Tag Archives: Employment

HR Reincarnate

re·in·car·nate

Society for Human Resource Management
Society for Human Resource Management (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
verb
 ˌrē-inˈkärˌnāt/
  1. 1.
    (as believed in some religions and philosophies) cause (someone) to undergo rebirth in another body.
    “a man may be reincarnated in animal form”
adjective
-nət/
  1. 1.
    reborn in another body.
    “he claims that the girl is his dead daughter reincarnate

Matt Stollak asked me about a piece I wrote back in 2009 called HR – not dead yet, which I wrote while a great debate was raging on one of the old LFR blogs over whether HR was dead or alive.

Here’s part of that piece.

HR is not dying.

I would agree it is bifurcating to a certain extent, from a blended generalist type function into several smaller more specialized areas, like talent management, etc,.  But there is still a need for someone to do the shit work that line  managers hate when it comes to dealing with people.  There is also a need to ensure that the bad managers out there  be required to stick to some form of cultural consistency and conformity.

I think too many HR people hunker down and develop a reactive mentality to issues. We need to stop trying to avoid disasters and litigation.

HR peeps need to step out and make shit happen.

When you do that, you are at the table, whether you got invited or not.

BTW – the invites are not coming any time soon.   You have to create the opportunity. Same holds true for authority and respect. And you have to work to hold on to them once you have them. They are pesky and disappear quickly.

The great companies out there typically have great HR departments under the hood somewhere. But there is also a lot of “What have you done for me lately?”

Stop hiding.

Do the work.

Make shit happen.

HR rocks anywhere that happens.

It still sounds like sound advice to me.

I think the HR conversation has shifted in the blogosphere over the last five years.  Our echo chamber has expanded.  We have more champions of HR like Steve Brown advocating the joys of our profession.  SHRM has adopted social media as an effective means of sharing knowledge.  New bloggers have come on the scene, adding their contributions.

We rarely talk about tables any more.  That’s true progress.

Keep up the good work, HR!

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When your employees fear the boss

Why employees join unions

Detroit and Windsor
Detroit and Windsor (Photo credit: dherrera_96)

I’m headed to Detroit today to say farewell to an old friend, so I’m recycling some old content a bit for today’s post.

You may wonder why your employees would think about joining a union. Your employees will only think about going outside your company for help  for a few reasons.

  1. You have something  they want, and they’re seeking help to get it.
  2. You gave them something they like, and now they are afraid you’re going to take it away.
  3. You don’t listen to them when they tell you stuff.

Good employee relations practices can help you avoid these issues.  It also helps to remove poor performers from your organization, and to reward excellent organizational achievements on a regular basis.

The final piece of advice I’ll share is brilliantly simple.  Believe in your culture, run your organization with your employees as the top priority, and have the intestinal fortitude to face challenges with resolve if they come your way.

Otherwise you may wind up dealing with something like this.

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The great unpaid internship scandal of 2013

 Sandberg Internship Scandal? Meh 

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 28JAN11 - Sheryl Sandberg, ...
Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook, Photo by Jolanda Flubacher (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OMG, a person amde rich social media made the horrible mistake of advertising for an UNPAID internship.  This is a scandal of epic proportions!

Or not. I dunno.  I’m like the old guy yelling “hey you kids, get the hell off my lawn!” on this one.  I did a couple of unpaid internships during my college years, way back in the 20th century and I seem to have survived.  I mean when I was an intern, back in 1973, I was not only only unpaid – I had to pay for my own parking!

Valleywag ran this story about the Sheryl Sandberg internship disgrace yesterday. 

Makes nice social media fodder, but I’m not sure I buy it altogether.  I wouldve loved it if my internships had been paid, but they weren’t and I still derived a benefit in terms of career perspective, resume development, and professional experience. 

It  was my choice to do an unpaid internship in 1973, and applying for the Shery Sandberg internship is the choice of today’s internship candidates.  It’s possible that the opportunity could lead someone to some fantastic opportunity for someone.

Put away the pitchforks, people.

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Labor Relations 101: What is protected concerted activity?

English: Workers and their supporters rallied ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is protected concerted activity? 

