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  • Why ask why? The importance of asking questions

    Ask more quetionsCrystal Spraggins, SPHR

    Did you know that the great inventor Thomas Edison was yanked out of school by his mom after a teacher complained that Edison asked too many questions? Silly teacher! How can someone ask too many questions?

    Curiosity makes the world go ‘round. Problems can’t be resolved without asking questions, and even if something fantastic is discovered by accident (like penicillin) the process would have never started without someone asking a question.

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  • Botox or die: ageism in the workplace

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    Apparently, it’s the survival of the youngest in Silicon Valley. According to a recent New Republic article, by writer Noam Scheiber, that details the desperate measures that professionals in their early 40s are doing to stay employable, these efforts that include getting regular Botox injections and hitting the gym for hours a day to stay youthful are on the rise. No longer are seasoned employees looked at as valuable to the success of the technology firms they work for. Instead, a growing disdain for anyone born before the 1980s has reared its ugly head.

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  • Leadership 101: Why teaching is so much better than telling

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    It’s been my experience that most adults do not like being told what to do. But when it comes to work, what does this mean exactly?

    Most everyone has a boss, and generally, most everyone is required to take direction from said boss. Refusing to take direction from a boss is a big no-no. It’s called insubordination, and most places will fire you for it.

    So, how do good managers respect their employees’ natural inclination to not want to be told what to do while at the same time fulfilling their managerial duties? Simple. They cause others to willingly follow by providing sound leadership. And some of the best leaders I’ve ever known were natural teachers.

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  • Are Your Starting Rates Supporting Employee Performance?

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    In the grand scheme of things, how well you compensate employees from the start can influence both the short and long-term performance of your work teams. When employees know that they work for an employer that values their contributions with a transparent salary policy that reflects this, a beautiful thing happens. Work becomes more rewarding in a tangible way. Salary isn’t a sore point, but rather a demonstration of support for the efforts of employees at all levels.

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  • When your employee outgrows you

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    Crystal Spraggins

    Once in a while, you’ll find that the reward for a fabulous hire is an employee who’d be better off managed by someone else—someone with more skill, more knowledge, deeper pockets, or perhaps, access to more challenging or more prestigious work. 

    All relationships evolve over time, and your relationship with your staff is no different. Even the employees who seem most vested in your mission may eventually decide to work elsewhere. That’s life.

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  • 5 Myths about hiring you should forget today

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    Crystal Spraggins

    PayScale’s 2014 Compensation Best Practices Report noted that 50% of companies are having a difficult time filling skilled positions.

    The finding was not too surprising given all we’ve heard about the skills gap in the last few years. However, the difficulty in finding suitable employees can’t be attributed solely to job seekers and their qualifications, or lack thereof. I’ve spoken with enough hiring managers to know that many are woefully under-skilled when it comes to interviewing—not that it’s all their fault. The interviewing process is not immune to myths, and some of these can get in the way of a company recognizing talent, even when it’s staring the company in the face. 

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  • Are you prepared to lose top talent?

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    Laleh Hassibi, PayScale

    This week, we released the much anticipated 2014 Compensation Best Practices Report. Based on data from more than 4,700 survey respondents representing human resources practitioners, as well as business line and executive managers, the report reveals attitudes about compensation, hiring, and retention as the economy recovers from the recession. The latest annual report shows an increasing concern across businesses of all sizes about their ability to retain top performing employees, reflecting an increasingly competitive talent market. Results show that – regardless of size and industry – talent retention has become a top priority for business leaders.

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  • Succession planning: What’s in it for you?

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    Crystal Spraggins,

    It’s not unusual for leaders to be so busy overseeing the day-to-day that long-term planning gets short shrift. Then too, long-term planning requires a type of discipline and forward thinking that not every organization can harness—even when it wants to. But there are many good reasons to engage in succession planning, even if your organization is small or medium sized. (In fact, especially if your organization is small or medium sized.) And while succession planning requires commitment, forethought, and a willingness to allocate resources away from current-day activities, the sacrifice is well worth it.

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  • Fair and square! 5 ways to boost your bonus program

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    How well is your company doing at fairly handling the employee bonus and incentive program? To help you figure out that answer, first ask yourself this question: Do you have a way of tracking the perks you hand out to employees so that you know you are doing this well? If your company chooses to use bonuses as part of a compensation program, but you are not effectively managing this with data, you could be missing the mark.  

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  • 6 lessons I’ve learned about the workplace from watching Chopped

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    I’m a big fan of the television show Chopped, which airs on the Food Network.

