Why Good #HR Leaders Aren't Worried About the NLRB "Joint Employer" Decision

by Matthew Stollak on Monday, August 31, 2015

Last week, the NLRB ruled in a 3-2 decision that "two or more entities are joint employers of a single workforce if (1) they are both employers within the meaning of the common law;  and (2) they share or codetermine those matters governing the essential terms and conditions of employment."  

As a result of this decision, there was much gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands among my HR colleagues.   This, they say, will make it easier for unions to bargain for better pay and working conditions.

Here's the thing - unions don't exist in a vacuum.  They arise out of dissatisfaction with compensation and mistreatment by the organization.  If you're practicing quality HR, worrying about "ambush elections" or joint employer status shouldn't and doesn't matter. 

Think about the following questions:
  • When the firm is successful, are employees rewarded for their hard work and contributions to those organizational goals that are reached?
  • Are you hiring co-workers/peers with whom other employees want as part of their team?
  • Are you investing in the professional and career development of employees?
  • Is the job designed so that employees are able to use a variety of skills and abilities?
  • Is an employee able to complete a job from beginning to end?
  • Does the job an employee performs have an impact on others?
  • Does the employee have the necessary tools and resources to complete his or her job?
  • Are performance goals for an employee based on factors within the employee's control?
  • Does an employee have autonomy over when and how the work that is performed?
  • Are organizational decisions made transparently?
  • Are employees given quality feedback regarding the work they perform?
  • Are efforts made to put employees in a position to succeed?
  • Are efforts made to identify and remove bad bosses from positions of influence?

Individuals want to partner with an organization and succeed on the job with relatively little hassle.

Individuals don't wake up one morning and want to suddenly unionize.  They are unfortunately often given significant reason to do so, despite the many structural barriers in place.

Successful HR managers are the ones answering many of the questions above affirmatively.  As a result, they are not sweating the most recent NLRB decision.

Why THIS #SHRM Board of Directors election REALLY Matters

by Matthew Stollak on Thursday, August 6, 2015

About this time each year, I receive notification that SHRM will be having their annual election for their Board of Directors.  I usually gloss over the names, as few, if any, know how individuals are chosen for the vaunted position, and I rarely have heard of those that are on the ballot.  When the ballot arrives, I give a quick vote for the slate of candidates, and it really doesn't register much more on my mind.   It's very hard to challenge the status quo, as the SHRM Members for Transparency tried to do.

However, this upcoming election is different.  Why?

Steve Browne is running for the position.

While there are many great attributes about Steve that make him a worthy addition to the SHRM Board of Directors, I'll highlight two:

1.  Steve Browne knows SHRM inside out as an active volunteer.

Unlike most candidates for the SHRM Board of Directors, Steve rose through the ranks of SHRM volunteer leader.  Not only has Steve served on his state SHRM conference committee, but has served as OHSHRM State Director and President of the Greater Cincinnati HR Association.  In addition, he served on the SHRM Membership Advisory Committee (SHRM MAC).  Based on this experience, Steve will be an active and responsible voice representing the thousands of individuals who volunteer for SHRM on a regular basis.

2.  Steve Browne is active on social media.

When was the last time you saw a tweet from Immediate Past Chair Bette Francis of Twitter?  What about current SHRM President and Board member Hank Jackson?  Or Jeffrey Cava?  It'd be a miracle, because they are not on Twitter.  Current Chair Brian Silva?  One entire Tweet.  The most active member appears to be Jorge Consuegra, who has made a whopping 51 tweets since joining Twitter in 2007.  While being active on Twitter isn't really that big a deal or should be a determinant for Board status, it does demonstrate an active effort to advance the HR profession.  Steve Browne has 35,000+ tweets and over 27,000 followers.  In addition, he sends out a weekly e-mail called The HR Net (sign up here) that promotes the best in HR.  He also blogs regularly at his own blog, Everyday People, as well as a contributor to CareerBuilder's Talent Advisor Portal.  He is one of the most active individuals highlighting what is great about the HR profession and HR professionals.

So, when that ballot does arrive in your e-mail inbox.  Don't hesitate to vote for Steve.

My-Chau Nguyen