Friday January 24, 2020

Sex harassment suit could push Riot Games settlement to $400M

The sexual harassment suit against Riot Games has respawned and is now, potentially, able to inflict 40 times more damage on the video game maker.

Riot and current and former female employees agreed in August 2019 to settle the suit.

The agreement called for the $1.5 billion dollar company (2019 revenue) to settle the class-action suit by paying out $10 million to about 1,000 employees who self-identify as female.

But that settlement has now been challenged, and not by either Riot or the women in the class that alleged sexual harassment.

Wage discrepancies at issue

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DEFH) has filed its own analysis of the suit and says that female employees of Riot Games could be entitled to “over $400 million.”

The agency says the amount is justified because of the wage differential between men and women at the company, which increased the amount of back pay they should receive.

The agency criticized the plaintiff’s legal team, alleging procedural
errors and questioning why the Rosen Saba law firm didn’t pursue discovery that
might have provided support for a higher payout to its clients.

DEFH also said that its own investigation of the work environment at Riot raised the question of whether the non-monetary terms of the sexual harassment settlement are sufficient. The agency states in its filing that the settlement includes “no enforceable changes to employment policies, at a company alleged to be rife with sexism.”

Additional labor violations?

Another state agency, the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement raised similar objections in a December 2019 filing, telling the court that the settlement immunized Riot for labor law violations separate from the ones alleged in the class action suit.

Riot spokesman Joe Hixson told The Los Angeles Times, “We are
particularly dismayed that the filing downplays and ignores the efforts we have
made with respect to diversity, inclusion, and culture over the past 18 months.
We look forward to making our case to the Court.”

“We worked hard to negotiate with the lawyer representing
the class to reach an agreement that we collectively believe is fair for the
class members,” Riot spokesperson Joe Hixson wrote in a statement to The Los
Angeles Times. “Now DFEH is trying to disrupt that agreement in a legal filing
that is filled with inaccuracies and false allegations.

Court to decide this month

It’s not clear whether either objection will impact the final settlement
still awaiting approval from the Los Angeles Superior Court.

court is scheduled to decide on Jan. 31 if the labor agency has standing to
intervene in the case and examine additional potential labor law violations at
Riot and on Feb. 3 will announce whether it will consider the Department of
Fair Employment and Housing’s objections or allow the proposed $10 million settlement
to go forward.

The post Sex harassment suit could push Riot Games settlement to $400M appeared first on HR Morning.

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The 5 top feedback skills for great performance management

Great performance management requires managers to create an environment in which employees are enabled to perform to the best of their abilities. 

Being able to do that will depend heavily on whether you’ve mastered these five essential performance management skills.

Skill 1: Listening

Good communication is achieved more through a manager’s
ability to listen than on his or her speaking skills. When leaders listen well,
they absorb issues, understand feelings, foresee potential problems and
solutions, and eventually communicate the right decisions in the right tone.

Any leader can hear and parrot back information. Good
leaders listen so they can process the information.

Follow these tips to better listening:

• Keep yourself clear. When employees, colleagues, clients or customers need their managers, it’s important to give them undivided attention by talking privately at an arranged time with no distractions (e-mail, phones, paperwork).

Tip: When employees ask their managers, “Do you have a minute?” If they don’t have time they can respond, “I only have a minute right now. If you need more time, I’d be happy to arrange a meeting later today.”

• Take notes. This serves two purposes: It helps leaders remember what’s been said and keeps track of the most important facts and emotions. Taking notes also shows people you care and are listening whole-heartedly.

• Hold your tongue. Avoid interrupting speakers, especially in one-on-one conversations. Let others get through the facts and emotions. Often, just spilling their guts is enough to make them feel better – and you’re a hero for listening and not saying a word!

• Get focused. If managers have an important task to accomplish, they should make a note of it before they start a conversations with someone. That way they can stop thinking about the call to make, e-mail to send, report to finish, etc., and focus on the conversation at hand.

• Withhold judgment. Put aside unrelated personal feelings about people and their circumstances when listening to them. Instead, focus on the facts and acknowledge emotions.

• Be open to opinions. Leaders sometimes don’t agree with what employees, co-workers, clients and customers say – and stop listening because they’re focusing on their rebuttal. Instead, they should continue to listen and note their points when it’s their turn to talk.

• Respond, don’t react. Finally, when you’re done listening and ready to talk, focus on giving a response rather than a reaction. What’s the difference?

• A response is a balance of thought and emotion, and often includes
a question so you can better understand.

• A reaction is mostly an emotional action that lacks
thought and understanding of what the other person said.

Skill 2: Communicating

Communicating well is the cornerstone of good relationships. Whether leaders are talking to employees or colleagues, writing e-mails, training or speaking in front of a group, these communication essentials will help:

• Create a commonality. Once leaders know their colleagues and employees, they can share information about themselves that they have in common (for instance, a hobby, past experience in work or life, an interest in events or sports, etc.). It makes them more approachable.

