Author Archives: Ben

WOH 78: Families First Coronavirus Response Act – What Employers Need to Know

“Here’s my general advice for businesses–don’t be afraid to get help.”

In recent weeks a flurry of legislative activity has led to numerous laws to help employers and businesses dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak, and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act is a big part of the activity. What does this law mean for employers, and how does it benefit them? What other considerations should employers think through as they support their workforces during this pandemic? 

In this episode, Ben talks with Eric Meyer, Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, about how employers should be responding to the current environment and what the law means for them. 

Connect with Eric: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emeyer/

Follow Eric’s blog: https://www.theemployerhandbook.com/

 

List of HR Tech companies offering free software and/or support: https://lhra.io/blog/hrtech-companies-offering-free-resources-information-covid-19-crisis/ 

 

Ben’s personal piece on how to respond to the crisis: https://upstarthr.com/rising-up-to-embrace-our-humanity/

action-2277292_1920

Rising Up to Embrace Our Humanity

“Come on. You can do it. I know you can. I believe in you.”

I’m watching my baby make the transition to “toddler,” and it’s a bittersweet moment. No longer will she stay where she’s put. She’s going to start exploring the world, and that exploration will only speed up as time goes on.

This moment, this incredibly precious moment, is forever burned into my memory. We learn very early in life that when we fall, we try again. When we struggle, we try again. When we fail, we try again.

We rise up again.

In the grand scheme of things, simply standing up, or doing anything, would be so much easier than hunkering down, cutting most of our ties to human contact, and sitting around waiting for this crisis to be over.

Throughout this challenge we are all going through as individuals, as communities, and as a global population, we have seen the worst that humanity has to offer. We’ve seen the hoarding and the selfishness. We’ve seen anger and hatred.

But we have also seen glimpses of the amazing kindness, grace, and love that we all have to offer.

In an eye-opening interview with a former astronaut and flight leader for several key space missions, the interviewer asked how it was possible to survive in close quarters with other humans for weeks and months on end.

The answer was fairly simple, even if it wasn’t always easy in the moment. The astronaut said that the recipe for success was doing one random act of kindness for someone else every day. This practice formed deeper bonds, created more goodwill, and smoothed over any potential slights or issues that might appear in the day to day.

Was it perfect? No.

But it did create an experience that allowed each person to try and bring out their best and most human qualities of charity and goodness that make us who we are.

If “rise up” is too vague of an instruction, then resolve yourself to doing at least one random act of kindness daily for others. Better yet, why not journal that list of deeds so that you can look back on it one day far into the future and remember how you embraced your humanity in a time that tried to wrest it from you.

If you’re a rational thinker, Thomas Paine once said, “These are the times that try men’s souls… [Y]et we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

If you’re more spiritual, James said in the New Testament, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial.

Either way, the concept of struggle isn’t new or novel, but an essential component of the human experience. Let’s not just survive this thing. Let’s rise up and share kindness, charity, compassion, and love for our neighbors and communities.

I leave you with this: “Come on. You can do it. I know you can. I believe in you.”

Family, Parents, Mother, Father, Toddler, Life, Evening

free career book

Free Access to HR Certification Courses and Other HR Tools

[Update 3/23 at 9:29am CST] We have already given away our first $1,000 but are doubling down and offering a total of $2,000 in courses at this time. We are hoping to bring something positive out of such a negative and worrisome time for our workforce.

[Update 3/23 at 12:20pm CST] We have provided over $3,000 in free access codes for the HR community. What an amazing response. To those of you that are seeing this now, we have created a discount code for 50% off any of our courses through the end of the month but have exhausted all of the free courses we can provide at this time. We appreciate you and the work you do for the workforce. If you use the code humanity you can get 50% off our PHR or SPHR prep courses

Over the last week I have had over a dozen calls with HR practitioners to check in and connect as humanly as possible while we are all quarantined in our respective areas of the world. Several of them mentioned that they were going to use this unprecedented time to think about getting certified while they have more downtime than usual in their days (once things settle down a bit from the transition).

free career bookHearing that, I realized that I could help make that a reality for many HR leaders, especially those that might be furloughed or laid off right now because of the struggles many companies are facing.  Continue reading

home-office-336377_1280

4 Ways to Support Employees During a Crisis

Over the last few weeks the environment has changed dramatically when it comes to work and life. As an HR leader, I can remember other times of crisis in the past, such as when our employees had their homes destroyed by tornadoes. We have to deal with the logistics of this from a work perspective, because HR is often the hub of policies around working remotely or being flexible for those that have personal needs that limit their availability for work during emergencies.

However, I can’t stress enough the need to embrace compassion for our people.

Think of it this way: when our local schools asked a few days ago if families had wifi at home, I know there are some families that do not have it because they can’t afford something that most of us consider a basic fact of life. Some of those children were getting free breakfast and/or lunch at school to help fill gaps in their nutrition that they weren’t getting at home.

When you think about taking care of your people, that care for the basic components of life should be part of the equation.

