Month: March 2013

Patty O’Connor Lauritzen: “Choices” of a Working Mother

One day, it happened. I realized that I had “made it.” Wife, mother, career woman.

That’s cool, I thought. Good for me! Snaps for Mommy!

And then, it started to sink in.

I live in a community of career women where the dads organize daddy play-dates. They pack one kid in a carrier and one kid up on the shoulders and they head out on grand adventures.

Initially, the photos I took of them as I headed off to work were novel and fun — all the daddies with their flexible work schedules off for a hike with the babies and toddlers. My husband texts me pictures of them all having a good time.

And I look at those pictures while sitting in meetings or at my desk in an office building an hour away.

What happened?

Super mom, doesn’t feel so super anymore.

via Patty O’Connor Lauritzen: “Choices” of a Working Mother.

Millennials want healthy stuff — big worry for McD!

I can’t say that I’m surprised by this one — more and more people, not just millennials want the choice of healthy food that is also convenient and economical.  There is a choice and some groups are starting to speak with their wallets. Do you have a corp cafe or meal service — and if so —  what are the healthy options like — are they affordable? Do people use them or are they more prone to eat outside the corp cafe or simply brown bag it? In light of the article earlier in the week regarding employees having more skin in the game when it comes to their health and health care costs — this is one that employers and benefit folks HAVE to be talking about. It matters to you AND your peeps.

My two cents — its always great to have options and choices — and accountability.

Making the HR connection, yours, thegirlinhr

For McDonald’s (MCD), the biggest worry of the moment may be Doctor’s Associates Inc.

No, that’s not a medical organization. It’s a business that owns a very large restaurant chain. While it’s true you could be excused for not knowing them, you’re almost certainly familiar with their well-known operating unit. That would be Subway, the Milford, Conn.-based submarine sandwich shop that’s grown at an extraordinary rate and is approaching 40,000 restaurants worldwide. It’s nearly doubled its store count since 2003, the year it reached 20,000 units.

Chicken McWrap Image Provided by McDonald’s Shouldn’t the headaches for Ronald McDonald & Co. come mainly from Burger King (BKW) and Wendy’s (WEN)? They without question pose their own challenges, but, according to a report this week in Advertising Age, Subway also appears to be prominent among the things that cause angst for the Oak Brook, Ill., burger giant, in particular with regard to its appeal to the millennial generation.

Citing an internal company memorandum it obtained, Ad Age says McDonald’s has referred to the wide launch of the chicken McWrap as the “Subway buster,” viewing it as a product that will help keep younger eaters from choosing the sub chain when they’re looking for a fast meal. McDonald’s has learned that, without the McWrap, some 22% of diners in the roughly 18-32 age range would pick Subway, the article indicates. In addition, the quarter-pounder seller says in the memo that it “is currently not in the top 10” of the demographic’s favorite chow establishments.

Lynne Collier, a Dallas-based restaurant analyst with Sterne Agee, has followed McDonald’s for around three years, and she found it a bit curious that Subway would be at the front of the company’s mind. After all, in addition to the found-everywhere chains noted above, other similar-to-McDonald’s and quite widespread restaurants include Jack in the Box (JACK) and Sonic (SONC).

“I don’t automatically think Subway,” she says. “But apparently they are viewing Subway as somewhat of a major competitor.”

What the (young) people want

Stresses about the eating trends of those born in the 1980s and forward aren’t new, says Nick Setyan, a restaurant analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. “The problem with millennials, that’s been a category-wide problem,” he says. “It hasn’t just been a McDonald’s problem.”

A crucial influence in that has been the advent of “fast casual” chains, names like Panera Bread (PNRA) and Chipotle (CMG). Companies in this group might, for instance, go out of their way to emphasize ingredient quality or awareness of social issues, he says. That’s important to the young, and it’s fine that, on the price spectrum, these restaurants would be located a step above a McDonald’s or a Burger King for most menu items.

via McDonald’s Fires Volley at ‘Underground’ Competitor | The Exchange – Yahoo! Finance.

