Crash Course Training Video #2: Health Insurance – Part I

The second video in my crash course training series is the first part of an overview on health insurance in the United States.

Part I of this series discusses how the general health insurance system works and touches on some big-picture concepts. Part II (coming soon) will focus on health insurance plans and how to understand benefits and coverage.

Normal Speak: the New Overtime Rules

****EDIT: The new overtime regulations were placed on hold by a federal court. It is likely that these rules will not enter effect as they are currently written.**** 

INSTANT VERSION: Starting December 1, 2016, many white collar workers earning a salary between $23,660 to $47,476 will become eligible for overtime pay.

To clarify – as a matter of law, teachers, lawyers, and doctors are still excluded from overtime regulations, regardless of salary

Today the Department of Labor announced new rules affecting overtime pay.

First, to get a sense of what this is all about, I highly recommend checking out a great video from the DoL. It provides a quick primer on the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime requirement and explains the reason for these new rules. Go watch it, and then come back and read the rest of this article. It’s okay, I’ll wait!

Welcome back! Let’s talk about the final rules and what they mean.

Continue reading “Normal Speak: the New Overtime Rules”

Crash Course Training Video #1: Family & Medical Leave Act

My first video in a series of crash-course trainings has been uploaded. This session is all about the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and is geared towards new HR professionals or anyone who needs a refresher on the law.

This is great timing, as the Department of Labor recently updated its advisory guide and posters to help employers and employees better understand the rules and requirements under the FMLA.


“Under Pressure” – Mitigating Pressures in Project Management

I recently delivered a training in which I was able to squeeze two David Bowie songs – a tribute to the late legend and a tactic to reinforce learning. My property professor back in law school used to drive home important concepts using pop songs. The songs had lyrics related to what we were studying; for example, Marvin Gaye’s “Can I Get a Witness” helped us remember evidence rules related to proving personal property rights.

Aside from ending with the obvious OD anthem, “Changes”, I headlined the training with the great Bowie-Mercury “Under Pressure” duet. We are all under some kind of pressure, both at home and in the workplace – family pressure to earn money to pay the utility bills, work pressure to finish a project before a deadline, or personal pressure to lose a few pounds put on during the holidays.

How do we mitigate these pressures so they don’t interfere with our project progress? Peter Block, in his book “Flawless Consulting” (2011), says that when the people we work with seem unmotivated towards a project, it is likely because they are under coercive pressure. This pressure can come externally from superiors placing restrictions and demands (i.e. strict budgets), or it could be internal fears or apprehension about losing control of the situation. For example, a business leader might want to hire a consultant to develop a new training curriculum for the company’s employees, but the leader may feel apprehensive about having someone outside the company take charge in such an important function.

Block writes that we have to ask questions of our project partners to identify the pressures they face. Once those forces are identified, we can change the project to relieve those concerns. For example, we can reduce the project scope to include only certain parts of the original plan. A training curriculum development project can be reduced to only designing a few of the most important modules. A plan to restructure a department can shrink down to a simpler data collection project. Once these pressure-relieving projects – “small-step projects” as Block calls them – are completed, we can go back to the drawing table and negotiate whether we should give the cut components another try.

Remember that in order to be successful change agents, we must address resistance to change. Apprehension is resistance, no matter how much support someone has for a project. Organizational leaders can be devoted to achieving the end goals of the project but still be reluctant to move forward, due to external and internal pressures. Even small pressures can derail the plan if not addressed. Take the time to discover the underlying issues and craft a solution that works for everyone.

We are all “Under Pressure” to be successful, but we can all be “Heroes” and hold great “Fame” among our colleagues when we find the right ways to make positive “Changes” in our organizations.