or size!
Back to the case concerning DLS in Arizona, they were in a growth mode and had conscientiously made an effort to comply with state and federal employment laws by hiring an HR professional to handle compliance. Unfortunately, as the appeal by DLS states, the HR professional failed in his duties:
DLS is a company located in Phoenix, Arizona, providing custom sheet metal fabrication in a variety of industries. In the late 2000s, DLS grew to about 200 employees because of the expansion of a Department of Defense program. To deal with the sudden growth of its workforce and ensure its compliance with applicable state and federal employment laws, DLS hired a well-credentialed human resources director (the “HR director”). Unbeknownst to the company, however, this individual shirked his responsibility to ensure the company’s compliance with the INA to the point, as later described by DLS, “of literally stuffing the government’s correspondence in a drawer and never responding.”
Their legal problems started in 2009, when ICE served DLS with a notice of inspection and an administrative subpoena. After the onsite visit and a thorough review of their I-9 forms, DLS was served a notice of suspect documents. In October 2012, ICE served a notice of intent to fine.
DLS quickly responded by requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge, and ICE countered by filing a six-count complaint alleging that the employer failed to comply with employment verification requirements and continued to employ 15 individuals despite knowing they were ineligible for employment, all in violation of the Immigration Nationality Act.
Now, in 2017, in an attempt to reverse the violations, DLS Precision Fab appealed—and promptly lost. Richard Clifton, assigned to the case through the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found DLS Precision Fab liable for 504 of the 508 alleged violations, 489 of which were I-9 paperwork violations and 15 of which involved DLS Precision Fab’s ongoing employment of ineligible aliens. As a result of the actions of the so-called HR professional, DLS Precision Fab was ordered to pay civil money penalties totaling more than $305,000.
Understandably, this has landed the company in dire straights, and it is now is in the midst of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. While we can’t be sure that these violations are solely responsible for the bankruptcy filing, it certainly hasn’t helped, adding to their already stressed organizational longevity.
Perhaps, like DLS, you assume your HR staff are competent and on top of complying with all your legal requirements. But are you sure?
The first thing you should you do is have all of your HR processes independently audited by a human resources processional, one with the right experience. We can help. Our HR Assessment, conducted by our skilled team of HR professionals will determine whether you’re protected or at great risk. We help clients across the country. Don’t hesitate—it could be costly.
Contact us today to find out more, and learn about our HR Assessment here.
In His Name HR helps organizations build high performance Human Resources 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 or Twitter.
Over my 20-plus-year career in human resources, I’ve noticed that while people will endure fewer amenities and less pay, there are four reasons skillful workers will leave for another job.
(1) No opportunity – When employees sense no potential for career progress, or leaders are unaware that advancement is important, employees look elsewhere for better options.
(2) Not knowing the dollar value of their benefits – Pay and benefits is a topic often avoided in many workplaces. Many organizations, however, offer competitive pay and often benefits that cost thousands of dollars, and employees haven’t a clue. (Think PTO, like legal holidays, sick days, and vacation days; life insurance, long-term disability (LTD), and short-term disability (STD) programs; health insurance, including vision and dental; and wellness programs.) The costs of all these programs add up. When organizations take the time to periodically make employees aware of the total cost of all the benefits at their disposal, employees gain a greater appreciation how much value they receive in their job.
(3) Feeling unappreciated – When employees receive little or no gratitude or acknowledgment for their contributions, it feels demoralizing — no wonder they seek more rewarding work elsewhere. The biggest surprise? Many times, during exit interviews, departing employees disclose that a simple, verbal “thank you” would have made all the difference. However, in many organizations, too often managers fail to do even that.
(4) Sheer Boredom – Without savvy leaders or a solid idea of the big picture, employees don’t see concrete, interesting ways to contribute, outside of the ordinary scope of their jobs. Things grow tedious and employees hunt for new challenges to make work feel more meaningful.
So, while you might think your employees only want higher pay and a corner office, or that the trend among employees is to feel “entitled,” the truth is that the best employees are satisfied with simpler, more basic and fundamental management approaches—and a better explanation of the benefits they currently have.
Be thoughtful — find out what motivates your employees! This simple investment will ensure improved worker retention, enhanced overall morale, and increased company loyalty. And isn’t that what you really want?
What can you do as an employer right now to keep your best employees? Consider asking them. That’s right. Simply spending time with employees in focus groups and roundtable discussions can help you to help them by making basic changes to ensure you keep your greatest asset happy and encouraged.
One more thing…What’s the Top Reason People Quit?
