Benefits and Compensation

Still Babysitting? Go PTO and Get Out of the Babysitting Business

Yesterday’s Advisor featured Lott’s “Please Sue Me” presentation. Today, more of Lott’s tips as delivered at the SHRM Conference and Exposition held recently in Orlando.


Make behavior 50 percent of anybody’s job, says Lott. Try this for a policy:

Maintain a positive work atmosphere by acting and communicating in a manner so that you get along with customers, clients, coworkers, and management. However, says Lott, now we have to contend with an NLRB that is saying rules prohibiting negativity and gossip are chilling employees’ Section VII rights (which permit employees to discuss terms and conditions of employment). So take care in crafting your policy.


HR should not be about 100% compliance, but there is a lot to keep up with. Lott quotes Daniel Hall (Administrative Law: Bureaucracy in a Democracy, published by Pearson/Prentice Hall):  “There are over 100,000 federal employees writing rules every day.” What does that mean? There is no way to keep up, but you can still work to avoid lawsuits.


And on relationships, Lott suggests this policy: Any relationship, on or off the job, that affects our ability to run our business or your ability to do your job may be a valid reason for disciplinary action.

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Staples paid $42 million in a suit by “assistant managers” who thought they should be getting overtime. Gee, says Lott, when did that come in? How about 1938.

Lott’s tip: If the job description says “clean the kitchen,” the position is not exempt.

Put People on Probation for Life

Probationary periods? Get rid of them, Lott says. There’s no useful legal or business reason for having them. You can still keep your benefits waiting period, and you can still do a 90-day review. But don’t call it anything that suggests that you might lose your ability to fire at will after 90 days. Instead, eliminate the probationary period and employees are “on probation for life.”

Exit Interviews

Exit interviews are a waste of time, says Lott. “Now that you are leaving, I’ll talk to you.” Instead, do a stay interview with an A player—take him or her to lunch.

Unboarding Program

And what about those parties for the people who are leaving? Sorry, there’s nothing for you people who stay. Lott calls that an unboarding program.

From onboarding to unboarding and rewarding in between, comp never sleeps. “Maintain internal equity and external competitiveness and control turnover, but still meet management’s demands for lowered costs.” Heard that one before?
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