The Carnival of HR- The August Edition

by Michael Haberman on August 21, 2019 · 0 comments

It has been a while since I have hosted a Carnival of HR. To be honest, it has even been a while since I have contributed to one. However, earlier in the year when Robin Schooling put out a call for hosts I threw my hat in the ring. Unlike many hosts, I have no theme for this Carnival. I wanted to see what people considered their recent best post. I am not presenting these in any particular order with the exception that I am starting with Robin Schooling, the moderator or The Carnival of HR. She is an important voice in HR and she happened to have the first email I opened when I started this post. So here goes!

Robin Schooling, @RobinSchooling, the Head of People Operations for Strio Consulting, asks the question “Who is responsible for turnover?”, a question often answered with the response “HR.” But if you are in HR you know that is not the right answer. In Turnover, Retention and the Crusade to Assign “Responsibility” Robin discusses who has responsibility for employee turnover. HR? The Manager? The Employee? You will have to read Robin’s post to find out. Will you guess the right answer?

Next up is a post from Workology, written by Marie Fincher, on 4 Important HR Writing Skills You Should Master. Communication is a critical skill for the HR pro and writing is top on that list. As a writer for the past 16 years, I know that it is not as easy as everyone thinks it is. Reading Marie’s post may help you get past some of the initial hurdles.

The next post, also from Workology, is actually a podcast featuring Beth White. It is a discussion on the use of Chatbots in HR. This is a topic that needs to be listened to because HR pros are going to be caught totally unprepared if they don’t listen now. So listen to Using Chatbots in HR.

Naomi Bloom offers a piece that has been timely for me. I have reached that age that people I know are dying. We all know that dying is a natural phenomenon, but it does not make it easier. It becomes easier when you think about the memories. In Let’s Talk About Life: The Power Of Memories Naomi talks about what is important.

Claire Petrie, ‎@_strclaire, who I met a couple of years ago on the SHRM blogger squad, tells us, meaning HR, that it is important for HR to be prepared for a job fair. She attended one and was shocked by some of the behavior of the HR “pros” attending. If you are going to do it, do it right! Read Hey HR, if you’re going to attend a job fair…

It turns out that Canadian employers are having some of the same difficulties with marijuana legislation as are U.S. employers are having. Attorney Stuart Rudner talks about this in Can’t measure impairment, can’t manage safety risks, won’t hire medical cannabis user. You will find that the advice he gives Canadian clients works well with US companies as well.

Dorothy Dalton, @3PlusInt, talks about something I have noticed in working with various companies. Many companies talk about inclusion, but only pay lip-service to it. This is what Dorothy calls the inclusion illusion trap. In her post, Does your company have the inclusion illusion trap? Read this insightful post so you can recognize the problem and work a plan to deal with the issue.

In Bar the Door, Katee Van Horn, @Kateebar7, argues that we not only need balanced teams, but we also need inclusive teams. She provides us with eight steps on how to create more inclusive teams. Katee says “Remember that it’s okay to be uncomfortable.” I think that is important because many people will be. Read how you can overcome that issue.

Julie Winkle Giulioni, @Julie_WG, talks about something that many people think is obvious, but far too many business owners and managers forget. In Growing Your Business Means Growing Your People offers an infographic that helps us understand that issue. Print it off and pin it to your wall, or better yet, the owner’s wall, or the that of the CEO.

Today employee data is critical in making decisions. Part of that data you collect comes from doing exit interviews. Judy Lindenberger, @LindenbergerLLC, reminds us of the importance of exit interviews in What is an Exit Interview and Why Do Them? As she says “Exit interviews are great ways to collect data for developing retention strategies.” Pay attention.

Jeff Cates, the CEO and President of Achievers, writes Why Leaders Need to Be Recognition Champions. He says “Nearly one in five say their manager/company is “horrible” at recognizing them and 43 percent of employees rank their manager/company just “OK” at recognition.” I have seen this far too often in my own career, with managers who were loath to say anything positive to employees because they felt that doing a good job was what was expected of employees and nothing needed to be said. So read this and take Jeff’s tips on how to become a recognition champion.

Diane Peterson-More helps us communicate better. I mentioned above how important communication is to the HR pro. You can always improve. You can definitely improve if you follow the guidance provided by Diane in Five Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Communication. I particularly like Tip #2, but I am not going to tell you what it is. You will have to read about it. Does anyone have any questions?

