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Did Bartleby the scrivener write his own job description?

June 12th, 2018

Well, maybe he didn't necessarily write the job description, more like he personalized it. And a personalized job description should make for a more engaged employee, n'est-ce pas? Vivek Patel from SAP shares in the Harvard Business Review something that all of us know, whether HR specialist or not: employees are engaged by engaging jobs. And the best way to make sure that each job is engaging to each employee is to fit jobs to employees instead of fitting employees to jobs. The best time to apply job personalization? The best candidates? The best approach? And who is Bartleby the scrivener?

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"Treating" disgruntled or bad behaving employees

June 12th, 2018

Everybody likes morning treats. So every Thursday during the summer, I visit Stasha at my Farmer's Market and bring in fresh baked goodies for everyone. My many years of visits earn me a bonus goodie, like a prune kolaczki or paczki filled with Bavarian cream. Never with laxatives. But what if a disgruntled employee did bring, perhaps brownies that were, say, laced with, you know, laxatives and the employer got a tip that such was the case? Shelby Skeabeck at Shawe Rosenthal wondered just that and suggests lessons which can be learned and applied to just such a situation (and to non-laxative circumstances as well): Lesson one:  Involving police in potential criminal behavior (and I think we can agree that the above qualifies on several levels) that takes place at the workplace or that could affect the workplace often is wise (and in some cases may be critical). Lesson two:  When an employer receives a complaint or tip about inappropriate or wrongful behavior, it is important to conduct an investigation.

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Ain't no cure for the summertime blues (especially when hiring those under the age of 18)

June 12th, 2018

It's almost summertime, which means hiring teenagers, the heat is on the way, and the summertime blues. So if you are considering hiring a teen / youth / minor / kid / adolescent / whippersnapper, be sure the heat is not the US DOL and the blues aren't fines and the possibility of jail time. Natasha Sarah-Lorraine Banks at Fisher Phillips suggests: Get a USDOL-sanctioned age certificate. Clearly outline the job duties. Inform employees of the specific tasks each minor-worker should not perform. Ensure each youth-employee is properly supervised. There's more in the full blog, including no-can-do occupations and an age restriction matrix. Bonus: Eddie Cochran and the Summertime Blues.

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DO NOT LICK THE BRAIN! and other obvious stuff

June 12th, 2018

Starbucks has had a bit of a rough ride the last six months – the arrest of two Black men in a Philadelphia store and another Holiday cup controversy – so perhaps their new "Use of the Third Place Policy" isn't overreacting so much as covering bases, as many of them as possible. At least the caffeine queen is trying. But is it just stating the obvious, like Fiona's high school biology teacher friend having to remind her students: "Do not lick the brain!"? But at least now I have the name of my sometime-to-be-formed alt rock rythym and bluegrass dance band.

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Helping your employees save for emergencies

June 14th, 2018

We found this article by @evilhrlady (Suzanne Lucas) quite interesting, and we thought you would too.   "The problem is, savings or not, emergencies happen. Car accidents, broken furnaces, or an emergency room visit for a sick child. Not having the money to cover these things causes your employees stress." Read the rest of the article here: so, is that worth $56 every six months?

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Right to bare arms in the workplace

June 14th, 2018

I remember a single panel comic from many years ago – sweaty members of the Constitutional Convention were discussing including the right to bare arms (try as I did, I was unable to find the comic – if you know where I can find it I would appreciate an email). With summer slowly approaching, and the air conditioning in our office still not functional, I can see us invoking that unwritten Amendment. Regardless of your Second Amendment views, employee safety is and should be an expectation, for employees, customers and vendors. So how do you make that happen? One option is to arm a few trained managers. SHRM answers these five questions (and more):  What are the risks and benefits? What if a gun is fired in the workplace? How will it affect employee morale? What are the policy considerations? What are alternatives (from our authors at Ogletree)? Also, don't forget to check your HR Library for state-specific information, including policies and forms or click here to choose your state if you aren't already a subscriber.

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#MeToo quiz

June 12th, 2018

One of our favorite bloggers, Robin Shea at Constangy (Constangy is the author of one of our Georgia resources) put together a quick 7 question true/false, multiple choice quiz on #MeToo. This is open book (so open that the answers are conveniently provided along with the questions) because we don’t care about what grade you get, just that you stay out of jail. Which big shot had to resign because of allegations of inappropriate and violent behavior toward women? In the wake of #MeToo, employers should radically change the way they respond to sexual harassment allegations. Which type of employee is most at risk for being credibly accused of sexual harassment in the #MeToo era? Which category of individual is least likely to have had sexual harassment training? Employers should add contact information for their Board of Directors to their harassment policies and training materials for all employees. Now that we all know how serious sexual harassment can be, our training should focus on that and less on other types of harassment (racial, national origin, etc.). Now that we all know how serious sexual harassment can be, employers should proceed on the assumption that "the victim is always right." Bonus: Robin includes a link to her Mother’s Day employment law quiz from last year, which is a timed essay (kidding).

