Trevor Stasik - About Me

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

SMART Goals


If you really want to boost the performance of your teams, you need to make sure that they are following the right goals.  Well, how do you determine what your goals are?  Why, you have to be SMART about it.  As this management technique has been around for a while, if any of you wish to discuss how you have used this process in your own goal-setting, please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

SMART Goals

Goals can be difficult things to achieve.  They are made even more difficult when you do not know what your goal is.  You will probably never find your destination if you do not have a map and some directions to take you there.  You can think of the acronym S-M-A-R-T when you think of achieving a goal.  Whether personal, professional, or commercial; you can use a step-by-step procedure to help make your objectives more clear.

S - Specific

The letter S stands for Specific.  You want your goals to be clearly definable.  When an athlete runs a race, they do not simply run until someone declares him or herself the winner.  They run with the finish line in mind.  They know what it is, how to get there, and exactly what it looks like.  Your organization should not have vague goals.  Be able to provide a number.

M - Measurable

You need to be able to measure the metrics that help define the result?   You should not have a goal that cannot be clearly measured, because without measurement, there is no real tracking.  These measurements will also help you determine how far you need to go to reach your goal.

A - Attainable

It is okay to shoot for the moon if you are NASA.  The rest of our organizations may want to focus on more attainable goals.  You should pick out goals, they should be realistic.  You need to have the resources to complete the goal or have a way to obtain the necessary resources.  Consider whether you will have the time, manpower, equipment, energy, etc. to make a goal a reality.

R - Relevant

A relevant goal is a worthwhile goal.  This tells you why you want to have the goal in the first place.  You need to answer two questions tor goal to be considered relevant:  Is it tied to the company’s strategy?  Does it provide value to an organization?  If a goal makes sense for an organization and it creates a benefit, then it may be a goal worth pursuing.

T - Time Trackable

The Alpha and the Omega.  You need to know when to begin a goal, when to end a goal, and what your timeline of milestones should be along the way.  When a goal is time trackable, it is more easily broken down into sub-goals that can be met along the way.

As we have discussed, SMART goals can help you and your organization set better goals which will help the organization’s performance improve.  Keep this in mind when developing your next goal.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals: Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans.


Useful Links:



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

View Trevor Stasik's profile on LinkedIn

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Training for Violence at Work


What kinds of dangers are your employees at risk for at work?  Have you properly considered workplace violence?  Certainly some jobs come with a potential inherent danger of violence, such as those working in police forces or security.  However, workers in offices and those that directly serve the public may also be at risk.  Today we will look a little at what one organization, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), is doing (and not doing) to tackle this problem.  As always, please feel free to leave a comment or opinion in the area below the post.

Training for Violence at Work

There is one group of workers that are currently at risk, agents of the IRS.   According to a study by the Department of Treasury, agents that worked directly with the public were not trained in how to handle a variety of situations which could arise.  The study was prompted by a suicide attack on an IRS building in Austin, Texas in 2010.  It was believed that the audit he was undergoing by the IRS may have been a contributing factor in the attacker’s instability.  The Treasury Department has a program known as the Potentially Dangerous Taxpayer (PDT) program.  This program designates that some individuals may be prone to violence and could be deserving of extra caution when dealing with them in person.  The Austin attacker is one individual that would likely have been identified within this program.

Define The Threat

How does your organization define the threats that workers may be facing?  Within the IRS, those PDTs identified have certain characteristics:

--- Individuals have committed violence against IRS employees in the past
--- Individuals that have physically threatened violence
--- Stalkers
--- Individuals that are members of groups that protest and promote violence against the government
--- Individuals what have committed violence against other government officials.

Report The Threat

Do you encourage your employees to speak up when unusual and possibly dangerous events occur?  At the IRS, they take this seriously.  The study by the Treasury Dept. identified a series of actions that have led to increased risk to IRS agents in the past.  These actions include:

--- When employees that received threats, they refused to believe the threat was credible.
--- Employees that were threatened believed they had calmed down the taxpayer, so therefore no reporting was necessary.
--- Employees were not intimidated by the threats.
--- Empathized with the plight of the taxpayer, understood why they were threatening them.
--- Employees did not understand that they were being threatened.

In all of these cases, proper reporting of a potentially dangerous situation was not reported.  This left future IRS agents at risk of harm because they did not know the risk existed.

Combat The Threat

At your organization, are your employees trained to deal with a threatening situation?  The first step in combatting potential threats to your employees is training.  The IRS is looking to expand training of the PDT program to ensure the safety of their workers.  One tactic IRS agents use in confronting PDTs is to invite them into an IRS office to speak with them.  By inviting the individual in, it draws them out of their comfort zone where they would be compelled to act.  IRS agents and Revenue Officers may bring their own armed escorts or seek police protection when encountering individuals identified by the PDT program. 

