Uncategorized

Back to the Office

Becky is actually looking forward to getting back to the office now that the Covid-19 lockdown has eased.  If she reads one more e-book downloaded from the public library or binge watches one more show on Netflix, her head may explode.  Whatever lurks at the office doesn’t seem as dreadful as continuing to stay at home.

Not that she has been living a life of leisure, of course. As the HR manager for the company, she is now an experienced organizer of Zoom meetings with Bob the owner and with employees.  She even visited the office a couple of times to track the progress of the cleaning crew as they deep cleaned the office.

So this morning, Becky awoke to the alarm for the first time in two months.  Then she had to dig an old pair of stretchy slacks out of the bag destined for Goodwill donations.  Who knew that reading books and binge watching TV could be so detrimental to the waistline? A quick look in the mirror revealed limp hair with dark roots. She briefly cursed the government men who thought gun shops were an essential service, but not hair salons. What kind of idiot believes that, she wondered as she wrapped her hair in a scarf and grabbed a homemade mask on her way out the door?   

The commute felt odd after two months at home. She arrived at the parking lot and pulled into a space near Paula’s SUV.  Paula wore a face mask and plastic gloves. She was busy donning a homemade hazmat suit consisting of garbage bags held together with duct tape.

As Becky emerged from her car and waved, Paula shrieked at her to maintain social distance.  Becky lowered her head and trotted toward the building.  In the lobby, a nurse ordered her to stop at the blue tape line for a temperature reading and to answer a couple of questions. After a short delay, the nurse waved her through with a reminder to avoid crowded elevators.

Becky dumped her purse at her desk and strolled around the office.  She had spent hours of Zoom meetings with Bob the owner and the IT guy rejigging the office layout in the hopes of keeping everyone six feet apart.  Every workstation had a box of tissues and hand sanitizer.

A quick check of the bathrooms showed they were well-stocked with toilet paper, soap and hand sanitizers, and paper towels. 

Employees began sidling into the office, like bears emerging from hibernation, unsure what awaited them.  Becky returned to her desk to find several messages from employees who were too afraid to come to the office. Sighing, Becky sat down and started her work day. 

If your company has questions about bringing staff back to the office, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help.  Whether it means reassuring employees that it is safe to return or revising policies to allow continued telecommuting, we’re here as a resource for your staff.

Ebook Link

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/

Beyond Covid-19

At the moment, the covid-19 crisis rages on.  Almost every day there is a new directive telling us to stay at home or extending the length of time to remain at home, but the covid-19 pandemic will eventually recede and a new normal will be established. 

Whatever the new normal brings now is a good time to think about how to cope with the next crisis.  There’s always a next crisis as any HR professional or business owner will attest. To jumpstart your modeling of how to handle a future crisis, here’s a couple of case studies.

 Hershey’s bittersweet chocolate

Many years ago, Hershey decided to upgrade their technology to link their chocolate factories to their suppliers and to the retail locations selling Hershey’s candy.  Here’s how it was supposed to work. When a customer bought a bag of Hershey’s Kisses, an electronic message would be sent to the factory so that more candy could be made. Simultaneously, the factory would electronically notify the suppliers to deliver more sugar and cocoa to the factory.

Hershey decided to flip the switch on their new integrated supply chain system as stores were preparing for Valentine’s Day and Easter chocolate sales.  The system crashed. Store shelves quickly emptied of Hershey’s chocolates without being replenished. Hershey had no backup plan or workarounds because no one expected such a colossal failure.  Hershey’s dominance of U.S. chocolate sales has never fully recovered.

ZFS insurance fail

In the 1990’s, Zurich Financial Services (ZFS) decided to buy an insurance company based in the U.K.  During the due diligence phase of the acquisition, the IT staff noted that the English and Swiss companies used very different computer technology. In plain terms, the two IT systems couldn’t “talk” to each other.  For a variety of reasons, the business leaders plowed ahead anyway, apparently expecting IT to overcome the programming issues by the date of the merger.

The deal closed on time and the management team uncorked champagne to celebrate.  But IT was still nowhere close to finding a technology solution. The system crashed.  English customers received multiple monthly invoices or no invoices or random cancellation notices.  The ZFS bottom line took a huge hit as the company endured regulatory investigations, its English subsidiary lost market share leading to staff reductions, and the company paid for a massive IT upgrade.

The moral of the (case study) story:  Disaster planning depends less on the size of the company than on the willingness to imagine the worst case scenario.  Effective disaster planning begins with the recognition that an epic fail is always an option.

