Entries for the ‘Job Seekers’ Category

Paying Employees When Weather Closes the Doors

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September 2017
Paying Employees When Weather Closes the Doors 
By Jeffrey W. Brecher, David E. Block, Richard I. Greenberg and Daniel J. Jacobs

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey and the looming threat of Irma and the havoc they have and will cause, undoubtedly, many businesses have been damaged or destroyed while others have closed temporarily for safety and security reasons. These businesses may remain closed or operate with limited hours for days, weeks, or possibly months. When such closures occur as a result of nature’s forces, what are an employer’s obligations to continue paying its employees?

The third recommendation in Inc.com’s “9 Ways Your Business Can Help Hurricane Harvey’s Houston Victims” is “[k]eep paying your affected employees.” From an employee-relations standpoint, this is solid advice and certainly will help those who are facing immediate financial needs. But is an employer legally obligated to continue paying its employees while the business is closed? That depends.

Following Hurricanes Ivan, Katrina, Sandy, and others, Jackson Lewis addressed employers’ common questions when such natural disasters strike. (See our articles hereand here.) In light of Hurricane Harvey, we readdress those questions in this article.

1. When a company closes due to inclement weather, must the company pay an hourly, non-exempt employee for the day(s) when the business was closed?

Generally, there is no obligation under federal law or state law to pay non-exempt employees for time not worked. Whether the company requires the hourly, non-exempt employee to use his or her vacation days is a matter of company policy. However, several states require employers to compensate non-exempt employees under call-in or reporting pay laws, especially if the employees were not advised that they should not report to work and were denied work upon arrival at the workplace. (Texas does not have such laws).

2. What about salaried, exempt employees? Does a company have to pay them when the business is closed?

That depends upon whether the business was closed for the entire workweek or only part of the week. The Department of Labor has issued an Opinion Letter stating that if the employer closes the business due to inclement weather or other natural disasters for less than a full workweek, the employer must pay the employee’s full salary even if:

  • The employer does not have a bona fide benefits plan;

  • The employee has no accrued benefits in the leave bank;

  • The employee has limited accrued leave benefits and reducing the accrued leave will result in a negative balance; or

  • The employee already has a negative balance in the accrued leave bank. In this situation, private employers may deduct from an exempt employee’s leave bank for the day or days closed during a workweek, whether for full-day or partial-day absences, as long as the employee receives payment in an amount equal to his or her guaranteed salary.

If, on the other hand, the business is closed for a full workweek, the employer does not need to pay an exempt employee for that week.

3. If the business remains open or re-opens, and a salaried, exempt employee cannot make it to work due to loss of transportation, impassible roads, and so on, may the employer dock his or her pay without jeopardizing the exemption?

Typically, yes. The DOL also has addressed this scenario and has stated, “It is the department’s view that an employer that remains open for business during adverse weather emergencies may make deductions, for full-day absences only, from the pay of an otherwise exempt employee who chooses not to report for work for the day(s) because of the adverse weather emergencies, and treat any such full-day absence(s) as being for ‘personal reasons’ under the applicable regulations.” Employers may not dock the pay of an exempt employee if the employee’s absence is due to “sickness” or “disability.” The DOL, however, holds that an employee’s inability to report to work due to severe weather or hazardous road conditions is considered to be a “personal reason” not falling under either of these two limitations. Of course, with today’s digital workforce, employees often are capable of working from home even if that is not their normal routine, and employers need to ensure that the pay of exempt employees who are performing work remotely is not being docked simply because the employee did not report to the office. This is particularly important because only full-day absences may be docked. Thus, if an exempt employee works remotely during a given workweek, even if only for an hour, his or her pay cannot be docked.

4. Suppose that, as a result of the severe weather, an hourly, non-exempt employee is not able to leave the company’s facility and continues to work. Must the company pay the employee overtime for any hours worked in excess of 40?

Most definitely. Non-exempt, hourly employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek must be paid overtime. Whether those employees also are entitled to premium pay for working during this time period is a matter of company policy.

5. If an employee reports to work, but is sent home shortly thereafter because of inclement weather, does the company have to pay him or her any minimum amount?

As mentioned above, that depends on whether the state in which the employee works has what are known as reporting laws. Reporting laws require employers to pay for a minimum number of hours once an employee reports to work. Otherwise, companies are free to establish their own policies in this respect.

Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to answer inquiries regarding these issues and other workplace developments.



