Handling Harassment Claims

Back at it with another big topic important to the HR world. Not only for newbies, but also executives and HR Professionals everyday.

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Last week I attended Northern Alabama SHRM September Workshop here in Huntsville. It was a full day of great information, with wonderful HR Pros sharing knowledge, tips, advice, how to’s, on the new, and the old. All of the speakers were awesome, but one of them really hit home on this topic. Mike Haberman discussed Investigation and Termination and here are a few tips that I found very beneficial.

Now, I don’t directly hands on deal with these types of investigations in my everyday role, the majority of it goes directly to my boss, unless she is out of the office. She allows for me to sit in the room and hear the investigation and shows me the process and steps on how to handle each claim.

The #1 Rule is – HR Cannot Promise Confidentiality: I was a little stumped about this until Mike explained it more in detail. There are a lot of moving parts in the investigation, including many people that must be interviewed. While the accused may not find out who brought the claim forward, other people that have been involved, will be brought into the mix as well.

There is a cost of not responding to a claim:

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  1. The bad behavior continues – if we ignore it, nothing will change. Even if the person stops harassing one victim, doesn’t mean he/she won’t move on to others.
  2. Lost Productivity – this does not only mean the victim, but also other employees that may work in that area. The harasser is losing productivity by causing these acts, and of course the victim is losing productivity by trying to avoid the harasser and situation all together. They may call out of work more often, come in late, be behind on projects.
  3. Lost of Talent – When your work starts to suffer, your job is in jeopardy. Being harassed can put someone in the position to lose his/her passion for a position or certain work. Think about the mental toll this type of harassment can cause someone in the company that is having to go through this, or have a friend/coworker go through this situation.
  4. Lost of money to settlements and court cost – when you ignore a claim, you are giving the harassed party the open door to head directly to a lawyer. Would you really want your company to be known as one that does not look out for the safety and well being of their employees, especially when the situation is brought to your doorsteps? Handling the investigation in a timely manner, means starting the investigation as soon as someone opens the door.
  5. Lost of Reputation – once again, its’ the not just the outlook of the company to the customers and the world, but what about how your employees will feel in an environment that does not make sure their people is safe in the doors of this business.

How can you have a reasonable investigation?

Make sure there is a neutral well trained investigator to handle this claim. Yes, normally HR is the department to turn to for investigations, but what if the HR department is being harassed? Find a person, like Mike, that has the background knowledge to handle these type of situations. Lawyers aren’t usually the person to hire for this, because if they conduct the investigation, they may not be able to handle your case in court.  Being about to find a good communication foundation is very important in any investigation. Sometimes the person being harassed won’t come out directly and inform you what is going on, a friend or fellow coworker may be that person. The harassed may also feel scared to come forward and give the details in an investigation. Taking them outside of the office to an undisclosed location and having a one on one conversation might make them more comfortable.

To finish off this post, I want to make sure to discuss two of the biggest lessons.

Be committed to finding the truth, regardless of where it leads and make it clear that retaliation will not be tolerated, in any manner. 

Image result for truthAs HR, we can not stop an investigation because of it’s direction. If an owner, executive, or even someone in HR has harassed any employee, they need to face the consequence of their actions. The party that has harassed a victim has done enough damage, retaliation is not an option in your company, and should be made very clear to every person involved. In one of my next post, I will discuss the importance of documentation during the investigation.

Until Next Time …

Creating Your Dream Team – YP Job Search

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On Twitter, I’m always talking about or to my HRTribe, the group of HRPros I find most helpful in my online community. When you’re starting your job search, it’s important to build a dream team of individuals you have in your corner that keeps you motivated and uplifted in difficult times. Your team doesn’t need to be just family, they can also be the pros that you have enlisted to help your job search.

Image result for recruiters memeRecruiters: There are some awesome recruiters in the HR World, they’re dedicated to giving tips on the Twitter and LinkedIn. Although there are different types of recruiters, they can actually be your entire team in one. They are able to help you with your resume, search for the perfect job, help you connect with companies or individuals. Most typically work for employers, unless they’re independent, and are searching out for specific roles. They can help you find the perfect job, but they can’t make the decision to take the job offered.

