Political Activism: Are You Risking Your Job?

politics and protests on the jobThe First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees US citizens the right to “freedom of speech.” Citizens may freely express themselves in a public forum on any subject, including political topics, and rest assured that there will be no detrimental consequences. This is a known fact and beyond contest. Right?

Think again.

The Devil Is in the Details

The First Amendment reads:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Oh, those pesky details. Note the amendment specifies “Congress shall make no law.” Unless a person is an employee of Congress, those precious freedom of speech protections may not apply.

Before You Join In

Before you join in a protest or send that Tweet, there are a few precautions you should consider:

  • Understand your company’s policies on employee speech that could potentially be considered negative;
  • Talk to someone you trust at work about what you’re planning and get their input on possible consequences;
  • Find out if anyone in the company has been disciplined for issues relating to speech or political activism.

Online Political Activism Is Risky Business

When social media enters the mix, the potential risks for speaking one’s mind increase exponentially with each “like,” “share” and “tweet.” Expressing political views on a contentious issue or actively promoting and endorsing a candidate (or even not promoting a specific candidate) can pose a risk. If an employer believes an employee’s stated opinion or supported political candidate reflects negatively on the company, or that their actions fall below an expected level of professionalism, the employee may face disciplinary action that could end in termination.

Those practicing activism via the Internet use email, social media postings, live-casting and podcasts to communicate and disseminate information.

Online political activism is usually categorized in one of three ways: awareness and advocacy, organization and mobilization, or action/reaction. Examples could include:

  • Circulating a call-to-action meme about an upcoming politically themed demonstration
  • Posting an essay arguing for or against one side of a political issue on social media
  • Forwarding an email to family, friends and co-workers encouraging them to donate to a candidate’s campaign
  • Circulating petitions supporting or opposing political candidates or issues
  • Advocating for or against an issue by “liking” a posting or meme about it
  • Forwarding “tweets” to family, friends and co-workers that include statements about a candidate or issue, either for or against.
  • Display of a candidate’s photo, banner or slogan on a website or social media page

Any of these activities, even those undertaken from a private home or public venue, or those taking place during nonworking hours can be grounds for discipline and/or termination.

An online footprint can go so far as to hinder one’s chances in the hiring process. Recruiting expert Alysse Metzler, in her 2013 book “The Recruiting Snitch,” found over 70 percent of recruiters for US companies investigate potential employees on social media before hiring. According to Metzler, an online presence dominated by political views raises warning flags.

We the People

It is human nature to take a “That won’t happen to me” approach to hypothetical situations, such as getting fired for making a post to Facebook. But the reality is that it does happen. There are cases now making their way through the court systems in which employers terminated employees for participating in organized activism, for political statements and affiliations.

In the coming years, the lines between what is and is not protected speech may be more clearly delineated. Employers may revise their company handbook or onboarding materials to clarify definitions of which activities are acceptable and which are not.

Until then, take care in what you do and say. Neither employee nor employer is as protected as they may seem.

Posted in Human Resources | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Tips for Getting Your Remote Team Up to Speed

Getting Your Remote Workforce up to speedTried-and-true methods of practicing business are not so true anymore. Technology and globalization have made the world smaller, while simultaneously opening doors to improve the ways we live and work — especially where and when we work.

In the past decade, more people have begun to work remotely – but even the definition of “working from home” has expanded. Today, remote workers may still choose to work from their homes, but they might just as well choose to share co-working spaces, work out of a coffee shop, check in from the beach or even work out of an RV. In recent years, the percentage of workers employed remotely has increased by a whopping 80 percent. This has put new pressure on managers, supervisors, human resources departments and executives to build productive, successful remote teams – and that doesn’t have to be as difficult as it might seem.

1. Set Definitive Goals

Clear goals foster accountability. This will give your remote team a solid footing on which to anchor their work. Make sure your goals are specific, with measurable benchmarks and stated deadlines.

2. Get the Right Tools for the Job

Your remote team’s work will center around technology. Carefully select from the plethora of available business apps and productivity platforms, and always vet your choices before committing to them. Keep in mind that you want to simplify your remote team’s workflow by reducing confusion while increasing productivity.

3. Break the Workload Into Manageable Assignments

Each member of your team needs to know his specific task and how it will fit into the overall goal of the team. Provide your team members with clear guidelines that can be easily referenced. Ensure your management tool includes a way for employees to track required milestones within project tasks. If feasible, include a flowchart that shows the impact of each member’s assignment on the overall project goals.

4. Get to Know Each Other

One of the perks lost when teams work remotely is the positive benefits of one-on-one interactions between co-workers. Your workers enjoy freedom and flexibility when working remotely, but it also deprives them of face time to solidify team dynamics. There’s no huddling around the water cooler with remote teams.

