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Living through, or even observing these moral, economic and health crises continue to unfold is taking an emotional toll. We have three choices in response to a crisis. We can fight, take flight or freeze. We can move in with high energy and take control; we can move away, going about our bu…

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David Rock, Ph.D., coined the acronym SCARF which stands for status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness and fairness. These are the five domains that influence us emotionally, much of the time as a threat. Leaders can mitigate the impact of SCARF threats by creating some SCARF rewards.

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The Families First Coronavirus Response Act amends the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and establishes the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act both effective April 2, 2020, until Dec. 31, 2020. The bill basically amends the employers’ threshold from 50 or more employees to fewer than 500 emplo…

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Some stress is good, even required to elicit activity. Too much stress is bad leading to feeling overwhelmed. Amy Arnsten, Neurobiology and Psychology Professor at Yale University, calls this the “Goldilocks of the brain.” Stress must be just right to achieve peak performance. This sweet spo…

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Threat is more powerful than reward because our brains are designed to keep us safe. Studies show the avoid (threat) response generates more arousal, more quickly and lasts longer than the approach (reward) response. The limbic system within the brain controls our emotions. It can process in…

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There are a number of goal setting practices. SMART, published in 1981, is still used today. Defining Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound aspects of the goal is still a popular model. SMART, as well as other goal-setting models use information to develop a clear state…

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Most leaders have been thinking for others for decades; knowing what is best; and leading and directing others. That is what leaders do. Recent neuroscience wants to rock that boat.

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The sympathetic nervous system lights up in response to negative feedback. This is the “fight or flight” system. The brain is focused only on survival when it’s activated.

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Training Magazine, the Association for Talent Development and many others have conducted studies to evaluate the return on investment (ROI) of training. As a result, we learned instructor-led classroom training is the most used and is the second most effective method despite all the advancem…

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There is a stigma associated with suffering. People don’t want to show it and onlookers don’t want to see it. Grieving the loss of a loved one is a private sadness. Caring communities come together to support those in grief. Workplaces promise a sense of community, yet have much to learn to …

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Employers would be wise to stop promoting individuals as a reward for performance in a different role. Choose supervisors based on their talent to communicate well and ability to develop others. Natural supervisors want to be open and are approachable. Good supervisors establish priorities a…

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Stalking is a crime of power and control. The National Institute of Justice defines stalking as “a course of conduct directed at a specific person that involves repeated (two or more occasions) visual or physical proximity, nonconsensual communication, or verbal, written or implied threats, …

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Employers must be aware that 41 percent of all lawsuits filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in FY 2018 were Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) suits. Failure to hire, failure to accommodate and attendance and leave policies resulted in settlements in the millions o…

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The term “employee engagement” is more than 30 years old. Employers are still trying to figure out how to improve engagement. Perhaps we missed the target because we didn’t pay attention to its definition. William A. Kahn who coined the term defined it as “simultaneous employment and express…

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In 1962, the purpose of business was simple; use your resources and engage in activities to increase profits, according to Milton Friedman, a leading economist of the time. Friedman said an executive has direct responsibility to his employer. “That responsibility is to conduct business in ac…

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Federal, state and local governments as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are all talking about sexual harassment. The federal government is focused on settlement disclosures, arbitration agreements and tax deduction denial. States are proposing restricting nondisclo…

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Political beliefs are personal. Chances are slim that anyone can change our minds about our political views. Yet some people debate and argue about politics with their family, friends and coworkers. Because people spend so much of their time at work, it makes sense that conversations about b…

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Peter Drucker coined the term "knowledge worker" in 1959 anticipating an age when people would generate value with their minds more than their muscle. As early as 1954, Drucker encouraged leaders to push decision making down through the organization. Drucker said, “Knowledge workers have to …

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Businesses have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to improve their employee engagement scores. Yet Gallup, who has measured engagement scores since 2000, has seen little if any change. Engagement has been defined a number of ways including employees who consistency give discretionary eff…

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Drama in the workplace costs $350 billion per year in the U.S. according to Gallup research. Add it up: Blaming, backstabbing, bullying and sabotage leading to absenteeism, turnover and negative company reputation. It is all non-productive work time!

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Employers can increase employee engagement by tying individual contributions to the company’s overall performance. Aligning people with purpose requires clarified expectations and a trusting relationship between the employee and supervisor. Traditional performance appraisals undermine this trust.