4th graders at McKinney school get rid of chairs

Woke up this morning and found this article and I had to share it on the blog. Its an interesting idea — these children seem to be getting great benefits from this — would getting rid of chairs have the same mental and physical benefits to your employees at work? I a handful of people using these at work — and I must say, I’ve been tempted to try it myself. A potential “thegirlinhr tries” series maybe? 🙂

Making the HR connection, yours, thegirlinhr

McKINNEY –– Stephanie Cravens’ fourth grade class at Vega Elementary in McKinney is on the ball –– literally.

At the beginning of the year, all 17 students gave up their chairs for stability balls.

“As long as they’re not using it as a trampoline, movement is good,” said Cravens. “It’s good for your brain, it’s good for your blood flow. It’s just good for how you feel about yourself.”

Cravens wanted to try exercise balls in her classroom after seeing them used in a children’s museum. Texas Health Plano donated them.

“The health benefits for all the kids and adults as well is a stronger spine and then a strong core,” said Sara Brice of the Texas Health Plano Scoliosis and Spine Tumor Center.

Brice has a daughter in the class and saw the stability balls on the teacher’s “wish list” at the beginning of the school year.

“On a chair you have to lean back and on a ball you have to stay straight,” said student Keyon Brown. “Or else you’re going to fall.”

Posture improved immediately. So did attention.

via 4th graders at McKinney school get rid of chairs | Dallas – Fort Worth.

Do Startups Have a Sexism Problem?

What do you think? Take a look at the article — and maybe even do some other research on the topic — if you were the HR person or manager would you have done the same thing? Why or why not?

Making the HR connection, yours, thegirlinhr

Sexism at startups has once again been thrust into the limelight following a bizarre chain of events at a recent tech conference.

It all began when two male attendees made a joke about “big dongles” and “forking,” a play on tech terminology at software developer conference PyCon on March 18. Tech developer and evangelist Adria Richards, sitting in front of the men, took offense. She snapped a photo of the two and posted the image along with their joke to Twitter.

The backlash was extreme. One of the men, who worked for mobile gaming platform Playhaven, was fired. Richards started to receive death threats, hackers exposed her private information, and both her personal site and SendGrid, her employer, were hit with cyberattacks. Soon after, Richards was fired for “publicly shaming the offenders,” according to a blog post by SendGrid CEO Jim Franklin.

All this raises the question: is the tech world, a sector largely dominated by men, a safe place for women to work and voice their concerns?

via Startups have a sexism problem – Mar. 25, 2013.


CVS To Workers: Tell Us How Much You Weigh or It’ll Cost You $600 a Year

CVS isn’t the first one to do this — but its since its recent new policy announcement, it brings up some old questions.

What do you think of this type of policy — would it work for your employees/company?

Is it fair to expect employees to have some more skin in the game by asking them to take a more responsibility for their health –either by being proactive or paying more money?

And finally — if you were a CVS employee – would you give the numbers, pay the 600 surcharge or find a new job?

Discuss! 🙂

Yours, thegirlinhr!

CVS Caremark has put its employees on notice that they need to reveal their weight or pay a monthly $50 penalty.

“Avoid the $600 annual surcharge,” CVS warns its employees who use the company’s health insurance plan. They’ve been told they are required by May 1 to show up to a doctor for an annual WebMD Wellness Review and submit to tests for blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass and body weight.

“Going forward, you’ll be expected not just to know your numbers – but also to take action to manage them,” the CVS policy states.

While many employers have been pushing its workers to get healthier, it’s usually through incentives rather than penalties. “This is about as coercive and blunt as I’ve ever seen,” said Dr. Deborah C. Peel, the founder of Patient Privacy Rights, a nonprofit organization based in Austin, Texas.

“Many employers want to do something for their workers, but very few of them are stupid enough to say give us the information and sign this form and say it’s voluntary,” Peel said.

