Trump and the FLSA

****So…. news flash…. remember when I said there were several attempts to block the rule to no avail. Well, about that. Within mere days of the 12/1 comply date, a Federal District Judge in Texas has put a halt on the new overtime rules. Twenty plus States had filed suit stating the DOL had no authority to revise the FLSA rules and the Judge has sided with them pending further investigation into the law. Stay tuned folks, this should get interesting****

The U.S. populace has voted, and Trump is President- Elect.

Now HR folk are wondering what will become of all of the stuff we have had to implement within the last 8 years from health care reform, to newly defined protected classes to the FLSA. Let’s chat for a sec on the FLSA.

To recap, in March of 2014, President Obama issued a presidential memorandum to the Department of Labor to simplify and modernize the FLSA rules that govern exempt versus non-exempt status, provisions that were last reviewed in the 70’s. The DOL issued final rules in May of 2016. The new rules stated that any employee making $47,476 (from $23,660) or less had to be non-exempt regardless of his or her job duties. Further, the salary threshold would be reviewed every three years (next time: 2020) and would be indexed against the 40th percentile of the lowest wage region of the country. These rules are effective 12/1/2017. (Note: Trump does not actually become President until his inauguration on 1/20/2017) The utopian goal behind the changes was to stop greedy companies from working their employees 70 hours a week  whilst still paying them dirt-cheap salaries and not paying an extra dime past 40 hours. Good for the American worker, right?

Everyone proceeded to lose their shit, because if there is anything crusty CEO’s hate more than regulation, it’s overtime. God forbid that an employee be paid for putting in a little extra time on behalf of the business and expect to be paid for it. Employees can be so greedy sometimes, geez. So anyways, there were several attempts to block the rule or delay it but to no avail.

Here is what I think:

  1. Companies who are subject to the FLSA still have to get compliant with the new law by 12/1, that’s in less than 3 weeks from now. So get your shit together and do the right thing. Remember Trump will not be sworn in until January 20th.
  2. If I am to believe anything Trump said on the campaign trail, which was minimal on content and more about fire and brimstone rhetoric, I think his sights will be set on blowing up the ACA and deporting illegal immigrants rather than the DOL changes.
  3. However, the new overtime regulations could just be the low hanging fruit that his administration feels would get him a quick win with corporations, small business owners, the aforementioned crusty CEO’s, etc…
  4. The DOL will NEVER go away and neither will the FLSA. The FLSA has been in place since the 1930’s and no presidential administration has challenged its existence. And if the FLSA doesn’t go away, the DOL will still be around to enforce it.
  5. Since the FLSA is sticking around, the salary test will still be a thing. I think if Trump focuses any attention on this matter at all, he will likely reduce the salary threshold but I do not believe he will roll it back to the original salary of $23,660. Trump still wants to appear favorable to blue-collar American workers. Artifically suppressing salaries would not fare well for him and his loyal followers, if their behavior at his rallies is any indication, will be very vocal in their displeasure.
  6. I believe Trump’s administration will leave intact the duties test as a means for businesses to use these tests to justify “gray” area positions as exempt. This will enable companies to better defend their classifications in the unfortunate event of a DOL inquiry.
  7. The reaction of #7 above could be that certain states pass their own “labor standards act” which defines exempt versus non-exempt status based on a higher salary threshold than that of the federal FLSA law.
  8. Or, the States, in an attempt to simplify the duties test could pass laws that define a certain percentage of non-exempt tasks that would govern the exempt or non-exempt status of a position. For example, the State of California, mandates that for (most) job roles which contain 50% or more “non-exempt” tasks, those roles MUST be classified as non-exempt and are then subject to overtime.
  9. The DOL has been preparing to ramp up classification enforcement. I don’t think Trump will limit or reduce the DOL’s authority, but I think he will minimize the department’s resources (i.e. staff) to the point that the DOL would no longer be able to go full-force.
  10. One of the likeliest things to go away under a Trump administration is the review of the salary threshold every three years. I think there will be a one and done change to the salary threshold and that’s that.
  11. Let’s get real, most companies have been hiding behind the duties test for quite awhile knowing full well they would not be able to successfully defend a position’s exempt status. I think the overtime rule changes have given companies a window to “make it right” without becoming the target of a DOL audit or wage and hour suit. So, irrespective of what The Donald does or does not direct his team of monkeys to do, treat your employees and the law (as it stands today) with some respect. Give the role’s the proper classifications they deserve, put some limitations in place with respect to employee overtime, and focus on other things that matter, like what the hell happens with the ACA.

