This podcast is for HR Professionals, Business Owners, and CEOs who want to learn and discuss the tools, tactics, and strategies that help us create a happier, more productive employee workforce.
This podcast is for HR Professionals, Business Owners, and CEOs who want to learn and discuss the tools, tactics, and strategies that help us create a happier, more productive employee workforce.
People Processes Interviews: David Veech
Today we're going to be interviewing David Veech. David teaches leaders how to love, learn, and let go so they can create a workplace that fully engages the creative and productive powers of their people. He learned through 20 years of service in the army and is still learning after 20 years of being in the consulting and training space. His messages will hopefully inspire you and your teams to obliterate obstacles, accelerate innovation, and evaluate performance, leaving everyone motivated and engaged for the future. We're very excited to have him here. Before we do though, I want to ask you, please subscribe to our podcast. You can find us on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, pretty much any podcatcher of your choice. You can also subscribe at peopleprocesses.com which will give you exclusive subscriber-only content, including a quick summary and checklist after this interview of some of the key highlights.
David, thank you so much for coming on, Sir. Welcome to the show.
This is very exciting.
Well. So, David, tell me, you are, I mean, you've had a heck of a journey. You're not one of them, fresh off the boat, 22-year-olds fresh out of the college, set up a company. You've done this quite a while.
I've tried. Yeah.
So, 40 years ago, you started in the army. Is that about where your leadership journey began?
I went to college on an ROTC scholarship, though, was commissioned when I was 20 years old, into the infantry and I went to a combat unit but I managed to make it 20 years in the Army without ever getting shot at.
Outstanding. And so after you got out of the army, you wound up setting up a consultancy organization, is that right?
Well, yeah. My last job in the army was teaching. I was teaching at the Defense Acquisition University Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. And that's where they have all the production quality and manufacturing specialists that go through a particular training program. And I was assigned to bring a lean curriculum into that program. And so I taught there for a few years and because I didn't know a whole lot about lean, I went out and found the experts at the University of Kentucky, and went through their programs so that I could kind of steal that content and build it into the content I was creating for the Defense Acquisition University. And I created a relationship with the UK and they liked me enough to hire me when about six months before I retired from the army. They hired me and I started teaching, continuing education courses for them. It was pretty cool.
Now, I don't think many people who at least haven't been in the army don't think of the army as a, I don't know, has a manufacturing arm or has I mean, of course, they buy things, I guess. But what is it you would teach, I mean, engineering and money, maintenance, that kind of thing to your army soldiers?
Well, we have a government office in virtually every defense contractor facility. So when I was stationed at the Lockheed Martin Vought Systems Plant in Grand Prairie, Texas for three years, I was the operations manager, and we did government oversight of the production schedule of the quality of the products to make sure that all the bookkeeping was squared away. So there are just all of the business specialties that are required in government oversight to make sure that we're getting our money's worth out of the defense programs.
So we teach those people the things that they need to know to manage the quality production and management of the system. One of the things that I wanted to especially do there in that last job, was 1998-1999. And a lot of defense contractors were trying to apply these Lean principles that Toyota made famous. And I got to see them do that. And I got to see a bunch of government folks shut him down because it was different from what they understood the processes
People Processes Interviews: Cindy Ogden
At some point, businesses big or small will run into the issue of wasted time which, by extension, turns into wasted money. Usually, it’s a case of the business owner or a manager becoming too involved with tasks that ought to be delegated to others.
To address such cases, time analyses should be conducted to identify the issues, which should then be documented. This can be as simple as taking out a piece of paper and writing down your observations. Many small business owners, however, lack the time or inclination to do this.
Larger businesses, on the other hand, tend to have so much documentation piled up over the years that extracting the right solutions from this heap of information may become overwhelming. Even if they already have processes in place, other possible obstacles include adoption, usability, or effectiveness.
In either case, it may help to enlist the services of a third-party organization. FUEL it was created to tackle these common challenges faced by businesses of all sizes. We have interviewed company President Cindy Ogden on how her team may be able to help your business establish systems that address these challenges.
1) Why did you decide to specialize in process improvement?
I have a passion for organizational development and new technologies. During my early years in human resources, I was always keeping up with the latest technologies, with a particular focus on how they can improve employee performance. I decided to start my own business to help customers or clients come up with a permanent solution to fix their problems. We put processes in place for learning to happen which, by extension, will allow behavioral change. My Lean Six Sigma Black Belt training complements this because I was taught to think in terms of measuring performance.
2) How do you pinpoint the exact problem that your client’s organization has?
