IN THIS ISSUE:

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the Spring 2007 edition of our e-newsletter, RESOURCES. We are excited to produce this exciting forum for the communication of issues pertinent and relevant to HR Professionals.

We hope you enjoy the newsletter. It can only get better with your input and comments. If you have any articles for inclusion, comments or requests, please email them to Jim Guynup: KGJ906@aol.com.

 

 

 

Editor's Note: Mr. David Youssefnia Ph.D. who will be presenting at the 2007 NYS SHRM Conference in July of 2007,has kindly asked if he could share his findings on Employee surveys to members of SNHRA.

 

Mr. Youssefnia has spent the last 10 years working with world-class companies,helping them gather,analyze and act on critical feedback from key stakeholders.

 

When is an ideal time to conduct a survey? The question of timing is an important one when considering when to gather feedback from your employees and/or customers. The article below answers this question by highlighting both good and bad times for conducting employee and customer surveys.

 

Employee Survey
A good time to conduct an employee survey is when:

  • New management is in place  
  • Turnover is increasing  
  • Recent changes have occurred in  business direction
  • It has been at least 6 months  since you hired a significant number of employees
  • You aren’t sure if employees  understand where the business is headed
  • You don’t know what employees  are thinking about the business
  • Customers begin to complain  and/or you start to see a spike in customer attrition  
A bad time to conduct an employee survey is when:
  • There is so much going on in the  business that you aren’t able to focus on sharing the findings with employees  or commit to acting on the issues
  • It is the busiest time of your  business cycle (e.g., holiday season for retail)
  • You just finished a survey  (within the previous 6 months)
  • There is a lack of resources for  internal or external support (unless you are an expert, it is very dangerous –  although tempting – to conduct a survey on a shoestring budget)  
  • Many employees will be on  vacation
  • You just hired a significant  number of employees; it is advisable to give new employees at least 6 months  to acclimate to their jobs and their new organization  
Customer Survey
A good time to conduct a customer survey is when:
  • You are losing customers (it’s  not good to lose customers, but it is a good time to find out why)  
  • You need customer input for new  products/services
  • You feel as though you’re losing  touch with customers (surveys are a good way to keep in touch)  
  • Sales and/or customer service  employees are complaining about dissatisfied customers  
  • You’ve had some success with  your customers and would like their feedback and recommendations (open-ended  comments from surveys are a great source for testimonials, and statistics such  as “95% of our customers would recommends us to others” can be very useful for  marketing collateral)
A bad time to conduct a customer survey is when:
  • It is difficult to access  customers – either they are hard to reach or you don’t have a way to reach  them
  • Customers haven’t had enough  time to use your products/services
  • You have very few customers (you  may want to consider interviewing by phone or in person)  
  • You don’t have enough resources  (internal or external) to analyze or act on the findings  
We hope these lists are helpful. If you find that the “good times” list(s) describes your situation, please pick up the phone or send us an email and we’d be happy to speak with you about how we can help. David Youssefnia, President, Critical Metrics, LLC (david@critical-metrics.com, 212 675 9211).

 

 

 

Editor's Note: Kevin Herring, a published writer in the field of human resources and management, offered to share an article he wrote regarding HR and Management issues for our newsletter.

Management In Real Life by Kevin Herring

 

We’ve all experienced dysfunctional organizations as unfortunate customers, but what, if anything, do we learn from the experience beyond confirmation that it’s time to hit the road and go elsewhere? Is the problem really employee incompetence? Is it a lack of concern for the customer? Or is there more to the problem than meets the eye?

 

Consider the recent experience our office had with a web hosting provider. It was so disturbing that our webmaster called us in frustration to say he was washing his hands of the matter, and it caused me to write this article in place of the one I intended to submit. Due to long-standing dissatisfaction with our web hosting provider we made the decision to move to one with a stronger reputation for service and reliability.