This 2017 Inc. magazine article reveals that the primary reason employees quit is:
People leave managers, not companies.
Marcel Schwantes, while researching the topic of turnover, found that 50% of employees left their job “to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career.”
Keep in mind that as a new generation of workers comes of age, the issue of turnover will continue to grow. Many employees now look at their lives differently than workers did 20 and 30 years ago. Most value relationships above all else, and when a manager starts stealing their joy, they won’t hesitate to look for work elsewhere.
The workplace ladder is simply not as important to young workers today as in prior generations. Many are talented and capable, but will invariably choose a desirable manager over monetary or organizational rewards.
If you are concerned about retaining talented employees while also saving time and money in hiring and training costs, remember these top 4 reasons and the new trend that makes talented people quit. It could make keeping the great people you need a lot easier than you thought.
Mark Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 20 years of HR experience. Follow Mark on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
No matter where you work, Higher Education, Business, Ministry, Nonprofit work or a church, today’s workplace is changing almost daily. Now more than ever staying abreast to changes in Human Resources related issues is very important to you and your organization.
Thank you for visiting HR and Employment Law News provided by In HIS Name HR. We’re helping professionals navigate the HR legal landscape of the world of work. From the Affordable Care Act to changes in payroll compliance state by state, we bring you the most relevant stories affecting today’s workplaces.
So check out our weekly highlights on new workplace legislation, recent employment lawsuits and other important news for today’s human resources.
Here are our recent stories:
Social Media and Search Engine Optimization
This blog post is out of the ordinary. We are human resource experts not marketing or social media experts by any means. We have been asked way too many times and have had to explain in painstaking detail the same question:
How did In HIS Name HR climb to the top slot in Google’s search response to the query for “Christian Human Resources”
Having been peppered with this question from a wide array of sources, we decided to answer it here, and share our methodology.
Social media can be confusing to many people, but in reality it is very simple. Social media programs are nothing more than tools that allow like-minded people to communicate. What is critical to remember is that not all people use all programs. Therefore, to reach a large and diverse group of people, you need to reach them where they are, instead of hoping they’ll somehow stumble across you.
Many people make the mistake of only using Facebook, or Twitter, when they attempt to market their voice to the world. But what about all those people who use other social media programs instead, those who are not on Facebook or Twitter? If you rely only on those two platforms, you are essentially missing out on millions of potential people who won’t hear your message.
What you want to do is essentially send your same message out through all the various social media programs. However, you will need to tailor the way in which your message is sent out to accommodate the differing requirements or constraints of each social media platform.
To start, make sure what you present fits your voice—that is, how you want people to perceive you and your services. It is a combination of your mission, vision and values. Your voice can also be defined as a “niche” that you are working to create for your organization.
In just 6 short years we have been able to develop a strong social media audience.
We now have:
Over 17,000 followers on Twitter
Facebook Business Page now exceeds 3,100
Over 6,700 connections on LinkedIn
And our latest social media platform Instagram, now exceeds 3,000 plus followers
Wondering what is all behind the process of developing a High Performance Organization? Wonder no more. Check out our Infographic for those who learn by seeing.
Click here for a .pdf version: HPO Organization Infographic
Click here for a .pdf version: HPO Organization Infographic
Sometimes the best way for employees to develop an appreciation of what they have is to take a closer look at what other people have. I would like to introduce to one program that does just that.
Employee engagement is not only concerned with aligning employees to the goals and objectives of their organizations. Engagement can be just as much about aligning their hearts to the organization’s vision, a vision we hope has a Kingdom impact. Employees who perceive a greater good in what is being done in addition to their daily roles have a greater sense of purpose and satisfaction. All of us, at one time or another, have experienced that longing for a true sense of purpose. Having an engagement program that helps employees fill that void will benefit not only the organization, but also the world we live in.
Imagine a company that generates an impact not simply on one child’s life but an entire village.
Meet Elexio. Elexio makes a difference, not just in their Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania community, but also in Honduras. Today, we’ll talk to Jeff Hostetter, the CEO of Elexio, to learn more about their commitment to community,
Mark: Greetings, Jeff. It’s an honor to spend time with you this morning. We know already that you have a wonderful story to tell us about how you impact the world through employee engagement. But, first, please tell me a little bit about you, how you came to occupy your role as CEO of Elexio, and a little bit about the history of Elexio.