It all comes down to documentation. We first ask them if they have documented policies and standard operating procedures. Companies grow very quickly. At first, everyone is familiar with what the standards were; but as the company grows, the ideas gradually fade from memory because they haven’t been written down. People end up doing their own thing. I want to see the documentation of the workflows and expectations. If we don’t have that, we can’t expect employees to follow a process.
Additionally, think of your employees like customers. With that context in mind, think about what can make their jobs more efficient. This will help in formulating processes that take the human element into account.
3) Even with documentation and knowledge of the problem, we sometimes still have trouble diagnosing the cause of the problem. How do you deal with that?
The diagnosis is a checklist. If you think the problem has ten possible causes, you should ask the right questions that can guide you to the right answers. It can even be as simple as asking your customers to provide feedback that can answer those questions for you.
For companies that do have documentation in place that was built up over the years, information overload is a common issue. It’s hard to dig through it quickly to find the right solution, so there also has to be a review process in place. Without one, you can get outdated information as part of your knowledge base. You’ll be asking the wrong questions and, therefore, you’ll be getting the wrong answers. You need a dedicated group of people that can review information on, say, an annual basis, and updated processes based on synthesized information.
4) What can we learn from your worst mistake as an entrepreneur?
In the last few years, the biggest mistake I’ve made is poor planning from a budget standpoint: adding resources and being optimistic about jobs coming in, onboarding before I had ink on paper. All entrepreneurs have felt this pressure t
People Processes Interviews: James Sinclair
James Sinclair is the CEO and co-founder of the EnterpriseAlumni as the market-leading alumni in the retiree engagement platform.
EnterpriseAlumni is a multinational software corporation that develops enterprise software that manages corporate alumni and retirees of large companies like Google, P&G, Pearson, etc.
James has a background in large enterprise innovation and has worked for companies like IBM, SAP, and EDS. He also contributes to media on the future work of large enterprise innovation and entrepreneurship.
What Do You Think About the World of People Working for The Same Company Being Over? The reality of this situation is that people are more mobile, they are more willing to move. They don’t feel the need to stay with a company for life as our fathers or grandfathers did. As there are more opportunities in the market, there is more desire and value in moving elsewhere and getting a diversity of experience. People are going to move jobs, often. There is a saying “My grandfather had one job his whole life, my father had three, and I have three right now.”
How Did You End Up in This Field? I have always worked in the large enterprise innovation space with large customers that are moving from on-premise to the cloud. During this, they have to bring the process that they have spent millions of dollars in creating. We taught companies that ANY idea you have, you can bring to market using software inside 90 days. There was no problem as complex that software wasn’t able to adapt to the cloud. So after a lot of investigation and research, we realized that there was a massive gap in available tools, mainly around a challenge in finding the right candidate due to talent shortages and high cost. My solution was that our former employees are the greatest talent pool we can possibly get. So I created my platform, EnterpriseAlumni
What Was the Biggest Challenge You Faced In Your 7 Year Journey In Running EnterpriseAlumni?Today, we are in the middle of a pandemic, and it has forced us to think about our business growth, our customers, and employee status. This has been the biggest test of our company’s resilience and the culture that we have created. At EnterpriseAlumni, our team is like a family. We openly discussed the possible implications of our customers from different sectors, and we know many are suffering. We devised a plan to personally go and take care of all the burdens that they are facing while they work to keep their business running. It was a challenge for us because we had to change our entire business model for them, and they appreciated our gesture.
Why Are Your Ex-Employees Important and What One Should Be Thinking About in Terms of Business Resources? It doesn’t matter if you are a small business or a Fortune 10 company, you spend a lot of time and money on recruiting people, training them, and teaching them how your business works. Then, when they leave, they take all this knowledge and contact with them. This is not the way to off-board someone you have invested a lot of money in. Instead, you can maintain a relationship with them in which you are able to benefit long term. This helps in increasing productivity and boosts the morale of the workforce that is left and gives you the opportunity to re-hire them after they gain more skills and contacts. This will help your business be more successful.
