Posts Tagged Human Resources
What do the holidays mean for your employees and organization? Well, for some it means taking time off, family and friends coming in and out of town, donating to charities, end of year deadlines and the list continues! What can your organization do to support your employees during this time of the year? Get them into “the holiday spirit!”
Here are some quotes that may embrace your impression of the holiday spirit:
The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas. — W. C. Jones
This is my wish for you: peace of mind, prosperity through the year, happiness that multiplies, health for you and yours, fun around every corner, energy to chase your dreams, joy to fill your holidays” — D.M. Dellinger
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. Wishing you happiness. — Helen Keller
I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month. — Harlan Miller
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, The Winter Solstice or nothing at all, you may be familiar with some of the themes in these quotes. These themes found and promoted as the “holiday spirit” can be found year round in your organization!
Since I am especially thankful and proud of my organization’s approach to the holidays, I’d like to take a few moments and describe why being in HR at MINES has jumpstarted my holiday spirit! This year, we have had incredible interest and proactive initiatives in making the MINES culture something to be proud of. Employees from all over the organization, in numerous departments and of varying tenure have informally stepped up and offered ideas and proactive approaches to making MINES a fun and enjoyable place to work. This holiday season has been no exception!
What began as a simple holiday party planning committee grew into a committee that wanted to ensure a memorable experience for not only our employees but also our clients. We first brainstormed a completely different approach to our holiday party… how did this happen? We had a newer employee who was not boggled down by assumptions of the “way things have been done” do some homework and elect a different flavor for the party. The committee also wanted to ensure that the other members of the staff had input in components of the party and they did partake! Above and beyond the holiday party, other great ideas became reality including two drives incentivized by a spirit week and raffle as well as a card signing potluck lunch. The reason that this brightened my holiday spirit is not necessarily the activities themselves; it was seeing the enthusiasm and these great initiatives by our brilliant staff becoming a reality. What was most impressive was the decision by our committee to make it a goal to continue this proactive morale-boosting initiative throughout the year. Of course, we could not have implemented reality without our executive team being on-board!
This year, be proactive about making your holiday season special for yourself, your colleagues, your organization, your community, and for everyone that you touch. Let THIS holiday season be a springboard for the rest of the year! Be the one who helps to spark your organization’s “holiday spirit” and keep it burning all year long! Giving, caring, spending time with family and friends, easing others’ loads, generosity, appreciation, and sharing your contagious smile and energy can make a difference in the morale of your organization all year! This difference and spirit spreads and benefits everyone who you touch whether it is clients, family, colleagues, customers, or friends! I believe that this is why MINES makes such a tremendous difference in our clients’ lives.
Dani Kimlinger, MHA, PHR, Human Resources
Many of us are aware that it is illegal for employers to discriminate based on the well-known key EEOC areas: race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, genetic information, and disability. What some are not aware of is that some states, including Colorado, have made it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation. This 2007 amendment to the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act is known as the Sexual Orientation Employment Discrimination Act (SOEDA). This amendment prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s orientation towards heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, and transgender status (Federal Antidiscrimination Laws, 2011).
What considerations does the employer need to be aware of following the SOEDA Amendment? First of all, the employer should not inquire about the applicant’s sexual preference. Additionally, when advertising for an opening within the company, there should not be an expressed preference for a sexual orientation. It is prohibited for the company to have separate lines for progression or seniority status based on sexual orientation. Finally, the employer must allow employees to dress according to the gender in which the employee identifies with (Federal Antidiscrimination Laws, 2011).
Being aware and complying with this law is certainly important, but why not take it a step further and enhance the company’s support for LGBT by forming cultural norm? Did you know studies show that more than half of LGBT employees keep it a secret? This negatively affects morale and productivity! Here are just a few tips for your company to consider for showing acceptance for your LGBT employees (Anderson, 2011):
- Provide support inside and outside of the organization for LGBT through networking opportunities. This provides structured support which helps LGBT staff succeed within the organization.
