How To Avoid These 5 Common Leadership Pitfalls

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Leadership teams have the ability to shape and drive their organization when they can be effective but with individuals coming from many different backgrounds and roles, challenges are bound to arise. Differing opinions lead to conflict, distrust amongst team members, ineffective communication techniques, lack of accountability, and destructive criticism. All potentially result in setting your team up for failure. In order to address these potential pitfalls, you need to identify them first. Here’s 5 common leadership pitfalls and how to avoid them:
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7 Rising Trends in Employee Training and Development in 2016

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2016 Training Trends

“The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is not training them and keeping them.” This Zig Ziglar quote is one many businesses can relate to. The cost of NOT training employees can be substantial to a business. However, when it comes to training employees, it is beneficial to be up-to-date on the ever-evolving trends. In Josh Bersin’s Forbes article, “The Learning Curve Is The Earning Curve,” he points out that “learning is part of economic survival for most of us” and if businesses don’t make an effort to continuously re-skill employees, they will fall behind.
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Why Employee Handbooks Matter

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 Why Employee Handbooks Matter electronic employee handbook acknowledgement form

Employee handbooks first and foremost reserve and protect the rights of an employer.  In addition, they can help clarify expectations, facilitate better communication with employees, and can reduce risk related to litigation or unionization. As Merritt Bumpass, a partner in the Frantz Ward Labor and Employment Group said,

“An employer has a legal relationship with each of its employees. The crucial issue is what are the terms of that relationship, and the creation of a well written handbook is a very good way to establish clear and acceptable terms of that relationship.”

However, not all handbooks are created equal, and in order to maximize the impact of your organization’s handbook,  we spoke with the attorneys at Frantz Ward LLP, who gave a few suggestions for essential policies you should consider.

Essential Policies:

  • At will disclaimer
  • Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)
  • Anti-harassment – including sexual and workplace harassment
  • NLRA disclaimer
  • Non-solicitation
  • Work rules/Discipline
  • Electronic communications
  • Employment status/Classification
  • Attendance/Tardiness
  • Family and Medical Leave
  • Personal/Non FMLA Leave
  • Military Leave
  • Firearms/Weapons
  • Drug free workplace/ Drug testing
  • Workplace injury/Illness
  • Employee Acknowledgement Form

Additional Policies to Consider Including:

  • Welcome statement/Introduction
  • Description of benefits
  • Hours/Work schedule/Lunch/Breaks
  • Timekeeping
  • Employee benefits
  • Dress code
  • Reference requests
  • Updating personnel information
  • Access to personnel records
  • Employee suggestions
  • Continued education
  • Emergencies
  • Business reimbursement
  • Travel
  • Performance evaluations
  • Promotions/Transfers
  • Layoff/Recall
  • Payroll
  • Industry specific regulations
  • Reasonable accommodations
  • Employee complaints
  • Termination of employment/Resignation
  • Non-Fraternization/Dating/Personal relationships including relatives
  • Conflict of interest
  • Receiving/Receipt of gifts
  • Cell phones/Electronic devices while driving – Cell phones/Electronic devices at work
  • Smoking and use of tobacco
  • Working from home

Handbooks are not a one-size-fits-all. These are just some examples of sample policies that could be added to your handbook. All handbooks should be reviewed by legal counsel for compliance with federal and state laws and regulations–and should be modified to fit the organizations culture, industry and practices. If you are a ERC Member, contact the HR Help Desk for additional information on sample handbook policies.

Frantz Ward LLP is an ERC Partner and offers a Litigation Prevention Plan (LPP) that helps ERC members with their annual employment law expenses. Not a member of ERC? See what our Membership has to offer.

Source: Employment Law 2015 guidelines, “What’s Cooking in Labor and Employment Law in 2015,” Frantz Ward LLP.

IMPORTANT: By providing you with information that may be contained in this article, the Employers Resource Council (ERC) is not providing a qualified legal opinion concerning any particular human resource issue. As such, research information that ERC provides to its members should not be relied upon or considered a substitute for legal advice. The information that we provide is for general employer use and not necessarily for individual application. We also recommend that you consult your legal counsel regarding workplace matters when and if appropriate.