Smokers working for CVS are also warned: “You must either be tobacco-free by May 1, 2014, or participate in the WebMD tobacco cessation program.” Defiant smokers can avoid penalties if they are healthy enough in other categories specified by the company.

Despite the company’s promises, Peel worries if CVS and WebMD will be able to keep the employee records completely private. Peel said people are already declining to get health treatment for issues ranging from psychiatry to sexual diseases, for fear the information will not be kept private.

In a statement, CVS said the employee health data will be kept private and it defended its new policy. CVS, which is based in Rhode Island, also said the company would never see the test results.

“The use of health screenings by employer-sponsored health plans is a common practice. According to a National Business Group on Health survey, 79 percent of employers offered a health assessment in 2011 and 76 percent of those employers offered incentives for completion. Also, 62 percent of large employers offered biometric screenings and 52 percent of those employers offered incentives for completion),’ the CVS statement reads in part.

“CVS Caremark is committed to providing medical coverage and health care programs for our colleagues and our benefits program is evolving to help our colleagues engage more actively to improve their health and manage health-associated costs. An initial step to accomplish this goal is a health screening and wellness review so that colleagues know their key health metrics in order to take action to improve their overall health, if necessary.”

WebMD did not immediately respond to a request to comment on its program.

The CVS policy was first reported Tuesday by the Boston Herald.

via CVS To Workers: Tell Us How Much You Weigh or It’ll Cost You $600 a Year.

Its not news its a distration — Happy St. Patrick’s Day: Top 50 Songs About Luck – Yahoo!

Happy St. Patrick’s day from me, thegirlinhr!

I wouldn’t say that I’m terribly superstitious or one for lucky charms — but I thought it’d be a little fun to think of some of my favorite songs that had to do with luck and put together a top 10 list — only I had trouble doing it – LOL — so I went to the net and found Yahoo!’s top 50 songs about luck.

Before you look at the list — think of 10 (or if you’re like me, think of as many as you can) and see where they fall on the list of 50. Did you have some that didn’t make the list? Honestly, there are a lot of songs here I’ve never heard of so I think I’m going to spend the remainder of the weekend preparing for the week and chillaxing to some music!

Enjoy! Yours, thegirlinhr!

No matter what kind of luck you have or where you believe it came from, the concept of luck continues to elude us regardless of our origin, race, religion, gender or the country we call home. Legendary musicians have attempted to answer all the questions we have about luck. Luck has been one of the most popular topics of songwriters and musicians for generations. Here are the top 50 songs about luck: songs about good luck, bad luck, luck with love, superstitious luck, fortune telling luck, and luck of the Irish. Enjoy and GOOD LUCK!

Top 50 Songs About Luck

Good Luck, Bad Luck – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Viva Las Vegas – ZZ Top

