HR

Masters of the Universe

Another update from the Jungle…

Masters1Jim and Tony run a venture capital fund that specializes in distressed assets. They buy companies, replace the management team, cut most of the employees to generate savings and make the company look profitable (on paper). Then they sell the company.

A business magazine features them in an article and uses the term masters of the universe. After the feature article, Jim and Tony decide to branch out from distressed assets and buy a company that has been successful without being spectacular.

Jim and Tony begin their ownership by holding a company-wide meeting with employees at which they talk about the company’s wonderful financial future. This sales pitch is interrupted by Linda who asks them to reconcile these comments with their established practice of boosting profits by firing most workers. Jim evades her question. So Larry asks pointblank how many jobs will be cut. Jim looks at Tony. Tony shrugs. The meeting ends abruptly.

Masters3After studying the company’s bottom line, Jim and Tony decide that the first employees to go are Linda and Larry. They tell Sandra, the HR rep, to prepare the paperwork. She cautions against firing two of the most respected workers. Jim looks at the org chart again and concludes they are peons.

On Friday, Linda and Larry are ushered out the door. Their first port of call is an employment law attorney where they discuss wrongful termination, retaliation, and age discrimination.  The attorney has a vision of becoming famous by taking down the masters of the universe. He agrees to represent Linda and Larry.

Master2Within weeks, a third of the workforce resigns following Linda and Larry out the door. Jim and Tony are initially relieved; they only had to fire two workers. But the remaining workforce is demoralized. Within six months, the company has lost several key clients and the bottom line is tanking. Jim and Tony call a meeting with Sandra to discuss staffing levels and the status of Linda’s and Larry’s lawsuit.

What should Sandra tell them?

  1. She can say that she warned them that firing Linda and Larry would have dire consequences.
  2. She can tell them that as masters of the universe, she expects them to solve their own problems.
  3. She can hand in her resignation, having already received several job offers.

The above scenario is exaggerated but may seem familiar to anyone who has experienced a change in ownership at an employer. Creating a plan with HR for handling inevitable layoffs can smooth the transition. It is also helpful to see employees as more than just a cost to the bottom line.

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!

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

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A Valentine for a Special Lady

Val day 1Nicole, the HR Manager, spent last year’s holiday season trying to boost the morale of her co-workers.  Unfortunately, the office parties flopped and morale is still lower than a snake’s belly. The festive season faded into the cold drudgery of first quarter and everyone is mad.

Employees are mad because they haven’t gotten pay raises. The president is mad about the misbehavior at the holiday parties. He’s also worried that a key customer is about to take its business to a competitor putting a dent in the bottom line. As a result, the president has vetoed all budget increases, including pay raises.

Nicole knows about the budget problem because the president told her when he cut the HR Department’s budget.  Then he ordered Nicole not to divulge this information to anyone because he’s afraid that if word leaks out, other customers will lose confidence in the company and take their business elsewhere. Not knowing why they didn’t get pay raises, the employees leaped to the conclusion that the president is a greedy jerk who doesn’t care about them.

Even Nicole is depressed. Her boyfriend dumped her on New Year’s Day, during a TV commercial break from the college football matches he was watching.  Her cat hates the new brand of cat food she bought and snubs Nicole when she comes home each day. If her life was set to music, it would be an award winning country music song.

Nicole wonders if she’d be happier with a new employer.  As she sits pondering this question, a delegation of employees appears in the door of her office. Keith, the leader of the delegation, says they’ve come to talk to her on behalf of all the employees. Nicole braces herself for the worst.

Val day 3Keith tells Nicole that her co-workers are aware of how hard she’s worked for them. They want to thank her for her efforts on their behalf. Later that day a dozen yellow roses are delivered to her office, a gift from her co-workers.

The president sees the roses on Nicole’s desk and worries that he could lose her. He offers her a few perks, including a designated parking spot, to convince her to stay. Okay, that part is fantasy. The president is so wrapped up in the financial strains he doesn’t notice the roses.

Nicole knows that HR is often a thankless job and it’s not the first time she’s questioned her choice of career. But once in a blue moon, she has a day like the day she received roses.

Val day 2

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

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

 

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What Are We Thankful For?

Another update from the Jungle….
image049Nicole, the HR manager, had a scary Halloween with underclad co-workers and a wild Veteran’s Day that ended with claims of discrimination. She is finding it increasingly difficult to boost morale among her fellow employees. She’s trying to boost morale because her co-workers are disenchanted after years of no pay raises and limited opportunities for promotions.

Her newest morale booster is a Thanksgiving lunch. She even convinces the company’s president to pay for the turkey and dressing. Now all she has to do is convince her co-workers to bring side dishes and prepare to have fun. She tapes a sign-up sheet to the refrigerator in the break room.

Before anyone can sign up, Steve stops by her office to demand beer with lunch. Nicole vetoes alcohol, as usual. She tells Steve that he seems unhappy and asks if he’d be happier working for another type of employer, such as a honkytonk or a house of ill repute in the Nevada desert.image051

Then Monica pops into Nicole’s office to announce that she has just become a vegan because living off animals is disgusting. Monica wants vegan-acceptable food at the Thanksgiving lunch. Nicole replies that Monica can bring a side dish that satisfies her new dietary requirements, as long as it’s not kale or cabbage or a similarly aromatic vegetable.