Stay safe out there and consider what your organization could learn from the IRS.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals: Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans.


Useful Links:




Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

View Trevor Stasik's profile on LinkedIn

Sunday, March 17, 2013

EEO Laws - Executive Orders


Some companies may provide programs to support diversity through Affirmative Action.  These programs are not necessarily voluntary, as the Federal Government has established rules for this under Executive Orders that are treated as Equal Employment Opportunity laws.  As always, please feel free to leave a respectful comment or opinion about your own experiences in the area below this post.

EEO Laws - Executive Orders

The final set of EEO laws that we will look at together at this time are the Executive Orders Covering Government Contractors and Sex Discrimination Guidelines.  The actual codification is covered by Executive Order 11,246 as amended by Executive Orders 11,375 and 12,086.  It would be good to be acquainted with this set of executive orders.  Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Federal Contractors and Subcontractors were barred from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin; and employers were required to document infractions if discrimination was discovered.  However, there was nothing in the law that required companies to furnish those documents to the government for investigations.  Executive Orders 11246 changed that by compelling companies to provide their documentation proof to investigators upon request.  This is enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

Affirmative Action

Additionally, Executive Order 11,246 established provision for Affirmative Action programs.  Government Contractors and Subcontractors with 50 or more employees and $50,000+ in government contracts are required to have an established, written affirmative action program.  President Lyndon B. Johnson said this as a driving force behind this policy:

“Men and women of all races are born with the same range of abilities. But ability is not just the product of birth. Ability is stretched or stunted by the family that you live with, and the neighborhood you live in--by the school you go to and the poverty or the richness of your surroundings. It is the product of a hundred unseen forces playing upon the little infant, the child, and finally the man.”

 With Executive Order 11246, covered employers were required to identify, analyze, and rectify differences in workforce participation by women and minorities.  Companies were required to expand efforts in outreach, recruitment, and training in an effort to make the selection process more favorable to the previously discriminated groups.

Compliance

Companies that fall under the umbrella of the Executive Orders are subject to reviews and audits by the OFCCP.  Failure of a review could result in corrective action as recommended by the OFCCP.  Individual complaints would typically be referred to the EEOC.  Complaints may be filed by groups where a pattern is established would be reviewed and resolved by the OFCCP. 

The process and forms employees or applicants may use to file a complaint can be found here:  http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/pdf/pdfstart.htm

Groups must file their complaint with 180 days of the discriminatory infraction.  Corrective actions recommended for these infractions could include payments of back pay, job offers, training programs, promotions, etc.  Finally, employers failing to follow guidelines and recommendations of the OFCCP may have their Federal contracts stripped. 

Also, to remain compliant, Employers covered under these Executive Orders must make it known that applicants for positions will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex or national origin; and that the company prohibits discrimination under these bases.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals: Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans.

  
Useful Links:



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

View Trevor Stasik's profile on LinkedIn

Friday, March 15, 2013

Internet Videos in the Workplace


I like turtles!  Is this real life?  Walk Gangnam Style.  These are just a few of the catch phrases used in funny Internet videos.  These catchy videos often create memes that are replicated over and over again as other people make their own videos referencing the original.  This is very much the same way these videos could be the source of a productivity drain on your company.  Welcome to another installment of "Casual Friday," my humorous look at something in Human Resources, Management, or Business.  Please take a moment at the end of my post to comment on the effect of internet videos on your workplaces.

Internet Videos in the Workplace

18% of all time wasted at work is by employees messing around on the internet.  Some of them might be checking Facebook, Twitter, or Google +.  Some of them might be checking up on their March Madness.  However, one of the other major culprit of productivity drain through the internet are funny videos.  15% of all videos watched are these viral videos. 

Next time you are in the office, think about how much time and money are being spent on cat videos:  http://www.maniacworld.com/cat-videos.html  If you are at work, seriously, how many of you clicked on that link to look at cat videos?  How productive was that?  There are numerous IT solutions that can be used for tracking and monitoring the websites that employees use and the large amount of bandwidth that comes from watching these videos.  Be sure to include a notice in your employee handbook that you will be tracking your workers online actions.  You may also want to consider filtering and blocking websites that use too much bandwidth, as these could be internet video time wasters.

On The Other Hand

First, keep in mind that not all workers are wasting time watching useless videos online.  Some of them may be watching instructional or industry related videos that are most easily accessed on YouTube.  Some workers may be doing background research for an upcoming meeting.  Do not automatically assume all workers watching videos online are wasting company time on your company’s dime.  Finally, consider that if your workers are actually wasting a few minutes watching a funny video, they may be an indication that they need a break.  70% of employees believe short breaks throughout the day are beneficial to their productivity.  Consider the output and productivity of the worker watching the funny video before considering discipline.  If they are completing more than their share of the workload for your team, perhaps funny internet videos are exactly what they need to stay productive.


