This week’s edition of Future Friday is postponed until next Friday in preference to publishing this month’s edition of the Carnival of HR.

This month’s carnival is hosted by Dorothy Dalton, a talent management strategist, and coach based in Brussels, Belgium. Dorothy asked contributors to submit posts and tell her where they fit on a traffic light system. Green for good practices, amber for things that needed some adjustment, and red for things HR needs to stop doing. Sixteen bloggers responded, and I am happy to say that half of them submitted “green” posts. Some samples from this carnival include:

  • Laurie Ruettimann talks about how learning HR takes more effort than just watching videos.
  • Mark Stelzner talks about how to build a case for HR transformation.
  • Claire Petrie talks about connecting with future HR leaders.
  • Yvonne LaRose talks about the value of fifty-year-olds in the workplace.
  • I was included as a green when I talked about the importance of training supervisors.
  • Steve Browne talks about the importance of connecting with other HR professionals, which I am sure he is writing about this in anticipation of #SHRM18.
  • Prasad Okurion shares how we can better integrate the mystical (Organization Development) and the analytical (HR Analytics) in HR.
  • Paul Hebert thinks that HR professionals need to scale back the social media presence, a lesson he has learned from his own life.

There are another eight great blogs I have not mentioned. You need to go to Dorothy’s post at Reflections on The future of HR at Carnival of HR to get all this good stuff. Your work and your attitude will be better for it.


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There are three critical components to creating culture.

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

In business, they say a great idea is worthless without great execution. Taking that a step further, even great execution sometimes can’t salvage a company with poor culture. Brilliance alone might be able to get a firm up and running, and things might even carry on swimmingly for a few years.

But, in time, if a company doesn’t focus on building the principles of a successful culture, the business will begin to unravel. With a hollow foundation, management will be leading a rudderless ship, employees will tune out, and everyone will just end up going through the motions. Indeed, what started as a fantastic idea and excellent business model will inevitably fall apart.

This doesn’t have to be you. And, fortunately, a lot of the key factors in creating a thriving culture are very simple. Here are three critical components that can help your company better define its company culture.

1. Fitting Culture to Organization

Most organizations already have some sort of built-in culture, and this is (usually) a good thing. Rather than demolish everything and start from scratch with ideas from the latest CEO bestseller, work within your means and with the principles you have already set forth; after all, you likely have set forth a good, solid framework of values and principles that have helped the company attain success. Now, it’s all about defining and refining them.

Ultimately, you want to get to a point where there’s an organization-wide understanding of what the company strives to be. If that means creating a competitive environment built on hitting sales numbers and quotas — and sticking around until 8 p.m. to make that happen — then perhaps that’s befitting of your workplace. Then again, your company’s core values might prioritize everyone leaving at 5 p.m. and offering flexible schedules that give employees a proper work-life balance.

Or, perhaps the guiding principle isn’t about behavior as much as outcomes. Some of the best companies have a lot of operational diversity from department to department. But even if attitudes differ, what everyone in a leadership position — from marketing and customer service to sales and IT — demands is high-quality results.

Not everything has to be warm and fuzzy. Just because it’s trendy, you don’t need to follow the Silicon Valley model of filling an office with pool tables, beanbag chairs, and smoothie machines. Instead, start by understanding what your company is already about and how to accentuate the positive, stamp out the negative and get everyone — from the shop floor to the top floor — on board with the core goals and mission.

2. Knowing Who You Are

Knowledge of self is fundamental, as coaches often preach this in sports. It’s less important to have a team that plays one specific style than it is to cultivate a team that knows what it is. If you’re a hard-nosed, tough, defensive squad, play that way and make sure everyone is on the same page. Or, you can be a sleek, offensive machine that uses quickness and creativity to confuse the opponent. Either way is fine.

Some teams win with defense, some win with offense. Some teams have players who are best friends on and off the field, while others keep it strictly professional. Any option can work; you just need to understand what makes you tick and how that drives success. Discovering what you are and building toward that is the real key.