• Be courteous. People will listen, and things will get done if managers communicate with courtesy. For example, “Can you please …?” “I need you to do … Will you be able to?” “Please take care of …”

• Be consistent. Match your tone of voice with your words.

• Clarify. When the topic is important (not just casual), it’s vital for managers to make sure they’re understood. For example, they could ask “What questions do you have about this report?”

• Show confidence. Back up statements with facts. Leaders should try to avoid tentative language such as might, maybe, possibly and ASAP.

Soft skill 3: Delivering bad news

Only one thing can be worse than hearing bad news: delivering it. Nearly every leader has to deliver bad news at one time or another. Doing it with finesse will help managers go down in company history as a well-liked professional.

Here’s how to deliver bad news so it’s a little easier on
the people affected by it:

• Make it fast. Delivering the news as quickly as possible gives people a chance to plan their next move. One caveat: Avoid delivering bad news on a Friday (or whatever is the end of the work week) so the news doesn’t fester with people for days, and they come back to work upset or resentful.

• Visit or call. Deliver bad news personally. When leaders do this, it shows they care about how the news will affect their people. Delivering bad news via e-mail or a memo suggests leaders are distancing themselves from the people and situation.

• Be honest. Managers don’t have to reveal every detail (because some are personnel- or financial-related). Plus, people don’t have time for all the details. But to maintain credibility, leaders want to avoid covering up mistakes, forgetfulness or miscommunications that led to decisions and bad news.

• Take responsibility. Leaders don’t want to blame themselves, their bosses or the company if they aren’t to blame. Then again, don’t blame “the economy” for everything, either. Acknowledge your part in the situation without being defensive.

• Respond. Give employees, co-workers, clients or customers a chance to discuss how the bad news affects them. Acknowledge their feelings, and offer suggestions on how to deal with the situation.

Soft skill 4: Negotiating

Most leaders negotiate from the moment they get up in the
morning, through the workday and well into the evening whether it’s with
family, friends or co-workers. No matter the situation, the most successful

negotiators still develop long-term relationships, and help
themselves and others succeed in the end.

Leaders who strive to get what they want, but be fair and
keep others happy, follow these negotiating tactics:

• Balance participation. All people want to be involved in decisions that affect them. Once managers offer their thoughts and positions, it’s a good idea to ask for the other person’s thoughts on the subject. Most importantly, managers should consider how the benefits and drawbacks affect others before they meet. Managers who see the situation through their employees’ eyes often find reasonable solutions faster.

• Understand the other side. Before moving on to the final decisions and solutions, it’s important for managers to show they’ve heard and understand what others have said and feel. Some key phrases:

• “I understand that you want … ”

• “I sense that you feel this way about the situation … ”

• “You seem to want … Do I have that right?”

• “Your position is … Would you agree with my assessment?”

• Be prepared to offer several options. It’s a good idea for leaders to come to the meeting knowing their highest priorities and what they’d be willing to give up to make negotiations work. They should also encourage others to do the same. Then once both sides understand one another’s positions, leaders can throw out several potential solutions.

Soft skill 5: Giving criticism

Unfortunately, employees don’t always do things that make their managers proud, or perform at a level that deserves thanks and recognition. Then managers have to criticize employees’ work or behavior. While this is a task no manager looks forward to, it can be done with finesse and without making employees resentful.

Here are seven keys for delivering criticism with finesse:

  1. Behind closed doors. Follow the old rule “Praise in public, criticize in private.”

2. No finger-pointing. When phrases like “You should have … ” or “Why didn’t you … ?” are used, people quickly become defensive.

Instead, try one of these:

• “I’ve noticed that you … ”

• “I don’t know if you’ve noticed that you … ”

3. Avoid sugarcoating. Many leaders don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings, so they “sandwich” criticism between two compliments. Avoid this because some people will filter out the criticism and focus on the praise. Instead go right to the issue, mention past successes and ask where the problem is.

Example: “Joan, this report is incomplete. You’re usually
very thorough. Can you tell me what’s happened here?”

4. Criticize one thing at a time. Criticizing several things at one time will lighten the importance of each item. Plus, it’ll make people feel as if they’re failing at everything – not just one or two things.

5. Be specific about the change that’s needed. Often what leaders want fixed, stopped or changed is obvious to them, but may not be so obvious to the person who needs to do it. So it’s vital to be specific on what needs to change. For example, instead of “From now on, I need it ASAP,” say “Starting this week, I want it by 9 am Friday.” Or instead of “You need to eliminate more errors,” say “You’ll have to drop the error rate by 50%.”

6. Be timely. This makes the feedback seem supportive, not critical. While it isn’t always practical to hold off on criticism, this approach allows managers to help employeesmake adjustments that will last longer.

7. Involve others. Even when managers have specific changes in mind that need to be made, employees are more likely to embrace the changes when they’re part of the solution. Consider saying:

• “Do you have any ideas on how to make sure you … ”

• “What can I do to help you … ?”

• “I have some suggestions on how you can do this, but let
me hear

your ideas first.”

