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New Year, new Human Resource leaders. The New Year is a time for embracing change—from simple things such as changing your diet to grandeur aspects such as electing new leaders. None is different for CalSHRM, the California State Council for the Society of Human Resource Management. As a full service human resource consulting company, we live and breathe HR; we take pride in assisting organizations with any of their HR needs, while still maintaining the human connection. With the HR profession growing tremendously as well as technology, what is the outlook for HR in 2014? Michael Letizia, PHR-CA, the new State Director of CalSHRM for 2014 and 2015 shares his insights and goals for CalSHRM and the overall profession.
Having been a member of SHRM since 2000 and serving on the board in various roles until 2013, Michael’s role as State Director is to primarily oversee the functions of the Council and to bring the SHRM affiliates together in the state to solidify initiatives. The Council consists of solely volunteers that Michael will manage, which he deems as a daunting task especially in such a large organization (SHRM is prevalent in California compared to other states).
In terms of goals for CalSHRM, Michael continues to strive for the plans and goals the past President and he created a few years ago, where they envisioned what they believed the California Council should look like. Michael, whose leadership style has always been collaborative, also set some personal goals for himself; he would like volunteers to feel they are part of a larger purpose and that they receive the intrinsic value they sought. One of Michael’s main focus is to ensure the volunteers understand the time, skills, and efforts they put forth into the State are truly making a difference, and that they feel they are part of an organization that is making a difference in California.
Michael hopes to educate California employers and to bring advocacy to businesses and to HR people—professionals and those who are responsible for running HR in their organizations who are not deemed as professionals. Although SHRM caters to HR professionals, Michael believes it is very important that the Council support the individuals who are responsible for HR that may not have the opportunity at this time to call themselves HR professionals.
As such, CalSHRM is partnering with SHRM to be the HR advocate for the employee and the employer. Michael believes education about HR tactics and strategies must be brought to Sacramento to bring the HR voice to the legislature in assisting the government craft ideas that will benefit both California employees and employers.
Michael finds the progression of HR to be very exciting, stating that when he first began his career in the field, he was a Personnel Clerk. Now, as the profession has gained momentum and recognition, HR is being seen as a Strategic Partner and in many companies, a member of the Executive Team. Companies are learning that if they do not direct, assess, and manage their talent, they are not going to achieve the results they hoped. They need people in order to be successful and if they fail to bring in a professional that can help them manage individuals to their fullest potential, then they are not going to get to the place they envisioned. Many Executives are not interested in developing plans for people; they are looking at it from the business perspective. Having that voice at the table talking about human talent to achieve the organization’s goals and the process to make that happen is crucial. Individuals working in HR need to articulate and demonstrate why they are essential to an organization.
Michael stresses that HR individuals and small business owners must be experts in California (and Federal) labor law compliance and understand litigation risks. With California State laws changing at an alarming rate, employers must be updated with compliance and be prepared for consequences if they come; after all, one lawsuit can close a small business.
Advice for individuals currently working in HR is that they must be realistic about the advancements of technology and its impact on society. Michael stresses that California and its employers need to change their views of the traditional work structure in regards to the younger generation entering the workforce: they have to allow workers to be flexible in their schedule in order to reach optimal results. The younger generation is not afraid to say the traditional norm is outdated and antique. Michael praises companies such as Google, who allow their employees to work wherever they can as long as they deliver and meet the company’s expectations. He believes Google and other companies embracing work flexibility are successful because they are managing their talent very strategically. Michael believes that other organizations could reach the same potential if they embrace new ideas and concepts that are shaping our society.
For the previous few months, e-VentExe has been spotlighting one “Super-Career” woman every month, allowing her to tell her story about how she entered the corporate work world. Readers were able to read about the struggles, sacrifices, highlights, and rewards these women faced while climbing the ladder towards success. This month, we end our series with Madvi Raya, who is currently the Chief Financial Officer and Co-founder of ScImage, a privately-held company headquartered in Los Altos, CA that provides state-of-the-art enterprise imaging solutions to the healthcare industry.
