Mosquitoes are the carriers of Zika.

Mosquitoes are the carriers of Zika.

According to an article in the New York Times upwards of 200,000 Americans were expected to visit Rio for the Olympic Games. In addition to seeing great sporting events and watching the U.S. team win 121 medals (American women won enough medals to have finished third as a country) the visitors were also exposed to mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus. Since most of the American visitors are also American employees this poses a problem for American businesses.

Multiple HR issues

According to an article by the law firm Womble Carlyle the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued joint guidance for employers on how to deal with Zika and employees. The ten points in this guidance include:

  1. Educating employee on Zika and administering to those who may be exposed by their job insect repellent and protective clothing as needed. The guidance recommends employers require the use of these protective measures and supplying or reimbursing employees for purchasing these items.
  2. The education should make clear how Zika is spread and in particular focus education to outdoor workers, mosquito control workers, healthcare workers and business travelers.
  3. For companies that have employees that travel to areas more prone to Zika carrying mosquitoes the employer should allow employees more flexibility in their travel schedules.
  4. The guidance points out the Zika could be considered a serious health condition that may trigger a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) need for leave. Employers need to be sensitive to this possibility and follow the appropriate protocol in granting leave.
  5. OSHA points out in the guidance that employees who refuse to travel to areas with active Zika transmission are, under the law, protected from discrimination for refusing to expose themselves to an unsafe condition. The employer may want to consider reasonable alternatives to having the employee travel to “hot” areas.
  6. Employers have to be careful not to discriminate against Hispanic workers or any other worker who may have traveled to or originated from an area with active Zika transmission.
  7. EEOC protection also extends to women who travel, and the company may not make the decision to prohibit women from traveling to infected areas. They should educate the women travelers on the risks, but not make the decision on whether or not they can travel. If an employee wishes to avoid the potential exposure the company should attempt to be accommodating in that request.
  8. HIPAA and other privacy considerations wrapped around the health condition of any particular employee need to be observed and adhered to.
  9. The guidance points out that Zika could trigger an ADA issue, however, companies cannot request medical examinations unless they consider the infected employee a direct risk to other employee. (Given that Zika for the most part is only transmitted by sexual contact that may not be much of an issue.)
  10. The EEOC reminds people that the guidance from the CDC must be followed on whether Zika poses a direct threat and employers are not allowed to make this subjective determination.

How big of an issue will Zika be?

Fortunately Zika will not be an issue for most American workers. The U.S. does a better job of mosquito control than many other places. But companies that have workers that are outside, particularly in the South may want to take precautions. Requiring outside workers to spray some repellent on is not a burden.

But there is never anything wrong with a dose of caution and hopefully you have gotten that here.

For more guidance from the CDC on Zika visit their page here.


Job hunting in a digital age: It is about your reputation

by Michael Haberman on August 23, 2016 · 0 comments

I have written a couple of times and had many a conversation wrapped around the concept of “reputation capital.”  When offered this guest post on the subject and the process of the job search I decided I wanted to post this infographic. The author, Vera Reed, is a freelance writer, an elementary school teacher and a stay-at-home mom.

 Job hunting strategies have changed remarkably now that the digital age is in full swing. HR recruiters are using the Internet to find potential candidates around the world, and they are snooping into your social media too. Recruiters are also using what they find online to make hiring decisions.

This makes your digital reputation invaluable to landing the your dream job. Have you given your digital reputation much thought? If you are an avid use Internet browser with multiple social media accounts, you are leaving a digital footprint recruiters can follow.

Your digital footprint can be your job hunting confidant, and it can also be your nemesis. Optimizing your digital reputation is more important than ever. It allows you to connect and network with recruiters and corporate decision makers without even leaving your home.

Your Digital Footprint is a Breadcrumb Trail Recruiters Follow

Recent studies have found that 75 percent of recruiters search potential candidates online, including social media, acting as a digital cover letter. Similar research also found that 70 percent of potential candidates don’t get hired due to a negative digital footprint.

Create Your Professional Online Persona for Success

Creating a professional online persona is an exceptional aspect to surely enhance your digital reputation. A professional online persona will leave the positive digital footprint you want recruiters to follow like breadcrumbs.