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Why it’s always a good time to update your onboarding

Updating your onboarding process might not be at the top of every HR professionals’ priority list, but it probably should be – especially if it’s been over a year since your last update.

Why? Because an outdated onboarding experience might be sending the wrong signals about a company – and causing needless confusion – at the very time when new hires are looking to understand their new employer and find their place in the organization.

If that’s not enough incentive, updating your onboarding also produces some major long-term benefits.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), 69% of employees are more likely to stay at a company for three or more years if they had a positive onboarding experience. 

New employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58 percent more likely to be with the organization after three years.

Organizations with a standard onboarding process experience
50 percent greater new-hire productivity.

The problem isn’t that we don’t believe quality onboarding
is important, it’s that we fail to recognize that it isn’t a “set it and forget
it” type of thing—it should be ever-evolving.

Why the Onboarding Process Needs to Evolve

When was the last time you updated your onboarding process?
Was it six months ago? One year ago? Five years ago?

 We get it—time flies. And while it might feel like it was just yesterday when you created your awesome new onboarding process, before you know it, a year has passed and it’s time to review, refine, and update again.

Here are some key reasons to update your onboarding experience.

Your service or product evolved

The key to great onboarding is clarity. When you have a new employee join your ranks, you need to make it easy for them to understand all they can about what you do, how you do it, and how they fit into the big picture. And if the heart of what you do as a business shifts, you might need to double-check your onboarding communication to ensure everything is aligned and that you’re communicating it accurately. 

Onboarding should make things clearer, not more confusing—so
make sure what you say is what you actually do.

Your culture has shifted

Social integration and knowledge of culture are two more vital elements to great onboarding. And while your defined core values really shouldn’t change much, if you have gone through a cultural shift, you’ll likely have to update your onboarding materials.

 Be warned: Not all cultural changes are apparent without reading the fine print. 

For example, if you decide to include some office inside jokes with the intention of making the new hire feel welcome, you might have to actually put yourself through the process to confirm understanding. Do the jokes still make sense? If your onboarding materials tell your new hire that most people eat their lunch in the cafeteria, make sure it’s still true. While your core values may not have changed, behaviors and cultural norms of the office may have.

Your brand just got updated

Lastly, you should update your onboarding experience if your employer branding has changed. It’s safe to assume that like your brand, your employer brand has evolved over time. And while you might not formally update your employer brand through brand guidelines, you can still look at the way you’re communicating to new hires and determine whether or not it feels like your organization.

Keep your onboarding on track

Great onboarding leads to great things—increased retention,
a reduction in ramp-up time, and increased employee engagement. But it’s not
easy to get it right the first time around. Most onboarding processes go
through multiple iterations, revisions, and “rebrands.” But if you invest the
time and energy to refine your process, you’ll be one step closer to creating
an experience that will benefit your organization for years to come.

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Top 5 ways to improve employee training with learning software

Corporate learning is different from school learning or even self-development. For professionals seeking to improve employee training, it helps to remember you can’t just take an approach from other industries and expect it to pay off without adapting the solutions to your own unique work environment.

Hence, downloading educational software, used in classrooms, is not the best idea — it just doesn’t correspond with professional purposes.

We researched different ways to improve employee training when implementing learning software into your company’s workflow.

Here’s what we learned, and here’s what worked:

Apply a blended
learning approach

Learning is a dynamic process, and it’s highly individual. Some people learn better by reading while others by watching webinars or tutorials. One employee might prefer to dive deeply into the matter, while another needs to get a general understanding of the subject first. As you may see, it depends on personality factors, and these differences can be critical for determining the process efficiency.

HR managers should take this variety of learning approaches into account by:

  • Offering a possibility to get the information via different mediums. If you create a video guide for your employees, make sure to provide them with a transcript. Some people will want to review the information in the printed form or will simply have no time to listen to the entire video.
  • Adapting to different speeds. The YouTube speed modification feature corresponds to these needs perfectly. Some people will prefer to slow things down, listening to the file on 0.75 speed, while others will put it on 1.5 speed because it helps them to keep focus. Again, both methods are valid — you just need to provide access to this customization.
  • Experimenting with formatting. Some people like their study material to be color-coded, while others prefer a typical bold-italic combination. It’s best if the platform allows team members to highlight information in whichever way they find fitting.

The key to providing a blended approach is flexibility. Don’t insist on a single learning framework — it won’t work for everyone. Instead, start by interviewing your team members and learn more about their studying preferences.

Provide relevant and
tailored content

Personalization is essential to effective learning. An employee should be fully aware of how this information or skill will contribute specifically to the workflow or individual progress. This includes a possibility to customize the curriculum, remove or add topics and change the order of the subjects at the mentor’s discretion.

These aspects seem obvious at first glance, but it’s also something that the majority of companies neglect. The Deloitte report on the learning management system shows that only 3% of companies recognize personalization as a crucial aspect of their employees’ development.

This aspect is especially valuable for Millennials — for them, training and development are the most important choice criteria when it comes to selecting a workplace. Yes, it’s even more important than bonuses and flexibility.

