Dress Code

Appropriate Attire

You Can’t Wear That!

Another update from the Jungle….

Bob enjoyed his vacation so much that he hated to come back to work.  Today he showed up still dressed for the beach.  Cindy, the HR manager, was aghast and choked on a mouthful of coffee when she caught a glimpse of Bob passing in the hallway.

Bob is the star salesman for the company and an all-around good guy. He’s an extrovert who tells good jokes. He has a way of talking to people that makes each individual feel valued. But he’s also a bit of a rebel and he’ll stretch the rules because he knows he’s privileged due to his sales ability. Cindy likes Bob and she usually cuts him some slack when he bends the rules.

Now she’s having heart palpitations, not in a good way, because she just saw Bob walking down the hall looking like an episode of Magnum, PI.  He’s wearing a very loud Hawaiian shirt, flip flops, and very short shorts.

Cindy spent two years convincing the socially conservative company president that relaxing the dress code during the summer months would be good for morale. The president only recently accepted the notion that women’s work attire can include pants suits or slacks, a concept most companies adopted in the 1970’s. To convince him to loosen the rules, she had to create detailed lists of clothing that is appropriate as business casual.

Cindy suspects the president will have an apoplectic fit if he sees Bob’s current wardrobe choice. Cindy drops her coffee mug and chases Bob down the hall to invite him into her office for a quiet chat.

What are Cindy’s options?

  1. She can ask Bob where he bought his clothes so that she can upgrade her husband’s wardrobe for their August vacation.
  2. She can send Bob home with instructions to change his clothes. Of course, there is no guarantee Bob will follow her instructions or return later today.
  3. She can review the business casual definition with Bob and ask why he is not complying with it. She can always hope that he has an acceptable excuse for ignoring the rules.

At this time of year, many companies struggle with the definition of “business casual”.   Striking the balance between comfort and professionalism will vary by company but should reflect the company’s image or brand.

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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Casual Wear Starts Today!

Another update from the Jungle….

It’s hot and getting hotter as summer blasts into the area. Employees are grumpy and frumpy because they’re sweating even with the air conditioning going full blast. Justin almost strangles when his tie catches in a portable fan as he leans over a co-worker’s desk to flirt.  But help is on the way.

1Dolores, the HR rep, has a clever plan to help her co-workers. The company is run by conservative guys in suits who want everyone to be as uncomfortable they are.  But finally after years of negotiations, Dolores convinces the suits to allow casual wear during summer.

Dolores sends an email to her co-workers explaining the new policy. Privately, she congratulates herself on her negotiating skills. Alas, Dolores is a bit naïve about human nature even after years in the trenches of HR representation.

2The first day of the new policy, Betty shows up in a sun dress that gives a new meaning to “sheer”.  Dolores can’t help but notice when Betty crosses the room in front of the windows.  Dolores orders Betty to stay away from the windows for the rest of the day and to hide from the suits.  She makes a note in her special file that Betty could benefit from a long pointless training seminar at a great location like Buffalo in February or Houston in August.

The next day, Justin shows up in a golf shirt, plaid shorts and flip-flops. When Dolores says business casual does not mean flip-flops, he whips out her email and asks her to point to the part saying he can’t wear flip-flops. That afternoon Dolores adds another note in her special file to tell Justin’s boss that Justin is now ready to handle the most time consuming and difficult clients that can be found.

By the end of the first week, Dolores is depressed and disillusioned. The new casual wear policy could get her fired. She sits at home slumped in her favorite chair watching re-runs of the Andy Griffith Show as she ponders her next move.

What should Dolores do next?

  1. She can recommend that the casual wear policy be rescinded since few co-workers are showing any common sense.
  2. She can revise the policy to include an extensive and detailed list of what is “not appropriate”.   
  3. She can avoid making a decision by taking a long vacation in Antarctica to watch penguins waddle over the ice.    4

The above scenario is based on several actual incidents. In each case, the business casual policy was revised to add examples of acceptable attire.   

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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Halloween is a Scream

Another update from the Jungle….
image039Nicole is the HR manager for her company and she’s had a tough time for the past few years. Her company avoided layoffs but they haven’t given pay raises in years. Nicole tries to find other ways to boost employee morale.

