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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Delivering The News About Staying Open For ThanksgivingAre you working tomorrow?  Is your organization open on Thanksgiving?  I hope that you are able to spend some time with your family.  This post will be a bit of an editorial.  If you disagree with me, please feel free to leave a comment.  I would love to hear what everyone is doing this Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving

For those of us in the United States, we celebrate a day called Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday in November *.  This is a day where thanks are given for the harvest over the last year and for all of the hard work in collecting that bounty.  Recently, Thanksgiving has “gone rogue”.  It is gradually shifting to become more of a consumerist holiday, with stores staying open and sales drifting into family time.  In my personal opinion, I think that it is wrong to force employees to go to work on Thanksgiving.  Stores that open and “allow” employees to attend voluntarily are worse, because of the uncomfortable decision that it forces employees to make.  I understand some emergency and medical services being open (such as hospitals and fire houses).  However, I believe that Thanksgiving is a time meant to be spent with families and friends at home and not at the mall.

Delivering The News About Staying Open For Thanksgiving

Regardless of my opinion, many people are going to work on this day.  As someone interested in Human Resources, I would be curious to know how you handle this.  Obviously there will be some people that object due to religion, family, or just on principle.  How do you handle that?  Assuming that you are not the person making that executive decision to remain open on Thanksgiving, it is still up to you to deliver the news that attendance is required on that specific date.

If I had to give that news, I would try to be blunt, but open and honest in handling an employee’s potential feedback.  I would explain the policies and procedures of the organization.  Unless the employee brings up the overtime as a benefit to them, I would not try to spin it as a positive.  I would explain the consequences of not showing up for work.  If you keep it short, sincere, and stick to the facts, you ought to be able to deliver the news without causing major waves.

Stores Closed For Thanksgiving

As so many stores are now opening on Thanksgiving, I would like to list some of the stores that will thankfully remain closed:
Bath & Body Works
Nordstrom
Home Depot
Lowes
Costco
T.J. Maxx
Marshalls
Ross
P.C. Richard & Son
Dillards
B.J.'s Wholesale Club
Sam’s Club
Fred Meyer
Fry’s Electronics
GameStop
PetSmart
I hope that you will consider visiting these stores over the weekend after Thanksgiving.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  
Have a Happy Turkey Day!  Gobble-gobble!


     * Interesting Fact:  Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. 

Interesting Links:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/11/20/thanksgiving-retail-holiday-sales-black-friday/3644853/
http://ktla.com/2013/11/26/keeping-closed-on-thanksgiving-a-badge-of-pride-for-some-retailers/#ixzz2lq0TwNPP
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304281004579221971756165900
http://retailindustry.about.com/od/BlackFridayChristmasSalesDeals/a/All-Retail-Stores-Not-Open-Thanksgiving-Day-November-28-2013-Complete-List-Closed-Retailers.htm



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Monday, November 25, 2013

Shorter Commute Time

Shorter Commute TimeHow long is your commute to work?  If you are anything like me, you drive to work.  However, some of you may walk, bike, or take the train.  However you choose to get there, the amount of time that it takes an employee to get to work can greatly effect job satisfaction.  A short commute can be a huge perk for  whichever employer they may work for.  Please feel free to leave a comment or suggestion down below about your own experiences with commuting.

Employment Perk:  Shorter Commute Time

Some 600,000 people are now defined by the Census as Mega-Commuters, travelling over 50 miles or 90 minutes each way, each day.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average commute time for most Americans is about 25 minutes.  I suspect that for the majority of Americans, that is 25 minutes too long.  If you want to see what the average local commute time is in your own county, you ought to check out this map by WNYC:  http://project.wnyc.org/commute-times-us/embed.html#5.00/42.000/-89.500.

Most employees hate the time they spend sitting in traffic; it is aggravating for them knowing how many other things they could be doing if they were already home.  Also, it is a known health hazard due to the increase it causes in sedentary lifestyles.  A short commute is something that HR professionals and managers can sell as a perk to candidates on a potential position.  Remind them of how close they are to major roadways or train stations.  If a candidate volunteers their frustration with a long commute in an interview, be sure to mention any available features such as carpooling, public transit, or travel reimbursement.  A shorter time spent in a vehicle is something that is sure to attract some candidates.

My current drive time to work is below the average, clocking in at about 15 minutes.  How do you get to work?  How long does it take?

