-by Melissa Marsh, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) held it’s 2015 national convention in Las Vegas, June 28 through July 1. In the HR world, staying informed on the ever-changing landscape is crucial. I attended and served as a volunteer, seeing the inner workings of a conference hosting over 15,000 people. SHRM has mastered the check-in process. People never stood in line for more than 10 minutes. On Sunday, the total for check-in was over 6,000 people.
When I was managing that line, Duke men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzekwski presented as keynote speaker, promising “… to bring his wisdom from the court to your office.” Alternately, I did attend Dr. Oz’s impressive keynote address where he gave tips on promoting health with ideas for employees. The conference was phenomenal and informative with over 200 concurrent sessions. The expo hall alone had several hundred exhibitors and astonishing booth components. (Imagine a small house, complete with a functioning kitchen.)
While accidental, I had the rare opportunity to sit next to an employee from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in the Las Vegas airport. This federal agency has a harsh reputation. She said that they have the reputation for being pro-union but, she assured me, they are not. Much legislation is passed that protects employees’ right to unionize and gets employers in trouble because it can be difficult for businesses to keep up. To my amusement, she attended the session titled “The Long Arm of the NLRB” and found the speaker to be rather antagonistic.
Some of the small business HR tips I found valuable:
Beware of drug testing based on suspicion. An informed labor attorney recommended that employees who are suspected of being under the influence should be observed by two supervisors (not line employees or customers). Otherwise, this could indicate the employer perceives the employee has a drug problem. Perception of a disability, in this case addiction, is all that is needed to be afforded protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Employees skipping breaks. Include verbiage in employee break policies that if an employee decides not to take a break, they must notify a supervisor. This should be in the Employee Handbook.
Don’t impose secrecy about raises. When giving raises, don’t tell employees they can’t talk to anyone about it or you invite problems from the NLRB. Employees have protected rights to discuss nearly anything about their employment.
Codify complaint procedures. Always include complaint procedures within policies distributed to employees whether it is about harassment, discrimination, overtime pay or breaks.
There’s no one-size-fits-all communication plan. There is no golden rule for communication in the workplace. The key for a high-functioning team is to determine the varying styles of employees, then communicate based on this knowledge. This can be done in a simplified version of the DISC assessment profiles as shared by a high-energy trainer. (The DISC model refers to Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness.)
This post first appeared in the Reno Gazette-Journal, July 3, 2015