Watch out – your BEST Employees are planning to leave you



Almost half of U.S. professionals have thought about quitting their jobs in the past year because of “stifling frustrations at work.”

The survey from The Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University, also found that younger professionals, those who make less than $50,000 annually, and those who think their job is at a standstill are among the most likely to say goodbye to their boss.

About 30% of the employees said they are underappreciated, and overworked.


As caring employers, we can boost a positive workplace culture through clearer pathways to career advancement, and by offering leadership skills development to employees.

In our ‘business leader’ role, we can also do a better job of recognizing those small wins – thank an employee who turns in a fabulous report or presentation – IMMEDIATELY, and in front of others!


Do you have 5-minute “How are we Doing” conversations with your employees? At least one a week? It is simple, and effective. Just ask: 1) what they are working on; 2) how it is going; 3) and how you can help?

Your employees want genuine feedback, but it doesn’t have to be a BIG deal. A simple, but authentic “thank you” can make an otherwise burned-out employee feel great about their workplace environment. Really; they will go home and tell their spouse and friends!


Certainly there are many, many more ways to help ensure your A-Players continue to be happy and productive members of your talent team. But a cost-free way to jump start a more ‘results and rewards-driven’ culture can begin by simply recognizing your employees as “people” who like to be told “Nice Job.”


I help organizations answer their People concerns, before they become BIG, EXPENSIVE DEALS. Call 404-791-7454 or email for a FREE appraisal.





What a great opportunity – a solid role with plenty of room to use my background and experience, as well as to stretch and to grow professionally. Ninety candidates applied, just twelve resumes ultimately considered, and I was one of only four people invited in for a face-to-face interview.

So, pretty good odds, right – 25% chance of landing a wonderful new HR leadership gig, after years of searching. Great organization, 15 minutes from my home, a long-tenured COO, and a group of moral, honest employees. What a wonderful place to be a part of…but, you guessed it.


I was not the chosen candidate.

Intellectually, I know the COO hired a capable HR professional, who will do a fine job. However, in my heart, I KNOW I am the better choice; the candidate who would have done amazing work, helping the COO and each one of the employees be better and happier at their jobs.

I also understand I am not the only person who lost out on a great new job opportunity. You may know someone, or you may BE that someone. Where does one go from here? For me, it is allowing a day of self-pity, but only one day! Tomorrow, I once again call people who I might be able to help, and who, perhaps, might connect me with someone needing my level of HR expertise.

I ensure my LinkedIn profile, along with other professional job boards, are updated with recent accomplishments. I reach out to a few more Executive Recruiters, and find new opportunities to volunteer my time. I reconnect with former colleagues, and probably even enjoy catching up with them (while I recognize internally, I am calling to see if they know anyone who needs an HR guy).

I will take my dog for a long walk – I find dogs are great listeners.

And for me, one of the hardest things – I will tell my family and close friends I am “still” looking for a job. Don’t forget to include them in your search; you never know who they might know.

Some small words of encouragement – I KNOW I will succeed, and if I can, so can you!


I would love to hear your comments. Email or call 404-791-7454.






it’s a tough one – workplace violence is real!

You no doubt have seen the video or at least heard about the horrific shooting in Virginia yesterday (8/26/15), described as a “workplace violence” incident. As a Human Resources leader, and the one who often gets the “911 calls” at work, I sometimes ask myself how my company would react if a person was intent on doing an employee harm. Over the past 35 hours, the question has consumed much of my time. Workplace violence is the second leading cause of death on the job, behind only traffic fatalities. We have no federal workplace violence standard, but experts tell us “having a policy in place, no matter how small or large the business, is a necessity.” 

In 1970, OSHA set out to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work. They say employers must provide employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. That’s the problem – as employers, we are typically unaware that something as tragic as a shooting, assault, or any kind of violence would actually happen in OUR company. Experts, and there are many of them, will tell you how to ensure workplace safety. But there are as many “ways” as there are experts. Many of their “tips” are solid advice. For me – I’ll be listening closely to all my employees, terminating with compassion and caution, training leadership to spot aggressive behaviors, and what to do with that information… Nope, I do not believe we can eliminate some people from doing harm to other people, but we can try. As I often recited as a Boy Scout: “On my honor, I will do my best…” SLL

Ready for Sorry Charlie Day?!

