making the hr connection

An Alternative to the Standing Desk – Meet Cubii #Kickstarter

I am IN LOVE with Kickstarter — its not just the the scientist (aka the geek in HR) in me who loves all the creative inventions — the innovation really fuels and inspires me — and then there are the times I come across something that I’ve just gotta have.

This is my next gotta have — the Cubii! The Cubii comes to us from the folks at fitnesscubed.com. I almost missed it — but thanks to TechCrunch, I came across this cool product!

I went to a standing desk earlier this year — well a “makeshift” desk. I’ve been documenting my experiences (trying different options and waiting to blog about it) over the last few months and as much as I love it, I still kinda hate it. It does take a while to get use to the standing and the days that I wear my high heels I either hate myself or I’m walking around barefoot — fortunately, I work at a place where no one even questions that or gives a second look.

What I like about the idea of the Cubii gives you another alternative to the standing desk. I’m really tempted to buy it to try it out and use it in addition to one of my set ups. Finding ways to combat “the sitting disease” is on my list of things to combat (its at the forefront of my mind and writings)– and I know its on many others’ lists as well by the number of publications and studies on it — plus my sessions at #IHRIM14 and #SHRM14 really continue to shine the light on employee wellness, particularly for those who are working sitting at desks all day.

What do you think (of this alternative and the whole standing desk things in general? Would something like this work in your office place or at your desk?

If I give in to my kickstarter temptation and try it out, I’ll let ya know!

 

Making the HR Connection, yours

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The Gender Bias Gap is So Much Worse Than I Thought

I’ve always tried to be positive in general about overall gender and racial biases — so much to the point that my parents who lived during a *much* different time always thought I was naive.  I don’t really like to take about race (but that doesn’t mean that I don’t care or don’t have opinions on it) — but gender is different. I don’t often focus on the fact that I am a woman — its not something that I often think about — and yes I know the irony of that coming from someone who refers to themselves as the GIRL in HR.

However, I came across this article this afternoon and was heartbroken — pain in my chest, heartbroken. It made me sad.

Shortly after Kathryn Tucker started RedRover, an app that showcases local events for kids, she pitched the idea to an angel investor at a New York tech event. But it didn’t go over well. When she finished her pitch, the investor said he didn’t invest in women.

When she asked why, he told her. “I don’t like the way women think,” he said. “They haven’t mastered linear thinking.” To prove his point, he explained that his wife could never prioritize her to-do lists properly. And then, as if he was trying to compliment her, he told Tucker she was different. “You’re more male,” he said.

This Is What Tech’s Ugly Gender Problem Really Looks Like By   

I’m not even sure what I would say if someone said this to me — especially in a professional setting. Do people *really* still think like this? And if so… do they *really* let these things come out of their mouths … in public? ”

At this point in time — I don’t think I have any commentary or thoughts. I am seriously speechless … I’ve been staring at a blinking cursor for 25 minutes. For me, this is a time to think and reflect — we have come so far, but we still have a long way to go.

How can we even talk about “leaning in” and “gaining a seat at the table” when people of influence and power think and act in such a way?

My parents were probably right about me…

Take a look at the article for yourself and let me know what you think — its a little lengthy, but worth the read — also — don’t skip the comments (normally I do) — there are some good (and bad) examples of gender biases.

Making the HR connection, yours,

Infographic: How Employees Are Wasting Time

I came across this infographic on time wasters of employees and wanted to share– and be sure to take a look at the graphic — its about inefficiencies — not about employees goofing off. I’m not crazy about the title of the graphic, but I have to admit, it is what grabbed my attention. Do you have these in your office?

Rypple, the creator of the infographic, proposes “cloud based unified communication” systems as the answer — what do you think — does that solve all the problems or are there other possible solutions? Does it depend on the size of the organization? Geography? Industry?

I’d venture to say “yes” — but I’m almost always in the camp of “there is no one right solution for everyone, but there is a right solution for you.” Its usually never as simple as the infographic makes it, IMHO. However, what I do agree with, it finding ways to help make employees as efficient as possible. There are certainly things in the HR space – both programmatic and tech that can help with this. Ultimately, HR should be what “HR people” do — and employees should not have to worry about it. They should be able to focus on the tasks at hand that help to contribute back to the bottom line and customer service. We should always be mindful of how to remove those barriers. Some of the points in the graphic are not generally things owned by HR — however, if it impacts the employee, a large piece of me is inclined to say that we should get involved to help move those barriers out of the way — we may not be able to directly solve it, but we can get things going, bring the right people together, and help make the case for change.

Making the HR connection, yours

Two Monkeys Were Paid Unequally, See What Happens Next

For those of you who know me or read some of my other articles, you know that I have an academic background in science — and I love science! I actually loved doing experiments and research — so imagine my surprise when I saw this excerpt related to two things that I dig — science and HR-related matters.