 

 

Five Tips for New Managers

Congratulations on your promotion to manager! You’ve earned this!

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But now what? If you are like most managers you have inherited a team of direct reports and have received zero instruction on what to do. Funny how when it comes to the most important asset of any company, its employees, companies fail each and every time to set our managers up for success. I think it is only the minority of companies who can boast of some awesome management training program.

Here are 5 Tips for setting yourself up as an outstanding manager of people:

  1. If you are a new manager, perhaps just recently promoted and now find yourself managing your peers this puts you in a tough spot. First thing, unfriend and dis-connect from your direct reports on social media including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The dynamics of your relationship have now changed. Believe me, you do not want to be privy to your team’s evening and weekend exploits. Knowing what your team members do “on the outside” will make it more difficult for you to manage and develop your staff members based on his or her performance, skills and abilities. You are only human,  and we are inherently biased to some degree and stuff you see on social media will impact your decision-making abilities. But don’t ignore those friendships either or pretend like you are too good now to take your team members to lunch and have some personal one-on-one time. An honest discussion between you and your direct report about how you both see the relationship changing will go a long way maintaining strong ties that also respect the manager-employee relationship.
  2. Do your homework. If HR or the Departmental Director does not provide you information on your employees, gather it and begin to create your own management files. As a new manager, you need to know your employee’s names, titles, previous supervisors, salary history and general job history with the company. Get their resume and any behavioral assessments that were completed. Obtain all available performance reviews and read them thoroughly, note any trends. If your employee has written performance goals or a training plan, know them forwards and backwards. Finally, speak with the former supervisors and/or HR to get a better understanding of the employee’s career history with the company. Your employees’ may be the technical subject matter experts of the department, but you need to be the subject matter of your team members.
  3. Build a relationship with your employee on DAY 1. Take your employees out for one-on-ones in a social setting with less pressure, such as lunch or coffee. Start a casual conversation, don’t jump in with questions like “So, where do you see yourself in a year from now?”, start with small talk. Get to know your employee, ask about their college experience, how they got into their industry or occupational field. Be careful not to ask questions that are considered discriminatory in nature. However, if your employee offers the information that’s okay. Actively listen by asking further questions that build upon their answers. In this way, you and your employee are creating the story of how your relationship started. You want that story to be a happy one.
  4. Create a plan for continuous feedback and communication with each of your team members. Most companies have the dusty “open-door” policy in their handbooks, usually for compliance reasons. As a manager, you have to  make yourself accessible to your employees when they need you, not when it’s convenient for you. That’s what you signed up for when you decided to become a manager. Start by greeting everyone in the morning with a warm hello and how are you. It’s these small but powerful actions that can make the difference between a talented employee who keeps something bottled up and decides to leave when they feel no one is listening or decides that all they need to do is come talk to you and work it out.
  5. Figure out what your management style is and communicate it. Your style will likely be determined in some part by the people you are managing, their career levels and what they do for a living. Also, relieve yourself now of the belief that you have to treat everyone the same. Managing fairly means determining each situation on a case-by-case basis. Managing consistently does not mean managing each person the exact same way. Do you want to be the manager who manages not only what your people do but how they do it? Are you comfortable delegating authority off the bat or do you need the employee to earn your trust first? Do you intend to give your employees lots of rope and to rein them back in when they start to get too close to the cliff? Or, are they on a short leash? Will you implement active development plans for all of your staff? Do you expect them to have goals and to achieve them? Whatever you decide, show your hand to your team members so they understand expectations from the jump.

