Happy Thanksgiving from Omega HR Solutions

by Michael Haberman on November 26, 2015 · 0 comments

I hope your holiday is a relaxing and safe one. In the hustle and bustle of our busy lives take a moment to reflect on your circumstances. If you are ready this you are in better shape than many.


Gecko technology helping working women.

Gecko technology helping working women.

Ever wonder how a gecko can walk up a wall or across a ceiling and not fall off? You wouldn’t be the first one to do so. Scientists and engineers have been looking the gecko’s “technology” for some time and they have come up with some practical applications.

Climbing walls

Naturally one of the first applications for using a gecko’s technology was to climb a wall.  Elliot Hawkes, a mechanical engineer at Stanford, and his colleagues have developed pads that fit on hands and feet and allow the wearer to climb up a glass wall. With that capability all kinds of applications come to mind, from military uses to industrial uses. This is even being looked at for space exploration to allow astronauts to more safely move around outside the space vehicles. It could certainly be a boon to the window washing business and would have many potential industrial safety applications. It could help in the lifting process which would open up hundreds of uses.

The technology

In the literature this is referred to as an “adhesive”, but that implies to me a sticky residue that is hard to remove. That would certainly make it less attractive for a lot of applications. Fortunately that is not how gecko tech works. Geckos “can scale vertical walls and even hang upside down because their plump toes are covered in hundreds of microscopic bristles called setae, which generate a kind of electric force known as van der Waals force, strong enough to keep geckos stuck onto surfaces.” These devices are using the same principle, which is important in the next “device.”

Gecko inspired bra

This is an invention that many women in HR can appreciate. It was created by a CalTech Ph.D., Anthony Roy, in response to his future wife’s complaint that she did not have a good strapless bra to wear with dresses and tops that bared her shoulders. Roy was aware of the work going on in gecko technology and he quickly saw the opportunity to marry high tech and high fashion. Unlike other tapes and adhesives that are sticky and hurt to remove (so my wife reports) the gecko tech based bra leaves no residue, doesn’t hurt and better yet reportedly doesn’t move, so no constantly tugging up the bra throughout the night. Roy did a Kickstarter campaign and apparently has sold out of his first batch of bras. If you are interested check out Kellie K Apparel.

What better way to marry technology and practical application, especially given the number of strapless dresses worn on New Year’s Eve.


Photo credit: Capture from the Kellie K website


A House divided on Generational differences

by Michael Haberman on November 24, 2015 · 0 comments

Millennials are the products of the environments other generations created for them.

Millennials are the products of the environments other generations created for them.

If you want to find out about generational differences ask someone, they will have an opinion to share. Are Millennials more self-absorbed than previous generations? Are Millennials more concerned about society? Are Millennials more concerned about entitlement? Perhaps so, but I think the fault for these difference lie not with the Millennials but with their parents’ and grandparents’ generations. They are the products of their experiences and those experiences have been provided by older generations. That is the way it has always been. In my opinion it is just another step on a continuum of mankind.

No scientific proof

In a very interesting article in Entrepreneur writer Tasha Eurich, herself a Millennial, says that studies on the differences between generations are inconclusive. Millennials are often accused of being “entitled”. Studies show that “At work and at home, it’s true that entitlement is the enemy of success. Research confirms that entitled employees have unjustified positive opinions about their talents and contributions, feel deserving of things they haven’t earned, and even see their supervisors as abusive. They’re also less satisfied with their jobs, more likely to underperform, pick fights and behave unethically.” This holds across generations however. An entitled Baby Boomer is as bad as a Gen Xer and a Millennial. If you have been in HR for a while you know this to be fact.

The problems are of our own making

There probably is a difference between generations to an extent, but it is a problem of our own making. Adults have altered the way children have been raised and what they are expected to do. “Participation awards” are an example of a creation of adults for which Millennials carry the blame.

Regardless of how it got started we do have to deal with the differences in the workplace. Eurich offers some excellent tips on Millennials could be managed in order to reduce the impact of the differences. These include:

  1. Don’t concentrate on their uniqueness. Their parents made them feel special, a manager does not need to do that. They do need to be appreciated as a member of the team.
  2. Be absolutely clear on what you expect. If you can do this you will minimize problems. No of them are mind readers. In fact none of your employees are and they would benefit from clear expectations as well.
  3. Don’t provide predictable rewards. Predictability breeds entitlement, much as it did with baby boomers with benefit programs and cost-of-living adjustments. When these entitlements stop people get unhappy.
  4. Don’t work on increasing entitlement. Deal with people on the basis of expectations and consequences.
  5. Be prepared to act decisively. Leadership is what many need to see but few get.

