Tag: #Business

Who’s Watching Your Leadership’s Mental Fitness?

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Photo by Joseph Barrientos on Unsplash

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

Captains of Industry amass fortunes by increasing productivity, expanding markets, providing more jobs, despite navigating tumultuous waters. All the while, stoically stable. After all, they are ultimately responsible for their vessel, the crew, and safe navigation. However, when the ship’s captain teeters on instability, one misjudgment, and one navigational error can slam a cruise liner onto the rocks. I faced that sad reality on vacation. While combing the beach, I stumbled on a battered life ring.  Looking ahead, more maritime debris littered the sand. The resort staff let me know that was all that was left of the sunken ship El Faro.

Earlier this month, the Coast Guard said the primary cause of the sinking of a cargo ship two years ago that killed all 33 aboard was the captain misreading both the strength of a hurricane and his overestimation of the ship’s strength.  No bodies were ever recovered. It was the worst maritime disaster for a U.S.-flagged vessel since 1983.

Like any other business leader, if a Captain mismanages his duties, for sure the crew will increasingly panic and perhaps pay a heavy price.  Across all industries, a leader is appointed for a reason, and many times we may not all see the personal sacrifices made by these individuals.

They say that there are only two certain things in life: Death and Taxes. I would argue that there is a third. Life-altering personal life challenges. No exceptions, every single person on planet earth is subject to challenges, whether it is daily, seasonal or life-altering. A perfect storm of circumstances or grievous events such as an unexpected loss of a loved one, a bitter divorce, financial destruction, something will eventually come to pass that will challenge our relatively normal and logical mental state.

Employees benefit greatly from having supervisors or mentors that can identify when something is amiss. There is a multitude of indicators that even the “greenest” of a supervisor can usually identify. Whether it is attendance, work performance, personal presentation, or even more obvious indicators such suspected intoxication or illegal narcotic use. Once a problem is identified, support is usually quickly directed towards the employee in terms of a sympathetic ear, donation of resources, or referral to an Employee Assistance Program.

Here’s is a challenge. Who is watching the supervisors and who is watching your direct supervisor? In a perfect world, the individuals listed above would self-identify a problem and they would take appropriate steps to overcome whatever is affecting them. But you know as well as I do, we do not live in that perfect world. We live in the real world.

Human resource professionals are in a unique position to discern catch subtle clues in changed behavior in company leadership and both up and down the organizational ladder. Scheduling regular meetings with leaders in an organization addresses “organizational needs” and can be multi-purpose. One, it keeps the department proactive on required changes and two to keep a finger on the pulse of employee morale. If Human Resources regularly makes assessments, everyone in the organization is protected with one exception. Who is watching them? Especially those in a department of one. Fortunately, informal checks and partnering with the direct supervisor is a key advantage.  And a close relationship with a boss helps, allowing a free exchange of information in both directions. Luckily, who’s best informed about company benefits, perks, and resources. That wonderful lifeline – human resources.

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What’s Your Side Hustle?

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By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

I am completely guilty. Every single time an article crosses my eyes that says something to the effect of “How to Become a Millionaire in 3 Simple Steps” or “5 Simple Steps to Success,” I admit to taking the bait and clicking. The humorous part is I know exactly what I am about to get myself into, long before I finish reading the article. I may be able to withhold my compulsion for a minute; however, my curiosity often overcomes my internal voice of reason. And honestly, who doesn’t want to be extremely successful right?

After clicking these links I am almost always immediately filled with regret. It creeps up from the pit of my stomach as if reading each painstakingly oversimplified suggestion renders me less and less satisfied than the tip that preceded it. Pick any three “adjectives” you want, insert them into an article, and then summarize with “follow these steps and BOOM Zillionaire.” Many of these articles come from non-credible sources; however, surprisingly some of these same ambiguous “buy my program today” articles come from reputable entrepreneurs and A-list magazines.

Typically, the article ties back to a consulting service, training class, or another tangible item that can be purchased at an additional cost, ultimately feeding revenue back to its source. It’s a good business model and it does work, so in a way, these articles do provide a value as it serves as a business model to mirror. Regardless of the sellable item, whether the industry is real-estate, financial sales, insurance, consulting, etc., the concept can be duplicated and tweaked with varying façades.