Taking a day to develop a LinkedIn profile will elevate your job hunting chances. One survey found that 89 percent of recruiters have hired candidates via LinkedIn with most jobs posted exclusively on the site, or only online. The value of an online presence is clear, however, only 36 percent of job hunters are using LinkedIn to their advantage.

Social Media Catch-22 Essential to Evaluate

If an HR recruiter wants to find out more great stuff about you, they will most certainly browse your social media. This is fantastic, because for many recruiters, a candidate with a positive online presence is great. Unless your social media content is hurting your job hunting progress.

Setting your social media accounts to private and only for friends is an excellent strategy to keep recruiters from snooping. You can also use a username different from your real name, leaving no trail for HR to follow as well.

These easy and wonderful online tips to boost your digital reputation will showcase your marketability as a potential job candidate. The infographic is more in depth and the informative information below will surely assist your job hunting efforts. Leave a digital footprint worth following and move your career in a powerful direction.

Here is the infographic on your digital footprint.




Lessons in Marketing for HR: From the Archive

by Michael Haberman on August 22, 2016 · 0 comments

Training should be like inflight refueling, always ready to keep the employee going.

Training should be like inflight refueling, always ready to keep the employee going.

As I sit here planning my fall schedule I have put on my calendar that I will be attending #DreamForce16 in October in San Francisco. I get a lot out of attending and I am looking forward to it again. I was reminded of this post from last year where I attended some off-campus sessions on marketing. There is so much that connects marketing and HR and we just barely grasp the concept. So I thought it was appropriate to repost this blog as a reminder.

Last week I attended the #DreamForce15 conference in San Francisco. For those of you that are not aware of Dreamforce, it is the largest software conference, with 170,000 registered attendees. Yes, it does get hard to move around, especially early in the week. It however is a pretty amazing event. Off the campus however, a group called InsideView hosted two days of a variety of marketing oriented sessions. For a variety of reasons I attended many of these. As the sessions progressed I was consistently reminded of the many parallels between HR and marketing.

The onboarding experience

Taking too long to “onboard” employees and then retaining them for a short time is a drain on resources.

One panel, moderated by Robin Saitz, CMO of Brainshark, consisted of Joe Gustafson, CEO, of Brainshark, Walter Rogers, CEO of CCI Global Holdings, Trish Bertuzzi, President & Chief Strategist at The Bridge Group, and Sharon Little, Research Director, Sales Enablement Strategies, at SiriusDecisions. They were discussing “Are your sales reps ready?” The big topic of discussion was the onboarding process and there was nary a mention of HR in the hour long session.

The discussion about onboarding was driven by two needs. First is the ever decreasing age of sales candidates and the rapid turnover many companies have in their sales force. One panelist mentioned that typically it takes 4.3 months to get a sales rep up to speed and the average tenure in the Bay area is 2 years. I am sure those figures are not dissimilar to those of other major metropolitan areas. That is hurting many organizations. Taking too long to “onboard” employees and then retaining them for a short time is a drain on resources.

Trish Bertuzzi and Sharon Little both suggested that a better job of onboarding these candidates needs to be created. One of them said that sales reps need to be taught about their customers first and then taught how to sell to them. In many companies the training is left to individual managers who produce an inconsistent method and language from rep to rep.

What is needed?

There needs to be a program to teach coaches to be coaches

The panelists produced a list of things companies need to do or have. These included:

  • A culture of continuous learning in sales readiness
  • There needs to be a culture of curiosity
  • There needs to be a program to teach coaches to be coaches
  • Because of the criticality of data the CRM needs to be taught from the get-go
  • Lastly, learning is a senior management commitment they need to make and not break

This list can in reality be applied, with few changes, to almost any organization and to any area in the company.

More highlights

  • WTF now stands for “Wasted technology funds”

There were a couple of other interesting ideas or statements I wanted to highlight. Just as in HR today data in sales is critical. Having a good CRM is very important. Obviously at Dreamforce that CRM is Salesforce. It is capable of producing pipeline metrics. The same principles apply in recruiting.

Other comments were:

  • WTF now stands for “Wasted technology funds”
  • Sales content is now the new spam
  • No one reads a marketing email anymore
  • Hire a “fill-in” specialist to take the spot vacated by leaving reps. They must be seasoned, agile and versatile employees.

