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  • Appeals court redefines "the workplace"

    Appeals court redefines the workplace

    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to offer reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities who can perform the essential functions of the job. An employer is acting within the law when it provides an accommodation that meets the definition of reasonable, even if the accommodation is not exactly what the employee requested. And, until recently, employers also had one given—showing up for work was pretty much guaranteed to be considered an essential job function.

    Which is not to say that a temporary leave of absence could never be considered a reasonable accommodation. It could and can. However, an employer generally would be within its rights to turn down a request for an open-ended telecommuting arrangement. 

    Again, until recently.

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  • What kind of purple squirrel are you?

    header_FindYourInnerPurpleSquirrel We're headed to the 2014 SHRM conference in Orlando and offering visitors to our booth a chance to take a quick quiz to find out what kind of purple squirrel they really are. If you're not going to SHRM, no worries, you can do the quiz right here!
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  • Five reasons to be afraid of employee turnover

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    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    Sometimes, turnover is a downright scary word. We hear it and automatically get visions of unhappy employees exiting in droves, leaving us high and dry and always on the search for new employees. Some of us even see our jobs start to flash before our eyes as disapproving executives ask us to answer the question of why the company is experiencing turnover. While most HR professionals know that turnover isn’t the worst thing an organization can experience, there aren’t many who would argue its selling points either. However, it’s a natural part of any workforce and in some cases is actually a positive thing. Take a look below to see why turnover doesn’t have to send you running for cover.

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  • How does the changing minimum wage affect your compensation strategy?

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    Mykkah Herner, M.A., CCP, PayScale

    There has been a lot of talk about increasing the minimum wage, at the federal, state, and city levels. In Seattle, headquarters of PayScale, we just passed an ordinance increasing the minimum wage to $15/hour within 3-7 years depending on employer size. Of course there has been debate on both sides of the law. Can small business owners afford to absorb the increase? What will happen to the people we used to pay at $15/hour? But also, how can Seattle call itself a forward-thinking city if the minimum wage is not a livable wage? I probably should have been born a Libra because I fundamentally understand both sides.

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  • Why you really, really need HR

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    An HR professional for nearly 17 years, I've been as critical of the function as anyone. And the reason is—this job is teeming with potential that far too often goes untapped.

    And while I have fantasies that a push could come from the bottom up, as has been noted, until CEOs/COOs/CFOs (or, in other words, those who tend to manage the HR function) get on board with the importance of it, not a whole lot will change.

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  • Focusing on employees over customers

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    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    If you ask the average person what their opinion of customer service is in this day and age, they’ll tell you that good service is a thing of the past. It’s an interesting phenomenon that in a time when companies offer instant access to assistance, one-click ordering and nearly as many product and service options as a person could ever think of, we see service as declining. One could blame all of this instant access for the rush of overly demanding customers, but the view is a bit different from where we sit in our HR offices. There’s no denying that we as consumers expect more than ever for everything from intangible services to groceries but there’s more to this story and it lies in what companies are doing behind the scenes.

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  • Rewind: World at Work 2014 Total Rewards Conference

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    Mykkah Herner, M.A., CCP, PayScale

    I recently returned from World at Work’s Total Rewards Conference: Evolve. It’s always helpful to hear what our fellow industry leaders have to say about compensation trends, how they’re handling the challenges of 2014, and what up and coming best/next practices are on the horizon. PayScale’s cohort was able to attend 25 different sessions in the conference this year, after each session comparing notes to determine the session winner: who had the best session with the most content and the most engaging presenters.

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  • But I’m the boss! How a big ego demotivates a team big time

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    While there’s some talk about the benefits of flat work teams, traditional hierarchy is alive and well in most corporations. Not that there aren’t some good reasons for that. Somebody has to be in charge, right? When everyone leads, no one is leading—at least that’s my experience.

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  • Want engaged employees? First create a culture of trust

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    In Top Trust Myths: 1 of 2: Trust Takes Time, author Charles Green argues against the popular saying that “Trust takes a long time to build and only a few moments to be destroyed.” Green makes the point that sometimes we instantly trust, like at the physician’s office, (or I’d say the hair stylist—because is there any other reason we’d let a compete stranger take a pair of scissors to our head?), and he makes sense.

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  • 7 bad habits your employees want you to quit now

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    If you’re a manager, even a good one, chances are you have a bad habit or two your employees would like you to break. And if you’re a good manager, your staff would never approach you directly about these bad habits, because your positive qualities outweigh these annoyances, and they know that.

    Still, a bad habit is a bad habit. If you want to be a better-than-good boss, here are a few behaviors to avoid.

