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HR Connection blog

Leaders vs. Managers: What Is In Your Toolkit?

on May 27, 2020 10:15:00 AM By | Ron Thomas | 0 Comments | Leadership Management
Which one are you? Maybe you are a hybrid or a little of both with other ingredients added in for flavor.
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How HR Can Support Companies in Times of Crisis

on May 22, 2020 8:45:00 AM By | Jessica Miller-Merrell | 0 Comments | Management HR Department Coronavirus
When economic downturns, natural disasters, company reorganizations, and other challenges arise, companies depend on HR leaders to set policies, initiate support, and assist employees. During the COVID-19 pandemic, HR departments have been actively involved in their companies’ decisions (such as slowing businesses, canceling conferences, and implementing new work arrangements) to slow the spread of the disease and to adjust to statewide and local social-distancing directives. By maintaining several key focus points, HR staff can more effectively lead their companies through this crisis.
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Employer's Guide for Returning to the Workplace

on May 20, 2020 9:30:00 AM By | Davidson French and Lymari Martinez Cromwell | 0 Comments | Management Coronavirus Requirements
As the U.S. economy reopens in the coming weeks and months, employers are faced with the challenge of bringing employees back to work to a workplace that is drastically different from the one that existed just weeks ago. While states and cities will have unique requirements and conditions with which employers must comply, they intend to rely on, in large part, the constantly evolving guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Consequently, it will continue to be crucial for employers to comply with the most recent guidance from the CDC, OSHA, public health agencies, and the EEOC as they bring employees back to work and re-open businesses.
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Why Remote Work Today is a Chance to Change Your Culture

on May 14, 2020 10:18:37 AM By | Kevin Eikenberry | 0 Comments |
You are living a long-proven principle: you learn much about your team or organizational culture in times of crisis. The move to remote work may have exposed some cracks in your culture and may have highlighted some strengths, too. This new time of crisis and the remote work that goes with it is a tremendous opportunity to do more than learn about our culture, but to change it. Let’s talk about how you can create culture change during remote work.
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6 Tips For Better Communication With Remote Teams

on May 6, 2020 10:15:00 AM By | Claire Hastwell | 0 Comments | Employee Engagement Remote Team Building
How do you keep remote employees engaged? It's a question on the minds of many leaders as COVID-19 forces companies to adapt to new ways of working. While it's absolutely possible for companies to learn how to telecommute effectively, it doesn't happen automatically. Shifting from a physical shared workspace to a collection of virtual offices can challenge even the most seasoned manager.  
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How Managers Can Strengthen Team Connections During Times of Change

on Apr 29, 2020 9:45:00 AM By | Karina Schultheis | 0 Comments | Employee Engagement Management Trust Team Building
We're living in a time of unprecedented change, but even under more "normal" circumstances, transformation and uncertainty are foundational to business (and life). Whether navigating challenging circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic or positive ones like unprecedented periods of growth, managers have the ability to proactively strengthen team connections during times of change. Here are some tips to help keep your team engaged, even amid the most turbulent situations. 1. Be open and honest In some situations, leaders may be limited in what they can share, but you should always aim to provide your team with whatever information you can in a timely and professional manner. When things are changing quickly, access to information is comforting and helps to maintain a small sense of control. Fostering open discussions with your team about what's going on, what it might mean for them, and when you expect to have more information will help build trust and strengthen team connections. (Fun fact: Research suggests trust is the single most important thing in an employer-employee relationship.) This also gives you an opportunity to address your team's fears and concerns and build the understanding that "we are all in this together"which is a powerful motivator and cohesion builder. 2. Set clear expectations and responsibilities If anything is changing on your team (structure, responsibilities, strategy, etc.) it's crucial that you address these changes as soon as possible and clearly define roles and expectations. Be sure to include insight and input from your team so that you're setting realistic deadlines and goals. It's also a good idea to be extra-accessible during times of change, so you're available to answer any questions or clarify new projects as they come up. 3. Keep your team involved Remember: You hired your people for a reason. Trust is a two-way street, and in order to be an effective leader you must demonstrate your trust in your team's abilities. Great leaders also know that listening is just as important as communicating and this is particularly true during times of uncertainty and additional stress. When your people feel trusted and relied upon, they are likely to feel motivated and connected. Your ability to make good decisions as a leader also relies upon insight from your team, so ensure you're listening closely to their feedback. 4. Acknowledge your people When your people have been working hard in the face of change, don't forget to show your genuine appreciation. Saying "thank you" in a meaningful way can look like a spot bonus, an afternoon off, a handwritten note or heartfelt email. The key is to genuinely acknowledge their contributions. Your people are your business. Make sure they know that their hard work is being seen and is making a difference.
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COVID-19 and Discrimination in the Workplace

