4 Team Building Activities That Give Back to the Community

by Michael Haberman on January 28, 2015 · 0 comments

Volunteering can boost employees.

Volunteering can boost employees.

Today’s post is brought to you by my friends at SocialMonsters.org

For a company’s morale, it is important to periodically host team building exercises. To build an engaging rapport and trust between employees, leaders should consider connecting team building with an emphasis on charitable organizations.

Here are four ways to team build and give back to community:

Build a Home

A great way to build team spirit and give back to the community is to complete a project that focuses on the outdoors. Organizations like Habitat for Humanity allow corporations and their employees to choose a day for people to build, renovate or repair a home in the community. Participants will have to work together in a non-office setting to determine if they can communicate effectively to build parts of the house or complete a renovation.

This activity allows employees to learn about their strengths that aren’t necessarily visible in an office environment and challenge teams to work on a project that is outside of their comfort zone.

Charity Rides

The biking community is a tight-knit group of people who work together and build trust within their network. Employees can learn from their example. A group motorcycle ride might be an option for corporations to consider to build increased communication among their employees.

This is an excellent way for employees to assess their own personal skills and nominate others who they believe have the leadership and technical skills to lead a motorcycle charity race. Some popular charity races that corporations can participate in includes Ride for Kids, a charity that raises money for children with brain tumors and Tour of Honor, a self-paced motorcycle race that honors veterans. There is nothing like the open road to help employees learn about one another and work cooperatively for a good cause.

Operation Backpack

Organizations like Volunteers of America provide low-income children with backpacks and supplies to help them succeed in school. Employees can organize a scavenger hunt and forms teams to discover hidden school supplies that are in the building as a way to make it a fun way to engage with their colleagues. By making children the focus, teams are more apt to bond over trying to make a larger purpose their supreme goal. This activity could be a great way to pacify office politics and allow employees to step away from highlighting petty differences of opinion in their day-to-day work.

C.A.S.T. for Kids

Employees can get out of the office and get outside by participating in the Catch a Special Thrill (C.A.S.T.) for kids program. This event was designed to create a safe environment for kids ages five to 18 to experience a day of fun on the water. The events helps to encourage skill development and a love for the outdoors. Volunteers that will be out on the water should first obtain a boating license and safety certification to ensure that they meet all laws and requirements before hitting the water. Online resources such as BOATERexam can help. Preparation and planning for this event takes between six and eight months and this project requires fundraising.

There are numerous ways to bond together outside of the office and also participate in a good cause. Thinking outside of the box and learning to work with your colleagues by focusing on a charity is a great way to build rapport and also give back to your community.


JuvodHRYesterday I reviewed a solution for doing reference checks easily and inexpensively. Today I review a solution for conducting performance reviews easily and inexpensively.


JuvodHR was created by Peter Spevacek and Susan Mravca because tools to help hire, manage and review employees were not available to small companies. Most solutions were geared toward much larger organizations. So Spevacek and Mravca created a solution that provides an evaluation system that is easy to use and very affordable.

In this software, in the cloud, you can find pre-written job descriptions based on the powerful O*Net system. These descriptions can easily be customized to specifically meet your need. When I say easy I am talking real simplicity. A simple click of the mouse will get you the customized job description you need. They can be further tailored to specifically match the particular job or employee as your desire.

Designed for companies with fewer than 100 employees the system gives you a way to create and store all the documentation needed for effective performance review. It allows you to create corrective action reports in addition to reviews. You are supplied with guidance on what to say to the employee.

You are not restricted by the software or the cost to the dreaded “annual review”. In fact you can utilize this as often as it works for you. My philosophy is that effective performance evaluation is an ongoing process and not a single event and this software works well for that. The pricing is per capita and is very reasonable.

If you struggle with performance evaluation, as do many small companies, I think this solution will provide you with an effective method of giving good feedback to employees. I highly recommend you check it out at JuvodHR.

Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in this company and I have not been compensated for this review. I am, however, thinking of offering this to my clients.


Two reviews of HR solutions for small businesses

by Michael Haberman on January 26, 2015 · 0 comments

Rillate_Logo 2In my HR experience I have found there are two activities that small businesses don’t do particularly well. These are reference checking and performance evaluation. I was recently introduced to two solutions that I feel work very well for small and midsized businesses. I will review them in order of how they would occur in the workplace.

Making sure you candidate is who they say they are

Background and reference checks are important parts of your hiring process. They are critical to ensuring you are getting the quality employee you desire. There are two parts to this process. The first is checking criminal records, driving records and credit records, as appropriate to the position. There are numerous providers for this. The second part of this process is actually checking references. These are people who have worked with the candidate and can offer observations on the actual work performance and character of the candidate. HR departments are usually tasked with this process, but in small companies this often gets over looked. This is where a solution provider named Rillate comes in.