Love and Luck – Jimmy Buffett

The Luck of the Irish – John Lennon

I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover – Art Mooney

Touch A Four Leaf Clover – Atlantic Starr

Lucky Man – Emerson, Lake & Palmer

My Lucky Day – Bruce Springsteen

Fortune Teller – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

Bad Luck Soul – B.B. King

Lucky – Radiohead

Lucky Lips – Ruth Brown

Luck Be A Lady Tonight – Frank Sinatra

Hard Luck Stories – Neil Young

With A Little Luck – Paul McCartney & Wings

Superstition – Stevie Wonder

Lucky Lucky Me – Marvin Gaye

Some Guys Have All the Luck – Rod Stewart

Lucky Ones – Loverboy

Lucky Guy – Todd Rundgren

If I’m Lucky – Zoot Sims

I Feel Lucky – Mary Chapin Carpenter

Lady Luck Blues – Bessie Smith

Luck In My Eyes – k.d. Lang

The Lucky One – Faith Hill

Good Run of Bad Luck – Clint Black

Old Mr. Bad Luck – Earl King

Lucky – Britney Spears

The Luckiest – Ben Folds

I Got Lucky – Elvis Presley

You Are My Lucky Star – Petula Clarke

Lucky Me – Chiffons

Good Luck – Mirsa

We Are the Lucky Ones – Charmed

Down on Your Luck – Thin Lizzy

Sister Luck – The Black Crowes

Lucky You – Lightning Seeds

Lucky – Jason Mraz

Trying Your Luck – The Strokes

Good Luck Charm – Jagged Edge

Lucky Star – Madonna

Lucky Song – Dean Martin

I Should Be So Lucky – Kylie Miogue

Lucky Ladybug – The 4 Seasons

Piece of My Luck – Sam Brown

Lucky Number – Lene Lovich

If I Get Lucky – Arthur Crudup

The Luck of the Draw – Pete Atkin

I’m A Bad Luck Woman – Memphis Minnie

Lucky One – Alison Krauss

via Top 50 Songs About Luck – Yahoo! Voices –

Why Marriage Is Good for Your Health — Until You Get Sick |

It’s supposed to last through sickness and in health, but it turns out that it’s a better idea to get married because you love someone, not because you think it’s going to keep you healthy for the long haul.That’s the message from a study published this month in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, which contradicts previous research that extolled the health benefits of partnership. It turns out that marriage is all well and good — until a person’s health starts declining.While studies of married and single people show that healthy unmarried people are far likelier to die than healthy married people during the 20-year research period, the numbers equal out when both married and unmarried people report poor health. “Marriage is more protective for healthy people,” says lead author Hui Zheng, an assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State University.In the study, researchers tracked 789,000 people who participated in the National Health Interview Survey from 1986 to 2004. Participants were asked to rate their health from excellent to poor. Follow-up data allowed Zheng and Patricia Thomas, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, to determine that 24,100 participants died between 1986 and 2006.When they reported excellent health, unmarried people in the study were on average 75% more likely to have died than married people. More specifically, separated folks were 58% more likely to die during these studies, divorced people were 62% more likely and widowed people were 93% more likely to kick the bucket compared to married people.Marriage, then, can be a boon for a health. “It encourages people to maintain good health behaviors and have good social support and a sense of purpose in life,” says Zheng.But while “marriage is good for health, … its protective effect declines as people’s health declines,” says Zheng. Unmarried people who reported fair as opposed to excellent, very good, good or poor health were 40% more likely to die than similar married people in the study. That breaks down to a 39% greater risk of dying for those who were separated, a 31% higher risk for divorced people and 20% higher risk of dying for widowed people compared to those who were married.

via Why Marriage Is Good for Your Health — Until You Get Sick |

John Chambers Says Cisco Must Lean In on Women in the Workplace Issue – Kara Swisher – Enterprise – AllThingsD

As most of the free world knows by now — from the ubiquitous media coverage that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and her new book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” has gotten of late — there are some nagging issues of women in the workplace.

That was also underscored by the huge debate that arose over Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s new rule for the Silicon Valley Internet giant that eliminated work-from-home employees.

Now, Cisco CEO John Chambers is weighing in, after a meeting with Sandberg last week, ordering each of his top managers to come up with new women-focused initiatives and put them into their development plans.

More interestingly, in an internal email I obtained, he also noted that his own leadership in the area had been lacking.

“While I have always considered myself sensitive to and effective on gender issues in the workplace, my eyes were opened in new ways and I feel a renewed sense of urgency to make the progress we haven’t made in the last decade,” wrote Chambers.

He pointed out that only one-fourth of the networking giant’s employees and top execs are women, and only 20 percent out of one million networking academy students are women. Currently, Cisco’s highest-ranking woman is Padmasree Warrior, its CTO and strategy officer, and it has three women board members.

Still, wrote Chambers:

“After reading Lean In and listening to Sheryl, I realize that, while I believe I am relatively enlightened, I have not consistently walked the talk … What we have been doing hasn’t worked, and it is time to adjust.”

via John Chambers Says Cisco Must Lean In on Women in the Workplace Issue – Kara Swisher – Enterprise – AllThingsD.