The Super-Career woman had to balance her personal life with her work life—at the workplace, dresses were replaced with slacks, femininity replaced with sternness all in order to strive to the top. The strenuous struggle to climb the corporate ladder may have seemed daunting, but to these “Super-Career” women, who lived double lives, it was the norm. Now, as young females are entering the workplace, what advice can these “Super-Career” women give to the younger generation?
In 1993, Madvi and her husband, Sai started and ran ScImage Inc. (A Medical Imaging Company) out of their spare room and garage for the first few years. Now, 20 years and two teenagers later, ScImage currently has offices in Los Altos, CA and 11 out-of-state offices and has grown organically into a mid-sized company.
Obtaining a Bachelors degree in Science and a Masters in Molecular Biology, Madvi was a Research Associate while simultaneously working to help start ScImage on the weekends. Madvi, who has always been ambitious, was raised by her parents to be independent allowing her to pursue her endeavors with full force; she always has a vision plan and believes a female is able to accomplish anything a male can.
As such, Madvi left her position as a Research Associate and solely devoted her time to ScImage. She recalls the hard work and dedication she put into the business. She had to self-educate herself in multiple business areas where she had had no previous formal education on how to run a business because she had to wear many hats in the beginning stages of ScImage. Madvi and her husband hired their first employee three years after ScImage’s creation.
Balancing her personal life with her work life was challenging, especially with young children and a household to run. Luckily, Madvi had a strong support system consisting of working and non-working mothers, friends, and family. She constantly evaluates her options, deciding which challenge needed more attention depending on the circumstances.
Looking back on her career, Madvi would take the same path again and believes everything she went through was a learning experience; she has met and worked with some wonderful and talented people.
Madvi enjoys her time at work and is also equally involved in her teenagers’ lives – volunteering some of her time at her sons’ school. Despite her busy schedule, Madvi made time and continues to make time to give back to her community by volunteering her time to several nonprofits. Madvi served/serves on the boards of: Community Awareness Treatment Services (CATS) which serves the homeless in the San Francisco Area, Gunn Foundation which provides scholarships to college bound students from her sons’ school and American Women for International Understanding (AWIU), a nationwide women’s organization that promotes understanding and provides grants to help support various women’s issues.
Madvi believes females who are currently entering, or who are new to the workforce should display hard work and perseverance, stating that there will be tough and unglamorous parts in any job, but pushing through all of that is vital to success in business regardless of gender. Madvi, who is a strong advocate on giving back to society, also believes that young women (sometime in their life) should give back to their community by getting involved in non-profit organizations that support causes that they are passionate about.
*e-VentExe, a full service human resource consulting firm, began as a start-up and specializes in outsourcing & compliance, recruitment & retention, training & development, and assessment tools.
With the holiday season nearing its end, the influxes of seasonal workers begin to slowly trickle as terminations ensue. This inevitable process is not only difficult for managers, but also for other seasonal and full-time employees. Once connections and friendships have been made between all staff, team morale may be low after the seasonal layoffs. As such, it is vital for retail managers and leaders to prepare and strategize for this time of year and ensure their surviving staff continue to stay engaged after the holiday rush.
The leadership team provides more than strategic management for its organization; they implement strategies for optimal proficiency and betterment of their organization. As for retail, overall employee performance and customer service ratings are the responsibility of the HR leaders and during the busy holiday season, this needs to become the primary focus.
If things are not running smoothly behind-the-scenes, it will be evident on the sales floor. As leaders, preplanning your overall business strategies and communicating your seasonal goals to the supervisory and management staff are necessary in order to promote efficiency and decrease chaotic situations. This will assist you in driving the performance and service standards to a higher threshold.
Establishing a team environment for all levels of the leadership staff will make your job a little easier and build an overall environment that can drive results and deliver your vision.
Before hiring for the holiday season, determine how many weeks or months you will need your seasonal hires. Preplanning and communication are vital! This way, you can ensure your staff is aware of the time period and will be prepared when the holiday hires leave.
Once you have decided on your new hires, be sure to notify your selected candidates on how long they are needed to work; this conversation is best during the on-boarding process. You don’t want to leave the new hires in the dark and give them false hope on how long they will be with the company.