Make sure your team leader touches base with every member on a regular schedule. You can get one-on-one interaction and group brainstorming sessions via technology such as Skype. This will help build working relationships between team members.

5. Schedule Group Downtime

All work and no play make your team a boring group. Think of ways your team can get to know each other outside of work, on a more personal level. This can go a long way toward thwarting dissatisfaction with the job. Encourage collaboration outside of work hours, if possible. Meet up offline if you can, or offer your team digital happy hours.

Finally, make sure you’re connecting with your remote employees through excellent communication and training, with innovative solutions, including comprehensive orientation and onboarding strategies. Creating ways in which your team has common knowledge of the operation and what others do each day is vital to achieving your mission.

 

Posted in Best Business Practices, Corporate Communication, New Hire Orientation, Projections | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How The Millennial Workforce Will Change HR Forever

For a long time employees joined a company, contributed to a retirement plan, and stayed for decades, slowly moving up the corporate ladder. That depiction no longer reflects the modern workplace or the modern workforce. Millennials have different needs and expectations, but if you are willing to adapt, you can ensure you continue to attract the talent your business needs.

Create Mechanisms for Frequent Feedback

Millennials crave feedback, far more often than managers are willing to provide. At most companies, managers conduct an annual review with direct reports to evaluate their performance. Some well-known companies now provide bimonthly feedback sessions to better engage younger employees that aren’t comfortable having that conversation once a year. Millennials are tech-savvy, and it is often necessary to use a variety of channels such as videos, websites, and interactive tools to better track progress and provide feedback. Firms must clearly communicate near-term goals along with the intermediary steps necessary to reach those goals, and it’s often beneficial to work with outside partners to help craft those messages.

Outline Paths for Advancement

Millennials want to know how they are performing, and they also want to know where that performance will take them. The timeline for career advancement has shrunk considerably; millennials expect a promotion every one to two years. This is of course not feasible for your entire workforce, but for top performers, granting an extra title or other recognition could stave off headhunters looking to capitalize on any dissatisfaction. According to some studies, 60 percent of millennials will leave a job within the first three years; with a workforce that fickle, a little extra spending now could save significant hiring costs later.

Offer Service Opportunities

It’s not enough to just offer a paycheck; employers also have to offer a sense of purpose. According to one study, two-thirds of millennials won’t take a job offer from a company that doesn’t have a strong corporate social responsibility program. Hiring managers need to make sure that they emphasize opportunities for engagement as part of the total compensation package when recruiting top talent. From a logistical perspective, companies need to build programs to provide service opportunities or partner with service organizations that can provide that infrastructure.

Millennials comprise a steadily growing portion of the workforce, and companies that want to compete for the best talent will need to adapt to that reality. While some of the demands of millennial employees may seem taxing or silly to managers, failing to adapt to those demands in time could mean a significant slowdown in hiring, and in turn, competitiveness.  The good news is that making these changes, and using comprehensive communications solutions to connect can boost morale not just among millennials and new hires, but throughout your entire workforce.

Posted in Corporate Communication, Human Resources | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Digital Marketing + Human Resources – What Top Companies Are Doing Now

Human Resources and Digital Marketing2017 will be blanketed by a myriad of digital marketing strategies for HR firms. From recruitment and onboarding to employee engagement – human resources personnel must be ready to embrace new trends, staying ahead of the curve and meeting the needs of discerning employees across the board.

Wait, back up the bus… did that just say – MARKETING? For human resources?

The job market is becoming increasingly competitive, with unemployment numbers continuing to fall. That means employers have to set themselves apart from other companies. It means communicating your company’s values, beliefs and the ways in which you’re working to be an employer of choice. In short, marketing.

So yes, today, marketing means digital marketing – and digital marketing is powerful stuff for human resources. Sending letters to employees homes is so 2015… now, you need to be online, transparent, and ready to embrace the demands of an entirely new kind of job-seeker.

Keeping Websites Up to Date

Employee-centric websites can serve as information hubs for recruiters and talent. In fact, your company’s website is usually the first platforms for job seekers scanning available opportunities and listings. With this in mind, your website must be up-to-date and reflect all the current and burgeoning employment trends. From industry developments to top hiring prospects, your sites should also include a wealth of resources for clients and talent. We’re talking about employment listings, growth reports and informative articles that correlate with several industries and niches. It is also vital to implement social media links and SEO strategies to secure brand visibility and awareness. In fact, meta tagging and keywords still play a pivotal role in connecting users to the services and information they need.

Beyond recruitment, HR will need to embrace digital marketing in the onboarding process. Begin with emails to your teams that keep everyone informed of any start dates for new hires. This makes sure your new employee has all the software, hardware, training, and resources they need to hit the ground running. Consider automated fulfillment of a gift of premium items, so that new employee will feel welcome and part of the team immediately. Add to that some relationship-building marketing emails for your new employee, helping them get acclimated without overwhelming them on their first day.

