Month: August 2018

That’s So Yesterday!

 Another update from the Jungle…

Robyn is the newest employee and she’s super excited about her new job. She was relieved to get a job offer because she was afraid she had blown the interview by exclaiming “Awesome!” too often. More importantly, her student loan grace period was expiring.

unnamed-74Of course, there is a downside to being the only millennial in the office. The first time she mentioned Instagram, an absolutely ancient co-worker, Clay, reminisced about his Kodak Instamatic camera. They stared blankly at each other across a technical gap much wider than the difference in their ages.

When Clay realized that Robyn wouldn’t burst out laughing, as his grandchildren often do, he began pelting her with questions. A crowd gathered as Robyn gave him a tutorial on the social media apps his grandchildren talk about. Finally, Clay leaned back in his seat, sighed, and admitted he was glad that he’d soon be old enough to retire and not worry about all this tech stuff.

unnamed-72Arlene, in the next-door cubicle, confided that she is addicted to Facebook. Robyn bottled up her giggles, almost bursting an eardrum, because her mother taught her to be polite to her elders. Robyn rarely checks Facebook anymore; it’s so yesterday.

Word has spread that Robyn can fix things. Every day, she fixes the digital display of someone’s smartphone. At least once a week, Clay asks her to fix his laptop. Clay never learned to type and he has thick fingers. Consequently, he often hits the wrong key. After the third or fourth “damn,” he bangs away at the keyboard until the laptop freezes up. That’s when he yells over the cubicle wall to Robyn.

unnamed-69Robyn has technical challenges too. She is embarrassed by the company’s outdated website and is desperate to upgrade it before her friends notice. She’s also volunteered to do daily social media posts after realizing the company does zero internet-based marketing. The HR manager knows that Robyn is getting frustrated and is desperate to keep her with the company.

How can the HR manager help Robyn?

  1. She can ensure that she has first dibs on Robyn’s technical help because she also has trouble with her smart phone apps.
  2. She can encourage Robyn to develop a side business as a social media consultant.
  3. She can urge the company owner to create a new digital marketing position for Robyn which will also help the company’s bottom line.  

The above scenario represents countless workplaces these days as millennials begin exerting their influence. HR can help integrate millennials by updating job descriptions to reflect the new technical skills needed in the workplace and by including them in succession planning.

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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A Flawed Hero

Welcome to the first installment of my new history blog. This blog, which will range over centuries and continents, looks at people and events that fascinate me. I’m beginning with a 20th-century soldier who was also a lawyer.

Blair Mayne photo

© IWM

Robert Blair “Paddy” Mayne was born in 1915 in Northern Ireland. In the late 1930’s, he was a professional rugby player, legendary for his ferocity on and off the playing field. He would often sneak out of the team’s hotel to go drinking. The night usually ended in a brawl with other patrons of the pub.

Mayne might be remembered only as the bad boy of Irish rugby if not for World War II. He immediately enlisted in the Royal Ulster Rifles, a conventional military unit. Not surprisingly, he didn’t fit in well. Fortunately for Mayne, the Special Air Service (SAS) was created in 1941 and he immediately transferred to it.

The SAS was the brainchild of David Stirling, another misfit serving in a conventional British unit. His idea was to take a small mobile force behind enemy lines in the North African desert to attack enemy supply lines and Luftwaffe airfields. His idea was accepted because in 1941 the British were losing more often than winning.

51HMfH-930L._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_SAS recruits were trained as paratroopers. They did most of their training on the ground due to a lack of aircraft for training missions. How do you train a paratrooper without jumping out of an airplane? Paddy Mayne is credited with the solution: recruits jumped out of a jeep or truck moving at 30 mph while wearing full-kit (120 pounds).

After training, SAS personnel disappeared into the desert to begin attacking German airfields. A typical attack began with a few men infiltrating the enemy airfield and planting explosives on the planes. In the next phase of the attack, a larger unit would drive on to the airfield in jeeps to strafe the enemy troops responding to the bombs.

2484339_orig_Paddy Mayne's medals

© IWM

When not in combat, Mayne continued his drinking and brawling habits. His insubordinate, hard-living behavior is believed to be the reason he was never awarded the Victoria Cross (the British equivalent of the Congressional Medal of Honor). After the war, he returned to his career as a solicitor.

Paddy Mayne is a fascinating man because of his contradictions. He was almost superhumanly brave in combat. But he never overcame the demons that triggered his drinking and brawling. He died in a road accident at the age of 40.

His exploits with the SAS are covered in Rogue Heroes (seen above) by Ben Macintyre (2016).

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.

Interested in reading more highlights from history like this one? I’m building a whole new blog for them! It’s coming soon, but in the meantime, be sure to sign up to receive emails with each new blog. Sign up here!

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Who Will Be the Lucky Winner?

Another update from the Jungle…

The anticipation is killing everyone in the office—except Kate. Two months ago, her boss Steve announced he was finally retiring (and about time, according to some co-workers). Now, several co-workers are desperately campaigning for his job.

unnamed-59Kate doesn’t want the job. She has years of supervisory experience, but she’s no longer interested in riding herd on a bunch of people who are used to doing whatever they want. She still intends to enjoy the show as others compete to replace Steve; corporate succession fights are as ferocious as mixed martial arts fights, only with fewer rules.

Matt shows up every day in neatly pressed slacks and a shirt, instead of his usual t-shirt and jeans. He’s even traded in his dirty sneakers for a less battered pair of loafers. He is sucking up to the Board of Directors with gift cards, lunch dates and leather-bound notebooks extolling his brilliance.

Matt doesn’t know that Walter anonymously forwarded to every board member a video from an old Christmas party of Matt gyrating around the dance floor modeling various women’s garments. Walter had saved a copy for an emergency just like this. Walter doesn’t want the job; he just doesn’t want Matt to get the job.

unnamed-61Meanwhile, Kim bustles around clutching her iPad with a thoughtful frown. She’s trying to look authoritative, which isn’t easy to pull off when you’re barely five feet tall and weigh less than a fully-grown German shepherd. She proclaims to everyone that it’s time a woman was given the job.

Her pitch spooks the board chair into believing she’s a militant feminist out to destroy older white men such as himself.

unnamed-64Every morning, Kate braces for the stream of excited co-workers who stop by to tell her their theories on who should replace Steve. Their gossip updates Kate on the shifting alliances among her co-workers.

How should Kate respond to all the gossiping?

  • She can pack a sandwich and a six-pack to enjoy while she watches her co-workers destroy each other.
  • She can take notes so that she has more material for the bodice-ripper novel she hopes will make her rich and famous.
  • She can remain the confidante of her co-workers, functioning as a safety valve for the emotional rollercoaster that happens during succession battles.

unnamed-62In the actual situation, an outsider was hired to replace “Steve” leading to an exodus of disappointed internal applicants, and a new round of alliances to win favor with the new guy.  Office politics will remain a standard workplace feature as long as human nature remains the same.

HR can mitigate the damage caused by office politicking by encouraging senior management to set clear criteria on the qualifications and process for hiring.

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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