• 9 Books Every HR Pro Should Read in 2020

    September 14, 2020

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    Quarantine leaves us with a healthy chunk of time to reassess and spend time with the ones we love. But as quarantine goes on, the work must go on as well and for HR professionals, that means developing professionally as much as everyone else within the organization.

    With all this time on your hands, a nice relaxing read is not only good for your development, but also your health. To help you develop a reading list that can fuel your own growth, we’ve provided a quarantine reading list of the best HR focused books to read in 2020.


    1. HR on Purpose: Developing Deliberate People Passion by Steve Brown

    A well-known thought leader in HR, Brown spends a great deal of time facilitating conversations about the possibilities in HR. In this book, he looks to challenge assumptions and preconceived notions about what HR should be and instead challenges the reader to think of the possibilities and tap into their passion for HR.

    1. HR from the Outside In: Six Competencies for the Future of Human Resources by Dave Ulrich, Jon Younger, Wayne Brockbank and Mike Ulrich

    A cast of HR veterans has put together a handbook of competencies that sets the modern HR professional up for a more strategic role within the business. The put forward the argument that one of the most important roles of an HR practitioner is to be a credible activist, both for the employee and for the business as a whole.

    1. Generation Z: A Century in the Making by Corey Seemiller and Megan Grace

    When Millennials (Gen Y) hit the workforce it created a shift in expectations of employers, workplace cultures and the way employers think about processes and employee relationships. Now, a new generation is entering the workforce and their lifestyles, expectations and world view are once again different.

    To manage the Gen Z demographic effectively, HR leaders need to look at how the way this generation manages money, pursues education, values their relationships and what they want for their careers. This book explores these topics in a way that will help HR teams manage the generational diversity of their teams.

    1. Unleashing the Power of Diversity: How to Open Minds for Good by Bjørn Z. Ekelund

    As cultures collide and the nature of work becomes more global, there are differences which could divide teams if we can’t develop a common language and a culture that highlights our common struggles. In this book, the author unveils a step-by-step program for communicating across cultural lines to develop a culture of trust that facilitates greater diversity within the organization and the construction of global teams.

    1. Talent Wins: The New Playbook for Putting People First by Ram Charan, Dominic Barton, and Dennis Carey

    Talent planning is changing and requires a new way of doing things. This book uses examples from some of the world’s largest companies all the way down to Silicon Valley startups to show how HR can become the partner the business needs to acquire, develop and manage talent that can meet the technological and analytical demands of the modern workplace.

    1. Feedback (and Other Dirty Words): Why We Fear It and How to Fix It by M. Tamra Chandler and Laura Dowling Grealish

    Good, honest feedback can be difficult to take, but as HR leaders, collecting feedback and being able to package it into constructive conversations that fuel employee growth is an art. In this book, the authors take a deeper look at where negative reactions to feedback come from and how to limit negative physical and emotional responses to it. It introduces the three F’s of feedback, (focused, fair and frequent) to help ease the tension that sometimes accompanies these discussions.

    1. Predictive HR Analytics: Mastering the HR Metric by Martin R. Edwards and Kirsten Edwards

    Advanced HR metrics can be difficult, but are becoming a necessary part of the modern HR professionals work as employee engagement and experience take center stage. Being able to predict turnover, analyze and forecast diversity and fine tune employee interventions are all key skills discussed in this book. The authors focus on statistical techniques and predictive analytics models that can help improve the HR practitioner’s ability to do those things in an ethical manner.

    1. Talent Keepers: How Top Leaders Engage and Retain Their Best Performers by Christopher Mulligan and Craig Taylor

    Through six case studies, the authors of this book reveal how organizations can develop and implement employee engagement plans that use tactics which have shown proven results. Starting from the time a new hire walks through the door to years into their development, this systemic approach will help HR leaders create a culture that retains and nurtures employees to grow within the organization.

