Vendor “love” from #SHRM18

by Michael Haberman on July 17, 2018 · 0 comments

Did you visit the vendors?

If you attended the SHRM18 conference in Chicago and made your way to the exhibition hall you were most likely awed by the size, number, and diversity of companies. I just did not have enough time to visit as many vendors as I had wanted to visit. I had a couple of companies that had asked me to stop by and several that were at the fringe of the hall. So I will profile a few that caught my attention.


Despite that my company is just me, I do evaluate HR systems in order to propose solutions for my clients. I don’t have any enterprise size clients so I look at systems that are better suited for small and medium-sized companies. BambooHR consistently ranks highly for its ability to serve the small and medium size company. In fact, the number of users that can use the system is topped out at 1000. PC Reviews lists it at an Editors’ Choice. They have been around for 10 years and have over 11,000 clients, so they are doing something right. One of the things I like about it is they make it easy for a consultant like me to partner with them and my client to make it easier to interact with my client. They are staying up with the times and have released a mobile app for the system as well. In 2017 they were number 14 on the list of the top 63 employers to work for in Utah. Check them out at BambooHR.

Just Candy

One of the more unique promotional companies I came across is Just Candy. They will personalize any sort of candy packaging for you to use as appreciation gifts, thank you gifts, or even as calling cards. Yeah, I know, not earth-shakingly special, but I was not familiar with them. It was different and the Hershey bar tasted good.

Ergonomic equipment

There were two ergonomic equipment companies in attendance. The first, VariDesk, I had discovered last year. Their equipment is even better this year. If I could ever get my current desk cleaned off I might consider a desk I can both stand and sit at. The second ergo-related company was LifeSpan. The feature they had that caught my eye was the AirSoft Standing board. In fact, they gave one of those away, unfortunately not to me.

In the educational arena, the Social Security Administration caught my eye with educational material to help prepare we older workers for retirement and understanding what benefit we have stored away. Many of your older workers are not prepared to deal with retirement and you could do them a great service in helping educate them on what Social Security can do for them.

Life Beam

Life Beam had personal fitness product called VI, which is designed to work with your fitness tracker and provide you with motivation to make your workout better every day. I will be giving a further report after I have a chance to use it on a trial workout. So stay tuned.


If you visited vendors, ate their food, drank their drinks and took their swag, then make sure you show them some love by staying in touch with them. You never know when you may need them.


Is pay transparency workable for your organization?

This guest post is by Fredrick Cameron, whose work I have published three other times. This time he offered an interesting post about pay transparency. Before I decided to publish this one I asked how people felt about pay transparency to an HR group to which I belong. I have posted some of the comments to my question at the end of Cameron’s post. 

Employees want a company to be fair. And most recently, “salary transparency” has become a heated debate in the industry. Salary transparency— as in all salaries of every employee will be transparent and is available for everyone to see.

While discrimination at work still persists in the workspace, businesses and companies do everything they can to ensure to avoid it and to provide transparency among employee salaries.

Broadcasting Salary on Company Website

Often times, websites of businesses and companies are built to be used for showing off and advertising their products and services as well as promotional discounts and packages. However, because of the rising employee demand for transparency, there are some companies using their own company website to show or broadcast to everyone their employees’ salaries.

Although this is not yet a common method of providing salary transparency, it is being used by some companies. Buffer, for instance, is one of those companies that put all of its salaries on the website for everyone to see.

However, like anything else, broadcasting salary on the company website has its own pros and cons.

Pros of Broadcasting Salary on the Company Website

Boosts employee satisfaction

Transparency in salary can provide employees with the reassurance that they are indeed being treated fairly in relation to their co-workers. And if they sat down and can openly discuss their salaries and get an explanation for their wages, it will surely erase the doubts in their mind. They can now work and focus more and will have a greater job satisfaction than usual.

Allows discussion of salary

You cannot improve the wage gap or increase your own salary if you can’t even talk about it with your employer. Broadcasting salary can invite people to take a look over their salary, compare it with other co-workers and encourage to have a discussion about it. And once it is no longer a taboo, people can then start fixing wage inequalities.

Clears up any doubts and suspicion about being underpaid

When an employee saw another employee with the same position is being paid more, then they can confidently bring it up to their supervisors. Without transparency of salaries, employees will never know if they are not getting a fair deal.

If there is a reason as to why that certain employee is being paid more, then the supervisor can always explain the case. If employees know why they are paid being paid a certain salary, then it can clear up any suspicion and doubts of being underpaid or having favoritism and others.

