The Killjoy of
One of the latest things trending
right now in business is the importance of office culture. When
everyone in the office is working well together, productivity rises and
efficiency increases. Naturally, the opposite is true when employees do
not work well together and the corporate culture suffers. So, what are
these barriers and what can you do to avoid them?
to an article titled, “8
ways to ruin an office culture,” in Employee Benefit News, the ways to kill
corporate culture may seem intuitive, but that doesn’t mean they still
don’t happen. Here’s what organizations SHOULD do to improve their
positive employee feedback. While it’s easy to criticize, and pointing
out employees’ mistakes can often help them learn to not repeat them,
it’s just as important to recognize success and praise an employee for
a job well done. An “attaboy/attagirl” can really boost someone’s
spirits and let them know their work is appreciated.
credit where credit is due. If an assistant had the bright idea, if a
subordinate did all the work, or if a consultant discovered the
solution to a problem, then he or she should be publicly acknowledged
for it. It doesn’t matter who supervised these people, to the victor go
the spoils. If someone had the guts to speak up, then he or she should
get the glory. Theft is wrong, and it’s just as wrong when you take
someone’s idea, or hard work, and claim it as your own.
listen to all ideas from all levels within the company. Every employee,
regardless of their position on the corporate ladder, likes to feel
that their contributions matter. From the C-suite, all the way down to
the interns, a genuinely good idea is always worth investigating
regardless of whether the person who submitted the idea has an Ivy
League degree or not. Furthermore, sometimes it takes a different
perspective – like one from an employee on a different
management/subordinate level – to see the best way to resolve an issue.
teamwork because many hands make light work. Or, as I like to say,
competition breeds contempt. You compete to get your job, you compete
externally against other companies, and you may even compete against
your peers for an award. You shouldn’t have to compete with your own
co-workers. The winner of that competition may not necessarily be the
best person and it will often have negative consequences in terms of
of unproductive employees. One way to stifle innovation and hurt morale
is by having an employee who doesn’t do any work while everyone else is
either picking up the slack, or covering for that person’s duties.
Sometimes it’s necessary to prune the branches.
employees have their privacy – especially on social media. As long as
an employee isn’t conducting personal business on company time, there
shouldn’t be anything wrong with an employee updating their social
media accounts when they’re “off the clock.” In addition, as long as
employees aren’t divulging company secrets, or providing other
corporate commentary that runs afoul of local, state, or federal laws,
then there’s no reason to monitor what they post.
a healthy work-life balance. Yes, employees have families, they get
sick, or they just need time away from the workplace to de-stress. And
while there will always be times when extra hours are needed to finish
a project, it shouldn’t be standard operating procedure at a company to
insist that employees sacrifice their time.
Boss/HR/Your Honor, That's My Email
Ever hear of the acronym “CLEM”?
That stands for career-limiting email and is a reminder to reconsider
sending anything out in writing when a phone call may be the better
option. If you have to think twice about hitting that send button, then
you shouldn’t hit it.
article titled, “For
God's Sake, Think Before You Email” on the website of Workforce, it says
that unlike diamonds, email messages aren't forever, but they are
pretty darn close. Remember that whatever you say in an email – and I
mean anything in electronic text – could come back to haunt you because
there’s always a trail. By electronic text, I mean email, mobile text,
social media post, etc.
from tasteless humor, opinions about a boss, employee, or the company,
and definitely an angry reply or threat of violence should be an
instant no-no. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle once it’s out
and don’t assume that an email to a close friend or confidant is
private because even if that person doesn’t forward it, there’s always
a record somewhere of that email. Furthermore, you can’t always recall,
or “unsend” an email.
hate to have to explain to your boss, HR representative, or even a
judge and jury why you sent that email or posted that message. You
don’t just run the risk of losing your reputation, but also your job,
and potentially being sued, or even going to jail. These are not
pleasant prospects over a seemingly innocent email. Which is why you
must review your electronic messages with a discerning eye.
and social media posts have become commonplace and the norm for
communications. Yet, despite the ease in which you can send them, you
must be aware that the freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from
Please Let Me Sleep
There are alarms to help people wake
up, but there isn’t anything similar to help people fall asleep. It
seems that no matter how much you zone out just before going to bed,
the minute your head hits the pillow your brain kicks into overdrive.
Thoughts of every decision made that day, things that need to be done
tomorrow, or that stupid song just heard continue to flood the brain
when this happens to me, I’m reminded of the time Homer Simpson said,
“Shut up, brain, or I’ll stab you with a Q-Tip!” because I feel like
the only way I’ll stop thinking about something is to kill my brain.