Strive to assist your employees in their
self-development as well as a corporate one. Not everything they learn in the
office should be connected to the company. Employees should feel that they are
growing as individuals, not just as a part of the system.

Take learner analytics

With such a diverse and customizable approach to learning, it might naturally be challenging for employers to keep track of the process efficiency. Since implementing professional learning software is an investment, it’s only natural that you should know your returns.

Before starting to determine KPIs, employees need to focus on building an algorithm. Basically, you need to unite all used mediums and approaches in the single framework. All learning content can be divided into two large groups:

  • In-house learning. These are the activities that teams perform together and on a mandatory basis. You need to define what kinds of knowledge or skills you want to develop and put these out for the discussion. The results include getting certification and badges, employee activity increases and higher-quality of shared experiences.
  • Recommendations. These include non-mandatory learning activities that might happen in the workplace or outside. A training specialist should regularly share books, tools, courses, reports, blogs, personalities and videos. They shouldn’t directly concern the company’s goals and tasks, but they should generally contribute to employees’ personal development.

In learning software, you can track both kinds
of interactions. The employees can leave reviews and rate the content, as well
as recommend suggested sources to other team members. Also, you can see how the
learned information relates to the employee’s skills and the company’s tasks.
On top of that, you can create regular reports that summarize your team’s
learning progress.

Include soft skills

Focusing on hard skills is a common mistake of many companies that start to explore learning. The roots of the problem are clear — such skills are easier to measure, and you feel the progress right away. However, this short-term system doesn’t correspond with the market’s realities. Now both end-users and companies seek professionals who have high communication, teamwork and problem-solving competences.

Source: LinkedIn Global Trends

The major advantage of soft skills is that
they are universal and can be used in any kind of project. If you need your
employees to shift to a different field, there will likely be a need to relearn
hard skills, but soft skills will be useful in any kind of situation.

Business owners and HR managers often complain that soft skills are hard to measure. However, there are AI-based analysis tools — like Koru or Pymetrics — that use language recognition and behavioral patterns to assess employee’s progress in communication, teamwork, self-discipline and others. Additionally, soft skills can be evaluated with the help of interviews, tests and constant monitoring.

Reward and recognize
training achievements

The final learning step is appreciation and gratification. Learning should be recognized by the team and management as hard work and rewarded accordingly. There is an important distinction to make here — by rewards, we don’t necessarily mean monetary bonuses. You can reward diligent learners by providing them better learning opportunities.

Possible incentives can include:

  • Tickets to professional conferences. A company should sponsor participation in educational events at least for its most competent employees. It’s great if a company has financial opportunities to sponsor a trip to an international event — such practices hugely contribute to the company’s reputation among clients, partners and potential employees.
  • New learning material. You can provide successful learners with in-depth courses or find them a mentor. The only thing to remember here is that these new opportunities should be seen as an upgrade, compared to the possibilities, provided before.
  • More responsibility. For competitive and driven Millennials, it’s important when employers put their trust in them and increase their work competences. In addition to that, you should reflect on these changes in monetary bonuses so that each team member will feel appreciated and valued.

It’s important to always think one step
forward. Don’t strive to offer your employees the best possible learning
experience right away, instead, take some time to provide accessible solutions,
and offer upgraded opportunities to the most interested individuals.

Source: Towards Maturity Report On Corporate Education

With learning software, managing these
education opportunities is much easier, since you always have clear statistics
and flexible filters.

The bottom line

Learning software provides companies with access to detailed plans, pre-made learning templates, interactive video, audio and text platforms, and personalized curriculum. You will have a customized learning platform that fits your companies’ needs and takes the personal differences of your employees into account.

Implementing continuous learning in the workplace requires a systematic approach above all. You need to have a clear strategy in mind and understand the end goals. All skills and knowledge should fall into a single framework and support the company’s vision and values. With learning software, not only can you organize all learning materials, statistics and suggestions into a single platform, but you will also know exactly what your team accomplished.

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Tackling mental health issues at work in 2020

We are at a critical juncture in how we choose to address and tackle mental health issues at work, and in our larger society. There is no debate that the conversation is shifting.

Awareness about mental health issues is becoming mainstream with actors, musicians, sports celebrities, and even the British royal family raising their voices, sharing their stories, and making it “okay to not be okay.”

For most adults, mental health strikes will no doubt strike very close
to home with nearly 1 in 4 suffering from a mental health challenge. These
tailwinds are strong and certainly help tackle the long-standing barriers due
to stigma, but nonetheless much work remains to be done.

How employers engage in tackling mental health issues will be a bellwether for change in 2020 and beyond. What does 2020 look like for employers and employees hoping to make real change in how we tackle mental health?

Let’s take a look.

Improved awareness

A recent study performed by Mind Share Partners, SAP, and Qualtrics and reported in the Harvard Business Review found that less than half of adults felt that mental health was sufficiently prioritized at their company. Sixty percent of respondents acknowledged that they experienced mental health symptoms in the past year, and more than half had not spoken to anyone at work about their mental health challenges. In fact, as the HBR article highlights, employees were least comfortable addressing mental health issues with their senior leadership or HR representatives, this despite the fact that the survey also showed mental health issues affected all levels within the organization equally.