This month’s morale booster is a Halloween party on the Friday closest to October 31st. Nicole emails employees encouraging them to come in their favorite costumes and compete for prizes. Poor Nicole! Even after years of experience in the HR world, she’s still a bit naïve.

Her email has barely hit the company’s intranet when Steve slouches in to her office to complain that he won’t attend the party if he has to wear a costume. He also demands that suitable adult beverages be served at the party. Nicole isn’t that naïve. She vetoes alcohol.

Then Ruth walks into her office to say that her church forbids Halloween parties because they encourage worship of the devil. She threatens to sue for religious discrimination if she’s forced to attend the party. Ruth also says that competing for prizes is gambling which is prohibited by her faith, state law, and the employee handbook.

After a quick review of company policy, Nicole concludes that prizes of nominal value won’t result in her arrest, so she forges
image042 ahead with her party plans. Friday arrives and Nicole decorates the break room with the help an elf, a 1930’s railroad hobo, and a clown. Then she rewards herself with a glass of (non-alcoholic) punch as she watches the employees file in for the party.

Suddenly, her glass of punch slips from her hand and she stifles a scream as she watches Tina sashay into the break room. Tina is wearing three-inch stiletto heels and a scanty outfit modeled on Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.

What should Nicole do next?

  1. She can ask Steve to find the nearest liquor store and buy her a restorative drink to help her recover from the shock of seeing Tina.
  2. She can award Tina the prize for most innovative costume.
  3. She can escort Tina from the break room before the president sees his CIO decked out like a (high end) call girl.

Has your company ever held a holiday party that went awry? Stay tuned for more adventures as Nicole navigates through the holiday season this year.

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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They Didn’t Like Her Looks

Another update from the Jungle….

unnamed (9)Alana walked into the break room to refill her coffee mug and stumbled into a raging war. A group of co-workers were arguing about the merits of the presidential candidates. Alana sidled toward the coffee maker regretting that she didn’t send her assistant to check if the coast was clear.

The political argument covered familiar ground. Several co-workers scoffed that Carly Fiorina is ugly and unattractive and so she shouldn’t be president. Another co-worker chimed in criticizing the physical appearance and business sense of Hilary Clinton. Both women were criticized for fashion faux pas.

Aside from a few cracks about Donald Trump’s hair, the male candidates were judged on their prior experience and ideas.
The argument focused on the conservative credentials of the male candidates but no one criticized their suits or their ties.

Alana grabbed her mug and trudged back to her office reflecting that some things never seem to change. The AP 2016 BUSH CLINTON FUNDRAISING A ELN USA NYwomen candidates are judged on their physical appearance and not their ideas or abilities. Alana thought about other women presidential candidates. In 1972, Shirley Chisholm’s campaign was dismissed with a smile. In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro’s qualifications as a vice presidential candidate were buried under stories about her husband’s alleged Mafia connections. (He was Italian-American from New York and owned a construction business.)

Alana’s the HR director for her company and she conducts many interviews to screen job applicants. The interviews require her to judge job candidates based on appearance, how well they prepare for the interview and their prior work experience. Inevitably, some job candidates lose the chance to move to the next stage of the hiring process because they don’t look or act “right” in the initial interview.

Alana knows that rejecting a job candidate almost always involves her biases, good and bad. She also knows that there are many ways to explain why a candidate was rejected that appear neutral and unbiased.

What should Alana do next?

  1. She can resign her job and go live in a cave with no wi-fi until after the presidential election next November.
  2. She can create a new HR policy banning political discussions in the break room.
  3. She can accept the reality that we are judged on our appearance and recognize how her personal biases influence her hiring recommendations.

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 Slob Next Door

Another update from the Jungle….

image017

Judy was excited about her new job. She targeted the company for employment after reading the corporate social responsibility blurb on their company website. During the interviewing process, the HR people seemed impressed by her accomplishments and she was impressed by their description of the charitable causes supported by the company.

Judy moved into a cubicle with a window view (of the parking lot) and prepared to work for a company with a conscience. Judy set to work with energy and enthusiasm, sure that she had found the perfect employer. But, alas for Judy, the dream job quickly ended. A slob moved into the cubicle next to hers.