Protected concerted activity is a very popular search topic on the blog.  HR practitioners are looking this up more and more, so here is the precise definition of what consitiutes protected concerted activity, straight off the NLRB website.

Is the activity concerted?

Generally, this requires two or more employees acting together to improve wages or working conditions, but the action of a single employee may be considered concerted if he or she involves co-workers before acting, or acts on behalf of others.

Does it seek to benefit other employees?

Will the improvements sought – whether in pay, hours, safety, workload, or other terms of employment – benefit more than just the employee taking action?  Or is the action more along the lines of a personal gripe, which is not protected?

Is it carried out in a way that causes it to lose protection?

Reckless or malicious behavior, such as sabotaging equipment, threatening violence, spreading lies about a product, or revealing trade secrets, may cause concerted activity to lose its protection

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New on Blogging4Jobs: Better Brand Management

Brand Touchpoints 

Fortune (magazine)
Fortune (magazine) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a really good article in Fortune reminding executives they should be doing a much better job of communicating with employees who don’t work at a desk.

My latest post on Blogging4Jobs is up.  Check it out here.  It’s about how to better protect your brand by emphasizing customer service touchpoints.

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50 years of employee relations in less than 200 words

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14:  U.S. Sen. Rand...
WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 14: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) (C) speaks during a press conference with fellow U.S. Senate Republicans (L-R) Sen Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) on National Labor Relations Board regulations on Capitol Hill September 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. The National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint alleging Boeing illegally retaliated against union workers by moving union jobs from the state of Washington to a nonunion plant in the state of South Carolina. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

 

Fifty years in labor relations

I had the chance to listen to a very forward thinking  labor relations executive last week about his learnings from 55 years with the same employer.    Wait…what?  55 years, I mean who does that anymore, right?  Well, this guy did, and he had some pretty basic insights into labor relations.

Here”s what he had to say:

  • Your employee will only think about going outside your company for help  for a couple of reasons.
  1. You have something  they want, and they’re seeking help to get it.
  2. You gave them something they like, and now they are afraid you are going to take it away.
  3. You don’t listen to them when they tell you stuff.

Good employee relations practices can help you avoid these issues, according to my guy. It also helps to remove poor performers from your organization, and to reward excellent organizational achievements on a regular basis.

The final piece of advice from my friend is brilliantly simple.  Believe in your culture, run your organization with your employees as the top priority, and have the intestinal fortitude to face challenges with resolve if they come your way.

Thats fifty years of employee relations expertise in under 200 words.

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Tips on effectively influencing the C-suite

Influencing the C-suite

Description unavailable
 (Photo credit: mvndrvrt)

I recently attended a conference session in San Antonio where it was suggested that  employee and labor relations specialists and consultants face a giant credibility problem in the C-suite.  People in the C-suite will spend money, but it’s tough to get them to write checks on proactive employee relations initiatives unless you demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) of the programs you are pitching to a CEO.

All too often, we fail to close the deal on a program because of a lack of influence or a failure to present persuasive data, which is the main currency of the C-suite.

This is a much discussed issue in the HR profession.  The fact that we are still having it in 2012 is  disheartening, but not shocking.

As HR professionals, we still have work to do.  There is no quick fix.  We need to be persistent in our efforts to demonstrate value in each HR niche where we operate.  We need to build value.  We need to speak the language of the C-suite.

Some HR people are great at this. Some of us struggle with it, but we can all get better.  Here is a short list of resources to get your started if you want to dig deeper into this topic.

  1. Business case resources for talent management strategies
  2. What does the C-suite  want from HR?
  3. Navigating the C-Suite – Leadership Imperatives for HR
  4. How strategic HR wins the keys to the C-suite

What tips and tricks do you use for advancing your initiatives in the C-suite?

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Piggly Wiggly vs. NLRB

NLRB case settles with $570,000 backpay    

Piggly Wiggly logo
Piggly Wiggly logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 More evidence in my continuing quixotic effort to prove that the NLRB is an agency with teeth, and that HR peeps should pay attention to what they are doing.