Next a delegation of employees crowds in to Nicole’s office. The Hispanics are still furious about the Veteran’s Day event when a co-worker suggested building a wall on the southern U.S. border. Now they complain that Thanksgiving completely ignores their cultural heritage. Sam Redhawk complains that Thanksgiving is racist for celebrating the extermination of Native American culture. The gist of the complaints is that they feel unappreciated and marginalized.

What should Nicole do next?

  1. She can tell her co-workers to shut up and be thankful they still have jobs.
  2. She can strive to make Thanksgiving lunch a celebration of multi-cultural America, encouraging everyone to bring a side dish that represents their cultural origins.
  3. She can tell the president there are serious morale issues that can’t be fixed with food and that he should watch “Mutiny on The Bounty” if he wants to preview the end of the story.

If you’re an HR manager, you’ve probably had a year like Nicole’s year. The holiday season isn’t over yet so stay tuned for more adventures with Nicole.

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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Did He Really Say That?

Another update from the Jungle….

unnamed (13)Erica is interviewing for a job as the HR manager for a small privately held company.  Erica heard about the job opening from a friend. She is looking for a change after growing bored with her current employer.

Erica is capped on pay and promotions with her current employer unless her boss dies or retires, neither of which seems likely.  Months ago, Erica suggested a special project working with IT to upgrade some of the creaking systems that slow down productivity and offered to lead the project task force. Her offer was rejected by her boss and her boss’s boss, leaving Erica with the impression that they weren’t serious about productivity gains or keeping her engaged as an employee.

So Erica decided to move on. She applied for the HR manager opening and was invited in for an interview. At the interview,
she waits in the shabby lobby for 20 minutes past the time her interview is scheduled to start. Finally,a man in his late 60’s steps in to the lobby to invite her to the conference room for the interview.

In the conference room, Erica blinks as she gets a closer look at her interviewer. He looks like an
image045extra from the Godfather movies with chunky gold rings on both hands and a large gold watch.  His shirt is open half-way down his chest displaying gold chain necklaces.  In a voice roughened by cigarettes and cheap whiskey, the man explains that he’s looking for an HR manager to keep the “government off his back”.

Erica asks if his company’s employment practices were audited by a government regulator but he brushes aside the question. He says that companies like his would be a lot more successful if the government would stop interfering and telling him how to run it.  Then he explains that he’s had trouble in the past hiring women because “they start with single coverage on the medical plan but next thing you know, they’re on the family plan”.

What should Erica do next?

  1. She can call him a dinosaur, list all the federal and state employment laws he’s violated during the interview and storm out of the room.
  2. She can expend a lot of effort trying to get the job since the company obviously needs all the HR help it can get.
  3. She can send the owner a bottle of cheap scotch after the interview to thank him for his time and pray that he doesn’t offer her the job.

In the actual situation, the interviewer never made a job offer. The interviewee continues to congratulate herself on one of the narrowest escapes of her professional career.

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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New Job; Old Baggage

Another update from the Jungle….
image029Betty started a new job about six months ago but already the old patterns are starting to repeat. Betty’s last job became so unbearable that she quit. Now she seems to be headed down the same path again.

At her last job, a clique of female co-workers proved that Heathers don’t get nicer as they grow up; they just get older. They made Betty miserable. They invited her to lunch during her first week on the job for the apparent purpose of mocking her interests and lifestyle. That was the beginning of a long campaign of passive aggressive behavior aimed at undermining Betty.

When Betty complained about misplaced files or sabotaged resources, her clueless boss labeled her a complainer. Betty didn’t want to be best friends with the clique but in a small office it meant she was isolated and alone. Betty’s confidence eroded and her performance suffered. When her performance review assessed her as “not a team player”, Betty took the hint
image031 and found her current job.

Unfortunately, the old baggage came with her. She knows some of her new co-workers think she’s a snob for declining lunch invitations and not participating in the monthly office birthday parties. But Betty’s cautious of getting to know her new co-workers because she’s afraid of meeting a new group of Heathers.

Today, an HR rep asked Betty to stop by. At their meeting, the HR rep asked Betty how she liked her office, her workload, and how she was getting along with her colleagues. Betty gave a non-committal answer. Then the HR rep asked Betty if she would like to participate in a new mentoring program which was created to help new employees integrate into the company.

What should Betty do next?

  1. She can decide based on her past experiences that she will “fail” at this job so she should quit now and join a commune in Alaska.
  2. She can start looking for another job hoping that things will be different next time.
  3. She can accept the invitation to join the mentoring program, increasing her chances of having a satisfying career with her current employer.

In the actual case, the first employer had no mentoring program because the owners were not convinced that touchy-feely programs contributed to the bottom line. Consequently, they experienced a high level of employee churn and were eventually acquired by a competitor.

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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Get Rid of Him!

Another update from the Jungle….
image024Doug is getting close to retirement age after a long, not very distinguished, career. He’s still the consummate professional but it’s obvious that all is not well with him. He is out sick at least one day a week and he doesn’t do much work on the days he is in the office.