The Science of Doing Great Work: Tips for Working Remotely 

Before I jump into some of the tactical ideas to help support your employees during this time, I want to point out something for those (you or your employees) that might not be accustomed to working from home.

When you’re in an office, you have a fairly rigid schedule and setup. At home, that’s not the case. One of the biggest challenges for many, even though it technically shouldn’t be different than working in an office, is prioritizing what to do. The science we know on how the brain functions shows us that we have a limited amount of capacity to focus.

Focus for an hour? Sure. You can do that. Focus for six hours? Not likely.

For that reason, it’s important to approach your to do list strategically. For those things that you find hardest to do because of their greater demand on mental capacity (creative work, strategy meetings, etc.), do those earlier in the day or when you have uninterrupted time (which will be a challenge for those with kids at home during crisis times). For those things that require less mental energy (responding to emails, for instance), save those for later in the day when you are naturally in a lower state of focus.

If you make this change, you will probably be surprised to see the difference in what you can get done, how creative you are, and how you feel. For more on this you can read some of my takeaways from Two Awesome Hours, where a doctor explains this in much more detail than I could.

home-office-336377_1280Oh, and skip answering emails right before that big meeting (even if it’s virtual). You will use your much-needed focus and acuity on routine messages and fail to have that focus when you need it during the meeting. Trust me on this one. If you DO have a big meeting you need to be “on” for, then take a walk outdoors without your phone for 5-10 minutes in the last half hour before the meeting begins. That can help to refresh your energy and focus.

Those big meetings include creative ways you might support or cover your employees during this time. Or maybe one of these options that you never quite seem to have time to get to: Continue reading

WOH 77: Implementing the Agile Talent Acquisition Methodology at BBVA

Agile talent acquisition? What’s that? 

Many of the talent leaders we encounter have heard of agile as it pertains to the software development industry, but what lessons does this methodology have for today’s talent leaders? 

Agile, at its core, is about prioritizing (ruthlessly) on the things that need to get done. In agile talent acquisition, managers hold more power to set priorities. At the same time, recruiters and talent advisors get the benefit of clearer communication, a framework that sets them up for success, and a true partnership with their customers (the hiring managers in the organization). 

In today’s discussion, Ben talks with Trent Cotton, a key figure in the implementation of agile talent acquisition methods at BBVA, a global financial firm with more than 10,000 North American employees and a global workforce of over 100,000. Cotton explains how the process works, what benefits BBVA has seen from the approach, and offers specific advice for how to make it a reality in any organization. 

If you’d like to connect with Trent, you can find him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/trentcotton

If you found this episode valuable, you might also enjoy episode 58, which was an intriguing conversation with Paul Shane about how Northwestern Mutual created its hiring playbook: https://upstarthr.com/were-only-human-58-open-sourcing-the-recruiting-playbook-from-northwestern-mutual/

This is somewhat like our conversation with the H&R Block head of TA on episode 25:
https://beneubanks.podbean.com/e/were-only-human-25-how-to-forecast-hiring-needs-and-lead-a-recruiting-team/

under our skin getting real about race book review

Under Our Skin: Getting Real About Race (Book Review)

A few weeks ago a friend recommended a book called Under Our Skin: Getting Real About Race and Getting Free From the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us. It is an excellent book for anyone to read to better understand the different perspectives that are wrapped up in the racial discussion, but I would say it’s doubly so for HR and business leaders that need to be working continuously to create more equitable work environments.

under our skin getting real about race book reviewPersonally, it has opened my eyes to other perspectives and helps to give context to the conversations I am having with leaders that are trying to create more inclusive workplaces.

The book is written by Benjamin Watson. For some of you sports fans, you will recognize that name immediately, but as a self-proclaimed “sports agnostic” person, I learned of Watson’s sports affiliation only after digging into the book. That said, this is not a sports book. It’s a book about work and life.

Why I Recommend It

Watson tells stories, offers examples of both sides of each issue, and helps readers understand the realities of living in an unequal world. Continue reading

WOH 76: What a Study of 1,000 SMB Companies Tells Us about HR

“HR is representing the people at your organization that deliver the results of whatever mission you have… There is no greater voice for the people than HR.”

We hear so much about large employers and enterprise firms in the news. These organizations are a key part of the global economy, but did you know that over 99% of employers in the US have fewer than 1,000 employees? Yes, really! This market of smaller organizations employs more than half of the US workforce and creates incredible value not just globally but in millions of communities where these firms create jobs and opportunities in their respective areas. 

In this episode, Ben interviews Tom Hammond from Paychex to talk about this critical SMB (small and mid-sized business) market and how these firms operate. Last year Lighthouse Research ran an analysis of 1,000 employers to understand how they buy technology, hire HR staff, and outsource HR activities. This study offers critical insights as Ben and Tom talk about how many of these firms have HR technology, what drives decisions about hiring HR staff, and more.

To see the research Ben and Tom discuss, check out https://lighthouseresearch.lpages.co/hr-adoption-curve/
To learn more about Paychex, visit Paychex.com
To connect with Tom, reach out on Twitter: @thammondhr