Sexual Harassment In The Digital Age

Recently, we sat down with Mallory Basore, a Human Resources Manager at Staff One, Inc. who specializes in sexual harassment training. During our conversation, she shared with us some of her best advice for HR managers dealing with sexual harassment prevention and training in their workplace.

Social Media

Of course, one of the most obvious features of the digital age is social media, and sites like Facebook and Instagram can mean a new channel for sexual harassment. Mallory explains, “I’m seeing a lot more complaints that stem from social media. Things are happening away from the workplace, after hours but between colleagues via Facebook Messenger or over Instagram, so a lot of employers’ and employees’ first assumption is that it’s not sexual harassment since they’re not at work and it’s their own personal social media. While that might be true, you still can’t harass your coworkers.” This can lead to difficult situations for both HR managers and employees alike; the best way to avoid them is to provide clear training to employees that stresses the fact that harassment can happen both during and after work.

Workplace Relationships

Office romances certainly aren’t new to the digital age, but with the advent of dating apps and social media, it can become even more complicated for HR managers. Mallory offers her advice for handling these situations, saying, “It is natural for employees to develop friendships and relationships with people that they work with. You spend a lot of time with the people that you work with and sometimes that can turn into something romantic. In that case, it’s not going to meet the definition of harassment since it is welcomed, so I encourage people that find themselves in that situation to come forward and let somebody in management know. That way, it doesn’t come back to bite them later if there’s a breakup and somebody comes forward saying, ‘Look at all these messages I’ve received. They were harassing me that whole time.’ ” Teaching your employees how to protect themselves in these situations can save all parties involved any stress or headache later on.

Update Your Policies

With all the changes that accompany technology, as well as the increased attention on sexual harassment in the workplace as a result of the #metoo movement, an HR manager would be remiss not to update the company policies regarding sexual harassment. Mallory says, “I would recommend that companies update their handbook to ensure that they have a policy related to harassment. I write handbooks all the time, and to be totally honest, I’m aware that no one wants to read those. But having a meeting to go over those really key policies, things like harassment and workplace violence can ensure everybody knows that you take it very seriously.” Mallory also suggests implementing a zero-tolerance policy when updating handbooks, so that if a sexual harassment claim can be substantiated, that employee can be terminated. This will show all employees just how seriously your company takes this issue.

While sexual harassment is certainly not a topic anyone, especially an HR manager, likes to discuss, it is increasingly important as companies step into the digital age. By combining well-written policies with strong and clear communication with all employees, you can do your best to ensure it doesn’t happen in your office.

3 Hottest Topics Within Employee Compensation


On a recent episode of HR Insider, we had the chance to sit down with Kimer Moore, owner of Capriccio HR. Capriccio is a human resources consulting firm that specializes in strategic HR and Total Rewards services and solutions for small and medium-sized organizations. Having spent much of her 19-year career in compensation, Kimer shared with us some of the hottest topics in compensation that she is seeing today.

 

Topic #1: Keeping Up With Legal Changes

There’s a lot going on in our country related to employee compensation, and helping companies stay on top of everything is more important than ever. One trending topic, of course, is the shifting legal landscape of benefits as dictated by the Affordable Care Act. Laws are changing, and companies must ensure they remain compliant.

In addition to the ACA, Kimer explains, “FLSA, which is your Fair Labor Standards Act, also has some legal changes that we’re trying to kind of keep on top of, making sure that people are compliant. But everything is bouncing back and forth. Do we do it? Do we not do it? So a big trend in compensation and benefits right now is just keeping an eye on what’s going on in the legal universe and making sure that the company is compliant with that.”

Topic #2: Equal Pay

The topic of equal treatment in the workplace has garnered more attention in the mainstream than ever before; this means that companies must ensure they aren’t in violation of any laws. Kimer says, “There is a lot going on around equal pay and equal rights. That’s another thing we’re trying to keep an eye on, making sure companies are paying people for the work that they do and not based on any other factor like gender. Some states have even started to implement rules stating that you cannot ask a candidate what their prior salary was at a company. You can only ask what they’re looking for.” Ultimately, companies need to take a step back and make sure they are paying every employee consistently with the market.


