business psychology, Company Culture, Danny Gattas, Employee Engagement, Employment, Engagement, Event, Uncategorized

Culture is Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year – For Good Reason


Largely due to its tracking of which words were looked up the most, Merriam-Webster announced “Culture” as its Word of the Year for 2014. Chosen at the end of each year, the word serves as aCulture-resized snapshot of what people have been thinking about and talking about for the past 12 months, and what will
continue to be a hot topic in the coming year. (While “Culture” had one of the largest spikes in look-ups, the words “Celebrity Culture,” “Pop Culture,” “NFL Culture,” “Media Culture” and “Company Culture” also had big years.) And from what I’ve experienced consulting with organizations across the country, thankfully, we can expect to continue focusing on culture in 2016 and beyond.

“Culture is a word that we seem to be relying on more and more. It allows us to identify and isolate an idea, issue, or group with seriousness,” said Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large for Merriam-Webster, elaborating, “And it’s efficient: we talk about the ‘culture’ of a group rather than saying ‘the typical habits, attitudes, and behaviors’ of that group.”

I am sure that most experts on Employee Engagement were not surprised by Merriam-Webster’s choice.

Legendary management expert Peter Drucker was one of the first to get it right years ago when he coined the phrase “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast.”

Interviewing for Cultural Fit – Case Study: Google
Determining cultural fit in the interview process can be extremely challenging. When organizations are very large, it can be especially difficult to define what qualities make candidates mesh with a culture of thousands of people who are, essentially, quite different.

When Google started growing at an exponential rate, its Senior Leadership had a “stroke of genius,” according to Russ Laraway, Director of Media and Platforms: they decided to define what it means to be “Googley.” By articulating this concept, it became much easier to assess whether candidates would thrive in Google’s environment.

The definition of being “Googley” includes: Thinking Big, Having a Bias for Action, Being a Good Communicator, and the Ability to Work at a Face Pace in Small Teams.

By specifically defining what type of employees they were looking for, Google was able to attract the right candidates and build an extremely strong corporate culture. Laraway discovered, “We began hiring people who were often more Googley than we were!”

The company grew from 2,500 to 25,000 employees in only six years, Google’s unique culture flourished, building one of the most well-known Magnetic Cultures around the world.

Call to Action #1: Revisit your definition of the perfect person you are trying to hire and carefully interview for these characteristics.

Character versus Skill
Of course a candidate having both excellent character and skills is ideal, but sometimes people fall a little short on one end. Which aspect is a better compromise? Do you hire the person who has years of experience executing the job duties, but seems slightly off in regards to cultural fit? Or do you hire the person whom everyone on the team loves, but will need some additional training to improve his or her skill set?

I would take the person with the right character any day of the week. Character is ingrained in a person’s core being and dictates how he or she will behave. It encompasses one’s ethics, values, dedication, motivation, and outlook. It is nearly impossible to alter a person’s character, for better or for worse. Skills are things that are learned. If a person has everything you are looking for as a potential employee, but he or she does not have the exact skill set desired, it would be prudent to still consider that person for the position.

Of course, as an example, if you are hiring a Search Engine Optimization Specialist and the candidate has never worked with computers, that would be too much of a stretch. However, if you want a candidate who can type 80 words per minute, you should not exclude the perfect candidate because he or she can only type 65 words per minute. A great personality and a high level of motivation will ultimately mean more than those 15 words per minute. A magnetic organization should offer training for employees to improve their skill sets anyway. New employees’ skills should be developed through training initiatives, regardless of their proficiency level. If you try to develop character in training sessions, good luck to you.

In summary and your Call to Action: Skills can be taught, character cannot. Evaluate your Recruiting Process for valuing character and attitude over technical skills and aptitude. Online retail giant Zappos made this famous by actually having two separate interview teams, one for attitude and the other for aptitude.

Call to Action #2: Ensure that you are using the right behavioral questions to assess each candidate’s Cultural Fit with your organization.

 

As 2015 winds down, we can expect a new word of the year soon. But that doesn’t mean we can forget about the power of Culture.