Encourage Competitions

Everyone wants a better salary. So when there is a salary transparency, lower paid employees will see and strive to be more productive in order to get a higher wage. By broadcasting salary, employees can talk to their supervisor or boss about how they can improve and move higher ranks for a better salary.

Cons of Broadcasting Salary on the Company Website

And while broadcasting salary to company websites seems like a good idea, it does have some negative effects that also need to be considered.

Employees might feel embarrassed

If a company has operated with a confidential salary for a long time, then suddenly switching to a transparent salary system can be too embarrassing and shocking for current employees. Before revealing salaries, employees need to adjust first or else arguments over disparate salaries can rise.

Time Consuming

Broadcasting salary tends to take more time discussing salary than those who keep it confidential. While it encourages discussion, broadcasting salary also means that the company also needs to take more time than usual to talk about each employee salary.

Can give rise to issues

If salaries are not consistent and fair, disclosing them can anger employees as well as lawsuits. Also, if other employees find that their pay is below the market wage, then it could significantly reduce their morale and even quit their jobs.


When thinking about implementing salary transparency on your company website, it is better to think things through and see if it fits your company’s culture. However, if you choose to go with broadcasting salary on your website, be sure that the website design company you choose will ensure confidentiality and security of your employee’s company information from the outside world.


 It will raise so many questions, which I would venture 95% of employers aren’t prepared to answer. Because most employers have little rhyme or reason to their compensation decisions. And their individual decisions culminate in a hot mess of racial and gender bias in the aggregate. So unless they are ready to fix it, why bother sharing?

I have known companies that did this. Some felt it was a great way to short-circuit the gossip about what people got how much money and some (the Whole Foods example for instance) have been successful. I would NOT suggest doing it until the management team reviewed all compensation and was very clear about why each position earned the pay range established for it. There will be many questions so getting in front of it first is imperative. On the other hand, I have seen companies get into a continual battle about relative pay when it was not done with considerable thought and actual practice explaining it to those who will question. Role play those conversations first!

I  just don’t see any upside at all. The concern I see goes beyond those in the same job title. It actually seems worse for those in different positions. The problem is that employee A doesn’t really know what employee B does…they just know that they don’t really like employee B and he or she seems to them like they don’t do much. Or maybe employee C is doing a fantastic job that her manager is well aware of but her colleagues are not. Nobody knows what a person is really doing and their performance except their manager. It’s not healthy for employees to be able to peruse and see how much everyone is making. Companies of any size are still very high-school-ish in nature in terms of human dynamics and seeing each other’s salaries just furthers that. Makes you feel bad about your colleagues and about your manager for paying you less.

We had it at a consulting company I worked for. It was… high maintenance. GREAT in theory but in reality the owner saw himself as the Emperor of Pay and used it to flagrantly reward those in his favor. I think he started out with the right idea but over time it became a shortcut to managing and communicating more effectively.

Being in the public sector, this is already a reality for me and does prompt me to be certain about any and all pay practices we have in place whether they are collectively bargained or not.

If you wish to weigh-in on your experience with pay transparency please comment below.


Future Friday: Meeting a digital nomad

by Michael Haberman on July 13, 2018 · 0 comments

If you have read my Future Friday posts before you know I have written about the gig economy and the concept of digital nomads. In fact, I wrote Future Friday: Just what is the “gig” economy and can you get into it? this past April. I mentioned that I know a few individuals that live the lifestyle of a digital nomad, somewhat. The people I know aren’t entirely nomadic, they have home bases to which they return frequently. So not truly a nomadic lifestyle. That changed however on a trip to Santa Rosa Beach, Florida for a quick birthday celebration.

Striking up a conversation

A favorite coffee shop I discovered on a previous trip is The Bad Ass Coffee Company. I had discovered them on Hawaii many years ago and was thrilled to find them in Florida. There were some chairs on their front porch, but there was a young woman sitting there as well. I asked if we could sit there and she said the seats were open and she even volunteered to watch our packages while we went inside to purchase our coffee.

Coming back out of the shop, coffee in hand, I thanked her for guarding our things. She said that she had to fight off so many people. Having used that line myself many times I chuckled and liked her right away. I am a big believer in striking up a conversation with the people around me. She said something in that casual chit-chat that prompted me to ask her what she did. She explained she had her own virtual business which provided Online Business Management (OMB) services on an ongoing basis, or as an ad hoc service. Well, that caught my interest and our conversation lengthened to the point she put her book down.