Topic #3: Total Compensation Packages

The last hot topic Kimer shared with us is the importance of the total compensation packages, beyond base salary. While potential and current employees alike often get caught up in the salary alone, it is important for employers to communicate the total value of the entire package. Kimer adds, “I think somewhere a company could get a little bit more bang for its buck, if you will, is offering good benefits packages to the employees in order to attract and retain people. When you give employees good benefits at your company, those are things that make it harder to leave because they’ve become used to the comfort of those benefits, and other companies may not necessarily have it as good. So benefits are another option for companies to attract talent and add value.”

While compensation is certainly not a new topic, it is an ever-evolving one. There are always new laws and policies being put in place and it is important for companies to be aware of these.

5 Myths About Millennials in the Workplace

On a recent episode of HR Insider, we had the chance to talk with Mary Larocca, Vice President of Global Business Development at Cornerstone Relocation Group. She debunked five common myths about millennials and shared insight into how best to approach this generation from an HR and Relocation perspective.

Myth #1: All Millennials Are Alike

A big mistake companies make is overlooking the individual needs of millennial employees because they assume certain likes and dislikes about their generation. “Everyone is unique and everybody has different things that contribute to who they are,” says Mary. “So try to find what’s individual about the person and what’s going to make things important for them. I think that’s a big thing that can be done even from the recruiting stage over to the HR stage.”

A great way to avoid the pitfall of generalizing the wants of a generation is to acknowledge people’s different needs by offering choices to your employees. It is unrealistic to individualize each policy, but your company can offer a set of options that employees can choose from. This is especially important when it comes to relocation. Mary suggests, “Give someone three or four choices that your company is okay with providing, then whoever is making the choice will feel like they’re invested in [what they have chosen] … Remember that somebody might want to just pack themselves up and move and one might want to have an option to use that money towards pet sitting or some other thing.” Millennials are not a “one size fits all” generation. Acknowledge the individual needs of your employees by offering options.

 

Myth #2: Millennials Have Social Interaction Issues

A big stereotype about millennials is that they are more comfortable with sitting behind a computer and chatting online than they are with talking on the phone or face-to-face. While it is true that the former is a more common way for millennials to communicate, it doesn’t mean they are anti-social. The fact that this generation communicates and shares their interests online can be a real asset to HR professionals because it can give them insight into what their employees like and need.

Mary recommends using the internet to HR’s advantage with a little online research to help form connections between employees. Identify some of your employees’ interests by searching online and find a way to bridge those interests with team building activities. She says, “When you’re having a relocation program, maybe think about things like shared housing or doing social outings that have a purpose. We recently, here in Arizona, went out to a food bank and handled giving out food to people who needed it in the Phoenix community. Things like that help people feel connected and make our world feel a little smaller.” Though it may seem like millennials prefer to stay behind their computer screen, they still need connection and purpose. Motivate them with meaningful causes and opportunities to spend time with their team.

Myth #3: Millennials Have No Loyalty

The millennial generation has gained a reputation of having no loyalty because it is much more common for them to work at multiple companies throughout their career compared to previous generations. While it is true that changing employers is much more common for millennials, this doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a lack of loyalty. Mary points out that millennials have loyalty to themselves. “Being loyal to yourself, to the process, and making yourself happy is much different than loyalty to a big company or a manager,” she explains. This commonality among millennials is beneficial for companies to know. Mary says, “From an HR perspective, think about what’s important to the person that you are managing or the person that you’re bringing on.” By listening to what your employee wants, you will know how to keep them at your company.

Therefore, it is more about companies adapting to a generation that has different desires and wants to be loyal to themselves. In knowing this, companies can retain millennials by allowing them opportunities to do something that they love. Mary points out how critical it is for the HR community to ask each person on their team or each person that they are moving what’s important to them. She says, “Sometimes [managers] just don’t want to ask the question and I think they’re missing out on an opportunity to really make someone feel loyal and connected, and [millenials] do that by being passionate about things.”

 

Myth 4: Millennials Can’t Take Ownership

A common trait in millennials is that they are about a shared economy. Mary points out that “[Millennials] want to have things, but only when it makes sense. [They] don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a purse, for example, when [they] can rent one and just use it for the season or an afternoon.” There is a shift in the mindset of ownership in which millennials want to use objects when needed and let others enjoy their use when they are not needed, rather than just sitting unused.