    1. Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall

    Culture is everything, but there are misconceptions and lies that pervade the workplace and cause dysfunction. That is the central tenet behind this book which seeks to identify those lies and highlight freethinking leaders are able to see through the fog to see the unique nature of their teams and reveal truths about the workplace or what the authors call the real world of work.

    Originally posted on

  • Tips to Maximize Your HSA Benefits

    September 8, 2020

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    Health Savings Accounts (HSA) are great ways to save tax-free money for medical expenses both in the current term, and for your retirement years. By making wise choices, you can maximize the benefit of these fantastic savings accounts. Let’s take a quick look at the basics and then explore some tips on how to make your HSA money grow.

    What is an HSA?

    According to the website, a Health Savings Account is a type of savings account that lets you set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified medical expenses. By using untaxed dollars in an HSA to pay for deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and some other expenses, you may be able to lower your overall health care costs. HSA funds generally may not be used to pay premiums.

    In order to contribute to an HSA, you must be enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). A HDHP is defined as a plan with a higher deductible than a traditional insurance plan. The monthly premium is usually lower, but you pay more health care costs yourself before the insurance company starts to pay its share (your deductible). A high deductible plan (HDHP) can be combined with a health savings account (HSA), allowing you to pay for certain medical expenses with money free from federal taxes.

    HSA vs Traditional Insurance

    As mentioned, you are able to open a Health Savings Account when you enroll in your employer’s High Deductible Health Plan. A HDHP is different from traditional insurance in that with traditional insurance, you and your employer both contribute to the cost of your health insurance each month—otherwise known as the premium. You then have a fixed cost—a “co-pay”—that you pay when you visit a doctor, pay for prescriptions, or have a health procedure. With a HDHP, the patient is incentivized to shop around for lower cost doctor visits and procedures since they are paying for those costs out of their pocket at the full amount from the beginning until the high deductible amount is met.

    Now, when used in tandem, the two components of the HDHP and the HSA have the potential to save the insured party money on their health care expenses. Here’s how it works:

    1. Contribution Limits

    Each year, the government puts a cap on the amount of money that an individual and a family can contribute to their HSA. For 2020, an individual can contribute up to $3550 and a family can add in $7100 to their account. In 2021, the amounts both increase: individuals will be $3600 and families will be able to deposit $7200.

    1. Triple Tax Benefits

    When you contribute to your HSA, your money gets a triple tax benefit. There is a 0% tax on deposited money, your money grows tax-free while in the account, and, when used for qualified medical expenses, you can withdraw the money tax-free.

    1. Roll-over

    The money that you deposit into your HSA is yours to keep–forever. If you change jobs, the money follows you. If you don’t use the money you’ve contributed by the end of the year, it rolls over to the next year with no penalty.

    Tips to Maximize the Benefits of Your HSA This Year

    Don’t be complacent to let your tax-free hard-earned money simply sit in your HSA all year! You can by making some wise choices. Here’s some tips on how to do this:

    1. Do you get a bonus at the end of the year? You can use that bonus money to bulk up your HSA until April 15 of the following calendar year. Just make sure you don’t contribute more than the annual allowed amount or you will pay a 6% tax on the overage.
    2. Once you hit the minimum contribution amount for your particular plan, you can invest a portion of the contributions in an IRA account and watch your tax-free dollars grow even more! Check with your plan manager regarding the minimum amount required.
    3. There is a once-in-a-lifetime allowance for you to move money over from a traditional or Roth IRA to your HSA. This allows you to kickstart that HSA so that you can begin using that money for expenses right away. The annual contribution limit still applies to this scenario for the individual and family amount.
    4. Long term care insurance is expensive and you can use your HSA money to help pay for those insurance premiums. Again, check with your plan manager to make sure you are staying within the allowed range for using this money for those premiums.
    5. Finally, name your spouse as the beneficiary of your account. When you pass away, your spouse will have access to these funds with the same tax benefits as you did. In fact, your HSA money can even continue to grow tax-free after you pass.