Doug’s problems are becoming a headache for Suzy, the HR manager. Suzy likes Doug; he’s always polite and respectful which is not true of his pushy boss. The pushy boss has ordered her to find a reason to fire Doug. Suzy privately thinks the pushy boss wants to make his budget look better by dumping Doug for a less experienced and lower salaried employee.

Suzy begins discrete inquiries of Doug’s behavior and job performance. His friends tell Suzy that Doug suffers from anxiety
attacks and depression. Doug’s anxiety attacks worsened when he was moved into an office on the 15th floor with a wall of windows. Doug has a fear of heights.

Doug’s also having trouble remembering things. Yesterday, Suzy overheard a junior team member
image025talking to Doug about a client problem. When Doug said the problem sounded familiar, his junior replied, “It ought to; it’s your client”.

Today Suzy is meeting with Doug’s boss. She suggests that Doug should be moved to an interior office but the boss says no; senior people like Doug must have a window office. Next Suzy asks for examples of Doug’s work that show he can’t do his basic job description. The boss has none. In fact, Suzy already knows the boss gave Doug a tepid, but positive, performance review.

What should Suzy do next?

  1. She can tell the pushy boss that he’s a dingbat for trying to fire an older worker who is obviously still competent and who has not received a negative performance review.
  2. She can read up on the definition of “disability” in the Americans with Disabilities Act in case Doug decides to ask for an accommodation.
  3. She can verify that the company has employment practices liability insurance because her gut instinct is that Doug’s boss is about to demonstrate the need for such coverage.

In the actual case, the older worker eventually took early retirement based on health reasons and faded away without raising any of the legal issues that were available to him. The pushy boss was promoted which allowed him to be pushy to a greater number of people simultaneously.

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 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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School Zones Made Me Late

Another update from the Jungle….
image001Jane is the HR manager for a company with about 200 employees. The company runs a lean operation which means that Jane is the sole HR person and handles pretty much every situation that arises. Jane likes the variety of issues that she faces because it keeps everything fresh and interesting.

A major problem for the company is time and attendance. The owner of the company is obsessive and compulsive about details and it drives him nuts to see a few employees chronically showing up late. He told Jane to fix the problem.

Jane reviewed the time and attendance policy which clearly states that chronic tardiness may subject an employee to progressive disciplinary action. The policy is included in the employee handbook. Jane checks the personnel files for each laggard employee and finds that each of them has signed the acknowledgement form. That means that each employee received a copy of the employee handbook and promptly tossed it aside without actually reading it.
image004This week, Jane began meeting individually with each employee who is chronically late. Jane tries not to yawn as she hears the usual excuses. One employee says she was stuck in traffic due to an accident. Another says his dog got out of the fenced-in backyard and he had to find the mutt and lock him in the garage before leaving for work.

Jane’s favorite excuse of the week is the employee who says she was late due to the school zones. The employee recently moved so that her children could attend a more highly rated school. This means the employee must now travel through three more school zones on her route to work. That caused her to be late.

What should Jane do next?

  1. She can explain to each employee that the excuse du jour doesn’t make up for chronic lateness. She can then move to the next step in progressive discipline.
  2. She can encourage each employee to make a greater effort to arrive on time and let them off with a verbal warning.
  3. She can ask herself why she never thought up so many creative reasons for being late to work.

Time and attendance issues are a perennial problem. Perhaps it’s time to think about the underlying reasons for tardiness. Employees who enjoy their work tend to show up on time.

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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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! 

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I Was Going to Pay It Back….Honest!

Another update from the HR jungle….

image021Sam leads the IT department for his company and is the head of their internal security team.  As part of his duties, Sam has administrative rights to all electronic and computer-based systems at the company.  He ensures that new employees are issued security clearances to use the company computers. He sets the dollar limits on company-provided credit cards as authorized by the owners of the company.

But Sam has a problem. He likes to gamble. It started years ago quite innocently when he participated in a sports betting pool with co-workers at a former employer’s office. Then he started spending his weekends at casinos. Sam began using his company credit card to get cash advances at the ATM in the casino.

At first, he paid off the credit card balance each month and no one discovered what he was doing. When he couldn’t pay the credit card balance, he raised the credit limit on the card using his administrative rights as the head of internal security.

Sam’s basically a decent guy and the stress of his situation has finally gotten to him. This morning he walked into the owner’s office and confessed all. As he sat sobbing and promising to reimburse the company, the owner stared at him, stupefied with shock.

What could the owner have done to avoid this employee theft?

  1. The owner could have regularly reviewed all company expenses, including credit card charges, to ensure they were used only for valid company business.
  2. The owner could have required regular reports from Sam’s department showing the authorized limits on all company credit cards.
  3. The owner could have hired an outside auditor to do an annual audit of the company’s financial records in the hopes that the fraud would have been uncovered.

Employee theft arises from five basic motivations, including a gambling habit. Another closely related motivation is a drug or alcohol habit. Employees experiencing any of these addictions may decide to steal an employer’s property in order to feed their habit.

Need help 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 when the policies are implemented.

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