21 and (start) up

There’s a growing trend among startup companies – or at least among startups whose business focus on technology and new media.  It seems that while we’re stuck sipping on coffee, these guys are drinking at work (and alcohol, no less).

Yelp’s headquarters has a kegerator, CrowdFlower has a fridge stocked with beer at all times, and Twitter’s refrigerator is full of beer and wine.  (Yet, I’m typing this post while sipping on room temperature coffee made with non-dairy creamer.)

So why are these companies allowing their employees to drink?

Well, there are a number of reasons, but the best seem to be that it:

  • leads to more honest feedback
  • brings out the competitive spirit
  • heightens the chances of office romances
  • makes the janitorial staff feel more needed.

To read more about workplace drinking at companies like Yelp, click here.

To apply for a position at Yelp, click here.


7 truths, 1 big bummer

Call it eating crow, humble pie, a tough pill to swallow, whatever you’d like, there are some difficult truths that HR people have to deal with.  The hardest, I think, is that you’ll never get the full respect you truly deserve (case in point).

A tough pill to swallow, indeed.  But as is the key to moving past all things undesirable, acceptance is tantamount in moving forward.  And so, I present to you “The Seven Hard Truths That HR Professionals Must Learn to Accept,” by TLNT.

In this sobering article, you’ll find a list of seven HR downers, like:

  • no system or process you come up with can fix it all
  • HR doesn’t make the money, so they don’t get the resources
  • regardless of policy, there will always be office relationships.

Click here to read the article, and if you find something in it that you don’t agree with please let us know by leaving a comment or tweeting @hridiot.

Jewel/OSHA (working together)

Jewel Food Stores Inc. is currently facing a fine of $75,000 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  The fine is in response to 13 safety violations in Jewel’s Franklin Park warehouse.

The fines were mainly brought on by a lack of “several required elements” for the handling of ammonia refrigeration systems, including:

  • lack of written operating procedures
  • not documenting inspections and tests on equipment
  • not addressing hazards related to ammonia refrigeration
  • not keeping a contract employee injury and illness log.

Though, Jewel has not yet tried to negotiate with OSHA, Jewel did try to lessen the fines by using a preferred card.  Unfortunately it had no effect.

To read more on Jewel’s OSHA violations, click here.

“You’re Not The Boss Of Me”

Sometimes, being the boss can almost feel like parenting a group of smart aleck teenagers.  This wouldn’t be so much of a problem – if you were allowed to whack them upside the head when they get lippy – but, unfortunately, I’m pretty sure people (and courts) frown on that sort of thing.

Fortunately, however, there is an upcoming webinar – presented by the attorneys at Ogletree Deakins – that aims at helping you learn how to rein in your rogue employees (in a peaceful and non-violent fashion).

“You’re Not The Boss Of Me:  Regulating Employee Conduct On And Off The Job” will take place on Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 at 1 pm CST.

This webinar will teach you what you should be doing to manage your employees’ actions, while at the same time complying with employment law, and will cover topics such as:

  • blogging
  • office romances
  • drug testing
  • workplace bullying
  • and more.

Cost of the webinar is $49 for Ogletree Deakins clients and $99 for other participants.

Click here to learn more about “You’re Not The Boss Of Me.

Numbers Game: Social Media

Like it or not, social media is affecting business, from firing all the way back to hiring.  And at this point, it is certainly safe to say social media is not a fad.  (Though, even if you tried to tell me otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to hear you over the blaring Spice Girls record I currently have spinning in my office.)

I came across a tweet linking to an article from TLNT.com (an HR and recruiting website) that had some impressive statistics about social media use (taken from a survey conducted by Jobvite) that made it pretty clear just how prevalent social media really is in our society and businesses.

Here are the numbers (taken from the respondents of Jobvite’s Social Recruiting Survey 2011):

  • 64% of companies have hired through social networks in 2011 (up 6% from the previous year).
  • 48% of people over 35 are on at least one social network.
  • 92% of everyone using a social network is using Facebook.
  • The average age of a Facebook user is 38.
  • 47% of North American companies advertise on Facebook.
  • 55% of companies will increase their budget for social network recruiting.
  • 89% of companies already use social media in hiring or will in the next year.

Click here to read the full article from TLNT.com.

Avoiding an intern(al) investigation

There are few things businesses like better than cheap labor.  (One, I suppose, would be free labor.)  And a great way for businesses to get cheap or free labor, especially in the summer months, is through the use of interns (or, as I call them, indentured students).

It seems simple enough, exchanging college credit or resume padding for low or no cost labor.  But the Department of Labor (DOL) – as it announced last year – is paying close attention to whether or not your interns really are exempt from minimum wage requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

In the article, “The Hazards of Employing Interns,” you’ll find all six criteria that must be met in order for your interns to be exempt from minimum wage requirements.

If you’ve hired on interns this summer, make sure you’re in compliance, and click here to read the article.

I am HR. Hear me Roar.

I’m not much for confrontation, but, as I’m sure you do, I too have a boiling point.  Everybody does.  You can really only take so much aggravation before you have an external reaction to it (whether you want to or not).  Personally, it takes me a while to get to that point – but it can take significantly less time if the person driving me nuts is sitting right next to me for 40 hours each week.

So, HRidiot readers, I have a question for you:  what do your coworkers do that drives you up the wall?  I want to know, and I want to help.

I want to hear about all the annoying habits, odd tics, funky odors, bad jokes, whatever it may be, that gets you so keyed up at work that it drives you to leave a comment.  (Should Facebook be your thing, click here.  If you prefer to tweet, do so @hridiot.)

Let me know what’s been bugging you, and in two weeks I’ll be back with some helpful tips on how to better cope and some ideas on how to eradicate the issues.