If your company is struggling with all the changes required by the new normal, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you adapt your HR policies for telecommuting workers and to prepare for the next disaster.

Ebook Link

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/

Commuting to the Kitchen  

I’ve worked from a home office for years and enjoyed it.  The business overhead is low and the commute is fantastic. I can be in the office within a minute. 

Of course, the quick commute has its perils. My commute takes me through the kitchen and I love to cook.  It’s too easy to avoid work projects that may take hours to complete in order to begin working on a recipe that will take hours to complete. 

But working from home feels different at the moment.  The internet is slowing to a crawl as more people work from home or binge watch TV while they can still afford subscription fees.  The panic buying at the grocery store feels like a disaster movie.  Buy toilet paper before the shark shows up and the avalanche crashes down the mountain!

If you’re new to telecommuting, take a little break with your favorite beverage to consider a few survival tips.

  1. Do the work that pays the bills first.  That means practicing self-discipline by setting regular work hours.  If you don’t, you’ll be up at 2 am feverishly working on that big project before the boss figures out that you’ve spent the week sprawled on the couch drinking beer and eating nachos while binge watching movies.    
  2. Pretend there’s a timed lock, like on a bank’s vault, on the fridge and the pantry.  Let’s be honest. Self-discipline only works for so long and the kitchen is right there and it’s full of good stuff.  The weighty truth about the freedom of working remotely is that it may take weeks to shed the results of commuting through the kitchen.
  3. Don’t despair parents. The government will eventually take pity on you and reopen the schools.  Show your gratitude with a gift for the little darling’s teacher. 
  4. Turn off the news. Credible news sources are giving us fact-based reports about the coronavirus, but the news biz is a for-profit industry. Even credible news sources engage in sensationalist headlines, like barkers at a circus side show, to attract an audience.  Or to put it another way, too much news will have you reaching for an extra helping of mashed potatoes or another six-pack.   
  5. Telecommuters are darned lucky to have jobs that can be done from home.  Many low wage jobs from hospitality to nursing homes to gas stations and grocery stores can’t be done remotely.  These workers are facing either no income or a higher risk of infection for themselves and their families.

If your company is struggling with all the changes required by our rather scary new world, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you adapt your HR policies for telecommuting workers and continuing work during a disaster. We will be a resource for your staff as the policies are implemented.

Ebook Link

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/

The Sky Is Falling!

Carla dreads going to work these days because her co-workers have gone crazy.  She hears the shark music as she nears the office door.   Everyone is in a tizzy about the coronavirus or the stock market meltdown or both.

Last week, Reba breathlessly announced that everyone was doomed because the coronavirus had invaded America.  Rick claimed the coronavirus is a myth made up by shadowy deep state operators aiming to replace the government with a socialist system that will outlaw fantasy football. Everyone ignored Rick because it’s common knowledge he often forgets to take his meds.    

Last Thursday Reba and Caroline went to lunch and disappeared for half a day.   They triumphantly returned at quitting time to gloat about fighting off other shoppers to nab the last ten packages of toilet paper on the store shelf.  On Friday, Teresa bragged of snagging ten pounds of dried beans and five gallons of milk at the grocery store on the way home the night before.  Teresa’s lactose intolerant and she sheepishly admitted that her husband profanely refuses to drink a gallon a day to avoid spoilage.

A new week has brought fresh hysteria. This morning Reba dashed through the office announcing that Rick had the coronavirus.  Co-workers shrieked and ran away as Rick approached making him wonder if he had forgotten to use deodorant that morning.  Caroline ran into Scott’s office sobbing and demanding to go home because she didn’t want to die. 

That’s when Scott blew a gasket. Scott’s the owner of the company.  He’s been so busy running the company he wasn’t paying attention to what was going on outside his office door.  Scott privately believes he spends too much of his managerial time wondering what the heck is going on. 

He yelled at Caroline to stop being a baby. Then he demanded to know what the heck had happened. The answer left him apoplectic.  It turns out that Rick was eating his usual donuts for breakfast when some of the powdered sugar blew up his nose.  Reba heard him sneezing and coughing and leaped to the conclusion that he had shown up sick with covid-19.

What options are available to Scott to deal with this crisis?

  1. He can brain Reba for starting unfounded rumors that caused a panic.
  2. He can tell everyone to get back to work because if the company shuts down, so do their paychecks.
  3. He can distribute the CDC’s guidelines for reducing the risk of infection.

