Future Friday: Training will be critical in the next decade

by Michael Haberman on October 24, 2014 · 0 comments

Training in technology and leadership will be critical to success in the coming decade.

Training in technology and leadership will be critical to success in the coming decade.

According to a study conducted by Oxford Economics for SAP on SuccessFactor clients the future for many companies shows them to be unprepared in a number of different areas regarding people, talent, and HR. One area in which these companies reported being behind the curve, from both the executive view and the employee view was in training. That will be a major stumbling block for future success.

The study

The study, Workforce 2020, was focused on the European, Middle Eastern and Asian companies. They found these companies “…lack the structure, strategy, culture, solutions and resources to manage employees effectively.” I sincerely doubt that a survey of American companies would have been different.


One are in particular that was suffering was in training. Companies are deficient in two areas in particular, technology training and leadership training. The study showed that “The need for technology skills will grow over the next three years, especially in analytics and programming/development. 48% say analytics skills will be needed by employees in three years, and 59% say programming/development skills will be needed.” Yet little is being done to provide this technical training despite that the workplace is becoming ever more technological. And it is not due to the millennial generation not being interested. They are very interested and are in fear of becoming obsolete because they don’t get training. Yet training remains in short supply and company executives don’t address the issue. Despite wanting trained employees companies are not doing much to provide the training necessary to make employees successful.

Leadership training

Two weeks ago I addressed The Impending Leadership Cliff. Companies, despite this very foreseeable disaster, do little to prepare people. In the survey only 41% of employees surveyed said “their company offers them opportunities to expand their skill sets.” Millennials, in particular, are dissatisfied with options for development and a clear career path. Employees in general feel their company executives are not prepared to lead the company in the future. According to the survey “Ratings across a range of leadership attributes are middling at best.”

What will it take?

Despite surveys like this one, and executives own admission that having talented employees is critical to their success, less than half do anything about it. We are not going to be able to rely on technology doing all the work. There is still “human” work that will have to be done, but it is going to require skill levels and decision making abilities that our employee base does not have. Companies are going to have to step up and start producing training for employees otherwise these companies will go through a crisis of leadership and lack of talent that may prove to be disastrous.


Voting laws: Are you aware of what yours are?

by Michael Haberman on October 23, 2014 · 0 comments

Are you aware of what your state requires you to let your employees do when it is time to vote?

Are you aware of what your state requires you to let your employees do when it is time to vote?

If you are like me you are happy to see the national election approaching on November 4th. Actually if you are like me you want to see November 5th get here. I just want the inane election ads to be over with!  In the meantime you may get some questions as to what the company allows an employee to do on Election Day. Do you pay people to vote? Do you have to allow them to vote?

Election laws

According to the folks at HR Matters E-tips there is no Federal requirement that states that an employer must allow employees to vote, let alone pay employees for that time. That is controlled by state law and unfortunately those laws vary widely from absolutely no state law to ones that require specific time and pay for voting. It is up to each individual business to know and understand how their state defines the requirements for allowing employees to cast a ballot.

In my state of Georgia the law says:

Employees that give reasonable notice to their employers have two hours to vote in any election for which they are qualified to vote. If the hours of work of such employee commence at least two hours after the opening of the polls or end at least two hours prior to the closing of the polls, however, the time off for voting is not available.

Generally polls are open from 7 am to 7 pm in most locales. Employees generally go vote prior to work or will go vote after work.

Most states that do have voting laws say that employees who wish to take time voting must give notice to their employer that they intend to take the time. It would be a good idea to inform employees of the notice requirement and arrange with them the necessary schedule changes if needed.

Modern considerations

In the days past voting had to be done on Election Day. Then absentee ballots were created. Then we extended voting times to allow people to cast ballots weeks ahead of time. Some states even made voting available in shopping malls. As a result the need for someone to actually cast a ballot on Election Day has diminished some, but some of us still enjoy the process of voting on the actual day.

Generally it is a good practice to allow employees to vote prior to work and not dock them any pay if that process makes them late. Alternatively, you can allow employees to leave work early in order to make it to the polls in time, and you don’t dock their pay for that either. This policy encourages people to be involved in the electoral process, which is ultimately a good thing.

With employees that work shifts that make it impossible for them to vote either prior to or after their shift you need to make an arrangement for them to have time off in order to vote.

To understand specifically what is required in your state visit State-by-State Time Off to Vote Laws.


Is pay secrecy disappearing in the private sector?

by Michael Haberman on October 22, 2014 · 0 comments

Has pay secrecy finally met its end?

Has pay secrecy finally met its end?

There has been an ongoing debate about pay secrecy versus pay transparency for some time now. The old way of doing business versus the new way of doing business. The old way said that what you made was your business and no one else’s. The new way says that transparency is more egalitarian and helps eliminate discrimination. The tide appears to be in favor of pay transparency winning the battle.

Prime drivers

There are a couple things moving the world away from pay secrecy toward pay transparency. The first of these is just the general feeling that being open about pay will help eliminate discrimination. In a world where the argument is that women only make 75% of the pay men make pay transparency would reveal if indeed in any particular organization that were true. If it was true pay transparency would force companies to clean up their acts. If it were not true it would bolster the company’s reputation as being a “fair” place to work.