Jeff: Thanks, Mark. It’s a privilege to talk with you. I’m a simple guy who wants Christ to use him for His glory. Diane and I have been married for 24 years and have an 18-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter. In high school, I took two years of computer programming and got a job as a software developer at the age of 18. Software has been the track I’ve been on ever since. Along the way, support, sales, and leadership crossed my software path, and then, in 2008, I was asked to become CEO of Elexio. Elexio began in 2002 and, in 2009, we merged People Driven Software into Elexio.
Elexio provides church software for people to come to know Jesus. Exclusively for churches, we have a database, check-in, website CMS, mobile, and giving—all integrated. We help churches in all fifty states and in thirty-two countries. God continues to amaze us with what He has in store for us.
Mark: That’s a great story. I’m always intrigued by how organizations develop, grow, and change over time—how it all comes together. Let’s talk about the organization you support. What organization is it and when did you start supporting them?
Jeff: We have a strategic partnership with Compassion International that began in the fall of 2010.
Mark: Out of curiosity, why did you choose Compassion? Tell us a little bit about your selection process.
Jeff: I created a profile of the type of Kingdom-minded organization we were looking for, and then worked with our other leaders to finalize the profile. I shared it with our entire staff to ensure they had a picture of the ideal organization. Our criteria included items like: make a big impact in one location rather than a small impact in many places, involve our staff in more than just giving money, and to avoid being self-serving in any way, to name a few. I asked our staff to submit recommendations for organizations, and Compassion was the most highly recommended.
When I contacted Compassion and learned they had an established initiative for strategic partnerships with businesses, and that they matched our profile and beyond, I knew God was at work and this was meant to be.
Mark: How many children did your company ultimately sponsor?
Jeff: Praise God, we currently sponsor thirty-five children, all in the same church and community! We also work with the pastor of that local church, which partners with Compassion and cares for 225 children altogether. In 2012, through Compassion, we sponsored a Leadership Development Program (LDP) student.
Her name is Arely, and someone had sponsored her through Compassion in her younger years. Now we are sponsoring Arely through college at the University of Honduras, where she majors in computer science. Arely loves the church, computers, and software, so we have a lot in common.
Mark: Besides sponsoring children, in what other ways have you worked to tie employee engagement into this process?
Jeff: We have a big vision for this, so a few years ago we began inviting our staff to go to Honduras to meet their sponsored child. As giving money is available, we send a team to Honduras to visit our kids, their families, the church partner, and the pastor. We are hoping that, when it is time for Arely to do an internship, she can do her internship at Elexio, so that our staff can invest even more into Arely and growing her in her field.
Mark: Tell me how you engage employees to support Compassion.
Jeff: First, we setup a co-sponsorship where the staff person pays half of the monthly sponsorship and Elexio pays the other half. Sponsoring a child only costs $38 per month, so the staff member pays half, $19 per month. Since we pay our staff twice a month, it’s only $9.50 from each paycheck.
It’s an outstanding return for the investment. Also, a security wall was needed to protect the children, so Elexio decided to match dollar for dollar, the total of what our staff donated. Our staff raised $2000 so Elexio added another $2000 on top of that. Now, the security wall has been built and is protecting our sponsored children in the community. We have also helped our Honduran community get clean water and upgrade their electric service.
Mark: Many leaders miss the effect that positive employee engagement activities can have on an organization. Tell us in what ways your organization has been impacted by having adopted these types of employee engagement activities.
Jeff: It gives us another thing in common that we can rally around, share, and talk with each other about. Our team knows that, beyond the work they do at Elexio, they are making a difference in another country and, more important, in someone else’s life. Our team members write their children letters and also receive letters. It’s life changing for each child.
When a trip is coming and our staff has the opportunity to go or send gifts to their children, there is a buzz in the office because of the encouragement it will be to our long distance family in Honduras. As far as the gifts we send along, it is tough to manage our people’s generosity. It’s a good problem to have.
Mark: What suggestions do you have for other organizations that are interested in adopting policies of employee engagement in order to make a difference in the world?
Jeff: Create a profile of what an ideal employee engagement might look like for your team and make sure there’s nothing about it that’s self-serving or a marketing tactic. Involve your team in the process and strategic planning. Focus on fewer initiatives and make a big impact in those initiatives. This also builds momentum. Remember, it’s not an expense, it’s an investment, so put time and capital into it. God may surprise you with the ROI.
Mark: Jeff, thanks so much for spending the time and sharing your insights with us today, despite your busy schedule. We do appreciate it. By sharing this, we hope to encourage other great organizations to follow your example, and to build Kingdom-minded organizations through their human resources practices, encouraging activities with meaningful aspects, like solid employee engagement programs such as yours.
Mark Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 20 years of HR experience. Follow Mark on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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