Showing posts from April, 2013

Employer Property Rights vs Human Rights

Two conflicts of employer property rights vs the rights of employees have come up in different places, but with similar questions of priority and principle.  In both cases employers have taken what is a legally and morally untenable position that their right to control their property is a superior consideration to the rights of their employees while on that property. In Tennessee the "Guns in Trunks" bill makes it illegal for an employer to terminate or discipline a state-licensed Conceal and Carry permit holder for keeping a gun in their vehicle on company property.  The essence of the law is that the permit holder's right of self defense should not be compromised  throughout the entire day , nor their job endangered,  because they spend part of that day on the property of an employer with a no-guns policy. The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and gun-control advocates have opposed the law on the basis of safety. Those policies, just so you know, have exceptionally litt

New Post: Four Reasons Why You Don't Have to Hire Medical Marijuana Users

Medical marijuana is now legal in 18 states and the District of Columbia .  As these states proliferate the number of doctors willing to write such prescriptions and the sources for medical marijuana grow. Inevitably users with valid prescriptions are starting to show up in the applicant pool of your workplace.   It is not unusual in one of these states to get an applicant who fails a pre-employment drug test.  As is standard procedure, the Medical Review Officer of the drug testing company or the HR professional asks the applicant to explain, and hears that they have a valid prescription. Then my phone rings... "Do I have to hire this person?" is the usual question I get.  The answer is simple:  "NO!" Here is why: 1. Marijuana is still an illegal drug - There is misalignment between the federal and state governments on this matter, but regardless of the state statutes marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Your policy against "illegal drugs"

An Call to Noble and Ethical Competition in Christian Publishing

I wrote this post in 2008 and continue to stand behind every word.  For a group of people who profess to follow Christ, the use of gossip as a form of industry competition is disappointing.  I have interacted with all the publishers in Nashville and can paraphrase the industry's best seller when I say that there is none without sin in this manner.  Christian publishing is my third industry. I started my career in retail, moved to durable goods manufacturing (auto industry), and then came to Thomas Nelson. In all three industries, as I'm sure is the case in every industry, there is off-campus interaction among competitors. Not only is Christian publishing not an exception, it is the most incestuous and interconnected industry I've experienced. Its practitioners, whether acting on behalf of their companies or not, often engage in some of the lowest forms of competition I've experienced. Mind you, people have been hitting Nelson below the belt long before I got

Why You Don't Get Hired (Even if You Are Christian)

(This post, recently updated, was first written in 2008 after a series of applicants who tried "Christian guilt", unsuccessfully, as a strategy for getting an interview.) There is, unfortunately, a sub-culture within Christianity that believes an undesirable outcome means that those responsible are unchristian.  I've been in HR for over 30 years in four industries and I can say that this is unique to staffing Christian businesses. In the mind of the applicant the narrative goes something like this: 1.  God spoke to me and told me that I was supposed to work at your company. 2.  You aren't interviewing me or hiring me. 3.  You must not be Christian because you're not doing God's will So just to be clear, here are the reasons (either singularly or in combination) why we don't hire someone: 1.  There isn't an opening  (I can't make a spot that doesn't exist) 2.  There is an opening, but you are not qualified 3.  You cannot tell me

I Know This Much is True

Note: This post was written in September of 2011 and was never published until now. This year I passed my 30th anniversary doing corporate work. There is nothing like an anniversary to make you reflective.  Here are ten things that I've learned, much of it the hard way. 1. Work for Good People .  Stay at your current job, in school or even on unemployment rather than working for people you can't trust.  All other truths that follow below go out the window otherwise. 2.  Trust the People Who Employ You .  See #1 above if you can't.  Trust is seen by your employer as loyalty and good people will trust and reward you in return if they feel that you trust them (and work hard). 3.  Hire Good People .  It is a false choice that you have to look over bad behavior to keep good performance. Set as your standard that you require solid citizens who have the skills and the work ethic to do the job.  Overlooking schmuck-like characteristics because you need to fill a job now , o

Listen to The Conversation

What is being talked about inside your company?  Growing companies have a language all their own, and so do contracting ones.  Listening to what is being said is harder than it seems because, like the proverbial boiled frog, changes are subtle and sometimes elude notice.  Hearing what is being said, and knowing what it means, can be two different things but hugely important to your career. I was in the Japanese auto industry in the 90's during its period of frenetic growth.  The opportunities it afforded me propelled my career years ahead of what it would have been in a slower environment. We could not build factories or hire people fast enough, and the emphasis was on how to find, retain, train and develop people.  The competition was for who got responsibility for new business, plants, customers, and product lines.  The tension in the company was typically about how much could get done and who could get to a hot spot (usually Mexico, Canada, Japan, El Paso, or Detroit at that t

What I Couldn't Say at Thomas Nelson

Looking through past posts in the editing section of this blog I came across no less than 35 that I wrote and never published. A couple were withheld because they did not turn out well.  The majority, however, were self-censored because of my position at the time in religious publishing.  They aren't "sex, drugs and rock & roll" posts by any means.  They are those that I felt might offend the most intolerant of that company's stakeholders. That is no longer my concern. I worked in Christian Publishing for over a dozen years.  During that time I met a wide variety of authors, ministers, book store owners, and end users of our product.  What I discovered was that the vast, vast majority of Christians are far more tolerant and liberal in private than they dare be in public.  There is a shrill minority of loud, intolerant bullies within the Church that punish moderation.  Within the Church there is often insufficient courage to stand up to them and so they go unchal

Should You Relocate and Soundproof Your HR Office?

Several of my clients are smaller employers in the 75 -200 employee range.  As such the HR department is more often than not housed in the suite of offices around the Executive Director.  In some cases it is because in the early days of the organization the HR Director and Accounting Director were the same person.  After the workforce and operation grew the roles were split but the office stayed the same.  In some cases the roles are still combined. The problem with this arrangement is that it is a gauntlet of management that an employee must run to get to HR.  It is highly unlikely that the visit will be confidential, even if the door is closed. Part of the inhibition employees feel in coming to discuss concerns is that their boss will know that they came to HR about "something", and any visit could cause reprisals if the supervisor is of such disposition. Another issue in HR offices is privacy due to the construction of the office itself.  Often air ducts allow adjacent