The slob’s cubicle overflowed with work papers, empty candy bar wrappers and gum wrappers. The slob guzzled caffeinated drinks all day and left the empty cans lying around his cubicle, creating a sticky mess that oozed into the corridor between rows of cubicles.image021

All those caffeinated drinks also made the slob twitchy. He thumped and bumped against the cubicle walls so that Judy sat in a mini earthquake zone. The slob listened to music on his iPhone but even with headphones, everyone in a ten-foot radius could clearly hear the music. The slob often cracked his gum in time to the music.

Judy made several attempts to politely ask the slob to turn down the volume on the iPhone, to not crack his gum, and to not hit the wall between their cubicles. Each time the slob apologized but promptly ignored her requests. Finally, Judy asked her boss to move her to a cubicle far away from the slob. Her boss told her to ask HR.

The HR rep said no other cubicles were available. She implied that Judy was not a team player after Judy pointed out that the slob was violating several HR policies on cubicle etiquette. Then the HR rep suggested that Judy should try to “work something out” with the slob. Judy left the HR meeting convinced that no one in authority cared about the slob next door.

What are Judy’s options?

  1. She can train the slob the same way she trained her dog, spraying him with water each time he engages in “bad” behavior.
  2. She can learn meditation techniques to help her deal calmly with the slob.
  3. She can ask whether she wants to work for a company that brags about corporate responsibility while allowing a slob to ignore company policy and annoy co-workers.

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.

Download my FREE eBook today! Click here! 

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The Right Person for the Job

Another update from the Jungle….
image013Wanda owns a small company and she’s preparing for her next round of job interviews.  She hates the interviewing and hiring process. It takes a lot of time away from running her business and the results can be iffy.

The last few batches of job applicants she interviewed left much to be desired. One job applicant said that if he was hired, he would need to take time off to fix a “mix up” about his probation. Another asked if a job offer was contingent on passing a drug test.  Another applicant candidly admitted he didn’t want the job but had to perform a job hunt in order to keep his unemployment benefits.  After that interview, Wanda tottered home and had an extra-large glass of wine
image016 with her dinner.

In the last batch of job applicants the only one showing real promise was a biker dude with prison tattoos. Heshowed up on time, was polite and actually asked relevant questions about the job duties.  Even though the biker dude lacked many of the job skills she was seeking, she immediately offered him the job because he seemed willing to learn.

But Wanda knows that she can’t continue such a hit or miss process. She needs to find a better method for hiring new employees.

What are Wanda’s options?

  1. She can reconsider what she’s looking for by ensuring the job description accurately reflects the job duties. It’s difficult to hire the “right” employee with the wrong job description.
  2. She can outsource much of the hiring process which will save her time. Of course, the staffing agency will need an accurate description of the job duties in order to find appropriate applicants for the job.
  3. She can rely more on referrals from friends, family and current employees as they understand her business are more likely to refer suitable candidates for job openings.

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.

Download my FREE eBook today! Click here! 

Click here to join the HR Compliance Jungle today.

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We Need Employees….But We Have No Employee Policies

Another update from the HR Jungle…

Abigail and Bob started their business five years ago after being downsized from corporate jobs. Until recently they were the only employees, working long hours and outsourcing specific tasks to free-lancers (a/k/a independent contractors).

Now they want to add employees to prepare for several new customers. They believe replacing the free-lancers with employees will allow them to streamline processes, speed up response times and become more profitable.

As refugees from corporate America they want to avoid bogging down in bureaucracy but they also know they need some administrative structure. Hiring employees involves creating human resources policies to ensure that all employees are treated the same.

What should Abigail and Bob do next?

1. They should identify all the tasks to be performed by the newly hired employees so that accurate job descriptions can be created.
2. They must decide the details of everything from a dress code to what benefits should be offered.

Abigail and Bob are smart, educated individuals who can research HR issues and create an HR department from scratch. Or they can delegate this activity in order to free up their time to focus on growing their business. Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help them create their HR department and then serve as a resource for the HR manager.

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