To expand upon this myth, Mary highlights how experiences are more valuable to millennials than accumulating material goods. From an HR perspective, she suggests, “Think about the experience you can give an employee… Is there an experience that you can give that employee that might make them be able to stay with the company longer? Is there an assignment overseas that they could go for three months because they don’t have all the things that can tie them back home in the U.S.?” Use the new perspective on ownership to help motivate your millennial employees by providing them with the option to collect new experiences through your company.

Myth #5: Millenials Can’t Make Decisions

The myth that millennials are indecisive has evolved from the ability to research and comparison shop. Millennials make decisions, but they tend to research ahead of time online before making those decisions. The common practice of online research is an important factor for businesses to consider when recruiting millennials. Mary suggests, “Research yourself and see what impression you are giving…  If you’re trying to portray something, make sure that’s really what’s coming across from a technology standpoint because that’s where everyone’s going to go first to look.” Having the insight that millennials do make decisions, but they shop around first, will help ensure that your online presence is properly representing your business and attracting your desired candidates.

When it comes to stereotypes about generations, it’s helpful to have an idea of what to expect and how to handle interactions; yet, in the end, we are talking about individual human beings, and no one person is the same. Mary sums it up perfectly when she says, “You really can find real connections and real loyalty when you find out what’s important to a person and what makes them an individual.”

 

The Importance of Staff Culture

 

When discussing the best places to work, employee compensation and benefits and the reputability of the organization are often central themes. Recently,  a third consideration has been added to the mix: company culture. Creating a positive work environment has become vital to retaining top talent as more and more job seekers try to assess the culture of an office before accepting a position.

 

Gone are the days of coming into the office, drudging through the day, and going home to spend time with friends and family. Employees want to enjoy their job and the people they work with. Coworkers are now expected to be people that they may actually like, not a necessary evil to escape from at 5:00 pm each day. A negative or toxic work environment will not only drive away talent but inhibit productivity as well, and that is exactly why a positive staff culture is so important. An inability for management and employees to relate to one another can be detrimental to the organization as a whole and could lead to a decrease in creativity and ownership of projects.

 

It may go against the traditional school of thought, but incentives and appraisals are not always the best motivation for employees. It turns out, a sense of loyalty and ownership towards an organization in employees can drive better work. Additionally, these feelings can keep an employee in an organization even with offers from competing organizations. While money and benefits can be offered by anyone, a feeling of belonging is much harder to come by. That is why a strong staff culture is such an important element for a company. After all, people spend about a third of their life at work, so it stands to reason they prefer to work somewhere that they enjoy.

 

 

A somewhat forgotten benefit of company culture is the effect it has on your organization’s brand. In an era of social media and the internet, information spreads like wildfire and your customers will likely have an idea of the culture in which your employees work. If your staff culture is fun-loving and generous, your brand image will adopt those qualities. Ideally, your brand image and company culture should seamlessly intertwine. It would make no sense to try to present yourself as a fun, easy-going brand and then allow a stressful, toxic culture to grow in your offices.

 

As more and more companies shift their attention to cultivating a healthy company culture, it is only going to become more necessary for you to focus on in order for your organization to stay competitive and continue to attract top talent. If you aren’t keeping pace with your competition, you are going to fall behind. While every company is different and there’s not one right way to develop and preserve a staff culture, think about your organization’s strongest values and how you can remain consistent in those through everything you do. Doing so will lay the groundwork for a happier and more productive staff that is as devoted to the organization as you are.

How To Create And Honor Diversity In The Workplace

On a recent episode of HR Insider, we got the chance to sit down and talk with Dan, an HR representative for a Fortune 500 company who recently took on a new role within diversity inclusion. He shared with us his insight on improving inclusion in the workplace and supporting diverse communities and customers.

At the most basic level, inclusivity is about starting the discussion and forcing people to think about why they do things the way they do. Dan focused a lot on getting people to open their minds, which involves everyone at a company from the C-suite to the entry-level employees.

