• Why your holiday party sucks

    Holiday party image

    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    Thanksgiving is over, and that means we’re all free to focus on those other upcoming holidays—whatever they might be for you.

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  • Understanding the science behind your company culture

    Science of culture image

    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    Improving one’s company culture requires more than creating programs and establishing unlimited vacation policies.

    These “cultural add-ons” are surface improvements only and don’t get at the heart of the matter.

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  • What's in your compensation plans for 2015?

    2015 Best Practices Survey Image

    Laleh Hassibi, PayScale

    Tell us what's on your comp agenda for 2015 by participating in the PayScale Compensation Best Practices Survey. We use the results to identify pay trends and you’ll get one of the first copies of the report as soon as the results are tabulated.

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  • What to do when your employee’s alcohol use is affecting the job

    Alcohol problems at work image

    Tessara Smith, PayScale

    According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA), around 1 in 13 Americans struggle with alcohol dependency.

    Of course, not every employee who drinks a little too much at your holiday party is an alcoholic, but some may have a problem that goes undetected until it becomes blatantly obvious.

    However, even a “blatantly obvious” problem needs to be handled with care.

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  • Pack your suitcase – the rules for travel time compensation

    Travel Compensation Image

    I just got back from a weeklong trip to Charleston, South Carolina for my employer. As someone who travels for work on a regular basis, I am ever mindful of the expenses that I incur for transportation, hotels, meals, and the dozens of little purchases that add up. Then there’s the salary that I am earning while on business travel, something that my employer is required by law to provide.

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  • Future income: The defined contribution and retirement plan link

    Defined contribution Image

    Nearly 30 years ago, the Internal Revenue Service approved the use of defined benefit programs to help future Baby Boomers (and following generations) better plan for their retirements. This came at a time when longevity at one company in order to earn a pension plan was quickly becoming a thing of the past.

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  • Employees with sticky fingers

    Sticky Fingers Image

    Tessara Smith, PayScale

    If your business is one that is relies on selling tangible inventory, then chances are you have already had to deal with a worker who you have caught stealing. However, even if your company is one that sells software, you at risk of having mysterious “robberies” take place within the office. If you are lucky enough that this has not happened yet, statistically speaking there is a good chance that a theft incident will occur at some point down the road. 

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  • The downside of diversity

    Diversity image

    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    I have a feeling people are kind of tired of hearing about diversity.

    On the one hand, I think I get it. The Great Recession has claimed a lot of victims, and many of us are struggling to maintain our status as members of the Middle Class. We don’t want to hear about someone else’s problems—we’ve got our own.

    On the other hand, the bell has rung, the ship has sailed, the cat’s out of the bag—whatever. We’re all in this thing together, and we’ve gotta learn how to get along.

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  • Five ways to catch an employee in a lie

    Lia Liar image

    Tessara Smith, PayScale

    Liar, Liar Pants on Fire! Remember this chant? I sure do. Lately it has come to my attention that not all people in this world are honest and genuine human beings. Well ok, that’s actually pretty obvious, but what happens when these unsavory characters end up under your employment? Feelings of awkwardness, confusion, and maybe even embarrassment can come as a result of working with one of these people. Your intuition tells you that something’s up, but as a professional it can be hard to deal with these workers in a way that is effective and drama free. Manipulative employees happen, it’s an unfortunate truth. As a leader, it is most important for you to be able to identify these dishonest workers so you can quickly remove them from the office before they can do serious damage to your company.

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  • What if everyone’s pay was public knowledge?

    Pay Transparency image

    Imagine if one day you walked into your workplace and found your name, along with all the other names of your co-workers, written on bright Post-it notes and your salary rates clearly written there too? Now, include all the salaries and perks that your supervisors, the CEO, and even the janitor displayed for all to see. How would this experience change the way you view your company?

