What Your Employees Want for Holiday Presents in 2020

by Evil HR Lady on December 11, 2020

I love a good workplace holiday party, but this is not the year to bring everyone together in a hotel ballroom. Nope. 

And while there’s no legal or even moral obligation to give presents to your staff, it will be appreciated. But what to give? Budgets may be tight, and everyone may still be working from home. So, I went out and asked actual humans what presents they loved and would love to receive in 2020. 

Please note, not all of these are appropriate for all employees! Lots of people love alcohol, but make sure you know that your employees drink before you offer something like that. 

To read the list, click here: What Your Employees Want for Holiday Presents in 2020

If you prefer to read, Neelie helpfully included this roundup–not a complete transcript as she probably got bored typing all my “umms”

HR lessons from 2020

SL: There are so many things that we’ve learned in HR this year. One of those things indeed goes back to working from home because before Covid everybody said that the number one benefit they wanted was the option to work from home. Some people have been thrilled about it and some companies have completely closed their offices and will never go back. Other people, however, have learned that they actually love the office.

I think this gives us a mind switch in HR. For years, we’ve been fighting with business leaders and said that if a job can be done from home there is no reason it shouldn’t be done from home and we’ve been pushing for that. Now we have got to take a step back and ask ourselves whether that’s best for our people. If it isn’t best for our people, then it isn’t best for our business because what we need is happy people.

To keep reading, click here: What HR Can Learn from 2020 (incl. the most important skill)

New Systems Require Proper Training and Patience

by Evil HR Lady on December 10, 2020

Early next year, our company will begin using new software for most everything we do. It’s already so late in the process, so what can we do quickly to ensure that our employees are adequately trained and don’t feel like they are on their own?​

To read my answer, click here: New Systems Require Proper Training and Patience

LinkedIn has 660 million users–and that number continues to creep up. With that many people, it’s a fantastic place to network, share ideas, and even make new friendships. There are lots of options for interacting on LinkedIn, but some things people do may limit the usefulness of this career-focused social media site.

I spoke to a group of LinkedIn LinkedIn Superusers. Many of them work as consultants, helping people to maximize their effectiveness on LinkedIn. They gave me the inside scoop on what not to do on LinkedIn. I’ll help you out with what to do instead:

Megan McCarthy: “I personally hate the people that connect and then all they say is ‘Hey! How are you doing today?’ Like what does that mean?”

To keep reading, click here: LinkedIn Etiquette for Managers, Employees, and Recruiters

The Real HR Show: When Employees are Naughty and Nice

by Evil HR Lady on December 8, 2020

What if your good employee does something sketchy? And just what about alcohol in the office?

David Sedaris Can Fire Everyone (and So Can You)

by Evil HR Lady on December 7, 2020

Humorist David Sedaris tried to be funny writing about firing, but he fell flat. He begins:

During this difficult time when so many Americas are looking for work, I’d like introduce an idea for something I’m calling the “citizen’s dismissal.”

It’s like a citizen’s arrest, but instead of detaining someone, you get to fire them!

Take this lifeguard at a WMCA I went to: I bought a guest pass so that I could swim laps, and ten minutes after I’d started, the young woman blew her whistle, calling, “You all have to leave now!”

“How come?” I asked.

“I have to go to my parent’s house,” she said.

I thought I hadn’t heard her correctly. “I’m going there to do some laundry,” she told me. “And then I’m going home.”

“Oh, you’re going home, all right,” I wanted to say. “Because you are fired!” 

Okay, David, you want to fire people who don’t perform the way you want them to. (And, I suspect, that since this was the YMCA, swim time was scheduled to end, and he hadn’t paid any attention.) He also complained about wanting to fire a cashier who didn’t have bubble wrap. The cashier doesn’t choose if there is bubble wrap available.

Guess what, David? You can.

How? Well, when you have someone working for you, but is not directly your employee, you truly have an at-will situation. But, the key part here is you’re at will as well. You can “fire” them by refusing to work with them again, or they can fire you by refusing to work with you again.

So, David, you don’t like the employee who closed the pool (probably as scheduled)? Fire her by never going back when she’s working.

You don’t like the cashier who didn’t have any bubble wrap? Never come back through her line.

You don’t like the way the restaurant down the street makes burritos? Fire them by never returning.

See? It’s easy.

What you don’t do (and what you should not do) is try to get the person to lose their job because you didn’t like it. You can complain to that person’s boss, but chances are, the employee will be following the boss’s instructions in the first place.

But, here’s the deal: You may get fired as well. See, your relationship is also at-will. If you’re an obnoxious jerk, you may find yourself unable to use both the pool and the store. You can “fire” the cashier for any reason you’d like. There’s no prohibition even against racism, sexism, or disability discrimination when you’re the customer terminating your relationship with someone else’s employee.

But, if you ever say it outloud, hopefully the business will fire you as a customer.