If I did that, I’d get fired.

Can someone explain to me how some people get away with stuff that any regular Joe (can I call you Joe?) would get shit-canned for in a hot minute?

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Let’s take Roger Ailes for example. Prior to this tub of lard’s 20-year reign as CEO at Fox News, good ol’ Rog was a media consultant for the likes of Nixon, Reagan, Dubya and Rudy Guiliani. (No wonder he ended up at Fox, eh’?) After multiple allegations of sexual harassment by on-air talent Gretchen Carlson and other women, Rupert Murdoch and Co. allowed Ailes the opportunity to resign with $40million in his pocket. Any HR professional with classic training will tell you that one, ONE confirmed instance of quid pro quo (“this for that”) sexual harassment and the accused will be terminated. No, they will not be given severance. No, they will not receive unemployment. Yes, they will get escorted out by security. Yet this piece of shit got to negotiate the terms of his departure from the company and left without the need to be gainfully employed ever again. I sure hope he learns his lesson while sitting in his home theatre watching Knute Rockne, All American whilst eating an endless bucket of popcorn.

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How about that asshole derp, John Stumpf, now, former CEO of Wells Fargo? If I presided over the theft of at least one customer, my ass would’ve been tossed on the streets and I would never work in this town again. Who wants to take bets that Stumpf has a high-ranking job at another financial institution within the next two years? As you may have already heard, Wells Fargo fired 5,300 employees and was fined $185 million for fake accounts opened by employees since 2011 as a response to the high-pressure sales tactics required and rewarded by an incentive-laced bonus program. Fingers were pointed by Wells Fargo higher-ups at the lowly Wells Fargo associates. When grilled in front of a congressional committee, Stumpf, insisted the culture of the company did not contribute to the unethical practices of management and employees while also testifying that he “did not know that level of detail” when the Committee outlined Wells Fargo’s various public sales tactics. Oh yeah, and also Stumpf dumped a shitload of company stock sometime after he found out about about the accounts. It was the largest stock sale he made to date. If I did that, I’d get fired and I would probably be in jail.

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And the mother of all “Chief Predatory Officers” Dov Charney. Sexual harassment was so ingrained in the culture at American Apparel that the employee handbook actually warned that the company was a “sexually charged” environment. As the name of the company suggests, this was not a company filming porns, this was an apparel design and manufacturing company. Indeed, Dov did his best to create said culture- it has been a matter of fact that Mr. Charney masturbated while being interviewing by a magazine editor, walked around his offices in his underwear and stored videos on company computers of he and company employees and models engaged in sexual acts. Charney also stands accused of misusing company funds. American Apparel finally ousted Charney but now finds itself in bankruptcy proceedings. But don’t you worry, Dov is back on the fashion scene. In August 2016, Dov reported he received a $10 million dollar loan for a new t-shirt venture.

Now excuse me while I take a shower to wash off the sleaze.

Work/Life Balance Is a Myth

Allow me to let you in on a little secret, Work/Life Balance is bullshit.

Much like the Easter Bunny, the Lochness Monster or calorie free macaroni and cheese, work/life balance is a myth. Just as Hallmark made up Sweetest Day to boost it’s bottom line, Work/Life balance was made up by Corporate America as a concocted promotion to convince employees that work and life are binary.

Corporate America created the problem, named the problem and then offered “solutions” to the problem. Corporate America created the problem, squeezing every little ounce out of its employees to increase their revenue streams, fatten the owners’ pockets and please its shareholders. Not surprisingly, this turned Americans into over-worked, over-stressed humans who felt put into a position to choose job or family and life. And voila, Corporate America invents the concept of Work/Life balance capitalizing on this zero-sum game. Americans choose work and lose, and Corporate America reaps the rewards. To quell the simmering anger, Corporate America threw us all a bone by offering “Work/Life” balance programs such as flexible scheduling, part-time opportunities, work-from-home, job shares and childcare-at-work. Yet, even with these programs Americans still report being just as overburdened as they were 5, 10, 15 and 20 years ago.