 

In the process of making the change, our existing provider terminated service several weeks prematurely causing our web site and email service to be down for nearly a week. Repeated phone calls beginning on the day of the error were painfully unproductive. Telephone calls to support personnel landed in two different countries where no call could be transferred beyond the second tier of support. Four days and umpteen calls later with no success made us feel like we were in a Capital One commercial where every response from the support staff is “No!” What was in our wallets had the sensation of a railroad spike.

 

Eventually, our calls reached a location closer to home. Our desperate attempts to reach a supervisor provided us with the explanation that had a call been made within the first two days, they could have easily corrected the problem, but now it was too late. We seemed to be caught in some sort of Twilight Zone rerun.

Miraculously, further efforts to resolve the problem did result in reaching a peer supervisor who acknowledged that our data was, in fact, still available. He was quick to let go of who was to blame and was extremely cooperative and competent in getting us what we needed to get the site and email systems functioning.

He also informed us that the new general manager would be very interested in knowing about our experience because he is committed to improving customer service.

 

So what do we learn from this aside from the limits of our patience and sanity? Consider that core employees and supervisors in this business were unwilling, or unable, to address the problem; their jobs were to merely regurgitate scripted responses. Offsite operations refused to escalate the problem beyond their offices and supervisors were afraid to let us speak to managers.

 

Although the individual who solved the problem had technical expertise he had acquired from a previous role in the company, most of what he did any employee could have done. Instead, most chose to absolve themselves of responsibility. Why? Because they work in an environment where management has attempted to automate the people responsible for customer service through misguided measurements, tightly controlled responses, and punishment for non-conformance. Consequently, employees worry more about how many calls they process and how quickly they can crank through them instead of trying to satisfy customers and solve problems.

 

In order to ensure consistency, employees are provided canned responses and scripts they are expected to repeat with no thought as to the impact on the customer or the business.

 

Are core workers part of the problem here? Of course, but only insofar as they have failed to challenge the system that created such a workplace. Despite the obvious failures of core staff in this business, the only real solution is to attack the environment that created the dysfunctional workplace. More empathy training is not the answer. More leadership decrees supporting a focus on the customer will not help. Substantive change cannot occur until the systems and practices that created the problem are eliminated and replaced with purposeful leadership and policies that de-automate the workforce. And that responsibility rests squarely on leaders.

 

Trying it on for fit: Try conducting after-action reviews to ascertain the level of employee automation occurring in your organization. In other words, when reviewing customer service challenges, production problems, project failures or other situations, assess each act or step asking why the choice was made.

 

Look to see how often employees take personal responsibility for final outcomes, pay attention to business success and customer satisfaction, and make decisions using principles. Also note how often their responses deflect accountability to supervisors, rely on measures of activity to determine effectiveness, and cite policies and management expectations as the bases for their decisions.

 

The results should give you an idea of whether employees are applying their expertise with purpose or if they are mostly responding automatically according to dictates without regard for business outcomes. Follow up by asking what employees need from you and the rest of the organization to act with greater responsibility for outcomes and less dependence on automatic responses. Send an email and let me know what you learn from your experiences. I would love to hear from you!

Kevin Herring is co-author of Practical Guide for Internal Consultants <www.hroutsourcingalternative.com> , President of Ascent Management Consulting <www.ascentmgt.com> , and co-founder of AVÓTTE <www.avotte.com> .  Kevin specializes in creating powerful business solutions through breakthrough leadership, workplace cultures and organization systems. Kevin can be reached at kevinh@ascentmgt.com or www.ascentmgt.com. ©2007 Ascent Management Consulting, Ltd     All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

Editor note: This month we thought it would be interesting to get into the  inside of  the member who supplies many of our speakers to our breakfast meetings and events: John Futrell. 

John ,tell us how it all began for the Las Vegas Executive Speakers Bureau to become a very important part of the business community in the Las Vegas Valley:
The Las Vegas Executive Speakers Bureau is a corporation that provides professional speakers AND entertainment to conventions, corporate meetings and provide speakers to their membership meetings. We started in 2000 and have built a roster of phenomenal talent!  Now, we are able to reach out to some of our local organizations

All of us has Members really appreciate the speakers you provide to our meetings.  Tell us how you select the speakers that we get the pleasure to hear and learn?
The important part of providing speakers to any event is to identify the needs of the organization and it’s membership.  We assess the topic, type of speaker and relevance to the group.  If there is a match, we book the speaker for one of the meetings.