Jeffrey W. Brecher, David E. Block, Richard I. Greenberg and Daniel J. Jacobs are Principals with Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm with more than 800 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries.

Work Burnout Is a (Preventable) Epidemic

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September 2017
Work Burnout Is a (Preventable) Epidemic 
By Dawn Burke

I loved french fries. When I was in college, for about one semester, I worked at a local fast food chain. Pretty much every meal I had during my shifts included french fries. After a few months of a diet consisting of 50% fries, I lost that loving feeling.

I like the T.V. show “House Of Cards.” I binge watched every season until this current one. After so many episodes, the thrill was gone.

I love theatre. I was involved in theatre consistently for about 15 years. As soon as one show was over, I started working on another. I loved it, until one day I put down my script and never went back.

What do these have in common?

  • Commitment

  • Time

  • Energy

  • Joy

  • Desire

  • Indulgence

What has been the common result? Burnout.

It’s not surprising I brought these same traits into my professional life. It’s also not surprising I became severely burned out a few times along the way. It’s what I do, apparently! At least I’m consistent.

The traits above aren’t bad traits. Even indulgence isn’t all bad if you are indulging in things that bring forth a positive outcome. But there is a much greater price to pay with job burnout than just taking a break from watching a show or gaining five pounds of french fry weight.

Some fundamental truths:

  • Burnout is an epidemic. You are not alone.

  • Leaders have proven unable or unwilling to monitor work overload in any meaningful way.

  • Burnout is a killer.

  • Burnout cycles are predictable.

These truths are actually good news for all of us stuck in a continuous cycle of burnout. You are not alone and signs of burnout are predictable. Knowing those two things, you may have all the support you need to control your workload and stay healthy. Reflect on your life and assess if you’ve continually fallen into a “burnout cycle” trend. Take some action and experiment with some solutions.

Here a few things HR pros and culture advocates can do to help employees mitigate burnout:

  • Be aware the burnout epidemic is real. Often, leaders don’t realize burnout is a threat to employees. Leaders can’t mitigate burnout if the problem isn’t on their radar.

  • Notice if employees’ moods change. If the carefree worker turns cynical, or the high-performing team starts to lose focus, leaders need to determine why. Don’t assume these employees are simply “malcontents.”

  • Offer flexible scheduling. There is little excuse to insist employees work from the office Monday through Friday, 40 hours a week. If an employee needs flexibility to take care of a personal issue or to bypass bumper-to-bumper traffic, explore the option. In addition, research shows there is a direct correlation between the amount of flexibility a leader gives with a positive employee experience.

  • Allow employees “islands of downtime,”a phrase coined by Anne Marie Slaughterimplying we need to find simple ways to de-stress. For instance, have your one-on-one meeting while taking a walk.

  • Get crystal clear on priorities. When employees don’t know what their main objectives are, they don’t know where to focus. When employees don’t know which fire to fight, most will try to fight them all. Being spread this thin exhausts employees and usually impacts results negatively.

  • Help employee define their “purpose.” Purpose-driven work gives employees an energy that can’t be duplicated!

Hopefully, employees, HR pros, and culture advocates can work together to incorporate a few of these ideas into the workday. Do all you can to address burnout before it overcomes you or your teams. I’m afraid if you wait for corporate leaders to insist you take on less for the greater good, you’ll be waiting a very long time. And apparently, in the case of burnout, it’s the waiting that quite literally could be killing you.



As a former VP of people and corporate HR veteran, Dawn Burke was responsible for finding great talent, developing team members, and preserving company culture—a culture recognized in Fortune Magazine as one of the “50 Best Small and Medium Workplaces.” A corporate HR veteran, advisor, and speaker, she is recognized as a Top HR Innovator. In addition, she is the creator of DawnHBurke.com and a contributor to a variety of national blogs.

This article was reprinted with permission and originally appeared on the Globoforce Blog

Never Overlook PTO as a Recruiting Tool

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September 2017
Never Overlook PTO as a Recruiting Tool 
By Lyla Rozelle

Although Americans are notoriously bad for not taking their vacation time—even when they’ve accrued it–paid time off (PTO) remains one of the most attractive benefits employers can offer. So, when you’re hiring, don’t underestimate its importance as a recruiting tool. Having outdated PTO policies or offering minimal vacation, sick, and personal time can turn potential candidates off. Generous policies, on the other hand, can help you secure your next dream hire. Here’s what you need to know about why PTO matters so much.