I have no issue personally with this type of hustle, but I do have a concern for those who are seeking guidance in these articles because they are in dire financial straits. There are certainly many ways to achieve multiple revenue streams utilizing today’s technology online without paying for “John Doe’s” get rich quick program. Millennials have got this figured out, they are starting businesses younger and starting more average businesses than any other generation that has preceded them. Not only do they have little fear of failure in starting a business, but they are quicker to embrace current technology and stay on top of hottest trends. A winning combination.

I won’t insult your intelligence with a simplified list of adjectives and call it a recipe for success, but I know generating additional income online is certainly achievable because I have. If you are in-between professions, waiting patiently for interview feedback, or have hit a low point in your savings accounts, there are many creative ways to source additional income and there is no need to pay for someone’s unique system. For every pay-for system that is listed online, there is someone willing to give out the information out for free. YouTube is a fantastic resource. In terms of practical information, YouTube has taught me more than my undergraduate and graduate degree combined. If you want to monetize a website, write a blog, create a drop shipping business, you name it, there is a video on it. Hundreds of thousands of free videos and walkthroughs on how to generate an active and passive income for free if you’re willing to take the chance.

The most successful people I know didn’t get to where they are today because of a list of descriptive action words listed in a motivational article. They had luck, knew where to acquire resources, and had no fear. Thankfully you can teach an old dog new tricks, and as the world is changing we had better be prepared to learn new information and become fearless. When we have hit a point in our timeline when college degrees can generate a minimum wage and certificate programs return six-figure incomes, it is time to get creative with our income strategies today because who knows what tomorrow brings.

Source:  https://group.bnpparibas/en/news/bnp-paribas-global-entrepreneurs-report-2016

Workplace Disloyalty: Doubles Down On Deception

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By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

Recently I spoke with a Director of Human Resources for a local Professional Employer Organization (PEO) during a networking event. She notified me that they were initiating a “Confidential” employment screening for a replacement Human Resources Manager and she asked if I knew anyone that may be interested. When I asked what happened to the incumbent, the response fell in-line with what is becoming the new standard. The Director stated the manager is currently still employed, but due to personality conflicts she may need to be “let go in a couple months.”

The hairs on the back of my neck stand when I hear comments such as these, so I asked three simple questions:

  1. Was the employee notified of a deficiency?
  2. Has the employee been placed on a plan for success?
  3. Did you attempt progressive discipline in attempts to correct behavior?

The answer to all three questions was a “no.”  So, this employer is sourcing for talent for a “what if” scenario that they are not interested in pre-emptively correcting. I personally see a moral and ethical breach on the part of the employer; however, things are always difficult to truly judge external to the organization. I bring this up because of employee and employer loyalty, both appear to be heading for extinction.

Recruiters will tell you 73% of people currently employed are open to exploring new employment possibilities. Conversely, if a recruiter contacts an organization having no current vacancies, may ask if they would like to “upgrade” any staff most will say yes. This employee and employer loyalty model has driven the median tenure rate to below 4.2 years according to the 2016 Department of Labor Statistics. The trend is expected to continue its downward spiral unless there is a drastic change in employment ideology.

If the employee and employer relationship is a problem, then certainly one of its associated symptoms is its effect on recruitment. Once a profession that once struck lifetime relationships, it was once possible to help the very same person through every transition of an employee’s career. For example, my grandfather worked for DuPont for 35 years until retirement. His two brothers had similar tenures with the same employer, and one of them worked his way from a blue-collar, non-exempt position to an executive. They all had living wages, promotions and enviable benefits by today’s standards.

This was yesteryear, recruiting is lucrative but it is also extremely competitive as a profession. Those that hustle make top dollar, and that’s generally only are placing 5% – 10% of inventory. Notice I used the word inventory instead of “Human Capital.” Top performers can’t be bothered with the 90% that is not hirable by organizations and they generate the most maintenance in terms of customer service. So, what do they do? Forget about the lost 90% and move on, no need for phone calls, feedback letters, or follow-ups.

Look at the horizon and wait until the internet giants awake from their slumber and begin capitalizing in the recruiting space. Imagine the disruption of the industry if Google, Facebook, and Microsoft go all in competing for market share. Don’t think they will try? Google is ramping up now. Imagine the power of Google AdSense’s targeted ads but think in terms of employment. Picture it, potential candidates surfing their favorite websites and instead of receiving a targeted ad they receive a targeted employment invitation. An open job, which they meet all qualifications, and need they only hit one click. Boutique recruitment firms would have to up their game to compete even in niche markets. I mean who could target better than google?

