Compromise Kills Innovation!

lightbulb getting an idea!

The most innovative leaders of our time were mostly assholes. Why? They refused to budge on their idea. Everything in their body told them what needed to be done to make their idea happen, and they refused to compromise on even the smallest details. This is how greatness happens.

True change only happens when someone is unwilling to listen to their critics.

This is also the exact way more careers are killed than any others. It’s all or nothing. Greatness happens at the edges, not in the middle.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t fit well in most corporate environments. Most MBA programs don’t teach you to be a tyrant. Leadership development, in today’s corporate world, is about bringing everyone to the middle. Finding ways that we can all get along. Even suppressing those who push the envelope too far.

We want everyone to line up nice and pretty. To play the role they were hired to play. To be the poster children for compromise.

It’s important for leaders to understand this concept if your job as a leader is to drive innovation and change. You don’t drive this through compromise and you need some renegades on your team, that quite frankly you might not even enjoy being around.

It took me so long to learn this because I was a renegade as an employee. I couldn’t understand why my leaders kept pushing me to compromise when I knew the right way to do something, the better way to do something, the new way to do something.

Once I became a leader I acted the exact same way towards those who were like me. Get back in line. Run the play. Do what the others do. That was the leadership I was taught. I didn’t value those who seemed to be fighting me, just as I use to fight. New leaders struggle with this because we take it personally.

We feel like those renegade employees are actually fighting us. When in reality they’re fighting everything. It’s our job as leaders to understand that the fight they have is super valuable if directed at the right target! To get them to understand they don’t need to fight everyone and everything but pick some fights that help us all and then support that fight.

This isn’t everyone you lead. It’s actually a really tiny number, but it seems bigger because they take up a lot of time and cause a lot of commotion amongst the drones who want to stay in their box. But, this is how change and innovation are born. By one person who is unwilling to compromise because they know a better way and they’re willing to fight to make it a reality.

This isn’t to say it will always work. Most ideas fail, but those who are willing to make an uncompromising stand for their idea, stand a better chance of seeing that idea succeed.

Here’s where I struggle. If we believe the above premise is true, it seems exclusionary. So, can we be innovative and inclusive of thought all at the same time? I’m arguing above that you can’t. What do you think? Hit me in the comments.

For more by Tim Sackett visit TimSackett.com

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Data Protection: Is Your Company Secure?

The rising threat of malicious email attacks comes with a rising level of security concerns.  Is your company protected?   You might want to analyze your level of risk and perhaps implement some added security enhancements to keep your company safe.   Recently, after a security health check, we at HRU implemented some enhancements with the assistance of Providence Consulting (you can visit their website here ). Since the rollout of our newest enhancements, our security posture is better than it’s ever been.     

Cyber Readiness Depends on You!  Here’s a few things you can do right now to help your organization from being a target. 

  1. Have a strategy, even if it means increased security budget or additional resources.
  2. Protect critical assets, information, and applications.
    • Email encryption
    • Two Factor Authentication or Multi-Factor Authentication (2FA/MFA).  This should be required of all users. 
  3. Implement a password management policy.
  4. Employ a backup solution for your information with the ability to recover systems, networks, and data in the event of a compromise or breach.  Regularly and continuously!
  5. Take this threat seriously! IT IS REAL.
  6. Provide ongoing cyber security and cyber awareness training – no less than monthly!
  7. Log off computers EVERY EVENING before leaving the office.

Still Not Sure? Check out this article from our IT Service Provider and Partner Providence Consulting.

The Cyber Shield is another resource that I receive designed to educate and protect.  (Let me know if you’re interested and I will forward the publication, you can then request to be added to the distribution list… let me tell you, its scary stuff!)  

Fox News, 31 Jan 2020 reported that ransomware in 2020 will be as destructive as ever, according to experts.  Here are the five most destructive attacks – and a preview of what’s to come: https://www.foxnews.com/tech/worst-ransomware-attacks-in-us

For more information on how you can protect against cybercrime I’ve attached a government technology article:  5 Ways to Protect Yourself From Cybercrime

If you have any questions – I’m here to help!