How important is PTO to employees?

It turns out PTO is very important indeed. Studies show PTO is second only to health insurance in terms of benefits that matter the most to workers. In fact, most workers saythat flexible hours, more vacation time, more work-from-home options, and unlimited vacation time could give a lower-paying job the edge over a high-paying job with fewer benefits. Furthermore, 63% of US workers would refuse a job without PTO. And who could blame them?

It’s important to note that PTO doesn’t just mean vacation time. Employees are looking for a benefits package that also includes paid holidays, sick leave, and even personal days and time off to volunteer. Some of America’s highest rated companies for PTO, which include IKEA, Google, General Motors, and Costco, offer generous benefits in this department. Unlimited sick leave, three weeks of vacation that bumps up to five weeks over time, and the chance to earn or buy additional leave are all common practices.

Workers with families, in particular, want flexible PTO, while for Millennials it’s non-negotiable.  Organizations that offer paid parental leave are perceived as more attractive and caring employers that are in touch with the pressures of family life. They’re also more likely to retain their workers.

Netflix, for example, now allows salaried employees to take as much paid time off as they want in the year after the birth or adoption of a child. Facebook currently offers four months of paid leave for new parents, and recently updated its policies to give workers paid bereavement leave and carer’s leave. No wonder it’s consistently voted one of the best companies to work for in the country.

Most Americans don’t use all of their vacation, so why offer more?

Believe it or not, more than half of all American workers never take their full annual vacation time. So if you’re an employer, why should you bother offering them a great PTO package? Because, ultimately, it’s what they want. The problem is many workers fear that if they take vacation they’ll fall behind in their work, come back to a heavier workload, and be discriminated against by their bosses. Whether or not it’s actually true, that’s the perception. Yet the vast majority of employees also said if they felt fully supported and encouraged by their boss, they would take more time off.

So not only do you need to offer a generous PTO package, but you also have to foster a culture in which employees feel free to take time off. When you’re recruiting, emphasize that your organization provides this leave with the expectation that employees will take vacation time and any other personal leave they might need. Having lots of paid leave available is meaningless if your employees feel discouraged from using it.

Some companies have instituted unlimited vacation policies, often with surprising results. For example, one company we know of decided to place its trust in its employees and allow them unlimited vacation time for a year. Surprisingly, the employees didn’t take more leave than they had under their previous accrued vacation time policy. But knowing they could made them happier.

Essentially, the employees were more satisfied because they were entrusted to make decisions for themselves about their workloads and PTO requirements, and could easily adapt to changing family or personal circumstances. Just knowing they could take as much leave as they wanted or needed, in a flexible way, made them happier and more productive. And no one abused the privilege.

With Americans working harder than ever, the prospect of meaningful, flexible leave that caters for many of life’s circumstances is incredibly appealing. Companies that offer good PTO packages are the ones that will attract the best candidates and retain the best workers. Is it time to update your PTO policies?


Lyla Rozelle is the Lifecycle Marketing Manager at Jazz (www.jazzhr.com), the first performance recruiting platform. Jazz is on a mission to make recruiting and hiring easy, effective, and scalable no matter what growth looks like at your company. The Jazz Performer Platform doesn’t just help your company grow, it can help your recruiting process grow up, putting you on the path to hiring “Performers Only.”

Can You Terminate Employees Who Don’t Fit Into Your Culture?

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August 2017
We want to terminate an employee who doesn’t fit with our culture. Can we do this? 
By HRisEasy.com


We want to terminate an employee who doesn’t fit with our culture. Can we do this? Do you foresee any issues?

Answer from Kyle, PHR:

First things first, check your policies and any correspondence (like an offer letter) that have been given to the employee to ensure that you have established an at-will employment relationship. Most employers state that employment is at-will, meaning an employee can be terminated at any time–with or without notice and with or without cause–for any reason not prohibited by law. If an at-will employment relationship exists, you may terminate the employee for not fitting in with your culture, but there are certainly some things to consider beforehand.

Terminated employees sometimes challenge their employer’s decision to terminate them, alleging discrimination or some other unlawful employment practice. Your best defense is to be able to provide documented reasons for every termination and demonstrate good-faith efforts on your end to help the employee improve. Simply saying the employee didn’t fit with your culture doesn’t provide much information or do anything to counter a claim that the termination was unlawful.