Teams in HR can be very important. Mark Levison, of Agile Pain Relief, tells us how working agreements can help groups get over the rough spots, the social friction that teams experience. If you read Scrum by Example – Team Friction Inspires Working Agreements you will learn how to get over that hurdle.

Well, that closes this month’s selections. I hope you learn something, I certainly did.


Next Week is Safe and Sound Week

by Michael Haberman on August 8, 2019 · 0 comments

Here in Georgia, many school children have gone back to school, marking the “end of summer.” Unfortunately, just because children have gone back to school it does not mark the end of the heat associated with the time of year. As I drive around and see workers outside I often feel for them because I know how miserable working in the heat can be. As an employer, if you have workers who are performing work outside, or you have a plant that is not airconditioned, you have an obligation to keep your workers protected from problems with the heat. Next week is OSHA’s Safe and Sound Week. On their website, they offer tips that every employer should be aware of in order to protect workers, either inside or outside, from heat-related problems.


OSHA has a webpage that offers a number of solutions for paying attention to possible heat-related problems. They offer tips on:

  • Engineering controls
  • Work practices
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Training

The training includes how to recognize common signs and symptoms of heat stress. This advice alone is worth knowing as this extends beyond the workplace to your personal life. It may save a family member one day. As the Benjamin Franklin axiom goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is as true today as it was when Franklin made the quote.

As someone who has had to tell a family member that their loved one has been taken to the hospital due to something that happened at work, you never want to be in that situation. Prevent it from happening!


Four Blogs from Lawyers you need to be reading

by Michael Haberman on August 7, 2019 · 0 comments

There are four blogs from four lawyers I know that are excellent resources for HR professionals. They write commonsense and not “lawyerese” thus making them very readable.

Jon Hyman

I have been reading Jon Hyman’s Ohio Employer Law Blog for years. Although I have never met him in person I feel like have known him in real life. I value his point of few and have reached out to him with a professional question or two over the years. Although the title of his blog is Ohio Employer Law Blog, his advice is pretty non-geographic in its application. In fact, his post today EEOC settlement teaches lesson on extended leaves of absence as ADA accommodation, is based on an Atlanta company’s mistake. Jon has an ongoing list of stupid things employers do. Make sure you avoid making his list.

Eric B. Meyer

Operating out of a Pennsylvania law firm, Eric B. Meyer is a wonderful resource for HR. I like him because he is snarky and puts a bit of bite into his posts on The Employer Handbook blog. Don’t let the title fool you, it is not just about handbooks. Today’s post, for example, is a resource that the EEOC provides that all HR departments need to utilize. Eric is a great resource for good stuff and for a good laugh. I have the good fortune of serving on the SHRM blog squad with Eric.

Jeff Nowak

Jeff is also a long-time acquaintance that I had the good fortune to meet in person at an Illinois conference where we were both speaking. Jeff is a specialist in the FMLA and in HR we all need one of those. Jeff writes FMLA Insights, a blog that has gotten him in the ABA Journal’s Blogger Hall of Fame. well written and practical the blog relates cringe-worthy stories of how employers and employees make major mistakes in dealing with leave issues. Given some of the issues my clients have had to deal with I make sure I read it all the time.

Robin Shea

Although I have not met Robin, or have ever talked to her, I have the utmost respect for what she writes and the guidance she provides. She has been fodder for a number of blog posts I have written, including one just the other day. Robin has been an attorney for 30 years and has a list of accolades a mile long. She is admired and respected by other attornies and I find her post eminently readable. She is good at distilling the message. She can be found at the Employment and Labor Insider published by Constangy, Brooks, Smith, and Prophete.


What exactly does “exempt” mean?

by Michael Haberman on August 5, 2019 · 1 comment

Being exempt means you can be required to work whatever hours your employer requires.

Being exempt means you can be required to work whatever hours your employer requires.

This is a fairly consistent question from employers today so I decided to rerun this post. There is an update at the end, however.

The Fair Labor Standards Act tells us we have two types of employees, non-exempt and exempt. Unfortunately these terms are not very explanatory and people often get them confused. Let me see if I can explain.

Exempt from what?

Basically according to the FLSA the term “exempt” me “you don’t have to pay’ and what you don’t have to pay is overtime. Overtime is a payment of wages that compensate people for working more than 40 hours in a workweek. When you say someone is “non-exempt” that means you MUST pay them overtime whenever they work more than that 40 hours. In some states overtime has to be paid for work of more than 8 hours in a day. So non-exempt means “not exempt from being paid overtime.”