Do you find the Las Vegas community an easy place to get talented speakers?
YES!  There is so much talent here in Las Vegas and it continues to grow.  We live in the “Convention Capital of the World”.  More and more professional speakers are moving here for their careers.  As the good ones move in, we approach them about representation.  Some are willing to speak for no (or little) fee to local associations.

Tell us about some of your favorite speakers and Why?

All of our speakers are experts in their fields AND speak professionally as a career.  There are so many speakers who have such GREAT content on their topics.  The best speakers are also very entertaining.  It is difficult to identify a “favorite”.  They are all favorites in their area of expertise.

Is there a speaker that you have not yet got that you would like to have?
As a National agency, we can book any speaker anywhere in the world.  If a client wants a specific celebrity, we can find that person, negotiate the booking and bring him in for the event.  Fortunately, we can book anyone.  However, our niche is Las Vegas talent.

Tell us how long you have lived in the Las Vegas Valley and your feelings about living in Las Vegas:
I have lived here since I was a bratty little punk kid.  After 34 years in the city, I am awestruck almost everyday when I see something new being built.  The façade of Las Vegas continues to change and I love to watch it occur before my very own eyes.  The opportunities here are limitless.

 

Do you think Las Vegas faces future problems that have not been addressed?
Sure!  Unforeseen growing pains are bound to happen.  It happens with city growth just like it happens with the growth of a business.  The key is to recognize an obstacle as an opportunity and overcome the hurdle.  That’s one of the keys to the great success that the people in this city enjoy.

Who is your favorite Las Vegas showroom entertainer and Why?
WOAH!  That’s waaayyyyy to impossible to answer.

We are all wondering:  What is your favorite TV?
“WE?”  Who’s “WE”?
Well, if ya’ must know I have been guilty of watching Happy Days re-runs.  The Fonz is just the coolest!  AAAAyyyyyyyyy!!!

By the way I meant to ask you this earlier:  Did you ever have a speaker or entertainer who turned into a royal pain? (no names necessary)
General rule of thumb:  The bigger the celebrity, the higher the maintenance.  ‘Nuff said!

If someone needed to use your services how much lead time to you need and can you give us an idea of what you have available in variety of speaker?
One of the wonderful things about having a roster of local talent is that many of them can perform on a moments notice.  Obviously, the more lead time the better it is for the client.  This way the speaker can customize a presentation specifically for that audience.

The variety of speakers is vast!  We have everything from Motivational to Wellness and from Business to Comedy.  If you need it, we can get it!!  We can book worldwide, but our niche is in Las Vegas….the Convention Capital of the World!!

 

 

 

Editor's  Note:  At our last SNHRA meeting, I had the pleasure of
meeting the folks of Volunteer Center of Southern Nevada...Their  vision is to mobilize groups and individuals to address community needs through Volunteerism.  Has we all know whatever you give to the community always comes back to you in thousand fold.

 

So if you would like your staff involved in this philosophy,I urge you to contact Nancy Sprague, Director of Operations and Public Relations. They will do it all for you from project selection, Event Coordination, Team Training, publicity , even the food!

 

Two examples of Corporate Clients being involved in such projects
include: Home Depot that did major interior and exterior painting and mural production for US Vets Las Vegas and worked side by side with many of the veteran residents which resulted in both therapeutic and physical support to the previously homeless and troubled veterans.

 

Windermere Realty did planting and mural painting  to Quannah McCall Elementary which improves the grounds and buildings in a low income,gang infested neighborhood which greatly raised the self-esteem of the students.

 

If you want a no-obligation meeting and assessment for your company, you can contact Nancy at 702-892-2322 or visit their web site at: www.volunteeernevada.org.