Why Should a Business Have a Smooth Leaving Process? Leaving is inevitable/ In the years that I have worked, I have observed that many employees leave on a bad note because the employers are reluctant to let them go. No matter why they leave, the employer and remaining team feel “betrayed.” These employers fail to see the opportunity and the benefit they could get if they retain a good relationship. If the exit is done smoothly, there is a high chance that they
Checklist to Get Ready to Reopen
Today, we're going to actually dive into a checklist, which will be available on our website of great information to reopen. It's our return-to-work checklist and I'm so excited to be talking about this. We may not be all there, we're not all be reopening coming up soon, some of us may have never shut down. But this episode, we're going to talk about some of the steps you can take to get ready for that. Before we go too deep, though, I want to ask you, please subscribe to the podcast. You can find us on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, pretty much any podcatcher of your choice. You can also subscribe at peopleprocesses.com which will give you exclusive subscriber-only content. This is going to have on our website People Processes. There's a link to actually download the checklist that we're going to be going through here on the podcast today. Podcasts are great, but sometimes you just need to download it. You will have to drop your email in to get it. If you're already subscribed, please don't be afraid to drop your email in there again. I promise it scrubs for duplicates, but it's just the easiest way we could figure out how to get this out to everybody quickly. We will also be probably emailing it directly to a lot of you who are already on our subscriber list. I think almost all of you will get a copy via email. It’s just some of you who haven't subscribed recently, I can't send you big files like this. Okay. It's not a big file. It's two pages but I can't email you the actual file.
Anyway. Families First Coronavirus Relief Act has been a heck of a thing from a legal perspective. We've had CARES Act requirements, we've had issues around sanitation, all kinds of changes. If you're ready to open up shop and you're bringing people back, here's the first place to start. There's a poster, FFCRA poster, you gotta put it in a visible place. If employees are gonna remain working from home, you should have already emailed it to them or post it to the company interweb or the employee website or put it as part of their documents. They've signed a receipt for it, whatever. But when you start opening back up and people are coming back in, put the poster up, I know you've probably forgotten about it. It was a month ago at this point that that went out. But if you haven't done it yet, now is the time.
Okay. Step II. You need to do a review of your hiring practices. Yes, not all of your employees are going to come back. As you start reopening, you may need to hire people just like you used to. You need to take a look at that. See if your staffing needs have changed. Maybe you don't need the same roles. Do you need to change benefits or pay to become more competitive, maybe less competitive? I don't know. But if everybody's coming back to work at the same time, you may need to do a little dance. Get some better people in there. You need to review your interview process, both the application process, the interview process, the screening process, to get that to a remote technique as much as possible. Anyway, you need to think about your onboarding practices. Again, no reason to be passing a bunch of paper around the office or having people sit in someone else's office. We can do this electronically now. So review your onboarding practices, make sure that they're up to date, and that they're good to go. And if you are only recalling some workers that were laid off for furloughed, ensure your practice for determining who to recall does not discriminate against any group of employees. This is quite important, guys. Some of you are going to be pulling back just maybe half your staff in a particular role. Well, you're saying, "Alright, I'm pulling back this role because of this." Well, how are you making half the staff selection? It's important to document as long as it's for business reasons. You could say seniority, you co
Common Mistakes with COVID that have already caused lawsuits
Today, we're gonna be taking a deep dive into Five Wage and Hour lawsuits that we're seeing from actions employers took related to COVID-19. We just want to go through these, hit the highlights, see if there's a place you can fix this now before people start contacting lawyers. Before we go too deep, I want to ask you please subscribe to our podcast. You can find us on iTunes, Google podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, pretty much any podcatcher of your choice. You can also subscribe at peopleprocesses.com which will give you exclusive subscriber-only content. I look forward to seeing you there.
Now, let's dive in. Employers are forced to make tough decisions often at really fast speeds as they operate during the pandemic and resulting economic shutdown that we've had by making tough decisions without consulting legal counsel. Well, people can get involved in very expensive lawsuits specifically Wage and hour suits. Particularly, class actions are the most common and expensive for employers. There was a great webinar by Seyfarth Shaw LLP, called Litigation Trends in the Post COVID-19 World. Lynn A. Kappelman is a partner with the firm in their Boston office. She discussed these Wage and Hour issues that arise as employers look to control payroll costs while maintaining operations. And also, as they look ahead to reopening as the crisis is, Kappelman followed up with labor and employment law daily about common Wage and Hour traps that can befall employers during this unprecedented crisis and I'm stealing a lot of info from her. Not stealing but she had a great webinar. So I'm trying to make sure we plug her but man, some good stuff.
So Kappelman just basically put out there over and over, that plaintiffs attorneys are already focused on these issues. They're already publishing on their website, FAQs, guidelines for potential plaintiffs, marketing for potential claim plaintiffs who may have experienced any of these traps. So it's out there and we'll talk about which states are most at risk, but it's the ones you think about when you think about this stuff. So we'll go over those at the end. But basically, it's up and running and they are looking.
The most common wage-hour risk.