Although seasonal employees are temporary, make sure you plan your holiday party to include them. After all, a big thank you goes a long way. Show them you are grateful for all the hard work and dedication they put forth during the busy holiday season. As such, constantly thank your long-term employees as well!
Post any non-seasonal openings and ensure your seasonal workers are aware of the postings when the layoff process nears. Seasonal workers may be interested in continuing employment at your company; encourage them to apply. By telling them before terminating, the transition between being a temporary to a regular employee may be smoother since they are aware of company policy and culture.
If your seasonal hires are not interested in pursuing the status of a regular employee, but would like to be called back for another season, keep a record of their contact information and let them know you will contact them once another busy season hits.
After the layoffs have been completed and regular company schedules are normal, hold a store-wide meeting involving all staff to receive feedback and input on how the season went.
Getting your regular employees involved in the process from preplanning to layoffs ensures engagement from your employees and allows them to be part of the process—this aids in building the morale and pride of job ownership.
*e-VentExe is a full service human resource consulting company specializing in outsourcing and compliance, recruitment and retention, training and development, and assessment tools.
On a brisk November morning a female employee at a small electrical company in Winters CA arrived at work and was ambushed as she sat in her car. The alleged gunman was her estranged husband, whom she had a long history with and had an active restraining order. Tragically, the protective order would not be enough to keep her safe and she was killed that morning. It’s unknown what, if any, knowledge the owners of the business had of the ongoing domestic violence. What is clear is that despite the tragic loss of life, the incident could have been much worse. The gunman could have chosen to attack his wife inside the business. A quick scan of the internet will point you to a long list of stories of domestic violence spilling into the workplace, with unintended victims being injured alongside the abuser’s target.
In a troubling juxtaposition, all too often extreme violence can be tied to a victim either seeking or having recently obtained a protection order. Here are some other points to consider.
- Our workforces are largely a reflection of society. The problems that society faces will carry over into the workplace.
- Protective orders are only effective if the “restrained” person is willing to follow them. A piece of paper will not keep you or your staff safe.
- Be mindful that the most dangerous time is when a victim is trying to leave her abuser.
- Accept the fact that victims will often go back to their abuser, don’t take it personally.
The challenge for businesses has always been trying to determine the right balance of support vs. intruding into employees’ private lives. The reality of domestic violence is that the abuser knows two places where he can find his victim with almost certainty; at home and at the workplace. Regardless of an organizations desire, or lack thereof, to get involved, domestic violence does spill into the workplace. So what can a company do to protect their workforce and respect the privacy of individual employees?
- Maintain strong and open communication with your employees
- Have multiple methods for staff to report concerns
- Provide training for staff and managers on recognition of domestic violence indicators
- Consider establishing a relationship with a domestic violence shelter. Employee assistance programs can feel cold and impersonal. In Sacramento County WEAVE is an excellent resource.
- Consider elevating security measures when a credible threat exists. This may be as simple as sharing with impacted coworkers the nature of the threat and keeping doors locked.
- Consider establishing an incident response team. This team will conduct an assessment if/when a threat is identified and determines a course of action. Even smaller companies can use a team approach to assess situations.
The single greatest factor to identifying and then being in a position to help prevent incidents of violence in the workplace is having a good relationship with your employees. If your employees feel comfortable coming forward with concerns and your management team knows how to respond you significantly increase your chances of addressing problems before they can escalate to violence.
About the Author:
Mr. Alvarez is the founder of Alvarez Associates, a firm specializing in workplace violence prevention. Having been both a security director for a major national critical infrastructure and a city police officer, he has built over 25 years of experience in the field of violence prevention. For 15 years he directed cutting edge security programs focused specifically on preventing and responding to “active shooters” in private sector environments. He understands the challenges organizations and communities face addressing the threat of violence. He has personally evaluated and managed hundreds of potentially violent situations, developed numerous violence prevention programs and trained thousands of employees and managers in workplace violence prevention.
*e-VentExe and Alvarez Associates will be holding a workshop in Roseville CA on utilizing state-of-the-art assessment tools for recruitment practices and workplace violence prevention on January 22, 2014. If interested, please RSVP to email@example.com
The holiday season for retail workers mean one thing: busy, busy, busy. With stores starting their Black Friday sale on Thanksgiving, more employees are needed to man the store. In fact, CareerBuilder’s Annual Survey concluded that 39% of hiring managers plan to hire workers this year, compared to 36% last year, and 29% in 2011.
