World Mental Health Day

by Evil HR Lady on October 10, 2018

Today, October 10, is World Mental Health Day. Mental health is so important and yet we often treat it as a minor aspect of our lives. While there are numerous mental health conditions, I’m focusing on depression today, as it’s extremely common. There’s a good chance that someone in your office is struggling right now.

I’m sharing three articles about depression to help you, whether you’re the person suffering or the manager of someone who is suffering.

What to Say (and Not Say) When an Employee Is Depressed

Depression isn’t limited to a few. Over 300 million people, globally, suffer from it. This means it’s quite likely that you know someone who is currently in its grasp, and it isn’t pleasant. Left untreated, depression can literally be deadly. You don’t want to let anyone suffer without help.

But, what can you do in an office setting? What should you do?  I spoke with psychologist and licensed marriage and family therapist, Lori Whatley,  about the best things to do. Whatley shared some insights that you will find valuable.

How You Should Manage Depression in the Workplace

While holiday cheer is a great thing for many of us, some of us suffer from depression, and the holidays can be an additional stressor. “High expectations, money woes, and other holiday hazards can spell trouble for anyone, but especially those prone to depression,” according to So, what should you do in the office? What warning signs should you look for in your employees?

I turned to Licensed Professional Counselor, Stephanie Meldrum, to help guide managers through what can be a difficult situation. She immediately set me straight: “We wouldn’t write an article helping managers look for signs of other illnesses that employees were trying to keep private. But somehow we treat depression differently, when in reality, many illnesses can impact an employee’s work performance.”

How to Work When You’re Depressed

If you’re depressed, you still have to go to work and earn money. It’s how it is. Plus, you need that health insurance more than ever! Some of the best tips I’ve ever read on functioning with depression come from Jennifer P, also known as, Captain Awkward in her 2013 article, “How to Tighten Your Game When You’re Depressed.” I strongly recommend reading the whole thing, but here are some of her ideas:

And remember, if you are feeling depressed and just can’t shake it, see your doctor or therapist, or call your EAP for help. We wouldn’t expect you to fight cancer on your own, and we shouldn’t expect you to fight depression on your own either.


I always find the job title “secretary” fascinating. It’s both an administrative support person, almost always non-exempt, and not responsible for high-level activities, and an exceedingly high government official, with incredibly complex and varied responsibilities, some of whom are responsible for literally hundreds of thousands of employees.

The first definition of secretary has fallen out of fashion and been replaced with the “administrative assistant” role, but if we say, “Mary is a secretary,” it’s doubtful your next question will be, “Which cabinet post does she hold?”

 In small to medium businesses, titles can be just as confusing because people often do numerous different things. When I worked for a company with more than 30,000 employees, I was one of 300 or so HR people, so my title could very accurately reflect the actual job I did. But, if you’re one of 20 people in an office, your responsibilities can be completely varied. You could be a trained accountant that also handles payroll, new employee onboarding, and helps out with the marketing. You could be the operations director who works with your manufacturer in China, and creates marketing plans and is responsible for keeping the bathroom stocked with toilet paper. (The last part, which an extremely important responsibility, can probably be left off your resume.)

So, when you’re trying to come up with job titles “Jack of All Trades” isn’t the best solution for your business card or LinkedIn Profile. Here are some ideas to help you pick job titles for your staff or help you advocate for the title you want.

To keep reading, click here: In a Small Business, Everyone Does Multiple Jobs. How Do You Choose Accurate Titles?


Making Sure Your Compensation Is Fair

by Evil HR Lady on October 9, 2018

At both small businesses and large companies, employee compensation should always be top of mind. It’s crucial that organizations offer workers the best pay packages possible, since this can help with recruitment and retention as well as ensure that morale stays high.

Therefore, it’s important for companies to regularly evaluate compensation packages (to determine the best fit) and educate employees on their value. In this article, we’ll explain how organizations can know they’re offering salaries and benefits that are attractive to prospective team members—and fair to current ones—and adequately inform the workforce about offerings.

To keep reading, click here: Making Sure Your Compensation Is Fair


Americans are drowning in student loan debt. The average person (as of 2016) graduates with $37,172 in debt. That’s a tremendous burden and businesses are doing the right thing in helping their employees pay down this debt.

That’s the general consensus, but it’s not actually the best use of your benefit dollars. Here’s why.

