Salaries and success

It’s time yet again for another edition of HR Update‘s nationally syndicated column,Numbers Game. (If an e-newsletter is forwarded from one recipient to a friend in another state…that counts as national syndication, right?)

This week’s topic: salaries and success.

How does one measure success? In accolades and accomplishments, friends and family, frequent flyer miles? (And what if you’re on the metric system?) Really, it’s hard to say. But I think it’s fair to assume that, in the workplace, a great deal of us measure success in dollars and cents.

A recent study by asked the question: How much do you need to earn to be successful? The answers – which were found by polling 5,772 U.S. workers – were surprisingly various.

Here are the numbers:

  • 75% of American workers don’t think they need to earn 6 figures to be successful
  • 28% of those polled felt earning $50-70k warranted success
  • 23% felt they would still be successful earning under $50k per year (Does that mean I’m an epic success?)
  • Men were twice as likely as women to feel they needed to earn 6 figures to be considered successful (32% for the men, as opposed to 17% of women).

Click here to check out all the numbers from the CareerBuilder study – including some interesting information on the dramatic decrease in merit raises since 2008. (What happened in 2008?!)


Pharmaceutical sales reps have to be paid overtime…psych!


Raise your hands if you’re familiar with the hit television show, “Psych,” you know, the one about a psychic detective named Shawn Spencer and his pharmaceutical sales rep best friend, Burton “Gus” Guster. Well, Gus’s boss will be happy to learn that if Gus works more than 40 hours a week, he no longer has to be paid overtime!

This week, the Supreme Court ruled that pharmaceutical sales reps are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime wage requirements. Sorry Gus, but, hey, you always have the psychic crime fighting profession to fall back on!

To see our partners at Ogletree Deakins’ breakdown the FLSA’s new ruling click here, and to see what Shawn and Gus have been up to, click here.

Not Nick Fury: Numbered list edition

If Nick Fury from the Avengers movie has taught us anything – and I think we can all agree that he most certainly has – it is that getting your employees to work hard for you is incredibly more difficult if they don’t trust you. (On the other hand, if your employees trust you right off the bat, there will be little conflict – and that’s really going to hurt you in the third act.) 

As a leader of your company, you simply can’t act like the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury. And not only because leather dusters and eye patches don’t blend well in an office setting – but also because withholding information and not being forthright with your employees about business goals and challenges doesn’t foster the right environment to keep your employees engaged, loyal, and happy.  

So how do you figure out how to lead effectively while at the same time garnering employee trust? Enter numbered list to save the day, lead the way, and come up with a third rhyming phrase that ends in ay!

  1. telling the truth
  2. communicating roles and responsibilities
  3. creating a culture that values “real” relationships
  4. being fair and open
  5. acting as the example – conduct yourself how you’d like your employees to. 

In the Forbes article, “5 Leadership Behaviors Loyal Employees Trust,” you’ll learn that, as a leader, you should be:

 Click here to read the full article from Forbes. And if you haven’t seen the Avengers yet, I highly recommend you leave the office immediately, re-watch Iron ManIron Man 2The Incredible Hulk, and Thor, then get yourself to the theater.

Broaden your HR-izons

Being an HR professional, I’m sure you’ve spent more time than you’d like discussing the employment pre-screening grey areas that are social media sites.  (You know, like Facebook, LinkedIn, and…what’s that other one?)  If only there were a separate social media site just for human resources professionals, where you could connect with HR colleagues and read updates on what matters in your field (and without having to sift through such pertinent information as, “Jamie is pumped for “Game of Thrones” tonight!!!”).

Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for you), somebody already thought HR could use a social networking site long before the idea came to me.  (I always just miss it.  Someone even beat me to the punch on iBalls.)  That’s right – there is a social media site specifically for HR professionals:

On, you can find a wealth of networking opportunities, HR resources, and even post questions to get advice on how to tackle some of those trickier HR issues.  Just a few features of include:

  • free employment law webinars
  • dozens of links to HR bloggers
  • online certifications for HR specialty areas
  • HR comic strips!

The site offers free membership, and (much like LinkedIn) offers a premium membership for a monthly fee.

Click here to check out

Memo: Leave your daisy dukes at home

I know what you are thinking, “It’s 90 degrees out, maybe I can get away with wearing my halter top to work.” We’ve all been there. But as an employer it is your job to lay down the dress code law. So the question then becomes, as the thermometer rises outside, how can employers maintain a professional environment? Sweat no more – our partners at Fisher & Phillips have your back! They have laid out a few important questions employers should ask themselves when drafting a dress code policy.


While I would’ve liked to see more “No white pants before Labor Day” style rules, their questions will surely lead you in the right, leave-your-board-shorts-at-home direction. Check out the article here. To see some stylish, breezy, and (most importantly) work appropriate blouses, click here.

Stress Less

Welcome to another installment of HR Update‘s Stress Less, a segment that has been devoted to providing you with fun and interesting websites you can click through during your work breaks.

Have you heard of the animated gif? No? Well, here’s an example of one. And another. And another. Quirky, right?

Now that you know what gifs are, you’re probably wondering what value they can add to your workday. It’s simple: you can let gifs speak for you in your emails. And trust me, your coworkers will love it.

Here’s an example of how to use a gif. Maybe you just found out you have to come in to work on Saturday – you could send an email to your work friends, saying:

“Just learned I have to come into the office this weekend. My reaction?

 And that’s that – more thoughtful than a forward, quicker than a video link. Gifs are the finest get-in-and-get-out chuckle provider the Internet has to offer. So go ahead,smile.

Broaden your HR-izons

It may seem like some of the research for this newsletter is done on Youtube, but we use a lot of super reputable sources as well. In “Broaden your HR-izons” (see what I did there?), we’ll be sharing those resources with you, so you can grow your roll (your blog roll).

First up – “Business Casual,” Susan Percy’s opinion column in the monthly publication,Georgia Trend. Frankly, we loves it. Don’t worry, it’s not necessarily Georgia-specific, it is necessarily a consistently well-written and interesting read.

Percy’s latest, “The Complaint Department,” explores the culture of complaining in the workplace. Check it out if you’re in the mood for commentary instead of normal law change brief and interested in the more personal side of HR.

An archive of previous issues is available here.