One good way to view the sales effort, and to my way of thinking the recruiting effort, is to picture a plane refueling in flight, as suggested by one of the panelists. It reduces downtime and increases productivity.

I hope you see the parallels that I saw between marketing, sales and HR. We in HR could learn some lessons.


When selecting people do you concentrate on the candidate or employee experience?

When selecting people do you concentrate on the candidate or employee experience?

I came across an article titled Do people really matter when we design workplaces? Written by Steve Maslin it is directed toward architects and designers. He says that often the first reaction to that question is “of course” and to some it is indeed, but to others Maslin says that often he has found that the concern for people is not there. He says “I would suggest that the belief that people really matter when some designers design workplaces for them is quite frankly all too often skin deep.” He statement got me thinking about HR and HR design and processes and I asked the same question.

Employee experience

Today many companies are saying they are concerned about the “employee experience.” Some of them, like AirBnB have done something about it by combining traditional HR with other departments into a department of employee experience. They are responsible for how the employee touches the company which includes the processes, the building, the work space and even the food program. Not everyone in the HR space is like that however. I wonder how many processes are designed not for the ease of the employee or prospective employee but rather for the HR department.

Have you looked recently?

When was the last time you looked at your HR process? Have you had an outsider look at it and give you and unbiased opinion? Have you polled new hires to see what they liked and didn’t like about applying, getting interviewed and getting onboarded? Have you talked to long-time employees and find out from them about the quality of their interactions with HR?

If “employee experience” is going to be the differentiator in the future for people deciding if they want to work for you then it is something that needs to be addressed today. Perhaps having an HR department is not the solution. Perhaps you need to take a cue from Maslin when he writes:

“Much of the problem has been caused by the way we were trained and how this then impacts the way we now practice our design professions. It is very difficult for example, with some exceptions, to find evidence of sociological and human factors being evident in how architecture, interior design and landscape students are taught.  Those with the knowledge are too often side-lined.  However, for product designers, human factors can be found to be a key element of their curriculum. Within information architecture and design one also sees much greater interest in human factors and attention such considerations as diverse user experience and “customer journeys.” Wouldn’t it be good to learn from other disciplines?”

I like this last line. Wouldn’t it be good to learn from other disciplines? If architecture is considering human factors shouldn’t the Human Resources department be doing the same thing?


9 Steps to Managing a Remote Team

by Michael Haberman August 18, 2016

Tweet As remote teams become more common it is important for managers to understand what it takes to most effectively manage them. This infographic from Hubstaff offers some great guidance. The 9 Step Process to Manage Your Remote Team – An infographic by

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Giving feedback to Millennials

by Michael Haberman August 17, 2016

Tweet My friend Ryan Jenkins posted a great YouTube video on the best way to give feedback to a Millennial. Many Boomer managers and GenX managers have struggled with this. Even Millennial managers may have a problem in giving feedback. We have done them a disservice by rewarding them for everything, and as you will […]

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Work perks that help attract and retain employees: An Infographic

by Michael Haberman August 16, 2016

Tweet I was offered the opportunity to publish this infographic on research conducted by I thought it was interesting. I hope you do to. You’ve placed the digital and print ads, sorted through resumes, done the interviews, and made the offer to what you believe is the best employee for the job. All that’s […]

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GRIT: Do you have it? Can you get it? A Podcast bookreview

by Michael Haberman August 15, 2016

Tweet We have all heard of perseverance. We have all heard of “stick-to-it-ness.” Now courtesy of Angela Duckworth we have Grit. She wrote a book called Grit The power of Passion and Perseverance.  I read her book recently and was impressed by it. It wasn’t all science, though she talked about the science behind what […]

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Future Friday: How do you plan for jobs that don’t yet exist?

by Michael Haberman August 12, 2016

Tweet I came across an interesting article entitled Check out these 10 jobs of the future written by Gordon Hunt for the website SiliconRepublic. He talked about the report put out by Microsoft and The Future Laboratory. Both were an interesting read. All 10 of these jobs are conjectured to be jobs of the future, […]

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Finding your passion: A lesson from Jason Silva

by Michael Haberman August 11, 2016

Tweet We talk all the time about passion. We tell people to find out what they are passionate about and work in that area. I had a discussion last night with two friends and we did a podcast on Angela Duckworth’s book Grit The Power of Passion and Perseverance. She uses the word right in […]

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