Covid-19 is a serious public health threat, but hysteria is the enemy of common sense.  Companies can reduce hysteria by providing credible information on safety guidelines and adding flexibility to their paid leave policies for employees who need time away from the office. Company leaders can set an example by remaining calm.    

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

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/

I Need a Change

Brittney is finding her first job since leaving college to be scarier than she expected.  The company has been in perpetual chaos as the senior management team feuds.  Her supervisor, Christy, says the feud started when Weldon got a promotion that should have gone to Randy.  Christy calls Weldon a weasel and encourages her subordinates to push back against any requests from his staff.

Brittney unwittingly supported Christy’s “don’t cooperate” policy a month after she was hired, when she received an email from Weldon’s assistant, Sue, asking for the “bullet point” guide. Brittney searched diligently, but couldn’t find anything labeled as a guide.  She didn’t want to admit her ignorance, so she told Sue that she was unable to find the requested guide.  The following day, Christy congratulated her for being a team player.

A couple of months ago, the board of directors panicked when they saw the downward slope of revenue and announced that they were hiring a new CEO, Tom.  Tom’s first act as CEO was to stop all production so that he could hold a company-wide meeting to introduce himself.

He announced that big changes were coming and only those absolutely loyal to him could expect to keep their jobs.  He blamed falling sales on Weldon’s horrible management skills and announced that Weldon had resigned, even though Weldon was at the meeting.

Tom hired his son to replace Weldon.  Tom junior browbeats the sales staff like a Soviet apparatchik demanding higher wheat production from farm collectives.  The sales staff thinks he’s a dud and the marketable ones are fleeing to competitors.

Next Tom pushed out Trish, the CFO, after she said there was no money in the budget for Tom to hire his wife’s consulting business to redecorate the CEO’s office.  In revenge for Tom’s insulting personal remarks, Trish leaked a few of the choicer details of Tom’s platinum plated compensation package to the largest shareholders who are now suing the board of directors for fiduciary lapses.     

As senior managers whiz out the door to be replaced by Tom’s family and friends, no one feels safe.  Brittney watches as Christy is effectively demoted despite her sycophantic support for Tom.  Christy is still a senior manager but all her decisions must be approved by Tom’s daughter, the new VP.

Brittney is sick of it all. What options are available to her?

  1. She can move home to her parents where their nagging will seem restful after the goings-on at her job.
  2. She can practice acting like Tom since that seems to be the way to the top.
  3. She can send her resume to everyone she knows in hopes of finding a better job quickly.

Companies that fail to create a good work environment for their employees tend to underperform against their competitors. 

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

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/

She’s So Yesterday

Another update from the Jungle….

Shelly owns a small company that is growing rapidly. She’s hired four new employees in the past year, including Anna and Zach.  They are ambitious and full of energy.  Zach is now Shelly’s right hand helper, replacing Shelly’s former right hand, Claudia.

Claudia was the first employee Shelly hired. She’s not ambitious or energetic; she moves at a pace akin to a sloth needing a nap.  But in many ways, Claudia is responsible for Shelly’s success because she did all the tedious, time-consuming administrative work while Shelly was busy beating the bushes looking for clients.  Best of all, Claudia was willing to be flexible about her pay when cash flow nose-dived.

Unfortunately, what worked back then isn’t working now.  Last week Claudia spent hours obsessing over a simple task until Anna told her to shut up because she (Anna) would handle it. Five minutes later, Anna was done and stomped out of the office in search of another double espresso.  Shelly emerged from a client meeting to find Claudia waiting to complain about Anna’s rudeness. 

Claudia also feels threatened by Zach who is now making decisions that she and Shelly used to make together.  Claudia shuffles around with a woebegone smile, feeling unappreciated and scared that she’ll be replaced.   The more she worries about being replaced, the more she gums up everything.

Shelly feels guilty because she knows what she owes to Claudia, but she also sees Claudia’s limitations. Claudia’s sluggardly pace is causing permanent grumpiness.  Zach and Anna are in favor of tossing Claudia out on her ear.  Shelly is also growing tired of the drama.  She no longer has time to spend hours helping Claudia agonize over every decision or listening to her complain about Zach and Anna.

Shelly’s been struggling for months to figure out what to do about Claudia.  What are her options?

  1. She can promise Claudia a huge severance package as an enticement to leave. 
  2. She can hire an HR manager and delegate responsibility to listen to whiny employees, like Claudia. After all, why else hire an HR manager?
  3. She can create a new role for Claudia in recognition of her contribution to the success of the company, but that shunts her aside so that she doesn’t slow down co-workers.