There have been some shining examples of true leadership in this area.
Bernard Tyson, whose recent passing shocked and saddened so many in healthcare
world, was a tireless advocate for those with mental health, calling for us to
address mental health on par with how we address physical health challenges.
But clearly the research tells us that there is much more work to be done.

Evidence-based treatments

Reducing stigma and improving access remain major goals, but equally important is the need to ensure that we provide care to high-quality and evidence-based treatment in mental health. Let us not forget that there is indeed rich scientific evidence that should be the core foundation of any mental health treatment. It’s tremendous that we now have a plethora of behavioral health solutions reaching the market, but at the same time employers need to be discriminating in selecting those solutions that are backed by science, grounded in evidence, and proven to actually make our patients, your employees, better. Have a high bar. Hold vendors to a high standard. Enough is not good enough.

Technology, but…

Getting care that’s high quality but also easy to access and convenient is key. Technology-based solutions will help employers achieve that goal. In the National Business Group on Health’s 2020 Survey focused on Large Employers’ Health Care Strategy and Plan Design, 51% of employers noted that they would offer more virtual solutions in 2020, with mental health being one of the top use cases. In fact, 68% of employers expect to make online resources available and 28% will offer digital cognitive behavioral therapy solutions.

Tech-enabled treatment will soon be the rule, rather than the exception.
By introducing more options for convenient, personalized consumer treatment,
tech-enabled (and more effective) care coordination, we can increase transparency
for how we measure “value.”

But… a word of caution. While increased access to technology is a
gift, people have always and will always need people. Hybrid solutions that
marry the best of technology with the best of human care delivery will be
critical. And the real key will be having a breadth of solutions available and
ensuring we direct the right employee to the right intensity solution for their
particular clinical needs. Mental health is not a one-size-fits-all problem to

Tomorrow’s workforce

We have to pay attention to what’s happening with our children. As today’s younger generation will be tomorrow’s workforce. And the challenges we are seeing today among college students will be the challenges we see among our own young employees in the coming years. what we know is that Millennials and Gen Z-ers are experiencing high rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. They are some of the most “connected” generations, yet the rates of loneliness and social isolation are high. College campuses are facing a crisis of mental health among students and they are struggling to keep up. There is a silver lining. Young adults are more open and comfortable talking about mental health than prior generations. They are more apt to seek help, and they appear eager to support one another as they address their mental health needs. We need to think holistically to ensure tomorrow’s workforce has the support it needs to flourish today.

Happier, healthier in 2020

According to the National Business Group on Health, mental health disorders that globally cost $2.5 trillion each year and account for 62% of missed workdays. We owe it to ourselves to continue pushing forward to make a dent in these statistics. Employers are well-positioned to step forward and step up to drive a culture shift around mental health, raising awareness, reducing stigma, and enabling employees to have access to high-quality care solutions that really help them feel better and be more productive employees. We can all agree that resources and time spent on mental health care are resources and time well spent if it means a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce of the future.

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Exec out? 3 keys to handling a leader’s sudden departure

It’s every organization’s worst nightmare when the CEO or a key executive leaves the company unexpectedly.

And in the current climate, it’s a very real possibility.

The #MeToo movement saw many top leaders terminated due to sexual harassment. More recently, big execs have been ousted for other controversial reasons.

The CEO of Papa John’s, John Schnatter, was forced to step down after his racist comments came to light. Steve Easterbrook, the CEO of McDonald’s, had to resign after engaging in a prohibited romantic relationship with a subordinate.

A key leader’s sudden departure can send a company into free fall … and the responsibility of picking up the pieces falls directly to HR.

Planning ahead

When the worst happens, the best way to handle these situations is to address them head-on.

Here are three key strategies HR pros should take when disaster strikes, according to nationally recognized employee relations and employment law experts.

1. Be prepared

The best way to handle an unexpected departure is to be ready for it. This means having a succession plan in place.

In the current tight labor market, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place for every position — but especially for major roles.

If you don’t currently have a clear idea of who would take over for a departing exec, think about whether you’d likely select a current employee or go with an outside hire.

When going the promotion route, HR can start grooming and training potential replacements. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to start interviewing candidates now to build that talent pipeline.

If you haven’t planned that far ahead, consider who could at least help fill the gaps until a successor is chosen. A good succession plan should also outline a new leader’s transition. Consider how you’d get the person up to speed and acclimated to business goals and initiatives.

2. Tell employees what’s going on

It’s crucial that leaders don’t try to hide what’s happening from their employees. As soon as you know an exec is leaving, tell your people.

However, how much you tell your staff is a different story. Legal experts say you shouldn’t disclose the full reason an exec is leaving, unless a joint statement has already been crafted by the exec, company and legal counsel.

Even so, if the ousted CEO ends up suing the company, the less everyone knows, the better.