So first, some of the things that make this cool — just the primal drive for all things that are “fair” and “equal” — the monkey on the left knows immediately what is going on and his actions cry out “hey, that’s not fair” … actually it was more, “hey, that’s not fair and I don’t want your stupid cucumber — I know the grape is better.” Honestly — I’m not all that surprised by the result — are you? You may have been around children, or even remember times yourself as a child when you said, “that’s not fair!” But its neat to see the physical response of the monkey on the left.   (sidenote: I might add, I am not sure that “equal” and “fair” are the same thing.)

I’m not sure that I want to venture too far into a “fair” and “equal” discussion (hey, its an early Saturday morning and I’m a bit off my game) — also if you’ve seen some of my photos — I have multiple cultures and backgrounds (as do many of us) — so I bring to this discussion a my own perspectives of what I see and have observed — even when talking just about gender inequalities and leaving anything racial out of it. I’m not interested in having “THAT” discussion either — but what I will say, is that I think that while this an easy display of a reaction to what is perceived as in-equal — I think that it may only be part of the picture.  Pay equality, at least in the US, is not this simple.  Plus, I don’t know much about the social constructs of this type of monkey. However, while many people might focus on the monkey on the left – -what about the monkey on the right — seems to be okay that they are doing the same thing and he gets grapes and the other monkey gets cucumber — what, if anything, does that say? Also, by rejecting the cucumber, is there some parallel between understanding what one is worth in terms of compensation?

This is only an excerpt from de Waal’s study and the clip below is only an piece of what he presented at the TED Talk — so I’d be curious to know more about the conditions and scope of the entire study — and what was the overall goal (hypothesis to be tested). What would happen if the monkey on the right was paid in grapes, and THEN cucumber? What would happen if the monkey on the right had to give two rocks to get a grape and the monkey on the left still only had to give one?I don’t know — I guess that there are tons of permutations. I’ve also been saying “he” in reference to the monkeys — I have no idea their sex — but wouldn’t it be curious to know what the genders where and if different combinations gave different results?

I’m not sure that I have any ground breaking to conclude — but I just wanted to share, especially in light of some of the recent discussions on the  Fair Pay Act.  But if YOU have any thoughts or conclusions that you want to share —  love to hear ’em!

What was your reaction to the clip? Are there any parallels or similarities to what we are seeing with people?

Making the HR connection, yours,

 

 

 

We Should Applaud NY Mets’ Daniel Murphy for taking Paternity Leave

So many of you know, I’m not a “big” sports fan (Horns, tennis, boxing, and MMA is about all I follow .. and poorly at that), but we’ve got a big story with some HR implications coming out of sports news.

photo credit: Yahoo! Sports

Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy put fatherhood ahead of baseball, and now, some outraged New York Sports radio hosts are outraged.

Since 2011, Major League Baseball has allowed players up to three days paternity leave, but some outraged New York Sports radio hosts say that when you’re making millions, “one day off is plenty.”

“All right, one day, I understand,” said WFAN morning host Mike Francesa. “In the old days they didn’t do that. One day, go see the baby be born, and then come back. You’re a Major League Baseball player — you can hire a nurse!”

“You get your a** back to your team and you play baseball,” added WFAN’s Craig Carton. “That’s my take on it. There’s nothing you can do anyway. You’re not breastfeeding the kid.

Read more: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2014/04/mets-player-daniel-murphy-s-paternity-leave-causes-controversy-101816.html#ixzz2xv5D3JLk

You know me. I’m going to have to throw out my typical “girl in HR” catch-phrase, “seriously?!?” Three days is hardly extraneous… and I find the other comments just offensive. Just because a man doesn’t birth the baby doesn’t mean that he has any less right to have bonding time with the child. These radio hosts views are just off, imho. Do they think its ludicrous for the man to be in the delivery room, to go to parenting class — I border that their comments might lead someone who doesn’t know them better that they think that birth and raising children is “woman work.” We’ve moved SO far past that.

photo credit: bavia.com

So stepping off the soap-box and let’s make the HR connection. Paternity leave. In the US, women AND men can take up to 12 weeks off to care for a newborn if they qualify for FMLA leave. Some companies go beyond that and have added additional maternity and paternity benefits to help encourage employees to take that time off by helping to eliminate some of the financial burdens of staying home to care and bond for a child. I wish I could put my hands on some updated data, but the trend is that many men don’t take full advantage of benefits that may be available to them — now the reasons for that can be anything from financial to thoughts on their place on raising children — and every combination in between.  I think that one thing that we can do in HR is to help put programs in place that will help facilitate and encourage expecting parents, regardless of gender, to take the time off that they need… if they want to. We should also applaud and speak positively about examples, such as Daniel Murphy, of men who are taking the time off and using their benefits. Parental leave is not a “working woman’s issue” anymore… its an issue of work-life balance and that is bigger than either gender alone.  We don’t need to force the choice, but provide options for people to use and make their own decisions — and don’t talk crap or be negative when people take advantage of benefits afforded to them.