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


Interesting Links:
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/28/commutings-hidden-cost/?_r=0
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/story/2012-05-23/long-commute-poor-health/55162620/1
http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/pdf/poster_megacommuting_in_the_u.s.pdf
http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/american_community_survey_acs/cb13-41.html



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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Women, Minorities, and the Glass Cliff

Women Minorities and the Glass CliffHas your Board of Directors been setting women and minorities up for failure in the C-Suite?  This is a somewhat controversial topic that some are calling the “Glass Cliff” effect.  What have you seen in your workplace?  As always, please feel free to leave a comment or suggestion down below about your own experiences.

Women, Minorities, and the “Glass Cliff” 

By now, most of you have heard of the “Glass Ceiling”, which is a term used for the difficulty faced by women and minorities trying to reach the top of the corporate ladder.  However, the phrase “Glass Cliff” is a term more recently added to the workplace lexicon.  Recent studies by Utah State University have confirmed previous studies showing a discrepancy between the quality of promotional opportunities at the highest levels of corporations.  This is to mean that women and minorities have been found to be disproportionally promoted into senior leadership positions when a company is having the most difficulty.

In other words, it could appear that women and minorities have been “set up for failure” by being given the reins of an organization in free fall, just as a company reached a crisis.

Researchers also found that after a company has hit bottom and stagnated after a crisis, a “savior effect” was noticed.  This was where a disproportionate number of white males were promoted to bring these failed organizations back to profitability.  Fewer women and minorities were selected for these easier wins.

Biases in the Selection Process

The Glass Cliff appears to be partially created by subconscious biases of the boards.  These have been backed by a series of Psychological studies done and summarized in an interesting report by Michel Ryan and A. Alexander Haslam of the University of Exeter.  In one example, they found that boards of directors tended to think of men when they thought of “management” but tended to think of women when they thought of “crisis”.

There has could be some disagreement about the bias.  Some have argued that Women and Minorities self-selected those organizational positions atop the cliff; that they chose to accept the most difficult assignments where white males would decline a similar position when offered in the midst of a crisis.

However, that is not the case.  Three independent surveys were completed comparing the selection of men and women to lead a company in crisis.  In all three surveys, women were selected for leadership only when an organization was in decline.  For minorities, it was shown in one study of high political office that black candidates were typically selected as an opposition candidate when there was a highly popular incumbent and the seat was considered hard-to-win.  This result was also duplicated in studies within the corporate environment.

Solutions to the Glass Cliff

To find a solution, first people need to be aware that the problem exists.  Fortunately, awareness of the cliff is growing.  In a 2004 CNN poll, the question was asked “Does the glass cliff exist?”  72% of respondents said yes.  One of the Utah researchers, Alison Cook, has said that HR representative need to be “encouraging boards of directors to top into social professional networks outside their immediate networks”.  These boards should be mindful of Disparate Impact when following internal selection processes in choosing new CEOs.  Consider Women and Minorities outside of your circles when your companies are improving, not only when they are in decline or in crisis-mode.  The Exeter researchers concluded that the other ways to eliminate these Glass Cliffs is for firms to adopt non-token affirmative action policies and active mentoring programs to help raise the group-consciousness of this effect.  Over time, it will help to dissolve the cliff and allow boards to be more fair in their selections for C-Suite positions.

What are you seeing in your organization?  Is anything being done to combat the Glass Cliff?

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


Interesting Links:
http://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/gender-society/women-leadership-glass-cliff-research-roundup
http://www.sozialpsychologie.uni-frankfurt.de/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Ryan_Hasklam_AMR.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbRDxb21pIM
http://www.researchgate.net/publication/256036360_The_Political_Glass_Cliff_Ethnic_Minority_Candidates_are_Selected_to_Contest_Hard-to-Win_Seats

Interesting Reading:
“Watch Out for the ‘Glass Cliff’” by Antonio Franquz, HR Magazine, Sept. 2013



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. Trevor Stasik is the owner of this post, may or may not receive compensation resulting from this writing, and retains the copyright of any original material presented in this post herein. 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 in this post, 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.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mind Like Water - Management Like Water

Mind Like Water - Management Like WaterDo you have a mind filled with big, unmovable granite boulders?  Or do you have an adaptive mind like water?  I would like to discuss the significance of having a flowing mindset in tackling management problems - Watch out for a mudslide!  Please feel free to leave a comment or suggestion down below about your own experiences with zen-like management formation.