There are many ways to succeed while being yourself. One thing nobody can ever do, however, is become someone else. This isn’t just a life lesson for teenagers, but an axiom that thriving companies embrace — either knowingly or just as a byproduct of the way management has developed the organization.

3. Demanding Improvement and Evolution

One final issue that world-class companies confront is complacency. This can be a killer, as a lack of leadership and inability to innovate has taken down many household names — like Kodak, Blockbuster, and Xerox — despite decades of success. No matter how you define company culture, it must adapt and evolve with the times. In this vein, embracing technology is the most obvious value to instill.

Salespeople are notoriously difficult to convince. But all but the oldest and most stubborn have come to realize how lead generation and customer management tools can transform their work. Customer service reps should similarly get up to date. Management should be bringing in sophisticated call center cloud infrastructure that can make their jobs more intuitive and rewarding.

And everyone in all departments needs to understand the importance of data security and privacy regulations. With all the reputational fallout from headline news incidents in recent years, this is now mandatory for all company cultures. Beyond technology, this also means adapting to modern sensibilities. Millennial attitudes may be the butt of many jokes, but this much is clear: The younger generations of today represent the employees of tomorrow — and they simply think about work differently.

The Power of Culture

Ultimately, the key to defining company culture is sitting right there in the concept: Define. The exact ins and outs or what an organization considers important are less important than ensuring those values and core principles are clear, consistent and adhered to over the long term. It can’t just be a sign on the wall, but rather something all employees practice and preach.

Doing something a certain way — day after day, year after year — is how the greatest companies build their cultures. It won’t be built in a day, but neither was Rome. Just keep working toward the ideals, and remember to evolve and adapt, much like society.

Understanding this and adapting to changes must be part of any culture. Few companies are run exactly how they were 40 years ago or have maintained the same old attitudes about the workplace. And you know why? Because all those that refused no longer have their doors open.


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Getting your story Splained: A #SHRM2018 Vendor Profile

by Michael Haberman on April 18, 2018 · 0 comments


Splainers uses animated video to help engage your employees.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Alfredo Castro, a master storyteller. Alfredo will be telling how to use storytelling to improve our business results. Just the other day I had the good fortune to talk to Mark Smith, who has a company that helps companies do a better job of telling their story. Splainers uses short films, generally animated, to help companies explain ideas, or their plans, or even their employee handbooks, in order to get more engagement from the employees or customers. The concept is that people become more engaged with an idea if is presented in an animated story.

Their genesis

Mark comes from the entertainment business where he worked for Twentieth Century Fox. He learned about the importance of having a story hook in order to engage the audience. One day in a meeting, watching idea after idea presented in Powerpoint presentations, Mark realized there has to be a better way to engage an audience than slide after slide. People were doing a poor job of selling their ideas.

In searching for a better way, Mark came across a small company that was using video to explain things, such as what Twitter was all about. Mark’s newly formed company Splainers bought the idea and started pitching to companies about using videos to turn their ideas into little video stories. It became immediately popular and they ended up with a worldwide clientele.

Connecting to SHRM

The clients they had started coming to them to see if the video methodology could be used to explain HR issues. After some successful projects in this arena, they decided to step into the HR world and they attended SHRM15 in Las Vegas. They quickly attracted companies where HR wanted a good way to explain change and help establish a call to action.

HR departments have used them to get engagement on ideas and policies. In today’s HR world where employee engagement is considered of ultimate importance in both talent acquisition and talent retention, having a tool that quickly captures the attention of today’s worker is invaluable.

Splainers has a video on their website that uses It’s a Wonderful Life as a way of explaining the concept of their company. I was engaged by both their story and their ideas. Check them out at Booth 2316 in the Exhibition Hall.


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Do you have to give compensated breaks under the FMLA?

by Michael Haberman on April 17, 2018 · 0 comments


Breaks required by the FMLA don’t have to always be paid for.