Sure, when Black Friday comes along, fashionistas, technology gurus, and anyone who simply wants a good deal will be participating in this shopping spree day. But what about the employees who have to work during these ghastly hours, especially on Thanksgiving? Although store hours are opening in the evening to ensure retail employees have time to spend with their family and friends, it may be tough for any retail manager to motivate their staff (especially if copious amounts of food was consumed just hours before). How will retail leaders prepare their staff for the infamous Black Friday sale in terms of customer service, team morale, and overall employee well-being?
Working in retail, customer service is essential. As a store associate, necessary steps are taken to achieve top quality service to customers—ask them how their day is going, ask them if they need any assistance finding items, provide insight when asked, be personable and approachable. Yes, folding clothes after what looked like a blizzard hit the section may be frustrating, but remember: providing superior customer service is a pivotal function of the job; not only does it reflect the company, it also reflects the employee.
Staying motivated during the busy season may be challenging, and customer complaints can make it tougher. When team morale seems to be lacking, it is both noticeable for both other staff members and customers. Remember to keep the staff engaged in their work and with their fellow customers by providing incentives such as these:
1) Provide healthy snacks throughout the day in the break room to ensure employees are being well-nourished. Offering snacks, such as nuts, will reward employees with natural health benefits including long-lasting energy, brain health, and even reduce stress.
2) Employee holiday appreciation party. During or after the holiday season, plan a party for the employees to show them they are more than just bodies in the store. Thank them for all the hard work they have done for the company. Gather each employees’ insight (i.e., theme, food, activities) to ensure their voice and ideas are being heard by upper management.
3) Appreciation in-store discounts or gift cards. Offer employees a generous discount, such as 60% off of sale items and 40% off of regular priced items. Another incentive may involve having a raffle drawing of gift cards to other places.
4) Shorter shifts to alleviate stress. Dealing with customers amongst the constant hustle and bustle of the season may be demanding. Provide shorter shifts to ensure employees are not feeling burnt-out.
5) Allow employees to change roles and/or departments during their shift. Employees may feel unmotivated (and most likely bored) repeating one tedious task for the entire shift. Change up the scenery by moving them around the store and allowing them to engage in other roles. This tactic may make the shifts more bearable and the hours go by quicker.
As managers and leaders, it is management’s job to ensure their employees’ needs are being met and frustrations alleviated. Empowering employees in turn empowers management which empowers the overall company.
*e-Ventexe is a full service human resource company dedicated to providing services catered to clients’ needs.
For the next several months, e-VentExe will be spotlighting one “Super-Career” woman every month, allowing her to tell her story about how she entered the corporate work world. Read about the struggles, sacrifices, highlights, and rewards these women faced while climbing the ladder towards success. This month, with our focus on retail, we continue our series with Joni Enders, who is currently a retiree devoting her time as a volunteer for Call Kurtis, a CBS Sacramento program.
25 years ago, a successful career woman had to figure out how to compete in a male-dominated world. Women couldn’t show any signs of weakness; they were constantly putting on their “game face” to show men they could do anything as good, if not better. They dressed the part to be at the boardroom, i.e., suits and ties. The Super-Career woman had to balance her personal life with her work life—at the workplace, dresses were replaced with slacks, femininity replaced with sternness all in order to strive to the top. The strenuous struggle to rise the corporate ladder may have seemed daunting, but to these “Super-Career” women, who lived double lives, it was the norm. Now, as young females are entering the workplace, what advice can these “Super-Career” women give to the younger generation? The world for woman today is different, however mistakes can still be made as a women rises to the top of a competitive workplace.
Joni, who has always been a personable individual and had a knack for fashion began her career in retail as a student working part-time as a store associate at the department store, JCPenney. Although she loved clothing and interacting with others, Joni was first interested in law and contemplated continuing her studies in legal issues while working. However, Joni saw great potential and opportunities with JCPenney and continued her career in retail stating it was where she belonged. Joni was a part of JCPenney for nearly 40 years, retiring merely two years prior; what once started as a simple part-time gig spiraled into something much greater: the dream career of overseeing several JCPenney stores.