This document is intended to provide general information about legal developments, not legal advice. Receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship with Frantz Ward LLP.

ERC Partners Frantz Ward and Meyers Roman Litigation Prevention Plan

Women’s History for Today’s Workplace

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Women's History for Today's Workplace

In March of 2015, the U.S. military’s oldest living female veteran, Lucy Coffey, passed away at age 108. At the time, 1943 to be exact, it took Coffey three attempts to successfully enlist in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps. She was one of only about 400,000 women who served in uniform during World War II. With its iconic “Rosie the Riveter” image, World War II became a major turning point both in terms of women’s enlistment in the armed services as well as in stateside employment to fill the manufacturing jobs left open by the young men off at war.

As Women’s History Month comes to a close at the end of March, let’s take a quick look at where we’ve been, the progress that has been made, and the barriers that continue to complicate male and female equality in the workplace.
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The Ultimate Guide to Training in 2015

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hr training topics The Ultimate Guide to Training in 2015

If your organization is like most, a guiding question for your 2015 planning will likely be some version of this question: “What kinds of training & development programs should we choose that will help ensure we are able to attract and retain talented employees, as well as prevent regrettable attrition, within our organization in 2015 and beyond?” What follows is a snapshot of some of the most popular training topics for 2014 and into 2015, along with a brief explanation of how they can each be leveraged to the benefit of the organization.

Up & Coming

Leadership Development

Pointing to the need to refocus attention on the longevity of an organization and the generational shift towards Millenials that is occurring in the overall workforce, leadership development is definitely on the list of hot training topics on the rise.
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Interview with ERC President Pat Perry

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In a 2014 interview, Pat discusses the dynamics of work, family, and the leadership role in today's business world. The following pages include Pat's responses to many of the HR trends he sees emerging, as well as his comments about what the New Year has in store.

If you could snap your fingers & instantly change 3 typical company policies, what would they be?

"That's an easy one! The three I would immediately change in the workplace are...        

  • Eliminate probationary periods
  • Refine bereavement leave policies
  • Refine the traditional use-it-or-lose-it PTO

"These are the first that come to mind.  These types of polices were designed decades ago and really do not play well for today's top performing employees," explains Pat.
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Leader Development: A Growing Concern and Priority for Employers

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Leader Development: A Growing Concern and Priority for Employers

Leadership development is among employer's top priorities and concerns in the workplace today. A 2013 survey conducted by The Conference Board and Right Management concluded that organizations are expected to spend 37% more on leadership development in 2014.

Many employers are concerned over a potential lack of talent to fill future leadership roles, and are putting practices in place such as succession planning and leadership development programs targeted toward young people, high-potentials, and emerging leaders to address those future gaps.

Below is a quick summary of two key areas in which the approach to creating leadership development programs is evolving.
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10 Ways to Be Better in HR in 2014

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10 Ways to Be Better in HR in 2014

As the end of 2013 approaches, it's an ideal time to stop and reflect on your development as an HR professional and how you might be more effective in your HR role in 2014. Here are 10 ways to be better in HR in 2014.

1. Assume the role of a leader.

Even if you aren't one or don't have the authority or title of a leader, act like one each and every day. Use your influence for positive workplace change in your company, because when your actions have an impact on others, they matter and make a difference.

Leadership is less about title and role, and more about impact and influence. Anyone can lead...even from the very bottom. Assume your "seat at the table" and act like you have one.
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The Most Critical Trends Shaping HR

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The Most Critical Trends Shaping HR

There are so many important trends shaping HR right now that will affect employers in years to come. Here's a brief synopsis of the most critical ones that you should know heading into 2014.

1. Social Media & Mobile

Social networking platforms are changing, and will continue to change, how HR departments operate. People's lives are becoming more social networked, and nowadays, social media is no longer simply a marketing or personal tool. It is gradually becoming engrained into many aspects of the workplace.