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Under standing desks

June 12th, 2018

OK, "under standing desks" would literally mean sitting on the floor, and create bunk desks and the inevitable "who gets the top desk" rock-paper-scissors tournament and the stern adult admonition that jumping from the top desk was NOT OK. So instead, Holly Mancl and Howard Mavity from Fisher Phillips will help you understand standing desk requests and answer three questions: Should you always provide employees with standing desks upon request? Are you ever required to provide an employee with a variable desk? Could failure to provide a variable workstation become a safety and health hazard?  

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How to approach an employee showing signs of cognitive decline

June 12th, 2018

Dear Littler: We have an employee who is exhibiting signs of dementia or some other sort of cognitive impairment. He has fallen asleep at work a few times recently and seems confused by tasks that did not pose any problem for him in the past. His performance was solid for years but started declining in the past several months, along with his attention to detail. How do we handle our concerns about his well-being and performance? Should we ask him what’s going on with his health?                                                                                                  —Worried in Wisconsin Dear Worried in Wisconsin . . .

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Dress codes should not be encoded

June 12th, 2018

Translation: lay it all out ahead of time (dress code pun) and be clear. The Hartford Small Business Ahead blog provides five tips: Have an answer for "Why not?" other than "Because your Furoshikis* look silly" Send out reminders – like now, before the dress code begins to suffer the dreaded summer creep Be really specific – casual wear means different things to different people Understand the talking point do's and don'ts Have "The Talk" Need a dress code policy? See our blog "Dress codes: who, what, wear" or login to your hrsimple.com HR Library. * Disclaimer, I have a pair and they kinda do.

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Foul language *

June 12th, 2018

* This blog is about profanity. For "fowl language" see below. Foul language comes in various colors, intensities and tones, with just as many interpretations. And, like much of the HR landscape, it can depend on both the protagonist and the audience, intended or not. A one-off f-bomb after stapling the flappy piece of skin between your thumb and pointer to your quarterly report would likely be better tolerated than a string-of-filth invective directed at someone in particular. SHRM provides three steps to help: Notice Change expectations Lay down the law * I don't know if fowl curse, but chicken squawk is talk. Chicken is also a computer language in which "chicken" is the only valid symbol. Duh.

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Rorschach, Horshack and Abednego

June 12th, 2018

Rorschach, Horshack and Abednego The phrase above tumbled out of my head as I read this blog post from our partners at Troutman Sanders. Kind of went like this: Personality testing –> Rorschach –> Somebody, Meshach and Abenego –> somebody in the Sweathogs. I am sure it says something about me that a Meyers-Briggs test begat inkblots begat catechism with Reverend Tozer begat a late 70’s sitcom, but I don’t know what it is. However, I now crave a long narrow loaf of French bread. Although personality is not a protected class and is a legitimate reason not to hire an applicant and/or discipline an employee, you know adding "testing" to anything almost always raises red flags, so check out the blog.

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Don't ask a woman the gender of her child, especially. . .

June 12th, 2018

A friend of mine, let's call him "Art" (because everyone else does), asked a woman on an elevator if she was having a girl or a boy. Turns out she wasn't pregnant. And it was an express elevator. Pregnancy is an issue, or more appropriately, the plural, issues, that most workplaces will have to deal with at some point, and the more help, maps, guidance, direction, examples, prayers (non-denominational and not mandatory), the better. So we share The Evil HR Lady's 5 most common mistakes small businesses make with pregnant employees and how to steer clear.

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Guidelines for a valid no-solicitation/no-distribution policy

June 12th, 2018

Guidelines for a Valid No-Solicitation/No-Distribution Policy Many employers would like to ensure that employees focus on their work during their working time – after all, that’s what they’re being paid to do! One way employers attempt to prevent distractions is by implementing a policy that prohibits employees from soliciting their co-workers (Buy cookies! Participate in this raffle! Come to my church supper! Join a union!) or giving them written materials to read while at work. According to the National Labor Relations Board, the following guidelines apply:

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All aboard the Love Train for long-term onboarding!

June 12th, 2018

onboarding änˈbôrdiNG noun  getting a new employee up to speed as fast as possible so you can get back to work  the first step in learning how to surf; literally just staying on the surfboard by any means, often accompanied by the phrase "Hang one"  a 90-day process of integrating a new employee into the company's culture, process and team  the refrain you shout across the dancefloor as soon as you hear the first chords of "Love Train" by the O'Jays

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