    Finding ways to save money is always a good idea. Finding ways to maximize the benefit of your already saved money is even better!

  • There’s a mandate? Yes, there is an individual health insurance mandate in California | by Jordan Shields, Partner

    September 4, 2020

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    It began…in January.  While the ACA mandate was dropped in 2019, California picked up the cudgel, literally.  Now they have come up with the form, which is the same as what the federal government was using.  California employers, for their part, will furnish Form 1094C and 1095C to the State’s Franchise Tax Board.  Currently, however, the Federal guidelines for returning these forms allow until March 2, 2021 – but California requires the forms to be provided to the Franchise Tax Board by January 31, 2021.

  • What You Need to Know Before Disciplining or Terminating an Employee

    September 1, 2020


    The prospect of corrective action or termination makes a lot of managers nervous. That’s understandable. For employees, being disciplined or losing their job can be anything from moderately embarrassing to financially devastating, but it’s rarely a happy occasion. For the employers, these actions always come with some risk, and there are plenty of legal danger zones an employer can end up in if corrective action isn’t done properly.

    Here are some tips from our HR Advisors to help you avoid these pitfalls and make corrective action productive for everyone:

    Everyone in the organization, but especially those responsible for disciplining or terminating employees, should understand exactly what the organization’s policies are. When policies aren’t clear or people don’t understand them, their enforcement can become inconsistent and subject to bias. In these circumstances, discipline and termination will appear unfair. Worse, they may open the organization up to costly discrimination claims.

    Managers should follow consistent disciplinary practices. Management meetings are a good time for the leadership team to make sure they’re using the same practices for discipline and termination. Inconsistencies in the organization, as noted above, can lead to allegations of discrimination.

    Investigate allegations before you act on them. Sometimes, in a rush to correct wrongdoing or poor performance, a manager will discipline an employee after hearing only one side of the story. For example, a restaurant customer complains about rude service, and the server is immediately terminated and given no chance to explain what happened from their point of view. Such adverse actions tell employees they can be penalized even if they do nothing wrong, causing them to feel resentment, fear, and distrust. And the manager can find themselves in an awkward termination meeting if the terminated employee can prove then and there that they didn’t do what they were accused of doing.

    Written warnings are best drafted by the manager and reviewed by HR. An employee’s manager often has firsthand knowledge of an infraction or unacceptable performance, so they’re in the best position to draft the written warning. HR can collaborate with the manager by reviewing the warning, ensuring that it is factual, unemotional, thorough, clear, tied to a company policy, and consistent with how others have been given written warnings previously.

    Corrective action is best done by the employee’s direct manager. When corrective action is delivered by the manager, it tells the employee that the manager is invested in the employee’s success and is willing to help the employee improve. Leaving corrective action to HR tells employees that they’re “someone else’s problem” and that their manager may not be fully vested in the company’s policies and practices. It also creates an unnecessarily adversarial relationship between employees and HR, which can undermine HR’s ability to make positive, company-wide changes.

    During a disciplinary meeting, a witness can help document what was said and done as well as provide logistical details. Not every disciplinary meeting needs a witness, though, especially if the issue is a minor one, or it’s a first conversation about performance issues. In these cases, whether to have a witness present can be left to each manager’s discretion. A witness is more useful for a meeting that is likely to escalate, either due to the nature of the issue or discipline, or the temper of the employee.

    Fairness and courtesy can go a long way, even when termination is necessary. No termination meeting will be pleasant, but they’re often more unpleasant than they need to be. Good practices here include being honest and clear about the reason for termination, not relying on being an “at will” employer to avoid telling the employee why they’re being let go (they’ll generally assume the worst), and holding the meeting privately and at the end of the day so that the employee can clean out their desk and exit the workplace without an audience. Whatever a manager can do to help the employee leave with their dignity intact will be helpful in preventing future issues with the now-former employee.