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  • Is unlimited PTO too good to be true?

    header_UnlimitedPTO

    Tessara Smith,  PayScale

    It’s no secret that vacations are vital to the sanity of every full-time employee, but what happens when all of their allotted break time is being sucked up by sick days and family emergencies? Instead of planning their getaways to Disneyland or the Caribbean, employees are instead forfeiting dreams of relaxation in the name of taking their kid to the doctor’s office. There is no denying that it is important for workers not to skimp on time spent in the office, but most agree that it is unfair to have to surrender what would be mental health days in order to complete mundane tasks. Studies show that workers are more productive when they take vacations, and many companies are beginning to come to the realization that a strict PTO policy may not be the way to go in terms of supporting a healthy work environment. 

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  • Re-examining the meaning of “team player”

    Team player imageCrystal Spraggins, SPHR

    Quick—what qualities come to mind when you hear the term “team player?”

    How about someone who is:

    • Cooperative,
    • Conscientious,
    • Helpful,
    • Flexible,
    • Hardworking, and
    • Honest?
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  • Morning bias

    Morning Bias image

    Tessara Smith,  PayScale

    Let’s face it, managers love when employees make it in to work early. They get to walk in the door and see that many of their team members have already gotten a “jump start” on the heavy work load for the day. Apparently having the ability to roll out of bed at an earlier hour equals greater praise from managers. These early risers are the individuals who are regarded as disciplined and dedicated overachievers, but do employees who work late nights get the same recognition? Not in the slightest. 

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  • The retirement savings crisis

    Retirerment savings crisis image

    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 24th annual Retirement Confidence Survey, more Americans (18 percent versus 13 percent in 2013) are feeling “very confident” they’ll have enough money in retirement.

    But the EBRI also reports that “worker savings remain low, and only a minority appear to be taking basic steps. This increased confidence is observed almost exclusively among those with higher household income … [and is] strongly correlated with household participation in a retirement plan.”

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  • Yup. It's time to hire an HR professional

    header_TimeToHireHR

    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    It’s a common scenario. As a small company begins to grow, more and more people are hired to handle the increasing workload. (Great!).  Before too long, all these new people start inquiring about benefits, so somebody decides it’s time to start getting serious about benefits (because talent expects benefits, and this company needs talent badly to help it grow intelligently), and then another somebody realizes—hey!—somebody else has to manage this stuff and by the way, more people means more conflict and who’s going to handle that?

    Eventually it becomes apparent that more structure or rules or strategy or something is needed because people keep doing stuff and asking questions and nobody has any answers. And then come the feds and all their rules and requirements, and oh boy it’s getting complicated around here.

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  • 6 easy steps to being the HR pro everybody trusts

    header_TrustHR

    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    Many, many employees don’t trust HR. That’s a fact.

    Whenever I read an article about workplace bullying, toxic bosses, unethical workplace practices, or some other related topic, and the writer recommends the worker appeal to HR for help, the comments will be full of people telling the writer he’s nuts and that going to HR is a complete waste of time.

    Well, I’m going to make a confession. I tend to agree with the commenters, because I don’t trust HR myself, and I’m an HR professional.

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  • Company picnic primer: read this before you plan the next one

    header_companypicnic

    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    It’s that time of year when employers across the land begin planning the annual outdoor get together.

    Here are some things you can do to make your event a huge success.

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  • Make your words matter: 7 tips for effective verbal communication

    Communicate image

    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    Management guru Peter Drucker is credited with saying, “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said.” 

    There’s certainly some truth to that. Sometimes what a person doesn’t say is as important, if not more important, than what he does say.

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  • Can you be friends with your employees?

    header_BestFriends

    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    No.

    Or, at least I don’t think so.

    Which is not to say that you can’t be friendly. Friendly is entirely possible and even desirable. But friends? Nah. Here’s my rationale.

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  • Comp budgeting: How to identify compensation inequities

    header_ManagePayInequities

    Tessara Smith, PayScale

    In this first part of our three part email series on Compensation Budgeting, we take a look at compensation inequities. Compensation inequities can occur at an organizational, departmental, positional, or even individual level. To run a successful business and maintain employee satisfaction you have to know how to identify and resolve these inequities. To follow are some things you should be aware of at each level

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