 

Kevin Sheridan is an Internationally-recognized Key-Note Speaker, a New York Times Best Selling Author, and one of the most sought-after voices in the world on the topic of employee engagement. He spent thirty years as a high-level Human Capital Management consultant, helping some of the world’s largest corporations rebuild a culture that fosters productive engagement, earning him several distinctive awards and honors. Kevin’s premier creation, PEER®, has been consistently recognized as a long- overdue, industry-changing innovation in the field of Employee Engagement. His book, “Building a Magnetic Culture,” made six of the best seller lists including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He is also the author of The Virtual Manager, which explores how to most effectively manage remote workers.

deleteKevin received a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1988, concentrating his degree in Strategy, Human Resources Management, and Organizational Behavior. He is also a serial entrepreneur, having founded and sold three different companies.

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Email: kevin@kevinsheridanllc.com

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Company Culture, Employee Engagement, HR Policies, Human Resources

Proposed FLSA Regulations: What They Mean for Employers


HRO Thumbnail 2014By Tusa McNary, HR Consultant

HRO Partners

Background

On June 30, 2015, the United States Department of Labor, Wage & Hour Division released to the public proposed regulations for the revision of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  These proposed regulation changes were published on July 6, 2015 in the Federal Register.  They were available for public comment until September 4, 2015.  A date for implementation of the proposed changes is most likely to occur in 2016 between February and August.

What is proposed to change?

The proposed regulations will change the minimum salary level that has to be paid to a currently exempt employee in order for them to meet the first step of being considered “exempt” from being paid overtime.

The current salary level for an employee to be considered exempt is $455 per week, or $23,660 per year.  Obviously this is very low; in fact it is below the poverty level for a family of four.  Being paid on a salary basis at that level is the first test of being an exempt employee.  Another qualification for being considered an exempt employee is meeting the “duties” test where an employee must be performing certain duties as defined by their category of exemption.  These categories include the executive exemption, which generally includes managers and supervisors; the administrative exemption, which includes white-collar positions where the exercise of discretion and independent judgment is necessary; the professional exemption, which includes the learned professional, i.e., doctor, engineer, architect, teacher, and the creative professional, that person who exhibits creativity, imagination, originality or talent; the computer professional; and the highly compensated employee, this includes the individual earning more than $100,000 and performs some aspect of exempt duty; and lastly, the outside sales representative that has to meet no salary requirement.


The Proposed Changes

Rather than fixing a single salary level, the proposed regulations establish the new salary requirements at 40% of the weekly earnings of all salaried employees in the United States.  By the time this proposal goes into effect that level is anticipated to be $970 per week or $50,440 per year.

This means any currently exempt employee that is earning less than $50,440 will automatically have their exempt status removed and they will be overtime eligible as of the effective date of the changes.

If you are one of the companies that have highly compensated employees, under the proposed definition, this $100,000 compensation level will change to $122,148.

What needs to be done?

First, this would be a good time to review whether or not employees you have classified as exempt are truly exempt.  Too many employers make the mistake of improperly classifying employees as exempt solely on the basis of the fact that they pay them a salary.  Salary is a method of wage payment and not a classification of overtime eligibility.  There are numerous companies that have employees classified as non-exempt yet they pay them a salary.  Non-exempt employees do not have to be exclusively hourly employees.  So even if you have an employee who is going to make the $50,440 salary level they may not be properly classified on the nature of the duties required to be classified as exempt. If you have questions about a particular employee, HRO-Partners can assist you in making this determination.

Remember, titles don’t count. Determination is based on the job description and the actual duties performed.  If you have not updated your job descriptions lately, now is the time to begin the process.  HRO-Partners assist you in this process.

Preparation steps that need to occur NOW

    1. Identify all current employees that are classified as exempt (not currently eligible for overtime) that are making less than $50,440 per year.
    2. Determine how close these employees are to the threshold level.
    3. Determine how many potential overtime hours that employee worked in the past year.
    4. Calculate the cost of that overtime based on time and a half calculations.
    5. Determine if it is more cost effective to increase the employee to the $50,440 level or to pay the  anticipated overtime.
    6. For those employees where it does not make economic sense to raise them to $50,440, it will become necessary to determine how you will actually record their time worked.  Once these employees are declared non-exempt employees (eligible for overtime) you must accurately track actual time worked.
    7. Communicate the outcome of your research to your Management Team who can then determine budgetary needs.
    8. Institute a system of checks and balances to ensure that the behavioral change of tracking time has actually occurred.
    9. Monitor the annual Consumer Price Index to ensure that exempt employees remain exempt and whether further adjustments need to be made.
  • Develop a communication strategy as soon as possible. Involve your leadership team, managers, and supervisors. The message needs to be clear and concise.  HRO-Partners can also assist you in this process.