Therefore, think about what you mean when you say the employee doesn’t fit with your culture. If your expectations are clearly established and you can point to specific behaviors of the employee that did not meet those expectations, you may have a solid case for termination. You should also be able to show that you gave the employee a chance to improve and that you would terminate any employee under the same circumstances. In other words, you should be able to demonstrate whether an employee fits with your culture and show that the consequences for not fitting with the culture are the same for everyone. Documentation is key. If you haven’t done these things, I would not recommend termination.



HRisEasy.com understands that your HR to-do list is never done; let us check a few things off for you. In addition to live HR consulting, we offer an award-winning online Support Center packed with HR tools, documents, law updates, and more.

4 Ways to Build Purpose in the Workplace

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Build Purpose in the Workplace

August 2017
4 Ways to Build Purpose in the Workplace 
By Blake Beus

Let’s think about purpose. You might see it as an uncertain topic, and while it is difficult to quantify, purpose is at the heart and soul of great endeavors. If you seek it, meaning will come alive in your work. It’s not just on you, though; organizational purpose requires people at all levels of a company to work toward the same goal.

People want to find purpose and meaning in their lives, both at work and in everyday life. The trick is in getting to that point. What benefits are at the end of the purpose-driven journey for your business and for your employees?

1. Communication

Communicating the purpose of your company or organization isn’t easy. You can’t simply send out a memo restating the mission or vision statements and expect everyone to immediately align themselves with it. If it’s difficult for you to pin down, how much harder might it be for employees who don’t have a strong connection already?

Begin with clear communication.

A workplace culture that produces and appreciates great work is one that has clearly set and communicated expectations. Employees feel engaged when they understand what they are supposed to do. There is an old writing adage: “Show, don’t tell.” By aligning business decisions with the company purpose, you show your employees that the company aligns its words with its actions.

2. Mindset

The purpose mindset is vital to creating a meaningful workplace. Consider what mental space you spend most of your time in. Are you working only for the next paycheck, disengaged from a clear vision? Are you focused on getting a bigger salary or managing more projects? Or does your motivation stem from the meaning you derive from your work, looking beyond yourself to the needs of others and the company? Each of these mindsets affects how easily you will discover your purpose. Consider starting that discovery process early with your new talent using training to build the way to a purpose-driven environment.

3. Appreciation

It turns out that most people aren’t into the idea of just getting by in the workplace. They want to be valuable and create excellent work. But they don’t want to do it alone. The desire for recognition and connection is a fundamental one, so take time to recognize the value of the work. By doing so, you can tap into your employees’ passion for excellence. Acknowledge their achievements and they will go far above and beyond what you expected.

4. Engagement

We all know about issues with employee engagement, right? We’ve heard the stories and read the studies. But it’s all incredibly important. A culture that lacks engagement will face burnout and poor performance. Companies that prioritize engagement see an increase in employees’ personal success as well as reduction in costs. But engagement is always trickier to accomplish than expected.

One concept in particular stands out when thinking about creating engagement: the role of corporate social responsibility. Most people want to work for a company that has a high standard of ethical practice. The desire to create positive change in the world drives people to align themselves with organizations that value the same things. If your company skips the great work waiting to be done in this area, it will miss out on chances both to do and to inspire great work. An emphasis on social responsibility will engage your employees’ desire to make a difference.

Purpose affects everything in the workplace, from employee onboarding to retention to the bottom line. A lack of meaningful work can cause disengagement and may ultimately detract from your brand. Emphasizing the essence of your business and its reason for existing will provide a path for your employees to follow on their own journey to create great work.


Blake Beus is a director of learning solutions at Allen Communication Learning Services. Beaus has extensive experience in healthcare and financial services. What Blake enjoys most about his role at Allen is helping organizations implement initiatives that have a real impact on the business.


This article was originally published on O.C. Tanner’s blog, ‘a’ Magazine (www.amagazinedaily.com)

Why an Age Diverse Workplace Is Important

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By Valerie Grubb




Everyone’s talking about workplace diversity today, and for good reason: when you expand the range of perspectives, experiences, and characteristics of your team, you also extend your reach toward innovation and overall excellence. But gender and ethnicity dominate many of the discussions about diversity—and companies need to start talking more about an age diverse workplace as well.

Let’s play a quick round of the game “Three Truths and a Lie.” Which three of the following four statements are true—and which one is false?