Fortunately, there are other ways of dealing with this problem. An
article on CNN’s
website titled, “Busy
brain not letting you sleep? 8 experts offer tips,” reveals a few
clear tips to try and lull your brain to sleep.
that have worked for me are to think about a story I’ve read or heard,
or to make one up. It may seem counterintuitive to think about
something so that you’ll stop thinking, but the story tends to unravel
as I slowly drift off to sleep. Another favorite is to get out of bed
and force myself to stay awake. While the chore of getting out of bed,
especially on a cold night, may seem daunting, there’s nothing quite
like tricking your brain with a little reverse psychology. If that
doesn’t work, write down what’s bothering you, take a few deep breaths,
or even do some mild exercise. If all else fails, there’s always warm
milk or an over-the-counter sleep aid, but really this should be used
as a last resort and not your first “go to” item.
your bedroom will be conducive to sleep anyway. Light and noise should
be kept to an absolute minimum and calming, muted colors promote a more
restful ambience. Also, make sure that the bedroom is your ideal
temperature because it’s more difficult to sleep if you’re too hot or
let your brain win the battle of sleep! Fight it on your own terms and
equip yourself with as many tools as possible to win. Your brain will
thank you in the morning by feeling refreshed.
Don't Put Up
with the Bull of Bullying
There’s no place for bullying and
that’s especially true in the workplace, yet many employees bully their
co-workers. So, how does this happen? It used to be that bullying was
confined to the schoolyard, but now it’s spread to cyberbullying and
workplace bullying. Now, if there’s a culture of bullying at an
organization, often it’s repeated as people climb the corporate ladder
even though they were bullied themselves when they held lower
article on the website Human
Resource Executive Online titled, “How
to Bully-proof the Workplace,” says that “80 percent of bullying is
done by people who have a position of power over other people.” Let
that number sink in. That means four out of five people in positions of
power will bully their subordinates.
possible reason for the high number is that bullying may be difficult
to identify and the person doing the bullying may not even realize it.
Either the bully, or the victim, could view the action as teasing, or
workplace banter. However, when one person is continually picked on,
then that person is being bullied. Likewise, if a manager picks on all
of his or her subordinates, then that person is a bully.
important for organizations to have policies in place to thwart
bullying and not just for the toll it takes on employees. It also
begins to affect productivity. Those being bullied often feel like
their work doesn’t matter and their abilities are insufficient. Worse
is that bullies tend to resent talented people as they’re perceived as
a threat. So, bullies tend to manipulate opinions about that employee
in order to keep them from being promoted.
talented employees decide to work elsewhere, leaving the employer spending
time and money to find a replacement. But the bully doesn’t care. It
just means they get to apply their old tricks on someone who isn’t used
point, someone will fight back. Not physically, of course, but through
documentation. An employee who is being bullied should immediately
document any and all occurrences of workplace bullying and then present
those documents to someone in HR. Most likely, this will result in
identification of the bullying, stoppage of it, counseling for both the
bully and the victim, and, if not already enacted, policies to prevent
it from happening again.
Need to Know About Taxing Benefits
June 13, 2017
2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00
employer offers employee benefits, there are requirements to tax certain
benefits. While most employers may be familiar with using a cafeteria
plan for employees to pay for health insurance on a pre-tax basis, there
are taxation rules that apply to voluntary plans, life insurance coverage
exceeding a certain amount, long-term disability or short-term
disability, fringe benefits, and wellness rewards.
- Review basic employment
tax laws that apply to health and welfare benefits
- Describe general taxation
rules that apply to fringe benefits
- Describe the taxation
rules that apply to voluntary plans, including fixed indemnity plans
- Discuss the taxation of
employer-provided group term life insurance coverage over $50,000
- Discuss the pros and cons
of paying premiums pre-tax or post-tax for long-term or short-term
- Discuss the taxation of
wellness program rewards
- Discuss the potential
consequences of evading employment taxes
- Describe best practices
when offering voluntary plans, fringe benefits, and wellness rewards
60-minute intermediate level webinar will help employers understand their
obligations when they offer benefits that are subject to income tax
withholding and employment taxes.
Register here for the webinar. The presentation will
be posted on the UBA website the day before the webinar.
Maring is Of Counsel in the Atlanta, Georgia, office of Fisher
Phillips. She focuses her practice on helping employers navigate Employee
Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and other state and federal laws
impacting the design, implementation and ongoing compliance of their
employee benefit plans and programs. Ms. Maring regularly advises clients
on the Affordable Care Act, health and welfare benefits, qualified plans,
executive compensation, Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs)
and multiemployer plan issues.
This webinar event has been submitted to the Human Resource Certification
Institute and the Society
for Human Resource Management to qualify for one recertification