Teresa N Caper

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Would You Pay .5% of Your Salary to Employ Your CEO?

Graph showing that CEO pay increases at faster pace than worker pay.

Let’s say you make $50,000. That means you would pay $250 annually to keep your CEO employed.

Are you willing to do that?

That’s, on average, how much each employee of a Fortune 500 company pays for their corporate F500 CEO in terms of the executive compensation of a CEO. Now, I know you don’t really pay any money out of your check to your CEO, directly. But, if your company wasn’t paying your CEO millions of dollars, could they be paying you a little more?

Or, do you believe the compensation your CEO is making is giving you, and all the other stakeholders of your organization, a good return on your investment?

new study is out that looks at this issue:

How much a typical employee of the S&P500 firms implicitly “contributes” to the salary of his/her CEO? An amount of $273 on average or 0.5% of one’s salary, that is, one half of one percent on an individual salary basis. To assess whether such a contribution is worthwhile, one must determine the value of the CEO for the organization and its workers and stakeholders.

I love the mental exercise of this. Being a CEO of a small business it truly brings into perspective what you bring, or don’t bring, to those you work with each day. At the level of a Fortune 500 CEO, and the amount of CEO compensation at those giant companies, it’s hard to even imagine!

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, had a total compensation of $125 million dollars in 2019, down from $136 million in 2018. Do you think the employees of Apple would be willing, across the board, every single one, to pay .5% of their salary to keep Tim as CEO or go with a cheaper option?

Better yet, Apple is a very successful, profitable company. If the employees of Apple chose another CEO making, let’s say, only $10 million per year, would that profitability really change that much?

Many people have this argument around college and professional coaches ‘ salaries in sports. Does an NCAA coach making $8 million a year at a power 5 conference, really that much better than a coach making $500K at a mid-major program? Probably not. CEOs probably aren’t that much different. It’s very rare to find a leader, or coach, who is truly transformational that you can point to and say, yep, Timmy is definitely worth what he’s getting paid!

It would be an interesting internal study within your organization to see what percent of your employees would say they would be willing to pay it. It’s really a great measure for your CEO to understand their impact and worth, and probably bring them down to reality a bit.

What do you think? Would you be willing to pay .5% of your salary to your CEO!?! HRU employees – you don’t have to answer this! I already know you would! 

For more by Tim Sackett visit TimSackett.com

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What Is This Hire Supposed To Do?

Side profile of woman showing lots of thoughts.

I’m only talking to leaders today. We tend to fall into this rut. I have a position on my team. A person leaves. We need to fill that position.

Before you fill your next position, as yourself this one question:

How will this hire bring us closer to reaching our business objective? 

In fact, you might want to ask that question in the interview of the candidate. How are you going to move us closer to meeting our business goals and objectives, and of course, first tell them what those are.

Too often we replace people without really seeking to understand if a certain position is really doing that. Well, we’ve always had a person in this position, so we need to replace this person. But, if that position isn’t really moving you closer to meeting your objectives, maybe it’s the right time to not hire that position, and maybe hire a new position.

Business objectives evolve and change over time. A position you needed five years ago, quite possibly might not be needed today.

I also find that what a certain position is supposed to accomplish sometimes devolves over time based on who had the position. Well, Timmy’s position was supposed to do “X”, but Timmy wasn’t very good at that, but we liked him and now Timmy’s position does “Y”. Really, so do we no longer need “X”?

If any position isn’t moving your department or business closer to your goals, it’s a position you should not be filling. We have a really difficult time as leaders not filling positions on our team that we’ve always had. We love to build our empires, not break them down. The reality is the most effective leaders don’t just backfill positions, they analyze where the real need is or isn’t in their world, and then work to make that happen.

