Health Care Reform Updates
November 30, 2012, 3:51 pm
Filed under: ACA
, Affordable Care Act
, Health Care Reform
, Health Reform
, Melissa Miller, PHR
, Ted Kirchharr
, The Busy Business Owner's Updated Guide to Health Care Reform: What You Need To Know
| Tags: ACA
, Health Care Reform
, Health Reform
, Human Resources
, Insurance Reform
, Landrum Human Resources
, Landrum Staffing
Available for Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.com
“The Busy Business Owner’s Updated Guide to Health Care Reform: Are You Prepared for 2016
Written by: Ted A. Kirchharr, Vice President, Landrum HR
Learn more about Landrum HR
Your Employees Desperately Want Flexible Work Arrangements
February 11, 2016, 1:26 pm
Filed under: Amie Williamson
, Human Resources
| Tags: "employee engagement"
, compressed work week
, Human Resources
, job sharing
, Landrum Human Resources
, work-life balance
written by Amie Williamson on February 10, 2016
Attention Employers: It’s 2016! The demographic of your workforce is rapidly changing. Your employees are clamoring for flexible work arrangements. There are real reasons for this much needed shift in the workplace and it’s not what you think.
In the article entitled, Millennials want a work-life balance. Their bosses just don’t get why, it is noted, “Younger workers see that technology frees them to work productively from anywhere, but their Baby Boomer managers may be afraid people who don’t come to the office won’t work as hard.”
But life for families today is very different compared to what Baby Boomers experienced. Workers are still doing more with less, as was required when the economy began its massive decline. They are working longer hours (say good-bye to working 9-5) and many are married to their mobile devices. This includes checking work emails/business social media feeds before and after official business hours (tacking on another hour to their workday,) yet their salaries and incentives continue to stagnate. Some workers share household responsibilities and childcare schedules with a spouse, while other workers are caring for an aging parent or relative who cannot afford to live on their own.
Then there’s the challenge of childcare. Let’s look at my friend, Meghan as an example. She is a Generation X employee with a dual income household and two kids in public school. Not including the summer and not including national holidays when most companies are closed, the public school calendar in her county reflects 18 additional days off and 2 early release days. Yes, 18 additional days off! If she worked for a company that offered 14 days of Paid Time Off (PTO) per year, she is left with 4 additional days with no childcare, no vacation taken and no options to take time off when she or her kids are sick, which is a very stressful time for employees. So like many workers who do not have access to flexible work arrangements, Meghan has to find paid childcare for those days when school is closed, like she does during the summer. Do you think most employers know this?
With a flexible work arrangement like partial telecommuting, the stress to that employee is virtually eliminated. If Meghan has a sick child, she can easily work from home (or telecommute) and log productive time so she does not have to burn up another day of valuable Paid Time Off. When PTO is actually used for vacation, mental health days or time away from work, employees return sharper and more productive with less burnout, ready to attack their goals! In 2016, technology enables employees to work productively from anywhere, without the stress of having to burn up their PTO or having to drive to the office to accomplish the same outcome during a unique circumstance like a sickness in the family or a teacher workday.
These situations are more prevalent today than the Baby Boomers experienced, so some employers are looking to pivot to various versions of flexible work arrangements to build stronger relationships with their teams. Examples of these arrangements can include Flextime, Telecommuting, Compressed Work Weeks and Job Sharing. They all serve to give workers more freedom with their schedule, while allowing them to meet their obligations to their employer.
Simply put, flextime allows workers to choose the times they work, while working the same number of hours. The article, The Benefits of Flextime clearly illustrates why employers should consider this. It also includes helpful tips and examples employers can use to create flexible arrangements for employees.
“Flextime helps create a happier, more satisfying workplace, too. Because employees are often so glad that their employers are willing to allow for a work-life time adjustment, they tend to work harder and in a more dedicated fashion to hold on to their now-perfect schedule and re-balance their lives.”
Although flextime is at the forefront of work-life balance, it can be a complex concept for companies to navigate. But keep in mind, “Flextime doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing — it can be a gradual process, the first steps of which can take many different forms.” As stated in an article from Harvard Business Review entitled, Flex Time Doesn’t Need to Be an HR Policy, the writer, Scott Behson states, “The ability to carve out small, informal flex solutions can be really important for employee well-being, engagement, and retention.” This would also apply to telecommuting, as was illustrated in the example of my friend Meghan. The option of partial telecommuting a few days a week or during a unique circumstance is highly valued by employees and helps contribute to their overall well-being.
