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Don’t Worry, Be Positive

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A simple smile, an act of gratitude and supporting others all go a long way in the workplace. In fact, these attributes help to build an atmosphere of positivity.

The human mind is the most powerful tool in the world; within this device lives an arena of positive and negative thoughts battling for control of your psyche. Each mindset is contagious, so which would you rather have ruling your office? My bet is on positivity, because with it, your team has more potential to accomplish its goals, develop resiliency and improve psychological prosperity.

The emotions your employees feel on a daily basis prepare their physical and mental actions for the day, week, month and, ultimately, their lives. Those harvesting emotions of fear, stress and anxiety are likely to let negativity fill their brains. This pessimistic outlook then pours like molten lava into one’s professional and personal lives, and nobody wants this added distraction in the workplace.

Barbara Fredrickson’s Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions suggests those feelings are vital for human survival. Of course, nobody can be positive all the time, but Fredrickson says even momentary positive emotional states have long-lasting benefits that solidify bonds, form traits and enable enduring abilities that last well into the future.

On any given day, we know that a new task or assignment is sure to come down the pipeline; how you handle these new initiatives can lead to greater responsibilities and possibly even into external rewards, like a promotion. Positivity is the catalyst that leads those who are successful. The High Expectancy Success Theory states that a positive attitude makes solving problems easier. While that isn’t rocket science, it is easy to see how those with positive mindsets are better able to accomplish their objectives on the job, as well as in life in general.

Are you taking an active role in creating a positive atmosphere within your workplace? Here are a few ideas to encourage positivity:

1. Smile. A warm smile adds value and can change one’s outlook on the day. Think about the last time you walked down the hall and someone smiled at you; it probably gave you a boost. Remember that emotions are contagious, and smiles are the easiest way to share good vibes. Still, sometimes it is hard to crack a smile. Perhaps you’ve had a rough day or didn’t get that well-deserved promotion. It takes discipline to bounce back after something goes askew, but a smile will release endorphins that change your emotional outlook, not to mention others’.

2. Encourage others. When I think of encouragement, I automatically go to a scene from the 2009 movie Couples Retreat. (If you need a good laugh, check it out.) Encouragement is easy in the workplace, so use positive reinforcement to continue a certain behavior. Take the time to encourage employees by handing out candy or simply offering uplifting words. Such small gestures can improve morale and increase productivity.

3. Turn negatives into positives. Not all bad situations are negatives, as long as you use them as learning opportunities. Life is tough and you will have obstacles to overcome, so use this process to sharpen your skills and become a better employee and person overall.

4. Be resilient. It is human nature to dwell on the negatives, but what if you choose to set your sights on all of the positives? Sure, the meeting might not have gone as you would have liked, but there is always the next one. Feelings of disappointment and stress are bound to happen, but how you deal with those emotions defines who you are in the eyes of others. When you are faced with tough times, focus your energy and thoughts on all of your successes.

5. Acknowledge success. It is easy to get caught up in the big picture and lose sight of all the smaller accomplishments that lead to achieving the ultimate goal, so be sure to recognize all the small wins. Acknowledge your peers and superiors for everything they do to help your organization achieve its goals. High-fives and genuine praise go a long way to drive positivity.



Author Bio: A writer, speaker and business leader, Jason has been the communications pulse for a number of organizations, including Paycom where he is the director of public relations and corporate communications. A featured writer on human capital management technology, leadership and the Affordable Care Act, Jason launched Paycom’s blog, webinar platform and social media channels, helping empower organizations around the nation. Jason is attuned to the needs of businesses and helped develop a tool to aid organizations in their pursuit to comply with the ACA; one of the largest changes in healthcare the country has seen. While working in athletics for ESPN and FoxSports, Jason learned the importance of hard work and branding. In his free time he enjoys adventuring with his family, reading and exploring new areas to strengthen his business acumen.

Millennial Workplace

4 Truths About the Ideal Millennial Workplace

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In today’s increasingly technology-heavy workplace, the millennial workforce continues to grow and thrive.

According to the Pew Research Center, the millennial labor force surpassed Generation X as the largest in the workforce in 2015. In fact, Pricewaterhouse Coopers estimates that millennials will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020.

Listen now to our HR Break Room podcast episode, A Hire Purpose: Build a Thriving Culture for Millennials

As they continue to grow and baby boomers increasingly retire, more millennials will assume management positions. In the recent two-part episode of Paycom’s HR Break Room podcast, guest Adam Smiley Poswolsky, author of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough, spoke about what businesses must do in order to make that transition as seamlessly as possible.

Here are four key takeaways from that conversation.

1. Purpose-driven workplaces draw millennials.

With 90% of millennials wanting to use their skills for good, they are demanding that companies provide purpose and meaning, so that their day-to-day work is not just an 8-to-5 job, but also something that defines them. They want to feel valued in their work and that their work is making a difference, so much so that half of them will take a pay cut to find work that matches their values!

In order to attract and retain top talent from this generation, creating a culture of purpose and meaning is essential to organizational success.

