Recent News

Fifty Percent of Employee Engagement Is Not Overshooting Your Recruiting Target

Kris Dunn
April 14, 2014

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Quick thought today: If part of employee engagement is your employee feeling like they're in a perfect job for where they're at in their career, then . . .

One of the most important things you can do with any open position is to NOT overshoot your target.

Here's what that means. In a knowledge/skills/abilities world, it's easy to go down the checklist and make sure the candidate has what they need to be productive in the role in question.

One question we never seem to ask: Do we think the candidate is happy to have this job? Do they think they're fortunate to be working in the job, for the company, the manager?

In my experience, it's probably better to hire someone who is an 80-percent match for the job, but has demonstrated ability to be a quick learner. Why? I want someone who knows they might be in a slightly bigger job than they deserve from a KSA perspective, and is thankful for the opportunity—but close enough of a match that they can survive and close the gap quickly.

Do you get that thankfulness from someone who's slightly overqualified, or simply a good fit for the job in question? Maybe. But I think that afterglow quickly fades.

Give me the almost-qualified candidate any time. I'm pretty sure you get longer periods of initial engagement from that type of hire, instead of someone who's basically overqualified for the role.

Don't overshoot your talent target in recruiting if you want longer periods of engagement on average. There are 99 things that impact engagement—this is one.

Kris Dunn is chief human resources officer for Kinetix, an RPO firm for growth companies. Reprinted with permission from his blog at www.hrcapitalist.com.


Is Team Chemistry the Next Big Thing in Performance and Rewards?

Ann Bares
April 7, 2014

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Is "making teams better" the new holy grail of performance analytics?

Fresh from the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, HBR blogger and MIT Research Fellow Michael Schrage notes that one of the top themes of the event was how to move beyond the Moneyball-like era of predicting and assessing individual performance and focusing on teamness.

More quantitative attention is being paid to how well players improve the in-game performances of their teammates. Are their particular game situations where their positive—or negative—influence is statistically pronounced? Can that impact be meaningfully correlated with psychological attributes or other behavioral characteristics? Indeed, how can the coaches improve the TQ—Teamness Quotient—of their players’ performances?

Or, as former Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson puts it: “The next step in analytics will be how to build chemistry.”

Not surprisingly, MoneyBall author Michael Lewis already had a bead on this teamness phenomenon back in 2010, when he wrote The No-Stats All-Star for the New York Times. The article featured NBA player Shane Battier of the Houston Rockets, who presented (as Lewis pointed out) an intriguing statistical anomaly. "His greatness is not marked in box scores or at slam-dunk contests, but on the court Shane Battier makes his team better, often much better, and his opponents worse, often much worse."

From the article:

“It was, and is, far easier to spot what Battier doesn’t do than what he does. His conventional statistics are unremarkable: he doesn’t score many points, snag many rebounds, block many shots, steal many balls or dish out many assists. . .

He may not grab huge numbers of rebounds, but he has an uncanny ability to improve his teammates’ rebounding. He doesn’t shoot much, but when he does, he takes only the most efficient shots. He also has a knack for getting the ball to teammates who are in a position to do the same, and he commits few turnovers.”

When it came out, the article prompted some interesting conversation around our dinner table. My husband Keith worked with Lewis during his Liar's Poker days at Salomon Brothers and also coached youth hockey for nearly two decades. The Battier story had a parallel in Keith's coaching career, where he realized early on that the key statistics for his players were not "goals" or "assists" but rather their "plus-minus." Individual players' plus-minus stats get increased by one every time their team scores an even-strength or shorthanded goal while they are on the ice and decreased by one every time their team allows an even-strength or shorthanded goal while they are on the ice. As Keith will point out, it is the best metric for how an individual player really contributes to the success of the overall team.

As data and analytics bring increasing sophistication to our understanding of employee and organizational performance, will we be able to identify the plus-minus statistics for our teams? Will we discover metrics that capture the essence of successful team chemistry and provide insights into which individuals and efforts (while seemingly unremarkable when measured alone) help make the team and the organization better by their mere presence in the game?

And—perhaps most important of all—having quantified it, will we be able to encourage and reward teamness without undermining and ultimately destroying it?

Ann Bares is the managing partner of Altura Consulting Group, LLC (http://www.alturaconsultinggroup.com). She has over 20 years of experience consulting in the areas of compensation and performance management. Contact her at abares@alturaconsultinggroup.com.