And look for places to implement a digital marketing strategy in every corner of your online presence by creating an interactive onboarding program that will allow new hires access to the information they need as they get started in their new position.

Newsletters and E-Mail Lists

Of course, regular email newsletters will continue to play integral roles in all HR marketing campaigns. However, these materials can also serve as mobile blogs for all your new and existing subscribers. This means the content should effectively attract and engage job seekers and clients – while addressing all their questions and concerns.

This is where knowledge of online content creation becomes important – what kind of voice do you want for your company in this arena? What topics are vital to cover, and how will you convey who your company truly is? This kind of digital marketing is what draws people to companies today – and repels them just as quickly. It’s important to truly reflect who you are and the kind of team you’re continually building to help your company reach its goals.

Your email content should always be easy to scan and digest as well. Creating memorable content helps generate a lasting buzz about your company

Social Media is Still Essential

As always, mastering the right social media platforms will be imperative in reaching the right people and drawing them to your company. Recent statistics show that 79 percent of job seekers use social media for daily searches. This includes Facebook and Twitter, along with other platforms and networks. With this in mind, your HR department should continue cultivate relationships on social media platforms relevant to the kind of people you hope to attract. This will help you reach your prospective team members on a large scale – while effectively marketing the things that differentiate you from your competitors to specific individuals.

Believe it or not, depending on who your company is, Instagram and Pinterest can both be especially helpful in establishing a visible presence for your company. Savvy HR professionals utilize these platforms for posting industry growth charts, pictures, videos, and anything that connects their company to what their kind of job seekers are looking for.

 

So, digital marketing strategies for HR doesn’t sound so far-fetched in 2017. Embracing these concepts can help you build a stronger company with an unbeatable team of engaged employees.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Why Your Employees Never Seem to “Get It”

Forty-seven percent of American adults say they are unsure about or don’t know their employer’s core values — the beliefs and goals of an organization — according to Eagle Hill Consulting. Want more? 89 percent of workers who are aware of their employer’s values believe those values do influence their behavior and decisions within the workplace!

Having shared values guides decision-making, product development and even customer service. but many businesses struggle to communicate their objectives and standards to their workforce. It’s vital to recognize that effective communication fosters productivity and keeps employees engaged, something that could keep an organization union-free. Here’s how you can publicize your organization’s core values effectively.

Write a Mission Statement

A mission statement, which summarizes your company’s goals and values, is a powerful way to convey the management philosophy of your organization. This document compiles strategic decisions and forecasts future behaviors, and outlines a roadmap for how these can be achieved. How to write a corporate mission statement will depend on the scope of your business. However, you establish your organization’s most important projects and engage with your audience.

Mission statements used to consist of blocks of black-and-white text and were seldom read. However, new technology has made these documents more engaging for the customers, clients and employees who read them. You can articulate your core values through images and colorful graphics to boost employee engagement, for example. Email marketing brand Infusionsoft has incorporated various visual elements to illustrate the company’s values: “We believe in people and their dreams.”

Use Video

Video is an effective way to get your message across. Fifty-nine percent of executives say they would rather watch a video than read text, while 50 percent of senior staff search for more information about a company after seeing a product or a service in a video. Plus, 65 percent of people remember a piece of information when it’s paired with a visual. This medium is a powerful platform for marketing and sales, but it can also be used to broadcast your core values.

Online marketing portal DigitalMarketer reveals its corporate mission in a short video. Viewers can find out what the organization believes, what it wants to achieve, and what its plans for the future are. This is something you could try for yourself. Video enhances communications between you and your staff and might prevent them from finding out more about your company from a third party.

Use Mobile Technology

Creating a mobile app with your core values is an innovative way to engage with a tech-savvy, young-skewing workforce. Mobile usage has skyrocketed in recent years, with American adults now spending more time on mobile devices than on desktops and laptops. Furthermore, 89 percent of time spent on mobile media is through an app.

Alternatively, you can optimize your website for mobile browsers so prospective and current employees can access your core values from their smartphone or tablet. This prevents website visitors from clicking on the “back” button if your values page doesn’t display properly or takes too long to load on a mobile device.

If staff are unaware of your organization’s core values, now’s the time to tell them. Writing a mission statement, creating a video or using mobile technology will convey your objectives in an exciting way and instill these values into employees. These methods alone won’t stop unionization, but they could result in happier, more engaged, productive employees who are conscious of your company’s ethos.

Posted in Best Business Practices, Corporate Communication, Labor Relations, Positive Employee Relations | Tagged , | Leave a comment