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Career or Life Coaches: These coaches can help you become confident in your job search. They are available to be the listening ear, a helpful decision maker in the process. From experience, career coaches are extremely honest with you and won’t sugar coat anything. It’s their job to be up front about the decision you’re making. They’re not a therapist and are simply here to help, not solve your problems, they leave that to you.

Image result for resume writer memeResume Writer: Having a great resume makes the world of a difference when you’re trying to land a position, especially an entry level, career position. Having someone on your team that can help you write your resume can put you in the lead for a position. Resume writers can help you graduate your resume for each step of your life. They understand what companies are looking for how to tailor the resume to fit your information with what the company wants. We all had the basics down in high school, but you can’t use a high school resume to land an entry level HR position.

HRTribe: No matter where you are in your career path, you need to build a group of Pros that are willing to help you on the journey. Sometimes it’s as simple as helping you understand a concept or answering a question. Being in school, I can go to my HRTribe for help with a class. They give me information on items I should read, webinars to catch, people I should contact. I gained my group by connecting on social media, it doesn’t need to be an interaction every single day, but it’s more than just a work friendship, I know these people are going to honest with me about the career path.

Building your Dream Team can help you on your search to landing that dream job. Make sure you keep people who are inspirational to you, people who you can go to and talk things over when you’ve had a rough day of job searching. Young professionals and pros both need someone who can help them become better, so who’s in your HR Dream Team?

Until Next Time …

College & Career Fair Day 1

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My last week was BUSY and this time, I really mean it! One of the biggest highlights was being able to participate in a College and Career fair, hosted by one of our local colleges for high school juniors and seniors. This event allows over 10 schools in our area to come and talk to college recruiters from universities all over the southeast and also local companies.

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My company is a locally owned franchise of a major food corporation, but even we are having issues with hiring in a town surrounded by technology. So I had a conversation with the supervisors, called on a few managers, and got prepared to speak with supposedly 6,000 students in our local area, and tell them how joining our team would be one of their best life decisions.

The purpose of this fair was not only to introduce students to local colleges or careers but also help students improve their soft skills. They were given questions to ask us, like “How did our career path lead to our current position” or “What was your college major? Did you learn information that you use in your daily work?” Out of this big number of students, only 2 of the actually engaged in this type of conversation, most of them wanted free stuff and that’s ok too. This gave us the opportunity to bring students in and help them with those soft skills. I instructed my managers to go out, get from behind the table, and talk to the students. At some point, we were these students, unsure of our next decision. We had to put ourselves in their current shoes and I believe that also helped my managers become better with the students they already have in their store. Instead of just standing and waiting, we approached groups of students, passed out brochures with our information, gave them reasons to be interested in the fact that all of our positions don’t just deal with one area of the company. Because we are local, they can see that our company owners are all in the area, our franchisee started in one of the store positions and moved his way up to owning his first location and then 18/19 more, the human resource department is in the area, the accounting team, marketing, all of these parts of a company that may seem far away to some people, are here in their hometown, and accessible to them.

Image result for college and career fair memesThese events are so helpful to students who have no idea what their next steps are. Some will venture off to college in a few months, yes, but what about those students that don’t want to attend college or unfortunately don’t have the money to do so yet. We are offering them information that teaches them real world professions now at a young age. For my company, we are usually the first job that teenagers have, and being able to teach them those soft skills is one of the best parts of the job for the managers.

College and career fairs are so important to students, it’s not only a get out of school day, it helps them make decisions about where they want to be in the next 5-10 years. We always ask candidates this question in interviews, now, we’re giving them the tools to answer it.

Although Day 1 was a dozy, Day 2 left me in bed by 7 pm, that post is coming tomorrow.

Until Next time …

 

 

May the Force (Of HR) Be With You

If you follow my twitter account, you will know that I had never seen a Star Wars movie and still haven’t seen any of the Star Trek movies. I also thought they were the same thing until I was about 16, but that’s not here nor there. There will be spoilers if you’ve never seen this movie. 

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So I watched Star Wars New Hope on a beautiful Saturday afternoon for the sake of my HRTribe … I’m sorry ya’ll. It’s a good movie, but it doesn’t motivate me to watch the others. I, of course, got to thinking about HR and how to relate the two.