  • Older workers aren’t retiring at the same rate as their predecessors and are staying in the workplace longer than predicted.
  • The workplace now includes members of at least four generations (and sometimes five or even six!).
  • Older workers consistently report experiencing age-related discrimination in the workplace.
  • Because older workers aren’t able to “change with the times” and are therefore incapable of learning new skills, they contribute much less than younger workers to today’s organizations.


If you pegged #4 as the lie, you’re right! Here are the details on each of those statements

  • A recent survey by the Gallup organization found that “whether by choice or necessity, baby boomers will remain a sizable proportion of the workforce in the years ahead, with many expecting to work past the average U.S. retirement age of 61 and even the traditional retirement age of 65.”
  • The four generational groups that currently make up most of the workforce are the Baby Boomers, the members of Generation X, Millennials, and the members of Generation Y (sometimes called Postmillennials). Although they aren’t a statistically significant segment of the workforce, some members of the two generations that preceded the Baby Boomers are still working, too!
  • In a survey conducted by AARP in 2013, “approximately two-thirds (64%) of older workers (ages 45–74) say they have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace.”
  • When you look at the data, though, this stereotype falls apart. Researchers have found that, thanks to their life experiences, older people have significantly more innovation potential than youngers one.

How many times have you heard something along the lines of “older workers can’t contribute as much as younger workers?” We’ve all encountered the old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” before! (According to some sources, that one’s been around for at least 500 years!) Our culture promotes the idea that “younger is better”—a bias that’s promoted in the workplace by influential business leaders, too.


Rather than considering the multigenerational workplace as a liability or challenge, managers would be better off looking at it as an opportunity. There’s a lot of talk about how Millennials are reshaping the workplace with new technologies, new attitudes, and new communication methods (e.g., social media). In their rush to embrace younger workers, though, companies are often ignoring (or, worse, abandoning) their older workers and that is a huge mistake.

Why? In short, older workers bring their own experience, perspectives, skills, and insights to the workplace. That toolbox is unique to them and isn’t something that workers from other age groups share. (That said, those other workers bring their own unique toolboxes to the workplace, too.)

Companies that don’t embrace a multigenerational workplace are narrowing their options. And they’re hurting their bottom lines, too! The most diverse companies also tend to be the most innovative. I’ve personally witnessed this to be true in many organizations. But don’t just take my word for it—take a look at the research that backs this up. And while you’re at it, take a look at study after study after study that has demonstrated the strong positive correlation between innovation and success.


What does all of this mean? It means that organizations that want to succeed need to work on building work environments that are diverse—and this diversity needs to include age, too. It means that companies need to embrace an age diverse workplace. And if organizations want those older workers to stick around, they need to engage them, in part by recognizing the value of their contributions—and reducing or eliminating age-related bias among their managers and coworkers.


Whenever you put different groups of people together, some conflicts are bound to arise—and the workplace is by no means immune to this phenomenon. Knowing that a good chunk of management involves understanding employees’ motivations, backgrounds, and goals, I’ve learned how to negotiate and build on differences (and similarities!) among multiple generations in the office.


If you’d like to learn more about managing multiple generations in the workplace, join me on Tuesday September 19th at 1:00 p.m. ET (10:00 a.m. PT) for a 1-hour webinar where I’ll discuss When Boomers Meet Millennials – The Art and Science of Managing Generational Diversity. Click here to register.


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Valerie M. Grubb of Val Grubb & Associates Ltd. (www.valgrubbandassociates.com) is an innovative and visionary operations leader with an exceptional ability to zero in on the systems, processes, and personnel issues that can hamper a company’s growth. Grubb regularly consults for mid-range companies wishing to expand and larger companies seeking efficiencies in back-office operations. She is the author of Planes, Canes, and Automobiles: Connecting with Your Aging Parents through Travel (Greenleaf, 2015) and Clash of the Generations: Managing the New Workplace Reality (Wiley, 2016). She can be reached at vgrubb@valgrubbandassociates.com.

When Does An Employee’s I-9 Form Need to be Updated?

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July 2017
When Does An Employee’s I-9 Form Need Updated? 
By Strategic Human Resources, Inc.


I have an employee who was recently married and changed her name.  Does she need to complete a new I-9 form with her new name?


When an employee changes their name (legally) employers are not required to complete a new I-9 form.  The US Citizenship and Immigration Services recommends that employers note the name change in Section 3 of the form.  To make sure your records are in order, here are the points to consider:

  • It is not necessary to document the new forms of identification; but, most employers, for payroll purposes (not for the I-9 form), will require a copy of the new social security card.