April 6th is “Sorry Charlie Day;” when we accept negative events and learn from them | It’s a celebration to “recognize people who went through rejection and came out of it stronger.”

And by the way – our next Cobb GEM meeting is May 20th. In the meantime, the 25th Annual SHRM-Atlanta HR Conference is just 2 weeks away; April 20-21 at Cobb Galleria Centre.

March 17th – it’s St. Patty’s Day, sure but did you know….?

March 17th – known by many to be the annual celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. But SURPRISE – it’s also National Corned Beef and Cabbage Day. St Patty’s Day info

Corned beef and cabbage evolved from Irish bacon and cabbage; it was Irish immigrants to America who quickly swapped in corned beef as a much less-expensive substitute. Corned beef and cabbage became popular in the States, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a restaurant in Ireland that serves it.

Although green beer for St. Patrick’s Day is common in America, the Irish traditionally would not even consider it in their celebrations, according to Kenny Mitchell, General Manager at Murphy’s Alexandria, located at 713 King Str.

How ever you celebrate March 17th, please do so with a sound mind and happy heart.

Me…? I’ll still be looking for a job.

Best regards,

Steve Lovig |

Wellness Programs Challenged by EEOC

Watch Out – the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is Heading Toward your wallet; they File Lawsuits Challenging the Voluntary Nature of Wellness Incentive Programs.


In the past three months, a regional office of the EEOC has filed three lawsuits against companies in relation to their wellness programs for perceived violations of the ADA and GINA. To date, despite pressure from many groups, the EEOC has not given definition to the amount considered voluntary, which creates ambiguity.

The positioning of the incentive as a penalty was also a factor in all three cases.

Key Impacts

It is critical that a wellness incentive program is voluntary. The structure and positioning of the wellness incentive program should be positive and not a penalty or surcharge.

Until the EEOC provides guidance, it will be difficult to understand what amount constitutes voluntary. However, ACA guidelines defined an allowable maximum of 50% of the total premium for programs targeting tobacco use. So, that number can be used as a guide for what is acceptable across all incentives. Note that the risk reduces as the amount reduces.

We’ll be watching this. I’ll provide updates when available.


Thanks to Andy Carr, Health Management Services Product Leader, The Oswald Companies, and Andrea Esselstein, J.D., The Oswald Companies, for their original article.

When to and When NOT to Dock an Exempt Employee’s pay

This info is for all – but please note in Georgia, we kinda geek out when “snow” or “ice” is mentioned in the forecast. Yes, even if they say “Less than an inch expected..”

(Originally posted in 2014; Rulings are still the same. Dock with Caution!) 

If the suspected ‘wintry-mix’ hits us, offices and factories may be caught up in closing or not closing, and then paying or NOT paying? Certain rules apply and employers must be cautious. Improper deductions from exempt employee salaries may adversely impact the exempt status of all exempts.

YES, YOU CAN DEDUCT: Mark Tabakman referenced Allyson Kurker of Kurker Paget LLC, who blogged about this; the message bears repeating. First, non-exempt employees may be docked more easily than exempt employees; that’s straightforward.  Second, the DOL has issued guidance (FLSA2005-41 Opinion Letter) that outlines when you can deduct. If the business is OPEN and an exempt employee does NOT get to work, the employer may make a full day pro rata deduction. That is because the employee has voluntarily chosen to absent himself from work for “personal reasons.” The full-day, personal-reason deduction is allowable under the FLSA regulations.

HERE IS ONE CATCH: When the office is open, an exempt employee who has no accrued benefits in their ‘leave’ account does not have to be paid for the full day She fails to report to work due to weather-related stuff.

If the employer CLOSES down, then no deduction can be made on exempt employees. This is because the employee (in theory) is “ready, willing, and able” to come to work, but due to the business decisions, based on bad weather, the employer has closed and, therefore, no work is available for the employee, even though he is ready to work.