Employment Law Update

Michael Patrick O’Brien
March 31, 2014

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Via Presidential Memorandum dated March 13, 2014, President Obama has asked his Department of Labor (DOL) to draft new rules expanding employee opportunities to receive overtime for hours worked beyond 40 in one week. The memorandum talks about simplifying the regulations, but also expresses the desire that the number of works receiving overtime pay be expanded. The DOL can do this in several ways. One approach would be to raise the salary threshold required for the so-called white collar exemptions. Currently, it is set at $455/week (or $23,660 per year). If that amount were doubled to $900/week, an employee earning less than $46,800 annually would have to be paid overtime even if he/she performed exempt-type duties. Another approach DOL could take would be to re-write the job duties tests to make an exemption more difficult to obtain. For example, among other things, the executive exemption requires that an employee supervise at least 2 FTEs. The exemption could be made more difficult to obtain—and more employees made nonexempt—if that requirement was raised to 10 or 20 FTEs. Moreover, the DOL could impose a percentage limit on nonexempt duties, i.e. mandate that the exemption is only available to employees who are performing exempt duties more than 50% of the time. DOL must issue draft rules and allow for comment from stakeholders and other interested parties before it can finalize any changes, a process which can take up to six months to complete.

EEOC and FTC Offer Tips on Employer Background Checks

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has asserted it has jurisdiction over background checks because inquiries about criminal and credit history allegedly can have a disparate impact on persons in minority groups. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has jurisdiction over this issue due to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The two agencies with authority over employer background checks recently issued a new joint guidance for employers on how to legally conduct such background checks. The EEOC’s press release announcing the new guidance noted, “The agencies emphasize that employers need written permission from job applicants before getting background reports about them from companies in the business of compiling background information. Furthermore, they reaffirm that it is illegal to discriminate based on a person's race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information, including family medical history, when requesting or using background information for employment, regardless of where the information was obtained. At the same time, the agencies want job applicants to know that it is not illegal for potential employers to ask about their background, as long as the employer does not unlawfully discriminate. However, when people are turned down for a job or denied a promotion based on information in their background reports, they have the right to review the reports for accuracy.” In other documents, the EEOC has emphasized that the background information to be obtained must plainly and clearly be relevant to the job at issue. For example, a DUI may be relevant for someone who drives a van as part of his job, but not for someone who is a custodian and not required to drive. You can read the full press release and find a link to the two new guidances here: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/3-10-14.cfm

Rules on Religious Garb at Work Clarified

The EEOC also recently issued a new guidance (in a Q and A format) that discusses employer rights and responsibilities regarding allowing the wearing of religious garb at work (press release and links found at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/3-6-14.cfm).

In doing so, the EEOC noted that “Employers covered by Title VII must make exceptions to their usual rules or preferences to permit applicants and employees to follow religiously-mandated dress and grooming practices unless it would pose an undue hardship to the operation of an employer's business. When an exception is made as a religious accommodation, the employer may still refuse to allow exceptions sought by other employees for secular reasons.” Topics covered in the new EEOC publications include: (1) prohibitions on job segregation, such as assigning an employee to a non-customer service position because of his or her religious garb; (2) accommodating religious grooming or garb practices while ensuring employer workplace needs; (3) avoiding workplace harassment based on religion, which may occur when an employee is required or coerced to forgo religious dress or grooming practices as a condition of employment; and (4) ensuring there is no retaliation against employees who request religious accommodation.

Supreme Court Expands SOX Whistleblower Protection

In a recent decision, the United States Supreme Court extended the circumstances in which an employer can possibly be held liable for retaliation against whistleblowers. The Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) law passed in the early 2000s prohibits publicly-traded companies from retaliation against whistleblowers who report corporate fraud. The case before the Supreme Court involved the question of whether the law’s anti-retaliation provisions would also apply to a private company which performed contract or subcontract work for a publicly-traded company. The court held that the word “employee” under the relevant SOX provision could be construed to protect employees of such contractors and subcontractors, thus expanding the reach of the SOX whistleblower law.

Michael Patrick O'Brien is an employment attorney with Utah law firm of Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough (www.joneswaldo.com). He also serves as the Legal and Legislative Director for Utah’s Society for Human Resource Management chapter. Contact him at 801-534-7315 or mobrien@joneswaldo.com.


Address These Questions in ‘BYOD’ Policies

Credit Union Directors Newsletter
March 26, 2014

Whether or not it’s against your credit union’s policy, at least some of your employees are using their personal devices at work.

This often works to your credit union’s advantage, as connected employees can be more productive and responsive.

Nearly six of 10 employees use personal devices at work, according to a survey by the technology consulting firm Ovum. Smartphone use represents 70% of that activity.

By 2016, 80% of employees will be eligible to use their own equipment with employee data on board, a Gartner CIO survey predicts.

In short, BYOD (bring your own device) is here to stay. So, credit unions must develop BYOD policies that protect the security of their networks.

Any BYOD program should answer these 10 questions, labor and employment attorney Jon Hyman writes in Workforce:

  1. What devices will you permit? Is BlackBerry acceptable but not iPhones or Android devices? What about employee-owned laptops, tablets, or portable memory?

  2. Will you mandate passwords? Staff might bemoan entering a four-digit access code, but financial services institutions should require this security measure on all devices.

  3. What happens when a device is lost or stolen? Policies should instruct employees to first call IT and not their mobile carrier, so IT can remotely wipe corporate data from the device before the carrier shuts it down.

  4. Will you ban jailbreaks, roots, and other hacks? Prohibit actions that void the phone’s warranty and expose your network to infectious malware.

