Do you have DRIVE?

When I was a little girl, I lived in a rural area with plenty of animals around, including rabbits. I would see them hopping about and very much wanted to cuddle with them. So, I did what any child would do. I took a carrot, tied a piece of string to it, and set a trap with a cardboard box in the backyard. Alas, no rabbits were caught.

Most of us have been raised to believe the best way to motivate people (or rabbits) is with external rewards like money (or carrots). But author Daniel Pink’s book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, may start a revolution in how we reward people for a job well done, and how we can motivate them in the future. Pink says the secret to high performance and satisfaction – in all areas of life – is not money, but a deep human need to:

  • direct our own lives (autonomy)
  • learn and create new things (mastery)
  • do better by ourselves in the world (purpose).

Pink, a former speechwriter for Al Gore, spoke on this issue for Ted.com. If you’re involved in creating incentives for employees, you don’t want to miss this speech. Click here to view it.

You can find out more about Pink’s book, Drive, by clicking here.

While you were out…

You’re a smart employer. You know that if your employees are not carrying their weight, you have the right to fire them. But what if you make this discovery after the employee takes leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? How can you fire the employee without making it look like retaliation for taking time off?

Here’s how:  documentation.

In a recent case (Moss vs. City of Abbeville), an employee with satisfactory performance reviews took FMLA leave. While the employee was away, the employer realized how much better the team functioned without the employee, noting collectively that the employee had been “unhelpful and unsatisfactory.” However, the employee worked for the company for 29 years – never with one bad mark in his performance reviews. Because there was no previous record of poor performance, the judge would not side with the employer and found him guilty of retaliation. If the employer had documented, he would have been off without a scratch.

Performance reviews are a great way to compile information on employees, both for your own decision making process, as well as to serve as backup if you ever run into trouble (of course, only if they are completely honest).

You can find out more about this case by reading, “May an Employer Terminate an Employee Who is On FMLA Leave After It Discovers the Employee is Not Needed?” by our partners at Shawe Rosenthal LLP. Click here for the article.  (Scroll down to find it – it’s the last article on the page.)

Can your employees be your friends?

If there’s one thing we love here at ACCR…well, it’s professional baseball.  But if there were TWO things we loved, the second would be numbered lists.

So let’s recap:

  1. Professional baseball
  2. Numbered lists.

Another numbered list – 10 reasons why you shouldn’t be friends with your employees, includes:

  1. creating the perception of favoritism
  2. other employees letting your “friends” get away with more
  3. the “friend” employee having expectations of you, like advance notice of things
  4. as is always the case with HR concerns, you could get sued.

Those were just 4 of the 10 reasons not to befriend your employees in an article entitled, “I’m Your Boss, Not Your Friend; 10 Reasons Why Your Boss Shouldn’t be Your Friend” by Dan McCarthy.

To get clued in to the remaining six reasons click here.

Basic NLRA Guide…for free!

I’ll just get to the point – a point sharper than the tip of my Bic #2 mechanical pencil that just keeps breaking no matter how soft I press it to the paper, so I try writing at different angles to see if that will fix the problem, but it still just keeps breaking and I’m getting to the point where I’m wondering if I should just give up and use a pen, but I hate pens, and I have absolutely no idea why I’m not using the computer, and how much coffee is too much coffee anyway…

But on to the point!  Our partners at Barran Liebman LLP have written “Basic Guide to the National Labor Relations Act:  General Principles of Law Under the Statute and Procedures of the National Labor Relations Board.”

With a new political party in power, you may want to brush up on your National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) knowhow.

This simple and searchable PDF file – you can use a search window to find what you need in the document without looking through it – is available for free download on the Internet.

All you have to do to get it is click here.

Lookout Corner: Credit checks used in hiring

Welcome to HR Idiot’s “Lookout Corner,” where I give you a heads up on what employment laws might be coming your way.

Today the topic is everyone’s favorite prescreening tool:  credit checks.

Using credit checks to prescreen and weed out applicants in the candidate pool has long been viewed in a negative light.  But recently – most likely due to the struggling economy – the issue has been getting more attention, both federally and on the state level.

In 25 states, 49 bills have been proposed that would restrict using credit checks in the hiring process.  Most of the bills would not allow credit checks to influence hiring decisions unless financial responsibility is directly related to the position, i.e. the candidate is applying for a position as a bank manager.

And at the federal level, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) feels credit checks are having an adverse impact on protected classes –­ through what they are calling systemic discrimination.

The EEOC has already filed suit against one company, Kaplan Higher Education Corp., alleging “systemic discrimination” in their prescreening credit checks.  So even though no laws have yet been passed in most states, using credit checks in hiring can still be a risk.

To learn more about the rising opposition to credit checks used in hiring, click here.

Can you hear me now?

Is the worker in the next cubicle constantly texting his girlfriend? Is that mother at the next desk over always receiving phone calls from her children? And what’s up with that ridiculous ringtone?!?!

As cell phones have made their way into our lives (and settled down to nest), we’re encountering more problems in the workplace with cell phone use. Does your company have a policy? Is it followed and enforced? Or are you cursing Alexander Graham Bell night and day? Let us know what we can do to get people off their phones and back to work.

Comment and share your experience.

Deny reinstatement after FMLA leave, get ready to prove it

I love to argue.  More accurately, I love proving I’m right – especially when doing so requires painstaking recordkeeping and mountains of documentation.  So if you’re like me, you’ll love a recent court decision regarding Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave.

Thanks to a recent court decision, the burden of proving an employee was not eligible to return from FMLA leaves now falls to the employer (regulations before this case did not specify who – the employer or the employee – had to prove the other wrong).

So now, if you aren’t giving someone their job back after they take FMLA leave, you have to prove why not, as opposed to the employee having to prove why he or she should be reinstated.

It’s somewhat difficult to explain without weaving wordy (and apparently alliterative) sentences, but our partners at Jackson Lewis LLP have written an article that explains the whole thing in plainspeak.

Click here to read Jackson Lewis LLP’s article on the FMLA reinstatement decision.