Can You Teach Work Ethic?

by Evil HR Lady on September 7, 2017

Some people are born workers. They jump in, work hard until the job is done, and show up the next morning, ready to go again. Others are glued to their phones and can’t get anything done unless you are breathing down their necks. This all begs a question: Can you teach work ethic to people who aren’t naturally inclined?

Psychologist Marie Hartwell-Walker recently addressed that question. She noticed a difference in work ethic between kids who lived on small family farms and “city” kids. The farm kids work (and work hard), she says, while the city kids complain about routine chores, such as clearing the table. Why the difference?

“I think it comes down to this: On the smaller farms, work is clearly valued, it is done routinely, by everyone, and the consequences for not doing it are obvious and clear,” she writes. “In other households, kids experience work as capriciously imposed by the big people and whether they do it or not has little observable consequence.”

To keep reading, click here: Can You Teach Work Ethic?


I’m looking for stories of people who successfully returned to the workforce after taking a long time period off. The reason you left is fairly irrelevant, although I assume most people–male and female–will have left to stay home with the little darlings.

If you have a story to tell, leave a comment or send me an email at

Please feel free to share this with your friends who may have a story.


Hiring New Employees Can Be Worse than a Root Canal

by Evil HR Lady on September 6, 2017

There are two things everyone hates: going to the dentist and job hunting. And it turns out, no matter which side of the job hunting table you’re sitting on, trying to find a right fit between employer and employee is hard, unpleasant, and time-consuming.

What makes searching for a new employee so difficult? And, more importantly, how can you make it easier? Here are the problems, and here are the solutions.

Problem: You Want Perfection

Everyone wants to hire that perfect employee. You know the one—she’ll show up to work the first day and magically know everything from your custom computer system to where the bathrooms are located. She’ll fit in perfectly and tell jokes that are just right for your community sense of humor. And her technical skills? Off the charts good!

Yep. Everyone is searching for this candidate, and as a result, you often overlook good candidates in the hope of finding the perfect one. But, the problem is, this person doesn’t exist. She just doesn’t. You have to train even the most skilled and knowledgeable person on how your office works. Even out of the box computer programs become customized after years of use, so training is necessary.

Solution: Lower Your Standards

I am not advocating hiring someone who isn’t capable of doing the job; I’m advocating someone who can do the job but isn’t necessarily perfect. Does the person have the qualifications to do the work you need? Is she pleasant and available during the hours you need to be filled? Then pull the lever and hire her.

Another solution can be looking for a contractor to fill in. What’s the advantage here? With a contractor, you’re not under obligations that you would be with a formal employee. You can try each other out (remember, an employer-employee relationship goes two ways) and see if everything fits. But, remember, you need to allow time for training on how your office works.

Problem: Finding Qualified Candidates

It seems like when you’re not hiring, you get people coming out of the woodwork looking for jobs, but when you need a position filled, the only candidates are woefully unqualified.

Solution: Find All the Time

We talk a lot about networking when people are looking for a job, but hiring managers need to network as well—even if their own jobs are secure. Networking isn’t always about finding your next job; it can also be about finding your next new hire. If you develop relationships with people in the field, you aren’t starting from scratch when you need to hire. You have a whole slate of possibilities in your LinkedIn connections. Most, of course, won’t be looking to leave their current jobs, but some probably will.

So, before you start posting all over the internet or even hiring a recruiter (if you aren’t big enough to have HR on staff) to find you that perfect person, look through the people you’ve already connected with and reach out. You may find the best person for the job with the least amount of pain possible.

Problem: Candidates Want Perfection

You know what? Some managers are horrible, terrible people. Oh, we know you are wonderful, but we’re talking about those other bad managers out there. As a result, candidates are rightfully concerned about what they are getting into.

And in addition to wanting a great manager, they want flexible schedules, fantastic health insurance, and quality snacks in the break room. (Just say no to red delicious apples.)

Solution: Step up Your Game

Yes, I told you to stop looking for perfection in candidates at the same time I’m telling you to be better to attract these less than perfect candidates. I understand that this seems unfair, but the best candidates have lots of options, and you want to be that option.

If you’re not the best manager, take some management classes. (How do you know if you’re not the best manager? Look at your turnover, ask your spouse, and look if your current employees refer their friends. If your turnover is high, your spouse says, “I love you but…” and your current staff insists they don’t know anyone who would possibly ever want a job, then you need improvement.)

If your business doesn’t allow for flexibility, fix that. If your benefits stink, call up your insurance broker and fix it before the next round of open enrollment. Be a better employer, and you’ll attract better candidates.

Hiring is never going to be your favorite thing to do, but these things do make it easier. They also make it more likely you’ll find a great fit for your office, which is best for all concerned. And do think about break room snacks. Nothing says “I appreciate my employees” like a well-stocked fridge.

This post was sponsored by Cloud Dentistry.


