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Office Drama

It’s an Office, Not a Theater: Managing Office Drama

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Office drama is a distraction that could be costing your company millions. In her new book, No Ego, drama researcher and New York Times best-selling author Cy Wakeman defines drama as any disruptive behavior or thought process that takes energy away from results or a great work climate.

Need to minimize workplace drama?

Listen to the HR Break Room podcast episode “It’s an Office, Not a Theater: Managing Workplace Drama” with author Cy Wakeman.

Drama is expensive

According to Wakeman, employees spend nearly three hours a week on workplace drama, totaling an estimated 816 hours being wasted per year. This isn’t just a nuisance that hurts employee morale and eats up management’s time, but also lowers productivity and, ultimately, profits. With so much at stake, it’s important to remember that organizations can minimize this type of financial drain.

Egos fuel the fire

Wakeman identifies five key causes of workplace drama:

  1. lack of accountability
  2. lack of engagement
  3. withholding buy-in
  4. resisting change
  5. ego-driven work environment

Each cause manifests itself differently, but perhaps the ego’s most common way of creating tension is through employee venting allowed by open-door policies.

Creating an approachable environment is important, but often, in an effort to give employees access, members of management invite toxic conversations that can last as long as 45 minutes, according to Workman’s research. Instead of colluding or sympathizing with employees, the best way to minimize the drama is to bypass their ego; train managers and employees to reflect on their challenges instead of blasting the faults of others.

Self-reflection: the cornerstone of accountability

Becoming more self-aware and learning how to edit your own story is a critical life skill that helps minimize drama, personally and professionally. Most times, the stress that arises from drama does not come from reality, but from a story we make up about our reality. If we hold ourselves accountable to the truth, we realize that most of what we are upset about did not even happen.

Recruit for a low-drama workforce

Recruiting is one way to reduce workplace drama. It is crucial to find people who not only perform, but are able to stay emotionally ready for what’s next.

Finding highly accountable top talent can be challenging, which makes implementation of an applicant tracking system essential. These prospective employees are in high demand, and recruiting them successfully requires swift, seamless action before they go somewhere else. Organizations lacking the tools to attract and recognize quality applicants could be at a disadvantage.

HR’s role in minimizing drama

A big opportunity exists for HR to cut the cost of workplace drama and, more importantly, put an end to the entitlement that feeds such conflicts. HR needs to be especially careful about its employee engagement philosophies, because engagement without accountability creates entitlement. HR should not be afraid to challenge conventional wisdom that does not yield positive results. For example, one popular idea is that employees can be engaged by perfecting their circumstances. This may sound great on paper, but in actuality, there is no way you can perfect their reality; instead, you grow them to become better equipped to live in their reality.

HR can create surveys to send to top performers in order to get a better understanding of their day-to-day environment, including pressure points. Using this data, HR can implement trainings that enrich the mental processes of managers, and eventually, all employees within the company.

Office drama may be an inevitable part of today’s workforce, but by training managers and employees on the right mental processes based on self-reflection, your organization can save countless hours of employee time and untold wasted dollars.


Chelsea Justice

by Chelsea Justice


Author Bio: Chelsea is co-host Paycom’s HR Break Room podcast, editor-in-chief of its corporate culture magazine, Paycom Pulse and is Paycom’s communications supervisor. During her more than eight years in marketing, corporate training and communications, she has created hundreds of magazines, training guides, videos and webinars for multiple industries. In her free time, Chelsea is planning her next travel adventure, perfecting her most recent baking recipe, devouring a good book and, above all, spending time with family.

How to Seriously Drive Employee Engagement

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If you won the lottery tomorrow, would you stop working? Chances are you’ve mulled it over before, even if you don’t buy a ticket often. When jackpot amounts grow to rival pro athletes’ salaries, the subject inevitably creeps into everyday conversation. At that point, it’s hard not to think and talk about what we would do as the recipient of a massive windfall.

So how do you think others responded? The answer may surprise you.

According to a study by Gallup, two-thirds of American workers would keep their nose to the grindstone, even after winning $10 million. A CareerBuilder survey reported that half of U.S. workers would continue working after winning the lottery, even “if they didn’t need a job financially.”