OPEN, BUT THEN CLOSED? If the employer opens up in the morning and later shuts down as the weather gets progressively worse, the rules change slightly. Although the employer may not make a cash deduction from an exempt employee’s salary for the few hours that are not worked in an early closing situation, the employer is allowed to ‘compel’ the exempt employees to take hours from their leave banks to “make up” for the work hours lost. Note, however, that if the exempt employee exhausts all such time, the employer cannot then make the above-referenced cash deduction from the salary.  In that situation, the employer must pay the exempt employee.

HOURLY EMPLOYEES: Federal statutes say you only PAY HOURLY employees when they “work.” If the office is closed, then an hourly employee could not work, and does not get paid. Caveat for taking work home.

TO PAY OR NOT TO PAY? If you pay the exempts (often managers and executives, often ’cause you HAVE to) but decide NOT to pay hourly employees, you could be setting up discord and major unhappiness among the troops. Consider alternatives.


I help organizations answer their HR and People concerns before they become BIG, EXPENSIVE DEALS. Call 404-791-7454 or email for a FREE appraisal.




This one is personal.

This is hard to write, but I thought it could provide some perspective on an otherwise “effecting someone else” kind of story.  The Federal Government’s decision not to extend unemployment insurance payments to those of us out of work for more than 6 months – well, it hits home.  I am one of those considered “long-term unemployed.”  And contrary to some Washington newsmakers, I am not laying around at home greedily collecting unemployment compensation.

I am searching for a new job every day, and have been for almost 9 months; networking, volunteering, blogging, applying, interviewing, and interviewing some more.  Those who say I don’t have what that employer is looking for; well, OK, you may be right.  But I have no doubt there are plenty of organizations that could use my 15 years of human resources leadership experience, Master’s degree and proven successes.

If you think it’s unfair to you, the taxpayer, to pay more unemployment insurance compensation to the “long-term unemployed,” please consider I have paid into the State unemployment insurance funds for more than 15 years.  Now I need some of that money paid back, to help my family in this time of crisis.

While the unemployment compensation is 20% of my former salary, it is nonetheless a necessary part of what I need to continue to pay bills for my family’s survival.  I have used almost all of the savings I socked away over the past several years, and am now digging into 401(k) plans, and having to pay penalties for using that money.

I’m not asking that you write to your Senator or Representative to get the additional funding. I’m simply asking that you consider thinking differently about the unemployment insurance extension discussion; a situation I never thought I would find myself in.

Thanks for listening to my story.  SL

Recently, there’s been a lot of focus on developing management skills; we’re told good management skills result in good results. Although this is true, you CAN get extraordinary results from “Ordinary People.”

The secret of people who tend to get extraordinary results is distinguished by the fact that they are not just managers, but leaders.  Those who get extraordinary results tend to be extraordinary leaders.  Let’s see how this can help YOU:


Extraordinary leaders recognize every one of their people, given the right circumstances and challenges, have the potential to produce extraordinary results.  Look for various strengths in your people.


Great leaders lead by example.  If you are positive, dedicated, persistent, and goal-oriented, then you will develop this sort of atmosphere within your team.


Dale Carnegie outlined principles for perfect human relationships, one of which is “Give people a high reputation to live up to.”  Tell your people what you are trying to achieve, explain the importance of their contributions, train them to be effective, and then invest confidence and belief in them.


In his book ‘How to Become a Better Boss,’ Jeffrey Fox suggests you spend 90 percent of your coaching time with your top performers. Don’t assume your top performers need no time just because they are getting results; these people are your gold – treasure them.


Almost every study on why people leave jobs or stay in jobs highlights the key role of “Recognition.”  Catch people doing something right; Thank them Privately, then Praise them Publicly.

Evolving from a good manager to an extraordinary leader requires some additional focus.  Doing all of those things that make the people who work for you look and feel good about what they are doing, and modeling the attitude and behaviors you want from them, will result in some great results.

I stumbled across this article from last year, but I apologize; I do not have the original author’s information.  If you know it, please let me know so I can give proper credit.