That being said, it’s important to know something like this can’t simply be announced in a memo and then never spoken of again. Employees are most likely going to have questions and concerns.

Mostly, people will be worried about the security of their own jobs and the direction the company is heading in. It’s important to reassure them and remind employees how valuable they are.

After enough time has passed and things are settling down, it’s a good idea to talk to your employees again. Conduct stay interviews and find out if workers are still engaged and believe in the company.

3. Look at the bigger picture

With the sudden loss of a leader, the employer’s brand and values may come under fire. It’s important for HR to reinforce what the company believes in and how it still intends to carry out its mission — to both its employees and the public.

A resigning exec may also point to bigger issues at the company, such as ineffective policies or bad practices employees regularly partake in. Addressing these problems head-on can help prevent more sudden departures in the future.

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Bottom-line maternity benefits all good firms offer

For many women entering the workforce,
businesses that provide family-forward maternity benefits to better align with
the employee’s maternity goals are increasingly attractive.

By supplying mothers with provisions that
allow them to maintain their breastfeeding goals, along with the proper time to
heal during the postpartum period, businesses can reduce healthcare costs and
turnover rates while improving morale.

Additionally, by easing the employee’s transition back to work after giving birth, businesses are able to attract and retain motivated talented employees, and often benefit from savings of $3 for every $1 spent on implementing a supportive maternity plan.

Working Moms

It’s important to note that along with
supporting working mothers, modern maternity benefits improve workplace
positivity and decrease turnover rates when provided to men as well.
Furthermore, businesses only need to make slight, cost-effective changes in
order to increase employee satisfaction and generate savings.

By reviewing the current parental leave policy and making simple adjustments to expand benefits, employers can quickly see increased employee loyalty and healthcare savings.

For example:

When Cigna launched its supportive breastfeeding plan it experienced:

  • Annual savings of $240,000 in the
    form of reduced healthcare expenses for breastfeeding mothers and children.
  • A 62% decrease in prescriptions
    resulting in reduced pharmacy costs.
  • A 77% reduction in lost work due
    to having to care for sick infants, saving $60,000 annually.

The Los Angeles Department of Water And Power also launched a supportive breastfeeding program and realized the following benefits:

  • A 35% reduction in healthcare
  • An 83% increase in positivity
    about the employer.
  • A 27% reduction in absenteeism

After implementing measures to support working
moms, Home Depot:

  • Reduced its employee absenteeism
    rate from the national average of missing nine days of work due to caring for a
    sick infant down to only three.
  • Increased employee satisfaction.
  • Generated annual savings of
    $42,000 due to lowered absenteeism rates.

Serving as a source of trust and understanding
for employees as they grow their families will quickly improve workplace positivity,
production, and help generate cost savings as healthcare bills and turnover
rates decrease.

Parental Leave

Even taking small steps toward improving
parental benefits can lead to positive business impacts. When crafting your own
internal policy, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.

Weeks Maternity leave

Giving birth places a significant amount of stress on a mother’s body, and it takes about six weeks on average for a new mother to physically recover. During the postpartum period, mothers face bleeding, swelling and soreness that can make it difficult, painful, and exhausting to return to work.

Even though partners don’t physically give
birth, there is still considerable adjustment when welcoming an infant into
their homes. Throughout the night, new parents are often awoken for feeding,
diaper changes, and to soothe sleepless infants.

By having time at home during parental leave, partners are able to intimately bond with their new child and share in the additional responsibilities at home.


When surveyed, 47% of working moms considered making a career change due to the need for breast pumping at work and 49% were concerned that breast pumping would impact their career growth.

Many mothers would like to breast pump in order to provide breast milk for their infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast milk because of the health benefits provided for both mothers and their infants. While breastfeeding, the healing hormone oxytocin is released.

Oxytocin is shown to help moms heal faster by
reducing bleeding and by assisting the uterus to more quickly contract to its
regular size. This can reduce postpartum recovery time and allow mothers to
potentially return to work sooner.

Breast milk is essentially liquid gold for infants,
as it contains naturally occurring nutrients such as proteins, enzymes, and
antibodies to boost the immune system. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of
developing allergies, eczema, diarrhea, infections and more. On average,
breastfed babies tend to be healthier.

Having breast milk available also allows a
partner to help more at feeding time. Plus, partners are often able to
experience deeper bonding during feedings with skin-to-skin contact and the
ability to learn their infant’s unique noises and body language.

To provide mothers with the ability to breast
pump at work, all you need is:

  • A private room free from the
    intrusion of the public or coworkers.
  • A chair to relax in.
  • Access to running water for
  • A microwave for cleaning
    disinfecting breast pump parts and accessories.
  • A surface to place breast pumps
    and accessories on.
  • A mini fridge for breastmilk
    storage that is separate from where employees place their lunches.


Breastfeeding or pumping isn’t always the
easiest topic to discuss in the workplace. Be open and understanding to new or
expectant parents. Approach them to discover what they need and be approachable
to allow them to come to you with any questions or concerns.