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More than a million people have shared their Twitter posts since Alyssa Milano encouraged survivors of sexual harassment and assault to publicly post their #MeToo status this past October. The last time sexual harassment came to the forefront was when Anita Hill spoke out about Clarence Thom…

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Vivek Murthy, M.D. identified loneliness as a serious health condition when he was the U.S. surgeon general. The human brain is wired to be social. Being social helped protect us from predators and increased our ability to get food. Because of that wiring, loneliness creates stress and stres…

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Stanford’s Graduate School of Business’ five-year study of nearly 24,000 workers and almost 2,000 bosses resulted in 6 million measurements to determine the impact of management on productivity. Each worker averaged four managers a year to determine the outcomes from a good manager contraste…

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A Twitter account @YesYoureRacist started after the march in Charlottesville to solicit the identities of those who were photographed marching in the Unite the Right rally. The social media campaign used those identities to encourage employers of the protesters to terminate the protesters’ e…

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U.S. employers spend between $70 and $164 billion annually on training and development according to a number of surveys. The most influential factor in a company’s training budget is the company’s size. Those with 10,000 or more employees average $13 million for training.

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Peter Drucker identified a shift in work from muscle to mind in the late 1950s, which led to the term "knowledge worker." Many knowledge workers stay after work, arrive early or work at home to find time to think about what needs to be done, or give a project the deep thought it requires. On…

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Working in an environment with competing objectives under tight deadlines and fear of punishment is a too common description of work today. A few high stress occupations are challenging whether the results of job stress (i.e. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) qualifies as Worker’s Compensation…

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Until recently, misconduct investigations used the good faith standard. Before the Vasquez case, employers were required to act in good faith before taking adverse action against an employee.

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Onboarding is a human resource process that introduces new employees to the company and their positions. A well-structured onboarding program reduces turnover and gets employees to be productive faster.

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“This year I’ll be a better supervisor, really get to know my staff; maybe even read the handbook.” Sound familiar? If you are planning on changing your behavior, be fair and let your staff know your plans.

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The laws to protect mentally ill employees have been in place for years. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) makes sure group health plans provide as much treatment for mental illness and substance abuse as other medical and surgical benefits. The Americans wit…

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Retaliation is the most frequent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge. The EEOC’s fiscal year is Oct. 1, 2015, to Sept. 30, 2016. The latest numbers will be available in six to eight weeks.

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Alcoholism can qualify as a disability and disabled individuals are considered a protected class of employees. Balancing a protected alcoholic individual’s rights and enforcing work rules is not difficult as long as the employer knows the guidelines imposed by the American with Disabilities …

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The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles employees to take an unpaid, job protected leave. It affects employers with 50 or more employees to assist employees in balancing the demands of the workplace with family needs. Eligible employees may take time off to care for themselves and their…

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Supervisors do not need to know Congress passed the amendment to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 2008 because the Supreme Court’s narrow definition of disability resulted in the denial of protection for many people with impairments including cancer and epilepsy. Now the definiti…

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Last July the Department of Labor (DOL) submitted proposed changes Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees to the Federal Register.

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One of the many hats Human Resource (HR) professionals wear is the Sherlock Holmes’ deerstalker. Knowing how and when to conduct workplace investigations is an essential function of HR departments. HR is required to respond when becoming aware of issues that require investigation.

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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) cares about misclassification of employees as independent contractors and the Department of Labor (DOL) cares, too. These two agencies launched a massive “Misclassification Initiative” which created 100 new auditor jobs.

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Warren Bennis said, "Managers do things right but leaders do the right thing," when comparing the work of managers and leaders in 1989. Bennis' comparison illustrated leaders determine what to do and managers get it done. Today, doing the right thing is more about ethics. Ethics represent ou…

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It is the time of year to thank your employees for their effort with holiday cheer. Before you pop open the champagne, review your social host liability coverage in your general liability policy.

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News of the deadly rampage killing ten people at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg Oregon joined the mass shooting headlines with the nine killed in a biker brawl and another nine killed in a church earlier this year. The statistics of mass shootings continue to climb with two more record…

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The Department of Labor's most recent data shows 59 percent of women of working age are in the workplace, comprising 47 percent of the workforce. The National Partnership for Women & Families found complaints of pregnancy discrimination have risen at a faster rate than that of women in t…

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The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects workers by mandating minimum wage be paid and any time worked over 40 hours in a workweek be paid at 150 percent of the worker's hourly rate. The Act, enacted in 1938, was designed to ensure that "each employee covered by the Act would receive a f…

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Employees do not have to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, it is not too much information to know the sexual orientation and gender identity of one's employees.

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The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) applies to most employers, whether or not a union exists within the company.

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It has been almost two years since the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional.

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The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) provides employees with the right to self-organize or join a labor organization and to engage in concerted activities. Historically, employees gathering at the water cooler is considered protected, concerted activity.