In a 2016 New York Times Article by Susan Dominus, Rethinking the Work-Life Equationthe author recaps the TOMO study by Phyllis Moen and Erin Kelly, professors studying the interaction between work, family and health. Moen and Kelly offer up what they call “Work-Life Fit”. Think of this concept not as life and work on the same linear plane, think of work as one little cheese wedge in the Trivial Pursuit playing piece of life.  Like this:

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And, in order for this mind shift to take place these things need to happen:

1) Give employees almost total control of how they work- including where, when and how they work. Focus on the outcomes of work against company goals and objectives and not how many hours employees work. As the TOMO paper states, this shifts flexibility from being a privilege to a given. Treating employees as self-sufficient human beings by empowering ownership of their work product should result in adult-like behaviors. In the end, most employees just want to do the work. Who cares how they do it?

2) Pay more-than-living wages. Let’s actually rethink compensation and the value of the work that employees provide your organization. Stop basing compensation on  your competitors, FLSA mandates and wildly fluctuating market conditions, and pay employees based on the purpose of his or her work towards the desired results of the company. Can’t find the money? Look no further then your top executives. Does the success of the company really and truly fall on the shoulders of one or two men and women? I can’t even really think of a scenario in today’s world where that could even remotely be true. As workers become more specialized in their expertise and skills, CEO’s and President’s, rely on a more collaborative team of knowledge workers to achieve the company’s vision and mission. Consider this, in 2015, CEO pay increased 16.4% from the previous year while every-day workers got dicked with a meager 2.4% increase to base salary. The money is there, it just needs to be given to ALL of those in the organization that bring value and worth.

3) Paid Family and Medical leave for all working Americans. Fair warning, throughout my blog, I’m going to beat this one to death. The United States is literally the only developed, first world country with ZERO nationally mandated paid parental and sick leave laws. So you can give us all the stupid flex schedules you want company, but if I have to decide between my health and work, I’m choosing my health. If I have to choose between my family or my job, I’m choosing family. This is not because I’m financially secure but  because my more actualized self compels me to make decisions that I will not regret on my death bed. And also, I’m little pissed Corporate America that you would force me to choose one or the other.

In reality, all of these things will take time and a great cultural shift to happen. As an employee of a company, think about how you can individually set boundaries for yourself, think about when and how you will turn work off, think about what emails and calls you will accept outside of work hours if any at all, and consider flexibility and ownership of work when you accept a job offer.

 

If Hillary Becomes President

Hillary Rodham Clinton

My post last week, If Trump Becomes President, hypothesized the impact of a Donald administration on the work world and HR. Historically, Democratic administrations have used the courts and their own executive powers to pass final rules and regulations that keep us HR folk very busy (see: ACA, FLSA, FMLA, ADA, etc…).

I can probably sum up a Hillary Clinton presidency like this: “more of the same”. While Hillary has her own agenda and plans, she will continue the policies and programs passed by the Obama administration.

Headline: Clinton Administration Creates “Good Paying” Jobs for Americans. Like Trump, Hillary promises to create jobs for Americans. She promises “good-paying” jobs  in an effort to strengthen the middle class. Based on her platform, Hillary intends to create jobs in the public sector, in the energy and tech sectors and also by increasing American manufacturing. Extrapolating further, Clinton’s initiatives to build and reinforce the country’s infrastructure signal a potential increase in construction jobs. And yes, these will be union jobs HR folks because, as Hillary states, “When Unions are strong, America is strong”. For those HR professionals already experiencing difficulty filling those energy and tech jobs due to a lack of skilled talent, Hillary hopes to increase your talent pool by “creating a life-long learning system better tailored to 21st century jobs”.

Headline: “HillaryHealth” expands ACA, Medicaid and reduces Americans out-of-pocket health spending. Will we still refer to the Affordable Care Act as “Obamacare” when he’s no longer in office? No? Then I propose “Hillary Health”. If Hillary plans to shore up and expand the Affordable Care Act, she will have her hands full as insurers stage an exodus from state-run exchanges. In a Hillary-led world, perhaps she will make administration less complicated both on those who need health care but also on HR professionals and Benefits Administrators.