The Nomad

Her name is Courtney Davis and she hails from Missouri. She had held a number of corporate jobs, living in various places around the country, including Hawaii. The jobs were ok, but she longed for something more when she read the book The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris. She took courses online to improve her skillsets. Thus inspired, she launched her business last year. She has worked from Bali, Toronto, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Switzerland, leading the digital nomad life. Her business, Novus Collective does projects for “7-figure online business owners that have been featured in Forbes, Cosmo, CNBC, Elite Daily, and Business Insider.” To my good fortune, on this day she happened to be working from the front porch of a coffee shop in the panhandle of Florida.

She talked about the many challenges of being a self-employed entrepreneur. Lack of health insurance, the potential inconsistency of income, especially as you get started, the lack of a consistent home office. But we also talked about the good things as well, such as not having to go to a consistent home office, meeting a wide-range of new people, and selecting the nature of the work you do. You do not have to be a nomad to work with her, so check out her website and see what she might be able to do for you.

An interesting lifestyle

Unlike Courtney, being a nomad is not for most people. Certainly, there has to be some wanderlust in your heart. But it may not be as hard as you think. Writer R. L. Adams, a software engineer, serial entrepreneur, and author of the blog called Wanderlust Worker provides some guidance and tips for becoming a nomad. You have to be able to cut expenses and live off passive income until you can get work established. You have to have particular skills that lend themselves to working remotely, especially beyond your local Starbucks. You need to decide where you want to go. You need to set goals and make plans and then you need to do. Adams’ article can be found at How To Become A Digital Nomad And Travel The World. Check it out.


FLSA Follow up

by Michael Haberman on July 12, 2018 · 0 comments

FLSA cases are expensive in many ways.

As a follow up to my post yesterday about the FLSA turning 80 years old last month, I decided to look at some of the big cases involving the FLSA. Perusing the US Department of Labor newsroom here is what I found:

  1. S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in U.S. District Court Ordering Oklahoma Restaurant to Pay $335,687 in Back Wages and Liquidated Damages
  2. S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in New Jersey Gas Station Owner Paying $132,735 in Back Wages
  3. Tennessee Manufacturer Pays $50,000 in Back Wages and Damages
  4. S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Federal Court Ordering West Virginia Company to Pay $1,635,804 in Back Wages, Damages
  5. Michigan Ski Resort to Pay $60,500 in Back Wages and Penalties for Violations of Foreign Visa Program and Child Labor Laws
  6. S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Amarillo Meat Market and Restaurant Paying $74,388 to Resolve Overtime and Child Law Violations and Penalties
  7. S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Manhattan Restaurants Paying $363,284 in Wages and Damages to 109 Employees
  8. S. Department of Labor Recovers $86,486 for Employees at Mission Viejo Residential Care Facilities After Investigation
  9. S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Florida Lawn Care Service Paying $55,345 in Back Wages
  10. Arizona Restaurant to Pay $179,800 in Back Wages, Damages, And Penalties After U.S. Department of Labor Investigation
  11. South Florida Medical Transportation Company Pays $222,059 in Back Wages for Overtime Violations after U.S. Department of Labor Investigation

In just these 11 cases these employers paid out over $3 million in back wages and penalties. Plus the resultant bad press. Plus the resultant bad employee relations.

It is just not worth the price to be that ignorant.


Eighty years of the FLSA and companies still screw it up

by Michael Haberman July 11, 2018

Tweet Two things struck me as I was reading today. First, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has been around for 80 years now. You would think that every business course would cover this law, every book on entrepreneurship would cover this law, or every management team would understand the importance of this law. Unfortunately, […]

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Happy Fourth of July

by Michael Haberman July 4, 2018

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Answering questions about Holiday Pay for the 4th of July

by Michael Haberman July 3, 2018

Tweet This was originally posted on July 5, 2011.  Many people screw up paying correctly for a holiday. Even people with the title of HR Manager had to ask how they should do this. For that reason, I publish this every year that the 4th appears on a weekday. The Fourth of July is Wednesday of […]

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Future Friday: Hey HR now is the time to push for AI!

by Michael Haberman June 29, 2018

Tweet I listened to a webinar the other entitled How Big Data and AI are Driving Business Innovation in 2018. Presented by Randy Bean, CEO, of New Vantage Partners, on behalf of MIT Sloan Management Review, the webinar was not HR related nor did it address HR in any manner, but I thought the information […]

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The June HR Carnival- Post #SHRM18

by Michael Haberman June 28, 2018

Tweet This edition of the HR Carnival appears just a week after #SHRM18 and is hosted by Jazmine Wilkes at  HRJazzy. She is “a young professional trying to learn the ways and create my own journey in HR.” From what I have seen she is doing a pretty good job of it. The theme for this […]

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Images from #SHRM18

by Michael Haberman June 27, 2018

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