I have paraphrased Eurich’s points and I encourage you to read her original remarks by clicking HERE.

If you find yourself complaining about “those kids” grab your curmudgeon hat and then look in the mirror and realize you are part of the problem. Become part of the solution instead.


Photo credit: Ambro


Five HR Tidbits for Monday

by Michael Haberman on November 23, 2015 · 2 comments

News items in HR to pay attention to.

News items in HR to pay attention to.

Here are some items I noted in my reading that I thought had some importance but at this time do not warrant a full blown blog post;

  1. In a surprising announcement the US Department of Labor announced that the final regulations on the changes in the definition of exempt employees would not be released until late 2016. Most of us expected early 2016 and implementation by mid-2016. I wonder if they are trying to bury these changes in the news of the Presidential election in order to lessen the impact?
  2. Some states and municipalities, bolstered by union influence are trying to pass legislation that restricts retail and hospitality employers’ ability to use what is called “predictive scheduling” for their workforces. Under that practice employers use prediction to determine if they are going to have enough demand to require their entire workforce or if the demand is not there to then cancel the employee’s work schedule. Politicians and unions say this is unfair to workers to be told a schedule and then be called to cancel that work time. The legislation demands “on-call” pay in these situations. Currently about 12 states have such legislation being considered.
  3. Did you know that “cross-device tracking” was a thing? The FTC is concerned that companies can track people through the cross connections of several devices owned by one person. The subject of transparency and privacy have been raised. My guess is that this will become more of an issue as the Internet of Things and mobile communication increases. By the way the IoT is supposed to have 28 billion connected devices in the next 5 to 10 years.
  4. The number one safety violations for Fiscal Year 2015 was related to preventing falls, with failure to provide scaffolding number 3. Failure to have a hazard communication program was number 2. Read the entire list here.
  5. Websites are being scrutinized more closely for their compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The most recent target was the NBA who was sued for having a website that could not be accessed by a blind fan.

Although these tidbits were brief that does not diminish their importance. If you are in these areas you need to pay attention.


Future Friday: Just in time for holiday shopping a practical application of cognitive computing from IBM

by Michael Haberman November 20, 2015

Tweet I have mentioned a couple of times that I have the good fortune of being a designated futurist for IBM, which by the way is a volunteer position. As such I have been exposed to some of the work that IBM is doing with their super computer Watson. Just the other day I got […]

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Recruiting with Games

by Michael Haberman November 19, 2015

Tweet I am a big fan of the Herman Trend Alert and have been for a while. I am also a fan of the concept of gamification. So combine the two and we have this post.  For a long time now, we have been impressed by the application of gamification* in Human Resources. Now that […]

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Being fair does not mean treating everyone the same

by Michael Haberman November 18, 2015

Tweet If you have been in HR for any time you know that there is a misperception that everyone has to be treated the same in order to be “fair.” If only it were that easy. Employees bring different circumstances to every situation therefore the HR person has to consider those circumstances. The EEOC realizes […]

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Fake it until you make it

by Michael Haberman November 17, 2015

Tweet Everyone has those days at work when they just don’t really want to… be sociable, be happy, be friendly, be interested…(fill in your term), but you have to. This is especially true in HR. People come seeking advice and you have to be interested or show concern. You have to attend a meeting and […]

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Pregnancy does not eliminate promotion

by Michael Haberman November 16, 2015

Tweet Since 2011, according to the EEOC, they have filed over 45 lawsuits involving pregnancy discrimination and have recovered over $3.5 million as well as instituting programs and follow up on the companies involved. Being pregnant does not mean less capable As many husbands who have dealt with a pregnant wife know most pregnant women […]

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Future Friday: Collaboration and the era of cognitive computing

by Michael Haberman November 13, 2015

Tweet Back in September I wrote a post called Future Friday: The future of work is all about collaboration. I talked about how technology has changed the act of collaboration by providing a variety of tools to make it easier for people to work together. Then I attended the #IBMInsight conference in October. There I […]

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