Thank Your Mother – She Paved Your Way at Work

Posted on May 8, 2013 | 6 comments

This week, a couple of articles about women in the workforce have caught my attention. First, the “1943 Guide to Hiring Women,” from Transportation Magazine found its way into my hands. The article offers up such ridiculous advice as: “general experience indicates that “husky” girls…are more even tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.” “when you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside of the home at some point in their lives. Older women who have never contacted the public have a hard time adapting themselves and are incline to be cantankerous and fussy.” “numerous properties say that women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them, but that they lack initiative in finding work for themselves.” “A girl has more confidence and is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick, and wash her hands several times a day.” Needless to say, I felt cantankerous and fussy after I read this. But I tidied up my hair, re-applied my lip balm and washed my hands of this stupidity. Later this week, Warren Buffet offered a refreshingly modern perspective on the topic of women in the workplace. In the May 20 issue of Fortune magazine, he expresses his optimism for the recovery of the American economy, noting that “Our secret sauce has been a political and economic system that unleashes human potential to an extraordinary degree.” He goes on to note that we have succeeded in spite of our efforts to fully empower both genders. And he believes that we are now learning to effectively engage women as leaders in the workforce. I was raised by a somewhat understated Feminist. Mom is a pretty fierce lady in her own understated and Southern way. When I was growing up, she worked two jobs to help make ends meet in our household. But they were jobs where she could still spend time with her kids. We tagged along after school where she was the Director of an after-school program. It was there that I got the rare experience of seeing my Mom juggle her role as Mom, teacher, social worker, bread-winner and leader. Later, when I was in high school, I remember coming home and moaning about my boss wanting me to work an hour later. When my Dad caught the pronoun “she” in my whiny teenage rant he stopped me and said, “SHE?!?! Your boss is a woman?!” I laughed at him, of course. “Yes, Dad, my boss is a woman.” There we stood—two men with completely different worldviews. Where I stood, it was a non-issue that my boss was a woman. Where my Dad stood, it was completely foreign. My professional experience and background have been completely different than my Dad’s generation. I grew up in a class of 27 kids – 20 girls, 7 boys. I went to college at a former’s women’s school where the ratio of girls to boys is still 3:1. Half of the bosses I’ve had in my career have been women. My business coach is a very successful woman. And I’m in a mastermind group where I’m the lone male in a sea of 25 very enlightened and successful women (pictured below). So I can’t help but think that Warren Buffet is right—the true empowerment and engagement of our female leaders has the potential to unleash unprecedented greatness for the world. But it doesn’t just happen. We have to commit ourselves to it. I’m proud that my business employs women at every pay band based on their experience – not...

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SHRM’s Worst Nightmare…

Posted on Apr 30, 2013 | 0 comments

Probably not everyone walked away from the recent SHRM Conference in Atlanta thinking, “I should just get out of these clothes.” And certainly no one went back to their offices to do so. At least, I hope they didn’t. So, even though it looks like I’m probably HR’s biggest nightmare – the pervy CEO – I promise you the video IS SFW (Safe for Work)! Check out the video below and let us know what YOUR biggest takeaway was from this week’s SHRM Conference! I showed you mine, after all. Share...

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Getting the Most Out of Your SHRM Atlanta Time

Posted on Apr 28, 2013 | 0 comments

Before I get all suited up and start looking like a professional businessman tomorrow, I wanted to share a quick tip with my fellow SHRM Atlanta Conference attendees. Check out the video below and prepare your minds for a fun conference here in Atlanta. I spent the morning looking through the sessions and presenters and I’m really looking forward to reconnecting with our clients, and meeting some new and interesting HR leaders at the conference this week! Get some rest this afternoon, and save me a seat at the cool kids’ table! Share...

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Is this the Office or the Biggest Loser?

Posted on Mar 14, 2013 | 0 comments

I admit it, I love the Biggest Loser. And like most Americans, I sit on the couch snarfing down my Ben & Jerry’s while I cry and cheer on total strangers as they work out to the point of ralphing on the treadmill in hopes of losing just one more pound before the next weigh-in. I applaud anyone who is brave enough to change their lives for the better—especially in front of a national television audience. That’s why I’m excited to see that businesses continue to be increasingly interested in how their employees are taking care of themselves outside of work. In the past few weeks, a couple of reports came out (from Aon and Towers Watson) discussing trends in employee benefits for the next three to five years. We’re particularly excited about the expected rise of employer-sponsored incentives programs in 2014! Could it be that our bosses are the next Bob Harper or Jillian Michaels? It would certainly pretty up the workplace and make it easier to swallow the recent trend in abolishing work from home policies. “Hey there Hottie McBossman. How YOU doin’?” To save you from reading another report chock full of dry statistics, here’s a high-level overview of some of the more dramatic trends we noticed in the reports from Aon and Towers Watson: 20% more companies plan to use financial rewards for employees who participate in employer-sponsored health management programs in 2014. 37% more companies expect to reward (or penalize) employees based on biometric screening outcomes by 2014.  36% more companies plan to extend health incentive programs to employees’ spouses and dependents by 2014. These changes represent a significant change in the way that employers look at their health care investments. Employees who demonstrate healthy behaviors are going to reap the biggest rewards as health care reform goes into effect. And those who fail to modify their behaviors will bear the additional financial burden. Companies who wish to lead their employees successfully through the sweeping changes associated with health care reform need to solidify the changes they will be making to their workplace health and wellness programs sooner rather than later. Having a clear plan in place will allow you to communicate early and often about the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead. Employees who have more time to review the information will be better poised to adapt and take full advantage of the many positive possibilities that the new programs will afford. How are you preparing to coach your employees through the changes ahead? Will they be effortlessly shedding the excess baggage or will they be crying and ralphing on the treadmills wondering how they got to this point in their lives? As their trainer, IT’S UP TO YOU to steer them in the right direction! Share...