You Have Only 24 Days Left to Ask for a Raise

by Evil HR Lady on September 6, 2017

You’ve worked really hard this year and accomplished a ton. It’s only September, but you’ve already met or exceeded all your goals for the year. You deserve a raise and were planning to ask for one when you had your annual performance review in December. That’s way too late. You have until September 30 to make sure your boss knows why you deserve a huge bump in pay come January 1.

Lots of companies do an annual year end increase, and if your company does, you need to start talking with your manager now if you want more than an average increase. Why? Because raises don’t happen overnight and they don’t happen in a vacuum. Here’s what (probably) happens in your company for annual increases:

To keep reading, click here: You Have Only 24 Days Left to Ask for a Raise

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In 2013, Estee Lauder implemented a new parental leave policy, which allowed for six weeks of paid leave for moms and two weeks of paid leave for dads. The reasoning is that mom is the primary caregiver and dad is a backup. They did allow an exception in the case of a man who hired a surrogate–he would be allowed the six weeks of paid leave.

The EEOC filed suit against Estee Lauder in behalf of Christopher Sullivan, a male employee who requested six weeks of paid leave as the primary caregiver for his child. Estee Lauder said no, as he wasn’t the primary parent.

It’s pretty easy to see that there is a clear gender difference here. Granted, there is always a gender difference in childbirth because mom has to do the physical work of getting the baby here, but there is a difference between a disability leave (you’re legally considered disabled for a minimum of six weeks after a vaginal birth and eight weeks after a c-section) and leave for a “primary” caregiver.

To keep reading, click here: EEOC Sues Estee Lauder over Parental Leave Policy. Is Your Business Next?


Terminating an Employee: When Is It Time?

by Evil HR Lady on September 5, 2017

On television, terminating an employee looks easier than it really is. The employee makes a big mistake and boom—that’s it. However, in the real world, managers agonize over if or when they should let an employee go. They know that, by firing someone, they are taking away that person’s livelihood, which can be emotionally draining. However, sometimes it has to happen. After all, your restaurant can’t run properly, and may not succeed, if you’re staffed with bad employees. Here are some tips to help guide you in making the right decisions.

Firing an Employee Immediately

Having to fire an employee immediately should happen pretty rarely. Most employees are good people who deserve a second or even third chance, but there are certain behaviors and scenarios that may require you to take quick action. If you catch any of your employees doing the following, consider letting them go on the spot.

To keep reading, click here: Terminating an Employee: When Is It Time?


Create the Perfect Wellness Program With These 4 Steps

by Evil HR Lady on September 4, 2017

Every small business has different needs, so when you’re crafting a wellness program for your business, make the perfect one for your employees’ needs. Use tools to figure out what your employees are looking for to make a program that works.

Anthem provides a guide to help you build a worksite wellness program that can help you craft what you need. Here are the four steps you can go through:

To keep reading, click here: Create the Perfect Wellness Program With These 4 Steps

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More than half of small business owners identified health care costs as a “critical issue,” according to a report from the NFIB Research Foundation. And business owners are in an uneasy state because health laws could change at any time. Is there anything you can do to help keep health care costs under control, regardless of what goes down in Washington, D.C.? Yes. Here are four things that will make a difference:

To keep reading, click here: Keep Health Care Costs Down Regardless of Looming Legislation


Can You Ever Legally Deduct Pay from an Exempt Employee?

by Evil HR Lady on September 1, 2017

If there’s one thing I’ve tried to beat into your brains, it’s that you can’t deduct pay from an exempt employee’s paycheck, no matter how much you want to. Well, there are a few exceptions, but they really are a few, and no one is every going to complain about getting too much money.

Anyway, to read about these exceptions, click here: When Can You Legally Deduct Exempt Employee Pay?


The Simple 9 Step Plan to Financial Freedom

by Evil HR Lady on August 31, 2017

One thing I regret about college is that there was no class on personal finance. (Or if there was, I didn’t know about it.) Sure, I wrote papers on the philosophies of Nietzsche, Arendt, and Kirkegaard, but no one ever made me take a quiz about 401Ks. But, as an adult who is interested in retiring some day, has two kids that need to go to collegeand who likes to travel today, I’m very interested in understanding personal finance issues–like most of us are.

So, when I came across an interview with Harold Pollack, co-author of The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated, my ears perked up. Pollack, and co-author Helaine Olen detail 9 easy (in theory, not always easy in practice) things you need to do to be on top of your personal finances. Here are the 9 things:

  • Rule No. 1: Strive to save 10 to 20 percent of your income.
  • Rule No. 2: Pay your credit card balance in full every month.

To keep reading, click here: The Simple 9 Step Plan to Financial Freedom

And before you (and you know who you are) write a nasty comment about how insensitive this post is, please note, it’s written for people who are already in the middle class, and fully acknowledges that it’s not a one-size-fits-all plan.