Of course not all employers can extend flextime due to the nature of their work. For example, flextime for those working for medical or law practices, retail or hospitality would not make sense. Instead, job sharing or compressed work weeks may be a better alternative. With job sharing, one position is performed by more than one worker. For a deeper dive into job sharing, the description on Inc.com covers everything you need to know to get started. In a compressed work week, the usual 40 hours worked are compressed into a shorter number of days. Job sharing and compressed work weeks are often great solutions for legal and medical employers.
There is no doubt flexible work arrangements are on the rise, but has the topic hit your organization yet? Start the conversation about flexible work arrangements with an open mind and jump on the path to employee engagement, loyalty and satisfaction!
About the Author
Amie Williamson is a Business Consultant for Landrum Human Resources. She works with small business owners to simplify how they handle HR. Amie’s goal is to help businesses get access to great benefits and create safer workplaces for their employees. Before joining Landrum, Amie worked more than 10 years as a sales professional in the employer services industry. She holds a B.A. In English from Florida State University. She is an active Board Member of the Emerald Coast Apartment Association and serves as a Lead Facilitator for Leadership Santa Rosa.
As I learned what I didn’t know (about being accountable)
written by: Jim Guttmann, SPHR on February 1, 2016
At the beginning of my career, I got a wonderful opportunity to work for a stellar company with a great reputation in the community. My new job provided a substantial increase in pay from what I made with my previous company. It was “an offer that I could not refuse” with personal and professional development in joining a proud organization of over 2,000 employees. As part of the Personnel & Administrative Services Department, I faced the special challenge of being a supervisor for the very first time. Additionally, I was a somewhat naïve young fellow, who had virtually no business sense and was a little lacking in maturity too.
Then, in the first days and weeks of my employment, several individuals provided unsolicited comments about my boss. They said that he was a tough minded, extremely demanding and hard on his staff. I heard that my predecessor (a middle aged gentleman) decided to take a job in another department because, in part, my boss made him a nervous wreck. I heard accounts of employees who left his office crying. A former employee that I met at a human resources luncheon said that she had to leave because he was so overbearing. All of these comments gave me an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. At the time, I was newly married with a baby soon on the way. What I may have lacked in knowledge, maturity and experience, I made up for in my motivation to succeed.
Fortunately, my parents had often told me that you have to take what people tell you sometimes with “a grain of salt”. It’s okay to hear what others say but, for goodness sake, form your own opinion about a person. As it turned out, I worked for this “tough boss” for nine years during which time he was a great mentor for me. Although not liked by everyone, he was respected as a person with outstanding skills. He was widely acknowledged as a prolific writer and was author of many policies and procedures within the company. His overall communication skills were superb. Of everything that I learned from him, some involved tough lessons in “accountability”. Although he never yelled, cursed and write-ups were very rare (and I never got one), it was very clear when he was proud of you (and equally so when he was disappointed). My boss was passionate; not afraid of a good confrontation and, when he looked you in the eye in a certain way, you knew he meant business. So, what are some things that would get the boss riled up resulting in one of those “soul searching” meetings? You know, the ones that are as pleasant as a root canal.
- Putting shoddy work on his desk with typographic errors, poor sentence structure and thoughts/ideas that were confusing and not well thought out.
- Not owning up to a personal mistake. This could take any number of forms such as trying to hide the mistake; saying the mistake was caused by being too busy; stating that the person impacted by the mistake doesn’t matter; offering the mistake wasn’t that bad; expressing that there was another person more at fault; or claiming it wasn’t anyone’s fault but a flawed system etc. Note: people can be very creative with their excuses.
- Coming into his office with problems and offering no options or possible solutions.
- Being lazy or careless, not meeting deadlines, blaming others or trying to push work on to someone else.
- Lacking a sense of pride in yourself and your work. Viewing your job as just a “gig” and not a career.
You could say my boss was “old school” and, dare I say in today’s vernacular, sometimes “politically incorrect”. Although I don’t recall him ever saying “I’m going to hold you accountable!”, he was nevertheless a master at it. In fact, my boss once courageously told a Division Vice President to “back off” when he unfairly questioned how I had handled a particular employee’s complaint. He let the VP know that his comments were just wrong as I was doing my job. And further that the VP shouldn’t let a personal friendship with the complainant get in the way of my efforts to consistently apply company policy. Yes, that’s right, my boss held him accountable even though the VP was three levels up the management chain. Many years later, I just have one message for my old boss. Thank you for holding me accountable too!