So, David, you’re free to no longer work with anyone you wouldn’t like to work with. But, you aren’t free to stop all forms of their income. You aren’t free to demand their employer act on your whims. You can control your relationship with this employee, and that’s where it ends.

Also, why didn’t anyone tell him this piece wasn’t funny at all?

Breastfeeding and Smoking on Zoom. What Would HR Say?

by Evil HR Lady on December 3, 2020

Is it okay to breastfeed on camera on a video conference? The Society for Human Resources asked this question.

I’m glad whoever wrote that is not this woman’s HR person either. Because here is what I would do.

Ask for a picture of the baby.

Because babies are so cute and I like to see baby pictures. Even of the babies that are kind of funny looking. (Don’t lie: you’ve seen funny looking babies.)

Is it okay to breastfeed while on a video conference? I’m all about politeness and not making other people feel uncomfortable. If the mother in question stripped down completely to breastfeed, or spent long amounts of time with an exposed breast with no baby attached, then yes, it’s a problem.

But, if the woman was breastfeeding like either the stock photo I used or the one SHRM used then it is just fine. Babies get hungry. Would you like the baby to scream or would you like to have it happy and fed?

And really, I do video conferences and record YouTube videos all the time, and it’s rare that you see below my shoulders. It would be odd if the Zoom participants were seeing anything other than a bit of exposed neck. (Gasp! Clutch your pearls if you must!)

Personally, I’ve nursed two babies for a total of 36 months. I’ve breastfeed at work. (I was working from home but needed to come in and I lived an hour away and the baby was exclusively breastfed, wouldn’t take a bottle, and I had no babysitter close to the office, so into the office he came.) This is that baby:

(My job share partner made his onesie. We ran layoffs. She runs a creative business now.)

So, as long as the baby wasn’t screaming and the mother wasn’t trying to offend but rather trying to feed her baby, then it’s fine. The test is, would you be okay with her bottle feeding the baby during the meeting? If the answer is yes, then breastfeeding is okay as well.

Now, when I logged onto Twitter this morning to embedd the SHRM tweet, I swear this was the very first tweet in my feed:

Now my very first thought was “No! Gross!”

And then I thought about it and thought, “He’s in his own home. If he wants to smoke in his own home, it’s fine. Gross, but fine.” Could someone give a presentation while smoking?

Having seen every episode of The Crown where Princess Margaret smokes like a chimney while participating in all sorts of antics. And think of how much got done while smoking in Mad Men.

So, while I don’t like smoking, again, it’s his house. I can’t say it’s a big deal.

Now, someone will say, “What about Jeffrey Toobin?”

What about him? His behavior would have been inappropriate even if he turned his camera off. Breastfeeding is not sexual. Smoking is not sexual. The end.

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WHAT: How to Make Remote Work Part of Your Team’s DNA

This is THE remote work webinar for managers. Led by remote work expert Laurel Farrer of Distributed Consulting, expert managers from GitLab, Slack, Workfrom, & Help Scout will be sharing their top tips and insight when it comes to leading a remote team. Whether your company has already gone fully remote or is just considering more flexible work options, this expert panel has got you covered. This one-hour conversation will cover how remote management differs from in the office, what you need in your remote work toolkit, and how you can create a sustainable remote work policy that’s beneficial to you, your team, and your business. And of course, there will be time for your questions at the end. Attendees will also enjoy the added benefits of a remote work checklist sent right to their inbox, as well as exclusive discounts offered by webinar co-sponsors RemoteProcess Street, and Receipt Bank.

Here are a few of the topics to be covered:

  • Remote management skills to enable autonomy
  • Effective virtual and asynchronous communication
  • Results-based goal setting, tracking, and reporting
  • Tips for workflows, operations, and productivity rituals
  • Virtual office infrastructure, including toolkits and information management

WHO: Laurel Farrer of Distribute Consulting, Darren Murph of GitLab, Helen Kupp of Slack, Darren Buckner of Workfrom, and Leah Knobler of Help Scout

WHEN: Thursday, December 10, 2020, at 12 pm EST

The Real HR Show: When All Hell Breaks Loose

by Evil HR Lady on December 1, 2020

Sometimes everything goes to Hell and you need to be prepared. Join Brenda and I as we discuss this and also talk about pie and why cats are better than dogs. (Brenda might disagree on that last statement.)

A little bit over a year ago, Sara Christensen’s business, Kickass Masterminds, went up in smoke. Not literal fire, but in the fire of an angry virtual mob–a mob that forced her to go into hiding (she’s still not comfortable sharing her location), threatened her life and attacked her clients. The death threats were so credible that the FBI began investigating.


Because she made a social media mistake. Granted, it was a big mistake. While Christensen maintains she only meant to give future job seekers guidance, what the rest of the world saw was an attack on a young job applicant, Emily Clow.

To keep reading, click here: A Social Media Gaffe Destroyed Her Business. Learn From Her Mistake