 

 

 

Editor's Note:  Because the issue of smoking has impacted so many businesses these past few months in Las Vegas, we asked our Legal Advisor Patrick Hicks and his associate Deborah Westbrook to give us the current status of the law:

 

Workplace Smoking Restrictions Under the Nevada Clean Indoor Act

 

By:  Patrick H. Hicks and Deborah L. Westbrook

 

On November 7, 2006, Nevada voters passed the Nevada Clean Indoor Act, continuing a nationwide trend toward mandating smoke-free environments in virtually all indoor public places, business and workplaces.  The Act, which amended Chapter 202 of the Nevada Revised Statutes, broadly expanded Nevada’s existing smoking restrictions.  Although the new smoking restrictions took effect on December 8, 2006, employers may still have questions about the applicability of the Act on smoking in and around the workplace.  This column will briefly address the new requirements and its impact upon Nevada employers.

Restrictions On Smoking In Indoor Places Of Employment

Chapter 202 previously restricted smoking in only a handful of public places, such as childcare and medical facilities. However, after the passage of the Act, smoking is now prohibited in all indoor places of employment, with the exception of the following:

  1. Areas within casinos where loitering by minors is  already prohibited by state law;
  2. “Stand-alone” bars, taverns and saloons;
  3. Strip clubs or brothels;
  4. Retail tobacco stores; and
  5. Private residences, including those which serve as an  office workplace, except if used as a childcare, adult day care, or health  care facility.
The Act also specifically prohibits smoking in any form within school buildings and on any portion of school property, including outdoors.
 
Unless a place of employment qualifies for one of these limited exceptions, smoking is prohibited in all indoor spaces. As specifically set forth in the Act, this includes a ban on smoking in all indoor “work areas, restrooms, hallways, employee lounges, cafeterias, conference and meeting rooms, lobbies and reception areas.” Thus, the ban appears to prohibit employers from having any type of break room where smoking is permitted.
 
The Act does not prohibit smoking in any outdoor place, thereby maintaining employers’ rights to create outdoor smoking areas for employees and customers.  As a result, employers should not be subject to liability under the Act for permitting employees to smoke outdoors near the entrance of a building.

Required Postings And Removal Of Smoking Paraphernalia
Although many Nevada employers already restrict smoking within their facilities, even these employers are affected by the new restrictions.  The Act requires the conspicuous posting of “No Smoking” signs or signs that contain the international “No Smoking” symbol at each entrance of every public place and place of employment in Nevada where smoking is prohibited.  In addition, the Act requires removal of all smoking paraphernalia, including ashtrays, from each public place and place of employment where smoking is prohibited.

Unfortunately, the Act is less than clear in several respects. Many employers are struggling with issues such as: whether a particular establishment falls under the exception for stand-alone bars, taverns and saloons; whether nightclubs are subject to the smoking ban; and the effect of the ban upon hotel and motel rooms, to name a few.

Retaliation Prohibited
In addition to its restrictions on most indoor public places, the Act also prohibits persons and employers from retaliating against employees, applicants or customers for their exercise of rights afforded by the Act or any attempt to prosecute a violation of the Act. Although the Act does not specify the remedy for violating this anti-retaliation provision, it would not be surprising for an individual alleging he or she was terminated in retaliation for seeking to enforce the Act to bring a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy, which might allow for the recovery of tort damages.

Enforcement of the Act
The Act provides that restrictions on smoking in indoor public places, businesses and workplaces are to be enforced by “health authorities, police officers of cities and towns, sheriffs and their deputies”.  According to the Act, persons found to be in violation of public smoking prohibitions are guilty of a misdemeanor and are liable for a civil penalty of $100 for “each violation.”  While the Clark County District Court ruled in January of 2007 that the criminal penalties under the Act were unenforceable, it has upheld the civil penalties.  
 