Although social networking is primarily used for recruiting, employers are beginning to use social networking platforms for learning and development, employee communications, collaboration and innovation, and recognition.

Similarly, mobile continues to become more central to our lives, which poses both challenges and opportunities for our workplaces. Mobile can be leveraged for learning, recruiting, and other HR needs, and provides employees with greater flexibility to do their work, but it also will continue to present difficulties (e.g. productivity).

2. Big Data

Big data, or HR analytics, is increasingly guiding decisions pertaining to talent and the workplace. As technology increasingly is implemented in HR departments, people decisions are becoming more strategic and complex.

More companies will move beyond operational reporting and benchmarking, and leverage data about employees to make their HR departments more data-driven and strategic.

This includes using data to predict outcomes (e.g. hiring, performance, etc.) and conducting strategic analytics to statistically analyze problems and translate data findings into solutions.

Because research is finding that leading organizations are using big data for HR and that it is effective in delivering sound problem solving, this trend will require HR departments to hire and develop staff with big-data related skills in business acumen, consulting, data management, statistics, communication, and executive presence.

3. Generational Issues

Four generations are in many organizations right now, and they all have very different ways of working, forcing companies to put into place practices that help manage generational issues and conflicts.

The younger generation, in particular, is creating challenges for HR departments with their distinct values, forcing organizations to re-tool their talent management practices. For example, the younger generation...

  • Desires flexible work hours and work-life balance
  • Has intolerance for boredom and 'dead-end' jobs
  • Values mentoring, personal learning, and development
  • Expects rapid career progression

Because this generation brings critical skills to the table and are the future leaders of organizations, HR will need to find better ways to manage this group in order to retain them.

4. Rise of Contingent Workforce

Studies are predicting that the workforce will become more contingent in the next five years, and that by 2019, nearly half the workforce will contract their skills to multiple organizations.

There are already signs that this is happening with a rise in temporary workers, contractors, independent consultants, and freelancers. According to a report by Accenture, the most common freelance jobs include sales and marketing, IT and programming, design and multimedia, engineering and manufacturing, and writing.

The dynamics of business are changing so rapidly these days that many employers find they need an agile, "just-in-time" workforce that is more cost-effective. Contingency is attractive because work is becoming more knowledge and project-based, and increasingly reliant on specialized skills and expertise. In addition, economic fluctuations like we've seen the past few years will require more flexible staffing models.

Though contingent workers bring benefits, they will also pose challenges for HR departments in terms of how they are managed, compensated, and treated.

5. Change & Innovation

Because organizations are changing so rapidly, HR will have to take on more significant roles related to managing and communicating change initiatives and disruption within the workplace effectively. HR will need to take on a more consultative and change-management oriented role in their organizations.

Similarly, the need for innovation, risk-taking, and creative solutions is becoming more necessary. HR will be increasingly relied upon to drive this behavior through the development of culture and programs (rewards, empowerment, suggestions and ideas, employee feedback, etc.).

6. Leadership

Traditional theories of leadership are not as relevant to today's challenges, and certainly won't be in the future.

Leaders will need to demonstrate different behaviors and skills than were required in the past. Skills such as empathy, authenticity, influencing, strategic thinking, articulating, flexibility, risk taking, demonstrating integrity, leading diverse teams, collaborating, and bringing out the best in others are all being seen as more important for leaders.

While these aren't necessarily new leadership skills, more emphasis will be placed on them in the future.

7. Total Rewards

More and more, employers are faced with the issue of "there's only so much money in the bucket" and must make harder decisions about the total rewards that they offer.

For one thing, the benefits landscape is changing with the steady rise in health care costs, the uncertainty associated with how the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the changing nature of wellness in the workplace.

Likewise, modest pay increases and a performance-oriented approach to compensating employees has also been evident. Then, there are other rewards that factor into the equation like perks, recognition and rewards/staff appreciation, voluntary benefits, training and development, and more.

Employers will have to continue to make hard decisions about what total rewards will be provided to the workforce. Business strategy, performance, and the needs and interests of the workforce will all play a role in these difficult decisions.

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