Motivation is tricky, it’s something you can gain from yourself, but also something others can provide you with in certain circumstances. I’ve had some of the best managers from a operations side, but they were horrible in the people perspective. They had the back office paperwork done, the inventory orders in sync, counts were immaculate, but they couldn’t train an employee or empathize with them, which is important for our field.

Han Solo, mainly my favorite character because he’s played by Harrison Ford, reminded me a lot of a manager that runs to the beat of his or her own drum. Managers that feel they know whats best for their team. As HR, we need to allow our managers the power and encouragement to lead their team, but they need to have a respect for the HR department, so they don’t make outrageous changes, without discussing the information first.

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C3P0 and R2-D2 are a prime example of why HR needs to make sure we are helping our teams stay together and choosing quality new hires that fit into the current culture in our company. Sidenote: Was I really supposed to believe that R2-D2 was rolling across that sand?? Really? lol. However, I love the team work these 2 bring to the movie, for the most part, they stuck together even when C3P0 didn’t know exactly what mission R2-D2 was sent on.

Related imageI also loved Princess Leia, she put me in the mind of the HR department. Mainly because we have all the answers and we often give our managers and executives a lot of wit.

Overall, I thought the movie was good, I don’t feel much motivation to watch the others, except for the fact that I want to see how Darth Vadar “Luke I am your father” comes about. Also how the love triangle between Luke, Princess Leia, and Holo Sans plays out. Oh, and I want to see Yoda. This post does incorporate some HR, but it is also a reminder for all of those that have never seen Star Wars, I did it so you don’t have to lol!

Until Next Time …

Creating A BOOM in HR – DisruptHR Special

If you haven’t gone to the DisruptHR website by now to watch the talks or blessed to live in a city/state close to attend an event, what are you waiting on???

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I discovered DisruptHR by way of Twitter and following Jennifer McClure., shoe & horse lover and CEO of DisruptHR, I stayed up watching multiple talks the first day, I sometimes have them playing on my computer while working. The Talks are encouraging, yet the Pros (from all different career paths, not just HR, give so much insight into how they view a certain topic, it makes me wonder about what I’m doing to make a difference. DisruptHRBrookings and DisruptHRDenver are the latest cities to hold events, that I’m aware of, and I can’t wait for the talks to come out! I decided to do this post because of all the DisruptHR talk that has been going on the past few weeks and because I wanted to make sure the HRNewbies are finding different ways to learn about our HR World.

I haven’t been able to attend an event yet, however, like millennials, DisruptHR has received a fair amount of backlash. There have been a few articles and presentations given about how “Disrupting HR” shouldn’t be part of the HR approach. I’m curious to get a better understanding of why HR pros may feel this way. In todays time, I think it’s apparent that HR is going through a change and we seem to hate it more than our employees.

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Disrupting HR is about finding ways to become better, in our everyday roles, in technology, in understanding our employees, heck even in understanding ourselves.

Is disrupting HR a “bad” thing because we don’t want to accept the changes that are coming with that disruption? Are we only thinking of disrupting HR in a negative light of causing a distraction from our everyday role? DisruptHR is a great tool and access to connect with HR Pros all around the world and we should be using these connections to make our field better. Everyone isn’t going to get on the train and I get that, but don’t stand on the train tracks, or get left behind and then make complaints.

Image result for bueller gifI love DisruptHR, because it’s the change that I’m trying to create and be apart of for the HRNewbies. If we didn’t adapt to change, Human Resources would still be called personnel and saying that the most important part of our day is getting paperwork turned in.

 I’m ready to Disrupt HR in every way possible, let’s become more about our team, encouraging the field, helping students get a true understanding for what we do, and open more doors to make a positive impact. No longer are we just that office that hires and fires. Disruption can be and will be good, from a young professional view point, it’s time to shake up the table everyone’s been asking to sit at.

Some of my favorite DisruptHR Talks:

Those are just a few of my favorites, there are many more. These are quick 5 minutes talks that hit home in a variety of ways, they make me think about what I’m currently doing in HR and what I want my future career to look like in HR. Check out the Talks and I hope you can attend a session soon!

Check out @Disrupt_HR Twitter account and all of the cities!