    Discipline and termination can be in the employee’s best interest—allowing bad behavior and poor performance to go on unaddressed does them no favors. If an employee isn’t doing a good job and is unable or unwilling to improve, they’re not helping the employer, their teammates, or themselves by staying in the organization. Chances are good that they’d be more successful and happier doing something else for someone else. And that’s okay!

    Originally posted on

  • Gamification and Open Enrollment

    August 24, 2020

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    Open enrollment season is upon us and many companies are choosing to host “virtual benefits fairs” instead of the traditional “walk and talk” fairs. Open enrollment meetings have turned into live streaming events or recorded webinars. Incentivizing employee participation in these areas can come in a variety of ways but the newest trend is gamification.

    Gamification has been defined as “behavior modification using technology.” It involves rewarding employee behaviors that help accomplish a company’s goals and objectives through playing some sort of competitive game. For example, company ABC is having their open enrollment meetings online. They want all employees to watch the overview presentation by the HR department as well as view the enrollment resources. Through gamification, the company creates a series of milestones on a virtual gameboard. Different departments are challenged to work their way through the milestones and the first team successfully completing the game wins. The winning team receives bragging rights and a cash reward. Another option for this same contest is that the individual earns a reward for progressing through the gameboard. This example isn’t tied to a team-driven competition, but instead an incentive for the individual to complete the open enrollment process.


    It’s been reported that 75% of the total global workforce in 2025 will be made up of millennials.  That’s three out of every 4 workers who are very engaged online. Gaming in general has a large appeal to this age group so tying it to workplace objectives results in higher participation on the whole. Additionally, the act of accomplishing a task releases dopamine in the brain. This is the neurotransmitter that causes you to feel excited and your brain likes that! In fact, your brain will begin associating euphoria with completing, what one previously thought was “boring”, work. This is called the “reward cycle” and can be achieved through gamification in the workplace.


    Don’t go into this season with the expectation that gamification will solve all your past issues. It won’t. But what it will do is, perhaps, achieve some pretty big behavior changes like increasing the education level of your employees about what benefits they receive with their plan. What it won’t do is make enrollment delays disappear!  So, how do you get started? There are great online sources that offer packages to fit your objectives and goals for your company. FinancesOnline has compiled a list of the top five most popular gamification software companies. Beyond that, you can simply make a “wish list” of open enrollment tasks you want your employees to complete and set an award for achieving those milestones—it doesn’t have to be big—make it a tshirt or a department happy hour with a shaved ice truck! Don’t forget to  create a simple gameboard either online or in person for everyone to see the challenges and the rewards.

    Most Popular Gamification Software

    1. Tango Card. An all-in-one gamification platform that helps organizations deliver incentives to customers, employees, suppliers, and partners. Our Tango Card review offers a detailed walkthrough of the product’s capability.
    2. Influitive. A customer-centric gamification solution designed to help businesses reward their loyal customers. This Influitive review offers a comprehensive tour of the product features.
    3. Badgeville. A reliable gamification software that bundles a customer loyalty program and employee incentive system into a single platform. Our Badgeville review will help you learn all about this powerful solution.
    4. Hoopla. A powerful incentive platform that leverages live game mechanics to invigorate burnt-out employees working in fast-paced environments like telemarketing and call centers. This Hoopla review details its full capability.
    5. GetBadges. A reliable gamification software designed to help software development teams incentivize teams during product development stages. This GetBadges review will walk you through the product’s features.

    This is the perfect time to start something new for your open enrollment period because the landscape of the traditional office is all something new. People are learning to expect the unexpected so jump on board and offer them a new way of being rewarded for completing enrollment tasks. But, remember, if an employee isn’t already motivated to work towards a goal, gamification isn’t going to make them start.  Gamification only amplifies existing motivation.

  • Making the Workplace a Safe Place to Speak Up

    August 18, 2020

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    Right now, organizations across the country are asking themselves what they can do to make their workplaces more inclusive, diverse, and equitable, particularly for Black employees. They’re hosting conversations, acknowledging areas where they’ve fallen short, and identifying opportunities for improvement.