As a Landrum Senior Human Resources Manager, Jim is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and has over 30 years of HR generalist experience. He holds a Masters in Business Administration from Florida State University and is an active member of the Raleigh-Wake Human Resources Management Association in North Carolina. Jim is also certified as a County Mediator in the State of Florida and in the administration of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Jim is also very involved in his church community and is commissioned as Stephen Ministry Leader.
When the “Spirit” of Halloween Extends into the Workplace – Don’t get Spooked!
October 26, 2015 – Kim Horton, M.A.
Fall is in the air, and Halloween costumes are stocked on the shelves of stores everywhere. Many people want to get into the spirit of the season, but what if the spirit (no pun intended) extends into the workplace? Is that taking Halloween too far?
Businesses everywhere toy with the idea of whether to allow employees to participate in Halloween festivities at work. Sure, it’s a great morale booster and can be a way to energize your work environment by allowing your employees to let their hair down and have fun at work. But what if someone’s choice of costume could be considered offensive to others?
Certainly, Halloween festivities at work aren’t for everyone. I’ve worked for businesses that go all out and hold employee Halloween costume contests, complete with cash prizes for winners and full-blown, large scale theme decorations in the work area for customers to see. Some customers loved it and each year would add stopping by to their “to do” lists just to see what the employees came up with. On the flip side, I’ve also worked for companies that are very conservative in nature and limit Halloween festivities to wearing a holiday shirt or a set of bobble ears on your head. It’s not that the latter business had a “bah humbug” approach, but there were legitimate safety concerns that forced them to forego the festivities. Every company is different, and it boils down to an assessment of the nature of your business, your interaction with customers, and the culture of your organization.
If the nature of your business, interaction with customers and/or organizational culture, do not lend themselves to full participation in Halloween festivities, then you might want to ditch any Halloween costume party ideas and have an employee potluck in its place; or, you might consider allowing employees’ children to come trick-or-treating to the office. If you’ve tried a Halloween costume celebration in the past and participation was low, there may be a reason for that. The culture of your organization may not embrace a big Halloween celebration, and that’s OK. If your culture and business do lend themselves to Halloween participation, where do you draw the line? Most companies already have a dress code in place, and Halloween costumes should fall in line with what is already established. In essence, if a costume has a skirt, it should at least be the length of what your dress code allows. What you may be able to “get away with” at an after hours, non-work related party is much different than what would be considered appropriate at the office. In creating a Halloween dress code, your work environment should be considered. For instance, if your work area is in a hospital or a physician’s office, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to allow employees to dress as ghosts, skeletons, or the Grim Reaper. If you work in a bank, you might want to prohibit employees’ ability to wear a mask or face paint where their identity couldn’t easily be determined. Similarly, you might not want employees dressed as law enforcement or military personnel for security reasons, and if you work with children, scary costumes might need to be off limits.
Clearly, boundaries need to be set, and a good way to do that is to appoint a committee to come up with a set of guidelines. In the best case scenario, a member of your HR Department should represent at least one of the seats on that committee. The committee will want to address not only what type of attire is appropriate for your business, but also any safety hazards based on employees’ jobs. For instance, if you have employees working in a kitchen or around machinery, you will want to set limits on what type of costumes are allowed in order to protect employees’ safety.
Participation for employees should not be mandatory, and your committee should come up with a list of acceptable and unacceptable examples of costumes. For instance, they might provide a list costumes that routinely offend people, such as those that show too much skin, exaggerate body parts, or mock sexual orientation, immigration status, race, ethnicity, a political party, religion, etc.
Whether or not a committee is utilized, setting parameters and determining a course of action in case someone shows up wearing an inappropriate costume is important. Just because it’s Halloween doesn’t mean the Sexual Harassment policy gets thrown out of the window. Requiring employees to bring a change of clothing so they can change if dressed inappropriately is one option, and publishing a clear set of Halloween rules that lists potential disciplinary actions for those who may be tempted to ignore those rules is always a good idea.