2. A transparent workplace is critical.

 In order to meet the needs of today’s workforce, employers should strive to be clear about what working there is like. The most forward-thinking organizations realize that millennials are going to research company culture, whether through Glassdoor or the grapevine, so recruitment efforts should clearly communicate the benefits and mission. Training and technology are especially popular among millennials, who are seeking purpose-driven opportunities that offer the opportunity to leave an impact.

With so many young people in the workforce, the workplace has become an extension of the classroom. Unlike baby boomers and earlier generations, millennials have to do more than to be good at just one thing and ride that skill for the next 40 years, thanks to the nature of technology and the state of the economy. In order to retain the most ambitious employees, you have to keep teaching them new desirable skills.

3. Millennials operate by a management style all their own.

A Global Workforce report states that 25% of millennials in the workforce will take on management positions. With the same report indicating that 3.6 million baby boomers will retire by the end of this year, it is essential for organizations nationwide to begin adjusting to the needs of the millennial management style.

Millennials are huge fans of collaboration and always looking for new ideas to get things done faster and more efficiently. They prefer co-leadership to more traditional hierarchical structures and are not as interested in doing things because “that’s how it’s always been done.” Even if not every idea is accepted, millennial managers like to give their talent room to try new things … and even room to fail.

This emerging style is going to prove especially important as the next generation of employees, Generation Z (born between 1994 and 2010), begin to enter the workforce. They value authenticity and want to work in an organization where their ideas are heard, regardless of job title. This interest in transparency and innovation makes them a more natural fit to be led by millennial managers.

Under New Management: The Rise of Millennial Managers and Generation Z

4. Millennials and Generation Z embrace learning through technology.

Collaboration and transparency are easier to achieve through technology, a key building block to any successful employee experience. Today’s top talent find and apply jobs through the internet, and then learn more about prospective employers the same way. Once they set themselves on a career path, they have become accustomed to learning new skills through YouTube videos or listening to podcasts.

 

Both Millennials and Generation Z have grown up having instant messaging tools, video streams and high-speed internet connections at their fingertips at all times. To create a seamless and attractive employee experience, employers should ensure such tools be incorporated into the workplace, at every stage from onboarding to retirement. Companies that truly understand how to use such tech tools as online learning platforms and surveys will be able to create an organization that is transparent and collaborative, and a culture that is efficient and goal-driven.

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Posted in Blog, Featured, Millennials

caleb.masters

by Caleb Masters


Author Bio: Caleb is the host of The HR Break Room and a Webinar and Podcast Producer at Paycom. With more than 5 years of experience as a published online writer and content producer, Caleb has produced dozens of podcasts and videos for multiple industries both local and online. Caleb continues to assist organizations creatively communicate their ideas and messages through researched talks, blog posts and new media. Outside of work, Caleb enjoys running, discussing movies and trying new local restaurants.

Pregnancy Discrimination

EEOC Cracks Down on Pregnancy Discrimination

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In October 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) approved an updated Strategic Enforcement Plan from 2017 to 2021, to further its commitment to focus on “activities that are likely to have an impact in advancing equal opportunity and freedom from discrimination in the workplace.”

One area of focus is accommodations for pregnancy-related limitations. Although the EEOC’s focus on pregnancy discrimination dates back to 2012, the growing number of charges filed and the increased complexity of discrimination laws has made the issue a continued priority.

A Growing Trend

The EEOC receives an average of over 3,500 charges of pregnancy discrimination each year.[1] Issues involved in lawsuits have been fairly consistent and mainly include charges of discharge based on pregnancy, and differing terms and conditions of employment based on pregnancy, such as closer scrutiny and harsher discipline for pregnant individuals, suspensions pending receipt of medical releases, medical examinations that are not job-related or consistent with business necessity, and forced leave.

In 2017 alone, thus far, the EEOC has settled multiple pregnancy discrimination cases for a total amount exceeding $400,000 in monetary damages. Additionally, the EEOC referred a lawsuit, United States of America v. School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, to the Department of Justice, which settled early this year for $350,000. These numbers indicate a huge liability that employers may face and reiterate the importance of understanding laws that affect pregnancy in the workplace and the need to implement best practices to ensure compliance with such laws.

The EEOC enforces multiple laws that affect pregnancy in the workplace, namely the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADAAA), other requirements under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and various state laws.  However, the EEOC has indicated its main focus to be centered on accommodating pregnancy-related limitations under the ADAAA and the PDA, so this post centers on those two laws.

 Understanding Pregnancy Discrimination Act

The PDA generally prohibits a broad range of discriminatory employer conduct in the same way that discrimination based upon other protected class characteristics is prohibited under Title VII. Therefore, the PDA covers pregnancy and the whole childbearing process in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, promotions, benefits and treatment in comparison to nonpregnant employees.

Adverse treatment of pregnant women often stems from stereotypes and assumptions regarding job capabilities and commitment to the individual’s job. Decisions based upon these stereotypes and assumptions are violation of the PDA, even if they are made unconsciously or with the intent of benefiting the employee For instance, assigning an employee to light duty without their request, because the employer feels it would be in the best interest of the pregnancy.