And remember all of you Human Resources professionals: Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans.


Useful links:




Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

View Trevor Stasik's profile on LinkedIn

Thursday, March 14, 2013

EEO Laws - USERRA


As you may have read in one of my previous posts, the VEVRAA protects veterans at employers with Federal contracts.  However, shouldn’t veterans in all jobs have some level of protections afforded them?  They do.  Which will bring us to today’s topic.  As always, if you have an opinion or some experience that you would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment.

EEO Laws - USERRA

Signed into law by President Clinton in 1994, the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects the reemployment of military members returning from service and also prohibits employer discrimination.  Previously, the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act protected veterans against discrimination with employers that were Federal contractors and subcontractors.  The USERRA expanded that to include all employers.  It states:

A person who is a member of, applies to be a member of, performs, has performed,
applies to perform, or has an obligation to perform service in a uniformed service shall
not be denied initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or
any benefit of employment by an employer on the basis of that membership, application
for membership, performance of service, application for service, or obligation.

Reemployment

The USERRA also means that you, the employer, must provide for the reemployment of the veteran, should they be called into service.  Your employee must give you notice of their absence, unless their military mission prevents them from doing so.  Notice can be verbal or written.  Upon the workers return from service, the employer is obligated to give them their job back with advancement.  What this means is that if a reasonable person could have expected to receive a promotion and been moved into a more senior position had they not left, the employer must give them that higher position.

The timeframe for reemployment is as follows:
  • Active duty 1-30 days - Employee must report back on next regularly scheduled work day after completion of service plus 8 hours
  • Active duty 31 to 180 days - Employee must apply for reemployment within 14 days after completion of service
  • Active duty 181 days or more - Employee must apply for reemployment within 90 days after completion of service
  • Injury/Ilness - Add 2 years to any of the above timeframes

 Should one of your employees return from military service, you will need to ensure that you give them their job, regardless of whether that job has been given to someone else in the meantime.  You may be able to create a duplicate position for the returning veteran, but you may not deny them simply because someone else was hired to do the work while they were away.  Additionally, once the veteran has been re-hired, you cannot terminate them without cause, even in employment “at-will” states.

There are a lot of specifics involved with the USERRA and you should review the law carefully with your own counsel.  The law is strictly enforced and any violation of any part of the USERRA can be grounds for a lawsuit. 

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals: Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans.

  
Useful Links:



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

View Trevor Stasik's profile on LinkedIn

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Meetings: Guest Speakers

I would like to take a break from my posts on EEO laws to discuss another topic today.  When meetings take place at your organization or workplace, there is a possibility that you will have guest speakers.  How do you determine what speaker you want to get for your event?  What are your deciding criteria?  Please feel free to drop a comment with your opinion on guest speakers at meeting at the bottom.  Now let’s talk...

Meetings: Guest Speakers

Guest speakers, also known as Keynote speakers, can be a way to draw in an audience:  Get their behinds in the seats and keep them there.  Nobody goes out of their way to attend a boring meeting.  Whether you have a small meeting of 20 people or a huge event with 2,000, you may want to consider inviting a guest speaker for your next event.

Consideration Criteria

However, first you need to decide on one.  Locating a good guest speaker may seem like a daunting task at first, but it should not be that difficult if you break it into its components.  Here are some of the things you should consider:

1)  Relationship -  Internal / Related / External
Decide if you want your speaker to be drawn from someone inside your organization; someone that is related in some way to your organization (vendor, family, industry); or someone that is external and unrelated to the organization. 

2)  Style - Motivational / Expert / Humorous / Celebrity
There are many different styles of speaker to draw from.  Motivational speakers may not speak to a specific problem, but they can help bring energy to a meeting and leave the attendees with enthusiasm when they leave.  Experts have specific knowledge in a position or industry that they want to pass along to their attendees.  Humorous speakers can make your meetings happier and can boost morale; however off-color comments could be something to watch out for.  Celebrity speakers may be motivational, expert, or humorous; but their biggest draw is their famous status.

3)  Budget
If you are looking at Internal or Related speakers that you already have seen in larger group settings, you may be able to find a good inexpensive speaker.  However, External speakers can be a risk.  You sometimes get the speaker you pay for.  Free or cheap speakers can be a great way to add some “bang” to your meeting, but they may also fizzle out.  You should expect to pay higher rates for higher quality speakers.

4)  Schedule
How soon do you need them?  Some speakers may have other speaking engagements, family events, or work conflicts.  Try to schedule your guest as soon as possible.  You may want to have the schedule of alternate speakers available too, in case your first choice becomes unavailable.