    For these efforts to be successful, employees need to be able to speak freely, offering critical and candid feedback about individual behaviors, workplace practices, and organizational policies. None of this can happen, however, if people believe it isn’t safe for them to speak up.

    It often isn’t.

    Employees who report harassment and discrimination, speak candidly to their supervisors, or challenge the status quo often find themselves excluded from projects, denied a promotion, or out of a job. According to a study by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 75% of employees who spoke out against workplace mistreatment faced some form of retaliation. Given this reality, it falls on employers to show their employees that they can report incidents of discrimination, identify institutional failures, and recommend solutions all without fear of retaliation. Preventing retaliation is part of that. Here are a few other ways to establish a firm foundation of trust, openness, and respect:

    Admit mistakes and make amends
    Employees will be reluctant to hold their leaders accountable if their leaders never admit fault or acknowledge areas for growth. If, however, leaders show a willingness to be vulnerable and a desire to learn and be better, they can help put their employees’ minds at ease and more effectively solicit their feedback. For example, an employer might acknowledge that they hadn’t previously made diversity a priority for the company, but that going forward, they will strategically place job ads where underrepresented job applicants are more likely to see them, and they’ll identify ways to make the workplace welcoming and inclusive. Statements like this, when followed by action, open the door to honest communication between employees and their employer. They build trust.

    Reward instead of retaliate
    Creating a real sense of safety takes more than preventing retaliation. Employees need to see that providing candid and critical feedback is met with appreciation, gratitude, and action from leadership. In other words, it has to be rewarded. Employees who identify problems in the workplace or propose solutions shouldn’t fear being ostracized or having their career derailed by a vengeful peer or supervisor. On the contrary, they should be recognized as leaders in the organization (informal or otherwise), given opportunities to make a further impact, and empowered to help make decisions that elevate the workplace, its culture, and its practices. Consider shout-outs from the CEO, company awards, strategic bonuses, promotions, and career development opportunities. These show sincerity.

    Tolerate no retaliation
    For some employers, the hardest part of building trust will be appropriately disciplining anyone who violates it, especially if the one being disciplined is a star performer or high up in the chain of command. One instance of retaliation, if not immediately addressed, can undermine months or years of work and ruin even a stellar reputation for diversity, inclusion, and equity. Any retaliation, for any reason, no matter who does it, must not be tolerated. Fortunately, swift action to discipline the offender and prevent future instances can help repair the damage and restore trust. It shows you’re serious.

    Psychological safety takes time to establish, even in companies without a history of overt retaliation. Implementing the three strategies above, however, will lay the groundwork for a culture in which employees feel safe speaking up for diversity, inclusion, and equity.

    By Kyle Cupp

    Originally posted on

  • Family Caregivers: 5 Tools to Avoid Burnout

    August 10, 2020

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    According to the National Center on Caregiving, a family caregiver (or informal caregiver) is “an unpaid individual (for example, a spouse, partner, family member, friend, or neighbor) involved in assisting others with activities of daily living and/or medical tasks.”  In the US, 85% of caregivers care for a relative or loved one with 42% of those caregivers supporting an aging parent. Since early 2020, we have seen this vulnerable aging population fall prey to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, those providing care for this group have also begun to fall prey to this virus’s demise in the form of care-fatigue. We’ve compiled a toolkit of some simple resources to help the caregivers that are on the frontline of care for their loved ones avoid burnout.

    5 Tools to Avoid Burnout

    1. Plan Your Communication

    When taking your loved one to any sort of appointment, plan out what you hope to accomplish while you are there. Make a checklist of what items you want to discuss with the provider. Ask your loved one what they would like to talk about as well.  In addition, keep your other family members informed about the care you are providing by establishing a weekly check-in whether through email or Facetime or phone call.