If you decide to partake in Halloween festivities, be sure to have supervisors ready to step up and lead by example. They will need to be the front line of dressing and acting professionally, just as they will need to be ready to hold employees who cross the line accountable. – See more at: http://www.landrumhr.com/blog/landrumhr-blog/when-the-spirit-of-halloween-extends-into-the-workplace-dont-get-spooked/#sthash.tWg7uDOF.dpuf
About the Author – Kim Horton, M.A. Kim Horton has nearly 20 years of Human Resources experience in corporate, financial, manufacturing, customer service and consulting environments, collectively. Her experience in the field has been acquired through focus on employee relations, training and development, team building, employment law compliance, strategic planning, high-level talent assessment and succession planning, employment law compliance, and employee compensation and benefits. Kim holds a Master of Arts degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. During her course of study, her primary research and thesis focused on procedural and distributive justice in both formal and informal mentoring relationships and perceptions of fairness. Her work was selected for presentation during a poster session at the national Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology (SIOP) conference. She has also taught at the college level for both graduate and undergraduate courses in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Kim is a member of the national chapter of Society for Human Resources Management.
Is a 4-Year Degree Relevant to Address Current Workforce Needs?
posted on August 31, 2015 by Randy Ardis, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
My father, a Baby Boomer, was a self-made man with less than a high school education. He successfully ran his own specialty roofing company for over 34 years. My parents divorced when I was 6 years old so I didn’t get to see Dad often while growing up. So when he asked me to work with him for the summer before I went off to college, I quickly accepted. I did this while keeping a restaurant job in the evenings to earn extra money for school.
The summer went by quickly as two jobs took up most of my time. In the daytime I worked with Dad on estimate and sales calls, ordered and organized materials, and cleaned the offices and warehouse. In the evening I “slung” corn dogs and shook more freshly-squeezed lemonades than I care to count.
On a steamy summer day in August, Dad asked me to work with one of his “tar crews” for a week. I accepted the task and looked forward to the challenge. He warned me that it was very hot and tiring work. He described proper attire for the job, “Wear old tennis shoes, long pants, and long sleeves…and make sure it’s something you don’t want to wear again.” Understand that being on top of a roof, in SC, in August, with long pants and a long sleeve shirt — it’s a recipe for heat exhaustion!
I asked my father why he wanted me to work on one of the “tar crews.” His reply was very wise and heartfelt, “Son, I want you to experience the type of work I had to endure to get where I am today. For most of the men you‘ll work with, this is the best job they will ever have because of choices they made in their lives or because of their lack of education. I want you to get a taste of really hard work before you go off to college so you understand what you don’t want to do in life.”
His statement and the week of experience working rooftop mopping hot, smelly tar was enough to set my priorities straight. Or at least that’s what my perception was at the time.
Having experienced some unique changes in my 20+ years of HR experience, with a lot of this in Industrial and Construction-based workplaces, I have found that pursuing a more physically demanding career is not such a bad thing. In the Construction and Maintenance Industry, current trends estimate that one-sixth of the workforce will retire in the next 5-10 years. Compiled with the fact the workforce needed to complete current projects in the US is close to 6.9 Million and the available workforce is just over 5 Million, there will be a severe shortage of skilled workers in this field.
A perfect storm is brewing and it’s moving in fast…with supply shortages of this magnitude, skilled Construction and Maintenance workers will see rapid salary growth over the next decade in many of the trades. Conservative estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show trending in wage growth over the past two years for Construction workers to be growing 0.5% faster than all other workers combined. Industry data for the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast shows faster growth in certain segments of the trade. Some employers in this region have reported up to 10% increases in labor costs for specialized roles with an average floating closer to 6% in labor cost growth. As industrial and residential projects get off the ground, we will see labor shortages that will force companies to turn down work which ultimately hampers building activity and economic growth.
So, what has happened to the labor pipeline? Over the years, many school districts decided to phase out vocational programs and traditional shop classes. This while many parents, mine included, have steered their children to pursue four-year degrees. There has also been a stigma of the work being physically demanding and unsafe. While the work is physically challenging, many improvements in worker safety has significantly reduced accidents and injuries over the past few decades.
Recent trends are seeing a reversal in this trend as school districts and trade schools are working quickly to enhance their Construction-related programs. Many forward-thinking companies that are heavily reliant on construction and maintenance workers, have established relationships with trade and vocational schools to provide financial support, equipment for training, and internship opportunities. By having these established pipelines, they will have some level of comfort in maintaining staffing levels.
