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5 Leadership Lessons HR Can Learn from American History

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Here at Paycom we love green, but on the heels of the 4th of July, we thought it would be appropriate to stay with the Red, White and Blue. The story of how we earned our freedom is a vast and important one, and is still relateable, especially in the office. Here are five specific leadership examples that translate well the HR department and your organization as a whole.

The below article was originally posted on February 24, 2017 under the title 5 Leadership Lessons From Crossing the Delaware

Several years ago in a meeting, we were asked to share the name of the best leadership book we’d read in the past year. My colleagues suggested books by Maxwell, Gladwell and Collins, yet my mind went directly to the historical account of General George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River in 1776, depicted in “To Try Men’s Souls” by Newt Gingrich.

You may remember the story from high school history class. In December 1776 during the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army was demoralized and on the run. Christmas night, while camped along the Delaware River, Washington realized that their only chance to win – or even to survive – was to attack the British at Trenton.

Register today for the July 11, 2017 webinar: 5 Leadership Lesson HR Can Learn from American History 

It wasn’t evident at the time of course, but historians now consider the events of that evening and the next morning as the turning point of the Revolutionary War. As we study Washington’s decision-making during these extraordinary circumstances, five leadership lessons emerge.

1. Heroes Exist in the Unlikeliest of Places

Henry Knox served as Washington’s chief artillery officer, and before the war, Knox managed a bookstore.

According the Washington, Knox’s efforts made the attack on Trenton possible. As a devastating blizzard engulfed the area late on Christmas night, the river seemed impassable. Knox coordinated efforts to load the army’s few remaining artillery pieces onto the creaky flatboats and to navigate the ice-choked river. Once across, it was his leadership that allowed men to transport heavy machinery up and down the icy hills in the midst of an historic blizzard.

Washington later said he was stunned by Knox’s confidence and impressed by the routine, matter-of-fact way Knox explained his plan. He had horses drag artillery pieces up frozen hills in the middle of a snowstorm, in the dark, using malnourished and barefoot soldiers, yet Knox made it seem like an ordinary, routine event.

Like eagles, leaders don’t flock together. You most often find them one at a time, and sometimes a bookseller helps you win a war.

2. Hold Steady in the Face of the “But Sirs”

Once Washington made his decision to cross the Delaware and attack, he never wavered. As soon as the order was disseminated through the ranks, leaders were hit with a barrage of “but sirs.”

• “But sir, the river is filled with ice.”
• “But sir, these boats weren’t designed to transport cannons.”
• “But sir, my men haven’t eaten in three days, they won’t survive the march.”
• “But sir, the British are well-rested and well-fed, what chance do we have in battle?”

But sir, but sir, but sir. As a leader, how often do you deal with resistance to a tough decision? Washington responded by increasing the level of communication so that everyone had better understanding of his decisions, as illustrated in this brief aside to his officers:

“If we do not win soon, there will be no army left. When there is no army left, the rebellion will be over. When the rebellion is over, we will all be hung. Therefore we have little to lose.”

3. Frequently Communicating Vision is a Necessity

Washington didn’t say it just once, he repeated himself over and over, up and down the line of soldiers. The vision: Cross the river, move the artillery and cross Jacob’s Creek. In twelve hours.

Did everyone agree with his plan? Hardly. Did they execute the mission? Definitely.

While the United States of America is more than two centuries old, lessons still can be learned from its Founding Fathers. To learn more, register today for the July 11, 2017 webinar: 5 Leadership Lesson HR Can Learn from American History 

4. Be Visible

A Continental soldier’s diary recounts that for every mile he covered, General Washington probably covered twelve. Riding back and forth, checking on the front line, then crossing the creek to check on the men at the back of the line, then back to the front again. The soldiers knew their leader was invested and that he was fighting right by their side.

A good rule-of-thumb for leaders: the tougher the mission, the higher the visibility.

5. Leaders Aren’t Called to Do Their Best

Washington knew this leadership secret better than anyone. He knew that most of his men’s enlistments expired in a week and that he was outmanned and outgunned. He knew that their only chance of survival was to attack and win at Trenton. Everything else was irrelevant.

It didn’t matter that the river was filled with ice, or that half his men had no shoes and hadn’t eaten in days. The boat boarding passcode that night was “Victory or Death.” This is what Washington believed and it was how he led his army. He knew that as leaders, we are not called to do our best – we are called to do what is required.