    1. Don’t Go It Alone

    Providing daily care can be immensely rewarding but can also be a physically and emotionally exhausting job. When the job seems bigger than you can handle alone, do some research into community resources for assistance. There are networks of caregiving agencies that can help with everything from personal care to behavioral issues. Determine what you can afford to pay for services and prioritize those that are most needed for you to maintain your own health.

    1. Self-Care is a Necessity, Not a Luxury

    Have you heard the saying “you cannot fill someone else’s cup if your own cup is empty”? In order for you to continue providing care for your loved ones, you must tend to your own care. This involves taking regular breaks throughout the day—maybe for a quick walk or some exercise—to clear your head and refocus your energy. This can also include seeking out respite care so that your immediate family can go out for dinner or even away for a few days. Self-care is a chance to recharge your batteries so you are fully able to care for others.

    1. Teach Them Tech

    This may seem like a daunting task, but teaching your aging loved one some easy technology tips can free up some time in your daily schedule for other pressing tasks. Help them use Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home to check the weather or call a friend or even to set alarms and reminders. Another handy tech tool is introducing them to the convenience and safety of telemedicine. Many elderly folks are unsure of transitioning to this kind of care, but with your support, this can be a great resource for their physical health appointments.

    1. Practice Positivity

    Frustration and fatigue are easy traps to find yourself in when providing care for others. The way to best combat this is through finding ways to reframe your thoughts. The author of the Blue Zone series, Dan Buettner, traveled the world to study the happiness of people in different parts of the world and found that if you find a balance of pleasure, purpose, and pride in life, you can achieve happiness even in tough, challenging times. You can change the way you approach the caregiving tasks in your day by seeking this balance of the 3 P’s.

    As the “new normal” begins in our world, you can also begin a new approach to your role as a family caregiver. Commit to using these trusty tools for avoiding burnout. They are time-tested and will help you achieve the correct, and happiness-inspiring balance that best serves both you and your loved ones.


    American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) “Caregiver Burnout: Steps for Coping with Stress”

    U.S. Administration on Aging—Eldercare Locator

    Family Caregiver Alliance—Family Caregiver Basics

    Caregiver Action Network—10 Tips for Family Caregivers

  • In Depth: The Future of Work Part 2

    August 4, 2020

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    The future of work is now. You’ve probably heard that being said since the onset of COVID-19 and the growth of remote work. Well, it’s true and as the nature of how work gets done changes, so too does the way HR’s function plays out.

    In part 1, we took a look at current trends, spoke to experts and focused on the learning and development arena when it comes to the future of work. In part 2, we’ll dive into other HR specialties and consider how they are changing as well.

    Talent Acquisition

    In addition to talent acquisition, there are other areas that need some transformation. That includes human resources itself.

    “It’s absolutely critical to put in the time to learn new things, especially when it comes to HR Technology. Don’t let fear of the unknown, or a lack of understanding about technology scare you away,” Tracie Sponenberg, Chief People Officer of the Granite Group said.

    And the statistics are certainly on her side. According to a report by Harris Interactive and, those companies adopting HR are 19% more effective in reducing the time HR spends on administrative tasks.

    While we’ve seen continued changes to the profession as a result of technology, we’ve also seen a real need for HR practitioners to focus on employees at the same time. HR automation/robotic process automation (RPA) provides the ability for the focus to be shared and making sure goals are met. Some of those administrative tasks include benefits management, form processing and even employee questions related to policies and procedures. Chat bots are helpful in this particular instance.

    Additionally, automation with the help of provided data can reduce pain points and drive change across the business. For instance, in a manual process, there is some level of human error that can happen. While errors in automation do occur, it is at a much lower rate. Automation can be used to automate forms and workflows that avoid printing, signing and scanning. It can also automate the dissemination of those documents to ensure they are delivered to the appropriate people. And, it can also help in pulling data, filling out systems and databases and elevating manual data entry.