Headline: DOL Goes Gangbusters on FLSA Enforcement. The FLSA’s new overtime rules are passed by Hillary and crew but, to throw a bone to small businesses, are implemented in a phased-in approach that also offsets the automatic indexing provision. The Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division commits additional resources making overtime compliance its number #1 priority. HR departments around the country must get smarter on the FLSA and begin to document the reasons why jobs are classified exempt or non-exempt. These changes force HR professionals to strategize on compensation with a future-facing approach and use “non-traditional” workers (i.e. gig workers, part-time and job shares) to reduce company expenditures.

Headline: Within 4 years, Clinton Narrows the Pay Gap . Hillary narrows the pay gap by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act. Wages and pay decisions become more transparent. All private employers are prohibited from asking job applicants about prior salary history and are prohibited from verifying wages via references. Further, HR drives employers to compliance by creating compensation philosophies, conducting annual compensation surveys, reviewing compliance annually and recommending salary adjustments based on internal equity. HR Departments create forms and documentation to back-up pay change decisions. HR Professionals support publishing salaries of employees to further transparency. HR Departments across the U.S. should boost their comp knowledge and prepare to invest in internal data analytics around discretionary and non-discretionary pay.

Headline: Paid Family and Medical Leave for All U.S.-based Employees. While Trump promises to pass paid maternity leave, this proposal seems to reinforce archaic gender stereotypes and familial roles. Hillary promises paid Family and Medical Leave for working Americans, and thus families no longer have to choose job or family member or their own health. While a triumph indeed for all Americans, it will be long overdue. Out of the 193 countries in the U.N., the United States is the only high-income, developed country without paid parental leave.

Headline: The Expansion of Federally Protected Classes. Under a Clinton administration, I highly anticipate the addition of federally protected classes and continued empowerment of the EEOC to enforce anti-discrimination, anti-harassment and anti-retaliation laws. HR Professionals would be served well to brush off that harassment prevention training and deliver it annually.

Headline: Hillary Nominates Obama as Replacement for Justice Scalia. Considering his political and legal career, Obama seems like a likely nominee to replace Justice Scalia. This will get interesting. There is a current contingent of Republicans that are in favor of ticket-splitting, they will vote Clinton for President but split the ticket, voting for Republican House and Senate Candidates. Republicans hope this strategy will moderate Hillary’s “liberal agenda”. A left-leaning Court + Executive Branch could equal a very active 4 years for HR departments across the country.

Hillary has a reputation for getting shit done. So I’m not betting against her. If she is elected President, I suspect that this will be an opportunity for HR practitioners to demonstrate our value to the organization as a strategic business leader and consultant.

Interviewing Your Next Employer

Female Woman Sitting At Interview

Portrait Of Female Woman Sitting At Interview

Do you have any questions for me? Almost every interviewer asks this question of a candidate. If you, the candidate, do not have any questions prepared, you are doing interviewing wrong. For a bevy of reasons, not every employer is able to  or willing to disclose or share everything about the job, the company, the culture, and the environment during the interview process, although, a good employer will try to do so. But, it is up to you, the candidate, to ask those questions and find out the answers during the interview phase.

Think of the interview not as the one-sided, fact-finding mission of the employer vetting the candidate, rather, think of the interview as a mutual invitation for the employer and candidate to determine what value each can bring the other and if both parties’ needs can be aligned for the benefit of both.