Great leaders don’t backfill positions. Great leaders first decide is this role going to move us closer to meeting our objectives?

For more by Tim Sackett visit TimSackett.com

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Navigating The New 2020 W-4 Employee’s Withholding Certificate

The New 2020 W-4 Employee's Witholding Certificate

With every new year comes some sort of changes or updates with employee payroll, and 2020 is no exception.

On December 5, 2019, the IRS issued the final version of the 2020 Form W-4 Employee’s Withholding Certificate, designed to help employees withhold the correct amount of federal taxes throughout the year. I have taken look into the NEW W-4 form so I can provide you with an easy understanding of the new requirements and a brief guide to filling out the form.

The biggest change in the W-4 form is the elimination of allowances, this was a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

In the past it was easy:

  • 1) Pick your filing status: Single, Married, Married filing Single, or Head of Household
  • 2) Pick your Number of Allowances 1-10,(the higher the allowances the less taxes taken throughout the year).

However, in this revamped 5 Step form it now has employees’ detail the number of qualifying children in your household, as well as other dependents you care for, and take a closer look at other personal financial adjustments that could affect their annual taxable income.

So, with a new form comes new questions and most likely some confusion. In my payroll department as I am sure many others can relate, we often get the questions “How do I fill out the W-4?” or “What should I put on my W-4?” Employers can guide employees with completing the form, but cannot or should not provide employees with advice on deductions or additional withholding. We always recommend employees to consult with their tax preparer on how to fill out their tax forms that would be most financially beneficial. 

As employers we have a few responsibilities when it comes to the employee tax withholding certificates:

  • We must retain a W-4 Form for all employees.
  • Current employees hired prior to 1/1/2020 do not need to fill out new forms unless they wish to change their withholding for the year.
  • Any employee hired after 1/1/2020 will be required to fill out the new 2020 W-4 form.  
  • Any employee that claimed EXEMPT status for 2019, will need to complete the new form for the new year.
  • Encourage your employees to check their withholdings or speak to their tax preparer.
Stressed man looking at computer

Employees also have the option to use IRS Tax Withholding Estimator to help them complete the new Form W-4. If employees choose to use the estimator they will need to have the following information available to complete it accurately: Employee and Spouse data for current salary & bonus, YTD Federal Tax withheld, current federal tax withheld from last paycheck, and most recent pay period end date. Personally, I do not recommend this method because I find it to be confusing and messy and will leave your employees with more questions than answers.

Even though most of us use an automated payroll service to complete our payroll, we still need to be an available resource for our employees. Below you will find what I like to call the dummied down guide to filling out the 2020 W-4 Form.

Here is a simple guide to completing the New W-4 Form:

Step 1 (Required): Enter in all personal Information: Name, Address, Social Security Number, and Filling Status

Step 2: Complete if you have more than one job or have a spouse with income

Step 3: Complete to claim your dependents 

Step 4: Complete for other adjustments

  • Step 4a:  Complete to have additional taxes withheld from other income NOT FROM JOBS (retirement income, interest, etc.)
  • Step 4b: Complete to REDUCE your tax withholding (Use the Deduction Worksheet)
  • Step 4c: Complete to withhold ADDITIONAL Taxes, for Non-Resident Alien status, or to EXEMPT yourself from withholding taxes. 

Step 5 (Required): Signature and Date

*Please Note: If you complete Step 1 and 5 (ONLY) leaving Step 2, 3, and 4 blank your withholding will be computed based on your filing status standard deduction and tax rates, with no other adjustments. Completing Step 1 ONLY is equal to claiming zero exemption under previous W-4 forms.*

As an additional resource I have included a link to the FAQs on the IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/faqs-on-the-2020-form-w-4

Questions? Feel free to reach out, I am here to help!

Jacki Rieder, Vice President of Finance

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DisruptHR Lansing! March 19th – Call for Speakers is Open!