In a recent opinion letter administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, the determination was made that 15-minute rest breaks necessitated by an employee’s medical condition were NOT compensable, at least not all of them. Here is the situation.

FMLA covered

An employee, covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, had a personal medical condition that they rest 15 minutes of every hour worked. In an eight hour work day that meant that the employee received eight breaks. Normally under the Fair Labor Standards Act, any break that is given that is 20 minutes or less must be compensated for by the employer. Accustomed practice throughout business and industry, is one 15 minute break per four hours worked. Just to be clear, the FLSA does not require that breaks be given, but it is considered to be to the benefit of the employer to provide breaks in order to keep employees more efficient and productive. In this particular case, however, the breaks were required for the medical condition of the employee. The employer who asked for the opinion letter from the USDOL wanted to know if these breaks had to be paid for under the standard in the FLSA.

No, but…

In the opinion letter the administrator said:

Because the FMLA-protected breaks described in your letter are given to accommodate the employee’s serious health condition, the breaks predominantly benefit the employee and are noncompensable.2 The breaks described in your letter resemble the frequent “accommodation breaks” at issue in Spiteri, which the court held primarily benefitted the employee and thus were not compensable.

However, the letter goes on to point out that:

It is important to note, however, that employees who take FMLA-protected breaks must receive as many compensable rest breaks as their coworkers receive. See 29 C.F.R. § 825.220(c). For example, if an employer generally allows all of its employees to take two paid 15-minute rest breaks during an 8-hour shift, an employee needing 15-minute rest breaks every hour due to a serious health condition should likewise receive compensation for two 15-minute rest breaks during his or her 8-hour shift.

Therefore, six of the breaks would be noncompensable, but two would be, on the same schedule other employees received breaks. You will recall that under the FMLA that time is provided for on an unpaid basis. While generally FMLA time is taken in larger increments, obviously some situations require increments as small as 15 minutes. That does not change the nature of whether it is paid or not paid until you cross the line with the FLSA.


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3 Social Media Recruiting Strategies

by Michael Haberman April 16, 2018

Tweet Today’s post is from my friends at SocialMonsters.org Recruiting is a vital part of a company’s success. Whether it be for a short-term project, permanent placement or just an interim solution, hiring the top talent ensures that business is continually productive, growing and successful. But what’s the best way to find the top talent […]

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Future Friday: It appears to be all about collaboration

by Michael Haberman April 13, 2018

Tweet I think most of us know that collaboration in the workplace produces better results than no collaboration. That is why so many software applications have been developed to enhance the collaborative effort. New research, however, shows us that it is not just the collaboration effort, it is also who is participating in the collaboration. […]

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Forty nine thousand reasons for supervisory training

by Michael Haberman April 12, 2018

Tweet Have  you ever heard the statement that “ignorance of the law is no excuse?” I heard that when I was younger as an admonition to not do something that was potentially illegal because even if you did not explicitly know it was illegal, you could still be found guilty. As I grew up and […]

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Developing Great Leaders: The Human Workplace Perspective

by Michael Haberman April 11, 2018

Tweet Today’s guest post is about leadership, from a younger perspective than mine, but the thoughts are almost universal. Being a leader within a workplace is about more than having an enviable title and corner office. There are opportunities that the leaders identify and use to get to where they are. There are years of […]

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The gender pay gap is not what we are told it is, who knew?

by Michael Haberman April 10, 2018

Tweet We have all read the news stories about the gender pay gap. The stories tell us how women are only earning 77% of what men earn. As you may have guessed, this is not the FULL story. In a recent study conducted by PayScale.com it is revealed that many factors need to be considered […]

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“No-poaching” agreements are now seen at illegal

by Michael Haberman April 9, 2018

Tweet When companies are accused of restraint of trade you usually think of things such as price fixing or other acts of collusion that restrict the competitive nature of doing business. In the last couple of years, however, more and more cases have been brought in situations where employees have complained that their ability to […]

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