    “If HR takes the time to automate the routine day-to-day tasks and ‘paperwork,’ we can be free to really dig into strategy and people development – coaching, training and developing our team members to be prepared for the future of work – whatever that may mean to our individual industries and companies,” Sponenberg said.

    Remote Work

    In addition to being prepared for the future of work as Sponenberg said, HR must keep an eye on where work is going to be happening. There aren’t many places where it’s happening in office buildings anymore. It’s happening in home offices and public spaces that can accommodate social distancing. It’s likely to stay that way as more and more workers have embraced flexible scheduling and remote work.

    Remote work has quickly become a reality for many different industries, but that trend was already occurring before the pandemic. There had already been a 173% increase in people working remotely since 2005. Additionally, 75% of workers say they’re more productive at home.

    Some of the reasons given include fewer distractions and less commuting. This presents a fair amount of challenge. A big one centers on engagement. Remote workers aren’t that much different from brick-and-mortar employees and the concerns are similar. Remote workers, just like those sitting in the office, are at risk for leaving the organization within the first year and even leaving to pursue other opportunities to advance. That means they need just as much attention when it comes to engagement. In some instances, more attention is necessary.

    Stemming the Tide

    To solve issues related to the retention of remote workers, first think about setting expectations. The whole point of remote work is not having to go into the office. As such flexible work scheduling is typically a piece of the overall remote working strategy. To be more to the point – workers probably aren’t working a 9-to-5 shift if they’re off-site. That being said, managers can set particular expectations such as times the employee is expected to be “on the clock.” Some people refer to these as “busy hours” or “office hours.” It’s during this time remote workers should be expected to be prompt in their responses to emails and phone calls as well as be available to collaborate with the team.

    Secondly, these workers must be included and that requires attention-to-detail and technology. If a team is meeting at the office to discuss strategy or anything for that matter, remote workers should be allowed to participate. They should actually be expected to do so. With tools such as Zoom and Skype available, there’s no reason they should not be included in the conversation.

    Finally, think about rewards. There’s a misconception that remote workers don’t work nearly as much as those people sitting in an office. That is very far from the truth. In most instances, remote workers work longer hours than those in the office; about 46 hours a week. That being said, it’s important to reward these workers. If they are hitting their goals, that needs to be recognized. That naturally ties into productivity.

    There is some real concern remote workers, in addition to allegedly working less, aren’t nearly as productive as their in office counterparts. Again, that’s a misconception. Look to CTrip, China’s largest travel agency. A professor from Stanford studied whether or not remote work was “beneficial or harmful for productivity.” It took two years to complete the study and what the professor found is a profound increase in productivity for a group of remote workers over their in-office counterparts.

    It wasn’t all “sunshine and rainbows”, however. Those remote workers did report an increase in feeling lonely and many reported they didn’t want to work from home all the time. In the end, the recommendation was to create a hybrid of sorts; one that balanced working from home and in the office.

    Words of Advice

    There is no stopping the future of work. In fact, as this report has explained it’s already here. While it is a concern for every HR professional working today and those who are about to enter the practice, there are words of encouragement to be shared.

    By Mason Stevenson

    Originally posted on

  • Employee Engagement in a Post-COVID Workplace

    July 27, 2020

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    “When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” – Simon Sinek

    The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many things. First, it has taught us that empathy and kindness goes a long way. We’ve learned that as individuals, communities, and as a nation, that we can do hard things when we work together. Finally, this pandemic has taught us that the relationship between employer and employee is a valuable one. How much the employee feels valued by their employer is called “engagement.” And this feeling of value is one that more and more companies are investing in in a post-COVID environment.

    Employee engagement is when an employee feels “high levels of involvement (passion and absorption) in the work and the organization (pride and identity) as well as affective energy (enthusiasm and alertness) and a sense of self-presence.” Let’s dive in and look at some fast facts on this subject and how to increase engagement in this new workspace we have found our world occupying.