Different skill sets are needed at different times in the development of a company.  Small business owners often struggle with accepting that early hires may no longer have the necessary skills and need to be transitioned into new roles or moved out the door.  Having clearly defined roles and tasks makes it easier to complete these types of transitions.

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

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/

The Thief of Ideas

Another update from the Jungle…..

Helen sat in her boss’ office stoically waiting for him to wind down from his latest temper tantrum.  As she waited, she reflected on the fact that Henry wasn’t such a bad boss when he was in his right mind.

Unfortunately, Henry was frequently not in his right mind.  He ran his company as if he was the dictator of a tiny oppressed country, but few of his employees were willing to be oppressed.  They complained incessantly to Helen, the HR manager.  She was hired because Henry knew he had a problem even if he wouldn’t admit that he caused the problem.

It’s the only company Helen’s ever worked for that required her to sign an employment contract agreeing to stay for at least one year in exchange for a giant bonus.  Before the ink dried on her signature, Helen realized it would be difficult to earn that bonus. 

She has been trying to fix employee morale. Her first suggestion, a tuition reimbursement plan, caused Henry to erupt like a Yellowstone geyser.  Why should he pay for his employees to get educated? He had built the company with hard work (and unacknowledged luck) and his employees should be willing to work as hard as him. 

A day later, Henry told Helen that he wanted her to create a program to reimburse tuition because he had big expansion plans and he needed his staff to keep up. But he insisted that employees must agree to stay until they had worked sufficient hours to generate profits equivalent to the reimbursed amount. He wanted to recoup his investment.  Henry’s switcheroo left Helen feeling dazed and confused. 

That’s how it’s gone for six months.  Helen proposes an idea; Henry shoots it down. More often than not, a few days later he adopts her idea after adding his unique twist.  Helen feels exhausted trying to manage him while maintaining her own sanity.  She is beginning to wonder if the big bonus is worth putting up with Henry’s negative energy field.

What options are available to Helen?

  1. She can occasionally demonstrate her softball batting skills by wapping Henry with her laptop when he gets too obnoxious.   
  2. She can do as little as possible for the next six months, collect her bonus and then wave goodbye to Henry.     
  3. She can use his contrariness to her advantage, suggesting changes in a way that allows Henry to believe the changes are his idea.

Bullies like Henry refuse to accept any idea unless they are convinced the idea was originally their own. Handling these types of co-workers and supervisors requires emotional maturity and the strength to refuse to be bullied.

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

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/

Feeling Groovy

Another update from the Jungle…..

Marsha is too young to be an original hippie, but she does a great job channeling the 1960’s with peasant blouses and baggie pants or flowing skirts.  She likes herbal remedies, some of which she cooks up in her kitchen.  Her homemade dishes are the reason Wayne, the owner, now caters the potluck lunches for the office.

During Marsha’s eastern religions phase, the office reeked of sandalwood. Marsha said it helped her maintain her inner calm in the midst of life’s chaos. Since she lives in a state of perpetual crisis, none of her co-workers were convinced of the healing properties of incense. 

During her Native American phase, she decided to purify the office by burning sweet grass. Unfortunately, the bushel basket sized wad of smoldering foliage set off the sprinklers causing water to run out of the downstairs light fixtures.  Wayne is still fighting with the landlord to save his lease and with his insurer to cover the damages to the downstairs tenant’s office.

Marsha is an excellent worker when she focuses on her job, which is why Wayne didn’t fire her after the sweet grass fiasco.  Yet, he’s regretting his generosity because Marsha’s newest obsession is CBD oils. She says the oils have cured her anxiety, her forgetfulness and her insomnia. 

Marsha is so wrapped up in talking about the wonderful qualities of CBD oils that she sometimes forgets important deadlines. Two weeks ago, Wayne had to pour several scotches into the owner of a key client during an expensive dinner to convince him not to fire Wayne’s company. 

But Wayne’s life just got worse. Marsha now sells CBD oils.  Co-workers scatter at Mach speed when they see her toting a canvas bag with her product.  Last week Wayne ordered her to stop selling her oils on company time because he needs her to do the job he’s paying her to do.  Today he came into the office unexpectedly after a lunch meeting was canceled and found Marsha conducting a QVC-type demo of her oils for co-workers too slow to escape.

What options are available to Wayne?

  1. He can join Marsha as a latter day hippie and begin acting groovy.
  2. He can assign her to a virtual office to reduce her ability to interfere with the office routine.
  3. He can find a replacement and then hire a feng shui practitioner to purify the office after Marsha leaves.