These were just a few basic criteria that you should consider in picking and deciding on a guest speaker.  Think about your organization.  What other criteria might be important to you in the speak at your next big meeting?

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.


Useful Links



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

View Trevor Stasik's profile on LinkedIn

Thursday, March 7, 2013

EEO Laws - VEVRAA


Have you ever thought about the troops and just how much they have sacrificed for this country?  Have you ever wondered about why job applications always ask you questions about whether you served in the US military?  Today’s post about Equal Employment Opportunity type laws will probably help you in answering those questions.  As always, please feel free to leave your own comments and opinions at the bottom.

EEO Laws - VEVRAA

To date, America’s longest war, the Vietnam War stretched from 1955 to 1975.  As an exercise in stopping the spread of communism, Americans fought valiantly alongside the South Vietnamese in bloody combat for decades.  In the course of war over 58,000 Americans had lost their lives and over 300,000 were wounded.  The Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) was one of a number of laws that were created to offer some protections for those Vets returning and attempting to fit back into society.  It was created with the Vietnam Vet in mind, but applies to other veterans as well.  Generally speaking, federal contractors, and sub-contractors with contracts over $100,000 must follow the guidelines established under this act.  It was expanded and revised later by the Jobs for Veterans Act (JVA)

Affirmative Action and Discrimination

Under the VEVRAA, those employers that fell under the umbrella must not discriminate against veterans.  They must ensure that veterans are not intimidated or retaliated against due to their veteran status.  Additionally, those employers subject to the act would be required to favor certain kinds of veterans in their hiring and selection process.  Types of veterans that must be favored include:

--- Disabled veterans
--- Recently separated veterans (up to 3 yrs)
--- Veterans with a campaign badge
--- Vietnam era veterans

When posting jobs, employers must list most job openings with local State employment services.  There are additional veteran preference provisions, but those were established and expanded under the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA).

Official complaints of discrimination and failure to comply with the Affirmative Action provisions may be made with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) or through the local Veteran's Employment Representative at a local State employment service office.  Enforcement of the VEVRAA is also done through the Veteran’s Employment and Training Service (VETS).  Employees that feel they may have been violated against must file in writing with VETS within 60 days of the alleged infraction.

Employers subject to the VEVRAA should take care to remember that failure to follow this law could open them up to lawsuits and the possibility of losing their government contracts.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

View Trevor Stasik's profile on LinkedIn

Friday, March 1, 2013

Casual Friday: Coffee At Work


Java.  Joe.  Black Gold.  Battery Acid.  Wake-up Juice.  Whatever you call coffee, odds are pretty good that you have some in your workplace.  Welcome to my next installment of "Casual Friday," my lighter look at something in Human Resources, Management, or Business.  Today I want to talk about coffee at work.  Please take a moment at the end of my post to comment on any of your experiences with coffee in your own workplaces.

Good Morning Sunshine

Have you ever felt like you had to drag your sorry self to work and you were just in need of something to get you moving?  Well, if you work somewhere in the United States, you probably have coffee in your workplace for just that purpose.  Offices all over this great land offer this free as a great perk for working at a particular company.  Some people are not as lucky, and have to get their coffee by chipping into a pool or using coin-operated vending.  Some people have cheap cafeteria coffee.  Some people have a joyous Starbucks built into their office complex.  There are many ways to get your coffee and many benefits to having coffee at work.

Historically Speaking

Let’s talk a little bit about the history of coffee.  According to Ethiopian legend, a 9th century goat herder named Kaldi had discovered that when his goats ate some berries off of a plant.  Suddenly, his herd became spirited and would not fall asleep.  After informing the local monastery of this, the monks there made a unique drink from the berries.  Kaldi drank of this mixture, and became alert and productive.  Coffee was born.

Coffee was brought to old New Amsterdam in the mid-1600s where it languished beneath the prestige of tea until King George established his tax on tea in 1773.  Following the Boston Tea Party revolt, young Americans refused to drink British tea and chose the other caffeinated brew instead.  The popularity of coffee grew over the next centuries as people around the world found it to be a tasty way to get productive!

Happiness is a Warm Cup of Coffee

There are a number of caffeinated thoughts that companies have when designing their coffee-based benefits.  First, they consider the productive boost given to their workforce when they drink coffee.  41% of workers report being more productive when they have a cup of coffee during the day.  Next, employers will usually consider the morale boost that offering coffee gives.  In a survey 37% of employees preferred free, daily, fresh ground coffee or tea to having a company holiday party.

I have been fortunate and have had free coffee available at most of the companies that I have worked for.  One of the places even had one of those Keurig cup machines.  I loved the “Dark Magic” blend.  I am sure my productivity was given a boost.  What have been your experiences?

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.

Useful Links:



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

View Trevor Stasik's profile on LinkedIn