    • 34% of employees and 35% of employers stated they felt engaged in their work in a 2019 Gallup poll.
    • 38% of employees now say they are “highly involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace” via a May 2020 Gallup poll.
    • This is the highest reported engagement since Gallup began measuring this topic in 2000.



    • Unengaged employees lower productivity, innovation, and the bottom line.
    • Engaged employees have lower absenteeism and lower turnover.
    • When an employee believes that they are being heard and seen as a valued investment, they feel empowered to do their best work.
    • Teams that report being engaged in the workplace have 21% higher profitability than those who report being unengaged.



    • One way to create engagement in the workplace is to promote learning opportunities at home for employees. This can be done in virtual workshops for remote workers.
    • If a company’s investment is in learning and development, this shows the employee that their employer sees their future as important.
    • Positive results of investing in workforce education include increased employee engagement, more innovation, and increased understanding of the company’s goals.
    • Remote employees who participate in a company’s virtual training report that beyond the educational benefit they receive, they also feel as though they are being equipped with new skills for handling stressful situations once they are able to return to work.



    There are numerous blogs and articles and creative educational interaction sites to keep employees engaged and learning while remote. Below are some fun and creative sites to help you create your own engagement campaign for your organization.


  • How We Learn

    July 20, 2020


    “Everyone learns differently” is a phrase we have all heard at some time in our educational endeavors. It may have been overheard from your parents as they explained to your teacher why you have to get up and move all the time during class. You may have heard it said in high school as a communications teacher gave you examples of learning styles. This phrase may have even been said recently as you sat through a leadership seminar at work as the presenter encouraged you to speak to the different learners you will encounter at the office. Whatever the case, it’s true! Now, let’s learn!

    Three Types of Learners

    1. Visual—This is the biggest population of learners out there. A whopping 65% of people say they best learn with visual aids. These learners will be the ones doodling during your meeting or taking copious notes. They are the group that says, “Don’t read it to me. I need to see it.” Your creative types in the office will most likely fall into this category.
    2. Auditory—Our next learning group (30%) is made up of those learners that need to hear it out loud to retain information. As you interact with and lead your auditory learners, remember that your voice is important to their understanding of the subject matter. Fluctuate your tone and pitch. Ask open-ended questions so that they can verbalize delivered information. And, most importantly, this group learns best in discussions and oral presentation.
    3. Kinesthetic—Move it or lose it (their attention). Kinesthetic learners make up only 5% of the population but they are probably the group you notice the most. Why? Because they will be the ones that cannot sit still during a meeting or training. They thrive on movement so give them a team challenge to reinforce your training subject matter. Make sure you are also giving this group lots of breaks in your training time.

    How to Make This Work Remotely

    The workforce has displayed a great ability to work remotely with a reported 17% of companies moving to work-from-home organizations. This work-from-home model does have a drawback, though, in that it is more difficult to train employees with different learning styles. But this doesn’t have to be the case!

    Helpful Tips to Training Three Types of Learners

    1. When you are creating materials for trainings, make sure you create things that appeal to all three learners but don’t lean too hard on one style.
    2. Your resources should be easily accessible from a home office (email) and content easily digestible. Remember, though, that not all learners can retain information in written form so make sure there’s an option for visual and kinesthetic styles.
    3. Recreate the sociability of the in-person office for the remote office. Encourage online meeting websites for teams such as Zoom and Skype. This allows your employees the chance to see their coworkers face to face and retains camaraderie.
    4. Offer continuing education through online training sites such as This site appeals to the three learning styles by training through video (visual learner), spoken word (auditory learner), and movement (kinesthetic learner: typing, moving mouse, etc.).

    With three types of learners, it is often overwhelming for trainers as they prepare for and deliver their educational sessions. However, it is not impossible! By identifying the type of learner you’ll interact with, you can prepare supportive materials that best speak to each group. Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic learners have one thing in common—they are eager to work and contribute to their company.

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