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  • Is pay for performance the best form of compensation?

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    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    Pay-for-performance is by far one of the most popular forms of compensation that employees can offer their workforce. But even with it’s popularity, the question of whether or not it is the best way to compensate employees remains. There are many ways to do it, but essentially pay-for-performance compensation means that a form of measurement is established and goals are set, then when employees meet a goal, they are compensated accordingly. This could be a number based on the amount of sales during a period of time, annual revenue, performance reviews or any number of other measurements. In fact, one of the most significant considerations in whether or not pay-for-performance compensation is the best idea for your business is the type of incentive payment you’re using.

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  • Keep it moving: Is shorter CEO tenure better?

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    The 5-year plan

    For decades, the 5-year business plan was touted as a necessary and extremely valuable tool in the well-run organization’s tool belt. A 5-year plan keeps a company on track, by guiding leadership’s decision making about everything from infrastructure to marketing strategy.

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  • Is Higher Pay a True Employee Productivity Motivator?

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    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

    Motivating employees is no easy task. Often times, there isn’t a cut-and-dry solution because there are a lot of factors to consider, from what’s going on inside the company to what’s going on with each individual employee. It can be easy to buy into a one-size-fits-all answer for how to motivate employees or to think that one major change will turn things around because it’s the simple. If just one adjustment, such as increasing employees’ pay, were all it took, we wouldn’t find it as challenging to motivate our workforce. But the truth is, employee motivation is complex.

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  • Why so many HR pros suck at supporting the employer AND the employee

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    The HR profession is not new, or even relatively new, but HR professionals continue to debate their roles.

    In one camp are those who believe HR’s purpose is to protect worker rights and interests. These so called social worker types are routinely derided by hard-nosed “business” HR folks who are clear that their role is to do whatever serves a business need, period. These types like to claim that treating employees well serves the business (i.e., reduces legal risk and potential liability), and so really, it’s all good.

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  • Yes you can still be sued for age discrimination

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    In “The Ugly Truth About Age Discrimination,” author Liz Ryan writes:

    “[Age discrimination] is the only kind of employment discrimination I know of that people talk about openly, either because they’re unaware of the laws preventing it … or because they don’t care.”

    The article opens with a story about Philip, a job seeker turned away by a headhunter who decides Philip is “a little long in the tooth for the job.”

    If you’re tempted to think that Ryan is off the mark and Philip must be a rare case (because how many people in this day and age would dare say such a thing?) you might want to think again.

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  • When turnover is a good thing

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    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs 

    It can be easy for those outside of human resources to see any turnover as bad news. I’ve certainly seen executives question turnover rates without understanding what’s behind the numbers. From an HR standpoint, we know that there’s bad, good and neutral turnover, and to categorize it all as a reflection of organizational management isn’t necessarily a fair assessment. Even still, we, as human resources professionals, often use an overall turnover rate as a way of measuring whether or not we are fostering a positive corporate culture, offering appropriate recognition and leadership opportunities, hiring the right people in the first place and staying competitive with our total compensation.

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  • 5 things you should know before engaging a recruiter

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    No matter how much of an employers' market it may be, at some point, most employers will opt to use the services of a recruiter.

    A good recruiter can save time (and therefore money) and help you source applicants you wouldn’t have found on your own. An excellent recruiter can even bring clarity where confusion existed by say, helping you think through the job that needs doing and who’s best to do it. 

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  • Is the American work ethic really dead?

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    I read an article the other day that boldly proclaimed:

    "The work ethic in our great country is going straight down the tubes and if that doesn't change, we're in BIG trouble!"

    The author, a motivational speaker who travels around the country, went on to present as evidence the stories he’s heard from employers throughout the U.S. about lazy, entitled America workers who want pay increases for no reason whatsoever even as they casually shuffle into work wearing PJs and flip flops.

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  • Do workplace perks increase employee engagement?

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    Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs 

    Many years ago, workplace perks were few and far between but these days, nearly every company offers some kind of perk for its employees. In order to stay competitive, recruit the best of the best and keep employees happy, it’s vital to consider not only what employees can do for you but also what you can do for them. It would be easy to say off the cuff that employees are more engaged when you give them bonus perks in addition to their normal compensation but it’s important to really look at if and why this is true.

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  • Why did my employee quit without notice?

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    Crystal Spraggins, SPHR

    You thought you had a good relationship with this employee. As far as you’re concerned, you were a decent boss. You treated the employee fairly, were supportive of his work, addressed him respectfully, and said “please” and “thank you.” You may even have gone out of your way to provide this employee meaningful development opportunities or a bigger salary.

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