While many businesses–and, yes, entire industries even–have suffered as a result of the Coronavirus crisis, some companies have managed to thrive in this moment. 

Based on an informal poll I conducted among people HR people and other interested professionals,here’s a small sampling of some of the industries that can’t hire people fast enough:

  • Cleaners–all types. Everything has to be cleaned to new, higher standards.
  • Printing. From sign printers to ink manufacturers, this industry has been super busy.
  • Technical support. Suddenly, everyone is working from home and needs help.

To keep reading, click here: Some Companies Can’t Hire Fast Enough. Study Their Business Models

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In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies across sectors have implemented  hiring freezes and paused active talent recruitment efforts. While these measures immediately impact HR operations, they also provide space for recruiters and other talent management professionals to rethink their approach to engaging with new potential candidates—and maintaining contact with people they were in the process of evaluating for open job opportunities.

Regardless of whether or not your company has implemented a hiring freeze, adopted a slower pace, or is actively recruiting, you may find yourself with an opportunity to focus on learning and development to improve your recruitment efforts. Here are five things HR professionals should consider during a hiring freeze. 

Finding Future Candidates (Honestly)

Don’t be the recruiter who sends out emails and LinkedIn messages advertising jobs that aren’t actively available. It’s a deceitful and unfortunately common practice, and can tarnish a professional relationship with future candidates. Instead, work to connect with people who may be a good fit for your company—someday. And be honest about your goal; don’t hide the fact that conversations are exploratory.

To keep reading, click here: What HR Professionals Should Be Doing in the Midst of a Hiring Freeze

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When Your Boss Doesn’t Let You Go on Vacation

by Evil HR Lady on July 8, 2020

Yesterday, Brenda Neckvatal and I talked about vacation and PTO usage on The Real HR Show. And we got this comment:

My company offers unlimited time off, but I don’t feel like I can take advantage because of the boss who flat out says “if you can be out for more than 2 weeks, we need to seriously consider if we can do without you for longer – or forever.”

This is precisely why I hate unlimited time off and why this person should never be a manager.

The idea of unlimited time off is a magical one–do your work and leave whenever you want! We trust you! Yay!

But, in practice, people take fewer vacation days because they are concerned about not appearing dedicated enough. And what is dedicated enough? This is a difficult question, especially in a small business. The owner is willing to sacrifice his or her entire life for the business and sometimes makes employees feel like slackers if they aren’t willing to sacrifice their entire lives for the business.

But, as someone who has laid off literally thousands of people, let me assure you that you should never sacrifice your life for a business, because when you aren’t of value to them any more, they will kick you to the curb. You have to build a life outside of work.

This isn’t to say you don’t need to work. Of course you do! But, you should be able to take a vacation, which brings us back to the original comment.

Most Americans aren’t taking more than two weeks of vacation at any given time anyway, so this type of restriction isn’t as big of a deal as it would be in Europe (where one of our doctors is currently on a six week vacation to Portugal). But, saying “you have unlimited vacation!” to employees and then saying, “but wait, don’t use it like that!” is bad and confusing.

A better policy would be “You have unlimited vacation, but don’t use more than two weeks at a time.”

Or even better, “You have four weeks of vacation, plus sick days.”

Why is four weeks better than unlimited? Because people won’t feel guilty about using four weeks of vacation when that’s what they are allotted. And managers shouldn’t be as terrible about allowing people to take time when they know that they have a limited amount.

So, if your boss says that to you, push back. “Are you saying we don’t have unlimited vacation, then?” The boss will sputter that of course you do. “Then why can’t I take three weeks in the summer to go do nothing because COVID means I can’t go anywhere?” (Okay, that’s not a good way to phrase it, but I’m supposed to be in the US this summer and I can’t go, so I’m annoyed.)

But get clarification from your boss about what unlimited vacation really means. Does it mean that it’s okay if you leave early once a week or so, but not okay to work from the beach? Does it mean that no one will hassle you about a week long absence, but otherwise, you’ll be treated poorly?

Again, this is why I love clear vacation boundaries. Everyone knows what a set number of days means.

Oh, and by the way, California employers. I see you thinking you’re cheating people with unlimited vacation offerings. California considers vacation earned income and you have to pay out unused vacation when someone quits, but if you have unlimited vacation, you essentially have no vacation, so no payout. It’s not sneaky. We’re on to you.

So, if you’re a manager who has ever said anything like this, stop it. If you’re an employee in this situation, get clarity around what unlimited vacation really means to your boss. It’s probably not what you think.

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Photo by Flo Dahm

When the Houston Association of Realtors announced that it was planning to swap the term “master bedroom” with “primary bedroom,” artist John Legend had a crucial piece of advice for realtors–any professionals, really–about making impactful change without striking the wrong chord.