Additional considerations

Accurately tracking time of newly re-classified employees will also be important.  You can accomplish this using paper time sheets or you can use technology including mobile devices.  The important consideration is to find something your employees will adapt to most easily. HRO-Partners can refer you to any number of providers.

Issues not yet decided

The DOL also sought input on whether or not to consider nondiscretionary bonuses in the calculation of the total rate of pay.  Many companies utilize a pay system that might present a portion of the employee’s pay to be “at risk”.  In other words, their pay depends on the achievement of goals for which they can potentially receive sometimes large bonuses.  The proposed changes do not allow bonuses to be used to arrive at the $50,440 mark.

An additional issue involves sales positions.  Currently, inside sales have a high hurdle to meet to be considered exempt.  A number of companies have said that the realities of the world have changed the nature of sales such that outside sales representatives spend a great deal of time selling via the Internet and may not qualify for the old definition of sales exemption.

Contact information:

855 Willow Tree Circle, Suite 100
Cordova, TN 38018
Call us at 1-866-822-0123

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business psychology, Company Culture, Danny Gattas, Employee Engagement, Employment, Event, Labor, Labor Laws, Memphis

Learn How Proposed Overtime Rule Changes could Change your Business Forever


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The Department of Labor has dramatically increased the number of employees who must be paid on an hourly basis. This change forces employers to consider the implications in employee compensation such as

  • Will cause millions of employees who have been classified as exempt to become non-exempt, and be paid on an hourly basis
  • Will there also be a change to the duties text for exempt employees
  • Will the DOL adopt the new threshold, or will the department implement a different standard

Due to recent and proposed changes to Federal labor laws, HRO Partners is hosting an educational event to explore the implications of these proposed changes. So, please join us on September 30th between 8am-10am, at the Great Hall and Conference Center (Link in Google Maps).

Employers of all sizes must be aware and prepared for these sweeping changes.

Our esteemed panel of experts will include:

  • Cynthia Thompson – Publisher & Editor, HR Professionals Magazine
  • Jonathan Hancock – Labor & Employment attorney, Baker Donelson
  • Whitney Harmon – Labor & Employment attorney, Baker Doneslon
  • Mario Musarra – Compensation Manager, TruGreen

Special keynote by Jonathan Hancock, Labor & Employment attorney with Baker Donelson.

To register for the event or to learn more please visit this page.

For more information, please email support@hro-partners.com or contact Katelyn Tusky at 901-737-0123

FLSA Changes_Flyer (1)

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Company Culture

FIRED ON NOVEMBER 1ST, OR WHY HR HATES HALLOWEEN PARTIES


This post was originally published on eskill and was written by the always fantastic Chris Fields. 

“Maybe I was destined to be in HR. I say that because I am not a big fan of Halloween and I never have been, not even as a kid. Yeah, getting all dressed up in costumes and going out to beg for candy from neighbors and strangers–what could possibly go wrong?

I am betting I’m not the only one who hates Halloween, HR secretly hates it too. They probably won’t admit it, but it’s true. Any HR person reading this article is quieting giggling inside because they know the Halloween office party is loaded with potential liabilities and embarrassments. We just hope to make it through the party without an incident. Don’t get me wrong–HR professionals love candy (they keep some on their desks), drinks, and good laughs. And yet, they know that the holiday office party is just an employee write-up waiting to happen.

Halloween is the official opener of the holiday party season. Up until then, it’s overcooked hamburgers andHalloween HRO the monthly employee birthday cake. Halloween is different and here’s why: it’s the only party where you are encouraged to be something or someone else and being a little naughty is okay–until it’s not.

Hey, raise your hand if you’ve ever had to send an employee home from a Halloween party for being too drunk, too offensive, or just too inappropriate? Extra points if you’ve had to send the manager, director or CEO home…go and sleep it off, pal.

Even though I hate Halloween, there are many others who love it. I’m not talking about kids either, because they are supposed to get excited and anticipate all the fun, laughter, and treats of Halloween. I’m talking about adults. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that we will spend over $6.9 billion dollars  (that’s with a “b”!) on Halloween costumes, candy, parties, and even pet costumes this year.

