6 Post-Election Workplace Issues You Need to Know

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The national election results suggest that the overall political landscape will remain largely unchanged in Washington, for at least the next two years until the 2014 midterm election. As a result, HR professionals should expect similar legal trends to persist at the federal level, with President Obama and split control of Congress between the Republicans and Democrats. Here are six (6) workplace issues you need to know:

1. Fiscal Cliff

The fiscal cliff is approaching and could result in numerous spending cuts and large tax increases that will affect both your business and employees on January 1, 2013. Notable taxes set to increase which may apply to your employees include the payroll tax, Bush-era tax cuts, Obama-era tax cuts, AMT patch, and taxes associated with health care reform. In addition, large cuts in defense spending are set to go into effect at the same time. Congress still has time to act before all of these changes go into effect, but no agreements have yet been reached.
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The Power of Social Media in the Workplace

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As social media expands into every aspect of our lives, including the workplace, striking a balance between leveraging social media as a business tool and managing it’s use by individual employees across your organization and can be a challenging balancing act. In an effort to help shed light on how Northeast Ohio employers are handling this difficult issue, ERC recently released the 2012 Social Media in the Workplace Survey report.

Policies

The 2012 survey reports that slightly less than half (47%) of all organizations currently have a social media policy in place. Several organizations indicate that although they do not have a formal social media policy, they do address issues regarding social media use under the larger umbrella of “electronic communications” or “IT” policies. These policies, in whatever form, are most commonly communicated to employees via their employee handbook or through some other form of internal communication (e.g. email, intranet).
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How to Motivate Employees in 3 Easy, Surprising Ways

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In “Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” author Daniel Pink suggests that using only traditional rewards and punishment (“carrots and sticks”) to motivate employees is no longer effective and does not suit the greatest needs and challenges of our organizations.

Win a free copy of this book!

Pink explains that historically, most work was algorithmic. Many of the tasks carried out were routine and a formula/series of steps produced a correct solution. Traditional rewards were effective in motivating people to perform well on those tasks. Nowadays, however, only a small percentage of job growth is in algorithmic work, with the majority of job growth lying in artistic, empathic, complex, technological, and service-oriented work. This work tends to be less routine and more creative, enjoyable, and self-directed; but the same traditional rewards do not motivate high performance for this type of work.
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Communicating in Times of Crisis: HR's Role

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On behalf of everyone at ERC, our thoughts are with all those affected both nationally and locally by 2012's Hurricane Sandy.

The events following Hurricane Sandy an unfortunate reminder to all HR professionals and business leaders that natural disasters, power outages, and issues with transportation systems can emerge at any time and have implications on the workplace. In such circumstances, HR plays two pivotal roles as 1) policy developers and communicators and 2) crisis planners and managers.

Policy Development & Communication

In HR, you must set and communicate the policies for your business, in collaboration with your business leaders and line managers, regarding how to handle crises and threats to your employees' safety and normal business operations, like inclement weather. In our research, however, we find that only some organizations (39%) have a specific policy covering inclement or adverse weather.
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4 Employer Guidelines for Election Day

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Election Day is approaching and employers should be aware of certain guidelines with regard to providing time off for employees to vote, communicating voting time policies, influencing employees' vote, and mitigating political discussions in the workplace.

 4 Employer Guidelines for Election Day

1. Check state laws before announcing your voting policy.

Each state has different laws that employers have to follow in regards to employees voting. Some states require employers to allow employees time off, paid or unpaid, to vote. Some states only require time-off if the employee doesn't have a sufficient amount of time to vote before or after working hours. Be sure to check your state's laws to ensure you are communicating a lawful policy.

The state of Ohio requires that all employers allow employees "sufficient time off to vote." The law does not specify the exact amount of voting time required, but indicates that employers that discharge or threaten employees for taking voting time leave can be fined $50-$500. Under Ohio law, employers are not required to pay employees for time missed at work due to voting (Sources: Ohio Elections Commission, Ohio.gov).
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OSHA's Top 10 Safety Violations for 2012

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced the top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations for  2012. The list includes the following:

  1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501) Total violations: 7,250
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200) Total violations: 4,696
  3. Scaffolding (1926.451) Total violations: 3,814
  4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134) Total violations: 2,371
  5. Ladders (1926.1053) Total violations: 2,310
  6. Machine Guarding (1910.212) Total violations: 2,097
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178) Total violations: 1,993
  8. Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305) Total violations: 1,744
  9. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147) Total violations: 1,572
  10. Electrical – General Requirements (1910.303) Total violations: 1,332

Additional Safety Training

ERC offers the following Safety Training solutions:

  • OSHA 10 and 30 hour voluntary compliance
  • Lockout/Tagout
  • Hazard Communications
  • Electrical Awareness
  • Bloodborne Pathogens
  • Permit Required Confined Space Entry
  • Fall Protection
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Forklift Operator Training
  • HAZwoper

For more information on safety training, contact Pete Bednar at 440-947-1293 or pbednar@yourERC.com.

Understanding the Value of Talent Management

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“People are our greatest asset.”

This phrase appears frequently in press conference statements to the media from high level executives and in motivational speeches directed at the business community. But what does this well intentioned, feel-good statement actually mean when put into practice in the workplace?

One key factor in creating a work environment reflective of this mindset is proper management of the talent base at your organization. A recent survey of 102 Northeast Ohio organizations on this topic found that just under two-thirds of respondents (63%) do not have an official definition of “top or key talent” at their organization.
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Free Training Planning Worksheet

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Planning and organizing employee training for an entire year can be a challenge. That's why we're providing you with a simple worksheet to help you chart and organize the types of training classes that will be offered in a given year, the individuals who will attend those classes, their perceived skill level, and the timing of when they will attend training throughout the year.

Download Worksheet (Excel)

 

Instructions

Here are some simple instructions:

  1. Chart the individuals in your organization under the column "Name" and their corresponding department or position in the second column.
  2. List the classes that your organization plans to offer during the upcoming year at the top of the chart.
  3. Color code the cells for each individual based on the degree to which each employee needs training in a specific topic area or skill.
  4. Within each cell, insert the timing (month or month and day) of when you plan to offer this class or when each employee will attend this class.
  5. Insert any relevant comments around the individual.

Budgeting Assistance

Need quotes for particular training programs? Contact Chris Kutsko at (440)947-1286 or ckutsko@yourerc.com. You can also view ERC's full catalog of employee training courses online.