That’s right: If over half the working population’s biggest financial hurdles disappeared tomorrow, they would come to work the day after. But why?

What exactly is the employee experience, and how does it impact your bottom line? Find your answers in this podcast interview with Jacob Morgan.

In addition to the desire to maintain relationships with co-workers, 77% of respondents told CareerBuilder they would be bored without a job, and 76% said their work gives them a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Why Purpose Is a Must

As those survey results show, in order to lead a fulfilling life, people need more than money. They need a reason to get out of bed in the morning. They need to know their actions matter in the grand scheme of things. They need to feel part of something bigger than themselves.

Work can help meet those needs, and when it does, employees feel purposeful, connected and intrinsically motivated: the winning trifecta of long-term engagement. Passion for helping achieve the company’s mission will sustain them when you’re unable to reward them extrinsically with cash or perks. Purpose will keep them going for the long haul.

Without purpose, employee engagement strategy becomes little more than a series of rewards that prod employees forward, but never inspire them to greatness. Not only is a piecemeal strategy ineffectual, it’s unsustainable. The pressure to constantly invent and implement ideas to motivate them quickly can exhaust resources and even the most zealous HR pro.

Your employee engagement strategy should include both extrinsic, short-term rewards and high-level purpose.

Building a Purpose-Driven Strategy

If you currently give employees annual or short-term goals and financial incentives, you’re on the right track toward building a purpose-driven strategy. If not, consider incorporating those aspects into your performance management plan. Then share your business’s ultimate purpose – its reason for being – with your people.

“A reason for being is a non-typical mission statement that has four criteria,” writes Jacob Morgan, futurist and author of The Employee Experience Advantage. “It rallies employees, is not centered on financial gain, is unattainable and talks about the impact the organization has on communities and the world.”

According to Morgan, major companies like Starbucks and Airbnb already have established their “reasons for being” and are seeing positive results. If you’re interested in doing the same, listen to this week’s episode of Paycom’s HR Break Room podcast. In it, Morgan will share steps companies take to define their reason for being, and tips on how you can, too. Click here to subscribe.

Once you’ve defined your business’s ultimate purpose, share it with employees. Doing so will make it easy for them to understand how their contributions count toward reaching the larger, common goal. That combined with other efforts – like pulse surveys, financial incentives, goal setting and professional development opportunities – will increase your odds of building a winning strategy and engaging employees for years to come.

 

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Posted in Blog, Employee Engagement, Employee Experience, Featured

Amy Double

by Amy Double


Author Bio: Amy, a tenured professional in sales and marketing with over 10 years of experience, is dedicated to creating content focused on helping organizations achieve their business goals. As an experienced writer, Amy is committed to researching and blogging about topics that affect businesses across multiple industries, including manufacturing, hospitality and more. Outside of work, Amy enjoys reading, entertaining and spending time with family.

DOL's Request for Information

Back to the Drawing Board: The DOL’s Overtime Overhaul Request for Information

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The U. S. Department of Labor is taking comments on how it should move forward with overtime overhaul

Since the newest regulations to the overtime law were found invalid, employers are subject to the previous version of Fair Labor Standards Act. However, the roller coaster has not ended.

On July 26, 2017, the DOL published a Request for Information in the Federal Register, indicating it intends to attempt an overtime overhaul. Comments to the Request may be submitted until September 25, 2017. The request asks the public for a response to 11 specific questions.

We can use the questions proposed to help uncover some of the possible changes the DOL is considering. Below are five of the more telling questions and what we can infer from them.

1. Should we just update the 2004 salary level based on inflation?

The Court suggested it would be permissible if the DOL adjusted the 2004 salary level for inflation during questioning at the preliminary injunction hearing. In fact, the Court stated, “[I]f [the salary level] had been just adjusted for inflation – the 2004 figure – we wouldn’t be here today … because [the salary level] would still be operating more the way it has … as more of a floor.” This question indicates the DOL may be referencing inflation because they believe it would be acceptable with the courts

2. Should the regulations contain multiple standard salary levels? If so, how should these levels be set: by size of employer, census region, census division, state, metropolitan statistical area or some other method?

