From the Archive Future Friday: Merging AI and workers

by Michael Haberman on July 20, 2018 · 0 comments

We need to be prepared to work in concert with developing AI.

In a discussion on Twitter the other day the topic of discussion was the use of AI in the HR department. Thus, I thought it would be appropriate to repost this brief discussion from February. 

For those of you that are frightened by the prospect of a robotic future, where your job, even your life has been taken over by artificial intelligence you can relax. The prevailing point of view today is not a take over of human jobs by artificial intelligence, but an augmentation of human work by teaming up with AI. Super-entrepreneur Elon Musk has said it is essential for humans to team with AI and has even started a company, Neuralink, to investigate the technology necessary to make the merging possible.

Of course, Musk suggests a physical connection between AI and people but not everyone is going to be thrilled to have a device implanted in order to make them smarter. So others suggest that AI be designed to work in concert with humans, taking away the mundane tasks allowing humans to concentrate on the more human aspects of their jobs, such as empathy.

The biggest task that HR professionals have today is to determine which jobs in the organization can benefit the most from being connected to AI and to start preparing those workers for that eventuality.

Are you ready?


Controlling your emotions at work

by Michael Haberman on July 19, 2018 · 0 comments

Before you react follow these rules.

Humans are emotionally driven. This means that many situations occurring at work may be emotionally charged. Letting your emotions get the better of you can be detrimental to working relationships. One of my favorite gurus, Harvey Mackay, has a story and some suggestions about controlling your emotions. I am not going to tell you the story, but you can read it here. Take just a moment to click through and read the very short story so you understand the premise for the advice that follows. Many, if not most, of you, will recognize yourself in this scenario.

Control your emotion

Mackay says “Smart people don’t let their emotions get out of control.” But we all know that, regardless of how smart we are we may sometimes lose control. Mackay suggests “Before exploding at work, remember this advice.”

  • Pay attention to your behavior. What’s your tone of voice?  What is your body language saying to the other person?  Focusing on your reactions and emotions will help you stay calm.
  • Watch and listen. What do the other person’s tone and body language tell you?  Try to discern whether the other person wants something from you that he or she isn’t asking for.  For example, an employee may be afraid to challenge a manager directly.  Ask if there’s something more going on.
  • Stay positive. With a deep breath or two, try to control the impulse that makes you fight back.  Try to find something positive, even just the fact that you’re gaining experience dealing with conflict.
  • Focus on the here and now. Don’t bring up problems or disagreements from the past.  Stick to the present situation.  Keep words like “always” and “never’ out of the conversation – like “You’re always late to work” – to avoid blowing the argument out of proportion.
  • Ask yourself, “Would I rather be right or happy?” In some cases being right may be more important, such as dealing with safety issues.  In other situations, you might be better off letting the other person win.  It’s never productive to let stubbornness get in the way of listening to another point of view.
  • Take responsibility for communication. You have to clear the air – even if the other person tries to let the problem drop.  Insist on an open, honest dialogue that lets everyone express his or her needs and opinions honestly.

In HR we deal with emotionally charged situations all the time. Following Mackay’s guidance can often disarm an emotional bomb that can hurt relationships. In fact, this advice is good in outside of work relationships, especially marriages.

Try it, I think you will see improvements in your life.

If you thought Harvey Mackay’s advice was good and you would like to read more you can find a way to get his great inspiration by visiting his website here.


Questions about salary histories continue to be banned

by Michael Haberman on July 18, 2018 · 0 comments

Do you ask salary history in your hiring process? You may need to rethink that.

Do you rely on what someone has made in the past to determine what you are going to pay them for your job? If the answer is yes you may want to rethink that methodology. The State of Hawaii is the latest in a growing list of states and local governments that are banning salary history questions in the hiring process. According to the HR Dive, which keeps a running tally, there are currently 10 states and 8 local government bans currently in effect in the United States.

The bans vary

The extent of the bans varies by jurisdiction. For example, the State of New York prohibits state agencies from asking salary history questions and the ban does not include private employers, except in New York City. The city has extended the ban to all private employers in the City. Hawaii, the most recent state to ban salary history, includes all employers. So you need to be aware of both state and local laws.

What should you do?

The best thing to do is to establish a value for the jobs you have, set a wage structure, the make an offer to a candidate based on that wage structure. You cannot make the determination that the candidate may or may not accept the offer, you have to let them make that determination. You give it your best shot. You had better make it a good offer because some places are pushing to eliminate salary negotiation. It is becoming a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.  (See Future Friday: Will employees be setting wages in the future?)


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.


A Guest Post: Salary Broadcast on the Company Website? Do You Agree?

by Michael Haberman July 16, 2018

Tweet 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 […]

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Future Friday: Meeting a digital nomad

by Michael Haberman July 13, 2018

Tweet 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 […]

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FLSA Follow up

by Michael Haberman July 12, 2018

Tweet 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: S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in U.S. District Court Ordering Oklahoma […]

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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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