Employee Benefit Options

It’s getting to be that time of year. If you haven’t already, you should soon receive your 2019 employee benefit options from your employer. These options typically include selecting a health insurance plan, dental, and vision coverage. Your employer may also provide for things such as life insurance, disability insurance, and/or a flexible spending account (FSA). Because you have to wait a full year before you can change your mind, it’s important to take care with your elections. Life insurance – Employers often provide some sort of basic insurance coverage. This could be $50,000 or some multiple of your salary. […]

The Ethical Workplace

What makes a workplace an ethical workplace? “Ethics” invokes thoughts of someone knowing and acting on what is right or fair. This is true even when thinking about an organization. The concept of ethics sits on a basis of common understandings of four areas: Transparency, Honesty, Confidentiality, and Protection of Rights. Transparency deals with the level of trust in the stakeholder / organization relationship. Being transparent means a company is committed to releasing detailed information about their processes and transactions to stakeholders: those individuals who have an interest in the company’s performance. A natural progression of transparent actions and communications […]

The Importance of Work-Life Balance

Managers are increasingly aware of the importance of promoting a healthy work-life balance for employees, which in turn, increases job satisfaction. However, with so many advances in technology over the past several decades, achieving this balance has been much more difficult. The advantages in the way people access information, communicate with one another, and complete tasks have allowed for flexibility in the workplace, but they have also diminished the distinction between work and family. I recall while working in the Netherlands, my immediate manager was based in Bangkok, Thailand, and the company headquarters was based in Glenview, Illinois. Back then, […]

Workplace lnvestigations How to handle the ‘He Said / She Said’ situation

Nothing halts an investigation like the he said/she said situation. So what happens when a line of questioning hits this wall? How do you make sure that you get the whole picture? How do you know where the truth ends and personal perception begins? Most notably, how do you make sure you don’t get wrapped up in the stories? It’s important to remember that an employee should not face disciplinary action unless there is concrete evidence to support the need. Likewise, if an investigation is deemed inconclusive and no action is taken the employer runs the risk of liability for […]

How to Select the Investments in your 401(k)

Whether they have a 401(k), 403(b), 457, or other employer sponsored retirement plan, one of the first questions people typically ask me is, “How should I invest the money in my retirement plan?” Your investment options are typically limited and often come with little or no advice from a professional. Consult your 401k representative: If you contact your human resources department, they’re likely to provide some fact sheets on the investments in your plan but little beyond that. If you contact the 401k company, they’ll likely do the same. I suggest contacting the plan representative. This is the person who […]

Talking to Your Heirs About Money

One issue for people as they age is communicating with their heirs about the inheritance they could receive. Some people are uncomfortable talking to their heirs about money while others are concerned that their heirs could become lazy while they wait on a windfall. Talking with your children early about money in general and later about the money they might inherit can help your heirs become more responsible with the money they’ll receive. Here are some resources to get you started: This article from Kiplinger’s (Bit.ly/2wYIHJo) does a good job of outlining the importance of these conversations and some steps […]

Conlicts? Try Alternative Dispute Resolution

Nearly all disputes between employees and their managers (or the company for which they work) can be resolved through forthright, honest communications. But in a fast-moving, complex business environment, conflicts and differences can arise which need the intervention of someone who is not directly involved. For those occasions, some organizations provide a formal process of resolution that can involve up to five steps. Alternative Resolution is an internal process that allows employees to resolve employment disputes with the company in confidence and without fear of reprisal. What kinds of disputes are covered? In general, any dispute that arises from a […]

Applying Al-Anon Teachings at Work

A passage from Al-Anon text reads, “Let me reflect how much damage I may have done, and may still do, by saying the first thing that comes to mind. Let me realize that the worst reaction of unbridled anger falls upon me. What I say in a single moment of uncontrolled rage can have inconceivable long-range consequences.” Reading this in the morning, and then again a few hours later, the words began to sink in. I might add that while these sentences are not necessary intended for the workplace, there is certainly an ability to apply them so. While it […]

Coaching and Counseling

Most people in business can relate to this situation: There’s a person on your team or in your department who you enjoy working with and who shows true potential. This same person also has room for polishing. Let’s say this employee’s demeanor around the office is very pleasant and engaging but her customer-service skills are less than stellar. You know she’s teachable but she can also be defensive and/or sensitive. Your next counseling technique could save or destroy a chance for this employee to stay with the team. If she does stay, your coaching tactics will determine whether or not […]

Change Management

Think of a time when you had to manage someone’s expectations on something that was changing. It can be something from work – a change in process or a change in staff, perhaps. It can also be something on a smaller scale – a change in logistics for a family gathering or community fundraiser. In either element, change management always plays a part. Organizations will always see ebbs and flows in their methods and processes. Change is tough for most people – it can be challenging, worrisome, and intimidating. How do we face change in our organization, manage all shifting […]