The DOL attempts to make a more malleable test here, which, of course, would serve to be more sensitive to changing demographics. However, a change like this would clearly make compliance tough for employers.

3. Should the DOL set different standard salary levels for the executive, administrative and professional exemptions as it did prior to 2004 and, if so, should there be a lower salary for executive and administrative employees as was done from 1963 until the 2004 rulemaking?

Much like the question above about multiple salary levels, this question would likely provide a more effective test. However, would it come at the cost of convoluting the analysis for employers?

4. Would a test for exemption that relies solely on the duties performed by the employee without regard to the amount of salary paid by the employer be preferable to the current standard test?

This question suggests the DOL seems to be accepting the court’s analysis that duties are more important than salary.

5. The 2016 Final Rule, for the first time, permitted non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level. Is this an appropriate limit or should the regulations feature a different percentage cap? Is the amount of the standard salary level relevant in determining whether and to what extent such bonus payments should be credited?

This question indicates the DOL may propose a version of regulations that still allows for bonuses to apply to the salary level.

Given the nature of the questions found in the Request for Information it’s clear the DOL has gone back to the drawing board and may propose something completely different from both the recent failed regulations as well as the 2004 revisions.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

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Posted in Blog, Compliance, Featured, FLSA, Overtime Expansion

Zachary Gregory

by Zachary Gregory


Author Bio: As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Zach Gregory monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal levels, focusing on payroll and garnishment laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. He previously worked at a law firm as a tax attorney. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Christian University and a J.D. from Oklahoma City University. Outside of work, Gregory enjoys playing in the backyard with his two boys, and finding new restaurants with his wife and high school sweetheart, Kellyn.

FLSA Overtime Regulations

Court: DOL’s FLSA Overtime Regulations Invalid

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In case you missed it, on August 31, 2017, Judge Amos Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas determined that the 2016 Final Rule issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, which increased the minimum salary threshold to $47,476, was not a valid action by the agency.

After finding that the case was ready for judicial decision and the parties at hand could be injured if the court did not intervene, Mazzant addressed all three of the plaintiff’s arguments.

First, the court addressed the state plaintiff’s argument that the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime requirements violate the Constitution by regulating the states and coercing them to adopt wage policy choices that adversely affect state budgets. The court held the Supreme Court precedent of Garcia v. Metropolitan Transit Authority established that Congress has the authority under the Commerce Clause to impose FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements on state and local employees.

Next, the court declined to accept the plaintiff’s argument that based on the clear statement rule, the FLSA does not apply to the states. Under that rule, “if Congress intended to alter the ‘usual constitutional balance between the states and the federal government,’ it must make its intention to do so ‘unmistakably clear in the language of the statute.”

The court discarded this argument simply by pointing out the law is applicable to any “enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce,” and this phrase, by statutory definition, includes the activity of any public agency. Therefore, the court held that the Congress was clear enough in its intention to impact the states.

 Failing the Test

Finally, and most importantly, the court agreed with the plaintiffs in finding that the Department of Labor acted outside of the scope of its delegated authority by implementing a salary-level test that effectively eliminated the duties test.

The court adhered to the test established in Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., which requires courts to determine whether Congress has spoken directly to the precise question at issue. If Congress has, then the court and agency must follow the intent of Congress.

After interpreting the plain meanings of “executive, administrative and professional,” Mazzant found Congress intended the exemption to apply to employees who perform those duties, rather than those who simply are paid a certain amount. Furthermore, because the new regulations focused more on the salary level than Congress intended, they were found invalid, and the court held the agency acted outside of its delegated authority.

What’s Next?

The Department of Labor published a Request for Information in the July 26 Federal Register, which indicates the agency intends to continue its attempt at overhauling overtime.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Blog, Compliance, Employment Law, Featured, FLSA, Overtime Expansion

Zachary Gregory

by Zachary Gregory


Author Bio: As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Zach Gregory monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal levels, focusing on payroll and garnishment laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. He previously worked at a law firm as a tax attorney. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Christian University and a J.D. from Oklahoma City University. Outside of work, Gregory enjoys playing in the backyard with his two boys, and finding new restaurants with his wife and high school sweetheart, Kellyn.

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