To be sure, making sweeping changes is a lot harder than finding and replacing offensive speech or fixtures. As Legend pointed out, the Houston association’s quick change is just the start of what diversity and inclusion look like. The real estate industry can and should do more–and that’s likely true for your own company, too.

How do you handle racism in your company? By pretending it doesn’t exist? By trying to hide your past? By proclaiming Black Lives Matter on your webpage?

Or do you create real change within your company?

Do you

Making changes to outward-facing communications is fine and may make people feel like they’re doing something quickly, but real change takes effort and time. If you’re not simultaneously looking inward to address issues within your business or staffing strategy, marketing gestures aren’t just hollow, they’re irresponsibly misleading. Make sure your business doesn’t just make changes that appear good to others. For every outward-facing gesture, your company makes, ensure that you’re also looking inward.  

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I’m launching my own company this year, with about 12 employees, and I’m thinking about the importance of human resources services. Should I hire someone for that position, or can I use an outside service or an online site? And what are the most important things I should do before I launch?

To read my answer, click here: Why Startups Need HR Help Before They Launch

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Just what does the employee relations department do all day? This is the type of question that if you ask an ER person directly, it may result in a pointed glare or perhaps weeping as the employee relations expert sinks into a chair.

It’s been a rough few months.

But, what ER does (works on job performance, ADA requests, policy violations, social media issues, discrimination, bullying, etc.) is not as interesting as to how the employee relations job function has changed from 2018 to 2019. I took a look at the Fourth Annual HR Acuity Benchmark Report, which was conducted in February into March – before and as shutdowns occurred. The study highlights what else ER employees have to do in addition to managing new rules and regulations, conducting furloughs and layoffs and working to rehire people. 

As I said, it’s been a bit rough.

To keep reading, click here: How the Employee Relations Job Function is Changing: A Look at the HR Acuity Benchmark Study

To go straight to the study, click here: HR Acuity Study

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In the pre-Covid days, it was absolutely reasonable to tell an employee that someone else must be taking care of the children while you are working. Telecommuting does not mean caring for your children while building a marketing plan.

Then the schools and the daycares shut down and nannies had to return home and shelter in place there. Even with things starting to open up in some places, the schools, daycares and the summer camps have not re-opened everywhere.

And here’s a secret about small children: They can be kind of noisy.

In the ideal family situation, you have two parents who can seamlessly hand off the children to one another with no disruption to work.

In real life, moms still do most of the child care and single parents exist. And, unless you live in a large house, a toddler meltdown will still be heard throughout the house even if someone else is doing the actual child care.

Some bosses get frustrated and criticize, discipline or even, as Modern Cali Mom says, fire.

To keep reading, click here: Can You Hear Kids on Your Zoom Calls? Don’t Fire the Parents

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Photo by Kasumi Loffler

If you want to build employee loyalty, consider the example of Texas Roadhouse CEO Kent Taylor. He just donated his $800.000 in salary and bonuses to help keep his employees during the shutdown. Texas Roadhouse hasn’t had to lay anyone off or cut anyone’s pay.

Well, no one got their pay cut except for the CEO, who did so voluntarily.

He sounds like a great guy overall but the cynical side of me always raises it’s head and I wondered how much this guy is worth. Turns out he’s worth $459 million as of January 2020. That’s 0.17 percent of his net worth that he donated. He also donated an additional $5 million to Andy’s Fund, which helps employees with expenses.

I say this because I want to point out that doing the right thing doesn’t always involve massive sacrifices on your part. He made a minor sacrifice for his employees. They will still appreciate him for it.

Additionally, no one is under an obligation to give you anything other than what you’ve earned, so even if it’s not a big percentage of their income, it’s still a fabulous gift.

Sometimes we think that what we have to offer won’t be enough if we can’t give something huge and meaningful that will get us positive press in People Magazine, so we don’t give anything. But, we can give small amounts of money, time, or talents to our employees and coworkers.

One of the things that I think is super important–especially in a small business–is who does the icky and unexpected tasks. If you get the newest admin to clean up the mess a customer made in the bathroom, you’re a bad manager. Senior leadership should take on the task of doing those things.

Yes, technically, the VP’s time is more important and more expensive than the admin’s time, but think of the example this type of small gesture sets for your staff. If the owner is happy to take her turn wrestling with the ink cartridges in the printer, it sends a message that we’re all in this together.

This is not to say you can’t hire a cleaning service or that senior leadership needs to do a bunch of menial tasks. It’s just to say that small things matter.

What the Texas Roadhouse CEO gave seems like a lot of money to me, but to him it’s a small sacrifice.

You can help your employees with your own small sacrifice–be it cutting your salary, staying late, or taking over an unpleasant task. It doesn’t have to be huge to be meaningful.

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