This is Number 1. It's going to be with respect to exempt employees who are losing that exempt classification. This can have a long-term consequence for your liability, including having to pay overtime going forward, pretty much forever to these formally exempt salaried employees. Many companies have reduced employees’ pay across the board to spread the pain of a forced bell typing. Cool. An employer that imposes a salary cut, though, must be careful not to reduce exempt employees’ pay below the minimum salary level. Now, the Federal FLSA salary threshold is $35,568 per year, but many states have a higher floor, you got to check that. So if you've cut your salaries across the board, and you've cut below that exempt level, you now have non-exempt employees. You got to track their hours. Make sure you're paying overtime. Make sure you're paying minimum wage out.
Most employers, maybe they've imposed a 20% pay cut. A lot of them want to also reduce work hours. So maybe you've said, "All right, we're going to take Fridays off". Monday through Friday cut everybody's pay 20%. However, to do so for exempt employees runs afoul of the FLSA salary basis test. It's okay to reduce someone's pay by 20%, but you can't reduce their duties by a commensurate level because you'll undermine the salary basis and lose the exemption, explained Kappelman.
So here's what's come up the most. You furloughed exempt employee, so that's I think, one primary issue. You don't want to cut, you're gonna have to think about the salary level but you also got to think about the duties test. A kind of flip on that and this is probably the most common issue I see at our l
Unemployment Vs Furlough
Many companies, now that the PPP funds have been distributed, are making the big decision this week on whether to layoff employees or not. I wanted to bring another option to the table to protect your team when they can not work.
Obviously, the "best" option for the employee is paid leave, but that’s unaffordable for some small businesses (see our info on the FFCRA to see if that could help though!). Furloughs, on the other hand, allow employers to cut labor costs without severing that relationship fully.
What is a furlough?
A furlough is a suspension from work without pay for a finite period of time. It can be mandatory or voluntary.
While public and private institutions can both furlough employees, you’re probably most familiar with them at the federal level. Workers are often furloughed as a cost-saving measure during a government shutdown. It also happens sometimes when labor organizations can't come to an agreement or budget with the employer. Organizations do this when they don’t want to lay off staff but temporarily can’t afford to pay them.
For private businesses, furloughs are often cyclical or seasonal, responding to dips in business. It can allow the business owner to pause the workers’ pay without terminating them.
What’s the difference between furlough vs. layoff?
The terms “layoff” and “furlough” are both used to describe situations that involve a lot of workers, and usually they apply to job losses where finances—not performance—are the triggering factor. (A single poor performer who is let go, on the other hand, is generally “terminated” or “fired” instead.)
While laid-off workers are sometimes rehired, the term usually refers to an indefinite—often permanent—break in the employment relationship.
A furlough, on the other hand, is typically for a shorter, fixed period of time. Workers are told to stop coming in to work or that their hours will be cut back. While laid-off employees are officially separated from employment, furloughed workers remain on your books as current employees.
Pay and benefits
Laid-off workers are essentially fired, triggering final pay requirements. Furloughed workers, on the other hand, are still employed and generally do not receive an official final paycheck or vacation payout. (Although you should carefully review the laws of your state because in some states a furlough can trigger final pay requirements.) But you can basically think of a furlough as a certain number of mandatory unpaid days off.
But—and this is an important point—depending on how long a furlough goes on and how many hours are cut, a furlough may be a triggering event for COBRA purposes if the employee is dropped from a group health plan due to a loss of work hours. When and whether this happens is governed by the terms of your particular health plan and the requirements in your state.
MOST plans have waived "work hour" requirements. It will vary depending on your insurance, but you can normally keep them on your companies group policy!
That's a big difference.
Be aware, if you terminate all your employees, they may not get COBRA or other continuation coverage because the policy will usually get terminated by the carrier. Regardless, be sure to contact your insurance carrier before deciding how to proceed. Terminations then, mean no pay, and no insurance. MASS terminations could also mean no COBRA.
Similarly, an employer can get into trouble under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) if a furloughed employee is prematurely dropped from group coverage. That's a whole can of worms beyond the scope of this episode.
Before implementing either a layoff or a furlough, make sure you understand the implications from a benefits perspective—consult your broker if you have any questions.
Employers generally cannot dock the pay of exempt empl
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A pivotal message in today’s time
It’s no secret that the employees are the driving force to a companies potential. However, what’s often missed are the actual effective strategies and tactics to improve the workforce. And this is why Rhamy’s podcast is important. If you want to attract the very best talent along with having a productive workforce—implement the strategies shared on this podcast will help you.