Under the PDA, an employer may not discriminate in employment decisions against an employee on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, and must make those decisions based on the same criteria= as other persons who are similar in their ability or inability to work. However, the PDA contains no reasonable accommodation requirement specific to any condition related to pregnancy. This essentially means that employers should not treat a pregnant woman any differently because of her pregnancy. For example, if a woman is temporarily unable to perform her job duty due to a pregnancy or childbirth-related medical condition, her employer must treat her in the same way as it would treat any other temporarily disabled employee. If an employer allows temporarily disabled employees to take disability leave, then the employer also must allow an employee who is temporarily disabled due to a pregnancy or childbirth-related medical condition to take disability leave. If an employer has a policy which allows injured employees to request light duty assignments, a pregnant employee with medical restrictions should be allowed to request light duty assignments.

So, what then is considered a “pregnancy or childbirth-related medical condition” that would entitle a pregnant employee to accommodations? The ADAAA provides some guidance on this issue.

Understanding the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act

The ADAAA protects individuals from employment discrimination based upon disability. Generally, pregnancy itself is not considered a disability under the ADAAA, but impairments related to pregnancy may qualify as disabilities. The threshold for what impairments qualify as a disability has varied among the circuit courts. However, the EEOC provided examples of pregnancy-related impairments that may be substantially limiting under the ADAAA, such as pregnancy-related anemia, pregnancy-related sciatica, gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.

An employee may be entitled to reasonable accommodations for limitations resulting from pregnancy-related conditions that rise to the level of a disability under the ADAAA. These accommodations can include, but are not limited to, modifying work schedules, temporary assignment of light duties or altering how a certain job function is performed. Employers may deny a reasonable accommodation to a disabled employee only if it would result in an undue hardship to the employer.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

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Posted in Blog, Compliance, Employment Law, Featured

Kristin Fisher

by Kristin Fisher


Author Bio: As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Kristin Fisher monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal level, with a focus on labor and employment laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. Previously, she served as an attorney at the Oklahoma City law firm Derryberry & Naifeh LLP. Fisher earned a bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Central Missouri, and her Juris Doctor from the Oklahoma City University School of Law. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, hiking, going to the movies and spending time with her fiancé.

New Form I-9

New Form I-9 Released. Again.

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On July 17, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a revised version of Form I-9, which is used to verify identity and employment authorization of workers and corresponding reference documents.

Didn’t USCIS just release a new I-9?

This is the second revision USCIS has made to the I-9 in less than a year; the last revision was released Nov. 14, 2016, for use by Jan. 14. USCIS first gave notice of this newest form in January, noting that changes would accommodate entrepreneurs granted work authorization through the International Entrepreneur (IE) Rule proposed by the Obama administration, which would enable qualified entrepreneurs to temporarily remain in the country through “parole” to oversee his or her start-up entity. This rule was set to go into effect on July 17 – the same day USCIS stated it would release the new Form I-9.

The Department of Homeland Security, however, announced on July 11 that it was delaying the implementation of the IE Rule from July 17 to March 14, 2018. Despite the delay, USCIS continued with its planned revision of the Form I-9. USCIS did not make changes specific to the IE Rule; rather, it used the new form to address a few other needed updates.

What changes were made?

Form I-9:

      • Form FS-240, the Consular Report of Birth Abroad, was added to the List C acceptable documents.
      • All certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State were combined into selection C #2 in List C.
      • List C documents were renumbered.

Form I-9 Instructions:

      • Revisions were made to reflect the change in name from the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) to the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER).
      • “The end of” was removed from the phrase “the first day of employment” in connection with the Form I-9 timelines.

M-274, Handbook for Employees:

      • The handbook reflects the changes made to the Form I-9 and its instructions.
      • It is now delivered in online format, featuring an interactive table of contents to view sections individually or in one long page under the “print manual” button.
      • A “Table of Changes” was included to help readers locate updates.

A new Form I-9? Am I out of compliance?

While the revised version is available now, you still can use the Form I-9 with a revision date of “11/14/16 N” through Sept. 17. Afterward, all previous versions will be invalid and employers must use only the revised form with a revision date of “7/17/17 N.”

Paycom is dedicated to compliance and will have its Document and Task Management tool updated with the new Form I-9 before Sept. 18. Click here for more information.

Learn more about how we can help reduce your administrative burden with Form I-9 regulations by downloading our How Document Management Systems Advance HR Functions white paper.

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Posted in Blog, Compliance, Featured, Payroll

Alyssa Looney

by Alyssa Looney


Author Bio: As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Alyssa Looney monitors laws, rules and regulations to ensure that the Paycom software is up to date, specifically regarding immigration law and state law developments in the Western United States. She holds a JD and an MBA from Pennsylvania State University, as well as a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University. Outside of work, Alyssa enjoys cooking, being active, playing with her puppy and exploring Oklahoma City.

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