  • It is important for employers to make sure payments are made to the legal name on an individual’s social security card to ensure their W-2 is correct and there are no mismatches.

  • For purposes of the I-9 form, an employer must make a reasonable attempt to ensure the name change is appropriate by requesting a copy of a marriage license or a divorce decree or even a letter from the employee’s religious representative if necessary.

If you have more questions concerning I-9 forms, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Employers Handbook for completing Form I-9.


Strategic Human Resources Inc., is a national full-service HR management firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Our president and founder, Robin Throckmorton, can be reached at Robin@strategichrinc.com.




About The Protocall Group
The Protocall Group has been providing temporary, temp-to-hire, direct hire and contract staffing solutions throughout the South Jersey and Philadelphia region since 1965. Specializing in the Healthcare, Industrial and Office and Professional industries for over 50 years, the Protocall Group team prides itself in their willingness to go the extra mile and answering the call for their customers and employees. The Protocall Group is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages diversity in the workforce.

For more information about The Protocall Group and its services, please visit them online at www.protocallgroup.com

Considerations for Leadership Transitions

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July 2017
Considerations for Leadership Transitions 
By Sharlyn Lauby


A key theme during this year’s Great Place to Work Conference was developing talent. Are organizations asking their managers the question, “What are you doing to develop talent? And specifically, your replacement?”.

I’ve always felt the primary role of a manager is to hire and train their replacement. It goes without saying that a big interrupter can occur in company culture when there’s a change in management. Organizations don’t always get to plan for management changes, so when they do, it’s a big deal. It’s a visible process that demonstrates whether the company really lives their culture.

During the conference, Plante Moran managing partner emeritus, Bill Hermann and current managing partner, Gordon Krater shared their formula for successfully transitioning management responsibilities. The firm is the 14th largest certified public accounting firm in the U.S. It has over 2,000 employees and has been recognized as a “best place to work” by Fortune Magazine for 13 consecutive years.

Their transition took 8-9 months. Let that sink in for a moment.

Almost a year. I will admit that some of it could be attributed to the position of managing partner. But after hearing Hermann and Krater share their story, I can easily see the successful transition of managers taking months (emphasis on the word “successful”).

The reason I say that is because of how they defined the goal. The goal of transitioning management responsibility was for the incoming and outgoing managers to maintain credibility. Both of them. Equally.

So many times, when we think of transitioning management, it’s because one person is leaving the company. In this situation, Hermann wasn’t leaving. He just wasn’t going to be managing partner anymore. It could hurt the organization if the transition didn’t preserve the individual’s credibility.

In today’s work environment, we are going to be faced with more situations where a manager transitions and doesn’t leave the company. Maybe they move to another department, division, or position. Maybe they retire and come back as a part-time consultant. Organizations have to put more thought into the transition process. Hermann and Krater shared three phases to a successful management transition that apply at any level of the organization.

  1. Become knowledgeable about the company. This might seem like the easy part because it includes understanding the financials and the business. It might involve some technical training. But knowledge of the company means giving individuals the experience they will need in a future role. It’s allowing them to make mistakes while gaining knowledge. Remember the goal of maintaining credibility while creating a teachable moment. It can be tricky.

  2. Take responsibility for the organization. Great managers should try to leave the organization better for their successor. They don’t “kick the can down the road”. They take care of business and do what’s in the best interest of the organization. Once a successor has been identified, managers need to step aside so the successor can start to assume responsibility. But not step so far into the background that it appears the new manager isn’t getting the support they need to be successful.

  3. Maintain the company culture. I’d like to think we all know that culture is the number one reason people come to work for our organizations and the number one reason they leave. Managers should not only act in the best interest of the organization but also its culture. For example, in organizations where employees know the founder and remember the early days, it can be hard when a new manager takes over the reins. New managers need to understand and preserve the culture.

A lot of organizations do Phase 1 and 2 well. Managers know the company and their responsibility. It’s the culture component that can derail their success. Company culture is made up of those moments of truth about who the company hires, promotes, recognizes, and fires. If you want to learn more about how to maintain company culture during a management transition, check out Hermann and Krater’s book, “Succession Transition: A Roadmap for Seamless Transitions in Leadership”. It’s a super easy read that can provide a little creative inspiration for your organization.