I can’t help but wonder if that increased level of technological innovation would help the employee-employer relationship or further exacerbate the problem. Would easier access to jobs and an expedited hiring process decrease average tenure due to increased availability? Or would it make finding the candidate’s dream job an easier reality thereby increasing our employee and employer loyalty relationship?  What do you think?

 

Source: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/tenure.pdf

Source: http://blog.accessperks.com/2017-employee-engagement-loyalty-statistics#1

Source: https://joshbersin.com/2017/05/google-for-jobs-disrupting-the-recruiting-market/

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/17/google-hire-is-a-recruiting-tool-that-works-with-google-apps.html

Post Disaster: Now What?

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Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

No matter how prepared we think we are, life has a funny way of teaching us exactly how much we truly don’t know. Although a lifelong learner with extensive postgraduate education, I gleaned my most important lessons from the school of life, not from a formal university.  As a native Floridian, I’ve experienced countless hurricanes.  Never once, in all that time, did I ever feel compelled to evacuate.

That is, until now.  Along with 6.3 Million Florida brethren, I faced evacuation, but the prevailing question was, “Go where?”  Especially since Hurricane Irma’s massive “cone of uncertainty” covered the entire state.  The one and only reasonable action, flee Irma. That meant leaving the state with 1.5 million other Floridians residing in mandatory evacuation zones.  The biggest hurdle was there are only 3 major arteries out of Florida and only one direction out (North).

During our exodus, we encountered 874,000 other cars, a plethora of car crashes, gas outages and 150 plus cars lined up at the pumps. A huge problem emerged post-storm that I had quite frankly not anticipated.  Trying to get back home.  The volume of those displaced, the road closures, flooding and fuel delivery delays, all significantly impact the speed Floridians can return home.  Additionally, of those that chose to shelter in place, a major portion of this population have no power, no internet/phone service, and must make critical food and fuel rationing decisions.

My friends and family sought shelter in Tennessee. We all have already have been contacted by employers in one way or another inquiring as to when we can safely return to work.  Some of us have even received their 2nd phone call with slightly more demanding tones.  During breakfast this morning, I overheard a close family friend displaced from Miami, several months pregnant, and without a vehicle hang up on her employer stating, “I’ll return when I can.”

From a Human Resources perspective, it’s reasonable for employers to expect an employee’s prompt return to work contingent on when it’s safe to do so.  The primary goal for any for-profit organization is to ensure the financial success of the business and ensure stakeholder protection. But, there is a fine line between “reasonable” and “unrealistic” expectations. To date, I have never truly understood the complexities of such a large-scale evacuation, nor have I understood the intricacies of trying to return home post such an incident.

It is my responsibility as a Human Resources representative to adequately prepare and implement policy on how to handle such matters.  Just as important as developing policy, is the importance of maintaining open lines of dialog with operations and executive management prior to an incident to set definitions of what’s realistic and achievable.  Without a strategic partnership between human resources and operations, communication post incident to employees may come across far less empathetic than desired.

Having a seat at the big table in an organization is critical to Human Resources.  While it is easy to focus on the bottom line in terms of the production of widgets, it can also be easy to overlook the critical needs of our organizations “internal customers”.  Our employees are the lifeblood of an organization, and without them, no business can succeed.  This is one of our critical roles in Human Resources, and sometimes a gentle reminder to key decision makers on the human condition is required by human resources for a balanced business plan.

 

HR Department & Emergency Preparedness

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

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Does your organization have a well-designed, informative, and proactive hurricane action checklist?  Do you have an Incident Action Plan that establishes what your department role will be pre, during, and post incident?  I am confident that many of the larger well-established departments have plans in place.  I am also just as confident that smaller departments with limited resources may “shoot from the hip” with little to no guidance on how to establish an effective plan.