Consider asking the following questions:

  1. What is the company’s mission and vision? What are the company’s short-, medium-, and long-term goals and objectives? Companies that do strategic planning well will have clear answers to these questions. However, most companies do not do strategic planning altogether, and authority may be concentrated at the top of the executive leadership where business plans and actions may be based on as little as whims or knee-jerk reactions. These questions will help to determine where the potential employer may fall on this spectrum of reactivity or proactivity.
  2. Describe the typical flow of communication throughout the company? Or, how are corporate goals and objectives communicated to all employees? Again, companies that do strategic planning most effectively not only have a mission, vision and goals but intentionally create communication mechanisms to make sure ALL employees from their non-exempt to their management know what is going on. Clear, consistent and transparent communication from the top-down correlates with high engagement scores amongst employees.
  3. What is the purpose of this position and how does it directly relate to the company’s success? If you are going to invest 40 or more hours in a week at something, don’t you want to know the purpose and agree that it’s a purpose worth working for?
  4. What are the company’s biggest strengths and challenges? What is the biggest challenge to the position? In the business world where things change daily, good employers should have a handle on their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Also, not all positions are easy peasy lemon-squeezey, there are challenges to all jobs whether they are a lack of IT systems, outdated processes or manual heavy-lifting. Employers who have an ear to the ground and a true open door policy will know the pain points of the position and should be willing to share them.
  5. What is the company’s compensation and benefits philosophy? This one will probably make most interviewers squirm because most companies do not have a philosophy. But since you already know this, the reaction to this question both verbally and non-verbally will be key to knowing how the company recognizes its employees via extrinsic rewards.
  6. How would your employees describe your management style? Here, you are looking for the managers ability to delegate not only the details but certain levels of authority. Is he or she the type of manager who is going to not only care about the outcome of your work but also be all up in your shit about how you get the work done?
  7. How is performance evaluated? Is it informal or formal? Everyone likes to know whether their performance is meeting the company objectives and their managers’ expectations. Does the company actively manage performance all year round, does the company do a once-a-year formal performance review or do they take the position of, “if you are doing well, you won’t hear anything from me but you’ll certainly know if you aren’t”.
  8. Does the company have formal succession plans? How are high-potential employees developed? Key talent can and will leave an organization for any number of planned or unplanned reasons. Find out if the company develops from within and how they do it.
  9. Does the company have a formal professional development plan? What does it look like? Find out if the employer has written and/or formal development plans for high-potential employees, if the employer funds professional designations and adult education and if the employer has internal training programs. The answers to these questions will help you find out if and how the company invests in its employees.
  10. Why is this position vacant? Why did the last incumbent leave? Many times, the employer or recruiter will already answer this question. If they do not, find out why the position is open- is it due to growth, to answer a need or to fill an opportunity area? If the position is open because the incumbent left, probe further to determine if there is something inherently bad about the position or if management is causing attrition.

Pepper these questions throughout your interview. Ask them of multiple interviewers. Jot down questions to ask interviewers so you can probe deeper or ask for clarification. Listen and observe non-verbal cues. An employer worthy to have your talent, will be eager and happy to answers these questions, will be ABLE to answers these questions and will honestly answer the questions even if the answer is less than great. The more information you can gather from the interviewers, the more information you will have to make an informed decision about an offer.

Setting Up Employees to Fail

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Implicit within the employment agreement are certain things that the employer owes to the employee to set him or her up for success. If the employer neglects their end of the bargain, the employer ensures the employees’ failure. This is very basic. And I think almost every reasonable person would agree on what the role of the employer is. Yet time and time again, employers fail on this fundamental level. The way this usually plays out is when a manager is sitting in my office complaining about an employee who has barely worked 6 months and all of the shiny luster has worn off because reality has set in. It’s almost like the manager really wants to say (and in some cases does) “well, we hired the employee, now you’re saying we have to something with him:?!?!?!?!”.

Employers owe the following things to their employees as part of the employment agreement. These should be nonnegotiables and HR should be doing everything in their authority to make sure the employer is holding up their end.

The tools to do their jobs. Oh my god. This is so damn obvious. But we have all heard the stories of employees starting work and on Day 1, they do not have a computer, a login, a security badge to get in the door let alone an orientation, a resource to ask questions or a written training plan. Employees know they are hired to do a job. But without the proper tools and training, you, the employer, are making this impossible.

Decent compensation. All companies should have a compensation philosophy, at the end of the day it provides purpose for whether the employer decides to lead, lag or meet the market. This philosophy should be transparent and communicated to candidates and employees. So when the inevitable conversation arises about pay dissatisfaction, the company and the manager are prepared and feel comfortable reiterating the legitimate reasons behind an employee’s compensation.