Sharlyn Lauby is the author of HR Bartender (www.hrbartender.com), a friendly place to discuss workplace issues. When not tending bar, she is president of ITM Group, Inc., which specializes in training solutions to help clients retain and engage talent. She can be contacted on Twitter at @HRBartender.

About The Protocall Group
The Protocall Group has been providing temporary, temp-to-hire, direct hire and contract staffing solutions throughout the South Jersey and Philadelphia region since 1965. Specializing in the Healthcare, Industrial and Office and Professional industries for over 50 years, the Protocall Group team prides itself in their willingness to go the extra mile and answering the call for their customers and employees. The Protocall Group is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages diversity in the workforce.

For more information about The Protocall Group and its services, please visit them online at www.protocallgroup.com

10 Basic Skills that Every Manager Should Have

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June 2017
10 Basic Skills that Every Manager Should Have
By Sharlyn Lauby


There are many skills that managers can learn on the job. For example, they can learn how to approve time cards, the key elements in an employment law, or the steps in conducting a good interview. But there are some basic skills or qualities that organizations want to see in managers from day one.

So, if you’re an HR professional trying to communicate expectations for the management team, this list might be helpful. Or, if you’re an individual who wants to eventually become a manager, think about building on these basic skills:

  1. Verbal communication. First and foremost, managers are coaches. They provide feedback to employees, conduct training, and offer performance guidance. As such, they need to be able to effectively hold a two-way conversation.

  2. Asking questions. I’m viewing this a little differently than problem-solving. I believe you can teach someone a problem-solving model. Managers need to be curious and willing to ask questions (versus assuming an answer). They also need to be open to letting others know when they don’t know something.

  3. Listening. I didn’t want to lump this in with verbal communication (#1) because it’s too important. This is also part of asking questions (#2). Coworkers are okay with a little silence. The best managers know when to stop talking and listen. They also know how to listen effectively.

  4. Time management. When managers have too many projects and not enough time, they are forced to prioritize their work. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, except if employees become a low priority. Managers must be able to manage their time and still accomplish their goals – while supporting the needs of their employees.

  5. Decision making. Speaking of prioritizing, the only way to do it effectively involves good decision making. Managers should be able to look at a situation and make an assessment about what to do. If they need additional information to make the decision, they can use skills #1, #2, and #3 to get what they need.

  6. Customer service. Managers have multiple customers – both internal and external ones. They need to understand who their customers are, what they want, and how to engage them. This will be critical for effective time management and decision making.

  7. Thinking. What I mean by this is managers know when to go “big picture” and when to focus on details – or both. Again, these basic skills do have a certain amount of connectivity. Good decision making involves knowing when you have the right amount of information – which will be very different – depending on your thinking.

  8. Stress management. We can’t tell others how to manage their stress. But how we manage our own stress impacts others. Managers need to be able to recognize and manage their own stress levels. And demonstrate a certain amount of calmness for the team.

  9. Conflict management. Managers should be able to address conflict both in terms of helping others resolve their conflicts AND being willing to defend their position, even if that means disagreeing with their boss or colleagues. They need to know how to mediate as well as manage workplace conflict.

  10. Written communication. Online collaboration and recognition tools make it easy to communicate with employees. But like email, it’s hard to read inflection and emotion. Managers need to have good writing skills so their words will be understood and interpreted correctly.

Organizations place a lot of responsibilities on their managers. It’s important to clearly state the expectations of the role. Employees who want to be promoted into a manager position need to understand the basic skills they should demonstrate – and why they need to have them. The more open and transparent organizations are about skills, the more opportunities they can create for employees to develop them.



Sharlyn Lauby is the author of HR Bartender (www.hrbartender.com), a friendly place to discuss workplace issues. When not tending bar, she is president of ITM Group, Inc., which specializes in training solutions to help clients retain and engage talent. She can be contacted on Twitter at @HRBartender.

About The Protocall Group
The Protocall Group has been providing temporary, temp-to-hire, direct hire and contract staffing solutions throughout the South Jersey and Philadelphia Metro region since 1965. Specializing in the Healthcare, Industrial and Office and Professional industries for over 50 years, the Protocall Group team prides itself in their willingness to go the extra mile and answering the call for their customers and employees. The Protocall Group is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages diversity in the workforce.