A second driver is the recent effort of the National Labor Relations Board to enforce the provision of the National Labor Relations Act that prohibits companies for acting against an employee covered by the Act for revealing what he or she makes. It is against the Act to discipline a covered employee for violating a prohibited company policy. Many companies run afoul of the NLRA by having such a policy for covered employees. You can have a policy but it can only apply to employees, such as supervisors, managers and HR people, since they cannot organize under the NLRA.

The third driver is the effort of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. According to the law firm Ford HarrisonOn April 8, 2014, President Obama issued Executive Order 13665 to address the apparent lack of transparency in employers’ pay policies and practices.” Recently the OFCCP has issued proposed rules for this executive order that will have a significant effect on pay secrecy.

E.O. 13665

According to Ford Harrison “Executive Order 13665 amended Executive Order 11246 to include a provision prohibiting covered entities from discharging or discriminating against employees or applicants for inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing their compensation or the compensation of another employee or applicant.  In plain terms, Executive Order 13665 would prohibit covered entities from maintaining what are sometimes referred to as “pay secrecy” policies.” In this order the definition of a covered entity is any business that holds a contract or subcontract worth $10,000 in a 12 month period. The hurdle for being a federal contractor is not a high one and this will force many companies to be open about their pay policies.

The definition of compensation in the proposed rules is pretty broad and includes just about any type of pay an employee might receive. According to Ford Harrison, “A non-exhaustive list of examples from the NPRM include salary, overtime pay, shift differentials, bonuses, commissions, vacation and holiday pay, allowances, insurance and other benefits, stock options, profit sharing, and retirement contributions.“

Philosophical adjustments

If you are in a company doing business with the federal government, or even many state governments, pay transparency is going to be a way of life. For companies that are not covered by federal rules you may still want to take a look at transitioning. A new generation, growing up in a much more open society, is not all that keen on pay secrecy. It may keep your from getting talented employees or at least cause you problems in court as they reject your philosophy.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


The Power of Collaboration

by Michael Haberman on October 21, 2014 · 0 comments

I had the good fortune to be at Dreamforce14 this past week. For those of you who have not heard of Dreamforce, it is the annual conference for SalesForce.com. It is a huge conference and pretty much dominates San Francisco when it is in session. I wrote about it when I attended in 2012 and the job creation engine the company is in How You REALLY Create Jobs. This time I came away from the conference with a strong lesson in the power of collaboration.


Will.i.am, of the Blackeyed Peas fame, is not only a singer he is also a technology creator. At Dreamforce he revealed his Puls device, a wrist worn smart device that he insists is not a smart watch. It is so much more. It does have a watch, but it is also a phone, a GPS, an applications platform, music capabilites and much more. It is also attractive and fashionable. You can find out more about the device by visiting here.


While the device is pretty incredible, the story Will.i.am told about its creation was what I paid attention to. He started about two years ago by funding, out of his own pocket, the formation of an engineering team from Bangalore and Singapore. He then sought out AT & T to provide the phone capabilities. He sought out a European telecom company, and a GPS company. He sought the help of people he knew in the fashion industry to make the device more “wearable” and attractive. He got encouragement from Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com to bring it to market. He went back to the ghetto he grew up in and worked with high school students to write applications for the device at the same time he was keeping them in school and out of gangs.

Granted, his celebrity probably opened some doors for him, but how many technology companies really would have paid attention to a “singer” if he did not have a great idea.

This story is one of encouragement and collaboration. We can all collaborate; we can all get collections of people around us to work on ideas if we try. How might you use this idea in your business or your department?

Watch this brief YouTube to get a better idea of what this collaboration is about.

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How by doing good you can do right by your company

by Michael Haberman October 20, 2014

Tweet I received an email that started off “What if I told you that you could help 23 million people today?” I knew it was not junk mail because I recognized the name of the company. So it intrigued me and I looked further into this subject. This blog post is the result, because I […]

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From the Future Friday Archive: Advice for Future HR Professionals

by Michael Haberman October 17, 2014

Tweet This is from the archive and was very popular when first published. A friend and colleague, Bill Ramsey, asked me the other day what I would tell a high school senior, who had expressed an interest in human resources, about what they should be doing to prepare for a career in HR. He thought […]

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Why you should banish the word “would” from your interview vocabulary

by Michael Haberman October 16, 2014

Tweet I long ago became a fan of what is called behavioral interviewing. It is based on the premise that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. While not perfect, I feel it is the best method to help you determine if someone has the behavioral skills you are looking for in order […]

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From the Archive: Why Unions Are Bad For Companies, Employees and Customers

by Michael Haberman October 15, 2014

Tweet This post is from June 2009. It still attracts attention and comments. It is based on a study by the Heritage Foundation. Since unions are more active than they have been in the past several years I thought it was relevant again. If you have ever read my blog you know that I am […]

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5 Investments To Make Employees More Productive

by Michael Haberman October 14, 2014

Tweet Today’s post is brought to you by SocialMonsters.org. I particularly like the library idea. Short of whips and other devices not used since the dark ages, you cannot force employees to be productive. Productivity comes from within and is related to self-efficacy and subjective well-being, reports the China Safety Science Journal. When workers are […]

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Good documentation pays off! Not once but TWO times.

by Michael Haberman October 13, 2014

Tweet Document, document, document… it seems often that this is all HR people in the “trench” ever say. Supervisors and managers get tired of hearing it and, face it, we get tired of saying. Generally nothing ever happens with that documentation given the thousands and thousands of time it is said. Just occasionally we get […]

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