  5. Will you ban third-party apps? Allowing the installation of apps from sources other than the iTunes App Store or Google Play increases risk of infection from viruses, malware, and other malicious code.

  6. How do you handle a departing employee? You need a protocol to reacquire or wipe all the corporate information on the device.

  7. Do employees have an expectation of privacy on their devices? In reality, their privacy is limited or nonexistent. Most companies practice transparency about this. Tell staff what information you will collect, or pledge never to collect.

  8. Do you prohibit nonexempt employees from business-related mobile device use during nonworking hours? If not, you risk exposure to a costly wage-and-hour claim.

  9. Do you forbid employees from using their mobile devices while driving? Even if your state has yet to enact a ban, do the right thing by requiring your employees to drive safely.

  10. How does your policy interact with existing regulations? Cross-reference your BYOD policy against harassment, confidentiality, and trade secrets policies.

(Via Credit Union Directors Newsletter)


Credit Unions Are LOSING . . .

Sean McDonald
March 24, 2014

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Well, now that I’ve got your attention . . .

Over the past few months, the credit union industry has lost some very talented, passionate, and knowledgeable young professionals to other industries and even worse than that, to our banking competitors. I happen to know several of these folks and am a bit alarmed at the rate of turnover lately. These are powerhouses of talent, creativity, determination, and know-how.

I reached out to a few of these former credit union-ers individually because I was hoping that they would share their reasoning for leaving the industry with me. Luckily, they were and I wanted to share the information with you. I will not be sharing any names of individuals or credit unions for the sake of their privacy.

I already wrote about one of these individuals in a blog post a few months ago. You may remember it, but in case you don’t, the post was called, “Is Marketing An Experiment?” It addressed the issue that for some reason, in some credit unions, the marketing function is seen as expendable. You can probably guess how I feel about that.

Let’s get back to the recent talent attrition. I wasn’t surprised with what I heard as to the reasons people were leaving the industry. Here are the ones that were mentioned the most:

1. They felt stifled at their credit unions. Despite their best efforts to try new things, the “powers that be” never let them shake things up and bring a fresh perspective to their marketing/business development efforts. This, despite being promised in their job interviews and on several occasions afterward that their input was valued and that they would be given at least some creative license. Suggestion: If you really want to retain the most creative and innovative people, do not stifle their creativity and innovation. Of course, not everything is going to be a “yes,” but if everything’s a “no,” you will lose that talent.

2. They had reached a “plateau” at their credit unions in terms of advancement and, management didn’t seem to be concerned about keeping them on board. They weren’t even given opportunities for professional development. Suggestion: The best companies in the world want to hold onto their best people for as long as possible. So they sometimes create new opportunities and assign more responsibilities. If they can’t or won’t do something like this, they are at least honest with the employees (and themselves) and acknowledge that perhaps they aren’t growing because maybe they’re not listening to the people that they’ve hired to help change the situation!! Obviously, not everyone can be promoted, but here’s the rub: Not everyone wants that. Sometimes, what they want is more professional development, to serve as a mentor to other employees, or to simply have their efforts acknowledged in some fashion. They want to know that they are making a positive impact on the organization.

3. They aren’t being paid enough by the credit union. They haven’t received even a cost-of-living raise in years but the credit union is making money. At their current salary, they can’t achieve some of their personal or family financial goals. Reality check: In order to attract top-notch talent, you’ll have to pay them well. You have the reward the best people. You don’t have to withhold bonuses or raises for the cream of the crop because you can’t give every employee a raise. You are never required to give everyone a bonus or a raise (especially if you have employees that stink). I say this all the time and people come back to me with, “well, they work for credit unions so they should expect to be paid less” or “if they’re really passionate about credit unions, they would stay despite the money thing.” The problem with that logic is that credit union employees still have to pay their mortgages, raise their children, and save for their retirements and those things cost more than they did in decades past.

Hopefully, everyone is getting the idea that this particular trend is dangerous for credit unions. In order to survive and thrive, credit unions need to attract young professionals. We’re not doing a very good job of doing so. Credit unions need to accept that our business model must change because the marketplace has already changed. We cannot hang our hats on “we’ve never done that before” or “we’re not comfortable with changing” and expect to survive. The marketplace won’t tolerate it and credit unions run the risk of becoming irrelevant if they do not take steps to adapt to the “new order” as it relates to financial institutions.

Incidentally, more than half of the people that I talked to were lost to community banks. They, i.e., community banks are our biggest competition. What does that tell us? Are we paying attention?

So what happens now? Do we look for ways to change the way we operate? Do we take the necessary steps to adapt to the new scope of the marketplace? Do we aggressively seek to hire the young professionals of today and groom them to be the leaders of tomorrow? Or do we continue to insist and remind our best people that “we’ve never done it that way before and we aren’t comfortable with changing anything?”

Sean McDonald is the president of Your Full Potential (www.yfptips.wordpress.com) and the founder of The Credit Union Business Development Academy. Originally posted at www.CUInsight.com and reprinted with permission.


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