on Apr 22, 2020 9:45:00 AM By | Steven Alvarado | 0 Comments | Discrimination HR Department Coronavirus
Webster's defines xenophobia as "fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign." The history of pandemic infectious disease outbreaks usually leads to unwarranted attacks on a certain group of people for its origin. Two recent pandemics highlight this issue: H1N1 (or the "Swine Flu") and Ebola. In 2009, a strain of H1N1 influenza resulted in a pandemic. Some of the first cases of H1N1 were discovered at pig farms located in Mexico. As a result, Mexicans, Latin Americans, and others of Latin American decent were stigmatized and blamed for the virus and it spread. However, there was no evidence to suggest that people of Mexican or Latin American descent were the cause or spread of the disease. Additionally, in 2013, the Ebola virus appeared in America when Eric Duncan, a Liberian man, was diagnosed with the virus in Texas. Similar to H1N1 with people of Mexican nationality, xenophobic talk stigmatizing Africans and African-Americans soon spread. Most of these examples highlight the xenophobia that exists in the public during these outbreaks, but you can be certain that the same kind of issues will arise in the workplace. As a result, employers need to be vigilant in protecting their employees from any discrimination, retaliation, or harassment stemming from xenophobic rhetoric from employee to employee or from supervisor to employee. Like H1N1 and Ebola, one group in particular is likely to be scapegoated for COVID-19: people of Asian descent, particularly people of Chinese national origin. There have already been numerous reports of people of Chinese descent being discriminated against, including declining sales in Chinatown districts and attacks against people of Chinese descent in public. Given these reports, employers should take steps to prevent any such similar actions from taking place in the workplace. Almost all employers have general anti-discrimination, retaliation and harassment policies in place. Those policies should make clear that employers–or colleagues for that matter–do not discriminate against employees based on national origin. The CDC recently warned: "DO NOT show prejudice to people of Asian descent, because of fear of this new virus. Do not assume that someone of Asian descent is more likely to have COVID-19." There are two areas of concern employers should focus on in this analysis: (1) How do I make sure I'm treating all my employees the same regardless of national origin? and (2) How do I make sure my employees aren't discriminating/harassing my employees of Asian descent? To address the first question, employers should ensure that they do not base a decision to bar or remove an employee from the workplace based on national origin or ethnicity. These decisions are looked at objectively compared to the rest of the workforce. Does it appear the employer is only quarantining employees of Asian descent? What is the mix of employees that have been sent home from the workplace? The employer needs to base these decisions on the facts present at the time the decision was made. There is an appropriate way to approach concerns over the virus. For instance, an employer will likely be able to show a non-discriminatory reason for sending the employee home if the employee had recently visited China or another highly affected area, or the employer can objectively document the employees were exhibiting flu-like symptoms. In short, make sure you treat all your employees the same, based on the objective evidence at your disposal at the time of the decision. Employers should rely on the resources provided by the CDC, WHO or OSHA, as well as the state agencies in effect in their jurisdiction to help make decisions. As to the second question, employers will need to be especially diligent and closely monitor any concerns by employees of Asian descent in their workforce. One of the best ways to get in front of this issue is to provide your employees with information and training. Explain to your employees the concerns with COVID-19, the best ways to minimize exposure, and that no nationality is more likely to spread the virus than another. Furthermore, employers should continue to enforce their harassment policy and investigate claims made by any employees of discrimination or harassment based on national origin and take appropriate disciplinary steps against any employees found to be in violation of the policy. The policies an employer puts forward are only as effective as the people put in charge to enforce them and that starts from the top down. It is important to make sure your supervisory employees are leading by example in this area.
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CARES Act - Impact on Employer Benefit Plans

on Apr 15, 2020 9:30:00 AM By | Amy Ciepluch, Casey Fleming, Leigh Riley, Nick Welle | 0 Comments | Benefits Coronavirus
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the "CARES Act"), which was signed by the President on March 27, 2020, includes several provisions affecting employer benefit plans.
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5 Reasons to Design Your Incentives Like IKEA Furniture

on Apr 10, 2020 10:40:17 AM By | Dan Walter | 0 Comments |
Are you familiar with IKEA, the Swedish retailer who sells everything from meatballs to full kitchens? Nearly all of their furniture is “build-it-yourself.” I know, it sounds like it might be a nightmare, but you would be wrong (mostly.) Their main selling point is that they allow even the most unskilled human to build good-looking, fairly durable, things. Most pieces of furniture can be assembled in one to four hours. 
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3 Ways to Tie Individual Goals to Business Goals

on Apr 8, 2020 9:30:00 AM By | Diane Strohfus | 0 Comments | Goals Business Management
Businesses are facing a dilemma when it comes to goals: according to Gallup, employee productivity increases by 56 percent when managers are involved in helping their reports align their goals with the needs of the organization. Despite this, only 44 percent of those employees felt they could connect their goals to those of the organization’s goals. This means that somewhere, there’s an alarming disconnect.
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