Farewell 2017, Hello New Beginings!

Next Monday marks an unusual occurrence: the start of a new week, a new month, and a new year. Talk about a clean slate all around! The start of a new year is often a time to set goals and make plans. Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions often crash and burn by February, leaving many defeated and disappointed. Setting professional goals that are attainable and realistic, both short and long-term, will help ensure that you are continuously working on some aspect of your career growth.

Heidi currently works as a personal banker at a local credit union. Her long-term career objective is to eventually reach an SVP (Senior Vice President) level within the next 5 years. This long-term career goal serves as a great foundation to set smaller, short-term objectives, with the next step of her career planning being determining what she needs to do to achieve this long-term goal. These more immediate objectives can include activities and various actions to participate in to reach the ultimate end result.

For example, a short-term goal Heidi can set would be determining what education is needed for that SVP position. Once she verifies those requirements, she can register for and participate in online certification courses, webinars, and other e-learning opportunities. Another option is to enroll in college courses or other training courses that are required/recommended for that job.

Talking with other individuals who currently hold, or have held, this position and developing realistic activities to participate in to help further develop the skills necessary for this position is another great sub-goal. Asking for small, manageable projects to gain skills and experience and volunteering to assist with other projects are additional short-term objectives she can set for herself to ensure that she is always working towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

Once short and long-term career goals are set and steps to achieve these goals have been defined and developed, make sure the plan is consistently reviewed and modified as necessary to ensure achievability. Adjust time frames, set rewards for achieving even the smallest of goals, and share the plan with others to get feedback and support.

New Year’s resolutions do not have to be daunting. Setting realistic and attainable career goals to work on throughout the year will help encourage professional growth and satisfaction.

Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah, Oh My!

On oldie but a goodie, we would like to share with you a message from our President, David C. Noland, that he shared with our clients and colleagues in December, 2013:

The holiday season is upon us and people are bustling about in eager anticipation of time spent with family, celebrating their holiday traditions.  This time of year is a great reminder of how we each come from different cultural backgrounds.  These differences should be celebrated, accepted, and should provide us an opportunity to get to know each other better, not create battle lines.

The basic definition of culture is a set of beliefs or customs pertaining to a particular group.  Each of our traditions and beliefs that go with this joyous season are part of our cultural make up.  These differences, no matter how great or small, should be celebrated.

As an HR Professional, I am asked this time of year about maintaining the neutrality of the holiday season. Rather than basic neutrality, this season should be defined by strengthening relationships with one another. To clarify, this means that everyone, regardless of their beliefs or traditions, should feel welcome to celebrate their background.  The neutral terminology stems from this desire to ensure that no one feels left out.

Religious beliefs and customs become more prominent during the winter holidays. In the workplace, it is important that HR professionals be alert to employee needs and be open to accommodations.

Make sure that managers are aware of how to handle requests for religious accommodations. To encourage the acceptance of various religious traditions and customs, educate employees on various religious customs and holidays to aid in understanding these different customs and traditions.

We all have beliefs and traditions that we hold close which have become integral parts of who we are.  Recognizing those differences can either divide us or bring us closer together.  Each of us has the responsibility, especially in the workplace, to demonstrate respect to each other.

This time of year is a great time to practice respect and dignity for everyone you come into contact with. Keep in mind that understanding and listening to someone else’s viewpoint doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with them. I encourage each of you to take the time to learn to celebrate the diverse traditions, customs, and beliefs that are unique to each of us this time of year.

HRCentral wishes you and your families and safe and joyous holiday season!

Holiday Gift Giving – Yay or Nay?

In recent news, a former news anchor for a popular morning show was recently terminated due to allegations of inappropriate, sexual behavior in the workplace. One of the examples of behavior that was given was his once giving a colleague an “adult toy” as a present. When considering what gifts to bestow on your coworkers at holiday parties this season, use this situation as an example of what NOT to do!

With the holiday season upon us, many organizations are gearing up for parties to celebrate the holidays with their employees. A common tradition is gift giving, with white elephant and name draw gift exchanges being popular types of activities. While exchanging presents at parties or during this time of year can be a fun way of letting loose and having a good laugh, there are a few things to keep in mind when selecting your gift to ensure that boundaries are maintained and no lines are crossed:

  • Clarify a Price Point – To ensure all employees get somewhat fair gifts with regards to “quality” set a price range for everyone to abide by (say $10 – $20) to help make certain no one feels left out when they receive a keychain and the person next to them gets a $50 gift card.
  • Maintain Appropriate Standards – Stay PG rated and steer clear from anything that may unnecessarily offend (such as religion-based gifts) or from items that you are uncertain if everyone would like (e.g., giving a set of pint glasses for a sports team that not everyone is a fan of).
  • Avoid Unfair Treatment – If the company as a whole is doing a gift exchange that everyone is participating in, that is a great way to strengthen camaraderie. If not, and if individual gifts are being exchanged, do so in private and make sure to not do anything that would leave anyone out (particularly as a manager giving gifts to your employees, or only certain ones).

Holiday gift giving can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow a few guidelines to make certain that everyone is comfortable and enjoys themselves which will make this season at work fun and engaging for all!

Holiday Harassment – Bah Humbug!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ve undoubtedly heard about all the powerhouse men in management and in the entertainment and media industry that have been accused of sexual harassment or abuse in the workplace. A serious issue that is sadly just now getting the attention it deserves, this unfortunate occurrence isn’t anything new. With any luck, the waves of attention that this topic is receiving of late will be the motivating factor that employers need to make significant changes in how their organizations handle cases of harassment.

So much of this behavior and conduct we would like to think of as common sense, but having expectations clearly communicated and outlined is of vital importance and incredibly necessary. Not only does having a policy in place protect you as an employer, it holds your employees accountable for their behavior and helps those who fall victim to harassment navigate through the proper channels to have their case resolved.

Not surprisingly, many companies either don’t have a harassment policy in place or lack one that is detailed and comprised of the procedures and steps necessary for the employee and management/HR to take to ensure situations of harassment are investigated and handled appropriately.

This is where HRCentral comes in. With so many laws and regulations governing harassment in the workplace, developing and implementing a policy and process for harassment can be tricky; not to mention properly training your management team and employees to ensure compliance with applicable state law. Cultivating a work environment that is productive and welcoming for all employees is a goal we want to help you achieve!

Follow us this month as we discuss this trending topic and how, particularly during this time of the year, we all need to work together to ensure all employees are treated in a fair and dignified manner, allowing us all to enjoy the holiday season without fear of retaliation or unnecessary stress.