Recognize that breast pumping mothers will
need to express breastmilk every few hours for about 20 minutes depending on
their infant’s feeding schedule. Work with them to meet their individual needs.

Realize that the transition back to work after
welcoming a baby into the home isn’t easy. Parents are exhausted and often
emotional due to missing their child. Allow them to readjust to their normal
workload over a few days and work from home, if applicable.

The ROI companies experience after beginning
to support working parents is undeniable and with only a few simple steps,
employers are able to support their parents and gain immense benefits.

The post Bottom-line maternity benefits all good firms offer appeared first on HR Morning.

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Study says trust your gut … but should you?

With so much riding on HR getting hiring, promotions and, yes, firing right the first time, it’s natural that HR pros sometimes second guess decisions.

But would you still be tasked with making those decisions if your instincts weren’t usually right?

Well, a study out of the UK suggests you listen to your more confident inner voice on this question, too.

Three British scientists studied gamblers to see who made better predictions about the outcome of sporting events, the ones who stuck with first instinct or those who changed their minds after pondering for a while.

And, sure, you aren’t paid to bet on the Super Bowl. But the scientists say their findings likely apply to any situation where people are making educated guesses about how things will turn out in the future.

The authors say the results show that “Game players would have been better off sticking with their first judgments rather than ever revising.”

And, they add, if you are going to change a decision, do it quickly. Analyzing a situation for a longer period of time led bettors to less accurate results than those who changed their minds within a few minutes of the original decision.

And, bringing it directly home to your HR team’s performance, they conclude the results look like they could be relevant in other contexts, “such as in company management and planning, financial markets and macroeconomic policy.”

The post Study says trust your gut … but should you? appeared first on HR Morning.

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The 7 hidden benefits of team-building activities

Team-building activities can strengthen company culture and provide a wide variety of benefits. You probably already know that team building creates a stronger bond between employees, improves team communication and encourages collaboration.

But how about some of the other, lesser known benefits that aren’t discussed as much? Here are seven hidden benefits that will provide value to your company’s culture when you invest in team-building activities.

Getting Creative

Sometimes employees can fall into a routine with their work. That’s not always a bad thing since it’s how work gets done. However, a new perspective could add insights into challenges at the office. Taking the team out of their regular work environment to overcome non-work challenges can encourage creative problem solving when they’re back at the office.


Even the best managers can be intimidating to employees, and this feeling may cause employees to hesitate to reach out to discuss workflow concerns, new ideas and career track wants. In fact, half of employees reported that they don’t regularly speak up about concerns. Having a good relationship with management can increase employee satisfaction, productivity and reduce turnover, giving a boost to the company culture. Team-building exercises can be an excellent way to make managers more approachable, as there’s nothing quite like seeing your manager having fun while crashing into the side of a go kart track, toppling over in the potato sack race or having their precious egg splatter in an egg drop competition. 

Identify leaders

Team building gives the opportunity for those outside the management team to take on a leadership role, guiding their group to the successful completion of a team-building exercise. It’s a nice way for management to observe leadership skills outside of the office environment, and to identify potential future leadership candidates. You’ll spot which employees take on planning and tactical roles and which are the most encouraging to other team members, both great qualities of future leaders.

Uncover hidden talents

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of work, you don’t learn much about your employees. There are often hidden talents that are uncovered while chatting at team-building events outside the office that can be valuable to the company and even advance careers. Maybe an employee writes a blog about their weekend hikes, but those writing skills could be used on the company blog. Or, perhaps an employee has been taking night classes, is part of many professional organizations and is poised to become your next thought leader. Employees who get to use their strengths at work every day are eight percent more productive and 15 percent less likely to quit. Getting to know more about your employees during team bonding activities can help you uncover their hidden talents and tap into their strengths.

Everyone’s a winner

Team-building activities provide an opportunity for everyone to have fun and be successful. It’s a fantastic way to recognize achievement outside of work parameters and can give a self-esteem boost to employees who might be struggling at the office. When the entire team has an opportunity have fun and shine, everyone feels like a winner!

Energy boost

Your company culture likely revolves around the energy in the office. When the team gets back from a fun day of team bonding, the energy in the office can change, giving the company culture a spirited jolt at the same time. It’s best if the team can have a reminder of the event, such as a t-shirt to wear on casual Fridays. Team building event mementos can serve as cool keepsake from the fun and positive energy they created as a team and help keep that vibe flowing back in the office.

Mix & mingle

When you work in a department and have a common task, it makes sense that your work family would be the same as the folks in your department. Team building gives employees the opportunity to mix and mingle with other departments and learn about their roles. If the teams are broken up beforehand to ensure a blend of departments on every team, employees will bond with other departments. This can give everyone new insights into what other departments do and humanize co-workers who were previously only on the other end of an email address. What a fantastic way to cultivate understanding and bond the team on a larger scale!

When your team-building experience helps promote a strong company culture, everyone wins! While team-building activities are known for their generally positive impact on company culture, these specific (and lesser known) benefits provide a strong case for the tangible value of prioritizing team building activities.

