Month: June 2016

The Original Dream Team

Another update from the Jungle….

Alexander Hamilton is big news these days thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical. Miranda’s musical is an excellent introduction to a key member of the dream team that created our country. As July 4th approaches, it’s a good time to reflect on the dream team and on Hamilton.

4Hamilton epitomizes so much of what it means to be an American. He was an immigrant who spoke several languages. He arrived in New York with no money and no family or friends, but plenty of ambition. He worked odd jobs while obtaining a college degree from what is now Columbia University and eventually became a successful lawyer in New York City.

Hamilton is the only truly self-made man among the founders of the U.S. The other founders including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, and John Jay were all from established families in the upper social tier of society.

3These men (women were excluded) were the ultimate dream team, at least in hindsight. In real life, Hamilton was impetuous and impatient with people he thought mentally slower than himself. Adams was perpetually offended by anyone who disagreed with him. Jefferson rarely confronted anyone but egged on others to do the partisan sniping for him.

They held wildly different ideas about the type of government they wanted to create. They fought bitterly over state’s rights versus federal power and personal liberties versus state security. Rising above the often vicious disagreements was George Washington. He kept the team focused on their ultimate goal: to create a strong country that could take its place among other nations.

5They were a dream team because after all the disagreements they compromised, creating checks and balances to distribute power between the federal and state governments and to protect the rights of citizens from governmental intrusion. Today we still fight bitterly over these same issues. But thanks to the original dream team, we have a political framework, the Constitution, which allows us to disagree without ripping our country apart.

As you celebrate July 4th salute the dream team that created the U.S.

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

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Fairness Doesn’t Matter

Another update from the Jungle….

Alyssa is a lawyer in the corporate legal department of her employer. She was hired because of the scope of her experience. Or so she was told.  It doesn’t take Alyssa too long to figure out that her prior experience is irrelevant, even a handicap.

Alyssa is1 assigned to work with the HR department because the other lawyers don’t want to. She inherits a file cabinet full of pending EEOC discrimination claims.  Another giant file cabinet contains investigation notes of employee theft cases. Apparently anything not too big or nailed down tight is carried off by employees.  

Alyssa sees immediately that the employee problems arise from the attitude of the 4management team. Most of the senior managers are related to the owner and take their cue from him. He brags of paying rock bottom wages while simultaneously complaining that he’s stuck with stupid employees who lack initiative.

Alyssa’s prior experience with corporate risk programs leads her to believe that the company needs more insurance to cover employee problems. She recommends an increase in their employment practices liability insurance coverage.  That’s when Alyssa’s own employment problems begin.

3Alyssa receives an email from Tess, the company owner’s daughter and newest senior executive.  Tess is a wicked witch who bullies subordinates with obscenity-laced tirades and hates anyone she suspects is more knowledgeable than her. Now Tess insists that she will make the final call on the new insurance limits.

Alyssa gives Tess a summary of the current insurance coverage, the recommended new limits, and the renewal deadline. Tess repeatedly asks for new quotes while ignoring the insurance broker’s and Alyssa’s reminders of the deadline for binding new coverage. Hours before the old coverage 6expires, Tess finally agrees to the new coverage limits.

The next day, Tess accuses Alyssa of endangering the company’s insurance program by deliberately delaying information from the insurance broker.  When Alyssa points out that the insurance broker copied both of them on all emails, Tess launches into her usual obscenity-laden meltdown.

What should Alyssa do next?

  1. She can continue arguing with Tess that the accusations are unfair and unjust but will never win the argument.
  2. She can walk away from Tess and immediately make a complaint to the HR department about the bullying incident.   
  3. She can accept that she was never the right fit for the company and move on to a new employer.    

In the actual situation, the accused employee used her employment law knowledge to negotiate a severance package and moved on to a happier workplace.   

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

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You Want to Do What?

Another update from the Jungle….

Marcia is the HR manager for her company. She often feels that she’s in a never-ending battle to balance management and employee expectations. Managers think employees lack loyalty to the company. Employees think the company doesn’t care about them; their most recent proof is the giant increase in employee contributions for health insurance.

Marcia endures almost daily requests from managers begging her to find ways to build employee morale and loyalty. Occasionally managers come up with their own morale building ideas. Some of the kookiest ideas come from Roger, her least favorite manager.

June 16.1

Roger likes to search the internet for management techniques that he can implement with his subordinates. His bosses like his initiative because they aren’t directly affected by his actions. Roger’s bosses also don’t see him every day and so are unaware of his general obnoxiousness.

Roger’s subordinates, meanwhile, suffer through meetings where he drones on about the latest management theories while incessantly snapping his pen or drumming his fingers on the table, his coffee mug, or his chair arm. Roger also thinks he’s invisible when making bodily adjustments, something his female subordinates find particularly gross and disgusting.

June 16.2Roger’s latest internet research leads him to 360 performance reviews. He reads the reviews about building team spirit and ignores the commentary cautioning that corporate culture can affect the outcome. The next day he marches into Marcia’s office to demand 360 performance reviews for his people.