Recommendations
The Nevada Clean Indoor Act greatly expands the scope of public smoking restrictions in Nevada to prohibit smoking of any kind within Nevada’s public places, businesses and workplaces, with a small handful of exceptions. Because the exceptions are less than clear, employers who believe that they are exempted from the Act will need to proceed with caution and carefully consider their policies regarding smoking by employees and customers.  All employers should take the following steps to ensure compliance with the Act:

  • Determine if your facility is covered by one of the  exemptions contained within the Act. If the workplace is not exempted,  maintain or implement a policy that prohibits smoking of any kind within all  areas of your facility and announce this policy to your employees. Remind your  employees that smoking by customers is also prohibited.
  • If your workplace is not exempted by the Act, ensure  that “No Smoking” signs are placed at all entrances to your facility. Remove all smoking paraphernalia, including ashtrays, from all indoor areas,  including break areas.
Review your compliance decisions and policies with your labor counsel, particularly if you believe that your facility is covered by one of the exemptions contained within the Act.


Patrick H. Hicks is Founding Shareholder of Littler Mendelson’s Las Vegas and Reno offices.  He can be reached at phicks@littler.com. Deborah L. Westbrook is an Associate at Littler Mendelson in Las Vegas.  She can be reached at dwestbrook@littler.com.

 

 

 

In our last issue we tried to look into the mind of YOU the employer but looks now look into the mind of the possible employee:

"I KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH STRESSFUL SITUATIONS:" I'm usually on Prozac. When I'm not, I take lots of cigarette and coffee breaks.

"I SEEK A JOB THAT WILL DRAW UPON MY STRONG COMMUNICATION & ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS:" I talk too much and like to tell other people what to do.

"I'M EXTREMELY ADEPT AT ALL MANNER OF OFFICE ORGANIZATION:" I've used Microsoft Office.

"I'M HONEST, HARD-WORKING AND DEPENDABLE:" I pilfer office supplies.

"MY PERTINENT WORK EXPERIENCE INCLUDES:" I hope you don't ask me about all the McJobs I've had.

"I TAKE PRIDE IN MY WORK:" I blame others for my mistakes.

"I'M BALANCED AND CENTERED:" I'll keep crystals at my desk and do Tai Chi in the lunch room.

"I HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR:" I know a lot of corny, old jokes and I tell them badly.

"I'M PERSONABLE:" I give lots of unsolicited personal advice to co-workers.

"I'M WILLING TO RELOCATE:" As I leave San Quentin, anywhere's better.

"I'M EXTREMELY PROFESSIONAL:" I carry a Day-Timer.

"MY BACKGROUND AND SKILLS MATCH YOUR REQUIREMENTS:" You're probably looking for someone more experienced.

"I AM ADAPTABLE:" I've changed jobs a lot.

"I AM ON THE GO:" I'm never at my desk.

"I'M HIGHLY MOTIVATED TO SUCCEED:" The minute I find a better job, I'm outta there.

"I HAVE FORMAL TRAINING:" I'm a college drop-out.

"I INTERACT WELL WITH CO-WORKERS:" I've been accused of sexual harassment.

"THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND CONSIDERATION:" Wait! Don't throw me away!

"I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU SOON:" Like, I'm gonna hold my breath waiting for your stupid form letter thanking me "for my interest and wishing me luck in my future career."


Riddle:

Q- Why did the Elephant  hate to play cards in the jungle?
(See Answer at bottom of newsletter...)

 

Note from the Editor:

I am a volunteer Coordinator for CETUSA and if anyone of you are interested in being a host family for a high academic standard high School student for the next school year,please contact me! They are from all countries and many are accomplished, in Music, Golf, Basketball and Culinary etc. They are required to do daily tasks at your home while staying there.  Please Call me at: 688-3406 or E-Mail me at KGJ906@aol.com.    

Thanks, Jim Guynup

 

 

I hope that you all enjoy and find the articles contained within useful for your HR environment. Many thanks to all of you who so quickly responded to my requests for this newsletter. If you have anything you wish to contribute to the next issue, please do not hesitate to email me at KGJ906@aol.com

 

 

RIDDLE ANSWER: A-Because there were too many cheetahs!

 

 

 

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Newsletter: May 2007 Issue