 

CBD oils lack the chemical compounds that cause an hallucinogenic effect and so are not within the scope of drug use policies.  As long as usage doesn’t interfere with an employee’s ability to do her/his job, employers should take no action.  

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

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/

I’ve Got My Eye on You

 Another update from the Jungle…..

Jayne accepted the first job offer after college because she was worried about making her student loan payments. She also wanted to prove to her parents that she could take care of herself.  In hindsight, Jayne wondered if living at home was really so bad because her new employer is insane.unnamed-5

During the endless rounds of interviews employees gushed about the joys of working for the company and its founder, Wesley, but Jayne was an English minor in college and she can read subtext. She quickly picked up on the jokes about timed bathroom breaks and monitored phone calls.

One young woman sheepishly admitted that she was busted for her negative comments on her personal Facebook page.  All the employees in that interview session laughed when Jayne said that she had heard that employees couldn’t be forced to provide access to their personal social media accounts to their employers. They assured Jayne that it was no big deal.unnamed-1

Jayne was young and desperate so she took the job despite feeling uncomfortable.  At orientation, she was required to sign a confidentiality agreement that allows the company to search her personal belongings at any time to ensure that confidential information is not stolen.     

Jayne’s discomfort zoomed into paranoia after she updated her LinkedIn profile with a description of her new job.  The next day, Rhoda, the HR Director, told Jayne that she had violated the company’s social media policy which covers postings on LinkedIn.

unnamedThe policy requires employees to include a statement that Wesley is a brilliant and inspiring boss and the employee is privileged to work for and learn from him.   Rhoda also told Jayne to change her head shot because it didn’t show her as a happy, loyal employee.  Jayne asked how she could show loyalty in a photograph. Rhoda shrugged. Jayne returned to her cubicle, a blob of raging paranoia.

What options are available to Jayne?

  1. She can stroll around the office humming the lyrics of a Buffalo Springfield song, “paranoia strikes deep/into your life it will creep”.
  2. She can embrace her paranoia and flit around the office in a Star Trek uniform talking to her co-workers about Klingons.
  3. She can hide in her cubicle pretending to work while she searches for a new job.

Most employers have social media policies setting parameters on what employees canunnamed-4 post and reserving the right to monitor employees’ social media for violations of the policy.  However, the more restrictive and intrusive these policies are the more likely that they will be found to have violated federal and state laws.

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

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/

Exit Strategy

Another update from the Jungle…..

Millie is employed because her mom is friends with Janice, owner of the company.  Millie’s mom begged Janice to hire Millie and promised that Janice wouldn’t regret it. Janice agrees.

Millie learns of her new job when her mom tells her, that starting bright and early the following Monday, she will be working for Janice, but Millie doesn’t want a job. She wants to be an actress beloved by millions.

Late Monday morning, Millie floats into the office to find her new co-workers hard at work.  Janice takes Millie on a quick tour of the office, introducing her to everyone and explains basics, like the schedule and benefits. 

Millie perks up when she hears about the benefits. She says she needs to leave early the next day to go to an audition. She enthusiastically describes the play and how she expects this show will be her big break into professional acting.  She asks if she can give a provisional resignation now in case she has to pack for Broadway on short notice.

Recovering her composure, Janice explains that until the big break arrives, Millie may want to learn a few things about her current job.  Millie is uninterested in the job, but she soon realizes that Janice’s company can teach her plenty of new stuff that she can use to advance her career in the theatre.

A few weeks later, a couple of Millie’s co-workers discreetly approach Janice. They have been following Millie’s social media posts so that they can keep up with her acting career. They believe Millie is contacting prospects and clients of Janice’s company to invite them to support her career. 

Janice drops everything to take a quick spin through various social media platforms looking at Millie’s posts.  What she sees convinces Janice that it’s time to dump Millie at the curb.  In her haste to fire Millie, Janice forgets to protect her company’s data.

Within days, Janice realizes that Millie is still accessing her company’s systems.  Millie’s social media shows that she is using Janice’s documents and processes to build a rival business while waiting for her big break in the theatre.

What steps should Janice take next to protect her company?

  1. She can become Millie’s patron, underwriting her acting career as a way to obtain some return on her investment in Millie.
  2. She can call Millie’s mom to complain that Millie is a rotten kid.
  3. She can create a checklist of all company systems that need to be updated to terminate Millie’s access.

 Most employers have well-developed on-boarding processes, but pay less attention to their termination process.  A termination process can protect company resources from misuse by former employees.

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

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Visit our website