DisruptHR Lansing Logo

By Tim Sackett

Lansing, MI is about to get all Disrupted and Stuff! Everyone already knows I’m a big believer in DisruptHR events. I’ve spoken at many, I’ve been on the team running DisruptHR Detroit from the beginning, and I decided to start DisruptHR Lansing in my own backyard!

Our first event, DisruptHR Lansing 1.0 will take place in Downtown Lansing on March 19th in the evening (more details to follow) at The Exchange. Great speakers, free food and drinks, and disruptive HR talks throughout the night!

What is DisruptHR?

  • 5-minute hr-based micro-talks. Might be HR, talent, employee experience, leadership, rap music, who knows!
  • Each talk has a very specific format – 20 slides and each slide moves automatically every 15 seconds.
  • The goal is to be fast and challenge the status quo of the people side of the business!

CALL for SPEAKERS is NOW OPEN! 

We’ll be selecting a great group of speakers. I encourage HR pros and Leaders from the Mid-Michigan area to throw your names into the hat for speaking spots!!! It’s a great way to get yourself on stage with a group of fellow HR peers who’ll support you and laugh at our bad HR jokes!

Speakers also get a professionally recorded version of your talk. This is an awesome parting gift for your own development, and to show other conferences, etc. if you decide you want to speak in a longer format in the future. Almost every conference I know now asks for some proof of your ability to speak, as such, this becomes a very valuable piece of content!

Why Speak at DisruptHR Lansing 1.0? 

1. Well, I’ll be there!

2. Lansing, MI is the capital of Michigan. The epicenter of all things people in our state. It’s also might be the one place in Michigan that needs the most HR disruption!

3. HR pros need a network. We need to support each other. This is a great event to make that happen!

4. Cocktails & Hugs! (which ironically is the name of one of my upcoming future books!)

5. I’ll owe you!

Let’s face it. It’s March 19, 2020. We’ve just spent the last 120 days in pure grayness. We need to get out and do something! The event space will be intimate, the energy will be high, and we’re going to have some fun!

Come join us! Tickets will go on sale after the holidays. We wanted to open up the Call for Speakers first!

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How Would A College Education Be Different If You Were An Investor?

Graduation Cap traded for Money

There’s a concept that is starting to gain some steam in college tuition funding called “Income Share Agreements”. The basis of these agreements is pretty much “I” (the investor) pays “you” (the student) to go to college and get an education. Once you graduate and get a job, I take some of your annual salary for an agreed-upon time.

From the Washington Post:

In an ISA, a student borrows nothing but rather has his or her education supported by an investor, in return for a contract to pay a specified percentage of income for a fixed number of years after graduation. Rates and time vary with the discipline of the degree achieved and the amount of tuition assistance the student obtained. An ISA is dramatically more student-friendly than a loan. All the risk shifts from the student to the investing entity; if a career starts slowly, or not at all, the student’s obligation drops or goes to zero. Think of an ISA as equity instead of debt, or as working one’s way through college — after college.

I like this alternative to student loans because it puts much of the risk on the investor and away from the student. Also, if higher education institutions get involved with these kinds of investment funds, it truly puts accountability back on their organization to ensure they are producing graduates who are desired and prepared.

Purdue University has been doing a ton of testing with these types of agreements:

Although the very nature of ISAs protects the participant, early adopters such as Purdue have built in safeguards. A user-friendly computer simulator provides quick, transparent comparisons with various public and private loan options. No investee pays anything for the first six months after graduation or until annual income exceeds $20,000. For those graduates who get off to fast career starts, a ceiling of 250 percent of the dollars that purchased their education limits total repayment.

All of this gets you to think about what might be possible if we walked away from traditional student loan programs altogether!

What if…

  • The amount of your investment into a student returned more than you could make on the stock market?
  • Students had to present themselves, as high schoolers, to investment groups to get funding for university?
  • Investors and investing groups were only willing to fund students in careers where they could get a good return on investment? Say goodbye to history majors!
  • College students had to meet with their investors and explain why they got a “C” and missed class because they were drunk!?
  • Organizations and HR Departments started investing in potential future talent in a very real way!?