Never assume that your employees know how to, have done so in the past, or have access to the required resources to survive a disaster.  As the HR Department representative, take a proactive role and educate all your employees and guarantee they have access to basic information.  My suggestion is a handout that is prepared and delivered in person, which ensures delivery and provides visual feedback as to the employee’s level of preparation.  This document should be custom tailored to your specific region with emergency contacts to the following agencies:

  1. Ambulance, Police, & Fire
  2. Social Services
  3. Highway Patrol
  4. Marine Patrol
  5. Local Hospitals
  6. Local Veterinarians
  7. Poison Control
  8. VA Clinic
  9. Utilities
  10. Emergency Managers
  11. Insurance Hotlines
  12. FEMA
  13. Emergency Number for your Organization

This document should also have additional information such as basic CPR instructions, wound management, and general safety tips.  In years past I have functioned as a professional rescuer.  In my experience, most injuries and deaths occur post incident not during.  In the case of a hurricane, once wind speeds approach 50 miles per hour, most emergency response departments will cease.  During the critical stages of a hurricane, employees must be self-sufficient.  All 911 calls at this point are “queued” based on the level of priority, resuming only once conditions are deemed safe for responders.

Be sure to assign an individual responsibility for all communications to employees.  This individual should be tasked with updating all employee files with accurate contact information such as addresses and phone numbers.  They should also be responsible for developing a check-in process, via phone, email, social network, etc.  Facebook offers a safety feature called Facebook Safety Check which allows individuals to check-in virtually during a disaster.

Make sure that your Incident Action Plan allows for employees to have adequate time off to prepare and prep for storms.  Likewise, make sure you have a written plan on how you will handle compensation during the emergency.  Emergencies happen with sufficient frequency that there should also be a written policy assigning who is responsible for maintaining each critical business activity such as payroll and vendor management pre-and post-incident.

There may be individuals that may need to work on site during the incident, or have no place to go.  Choose how you will handle these situations prior to an incident. Either a plan for assistance to local shelters or maintaining an emergency cache of supplies on site are both options.  Any required emergency supplies to be kept on site would vary based on need, this task might be best delegated to your Safety Manager.

Hurricane Irma is days away from impacting Florida and putting a written plan in place may not be feasible for some.  At the very least, make sure all contact information with your employees is current, make a “touch” and find out if they have any needs, and make sure to check in on them.  To those that are going to be affected by this storm, my thoughts and prayers are for you.  Everybody please remain safe during this storm and take heed from local officials should they request that you evacuate.  God Bless.

Resources 2042: Wait, Where Is The Human?

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

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Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

Today’s human resources management profession has jettisoned far from its humble beginnings. So far that, with the advent of newer technologies, the ghostly specter of transactional personnel departments with their voluminous paperwork and manual record keeping, seems…well…other worldly, pre historic perhaps. Even after the outgrowth from headcount reporting to more expansive employee services, bleeding-edge technologies have revolutionized the industry even further.

Nowadays, as human resources professionals, you have seen your roles swell into true strategic business partners in every sense of the word. The average human resources generalist is a part attorney, psychologist, project manager, IT professional, and above all champion of human capital. To be fully proficient in this industry now requires an amazing skill package. But, given the dramatic evolution in the past 40 years, especially the milestones reached in the last 10, what effect will tomorrow have on this profession?

In a recording I recently watched of the World Economic Summit 2017, Elon Musk – the CEO of SpaceX and one of the guest speakers presenting, was asked, “What’s next in technology that will disturb the way the world lives and the way we do business?”  What a great question for a savvy business magnate, investor, engineer, and inventor with an estimated net worth of $16.1 billion, making him the 80th-wealthiest person in the world. In December 2016, Musk was ranked 21st on the Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People.

So given his credentials, I found his answer intriguing and thought-provoking. It made me question what challenges lie ahead for the human resources profession. While this probably won’t affect our generation, but if you have a science fiction bent as I do, you may ponder this question awhile too. In short, Elon Musk said, “The development of autonomous cars and artificial intelligence will have a significant ‘disruption’ on society and employment.” In his vision, “Almost all cars being built will be capable of full autonomy in about 10 years.”

He added, “Somewhere between 20 and 25 years in the future, potentially 12-15% of our society could be unemployed simply due to jobs lost by individuals employed as drivers.” He further warned, “Play close attention to the development of artificial intelligence…we have to be very careful how we adopt artificial intelligence.” He followed with, “There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better.”

Now, that got me to thinking. I already see dedicated self-automation in checkout lanes at Walmart, my orders from McDonald’s are done on a human-less Kiosk, and artificial intelligence has already reached a point that it can beat the best chess players in the world. If you have never heard of Google’s DeepMind project, there is AI software capable of learning to teach itself how to walk, run, jump, and climb all without someone teaching in a mere matter of hours. Now picture that technology, exponentially more advanced in 20 years, combined with the advancements that will be made in robotics. What will our future workforce look like? Can you picture that?