Conversely “exempt” means that particular employee is exempt from being paid overtime, in other words you do NOT have to pay them anymore even when they work more than 40 hours in a week. But of course it is not that simple. To be considered an exempt employee they also have to meet the following requirements:

  • They have to be paid a minimum salary of $455 per week (though this is about to change)
  • They must be paid that salary for ANY hours worked in that week and this is regardless of the quantity and quality of the work performed
  • They cannot have any deductions taken out with exceptions (See The Seven Reasons You Can Dock an Exempt Employee)
  • They have to meet certain requirements in the job as required for each category of exemption. (See FLSA Exemptions are about DUTIES not Titles)

Basically the trade-off for employees and employers is that as an employee you are getting a guaranteed amount of pay on a regular basis and as an employer I can require an employee to work any amount of time I need to have worked.

That trade-off often raises questions from both sides of the equation. Employees generally ask “Can they make me work more than 40 hours without paying me for it?” The answer is yes, regardless of how your workweek is defined. The employer is guaranteeing your salary will not drop below a minimum and that is the trade-off.

Can we pay exempt employees overtime?

A frequent question I get from employers is “We have been working people hard and we want to pay them extra. Can we or does that ruin their exemption?” The answer to that is “yes you can” and “no it doesn’t!” You not only can pay exempt employees more you probably should. You can do it by paying a bonus, commission or even overtime, be it straight time or even time and half. As the law says:

the exemption is not lost if an exempt employee who is guaranteed at least $455 each week paid on a salary basis also receives additional compensation based on hours worked for work beyond the normal workweek. Such additional compensation may be paid on any basis (e.g., flat sum, bonus payment, straight-time hourly amount, time and one-half or any other basis), and may include paid time off.” 29 CFR 541.604

What makes an exempt employee non-exempt from a pay standpoint is reducing the salary amount below $455 through improper deductions thus removing the guarantee.

Coming changes

This is the way the FLSA exists today as of March 11, 2015. The USDOL is working on a revision of the law that will alter salary levels and the duties requirements, so stay tuned to be informed of those changes. You can read more at  The USDOL is getting ready to disrupt your workplace!

Update as of August 2019:

The USDOL is still in the process of updating the definition of what it means to be exempt by raising the salary level to $679 per week (equivalent to $35,308 per year). Above this salary level, eligibility for overtime varies based on job duties. This proposed level is due to take effect in January 2020.

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5 HR Trends Impacting the Industry

by Michael Haberman August 2, 2019

Tweet Today’s post is a guest post written by Megan R. Nichols who is a technical writer and science blogger. The human resources industry is one that’s been around for nearly as long as there have been employees, but the world is changing, and HR needs to change with it. What are some of the […]

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#SHRM19 Keynote speaker Brené Brown

by Michael Haberman July 31, 2019

Tweet I have to admit that I did not know who the keynote speaker Brené Brown. I could tell from the buzz in the audience that she was well known and well thought of, so I paid attention. I am glad I did. I have also looked at some of her stuff online since #SHRM19. […]

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EVERYONE needs training on the Fair Labor Standards Act!

by Michael Haberman July 30, 2019

Tweet The Fair Labor Standards Act, also known as the wage and hour law, has been in the news a great deal lately. In at least five cases in the past week errors costing tens-of-thousands of dollars have been in the news. Employers are making mistakes on overtime payments, especially in calculating the “regular rate […]

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Three great reads to start your week with

by Michael Haberman July 29, 2019

Tweet There are three blog posts that I thought were important enough to point out to you this week. The first of these was written by attorney Robin Shea. Many of you may have heard that Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta has resigned and President Trump has nominated Eugene Scalia to replace him. As is […]

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Observations on #SHRM19- Continuing the Buzz

by Michael Haberman July 26, 2019

Tweet The most recent SHRM conference, #SHRM19, which was held in Las Vegas in June, was my eighth in a row. As an official member of the Blogger Squad, I was obligated to write about the conference. Unfortunately, I took some vacation and then the 4th of July holiday, and as a result, it has […]

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5 Industries AI Will Rule In 2019

by Michael Haberman July 25, 2019

Tweet Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic in the tech world for a couple of years now. The Verge claims that industries need to start looking into AI solutions for their businesses if they want to stay relevant. This is why more fields are using the innovative technology in their operations, making processes […]

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