As an aside, on this story Daniel Murphy takes high road while Terry Collins fires back after Mike Francesa and Boomer Esiasion question Mets’ paternity leave from NY Daily News there is a poll for readers to partipate in that asks: Do you think Mike Francesa is over the line questioning Daniel Murphy’s paternity leave? When I took it the results showed 86% YES and 14% NO.

I’m interested to see where the story develops — from a work-life, parental leave, and HR perspective — I’m sure that the story will continue to be popular over the next few days or week — but let’s try to keep the underlying point of the story developing and out front.

Making the HR connection, yours,

 

 

 

Want to see more of the story — here’s a few more links and a videos:

 

What’s up with your employee … Disengagement or Depression?

I found this article (Depression in the workplace) by chance — I saw a tweet from Dr. Sanjay Gupta on twitter … and it really made me stop and look twice. 1 in 8 US workers… that’s just over 12% .. totally likely that someone that I (or you) work with is depressed.

What if we are mistaking disengagement with depression? Is there a difference or is one impacting the other? What if you take this as a sign that they are being a jerk but its really depression?

Often employees’ signs of depression go unnoticed. “Even if someone is less efficient, feeling less creative or they can’t smile much, which is common, it’s rarely showing as much as it seems,” said Sally Winston, PsyD, a psychologist and co-director of the Anxiety and Stress Disorders Institute of Maryland.  —http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-report/major-depression-resource-center/sanjay-gupta-depression-in-the-workplace.aspx?xid=tw_dsg

Ulitmatately, we can not make assumptions — one way or the other. I have no doubt that being depressed would have a positive correlation to a decrease in employee engagement…but a dip in engagement doesn’t necessarily mean that one is depressed.

I’d recommend that you ensure that you are creating an environment of trust at all times. Create a sincere and genuine relationship with your employees so that if they need to talk to you about what is on their minds or share that they are undergoing treatment that they feel safe to disclose. I have no doubt that as HR professionals that you’d handle it discretely and professionally to work with that employee and manager to make reasonable accommodations.  However, a great relationship built on trust can also help open the door to talk about changes in behavior or things that might be out of the norm for that employee that might suggest that they are disengaged. Imagine the difference if you could openly and honestly talk about why someone might be disengaged before it becomes a larger issue.

A great relationship also shows that you care and that you notice changes that may be going on – and you can point them out as matters of conversation and not a coachable moment. Keep the right line of “friend” to keep it professional, but as of late, I’m starting to think that there is just a lack of genuine compassion for others in the workplace. Life happens outside of the office (and sometimes, in the office) and people carry that with them. It can (and does) impact engagement and maybe even depression.

There is also a need to put in place a good EAP (employee assistance program), provisions for counseling visits, and/or a neutral ombudsman.  You don’t have to do all three, but make sure that if something is going on with your employees, that they have some options to work it out.  Do know that all of these programs, while options, have different purposes — you’ll need to make sure that it is clearly defined and well marketed to your employees. They should be able to access these with little to know effort (without having to draw a whole lot of attention to it if they want to use them.) We’d all like to think that if people have problems that they will go to the source and work it out, but the truth is, that often doesn’t happen. So provide other avenues and don’t be offended if they don’t come to you but choose another means — just be happy that they went somewhere.

IMHO, you don’t need to know the difference — but understand that they are not the same thing. Don’t just jump to “disengaged employee” mode and try to attack the problem from that angle. It could be something way bigger. You do need to know when something is different or out of character — take note, be supportive, and leverage a great relationship to help your employee back get what they need to be happy and productive. And remember… you may not even see the signs of depression … Give them the right tools and the option to make choices to help them get back to where they want to be.

Making the HR connection, yours,

 
 
 
 
photo credit: http://curitibainenglish.com.br

More Money = Meaner and Greedier

I came across this article and video this weekend and just had to share it. Take Two ‘Normal’ People, Add Money To Just One Of Them, And Watch What Happens Next.  We should be interested in this for a number of reasons — but I was actually doing some research related back to the debates on the rise of minimum wage when I discovered this.

The research that they discover is so interesting — you should watch it and come to your own conclusions, but suffice to say, money (even fake money) can change you .. but I wonder why :(.

I’m still trying to make sense of this from and HR perspective. What would the research suggest about a company’s senior leadership and board members? Specialized or hard to obtain talent? Would this, or could it, have an impact on corporate and core values? Is this driving engagement and trust. Way more questions that I have answers for at the time. Hope to circle back around on it though.

See more: A special Upworthy series about work and the economy, made possible by the AFL-CIO. Read more, then check out more in Workonomics.

Wanting to find out more, so that I can better understand, the HR connection, yours