“It comes down to collaborating as a team, not only with the Diversity & Inclusion team, but the corporate side as well, and trying to get people from different areas and trying to work together to make an inclusive community. Additionally, to bring up awareness and the power of asking why. Asking, “Okay, why is it this way? Why is it that way?” It’s about opening that line of communication so everybody can feel included, everybody can be heard, and everybody can learn, educate, and grow from it.”

Another point that Dan really drove home was the importance of looking for talent in places companies don’t traditionally look. Whether that is looking at schools that you don’t typically recruit from or considering someone from a background that is different than your usual hires, he stressed that this diversity can add invaluable perspective to teams and improve the organization overall. He doesn’t necessarily ask people to change their hiring process, only to take a critical eye to it and see if there is room for increased diversity.

“People from different backgrounds and different lifestyles, they all have talents that they can showcase, and I think companies should see that, learn from it, grow from it, and even improve from it. Research even shows that corporations with a diverse network and diverse groups or teams do better financially in the long run. If everybody is coming from the same place, the same school, the same everything, then you’re not going to grow. You’re not going to develop. You’re just going to get the same old, same old, and that’s not how companies grow or even stay above water. They fail.”

At the end of our chat, Dan emphasized the value that HR departments can bring to individuals. While the human element of human resources may get lost sometimes, at the end of the day, their job is to be there for each and every employee.

“There’s more to HR than just people handling benefits or recruiting. It’s breaking down barriers and opening people’s mindset to find out what lies beneath.”

Diversity and inclusion are becoming increasingly important issues for companies to address, and it will always be better to be proactive instead of reactive. By constantly seeking ways to include different perspectives and people of all backgrounds, an organization can ensure it thrives for years to come.

Four Ways to Motivate and Inspire Your Employees

Companies are continually looking for innovative ways to motivate employees, and gone are the days where financial compensation alone is enough to satisfy your workforce. There are an infinite amount of ways to create a passionate, hard-working atmosphere in your office and encourage your employees to perform their best. Depending on how much time you are willing to put into it, there are plenty of free or low-cost ways you can inspire your staff even more so than simply signing a bonus check at the end of the year.

Offer Flexibility

The traditional nine-to-five schedule may work great for some employees, but not everyone will thrive under it. If possible, offer employees flexibility in the hours that they work, and focus more on what is accomplished than the hours clocked in. Assigning a daily to-do list and letting employees work on their own schedule can give a sense of accomplishment and boost morale. This can also mean providing time off for employees to do something they love. Whether it be a creative passion or giving back to the community, your staff will appreciate the ability to pursue their other interests and come back to the office recharged and ready to give you their all.

Give Recognition

Recognizing employees’ accomplishments doesn’t have to be a time-consuming or elaborate process. Simply giving praise on a regular basis will show employees that you notice their hard work and appreciate it. Incorporating recognition into your company’s culture will increase everyone’s satisfaction with their job. You can also offer small rewards to your hardworking staff, whether it be a monthly staff happy hour or casual Friday. These rewards don’t need to break the bank; they just need to show your employees that you appreciate them.

Make the Workplace Enjoyable

Your employees spend a large portion of their life at work, so why not make it somewhere they want to be? Staring at an ugly gray wall for eight hours a day is certainly not going to motivate anybody to work their best, so try to create an attractive, well-lit, and fun space that is also functional. People work better when they are happy, so providing perks to employees is also a great way to motivate them. If you are able, this could mean offering gym or yoga memberships or stocking the kitchen with snacks. Small comforts can go a long way in increasing the overall productivity of your organization.  

Ask Your Staff

What is the absolute easiest way to find out what your staff wants? Ask them. They are the only people who can tell you what would actually motivate them best. Even with the best intentions, it is easy to give people something they don’t want, because, at the end of the day, everyone is different. Some people may love free food in the office while another employee may not care because they bring snacks from home. You won’t really know until you ask, so take a poll in your office, see what people say they want, and determine if it is possible for you to provide it.

Motivating your employees may be easier than you think. You don’t need flashy, over-the-top displays of recognition; oftentimes, something simple that shows you truly care about all they do for the company is enough. Even so, it can have serious effects on your business. Employees are more likely to stay with a company where they feel motivated and appreciated, so it is essential to inspire your employees.