Until Next Time …

 

Resources – Continuing Your Growth

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HR is a big field, that’s one of the things I love about my career, there is something new to learn literally every day. Trying to keep up with information can be difficult, every meeting can’t be attended, things come up, financial stress can hold back some of the great ideas that people are trying to obtain. Sometimes you are forced to think outside of the box to get information that you’re looking for and some of the resources presented below will hopefully help the HRNewbies and Professionals, trying to get a better understanding of this crazy Human Resource World!

Image result for blogs memeBlogs – well let’s start with the most obvious. Blogs are a great resource because you get information and examples. Pro’s that have come before you and gone through certain issues are able to give you their solution to the problem. I love reading HR blogs because most people are a lot more honest in their space. There are certain things they are still hesitant to disclose, of course, however, I think you get the real emotion of what they were going through in that time. SHRM BlogWorkologyHR UndergroundMy Dailey JourneyJohn P HudsonResilient HRSurviving LeadershipHR PocketstHRive Law & Consulting, are only a FEW of the blogs I follow, it’s hard to keep up!

Image result for boring webinars memeWebinars – Great webinars are one of the best resources I’ve run into during my HR career. Some can be boring so a little bit of trial and error will occur, but there are some great Pros that know exactly how to engage and provide information in a web based setting. The Law office of Ogletree Deakins is where I started my webinar journey, but I’m finding out that many HR Pros use webinars to get credit points for their certifications. Just searching HR Webinars will provide a list of resources and a lot of them are free, so if you’re that college student looking to find out more information, you won’t have to worry about dishing out extra cash right now.

Image result for conference memeConferences: I just talked about saving money and now we’re on conferences, funny. Attending a conference can cost lots of money, from the price of the conference to the hotel, travel, food, it all adds up. However, registering early can help you save money. The earlier the better, WorkHuman2018 is a great conference that’s offering a discounted rate until September 1st. It’s important that you take the time to research for different conferences you may want to attend, and plan accordingly! Instead of looking into the big blow out conferences, try State conferences, from what I’m seeing, those cost a lot less but are still able to provide pros with need to know information and a great time.

Books: I still haven’t gotten through all of the books purchased at SHRM17! I’m currently reading one and although it’s very good, I’m finding it hard to sit down and read for long periods of time. Books are a great resource if you find the perfect one. 2 HR books that I definitely recommend are Steve Browne: HR on Purpose and Patrick Lencioni: The Ideal Team Player make sure you have a notebook close by, you’ll want to take notes!

Resources are a major part of improving your skill and knowledge set, everything won’t be learned in a classroom, and getting out to find the information you need is only part of the battle. It’s not just about the connections that you make, although they are a huge part of succeeding, it’s also about the drive to go out and find the information for yourself. Hopefully the list of resources help you advance your career. What are you using to help promote self growth in HR?

Until Next Time …

 

Failure Is Ok

Read the title again.

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I’ve been on a motivational kick these past few weeks, here’s the latest. Failure has to be ok in your world and I want you to understand why I’m saying this. Nothing in HR is easy, except deciding on if the company party should have cake, the answer is always yes. In order to become better some amount of failure is necessary, but so many people are uncomfortable with dealing it.

I was speaking with Chris Fields (@ResumeCrusade) the other day and he asked me where I wanted to be, what were my goals and aspirations. After discussing it a little, I made the comment, “I’m 27 now, 30 is right around the corner” and he preceded to laugh (inserts my eye-roll). After that conversation, I realized there have been many times I’ve failed in something, but I’ve always gotten back up, and no matter my age, I would continue to do so because of my drive.

HR has provided me with many failures as a newbie, but I never stopped. Failure isn’t defined by what others think of you, they’re not walking in your shoes, they may have been in a situation in the past and can give you tips on how to come out of it, but ultimately, failure is only what you define it to be in your life. A few years ago, I deemed dropping out of college my first go around as a failure. Now, I understand the lesson that I had to learn to come back and succeed. I deemed not having a career in HR by 25 a failure, because what in the world was I doing all of those years before?

HRNewbies this post is to encourage you. Some will get job offers directly out of school, some will receive internships, and few will be sitting home wondering what’s going to happen next. Keep pushing, your journey may not be exactly what YOU think it should be, but as long as you keep striving to reach the goals that you want to achieve, failure will only be a stepping stone to the next best option.

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