Washington’s army went on to win the battle at Trenton, and to win again at Princeton. The momentum of those wins turned the war in their favor, eventually leading to American independence fifteen years later. And I believe the momentum truly began with the perseverance of one man, directing his forces to victory through a blinding snowstorm.

Nearly two hundred fifty years later, General Washington’s leadership lessons are as valuable today as they were that snowy night on the banks of the Delaware River.


Jim Quillen

by Jim Quillen


Author Bio:

As director of tax at Paycom, Jim Quillen is responsible for ensuring payments and returns are filed timely and accurately. Quillen, a CPA by training, has worked in many fields during his career, including finance, auditing, recruiting, sales, business development and software implementation. Prior to his current role, Quillen has served Paycom as the director of business intelligence, director of new client implementation and director of recruiting.

Podcasts

5 Podcasts That Every HR Professional Should Download

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Podcasts provide the opportunity to sit like a fly on the wall and listen to some of the most brilliant minds in the world converse about today’s biggest trends and challenges.

According to a study by Triton Digital, nearly one quarter of Americans listen to a podcast at least once a month. Education is a popular subject, with 40% of podcast listeners tuning in to that type. If you’re an HR professional or business leader looking to broaden your knowledge of HR and HR technology this year, I highly recommend filling your ears and brains with these five podcasts throughout ’18.

1. HBR IdeaCast

From Harvard Business Review, the weekly HBR IdeaCast features leading thinkers in business and management discussing a variety of key topics in the work world.

It is an excellent resource for insights on a wide array of subjects including, but not limited to, HR. The discussions apply directly to organizations nationwide. The podcast reminds me of NPR’s Fresh Air, but with an emphasis on business leaders.

Recommended episodes:

2. HR Happy Hour

Since 2009, HR Happy Hour has featured thought leaders, workplace and technology experts, academics and more to take on important aspects impacting HR, technology and the workplace.

The podcast is so long-running that it has episodes dedicated to just about every HR topic under the sun. The charming hosts Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane make trending topics fun and informative.

Recommended episodes:

3. CIPD

From the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the monthly CIPD podcast covers everything from talent acquisition to workplace training and cybersecurity.

CIPD’s international perspective brings fresh eyes to subjects that resonate with many American HR professionals. With a backlog of more than seven years’ worth of episodes available, it’s easy to recommend.

Recommended episodes:

4. Workology Podcast

Covering the science and art of the workplace, Jessica Miller-Merrell’s Workology Podcast offers insights and actionable tips on HR and recruiting. Each 45-minute episode promises an in-depth look at every company’s most valuable asset: the employee.

In asking sharp, pointed questions about the latest HR trends, Miller-Merrell does an excellent job as host, bringing a unique and often unexpected take on familiar subject matter.

Recommended episodes:

5. HR Break Room

The official podcast of Paycom, HR Break Room brings you quick conversations on hot topics in HR and HR technology. Co-host Chelsea Justice and I talk with guest experts about the challenges faced by the everyday workplace, as well as their solutions.

To be a bit self-indulgent, I love doing this podcast because it gives me the opportunity to talk with some of the most brilliant minds in the industry. In our first year, our esteemed guests have included New York Times best-selling author Cy Wakeman, millennial expert Adam Smiley Poswolsky, HR Bartender’s Sharlyn Lauby, futurist Jacob Morgan, author and Harvard professor Mihir Desai and of course, motivational speaker and leadership expert, Mark Sanborn.

Recommended episodes:

You can learn more about goings-on within the HR sphere by subscribing to HR Break Room podcast. Here’s to a year full of professional growth through podcasts!

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Posted in Blog, Featured, HR Management, Leadership

caleb.masters

by Caleb Masters


Author Bio:

Caleb is the host of The HR Break Room and a Webinar and Podcast Producer at Paycom. With more than 5 years of experience as a published online writer and content producer, Caleb has produced dozens of podcasts and videos for multiple industries both local and online. Caleb continues to assist organizations creatively communicate their ideas and messages through researched talks, blog posts and new media. Outside of work, Caleb enjoys running, discussing movies and trying new local restaurants.

Deadline Extended

Employer Deadline Extended for Furnishing 2017 ACA Forms

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Distribution of 2017 Affordable Care Act (ACA) Forms 1095-B or -C to your employees has been extended.

As issued in Notice 2018-06, the IRS has extended the deadline from Jan. 31 to March 2. (However, the deadline to provide Forms W-2 and 1099 to employees and contract workers remains as Jan. 31.)

