Consultant Spotlight: Monica Bower

Every so often, we feature one of our consultants and highlight their story to give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse into life at Smart HR. As always, if you’re looking for a flexible HR career that’s adaptable to wherever you are in your professional life, contact us today. Without further ado, please meet this month’s spotlight consultant, Monica Bower.

Name: Monica Bower 

Years with Smart HR: 3 years 

Professional Background in One Sentence: I am a SPHR, SHRM-SCP with more than 25 years’ experience in Human Resources for small businesses, government contracting, and IT companies.

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Great Teams Go Further Than Their Leaders. Here’s Why.

It might sound obvious, but great leaders – and perhaps even more importantly, great leadership teams – must put organizational goals above personal gains and preferences. Seems simple, right? But oftentimes, it’s not – and it can mean the difference between a thriving organization and one that merely gets by.

In a team setting, it’s natural for leaders to want to be involved in and exert influence over every functional aspect of their organization… and sometimes beyond it. While this kind of proactivity sounds honorable, it can easily become the downfall of a team for two reasons. First, it’s simply not a viable and scalable method of leadership at the granular level. Second, it’s a way of operating that’s not built on the trust of downstream team members and doesn’t let others have a chance to grow. Leaders must set the example for the entire organization and that means letting go of their personal agendas and influence for the flourishing of the teams under them.

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The Turnover Conundrum: Is a Low Rate Actually Better?

The assumption has almost always been that the lower your turnover rate, the better. But is it? On the surface, it would make sense. If your employees are sticking around (especially in a world where the average Millennial changes jobs every 1-3 years), you might think that means that they’re engaged and happy. (Plus, you’re not taking on the added expense of replacing an employee, which costs around 30-50% of their annual salary.) But what if they’re not?

After all, according to Gallup research, only 33% of the U.S. workforce is engaged, a statistic that has remained constant since it was first reported in 2014. What if parts of your workforce are only sticking around because they think they’ve hit their maximum potential or they don’t think another company will put up with some of their bad behavior? And while the outlook has significantly improved since the Great Recession of 2008, the tough job market may still be fresh in the minds of your employees, causing some to stay in a job that makes them unhappy because they think it’s their only option. Many also feel that turnover is necessary to flow in new people and ideas, identify those who are complacent, and keep employees engaged. So, as a leader, how should you approach turnover?

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Are You at Risk for an Equal Pay Act Claim?

You may have seen the Equal Pay Act in the news quite a bit lately, with lawsuits filed recently against major companies including Google and Barclays. The claims alleged that both companies discriminated against female employees by paying them less than their male counterparts. Although both lawsuits were dismissed, they were potentially damaging to the companies’ reputation and morale, and of course the consequences could have been severe had the lawsuits gone the other way.

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It’s Official: Flexibility is More Important than Salary or PTO

All those discussions about flexible work for your employees are about to pay off. New research now shows that, overall, the workforce views workplace flexibility as more important than salary and paid time off.

In a study conducted by SquareFoot and Justworks, 70% of employees surveyed ranked flexible work hours as “very important” and 57% said the option to work remotely was “very important.” In comparison, unlimited paid time off was only ranked as “important” by 44% of those surveyed and, on top of that, 42% said they’d take a lower-paying job if it offered better workplace flexibility options.

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Walking the Compensation Plan Tightrope

With the holidays on our heels and a new year just around the corner, many organizations are taking the time to revisit their compensation strategy. It’s no secret that it’s more important than ever to position your company as desirable in today’s market – which is currently experiencing the worst talent gap in 10 years – without throwing your entire benefits budget off the deep end, of course. But just how do you address that in the current landscape? Here are a few tips as you take a pulse on your company’s current strategy:

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Going Beyond “Yes” or “No” with your Employee Engagement Survey

An engaged employee is not only a productive employee, they’re a happy employee – and because we’re currently experiencing the largest talent gap since 2007, employee retention is more important than ever. So, how do you know who’s happy and who’s not, and, most importantly, what you can do to improve your current environment? A smart, simple way is through an employee engagement survey.

While the simple act of conducting a survey shows your employees that you care and are invested in them, you have to ask the right questions in order to get to the meat of any potential issues. Here are a few suggestions to get the necessary conversations started:

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Case Study: Deloitte Reframes its Performance Management System

It’s no secret that the age-old practice of yearly performance reviews is on its way out. From astounding statistics correlating the traditional yearly review to less-than-positive results for major companies, it’s safe to say that yearly performance reviews are largely becoming defunct. But how should it be replaced? Surely, we still need a system to both measure the performance of our teams and create a roadmap of growth and engagement for them, right? So, what other models are out there?

Deloitte, a global company with 200,000+ employees worldwide, set out to reinvent the way they approach performance reviews after tallying the number of hours the organization spent on performance management: an astounding 2 million hours a year. They also discovered that the current rating system produced data that relied more on the evaluator than it did on the person being evaluated.

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Workplace Flexibility: A Win-Win for Both Employers and Employees

Several times each year, the Smart HR team gathers to discuss our experiences and HR trends that have an impact on our clients. We discuss what HR initiatives are working well and what obstacles our clients are facing. We also discuss how we can improve our consulting platform to add as much value as possible.

At our latest all-hands meeting, one topic reigned supreme: workplace flexibility. While many job-seekers view this as a major incentive to join a company, Millennials practically demand it. Flexibility that used to be seen as a “nice to have” is now standard – while it used to be a way for companies to set themselves apart, now it’s a must to keep up with the ever-changing job market. We realize that for some businesses, this simply isn’t an option – but workplace flexibility can be a difference maker for many organizations.

What exactly constitutes “flexible”? You might shy away from this concept altogether if the first thing that comes to mind is a completely remote workforce. But there are other ways to create a flexible workplace without going all-in with telework. Here are a few ideas:

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Consultant Spotlight: Debbie Sutton

Every so often, we feature one of our consultants and highlight their story to give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse into life at Smart HR. Without further ado, please meet this month’s spotlight consultant, Debbie Sutton.

Name: Debbie Sutton 

Years with Smart HR: 3 years 

Professional Background in One Sentence: I’m a Human Resources professional with extensive experience working with management and staff in bridging gaps and ensuring the HR Department runs efficiently.

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