The Amazon Union Vote and the Fate of the PRO Act

All eyes have been on the small town of Bessemer, Alabama in recent weeks. Proponents and opponents alike waited with bated breath as employees of the largest U.S. online retailer, Amazon, voted on unionization. Stories of poor working conditions have been spreading like wildfire, and as a result, many thought the vote to unionize was a sure bet. Even President Biden threw his two cents in, expressing his support for unionization at Amazon. And it makes sense that he would do so, given that Democrats are pushing for legislation that would lead to the biggest shift in labor law we’ve

What the New Administration Means for HR

I often hear HR professionals and business leaders alike comment on how hard it is to keep up with the constant changes in labor and employment laws. HR is an ever-changing world and even more so when a new administration takes office. Many employers have questions and concerns about what this new administration will mean for their businesses and changes they will need to make in how they manage HR.   The Biden administration promises a focus that will push for more employee-friendly legislation and a strengthening of policy enforcement. There are a number of areas to keep an eye on

Four Simple Steps to Improve Your Business Writing

I often work with clients who aim to improve communication within their organizations. Many of them naturally focus their concerns on the verbal communication issues within their company but fail to evaluate the impact that their written communication may have.  Here are four simple steps to help improve your written communication:  Consider your audience. When preparing to draft written communication, whether it’s an email, marketing materials, or a business report, consider your audience. How you address a customer may be very different from how you would address an employee. How you present information on your company’s fourth-quarter earnings and goals

Selecting an HRIS that’s Right for You

Relatively early in my HR career, I worked for an organization that decided they wanted to move to a new HRIS. The parent company owned a PEO and a temporary staffing agency and wanted to go from using two separate systems to one combined system for both services. The executives vetted systems and made their decision. My team was trained on the new system and was responsible for manually entering over 3,000 employees from the old systems into the new system. This process took weeks and some very long hours, including weekends. And we ran into issue after issue where

Are Your Employees SAD? How to Help Employees Who Struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder

It’s that time of year. The weather is changing, the leaves are falling, and you’re SAD. But you’re not alone. Nearly 10 million Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. While SAD is most prevalent in those ages 18 to 30, it can affect anyone, and the effects are different for everyone.  Symptoms of SAD include:  Fatigue Loss of concentration  Insomnia/Inability to wake up Mild to severe depression Weight loss/gain Employers may see these symptoms in the form of attendance issues, decreased productivity, mistakes in work completed, or a lack of concentration in meetings. Your initial reaction may be to consider

Is Employment Really At-Will?

One of the questions I often help employers work through is can they terminate an employee. And too often I hear “But we’re in an at-will state” or “we’re an at-will employer”. At-will employment is often misinterpreted to mean that an employer can terminate an employee whenever they please, and while at-will employment policies do state that the employee or employer can terminate employment at any time, with or without cause, and with or without notice, there are limitations to that on the part of the employer.  First, all states are at-will employment states. Some states have added legislation that

Turn Your Passion into Your Career

Forgive me if I get teary-eyed, but my oldest just started his junior year of high school. And while he still has two years left, the serious conversations have begun- careers, colleges, and scholarships, oh my! Since he was little, he’s always known that his biggest passion is music. And I’ve encouraged him to explore that over the years, he’s got such a knack for it. He’s self-taught on drums, guitar, bass guitar, and he has an amazing voice (my house is rarely quiet!). Last year his high school partnered with a local music conservatory to start a music production

The Misconceptions of Business Continuity Planning

Last week I had the privilege of leading a workshop in partnership with the Huntsville-Madison Chamber of Commerce to discuss Business Continuity Planning with leaders in our area. The Covid-19 Pandemic caught many organizations unprepared and they have struggled through how to keep their business going during this time.  One reason for the lack of preparedness is misconceptions organizations have regarding Business Continuity Planning.  Misconception #1: My organization doesn’t have the time to create a Business Continuity Plan. And besides, we’ll never need it.  Yes, Business Continuity Planning takes time. It’s not something you can create overnight. And it takes

Defeating the Kobayashi Maru, the No-Win Situation

My 13-year-old came to me last week and said “Mom, we are living through history. In five to ten years, kids will learn about this pandemic in history class and I’ll be able to say ‘yeah, I was there’!” And he’s right.  Students will hear about how our world came together to fight COVID-19. They will be amazed by the fact that we quarantined, that so many businesses had to close their doors, but hopefully, they’ll be inspired by the way we innovated to overcome this pandemic and support those in the front lines.  I don’t know that we ever

Don’t Hoard Your Organization’s Wealth

“Knowledge is power. Knowledge shared is power multiplied.” – Robert Boyce Organizations contain a wealth of knowledge. Some organizations spread that wealth, and some hoard it. Those that share the wealth of knowledge maximize their potential success.  I’m currently reading The Starbucks Experience by Joseph Michelli and even though my brother and sister-in-law are both former partners (that’s what Starbucks calls their employees), I had no idea just how strong of an emphasis Starbucks places on knowledge at all levels of the organization. From formal training and incentives for completion, requiring partners to sample all core products twice per year,