Marcia stares at Roger in blank amazement. He isn’t obviously insane so she decides to give to him exactly what he’s asked for. She can’t resist chortling privately as she hands out the forms to each employee.

June 16.3A couple of weeks later Marcia reads what Roger’s employees have to say about him. As expected, they’ve vented their frustrations about his annoying personal habits and being treated as lab rats for his management theories. The reviews are so brutal she feels sorry for him. She invites Roger to her office for a private chat.

What should Marcia say to him?

1. She can soften the blow to Roger’s ego by giving him an edited summary of what his employees think of him.

2. She can give him the unedited results and watch his ego deflate.

3. She can tell him that his brilliance is wasted at a branch location and encourage him to apply for a job at headquarters.

June 16The old adage to “be careful what you wish for” applies to business as well as individuals. HR policies are most successful when they are carefully considered before being implemented.

 

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

 

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The Peter Principle Strikes Again

Another update from the Jungle…

Addison is the HR manager for her company and she usually likes her job. Each day is different as co-workers find new and inventive ways to get themselves into difficulties.  

Addison has a double espresso each morning to fortify herself for the latest adventures. But Addison’s toughest employee sitjune 6-3uation doesn’t involve the usual employee misadventures. It involves Don, one of the division managers. Don is a nice, inoffensive guy who is liked by everyone. He is also destroying his division.

 

june 6-4

Don’s career started promisingly enough. He graduated from college with honors and immediately was hired by the company.  He’s technically proficient and his attention to detail is legendary. In fact, he often gets so wrapped up in the details that he forgets about deadlines.

A year ago, Don’s superiors looked for someone who could do the work, but never threaten their position in the company. They ignored Don’s immediate supervisor who pointed out that Don has the social skills of a person reared by wolves. Regardless, Don was promoted.

Immediately, the damage was obvious to anyone paying attention.june 6-6

In his first staff meeting, Don enthusiastically talked about a magazine article he’d read which described how blue whales communicate. His subordinates sat listening in stunned disbelief. After all, the purpose of the meeting was to discuss new sales metrics for their division.

Don’s first staff meeting turns out to be a high point on the road to destruction. The cleverest and most marketable employees are bailing out to join competitors. One woman is so affected by her experiences that she is now a novice Buddhist nun in Nepal.

Addison struggles to contain thejune 6-5 damage caused by Don’s incredibly inept leadership. She’s convinced that Don is aware of his shortcomings as a leader but he won’t admit it. She asks for a meeting with senior management.

What should Addison tell the senior managers?

  1. She can provide examples of Don’s ineffective leadership and suggest that he be replaced by someone with better “people” skills.
  2. She can request management training for Don to help him improve his leadership skills.  
  3. She can demand a pay raise and a bigger budget to hire replacements for the employees chased off by Don’s lousy management skills.    

june 6-2In the actual situation, senior management remained happy with the ineffective manager. He kept his job until he was undermined and then replaced by his most ambitious subordinate. He happily continued to work and was deeply relieved to no longer have supervisory responsibilities.

 

 

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

 

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Ebook Link:  https://njshirk12.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/skh-employee-theft.pdf

I’m Bored by My Job

Another update from the Jungle….

 

1Corrie is bored with her job. It hasn’t challenged her skills in years or put her in line for a promotion.  She’s tried to find other jobs but the truth is that she’s unlikely to get a big enough salary increase to offset the loss of her current benefits package.

 

 

5To pass the time and alleviate her boredom, she creates imaginary scenarios for her job.  When her boss gives her a new assignment, she pretends its part of a great military plan, like Operation Overlord.  She imagines herself working in a small office in London, helping plan the D-Day invasion.

 

2When she takes a business trip, she pretends she’s an agent dropped into occupied France to support the French Resistance. As she drives, she thinks of the highway patrol as roving bands of collaborators looking for Resistance workers they can arrest and interrogate. When she checks in to a hotel, she scouts the lobby for exits in case she needs to beat a quick retreat from a Gestapo raid.

It’s all rather harmless fun and it helps to pass the time in a job that has long since ceased to challenge her intellectually. Before she unleashed her imagination, Corrie struggled to find meaning in her job. She volunteered for extra assignments to broaden her skills and make new contacts.

4But Corrie stopped caring after the management team downsized the workforce. She’s survived several staff reductions since the first big cull of the herd by keeping her head down and her opinions to herself. She no longer volunteers for special projects but her past volunteerism means her boss considers her a “team player” and Corrie thinks that’s helped her keep her job.

Corrie’s low morale and disengagement is matched by most of her co-workers.  Management tries to raise morale with team building exercises, like the time they insisted everyone had to go play laser tag. (All the senior managers were “killed” within half an hour, boosting morale among all other workers.)

What could this company do differently to rebuild employee engagement?

  1. The company could do a one-off pay increase which would engage workers who are motivated by money.
  2. The company could allow 4 hours a pay period for each employee to work on a project that motivates the employee, such as volunteering for a non-profit.
  3. The company could create a cross-training program in which employees transfer temporarily to a different job or department to learn new skills.

The above scenario is based on actual job experiences. However, all identifying information has been removed to protect everyone involved. 

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

 

Ebook Link

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