One challenge for the industry is raising awareness and creating significant buzz to entice students and convince parents that Construction and Maintenance jobs are worthwhile. Programs such as SkillsUSA and Mike Rowe’s WORKS (Mike is the former host of the show Dirty Jobs) have brought this subject to the forefront while providing opportunities and financial support to the field. Mike Rowe’s program gives deserving students scholarships (averaging $15,000 each) to defer costs to enter programs that will educate them as future welders, mechanics, pipefitters, electricians and carpenters to fill gaps in the industry.
Mean compensation wages for the industry show entry-level opportunities for Laborers in the $17/hour range, Carpenters at $22/hour, Heavy Equipment Operators at $24/hour, and electricians at $26/hour. Once one works and gains experience, moving on to become a Project Manager or a General Manager will create pay opportunities in the $40+/hour range. Welders can start in the field around $50K/year and very quickly move into the six-figure range if they specialize in exotic metals or underwater welding.
With labor prices increasing, poaching of good workers is evident and often employers offer project bonuses and per diems to enhance base wages in an effort to increase retention. Construction companies will keep a good grasp of the market trends if they want to remain competitive. Recruiters in this field often find they have to foster relationships with a wide variety of programs and schools in order to keep requisitions filled.
As a parent, I have many aspirations for my children — attending college being one of them. Despite the conditioning my father instilled in me, I’m open to the fact that my son or daughter can make a great living in this industry. It’s really not a bad thing to get your hands dirty anymore!
– See more at: http://www.landrumhr.com/blog/landrumhr-blog/is-a-4-year-degree-relevant-to-address-current-workforce-needs/#sthash.XtvwgJWe.dpuf
The Aging Workforce or Silver Tsunami*
Every day, 10,000 people will turn 65 until 2030. Are there going to be any employees left in the workforce? Yes, and the age of the average worker is on the increase. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 22.2 percent of the workforce is 55 years and over, and will rise every month for the foreseeable future. In 2012, the peak of the baby boomers reached 55. Assuming the majority will work until at least 65, the number of older workers in our workforce will continue for at least another 7 years. But then what?
Boomers want to stay. People are living longer and wanting to work past traditional retirement age. Retirement at 65 looks more and more like a dream, considering how little Americans have saved for their golden years and the effects of the recession. AARP reports that only 24 percent of workers at 55 years old have saved more than $250,000 for retirement. AARP also reports that 69 percent of employees over the age of 45 are planning to work past the age of 65. By 2050, the U.S. Census predicts that 19.6 million American workers, or roughly 19 percent of the total U.S. workforce, will be 65 years or older. The number of workers who are 65 years or older is expected to grow by 75 percent while the number of individuals in the workforce who are 25 to 54 is only expected to grow by 2 percent. Even more startling is that workers aged 20 to 24 are expected to drop about 3 percent! For that demographic, one of the major reasons is the increase in school attendance; a record amount of young adults finished college believing that a college degree is necessary to career success as they then decided to return to school when they couldn’t find opportunities in the job market during the recession.
The population of younger workers with the education and skills to replace Baby Boomers is not large enough or growing fast enough to make up for the older generation’s departure. Recruiting professionals say the most common skills that 2015 college graduates are lacking are professional/work ethic, writing in English and relationship building.
What are employers doing to ready themselves for expected skill shortages? Employers must recognize the value of mature workers and develop strategies to retain and engage them. These workers have decades of experience and skills and retaining and recruiting new ones is good for most organizations.
The Society for Human Resource Management and AARP jointly conducted a survey and found that 72% of HR professionals described their organization’s loss of talent due to older workers leaving as a potential problem, however, only a small percentage (5%) have implemented practices in anticipation of this loss. Why? Perhaps it is the apprehension of retaining older workers and the potential higher costs they may incur – from higher pay levels to more expensive charges for benefits.
What all the statistics point to is that employers should become more creative in attracting the younger generation with flexible work styles and career paths and to try and retain their older workers to mentor and impart experience to the younger worker.
Tracy Herman has over sixteen years of human resources experience in the corporate environment. Tracy’s expertise in human resources has been acquired through focus on employee relations, policy development, employment law compliance, supervisor and employee education, employee career development, and human resources consulting. As a Human Resources Manager, Tracy will provide a variety of human resource services for Landrum Companies clients, including overseeing human resources needs for over 90 Landrum Professional client companies with 900 worksite employees.
Tracy is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), awarded by the Human Resource Certification Institute. She also has an educational background in Business Administration and holds a 401(k) certification.
Tracy is a member of both the national and local chapter of the Greater Pensacola Society for Human Resources (SHRM).
