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The most terrifying thing an employer can say…

January 30, 2016
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Wanna take a guess on what might be the most terrifying thing I’ve recently heard from an organizational leader? G’head…I’ll wait…feel free to phone a friend, it’s all good…

…got it? Awesome. Let’s see if you guessed correctly:

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Using Tech for Recruiting? Awesome. Let’s talk.

January 27, 2016

Originally published on LinkedIn, Pulse.

I’ve previously mentioned the importance of communicating your employer brand well via all things digital, but it’s time to talk specifically about recruiting. Being on the job market as a seasoned HRM practitioner is an interesting proposition. Perhaps it’s the tech nerd dynamic that makes me hypersensitive to tech weirdness, however, I think it’s more than that. It’s really about recruiting best practices and attention to detail. Quality-checking online applications is truly time well spent.

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Emotional Contagion and Employee Relations

January 18, 2016

catching a cold.jpg

Originally posted on LinkedIn, Pulse

Emotional contagion occurs when someone’s emotions affect others, causing them to “catch” that behavior or attitude like a virus (e.g., the common cold or the flu). The behavior or attitude that is “caught” can be good or bad, depending upon the environment and the people involved. A number of studies suggest that others’ attitudes or reactions can influence us, perhaps more than we realize, and especially in groups (e.g., at work).

 

Is someone panicking about a problem? If so, others may panic as well. Is there a negative Tweet or Facebook status going viral? Others may adopt and spread those negative or sad feelings out of empathy or a sense of agency. Big data has allowed researchers to look at very large numbers of people to determine that negative thoughts and attitudes can spread like an epidemic, thanks to social media.

With the rise of unionization efforts, it’s not surprising that technology has become a means to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt. In fact, it’s to be expected now that the NLRB will allow “click to organize.” One has to wonder if employers even have a chance to fight the negative emotional contagion virus once it’s started to spread.

The answer is a resounding “yes.” Despite the fact that there is no such thing as a level playing field in the current labor relations climate, employers can be proactive and consistent with their messages and practices.

If there is an environment of transparency and mutual respect (i.e., a strong immune system), chances are lower that little problems will develop into rapidly-spreading negative emotional viruses.

Viruses are parasitic and can’t live or spread without a host. Therefore, without a conducive environment, it is less likely the virus of negative emotional contagion will take hold in the workplace.

Here’s a little advice adapted from the CDC:

  • Detect new, unusual, or adverse events = know your people
  • Monitor increases in known adverse events = listen to your people
  • Identify potential risk factors for particular types of adverse events = understand what is important to your people 
  • Identify increased numbers or types of reported adverse events = pay attention to symptoms and find root causes to address problems head-on
  • Assess the safety of newly licensed vaccines = stick to the basics of good employee relations and make changes with caution

It is imperative that employers assess their organizations now and appropriately vaccinate through positive employee relations practices. Don’t avoid, don’t ignore, and please, don’t think you’re immune. Finally, don’t wait for an epidemic of negative emotional contagion to get good advice if symptoms increase in severity.

HR: If you don’t feel caught in the middle, you’re not doing it right

January 17, 2016

(Originally published on LinkedIn’s Pulse)

that's harsh memeEach day, HR practitioners are faced with a broad range of decisions that involve ethical dilemmas. My goal is not to itemize or categorize such decisions but rather to challenge the way we see ourselves as practitioners. I submit to you that if you are an HR practitioner of any sort (e.g., employee/labor relations, organizational development/change, benefits administrator), and you don’t sometimes feel caught between employees and management, you are doing it wrong. Here’s why:

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Technology Forecasting: Think Like a Futurist

January 15, 2016

[Originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.]

You have arrived

Futurists are scientists whose specialty is futurology, or, the attempt to systematically explore predictions and possibilities about the future. Specifically, futurists examine how solutions emerge from the present. No crystal ball, no Ouija board, just solid methods and tools. Read more…

Strong leadership does not assume their people are happy

November 25, 2015

Do you know your people? Are they happy? How do you know? Could you say with 100% certainty that they’re not only engaged in their work, but they’re also satisfied? Remember what mom said about assuming…[hint: it’s not good]. There are two different standards in play, and if you are at all hesitating in your response, you may be more vulnerable than you think.  Read more…

Employment Law Blog Carnival – Malaprops

November 24, 2015

A new round of the Employment Law Blog Carnival: Entertaining and informative! Join us for some malaprops

Thank you HR Examiner for reminding us that it’s time to get down to brass roots, otherwise, we’ll be stuck with an optical conclusion.

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