- Ensure that information about partner benefits is clearly communicated to the LGBT staff. Often, LGBT employees are not aware of the benefits that their domestic partners may be eligible for.
- Using inclusive language often makes the LGBT employees feel more comfortable. For instance, if an organization is hosting a company party, encourage all employees to bring a “guest” rather than their “spouse.”
- Support LGBT events, either through donations or involvement of the organization in events.
- Highlight senior management support of LGBT employees. When senior management discusses the importance of diversity, it sends a strong and positive message when they include LGBT as well!
Dani Kimlinger, MHA, PHR
The State of Colorado. (2011). Federal Antidiscrimination Laws. Retrieved October 26, 2011, from http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?blobcol=urldata&blobheadername1=Content-Disposition&blobheadername2=Content-Type&blobheadervalue1=inline%3B+filename%3D%22Non-discrimination+Policy.pdf%22&blobheadervalue2=application%2Fpdf&blobkey=id&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobwhere=1251741381222&ssbinary=true
Anderson, Melissa J. (2011, October 11). 1o Tips to Create an LGBT Supportive Workplace on National Coming Out Day [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.evolvedemployer.com/2011/10/11/10-tips-to-create-an-lgbt-supportive-workplace-on-national-coming-out-day/
“My son has a fever and needs to stay home and rest.”
“I just had surgery and can’t sit for long periods of time.”
“It doesn’t make sense for me to work and pay for infant daycare!”
Do any of these issues come up in your company? If you think that they are stressful for the organization, just imagine the burden on your employees. One option that is grasping more and more attention is allowing employees to telework if they as employees, and their positions, permit it (Heathfield, 2011).
So, how would an organization determine whether or not a position is a strong fit for telecommuting? There’s no simple answer but here are some variables to consider (Heathfield, 2011):
- The position must be able to be completed outside of the office building. There are some new and creative ways to make this possible, even for those positions that seemingly need to be completed in the office. One such position is a call center employee — many companies are offering their employees remote access and soft phones on their computers.
- The employees should be able to work independently inside of the company in order to be considered for telecommuting.
- The employee and the manager should both be comfortable with electronic communication, i.e. e-mail.
- The employee should not be wearing the “home” hat and the “work” hat during their working hours. The employee should have uninterrupted work time at home.
- The employee must be trustworthy.
Daniél C. Kimlinger, MHA, PHR
Human Resources Specialist
Heathfield, S. (n.d.). Life and Family Challenges With Flexible Work Schedules? In About Human Resources. Retrieved June 21, 2011, from http://humanresources.about.com/od/workschedules/f/life_family.htm
May is mental health awareness month – an issue that has implications on individuals as well as the organizations they work for. The importance of mental health and the employee is a frequently discussed topic in the field of HR. Does the employer have a responsibility for their employees’ mental health? How can offering mental health benefits help the organization? Although there are multiple perspectives, there are some ways that the employer can help support their employees through difficult times.
One common and inexpensive benefit that the vast majority of organizations provide to their employees is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Yes, MINES and Associates is an EAP provider, and as such we see the issues that come to the table: low morale, family conflicts, substance abuse, and financial stressors to name a few. We also hear success stories of employees completing their counseling sessions and feeling that many areas of their lives have improved – including their job! Being the HR specialist of an organization which provides EAP services, it was easy to see where the value of an EAP lies. When an employee comes to you with a problem or suspicions of a mental illness, it’s reassuring to know that as an HR specialist, you have a great resource available where you can refer employees to clinicians that are better suited to help with these sorts of problems.
In addition to an EAP, there are other ways that you can regularly support your employees. Some benefits that our employees greatly appreciate include generous time off, the ability to work remotely, and encouraged open-communication. During times of stress, employees tend to appreciate time off to deal with personal matters. Working remotely allows the employee flexibility in their work. Finally, open-communication allows employees to bring forth concerns and needs without fear of reprisal. Your employees are the greatest asset of the company – show them that you care and support them!
Daniél C. Kimlinger, MHA
Human Resources Specialist