The big difference between adults and kids at Halloween is that adults ALWAYS–ALWAYS try to push the boundaries of what’s appropriate and tasteful. It’s been happening for years and it will probably keep happening as well; there will always be THAT guy or girl at the party who just has to shock everyone.

Halloween gives grown folks an excuse to be childish. Take the guy who’s decorated his home to resemble a bio-hazardous contamination scene. Really! With the world on high alert regarding Ebola, he thinks this is light-hearted and funny. Way too soon, dude!

Can you imagine someone wearing an Ebola hazmat suit, which by the way is the Number 1 selling Halloween costume this year?  Or how about the guy who staged a fake crime scene in his driveway, complete with a fake kid trapped under the wheel of a SUV? Of course he doesn’t think it’s too gruesome. YEAH! Fun times, can’t wait to discuss why your Washington Redskins body paint and Indian garb is offensive!

See, us HR folks can’t have fun at the Halloween party because as Guardians of the Business Galaxy we have to make sure the company doesn’t get sued. And although we send out an email outlining acceptable behavior and costumes, there is always that one person who wants to dress like a “pregnant nun.”

Do you know the number one fear HR has about your holiday party? In this age of social media, our biggest fear is that your lewd behavior will get recorded by one of the many smartphones in the room, uploaded to YouTube or Vine, and go viral!

Enough of the impending write-ups, lawsuits, and sexual harassment claims as a result of the Halloween shenanigans; let’s look at some positives, and check out some of the things you can do to make it more a “treat” than a dirty old “trick.”

  1. Start the party early and set a time limit. Yes, do not treat this like a New Year’s Eve party. If you are going to have a Halloween office party, then do it early like 5 to 7 or 8 p.m., and that’s it. Also establish a two-adult-drink maximum.
  2. Insist on costumes that are not offensive, shocking, culturally insensitive, racially insensitive, or sexually insensitive. In fact, have them try to not offend any of the senses at all.
  3. Try a children’s character theme party, e.g. the Minions from Despicable Me, Ewoks from Star Wars, Dr. Zeus, superheroes, and Disney characters. Okay, I give you permission to dress as MALEFICENT, but that’s it!

Seriously, folks, I know it’s typical of HR to kill the mood and spoil the fun, but if employees could be trusted to have good clean fun without crossing the line, HR could relax a bit and enjoy the party too. However, that’s just not how it works. Ask any HR professional, even if they support the Halloween party and help organize it, their worst nightmare is that an employee will do something stupid in the name of fun which causes them to have to fire that employee on November 1st.”

If you would like fore from eskill visit their homepage and be sure to follow Chris Fields on twitter at @new_resource

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Company Culture, Judy Bell Tuesdays

Organizational Values Drive Culture


Below is a copy of a blog from Judy Bell at Judy Bell Consulting 

“Does your company have a set of clearly defined and clearly stated values? If not, now is the time to determine, define and declare your values. As you begin the process, keep in mind that companies don’t have values. The employedownload (1)es inside the company…at all levels… have the values. Values that are determined by the employees and communicated regularly are the ones that begin to take root and ultimately become your culture.

Executive and employee alignment with the values is an integral part of a positive and healthy culture. Everyone must “walk the talk” of the values each day for all to see. How employees view the culture inside an organization ultimately determines the company’s brand, positively or negatively. It can be said that, “Culture is the internal brand that ultimately affects the external brand of the company, its services and its products.” Judy W. Bell

Let us help you define your values. We have leadership and management expertise to help develop the values that will positively impact your internal culture.”

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Company Culture, Judy Bell Tuesdays

Organizational Values Drive Culture


Below is a copy of a blog from Judy Bell at Judy Bell Consulting 

“Does your company have a set of clearly defined and clearly stated values? If not, now is the time to determine, define and declare your values. As you begin the process, keep in mind that companies don’t have values. The employedownload (1)es inside the company…at all levels… have the values. Values that are determined by the employees and communicated regularly are the ones that begin to take root and ultimately become your culture.

Executive and employee alignment with the values is an integral part of a positive and healthy culture. Everyone must “walk the talk” of the values each day for all to see. How employees view the culture inside an organization ultimately determines the company’s brand, positively or negatively. It can be said that, “Culture is the internal brand that ultimately affects the external brand of the company, its services and its products.” Judy W. Bell

Let us help you define your values. We have leadership and management expertise to help develop the values that will positively impact your internal culture.”

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