With Joni’s go-getter attitude, she moved up the ranks and did not recall ever reaching a glass ceiling. She considers all the opportunities she was given a learning experience. Although she had the chance to fulfill higher career roles (district manager), she was content with being a store manager in Wichita, KS. and then in Sacramento, CA.
In terms of balancing both her work and personal life, Joni delegated her time to each. She decided which one was going to require more of her time. Joni recalls that for the holiday season, her family knew she would be busy so she devoted a great amount of time to her work; it was her job and her family was aware. However, Joni believes one must always reserve time for personal life matters as well, stating that communication is necessary.
Jonie, who is extremely happy with her career outcome at JCPenney states she does not have any regrets. She was fortunate to have great positions and mentors who supported her early in her career. The only mistake she recalls is giving employees too much opportunity in order to succeed within the company; she had a tendency to allow people to work longer even though the job was not cut out for them. Joni recalls that in the end, it did not benefit the company or the individuals involved.
From her experience, Joni has a few pieces of advice for those who are new to the workforce. She states that one must find a career that is incredibly rewarding and fulfill one’s needs. Joni believes mentorships are very important; she believes a mentor provides support and acts as a confidant. Not only should one seek a mentor, one should also be a mentor. She also believes one must find a way to stand out from the crowd. Joni stresses that knowing one’s audience is vital because one must know who and how to speak to specific individuals. By knowing one’s audience, there is a greater potential of acknowledgement.
For a detailed Q and A about Joni, read below:
1) How long did it take you to reach to the top of the corporate ladder?
It took me about 29 years [to be a store manager]. I was on the District Staff where I was a District Market Merchandiser in both San Diego and Hawaii. For Hawaii, I was in charge of deciding what Moo Moo dresses we would sell in the stores. From the color, print, style, etc.
2) Did you change yourself to fit into the career world?
Yes, you have to. You have to know your audience. As a leader, I made sure my presence was appropriate. I asked a lot of questions. Internally, you’re always the same person, but you have to change yourself depending on who you’re dealing with and what position you have.
3) If you could do it all over again, would you do the same thing?
That’s a tough one, I don’t know that I would change anything, I grew to become the person who I am now and I am extremely happy with the outcome. Jcpenney provided me with great opportunities and learning experiences. Not sure if I would be happy in law compared to retail. With my go-getter attitude, retail was perfect because there was always something new.
Amelya Stevenson, SPHR-CA is the owner of e-VentExe, a full service human resource consulting company located in Northern California. Earlier this year, e-VentExe created their own document detailing what it takes to be a superstar manager. Here’s the official video to the first part of the oath!
We all know what the economy downturn has done to our businesses. The unexpected collapse of our financial health of our country just about wiped away many dreams and plans for our business future. Those companies that stayed open, our workforce changed and took a very different shape. Employees were laid off; those that kept their jobs had to wear many hats to get the job done. Depending on your market segment, you may only now begin seeing resurgence in bottom line improvements and profits. Hope for our business future is beginning to take shape again. But what organizational challenges are we dealing with today, after the aftermath?
I like to call this time a Period of Reengineering. Organizations are picking up the pieces and beginning to rebuild their workforce infrastructure. Strategies are forming around the future with the hope that businesses will continue to thrive again. Now is the time to ensure that our culture rebuild into a stronger workforce with long term sustainability. The time is now to get it right-for our employees as well as for building a healthy workforce.
The first attempt in understanding your workforce health and attitude is easily uncovered in an Employee Engagement Survey. Crafting specific questions to uncover how your employees feel about their positions, culture and company will provide you with a landscape for improvement. A very important tip in engagement surveys is in the marketing of them to your workforce. If you communicate to your employees the need for workplace improvement without retaliation, you are far more likely to receive true and honest feedback. If you don’t have a trusting culture and/or receive honest feedback and do nothing with the information, you will have a much less change for future engagement survey successes. Your employees will just not trust your intentions. It’s all up to you!
The form will walk you through each question to make you even more prepared for the process in detail. If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment on our blog or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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