Piggly Wiggly supermarkets in Wisconsin agree to settle numerous NLRB cases and keep Sheboygan store open

From the NLRB:

In a series of settlements with the NLRB, a Wisconsin supermarket chain has agreed to solve all outstanding cases with the agency by signing collective bargaining agreements with the union representing its employees, reinstating discharged workers, providing about 500 employees a total of more than $570,000 in backpay, and keeping open a store that had been slated for closure.

The settlements signed by Piggly Wiggly Midwest, LLC, based in Sheboygan, resolve cases involving six stores that began in 2009 and were in various stages of litigation. As a result, the parties agreed to seek dismissal of a case pending in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, and Piggly Wiggly agreed to drop its opposition to the enforcement of a Board order in another case.  A third set of cases scheduled for trial were resolved by a formal agreement that requires approval by the Board in Washington.  A fourth set of cases still under investigation were withdrawn.

The employees, represented by UFCW Local 1473, agreed to accept a reduced amount in bargaining-related backpay to facilitate the employer’s agreement to keep the Sheboygan store open.

The outcome was made possible by the hard work of NLRB Region 30 field examiner Amanda Bahnson, attorneys Angela Jaenke, Renée Medved and Andrew Gollin, Compliance Officer Richard Neuman, and Deputy Regional Attorney Percy Courseault, and by the diligence and good will of UFCW Local 1473 president John Eiden and Piggly Wiggly Midwest owner Paul Butera.

Charges against the employer included bad faith bargaining, making unilateral changes to wages and working conditions, unlawful discharges, and an unlawful attempt to promote a decertification petition. In May, the NLRB Regional Office in Milwaukee obtained a federal court injunction [4]ordering the Sheboygan supermarket to restore full-time status and health insurance to employees whose hours were reduced to part-time without bargaining.

The settlements were reached by the parties on August 31; the formal agreement is pending approval by the Board.

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Labor Relations Round-up for August 13, 2012

NLRB news round-up for August 13,  2012 

NLRB_picketing_2007
NLRB_picketing_2007 (Photo credit: dctim1)

I haven’t done an NLRB update in a while.  Here’s some of the stuff they’ve been up to lately.  The Board has been active, even if they aren’t getting the same  press now that they election is getting closer.

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Social tools for tracking your employees

Image representing Yammer as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Cool or creepy?

Earlier this year, my buddy Mike Haberman wrote about the risks of tracking your employees via GPS.

Trucking and delivery companies have been using these types of fleet tracking systems for years.  Websites like Guru that allow you to hire freelancers now offer tools that allow to track their virtual work via a dashboard based tool.

Technology allows us to track work, but we may be on the cusp of a new wave of technological tracking innovation for the workplace.

Researchers at the University Of Rochester in New York recently announced that they were able to utilize data from Twitter to predict flu outbreaks with a high degree of accuracy.   The day when employers will be able to use social media conversations to predict when you are thinking of taking a sick day can’t be far off.

Today on Mashable, there was a very interesting story detailing how companies will soon be able to use tools like Yammer to track morale.

Bosses who want help gauging employees’ morale can now turn to Microsoft’s workplace social network, Yammer. A new feature offers managers a kind of emotional surveillance system, showing which feelings workers are expressing in messages posted to a company’s Yammer network.

Bosses who want help gauging employees’ morale can now turn to Microsoft’s workplace social network, Yammer. A new feature offers managers a kind of emotional surveillance system, showing which feelings workers are expressing in messages posted to a company’s Yammer network.

The feature, called Crane, was developed by startup Kanjoya, which makes software that does the emotion recognition and logging, with close collaboration with Yammer. Once the feature is switched on for a company’s Yammer network, it offers managers a view of the “trending emotions” within a company, using a line graph to show the level of excitement, confusion and other feelings over time.

The topics or words most often associated with those feelings are also shown. The software is able to identify 80 distinct emotions, but it condenses those into 15 for display and shows only the most prevalent ones to reduce the complexity of the interface.

How long can it be until we see a decision saying that an employer used their internal social networking system to illegally interfere with the ability of employees to engage in protected concerted activity?

 

 

 

 

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