Mind Like Water - Bend with Reality Rather Than Breaking Against The Rocks

I assure you, this post is not about to become some kind of trippy-experiment.  What is meant by the term “Mind Like Water”, is allowing yourself to adapt to the world as it is.  It is about answering a stimulus with only the amount needed; not rocking the boat by over-reacting.  In a personal sense, it is being balanced in your life so that you are prepared for whatever life throws at you.  At a professional level, it is about clearing away the mental clutter.  Some people use the “Getting Things Done” system, developed by David Allen, to sort things, allowing your mind to focus on more important matters.  Try to not worry about those things that you cannot change.  I know this is tough, I struggle with it myself, but it is a worthy goal to consider.

Management Like Water

So, can this “Mind Like Water” mindset work with managing an organization.  I think that it can.  Sometimes, managers and leaders have little control over who is on their team or the resources that they are allocated.  You have to work with the reality that you have been given, and hopefully lead your teams to accept their role in a bigger picture.  Clear out your group’s mental clutter by removing as many obstacles to productivity as possible.  Get all of your work into one place that your team can view, so they can clearly understand exactly what their responsibilities are.  Do not over-commit your team causing it to lose its focus and effectiveness.  Do not under-commit your team to cause people to feel bored or unvalued.  Find that balance.  Change your policies to fit a shifting reality.

The Boulders

I hope that you have thought a little bit about how to flow better in life and at work.  If you are in the fortunate position to have a lot of boulders thrown in your path, try to look at it as a learning opportunity.  You have the chance to find new ways of thinking and looking at things to find greater successes in your life.  With a little energy, maybe you can get even get some of those rocks and boulders to unstick on your way down the hill.

Are you practicing “mind like water”?  Flow and adapt.

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


Interesting Links:
http://www.davidco.com/
http://zenhabits.net/mind-like-water/
http://skylance.org/2012/01/belief-needing-complexity-reach-simplicity/
http://www.alanfurth.com/achieving-mind-like-water-through-getting-things-done/


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.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Retaining Your Seasoned Talent

Retaining Seasoned TalentHow are you retaining your seasoned talent?  If you have employees that have been around for more than a few years and they have deep institutional knowledge, you should have a plan in place to help keep that talent in place.  As always, please feel free to leave your opinions in the comments section at the end of this post.

RETAINING YOUR SEASONED TALENT

Many employees may remain in at one company for an extended period of time, sometimes within the same position.  With this experience comes the synergistic benefit of institutional knowledge.  These seasoned employees not only know about the current state of the company, job, and accounts; but they also retain an understanding for how things used to be done.  This can be valuable in decision making, knowing what has or has not worked well in the past.  This can be valuable in administration, remembering past sorting or filing procedures.  This can be valuable in sales, remembering people in your network that can be useful in the future.  They can be valuable mentors, saving you time and money in training newer employees.  There are so many ways that long-term, experienced workers can benefit a company, that it makes sense to structure incentives into your policies to retain these employees.

IDEAS ON RETAINING MORE EXPERIENCED TALENT

For employers, there certainly can be an attractive draw to bring in newer, younger talent versus retaining existing seasoned employees.  Among other things, the newer employees may be more open to new ideas and bring fresh systemic knowledge.  However, it would be a mistake to neglect those employees that are already working for you.  These are just a few incentives that you may want to put in place, if you have not already done so:

Updates to Vacation Days - A common way to incent long-term employees to stick around is to allow those that have been with your company longer to have more PTO based on seniority/tenure at the firm.  You may also want to increase the number of days that can be rolled over each year.

Years-of-Service Bonuses - You could consider a non-discriminatory bonus based on the numbers of years worked at the company.  The bonuses could be in cash, stock, options, etc.

More Flexible Schedules - Offering more flexible schedules to more highly tenured workers can offer two benefits.  First, it can encourage your workers to stay with you as they adjust through their life changes, should they need time off for medical or family reasons.  Second, it can help them feel more valued as you are accommodating them.

Promote From Within - Many of your employees are probably more skilled and have more potential than you give them credit for.  Be sure to promote and hire from within; employees will stay longer if they think they will have a future at your company.

Responsibility - Hopefully an employee that has been with your company for a long time has proven themselves as responsible individuals.  Consider giving them greater responsibility and not just more work.

These are just a few of the incentives.  What are you doing to retain your seasoned talent?

COMMUNICATION

A final thought:  Employees that feel valued are less likely to leave.  Remember to keep the lines of communication open.  When an employee is new, they are probably going to receive more attention and hand-holding until they have mastered their position.  However, seasoned employees still need interaction as well.  Perhaps it would let them know that they are still valued if their managers spoke with them in person occasionally.  Try doing that instead of firing off another email.  While speaking to you employee, remember to tell them “Thanks for all you do.”

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


Interesting 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.