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#6things: Systems Thinkers, Pregnancy Q&A and an Extra Week of Vacation?

You know being a manager can be hard. Even those of us who are supposed to know exactly what to do can struggle with new situations all the time. And where do these people go? Facebook and LinkedIn, to find out what other people do about things like employee benefits and new situations. There have been a couple of really great discussions, which I will outline (but not link to) in this week’s edition of SIIIIIIIIX THINGS! (booming voice)

The #HR world is going for a spin! See what's new in this week's #6Things: Click To Tweet

Prep My Data

Aaron Lintz (@aaronlintz) posted this and while I don’t REALLLLY understand it, I am betting it has implications to marketing and recruiting. As we’ve stated about a thousand times in the very recent, recruiting and HR are sitting on mounds of data and technology is making it easier than ever to get even more. What Cloud Dataprep does is make that data USEFUL by letting companies clean their structured and unstructured datasets for analysis in, for example, Google’s BigQuery, or even for use in training machine learning models. (VentureBeat)

Text Me Maybe?

Chloe Rada (@crada) and Autumn Anderson (@autumnanderson) and the other smarties over at Sodexo posted a pretty cute message on facebook (via QueSocial) that flipped a traditional social media job post on its head a little. Instead of the normal location, title, link structure, they sent out a request for text to start a conversation. Imagine that! (SodexoBlog)

Who doesn’t want a week of free vacation?

Those paying for it. A cool discussion about employee benefits started with this simple question in #HROS:

Q: Do your organizations shut down between Christmas and New Years? And why or why not? Many employees are asking for this additional time off over and above vacation time and I am going back and forth on my position. I am curious as to what others have done and why.

Almost everyone who worked at a very large or well-known workplace absolutely had that benefit, in fact, some folks claimed they’d never worked at a place that didn’t. Others, like perennial wise friend Robin Schooling, pointed out in the entertainment industry, it’s impossible to shut down as the holidays are often the busiest time. HR Pros that worked with schools tended to get that week off (in addition to other PTO or vacation time). Finance never sleeps and many software companies feel they lose SO much productivity during this time, it’s easier to shut down altogether. One answer stood out to me because while it seems like a great solution for companies who pay out extra vacation at the end of the year (not PTO though) it’s not really a benefit for the EEs:

Brittany: I work for a consultancy and we shut down during that time. The company pays for Xmas Eve, Xmas, NYE and NY. Employees are asked to reserve 2-3 days of PTO to bridge the gap between those two holidays (depending on how the holidays fall) and/or we apply the FH to those days for everyone. So it’s partially paid by company and employee. If someone was irresponsible and didn’t manage their PTO appropriately during the year, those days are just unpaid.

What do you think? (FB/HROS)

Kris Dunn Explains It All

Actually, he doesn’t which I was hoping for. When this whole Jemele Hill incident hit the news, everyone had an opinion, but like most of you nerds, I wanted to know how this could/should/would affect HR. When Kris posted the title of this, I was psyched! I think Kris enjoys sports quite a lot and he is also very smart about HR. But, alas, he just asks a bunch of questions because he doesn’t know, and nobody knows because this presidency is a dumpster fire and nothing is normal or ever will be again. (TheHRCapitalist)

Pregnant or Lazy?

In this LinkedIn discussion, a man asked what to do about his employee, who recently told the team she was pregnant and then “slowed down to 1/10 of her normal output”. He described how she’d called in sick several times, provided no doctor’s notes and explained her issues were causing strife with the rest of the staff. I want to make it clear, that he was not being mean or rude, but it was clear he was a little perhaps ignorant about how pregnancy could affect the human body. Fortunately, other HR pros (and a few women) were able to compassionately help him through. Not only were technical considerations discussed like referring the poster to ACAS website and tips like “Usually you are allowed to self-certificate for 7 days (does not need to be consecutive), and then will require doctors note.” and FMLA considerations, but many compassionate HR pros popped in to offer even more cohesive solutions, such as working with the doctor to provide the woman modified accommodations, or working with the team to support the woman and using the issue as a training opportunity for her coworkers (with the premise that they’d all eventually be in a situation where they’d need similar help.) Almost every answer implored the manager to meet with the worker to find out more than his (or her coworkers) assumptions. Some highlights:

Julie: I would recommend firstly, meeting with the worker. Let her know changes have been observed in terms of her productivity and her ability to attend regularly at work. Let her know you are a caring employer and one who is interested to work with her through the next months, whatever that might require. Let her know that if she requires accommodation due to some limitations, you’d like to know about those and will work with her to accommodate as much as possible.

If she has medical involvement with her doctor I would provide a modified work form to her for the dr to complete and to return to you. Once you know what her medical requirements are, you can determine whether you can accommodate her needs or worst case, she needs a medical leave of absence, because her limitations are too restrictive. Likely modified work can be agreed upon, even for a period of time. Win-win, you keep a productive worker (in a new way, and she feels cared about by a good employer.


Ali: Be compassionate. Be as flexible as possible and work for a “win-win” as others have stated. Her tenure and overall performance should be reviewed. An open, honest conversation is needed without accusations. Is part-time available? Is it possible to share jobs or change responsibilities with others in the department? Is this an opportunity for someone else to learn something new? When her child is born it may create yet a different scenario and work through some of it now can end up being helpful to the whole department.


Maria: I worked in a restaurant pregnant – truly overwhelming some days – that said – you have a big task taking care of the whole team, your business and customers.

She may qualify for Fed or State specific intermittent leave(s) – (depending on size of business, state, length of employment, etc). Sometimes, presenting the leave(s) option/information can reduce an employee’s stress as they learn that you see a path forward with them, etc. It’s a great way to open the convo about the importance of the role that she has with you, the restaurant’s commitment to each team member, customers, etc. and what you expect when she’s there, and ways to ensure that she has the time off as needed (and lawful). Absolutely ok to let her know your expectations when there (while being understanding of her and others concerns) If she can utilize the protection and responsibilities associated with leave(s) – it may help her as rejoins the team dynamic.


Joseph: Be sensitive and protective. Sensitive is understanding that this is a temporary disability that is perhaps just as hard for her since she cannot do as much as she used to, so it will get better. Protective means studying ADA, FMLA and Pregnancy disability act. You do not want to make a decision that can place liability on your company without realizing it. Have her complete a request for disability form so you have formal written information on the disability, and have the doctor complete a form explaining the disability and accommodations that are needed.

An additional comment to those giving feedback to XXXX, his concerns are common from managers who has a business or operation to run and want to be fair to other employees. Not everyone knows “HR Speak” so I appreciate the idea that he is asking for help and knowledge and not just taking action. As a peer, I like this forum where I can advise him on how to be fair to the staff and protective to what he has built.

How’s your culture feeling today?

I don’t know about this. But here it is anyway. (Medium)

Bonus links:

Equifax’s music major sucked it up

Angie Walker posted this and it’s amazing

Maybe you’re smart enough to understand this system thinkers piece