Student loans are voluntary

Yes, rich kids can get through school without student loans, Yay. But, I’m not talking about that. You choose where you go to school. Or, at least, you choose where you apply. There are good choices and bad choices. A choice to go into massive debt for a degree which doesn’t have a high return on investment is a bad choice. If you’ve chosen massive debt for a degree that does have a high ROI, well, that’s a choice you’ve made.

By giving new employees money for paying down debt, you reward the bad choices and encourage current students to take more loans.

To keep reading, click here: Why Student Loan Repayment Is Not the Benefit You Should Offer in 2019


Want Innovation? This 94 Year Old Leader Innovates.

by Evil HR Lady on October 6, 2018

We often think of new and innovated being the purview of the young, but if you want to see innovation and change on a grand scale, look at the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson.

Nelson is 94, and his counselors, Dallin H. Oakes, 86, and Henry B. Eyring, 85, have made massive changes in the past year.

A huge change, announced Saturday in the LDS Church’s semi-annual General Conference, was moving from three hours of Sunday meetings to two hours. That’s a huge change.

To keep reading, click here: Want Innovation? This 94 Year Old Leader Innovates.

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Ergonomics: Solution or Scam?

by Evil HR Lady on October 5, 2018

Repetitive motion injuries are a real thing. Bad posture is also a real thing. So, it make sense to have “ergonomically correct” office furniture to help keep our bodies functioning as well as possible–and to help prevent pain. But what if all the money we spend making sure everything is ergonomic isn’t really helping?

Sydney University professor Chris Maher, a leading authority on back pain, says that the evidence for ergonomics is slim. According to an interview Maher gave to The Age exercise is the only thing that has been shown to reduce and prevent back pain.

Maybe it’s time to dump the ergonomic chairs and hand out gym memberships.

That isn’t to say some things aren’t better than other.

Leon Straker, the British National Health Service’s first ergonomist, gave a bit of a snarky answer to the question on what the best ergonomic chair is, “I say ‘a wooden church bench’. Because you’ll feel so uncomfortable that you’ll have to get up after a half-hour.”

To keep reading, click here: Ergonomics: Solution or Scam?


Employee Time Tracking and Analytics 101 for Managers

by Evil HR Lady on October 4, 2018

That is 10:00 am Eastern Time! It will be fabulous, I promise!


The harder your employees work, the better, right? Not quite. Breaks at work, from regular lunch hours to informal opportunities for socializing, are essential for your employees to reach their full performance potential. Here’s why.

The Importance of Lunch Breaks for Employees

First, your brain needs a breather. We all understand that if people do physical labor, their bodies need to rest and recover. So why should we assume our brains can keep going all the time? They can’t. Your brain could use a break, and stepping away from your desk can actually make you more productive in the long run. What you do during lunch — besides eating — isn’t as important as taking a break from the daily grind.

To keep reading, click here: Are Your Employees Taking Lunch Breaks? Here’s Why They Should


Massachusetts: Quit Your Job, Keep Getting Paid

by Evil HR Lady on October 2, 2018

A non-compete prevents you from going to a competitor when you leave a job. Instead you are prohibited from working in similar jobs in a geographic region. They make sense when they simply prohibit salespeople from calling on their former customers, but companies were going crazy, and even fast food got involved.

Massachusetts saw that these non-competes were hurting their tech industry. If people weren’t free to move from company to company, innovation is stifled and wages are kept artificially low. Because, after all, it’s better to get a subpar paycheck than no paycheck.

But, beginning October 1, 2018, if you sign a non-compete in Massachusetts, your former employer has to pay you out at least 50 percent of your former salary for the time period in which you can’t work for a competitor–up to a maximum of one year.

To keep reading, click here: Massachusetts Turns Non-Competes on Their Heads


18 True Tales of Ridiculous Performance Appraisals

by Evil HR Lady on October 1, 2018

 “Your greatest strength… your listening abilities. well, there might not actually be anything going on in your head, but you SEEM like you’re listening,” this is a direct quote from a performance review, sent to me by Reflektive, a people management company.

It’s performance review season–many companies do an annual review in December, so October is when people start thinking about writing them. If you’re a manager, you want the reviews to be helpful for your employees. Additionally, never write anything you’re not willing to stand behind in a lawsuit.

Whatever you do, don’t use the following examples from people’s true experiences. Reflektive shared the following three with me as well:

  • Higher level position years ago – boss spent 70% of PR talking about her husband, 30% was in-the-weeds process recommendations like: “If a team member removed paperclips from incoming documents that’s a big process improvement. Useless info!

To read the other ridiculous appraisals, click here: 18 True Tales of Ridiculous Performance Appraisals

Leave your own in the comments!