For more information about The Protocall Group and its services, please visit them online at www.protocallgroup.com

Rethink How We Reskill Workers for the Future

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June 2017
Rethink How We Reskill Workers for the Future
By John Bourdreau

Recent data suggests that about 7.4 million workers were displaced between January 2013 and December 2015. That’s down from 9.5 million between 2011-2013, reflecting improving economic conditions.

Freelance platforms, such as Uber, Lyft and TaskRabbit, can be thanked in part for the improvement. By providing sustainable alternatives to traditional “jobs,” such platforms are prime for reintegrating people into the workforce. For example, experienced machine operators who have been displaced can work remotely as training specialists, instructing their replacements when factories relocate.

But there are still plenty of people being left behind by technological progress. And it’s not always possible for platforms to simply apply workers’ capabilities from a previous job to the next. Instead, the majority of workers will need to “reskill” as the job market evolves. Rob Kaplan, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, recently noted that, “As technology increasingly disrupts various types of jobs–and challenges whole industries–the need for workers to be trained and retrained during their careers is likely to substantially increase in the years ahead.”

The problem with his proposal? We’re not taking advantage of the full potential of “reskilling” workers. Conversations and solutions around job displacement are often limited for two reasons: 1) They focus exclusively on traditional jobs rather than “deconstructed” work; and 2) They focus on regional partnerships, rather than considering the global work ecosystem. Important solutions require seeing beyond “jobs” and beyond localities; some of the most intriguing solutions involve both working together.

A typical argument about the future of work is that employers, schools and universities in a particular region must prepare local workers for new jobs. For example, Kaplan noted, “Ultimately skills-training partnerships must be created locally,” and “Business leaders can take the initiative to work with local high schools, colleges and community-based organizations to develop curricula that would produce candidates with the skills needed to fill job openings.”

However, is local coordination for traditional jobs truly the recipe that works? Is the local recipe the only one that works?

Work Deconstruction and Worker Globalization

According to Rusty Justice, the answer is no. Justice is a Kentucky mining veteran who co-founded a company called Bit Source to retrain coal miners into programmers. He observed that miners are accustomed to deep focus, team play and working with complex engineering technology. “Coal miners are really technology workers who get dirty,” Justice says. And he’s not alone in his thinking: A recent WIRED article revealed that Justice got 950 applications for his first 11 positions.

How did he come to this alternative solution to job displacement? First, Justice deconstructed the job of a coal miner to reveal that much of the work overlapped with the work of computer coders. Deconstruction reveals how to reskill with more precision, augmenting coal miner skills just enough to fit the closely-related job of computer coder. This is very different from trying to convert coal miners to qualify for available local jobs (such as in-home care or retail management) that may be quite different. Second, unlike coal mining, coding can be done remotely. Former coal miners now qualify not only for local jobs, but can tap a global work ecosystem through coding platforms like Freelancer.

Innovative solutions often require both work deconstruction and tapping the global work ecosystem.

The Human Element Behind “Artificial” Intelligence

In a recent article, I suggested that displaced workers who are experts at manufacturing or other skills might find future work as remote training managers for their replacements. But those workers could also find work as trainers of the artificial intelligence (AI) that will guide robotic automation.

Often, AI is only partially “artificial.” Behind the AI are often individual employees, such as Kala, a mother in Bangalore, India who spends hours every week identifying questionable content for sites like YouTube and Facebook. Her job is not only to quickly remove such content, but also to help train the AI of tech companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft to better recognize such content.

If we want to create sustainable solutions to blue collar job loss, we need to think longer-term. HR professionals, business leaders, policy makers and workers should acknowledge local reskilling for jobs as a vital solution–but it’s only one solution. Complete solutions require integrating new innovations and new definitions of “work.”



John Boudreau is professor and research director at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and Center for Effective Organizations. Boudreau, David Creelman and Ravin Jesuthasan are the authors of a forthcoming book, Lead the Work.

This article was originally printed in ReWork, an online magazine sponsored by Cornerstone OnDemand, a leader in cloud-based applications for talent management that helps organizations recruit, train, manage, and connect their employees.


About The Protocall Group
The Protocall Group has been providing temporary, temp-to-hire, direct hire and contract staffing solutions throughout the South Jersey and Philadelphia Metro region since 1965. Specializing in the Healthcare, Industrial and Office and Professional industries for over 50 years, the Protocall Group team prides itself in their willingness to go the extra mile and answering the call for their customers and employees. The Protocall Group is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages diversity in the workforce.

For more information about The Protocall Group and its services, please visit them online at www.protocallgroup.com