Rillate operates under the principal that references should be checked early in the hiring process. They ask “why go through the time and effort of interviewing only to have your efforts shot down by bad references.” Therefore they offer and easy and inexpensive process to get the needed information. Here is what makes it easier. They get your candidate’s name and email. They then have the candidate sign a release and provide names and emails of references, preferably supervisor, co-workers, and customers. They then construct a set of questions for these references. These questions are designed to test the veracity of the reference by including questions about information that is known to be false. This keeps any references that are confederates of the candidate from providing untruthful pieces of information. If they confirm something known to be false then that reference is discounted. And they do all this at prices that are very inexpensive. They will also verify degree information.

If reference checking has been something you are not doing I would encourage you to do so. The quality of your hires will improve. And I encourage you to check out Rillate to help you with this process.

The next solution deals with performance evaluation and will appear in tomorrow’s blog post.

Disclaimer: I have no financial interest nor have I received any compensation for this review.


Future Friday: The future of retirement is in danger!

by Michael Haberman on January 23, 2015 · 1 comment

A large number of employees don't plan for retirement. What should companies do?

A large number of employees don’t plan for retirement. What should companies do?

A just released report indicates that the retirement life for a large part of the population, around the world, is going to be dire in ten to thirty years. The report indicates that people are not saving for a number of different reasons. The future of our employees lives are in danger. Should HR do something about it?


The HSBC report indicates that in the US 25% or more of the population does no planning for retirement, but internationally 38% do no planning. Despite the planning that is done however, in the US and worldwide there are barriers that prevent saving for retirement, such as paying off other debts like a mortgage. Americans in particular are caught in this cycle, much more so than in other countries (55% vs 33%).

Lack of understanding and awareness

The report also indicates that worldwide 33% of employees have no idea how to plan for retirement and in the US that number rises to 41%. Generally they have no idea of when to start saving for retirement or how much. The report said “two-thirds (65 percent) of retirees globally who failed to prepare adequately for a comfortable retirement say they did not realize this until they had fully retired.

What can be done?

The report indicates that there is a major lack of understanding and prioritization around the world. What can be done about this? The answer is training and education. Companies should do more than just provide a retirement method, such as a 401(k). Responsible companies would make sure there is more than a modicum amount of education that goes with that retirement plan.

The socially responsible thing to do?

In a time when employees don’t stay at companies for extended periods many companies may feel no obligation to be concerned about the future of their employees. They may figure that they will not be around anyway why do we in HR need to care? The answer is that it is the socially responsible thing to do. Every company should provide retirement education. Perhaps if employees heard the same message at every company they went to they would get the message.

If we do not do this education, if employees do not get the message, then society will be on the hook for providing for retirement and then we all pay. It is unlikely I will be around to worry about that, but many of you Millennials in HR will be around and you may wish you had done something about it when you had the chance.

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Three pieces of environmental scanning for HR professionals

by Michael Haberman January 22, 2015

Tweet One of the important aspects of being an HR professional is that you are aware of the world around you. Having been in that role I know that in reality it is tough to do the ENVIRONMENTAL SCANNING that is necessary to fulfill this obligation. We get so caught up in the day-to-day work […]

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Are you ready to comply with the OSHA reporting deadline?

by Michael Haberman January 21, 2015

Tweet The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has made some changes recently. Are you ready to comply with them? Are you ready to meet the February 1 posting deadline? Here is what you have to do. Effective January 1, 2015 As of the first of the year a new reporting requirement went into effect. I […]

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Does sex discrimination protection extend to everyone?

by Michael Haberman January 20, 2015

Tweet Title VII of the Civil Rights Act has been around since 1964. One of the provisions of that law was protection from discrimination on the basis of your sex, meaning at that time that it was illegal to discriminate against a woman on the basis that she was a woman. As time has progressed […]

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The Noose gets one state tighter on employee misclassification

by Michael Haberman January 19, 2015

Tweet I have written numerous times on the dangers of employee misclassifications. You can find some of those posts here, here and here. The U.S. Department of Labor has made it very apparent that they see employee misclassification as their prime mission. They have been enlisting state departments of labor in this effort and they […]

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Future Friday: If robots do the easy stuff what will we do?

by Michael Haberman January 16, 2015

Tweet More and more we hear more and more about robots taking work away from humans in the future. Some prognosticators say this will be disastrous for humans, for example,  Elon Musk’s tweet that artificial intelligence may be more dangerous than nuclear weapons. Futurist Ray Kurzweil, on the other hand, is more optimistic. He feels […]

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Carnival of HR for January 2015

by Michael Haberman January 15, 2015

Tweet Yesterday Steve Browne, who is one of the big men in HR, literally and figuratively, published the Carnival of HR: Make HR better edition. I had written this post for that carnival, HR would be better if: Seven step to improve self-esteem, but I must have submitted the wrong link. Therefore in reading this […]

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