Born in the Business
The year 1970 was a year of new adventures for H. Britt Landrum, Jr. and his wife Nell. Not only was it the year they decided to open an employment agency, but also the year their first child, Britt Landrum, III was born; born in the business of Human Resources in a literal sense, that is.
In this month’s issue of PEO Insider, a monthly publication of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO), the 45 year old Landrum family business is featured.
The article spotlights father and son and tells the tale of, Growing Up PEO.
Read the full article here.
Not Your Typical Investigation (Take Me Seriously… Or Else!)
by Jim Guttmann, SPHR on May 1, 2015
I was working for a large government contractor when asked to conduct an on-site investigation at a relatively small public airport in the Northeast. Think of the popular 90’s television show Wings, and you’ll get a good picture of the environment. The investigation was prompted by a complaint received from an employee, a fireman at the airport, who alleged that recent procedural changes violated Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety standards. The procedure in question was based on airport management’s request that firemen don business attire (company shirt, dress pants and tie) and do some administrative work as part of their duties. This employee felt management’s request was unreasonable: As a fireman with over 20 years at the airport, it was his belief that the new procedure could delay his response in the event of an emergency situation.
Getting away from the corporate office in Florida for a few days was appealing and I was eager to take on this interesting assignment. That is until I became aware that…
The fireman’s complaint was concocted using newspaper or magazine copy of letters cut out and glued in formation to spell out certain words.
Upon seeing the note, I viewed it as a throw-back to the days when death threats were sent in that manner or someone had taken another as hostage. I quickly convinced myself, however, that it was just a creative way for the individual to bring home his point. That is until I found out that everyone (including his manager) was afraid of him because…
He walked around all day carrying a gym bag and acting peculiar.
Well, I told myself, so what? There are a lot of peculiar people in the world and everyone has their idiosyncrasies. I convinced myself that this gentleman was a little different, but why hold that against him? That is until I was told that…
Half his co-workers thought he had a tape recorder in the gym bag.
I didn’t like hearing that he might record our conversation without my permission; however, that could be quickly addressed with a couple of preliminary questions. As long as I asked him not to tape record our conversation, that would be fine. I thought that was a good strategy until I heard that…
The other half of the employees felt that he was going to place a bomb in the bag when coming to work one day.
It was at that point that I realized this might not be the fun assignment I was expecting, after all. Nevertheless, I was up to the challenge. Upon arriving at the airport I first spoke with the manager. He had no interest in being present during my interview with the employee. Yep, he abandoned me.
Upon privately meeting with the employee, I noticed that he was carrying a gym bag. After I said “hello” and introduced myself, he responded by saying “You’re here to terminate me aren’t you?” As he spoke, he also had a slight grin on his face. While trying not to show being slightly unnerved, I told him that I wasn’t there to terminate his employment but to get specific information about his complaint. That’s right; we would not carelessly terminate the employment of a potential whistleblower – even if he did act rather peculiar.
Based on the heads-up I had been given about a possible recording device, I asked him if he had a tape recorder in the gym bag and if he intended to tape record our conversation. He then plopped the bag on the table, smiled, and said it was just clothes. At this point I relaxed a bit, figuring if it was a bomb as some suspected, he wouldn’t just plop it down on the table in that way.
I spent about an hour with him to obtain all the details pertaining to his complaint. His point of view was rather interesting, although inflexible. He showed me a couple of articles about tragic plane crashes and emergency situations at airports around the country. It didn’t matter to him that emergency situations of that degree are very rare – especially at a relatively small public airport.
Shortly after returning to Florida and delivering my report we learned that he also filed a complaint with the Governor’s office and the FAA; so much for my attempt to prevent the escalation of his complaint… To my knowledge, however, the change in procedures did not violate any safety standards. This was confirmed when the company was not found to be in violation of any state or federal guidelines. This employee, while still regarded as peculiar, continued as a successful employee for quite some time.
So, at the conclusion of this rather peculiar story, what’s the lesson here? Certainly, one would be that you can’t always jump to conclusions as to what someone is really like. The image that a person shows to others may only be a means to his end purpose. In this case, the end purpose was to be heard by the “right people.” Regardless of the individual’s motives, everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect even if we find that person to be a little eccentric or his views are far different from our own. Rather than reacting based on fear, rumor or speculation, try engaging that person in conversation to understand him better.
In this particular instance, I’m just happy to say; All’s well that ends well!