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The Health Initiative – Part of Our Healthy Business Promise

Posted on Sep 18, 2012 | 0 comments

As part of Lab Monkey Design’s commitment to modeling the behaviors of what I call a “healthy business,” I am serving as co-host of The Health Initiative’s Host Committee for their 17th Annual Fall Garden Party which takes place this Sunday, September 23rd. When the Health Initiative expanded its vision in 2011 to embrace all people of the LGBTQ spectrum, I became increasingly aware and interested in their mission. Their commitment to providing “access to care” particularly appealed to me as it related to my own struggles to procure adequate health insurance. It surprises many people to find out that I – a healthy, college educated, white male in a long-term relationship – was denied insurance coverage for a period of three years. I am self-employed. I have a history of cancer. And my partner’s employer does not offer domestic partner benefits. A seven-year period had to pass since my last chemo treatment before I would become eligible for coverage under an individual policy. My commitment to my own company, my financial security, and even my health were put at risk by a broken system that would have otherwise served me had I been heterosexual. It’s simply unacceptable, and begs the question, “What can be done?” For me, the answer is simple—support The Health Initiative. At the core of their services is the mission to provide access to care for all LGBTQ Georgians. This is achieved largely through the organization’s Health Fund which has provided screening and/or care to dozens of uninsured individuals this year. In addition, The Health Initiative provides a variety of free health and wellness programming for the community and cultural competency trainings for health care providers.  While volunteering at this year’s Spring Health Fair, I was able to see The Health Initiative in action as they carefully created a plan for a recently unemployed, and consequently uninsured, client to continue seeing a doctor. They swiftly and gracefully created a safety net—making recovery a real possibility during a time of crisis. I would like to invite you to join my Host Committee co-chair, Karen Geney, and me at this year’s Garden Party on Sunday, September 23rd (tickets are available for $50 online through Wednesday; and at the door on Sunday after that). The Health Initiative relies on the Host Committee to make this event possible. The funds raised provide the majority of the Health Initiative’s annual operating costs. The Health Initiative can only continue to serve the diverse health needs of the entire LGBTQ community through your generous financial support. We look forward to celebrating your support and health at this year’s Garden Party. Share...

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4 Communications Trends to Watch Out For

Posted on Aug 30, 2012 | 0 comments

When I met Adrian Cropley at IABC Atlanta’s monthly luncheon this week, I was delighted by his reaction when I answered his question, “What is it that you do?” Explaining internal health and welfare communications for employee audiences is not often an easy thing to do. And I’ve NEVER been met with the kind of excitement on the topic that Adrian exhibited. Adrian is the Immediate Past Chair of IABC International and he stopped by the Atlanta chapter to share his perspectives on global trends and the future of communications at our monthly luncheon. Here are four of the major points from Adrian’s presentation:      1. Convergence of Disciplines – Companies are seeing a convergence of internal and external communications departments. Where external marketing used to dominate the amount of money being spent on communications, we are seeing a rise in the amount of money being spent internally. Companies are increasingly invested in the development of their employees as the workforces have shrunk and employees are being asked to perform at a higher standard.      2. Definition of Communications is Changing – As the digital era bulldozes its values across all industries, communicators are finding that new platforms and social media have changed perceptions around what it means to be a communicator. Digital and IT departments are largely plugged into how we broadcast our messages and in that regard ARE communications departments. However, there hasn’t been a push to differentiate between the craft of communicating and technology used to communicate.      3. Emerging global markets are demanding deeper understanding of their culture – As Western businesses begin to partner with Eastern nations we have a lot to learn. Western means of communicating do not resonate with Eastern values. International organizations, like IABC are working hard to learn and broadcast best practices for working with cultures in the East. If you have any resources or tips – I encourage you to share them for us in the comments section below.      4. Communicators must present themselves more professionally – As a former art student and graphic designer turned business owner, I REALLY get this. Communication Departments are often seen as cost-centers by the companies that house them. I’ve worked in those departments and it’s no fun to try and justify the need for a new Mac or updated Adobe software when your department hasn’t made a major contribution to the company’s bottom line. But we do contribute to the bottom line – we’re just collectively AWFUL at capturing the data to prove it. Cropley urged us to be better stewards of the data and numbers that demonstrate our value. In addition, he posed the question of whether it would make sense to begin certifying communications professionals in the same way that we certify accountants and other professions. I’m eager for the day when we embrace certification of our profession. In fact, I yearn to put fancy little initials beside my name that demonstrate my deep commitment and passion for my profession. How have these trends impacted your business? Do you agree that Communicators are notoriously awful at demonstrating their ROI? Tell us in the comments below. Share...

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