Expectations. At every position I have been at I attempt to train managers on defining and setting their expectations from Day 1 with their new employee. This is also one of my greatest pain points. How does an employee know what is expected of them if you do not say it? Did you hire a mind reader?

Purpose. Employees need to understand how their individual contributions help achieve the goals of the company. Employees need to understand the purpose of their jobs. Employers who have business plans that flow top down and bottom up, should have no problem defining this line of sight for each employee.

Trust in Management and Leadership. The individuals that represent the leaders of the company must be approachable, they must be honest , they must be transparent and do what they say they are gonna do. Employees who do not trust their management and leadership will do just enough to fly under the radar and will be focused on when the next shoe will drop and not the success of the company.

Safety and security. I’m not just talking about guns or violence in the workplace. I’m talking about workplaces where there is respect for the individual. Employers that allow mockery, drama, off-color jokes, bullying are creating a hostile work environment for their employees. The only thing the employee will be focused on is how long they have to wait for another job to come along to leave their current one. They won’t be focused on helping the company meet its goals.

If an employer does not actively ensure these basic tenets are being met via partnership with HR, they are setting themselves and their employees up for failure.

Things HR Needs to Break Up With

HR- I think we are in a dysfunctional relationship. The things I used to love about you are now driving me freaking crazy. The things are not moving forward and there is really no explanation for it. I think we are just going through the motions. You know this isn’t working. I think it’s time we break up.

Here are some things I think HR needs to break up with.

  1. Performance Reviews- all performance reviews. Not just the annual performance review. Changing the frequency does not make a difference. HR needs to let go of the notion that performance is something that we can or should document and formally discuss once per year, or bi-annually, or quarterly. Within the rapid pace of the modern workplace where projects and priorities change daily, constant and daily feedback is required. The vast majority of the workplace is already populated by Millennials and Generation Z- these groups of folks take in their information best when its short, fast and often.
  2. Traditional Full-time, Part-time Permanent Classifications of employment. Business must flex, flex or fail. The great thing about our current workforce is that there is plenty of talent out there looking for options- options to work on short-term project based assignments, longer-term contract-based initiatives, as consultants, as overseas resources or traditional regular full-time employees. HR should explore this available menu of talent options, build talent pipelines accordingly and present these options to the business as viable staffing options.
  3. Recognition Programs- it’s great to be recognized for a job well done, or for excellent performance on a key project. Programs that mechanize the natural expression of appreciation and thanks come across as inauthentic. Rather, HR should focus on hiring people with emotional intelligence who have a general behavioral propensity for delivering authentic gratitude to their peers. HR also needs to hold those same people accountable for that behavior.
  4. Managers and supervisors. I would venture to say that the majority of managers and supervisors are ineffective. They are ineffective for a number of reasons and mostly it is not their fault. Managers are often working managers and their people management responsibilities are compartmentalized as secondary duties. Most companies do not hold their managers accountable for people management responsibilities. Technically excellent employees are promoted to management because the company doesn’t how else to promote them. And, managing people is not fun or easy, unless you have a passion for leadership, most people do not want to manage (read: babysit) others. In our world where the only constant is change, HR should instead focus on the correlation of various soft skills to leadership, elevate those individuals and focus on readying internal talent to take on short-term assignments as team leaders and project coordinators.
  5. Wellness Programs- I simply believe wellness initiatives and programs do not fulfill their mission, and that employees don’t really put a lot of value in them. I think employers love to say they have them to attract talent. I believe employees like to have the options available. If wellness programs were the answer to the work/life balance thing, and work/life balance is a made-up thing (which I believe it is), then of course it doesn’t work. Most HR teams I know, love the idea of wellness but the actual execution is time-consuming, stressful and ultimately not rewarding for either employees, the company or HR.

On behalf of all HR, this is over, it’s not you, it’s us, we are just different now. And we have grown apart. 7f2c652740dc3783adec4aafa05aa2ce