Investing in team building can help you tap into these hidden team bonding gems and grow the strong company culture you desire. So, get out there, have some fun with your employees and reap the rewards of a strong company culture. 

The post The 7 hidden benefits of team-building activities appeared first on HR Morning.

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Turn employees into brand ambassadors with these super simple techniques

Your employees are your most valuable asset, and they can
really boost your brand if you motivate and encourage them to become strong

When it comes to recruiting brand advocates, companies mostly focus on their customers believing that they’re the only relevant audience. That’s undoubtedly true because 90% of people trust recommendations from friends and family when it comes to making a purchasing decision, while 70% of people trust online customer reviews.

Yet content shared by employees generates  8 times more engagement than content shared on brand channels, so it would be wrong to underestimate the power of leveraging your employees as your brand ambassadors and not tapping into that marketing opportunity.

Let’s see how to do that.

Communicate Your Vision

It’s essential that your employees are on the same page with

That means they should be clear on what your vision, mission, and core values are so that they can understand the message you want to spread and articulate it properly on their social media and other channels.

To put it simply – your employees should be able to explain
“who we are” and “what we do” easily, consistently, and from the same

This can be challenging given that only 41% of employees know what differentiates their company’s brand from their competitors.

Create and Share Brand Guidelines

Back in 2012, Microsoft launched its Surface tablet, and got many celebrities on board to promote it. Oprah Winfrey was one of them, and she was quick to tweet how much she loved the gadget and listed it as one of her favorite things.

Unfortunately, the tweet was sent from an iPad.

In order to prevent such a faux pas, and keep your reputation intact, it’s crucial for your employees to know what kind of information and details they are allowed to share publicly as well as what kind of voice and tone they should use.

While it’s OK to encourage them to add their personal touch to the content and announcements they share with their networks, it’s still important to instruct them about what kind of narrative shouldn’t be used.

For example, you don’t want your employees to use inappropriate language, or express their political or social opinions that may just alienate people and have nothing to do with your company. 

Make Your Employees Happy

It takes happy employees to promote your brand effectively.

This means that you can’t expect a group of disgruntled, tired, and frustrated people to share positive experiences and put in a good word for you.

In order to turn your employees into your trusted allies, it’s important to make sure that they’re satisfied and happy, and here’s how you can do that.

Recognize their efforts and achievements. Thirty-six percent of employees say that the lack of recognition is their top reason for quitting, while the same culprit is what makes 69% of American workers demotivated. These stats speak volumes about the importance of telling your employees how you value their work and thanking them for their contribution. Always take an opportunity to publicly acknowledge employee achievements and wins.

Encourage a sense of team spirit. Your employees can be happy and dedicated only if the atmosphere in the workplace is healthy and stimulating. Help your employees to connect with their co-workers and develop good relationships with them. An after-work round of drinks at a nearby pub, or having an occasional work picnic are great ways to start. But if you really want your employees to become workmates, organize team-building events such as spending a couple of days at the seaside, in the mountains, or in an interesting city. Hire a reliable destination management company to make everything run smoothly. The point is to mix work and fun and create some pleasant memories together.

Promote a healthy work-life balance. Treat your employees as human beings and not as robots who should be ready and willing to work around the clock. Encourage them to relax and disconnect from work – don’t call them outside their working hours, allow a flexible schedule whenever possible, and give them the time to rest and recharge. This will not only boost their productivity but also cement your reputation as a good employer, all of which will have an extremely positive impact on your overall branding efforts.

Get Employees Invested

Internal branding plays an important role in the process.

Just like you’re trying to convince your customers that your
brand message is genuine and authentic, you should put your money where your
mouth is when it comes to selling your employees on your branding goals.

In other words, your employees shouldn’t only keep the brand
promise, but also live it.

It pays to get them excited about the brand and its products so that they can share that same zest.

It’s also important to ask for their feedback and input.
Include your employees in the decision-making process and help them feel
responsible for the development of the brand and its growth.

It’s always a good to incentivize your employees by offering them something in return for being successful brand ambassadors.

Take a cue from Apple – their employees get an annual discount of 25% when they purchase an iPad or a Mac, so it’s a win-win situation as they get a chance to buy a cool, otherwise expensive gadget at a lower price and the company gets a loyal Apple fan/employee.

Merch can also be a great addition to this, but only if it’s well-designed and useful. Attractive T-shirts, handy flash drives, powerful external chargers, or anything else with your brand name and colors on it will be great. Your employees will gladly wear and use it, at the same time subtly promoting your brand and serving as walking advertisements.

Before turning to your customers or hiring an influencer, you should start a brand ambassadorship program in your own yard and motivate and train your employees to spread the word and engage in brand advocacy.

Just bear in mind that if you want this approach to work, your employees need to genuinely believe in what they’re promoting. If they’re coerced into doing that, it will come off as unnatural and inauthentic, all of which can only ruin your reputation.

The post Turn employees into brand ambassadors with these super simple techniques appeared first on HR Morning.

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