I love disruption to traditional things we have come to believe just can’t be changed. This isn’t perfect and there are a lot of questions, but it’s worth testing and trying. What we know is traditional student loan programs are not working at all! Something has to change.

I’m GenX and a Capitalist, so I love the accountability of both the investor having to make sound, prudent investment decisions around who they feel is most likely to give them a great return on investment, and the student’s accountability of understanding there’s a cost/benefit to your career choices and what it will cost to pay back those choices.

What do you think? Would you allow one of your kids to get into one of these arrangements, or would you have been willing to do this in college? I think I would have had very few people want to invest in me, but those who did would have been paid back in spades!

For more by Tim Sackett visit www.TimSackett.com

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Navigating Paid Leave Laws

By Teresa Carper

Navigating the various state Paid Leave Laws can be exhausting!  

If your company, like HRU, operates in multiple states then you know how difficult and time consuming it can be to stay on top of this ever growing trend.  I have two white boards in my office and one of them is solely dedicated to paid leave laws. 

But hold on, it doesn’t stop at the state level, you must also consider the state municipalities that may differ from the state law.  The number of hours that an employer must provide to eligible employees under the paid leave laws differ by state.  Similarly, accrual, use of paid time and roll-over of unused accrued time also differ.   

To help you out, I have created a chart that includes current states and municipalities requiring paid sick leave and or paid medical leave with a link to the state or local legislation.   The chart is below:

  Additionally, keep in mind that paid sick leave and paid medical leave are only a fraction of the leave laws employers are required to provide.  Make sure that your leave policies comply with your applicable state or local legislation to minimize the risk of legal claims such as retaliation, discrimination and or interference.   

Questions?  Feel free to reach out, I am here to help!  

Teresa Carper, Vice President of Operations

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What We Say Versus What We Want In A Job

Saving Puppies from Fire

My wife always tells me it’s actions, not words that make a difference. You can say all of this great stuff, but if you do nothing, it’s meaningless. I think we would all agree with this.

So, when we hear graduating students, candidates, and employees tell us what they really want is “Meaningful Work” in their careers, we have to understand that those are “Words”! Not actions, just words. A new study from Olivet Nazarene University Meaningful Work Survey asked this question and, predictably, found this:

So, yeah, 90% of us believe that meaningful work is critical for our career and happiness. Sounds about right, those ‘words’ tend to always come out when we talk about our dream job, etc.

Then the study asked another question. It was basically, given your current career, job, etc. what is the one thing that would make it better? An action. But, remember those words!? What you would believe would make their career/job better should be “more meaningful work”! 90% of you idiots just answered that is was super important for your career and happiness!

Here’s what they actually said:

Show. Me. The. Money!!!!

Yep, you know I love this! “We just a job that saves puppies! That would make me so happy!” Oh, wait, saving puppies only pays $23,000 per year!?! Yeah, screw those puppies! I want to work for a private equity firm! I’m a boat, bitch!

Want to retain your employees? Stop trying to make your employees believe that the rubber vomit you’re manufacturing matters and pay them more and give them flexibility! Stop asshole managers from treating their people bad! And magically, you’ll have high retention and your people will love working for you, even though you don’t save puppies!

I get it, deep down, we all want to do something that changes the world for good. We want to help others, and save puppies. And the concept of meaningful work does really matter, given all other things, like compensation, flexibility, great leaders and co-workers, etc. are equal.

If I can make six figures a year saving puppies, I’m saving puppies. You’re saving puppies. We are all saving puppies!

But it doesn’t, so our actions speak way louder than our words when it comes to career choices and change. Meaningful work is not the most important thing for people in their careers. Its something to consider, but don’t get too caught up in believing it’s going to fix all of your employee experience issues!

For more by Tim Sackett visit TimSackett.com

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