Elon Musk’s interview ended with this final question, “If you want to advise government officials to be ready for the future, what advice would you give them?”

“What are we to do about mass unemployment?” he asked. “This is going to be a massive social challenge. Um, and I think ultimately, we will have to have universal basic income. I don’t think we are going to have a choice.” From a human capital perspective, his answer evokes deep concerns.

There’s no way for the average layperson to prophesy the future, but there certainly will be mega shifts in business and the workforce if Elon Musk’s predictions come to pass. I can’t help but wonder if the future of Civil Rights and the Equal Opportunity Commission will be the prohibition of discrimination against humans in the workforce. At that point, Generation Z will hold the reins of futuristic Human Resources, and I wish them tremendous success navigating those waters. I surely hope by then, all of us here and now, are in retirement mode, sipping a spritzer, talking to our kids about the good old days and how things used to be.

If you are interested in watching the original interview, here’s the link to YouTube video listed below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbkO2a2T6Cs

Five Job Search Tips for Vets Entering The Civilian Job Market

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

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Photo by Benjamin Faust on Unsplash

While reading online posts, I noticed a significant number of unemployed military veterans with vast education and experiences. “What does it take to get hired in the civilian market?” they asked. They have decades of relevant service, noteworthy leadership skills, and their profile pictures are charismatic in formal dress uniform, so what is the problem?

Before I list a few tips that may address some of the questions I have seen, let me preface with two important pieces of information. The quest for jobs in the civilian market takes a long time. For each 10 thousand dollars, you wish to make annually, it may take up to one month to gain employment. So, if you are seeking a job that pays $60,000 it can take up to six months searching.

Next, feedback and notifications back to applicants have all but vanished. For every hundred resumes you send, you may hear little to nothing back. This is important to know because it can be discouraging to hear nothing or simply receive auto generated emails saying, “we have chosen another candidate.” You may be tempted to think the problem is with you. The problem is not with you.

Now, let’s work on getting you that job.

Here are 5 key tips for veterans entering the civilian job market. Human eyes typically no longer see your resume on a pre-screen. When you enter an application online, it typically feeds into an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This system is designed to house and screen the organizations’ talent pool. It will pull the top candidates based on key words found in the job description or the needs of the hiring manager.

1.    Develop an ATS Compliant Resume. Aesthetics here can hinder your job search. Any complicated forms, text boxes, or tables can cause the ATS system to not “see” your qualifications. A simple TXT, Word, or PDF with no advanced graphics is best converted by ATS systems.

2.   Use the job description for the position you are applying to find the keywords the employer is looking for. Incorporate those keywords into your resume and in the description of your previous job duties. This can be done by reading the job description or using an online site such as www.wordle.com to scan the job description in which you are applying. You can also google top keywords related to the industry you are specifically seeking employment.

3.   “Civilianize” your resume. You want your job descriptions and titles of your previous positions to be perfectly understandable by a lay person. If a civilian recruiter does not understand your title or position, neither will the ATS. This may require you to use “functional titles” versus your official title. Find the position of your civilian counterpart and utilize this in your resume. You can explain your official title and rank during a pre-screen interview.

4.   Optimize your social media to reflect all the above recommendations. This will help increase your online ranking and in recruitment searches. If you are using LinkedIn be sure to let recruiters know that you are open to a new opportunity. This link shows a step by step tutorial.

https://blog.linkedin.com/2016/10/06/now-you-can-privately-signal-to-recruiters-youre-open-to-new-job

5.   Consider a professional recruiter that specializes in a military to civilian transition. There are plenty of online services that will redo your resume or optimize your Linked In profile; however, someone who has walked your walk will take the extra time and energy in successfully getting you hired.

You are born leaders in every way. I cannot begin to express the amount of gratitude I have for all of you who have served our country. You have put yourself in harm’s way every day and have dealt with the tremendous personal sacrifice of protecting our nation’s freedom. We owe you a world of gratitude. The organization that hires you will be infinitely more successful because you are in it. I hope these quick and easy tips will help get you where you want to be.

Lessons Learned from a Recruiter

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By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

A recruiter recently contacted me online. She texted that I had an interesting background then suggested we connect. I welcome new contacts and industry networking opportunities so I readily agreed to a video teleconference. That hour-long conversation morphed from the typical recruitment exchange into something different, a life lesson.