    On the show, four chefs battle for a $10,000 prize. To win, they’ll need to survive three rounds of competition, during which they’ll prepare an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. There are serious time constraints (20 minutes for the appetizer and 30 minutes each for the entrée and dessert), and the chefs must use and “transform” all the ingredients in the basket received at the start of the round. When the dessert round ends, the judges review all the dishes of the final two remaining chefs and choose a winner.

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  • Top 5 compensation lessons from 2013

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    Mykkah Herner, M.A., CCP, PayScale

    Last year was a year of ups, downs, and shutdowns. The Affordable Care Act is still looming over us, the impact unclear. Some but not all companies are pulling free of the recession. Employees have continued moving around more and more since the official end of the recession. Yet amidst the turmoil, there are some key lessons. Essentially, in an uncertain time, compensation plans and strategies need to be flexible. In this article I’ll talk about the top 5 ways we can infuse flexibility into our programs.

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  • Make up your mind, already! How indecision is hurting your team

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    No one who has ever worked with management (including HR pros) or been in management would say that it’s easy. On the contrary.

    And if you’re a good manager, it’s really not easy.

    Your team depends on you, looking to you for guidance, answers, and direction.

    That’s why your indecision is negatively affecting your team’s productivity and possibly causing them to lose confidence in you, too.

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  • Snackable: Even monkeys Can recognize unequal pay

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    Evan Rodd, PayScale

    Have you recently expressed concerns around employee retention? As the New Year approaches, many employees may be considering a resolution that includes a quest for better pay, especially if they’re starting to become aware of possible inequalities when it comes to pay.

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  • Is your paternalistic culture killing your business?

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    A company’s culture, or personality, is a very big deal. Just as an individual’s personality can be a help or a hindrance to meeting certain personal goals, a company’s “personality” can be a help or a hindrance to meeting certain organizational goals.

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  • What if your co-workers knew how much you make?

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    Evan Rodd, PayScale

    We’ve talked a bit about social transparency – the dawn of a new social media age in which previous ideas of privacy seem to be rapidly changing. While many of us seem more than happy to share just about every aspect of our lives online, one component still remains taboo for many – salary.

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  • 7 tips for hiring and retention of top performing employees

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    It’s a fact. Each year businesses face too late what happens when employee morale drops and the best begin to leave for greener pastures. This most often occurs when the leadership team forgets that there is a fine line between recruiting and retaining high performance candidates. It’s a sad state of affairs that is completely preventable, with the right efforts and planning.

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  • Are your employees underemployed?

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    Despite the recession being officially over, the media are still reporting about the great number of underemployed Americans—Americans who either don’t have enough paid work or whose jobs require significantly less qualification than they possess. CNBC recently reported that 17.2% of the workforce is underemployed.

    Generally we think of the underemployed as those in fairly menial positions doing repetitive, low-skilled work for low pay, and that’s one face of underemployment, for sure.

    However, even a highly skilled, well-paid employee can be underemployed if his abilities and knowledge aren’t consistently put to good use.

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  • Five Ways to Engage and Motivate Millennials at Work

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    Move over corporate America – here come the Millennials! Human Resource managers everywhere are baffled by the onset of a workforce that’s a lot harder to keep motivated and engaged at the office. It should come as no surprise that Millenials, also sometimes referred to as Generation Y, are a challenging group of employees to keep inspired at work. While their predecessors, the Baby Boomers and Generation Xers start to move out of entry level roles and into their more mature career phases, Millenials are moving in and it’s creating quite a problem for old-school HR departments.

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  • The costly truth of employee unplanned absences and PTO abuse

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    At some point in any organization, the excesses of employee tardiness, absenteeism and paid time off can become dangerously costly. From a human capital management standpoint, effort should be made to have a standard PTO policy in place to avoid unplanned absences. When this policy is communicated to employees and enforced by the management team, it can effectively save the company HR budget for other worthwhile programs. Yet, very often it can seem like an uphill battle when a handful of employees begin to abuse the system or seasonal illnesses start to reduce the team one-by-one.

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  • Are exit interviews a complete waste of time?

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    As an HR professional, I’m torn on the benefits of exit interviews.

    Why?

    Because data are useful if you plan on doing something with them, but in my experience lots of organizations do absolutely nothing with the information received during exit interviews. The completed forms go in a file somewhere, only seeing the light of day when the latest questionnaire from Employee XYZ is shoved in with the rest.

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