Filing deadlines unchanged

While the deadline to furnish forms was extended, the filing deadlines remain the same: Feb. 28 for paper forms, and April 2 for electronic forms.

IRS Notice 2018-06 emphasizes that employers who do not comply with the due dates for furnishing or filing are subject to penalties under sections 6722 or 6721.

Good-faith transition relief extended

The IRS also announced the extension of good-faith transition relief. This may allow an employer to avoid some penalties if it can show that it made good-faith efforts to comply with the information reporting requirements for 2017.

This relief applies only to incorrect and incomplete information reported on the ACA forms, and not to a failure to file or furnish the forms in a timely manner. Additionally, the IRS stated it does not anticipate extending either the good-faith transition relief or the furnishing deadline in future years.

Contact a trusted tax professional if you have questions on how this may affect your business specifically.

Click here to read more about how the ACA is affect by the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

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 ACA, Blog, Compliance, Featured

Erin Maxwell

by Erin Maxwell


Author Bio:

As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Erin Maxwell monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal level, focusing on health and employee benefits laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. She previously served as assistant general counsel at Asset Servicing Group in Oklahoma City. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and a J.D. from the University of Oklahoma. Outside of work, Maxwell enjoys politics, historical mysteries and spending time with her family.

Creating an Employer Brand

3 Steps for Creating an Employer Brand That Attracts Top Talent

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Talent shortages and an emphasis on recruiting initiatives have made the employer brand one of 2017’s hottest HR topics. The phrase has garnered plenty of buzz online, but for many HR personnel, the definition of “employer brand” remains unclear.

To learn more on the subject, I spoke with guest Rachel Duran, manager of talent acquisition marketing at CA Technologies on an episode of Paycom’s HR Break Room podcast. Below are three main takeaways from that conversation.

Learn more about the employer brand by listening to the full interview with Rachel on the HR Break Room podcast

1. Be descriptive

The employer brand is similar to a product brand in that you can’t just put out a successful product without positioning it at all. You need to let the customers (or in this case, prospective employees) know what they can expect from what you’re selling (your organization). Describe what it means to work at your company and share which jobs are available; the answers to those questions make up your employer brand.

Communicating your employer brand can be as simple as a job description presented through blogs, videos, quizzes and interactive materials that help prospective candidates understand what they can expect from the culture, the benefits and the overall environment of the organization.

2. Be authentic

Authenticity is key to establishing an employer brand that attracts the right talent for you. The brand is shaped by the entire organization from the bottom up and is defined by the culture formed organically by employees and management alike.

Questions top talent asks when considering their next career step include “What does the day-to-day look like?” and “How do your organization’s values impact the atmosphere of the workspace?” Authentic answers are essential.

Don’t be afraid to dig in and do the investigative work to ensure your materials are accurate; they should communicate your employer value proposition. Also, avoid making the mistake of building a brand that is not reflective of your company’s actual mission and culture.

If marketing of an employer brand is not authentic and transparent, it runs the risk of actually increasing employee turnover when expectations are not met. Every interaction, from a recruiter’s first phone call to a company-wide email, is part of employer branding. If a company is not authentic in everything, it is unfair to expect employees to be satisfied.

3. Be realistic

A critical step in shaping your employer brand is to set realistic expectations for prospective talent. Branding should dictate all aspects of the organization’s representation, so ensure the perspectives of key stakeholders are included.

Once you have everybody’s perspective, it’s time to create the promotional materials for your employer brand. From the seemingly minute post with a custom hashtag to a larger project, such as a dedicated career website full of videos, your content should reflect your company’s culture.

In the current war for talent, the employer brand can be a valuable tool in recruiting efforts. Ensure your brand makes the biggest impact possible by being true to who you are. The secret to recruiting and retaining the talent you need is as simple as being honest about your organization’s identity.

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Posted in Blog, Featured, Talent Acquisition

caleb.masters

by Caleb Masters


Author Bio:

Caleb is the host of The HR Break Room and a Webinar and Podcast Producer at Paycom. With more than 5 years of experience as a published online writer and content producer, Caleb has produced dozens of podcasts and videos for multiple industries both local and online. Caleb continues to assist organizations creatively communicate their ideas and messages through researched talks, blog posts and new media. Outside of work, Caleb enjoys running, discussing movies and trying new local restaurants.

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