In a world now veiled with the most stringent political correctness, some topics are usually considered taboo during routine business conversations. Ours ventured off- grid to several off limits topics such as religion, spirituality, morals, ethics, and world travels. Although a departure, I found this recruiting approach refreshing from the more conventional “what region and salary range are you seeking”. This individual jockeyed into a “life coach” role rather than a recruiter.

After I expressed my delight about her happiness-consulting methodology to clients, she taught me a thing or two about life. I soon discovered this recruiter had completed a video conference two weeks prior with a candidate that had been devastated by life’s circumstance. “You visually could see the weight of the world on this candidate’s back. Her posture and presentation all but radiated defeat,” she said. “I took over an hour to slowly begin nursing back her confidence. All that the candidate needed was a little TLC and someone to believe in her.”

I could not believe what I was hearing, especially in this age. A sales professional who really cares about saving the world one person at a time. Amazing. A happy ending for the candidate for she is now in process of being placed with a firm due to this “life coach” tactic to recruiting. The candidate was so ecstatic about the personal attention she received that she sent a thank you letter to the agency referring to the recruiter as a “unicorn.” In my 17 years of handling recruiting, training, and onboarding, I have never received a thank you letter from a candidate calling me a unicorn. Most of the thank you letters I receive appear “canned” or plagiarized templates off Monster.com.

My take is this, just because you have done something for years, does not mean you have been doing it right. Or if you’re doing it right, be more open to being the finest professional your customer has on his or her team. This recruiter did nothing short of the same for me. After an hour of speaking with her, you know what I did? I went for a jog. Why? Because somehow during an interview, she convinced me that eating right and working out was important. Did you catch that? After an interview, the recruiter convinced me to take a jog. Now, that is some fine recruiting.

I had to strategically bring the interview to a close, because I was pretty sure if I had not, I would be joining the peace corps, traveling abroad then immersing myself in a third world country to tackle the most pressing challenges of our generation. We all need to be so effective on the job that our stakeholders will not only be satisfied with your service, that they will be delighted. To all recruiters out there that put this level of total quality service into your work, thank you. I will be borrowing from your tools and adding them to my own toolbox.

One person cannot save the world, but one person can save another’s world.  If we keep reciprocating this ideology to each other, it will lead to positive change.

Health & Wellness: Thinking Outside The Box

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

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Photo by NIDHIN MUNDACKAL on Unsplash

Not long ago, health and wellness were hot topics. You couldn’t walk anywhere without tripping over these industry buzz words. Though often discussed in meetings as a matter of policy or detailed in summary plan documents, over time many company programs honed in on employer cost savings via employee health screenings and staff virtual wellness courses.

Right now, mental health disorders and suicides are on the rise, and more common than ever before. Thus, we grapple for workplace wellness programs that can cope with today’s rising tide of stress, anxiety and clinical depression. Narrowly focused health programs must broaden their scope. If they don’t, their glory days are over. We need more than cosmetic cover-ups, where we mindlessly re-apply polish to restore our program’s original luster. Only a comprehensive retrofit with integrated solutions will do.

Over the last 30 years, anxiety, depression, and suicide have dramatically increased. No demographic has escaped this epidemic’s grip. The National Institute on Mental Health estimates that 40 million adult Americans suffer from some form of Anxiety Disorder. That’s approximately 18% of the United States population.

To complicate matters even further, most employers are ill-equipped to recognize, intervene and mitigate the full impact of clinical depression on staff performance, workplace engagement and the company’s bottom-line. So that 18% threatens productivity, workplace safety, and moral. One thing is certain. If we ignore the trend and do nothing, we will see greater numbers of mentally unhealthy employees in the workplace.

After scrutinizing the conventional methods they’ve used in the past, given the increasing prevalence of mental health problems, many employers have broadened their health management tactics. They now advocate positively managing and supporting their employees’ total well-being. It’s the only way employers can ensure their staffs perform to their potential – allowing businesses to achieve peak performance.

Considering how much time we spend on the job, it’s logical our jobs affect our well-being. Although there’s a mountain of program alternatives, I only want to concentrate on one of them:  A liberal policy allowing emotional support animals in the workplace. I bet you’re picturing a “mad house” or a “petting zoo” at work. Hang on for a minute and let me explain. Even better, hold on and enjoy the ride.

