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MANAGING STAFF

How to resolve conflicts in a virtual, remote work environment

By Lynne Curry “We had a situation blow up this morning,” the law practice partner said when he called for advice. “It came out of nowhere. One small issue, a manager not letting his peer know about a meeting, unleashed a tidal wave of anger from her. We talked to the first manager. He said he’d accidentally overlooked putting the other manager on the Zoom invitation. He reminded us the other manager hates meetings and complains about how many she is forced to attend.” “And you believe him?” I asked. “Does the other manager?” Conflicts flourish in a virtual work environment. Rarely do explosions come out of nowhere. Why conflict explodes in a virtual environment Virtual and remote work environments can become petri dishes for conflict. When we work with… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

How you can lure your employees back to the office

By Lynne Curry Question: Like many law offices, we want our staff to return to working on-site, but don’t want to force them to return and have many of them quit. We want our employees to want to return. How do we do that? Answer: A recent Wall Street Journal article said, “There is a magical land where the temperature is always 72 degrees, the Wi-Fi never goes down, and there is always someone to talk to.”1 Except—multiple surveys show few employees want to return full time to that magical land, their former workplace. Many employees want to work from home three or more days a week.1 If you’re an employer, how do you change that? Envoy/Wakefield’s August 2021 online survey of 1,000 U.S. employees2 and Leanin’s June to August 2021 survey… . . . read more

COMPLIANCE

Are religious exemptions a way out for employees or a tricky challenge for employers?

By Lynne Curry Question: If I’m to believe the stack of religious exemptions on my desk, a miracle unfolded in our company last week. Within days of announcing our mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, 90 percent of our unvaccinated employees found religion. I’m holding a dozen exemption requests that use an identical phrase, “This mandate directly affects my religious beliefs. The Bible tells me my body is a temple.” I suspect the few unvaccinated employees who haven’t yet claimed a religious exemption didn’t see what one of our employees helpfully posted next to the breakroom coffeepot. It says employees can refuse vaccinations because vaccines interfere with divine providence. What can we do? My HR officer and I understand we’re obligated to “reasonably accommodate” sincerely held religious beliefs. Except—if we accommodate these… . . . read more

HIRING

Don’t lose your new employees their first week

By Lynne Curry Employers regularly hire me to conduct exit interviews when promising new employees leave within their first six months. After conducting hundreds of interviews, I can document that newly hired employees decide what their employer is like and whether they will fit in and be successful during their first days and weeks. Here’s what employers, managers and supervisors need to know. The new employee you hired may receive another enticing job offer after they join your organization. Other employers, desperate to land a quality employee, reach out on LinkedIn and other sites advertising attractive jobs. While your new hire may not be keeping an eye on ZipRecruiter or Indeed.com, a recruiter’s algorithms may still find your employee’s LinkedIn profile. Worse, an unhappy employee on your team may pull… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Who knew vaccine requirements could be so much fun?

By Mike O’Brien  As you might recall, in one of our previous updates we cautioned that implementing workplace-vaccination requirements could be a bit tricky. It turns out, we were right—just ask the federal government. On Nov. 5, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an Interim Final Rule regulating healthcare facilities (“Vaccination IFR”). The Vaccination IFR—which applies to most (but not all) healthcare facilities subject to CMS’s health and safety requirements—obliges covered businesses to develop and implement policies to (1) ensure that all staff is fully vaccinated against COVID-19; (2) track employee vaccination status, including boosters; and (3) grant and track vaccination exemptions, including those based on applicable federal law (e.g., the ADA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act), or recognized clinical contraindications to COVID-19 vaccines… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

Will employees resign rather than get vaccinated?

By Lynne Curry Many anti-vax employees threaten to quit when their employers announce they’re considering a vaccination mandate. This shakes the confidence of employers considering vaccination mandates. What’s the truth? Many employees remain vaccine skeptics; more than a third of U.S. adults remain unvaccinated. But do they quit if told their job depends on it? It depends on the industry and it’s fewer than you think. You’ll find employees who refuse vaccines for a variety of heartfelt reasons. Some don’t want to have anyone mandate a personal health decision. Others have heard stories about individuals who’ve experienced vaccine complications, overlooking that many have died, become gravely ill, or continue experiencing long-term complications from COVID-19 because the disease caught them before they became vaccinated. Many hospital workers can tell real-life stories… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

Losing employees? Toxic workplace? Create a turnaround game plan

By Lynne Curry Productivity cratered many months ago. When you ask managers, “How’s it going?” you hear, “It’s going.” New resignation letters land on your desk every several weeks, with some employees leaving before finishing out their two weeks’ notice. You can’t avoid the truth. You need a turnaround plan, fast, before you lose more employees. Here’s what to know and do. Don’t blame your employees. Sure, some of them may need to go because they’ve become problems or contributed to creating a toxic culture. The major responsibility, however, lies with you. Your own inaction and behaviors fanned toxic fumes. Leadership that wants to “right the ship” needs to get right themselves. Ask yourself, when your employees voice concerns, do they fear you’ll shoot the messenger or believe you’ll act?… . . . read more

WORKING WITH PEOPLE

You knew she was depressed, but suicidal? Now what?

By Lynne Curry You knew your coworker felt depressed, squeezed by the financial hit she and her husband took when laid off, and the overwhelming pressure when her kids hated school by Zoom. Now, she worries every day that sending her kids to school exposes them to danger. Throughout the pandemic, she made off-hand comments that concerned you, but what she said this morning felt more serious. “With the Delta variant and people refusing to get vaccinated, I don’t see any end in sight. I’m failing my kids by not home schooling them. But they hated staying home, and I was so scattered I didn’t feel I was helping them. I’m worn out and just feel like giving up.” These comments, coupled with how haggard she looks, and the social… . . . read more

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Can you ask job applicants, “Are you vaccinated”?

By Lynne Curry You weathered the storm that blew through your workplace when you told your employees they needed to get vaccinated. You read the stories about Delta Air, Chevron, UPS, Goldman Sachs, and other major employers that made full vaccination a condition of employment.1 Like 59% of 1,000 small business owners surveyed, you plan to sidestep future problems by hiring only vaccinated employees.2 You’ve been pleasantly surprised by the many candidates who note on their applications they’ve been vaccinated. You wonder—is it okay to ask applicants who don’t supply their vaccination status if they’ve been vaccinated? You’re not alone in your hesitancy to make job offers when you don’t know a candidate’s vaccination status. According to ResumeBuilder.com, one-third of 1250 hiring managers surveyed automatically throw out resumes that don’t… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

Making hybrid work: Charting a new playbook for a future-ready workplace

By Lynne Curry Employers thought employees would want to come back to their offices, where they had easy access to equipment, coworkers, and managers. They were wrong. COVID-19 untethered us from our traditional workplaces and many employees don’t want to return. Employees enjoyed the flexibility and freedom, sometimes from micro-managing supervisors, they had when working from home. They discovered they could better balance home and work when they didn’t have to commute or leave home for eight hours daily. When the C-suite consulting firm McKinsey & Company surveyed more than 5,000 employees, it reported three-quarters of them want to work from home two or more days per weekly, with more than half of them wanting to work from home at least three days a week.1 Given this disconnect, if employers… . . . read more


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