Over the past decade, the mega-shift from the physical world to the virtual reality of consuming content online, including digitally purchasing items, simulation gaming and electronic socializing compounds our isolation. In this merged reality movement, our work habits are steadily more and more computer-centric. As technology explodes and constantly deluges us with information, many of us struggle at home and at work with virtual connectivity overload.

Although there is no Ph.D. in my titles, l strongly encourage you, especially if and when you’re upset, to look at the picture below. Does that make you feel better? If not, there’s no need to read further. However, if it made you smile or feel better or at least say, “Ahhhh”, please continue.

 

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Photo by Andrew Branch on Unsplash

 

Titles II and III of the ADA regulate the utilization of Service Animals in the workplace. The Act limits the use of Service Animals to those with mental illness to those that require medication reminders or calming an individual with PTSD. While Emotional Support Animals (ESA) or Support Animals are prescribed as part of medical treatments, they are not considered Service Animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

I haven’t attached a generic Emotional Support Animal Policy since you will want to customize one for your organization’s unique advantage. Instead, my goal is to make a compelling enough case that well-intentioned key decision makers put positive reinforcement to work for them. A happy employee is a productive employee. In a world adjusting to mainstream workplace violence, assaults, and increased depression and mental illness, it would be really something if all it took was a puppy in the office to start repairing the social damage.

 

 

Sources:

https://adata.org/publication/service-animals-booklet

https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/22/health/us-suicide-rate-surges-to-a-30-year-high.html

 

 

Mission Possible: How To Increase Your Business Sales By 37%

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

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Several years ago, a former colleague and close friend launched a financial services company. He’s the “It Guy” with a stream of profitable ventures in his wake, so it was no surprise when his latest start-up took off. While I watched from the sidelines, his upwardly mobile trappings multiplied. Rolex timepieces, flashy supercars then a multi-million dollar home and frequent international vacations.

The day the invitation arrived to personally tour his new business enterprise, I jumped at the chance. Onsite was just as impressive as I imagined with expansive views, trendy offices, an open workspace sales floor, and an inviting break room. I patted him on the shoulder saying, Wow, nice job!” That moment, he gets a call from down the hall. “I have to take this,” he says to me, “feel free to show yourself around.”

Drawing on my own sales background, I can’t help making a beeline straight into the sales department. For sure, my blatant enthusiasm about shadowing for a while is plastered all over my face, because without hesitation, one of the sales agents thrusts a headset into my palm. I listen in, realizing this guy is good! Guys and gals, they were all good! That conclusion wasn’t a bolt out of the blue though, given that my buddy had strategically recruited each team member from top national firms.

Besides their exceptional talent, one other thing became glaringly apparent: The turbulence. A war raged. Between calls on the floor, they grumbled, clearly upset with management while the sales manager cracked “a whip over their heads”.

I was shocked! I thought, given inexperience and/or incompetence, this sales manager doesn’t know how to run a sales floor. Mindful that my buddy may not be fully aware, I contemplated working my observations into casual conversation, as I headed head back to my friend’s corner office.

Since chief executives are expected to grow sales, I wondered whether this CEO would blow up the fire or put out the flames. My answer surfaced in a private conversation where my buddy said, “The number one way I increase my sales team’s efficiency and productivity is to get them excited.” He added, “The more noise and drama the better.”

What struck me was not so much the sales team maelstrom, but that my friend would allow it to exist. Long story very short, he was aware but preferred it that way. He explained, “I prefer a thumbs down approach to management, and my commission structure keeps staff onboard.” No way would I let our differences in organizational philosophies affect our friendship. Rather we agreed to disagree.

Unfortunately a missed opportunity for my friend, but in the spirit of wishing every company progress and profitability, here’s a free lesson for every operations manager. Happy workers are not only more productive, but they also sell better. How much better you may ask? Excellent question! Let’s explore some statistics:

  1. Companies with happy employees outperform their competition by 20%
  2. Happy employees are 12% more productive
  3. A Happy Sales Force will yield 37% greater sales
  4. Happy Employees take 10x less sick days

I’m just an HR guy. But, I have a sneaky suspicion that if I walked into your company and offered to increase your sales by 37% your operations guy might listen. Now, you may be asking, “OK, how do I make people happy?” This article doesn’t give you the full cookbook of secret recipes for happy employees, that’s for another day entirely. But, fostering an organizational atmosphere of trust, dignity, and respect is a good place to start.

 

Statistic Source: http://www.snacknation.com/blog/employee-happiness/