Team Building Activities That Actually Work

by Evil HR Lady on June 14, 2016


I’m not a huge fan of team bonding activities, largely because I’m an introvert who hates games. Okay, not all games, but I don’t want to play volleyball or go rock climbing, or play flag football, and frankly, no one wants me on their team anyway. Everyone wants me on the other team, of course, because I’m horrible at team sports. I also don’t want to tell people my deep dark secrets or fall backwards and have someone catch me. No thanks.

But, not all team bonding activities are made the same, and I found one that I would like. Sure, if you enjoy falling backwards into a team member’s arms, skip this article, but if you want to get to know your coworkers and have fun doing it, keep reading.

Strayboots says that they do “team building activities done right,” and it seems like that’s the case. Strayboots does urban scavenger hunts to help your team come together. It’s got something that introverts like me like (problem solving), and sportsy people like (being outside and walking around), and it can be fun for everyone. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I haven’t done a Stayboots scavenger hunt, but CEO Ido Rabiner walked me through the process and gave me a demo.

Here’s how it goes: If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the 40 US cities where they have established hunts, you can schedule a scavenger hunt. You all meet and divide into teams. Each team logs onto the Strayboots app and is given their first clue. Then everyone is off and running.

All teams have to answer the same questions, but not in the same order. It’s not just “go here” or “go there,” but you have to solve genuine clues and answer questions. Sure, you can Google some of the answers and cheat (which, ahem, I did, but only because Ido refused to fly me and my 25 closest friends to one of their cities. Rude), but why would you want to?

Some of the clues require you to solve a problem; some require you to go to a spot to get specific information. Some require you to take a picture of your group in front of a landmark. You can see from the pictures on their website that people are having a great time.

But why pay for a scavenger hunt when you can make your intern put one together for you? Well, first of all, your intern isn’t an expert, and Strayboots people are. They hire historians and people with art history degrees and people who are very into travel. They also do regular checks to ensure that no needed street is closed for construction and that the building you need to get into to solve a clue is open and willing to help your team with their answer.

It’s also not just about a scavenger hunt; it’s about learning about a new area. For example, they did a custom hunt for a company that was moving their headquarters to Jersey City. The employees got a chance to learn about their new environment in a fun way. Universities have used Strayboots scavenger hunts as part of their new student orientation. It’s a great way to learn about your new environment.

They see that 95 percent of the teams are following the instructions and using hints and sometimes even skipping challenges—this means people aren’t just standing around Googling. They are taking the challenge seriously, which means that it’s a lot more fun.

Now, even if you’re a crabby pants introvert as I am, who can resist a fun scavenger hunt? I even begged Ido to bring them to my city. He said he’d think about it. (Note to Ido: we have tons of expats here in Basel, so lots of people needing to learn their new environments, hint, hint.)

This post brought to you by Strayboots. The opinions are completely mine.


How to Train For Success

by Evil HR Lady on June 14, 2016

Where do you see yourself in five years? This is a common interview question, but a manager plays a huge role in an employee achieving the success that a candidate envisions. (After all, no one says, “In five years, I see myself doing this same job.”)

If you’re a manager, how can you train your employees for success? It’s not just for their good, but for the good of your business. You want employees that can learn and grow and here’s how you can help them to do it.

Help clarify goals.

Some new hires—especially entry level ones—come in with boundless energy and a lack of understanding about how the professional world work. They have the idea that it’s junior analyst today, CEO tomorrow.

To keep reading, click here: How to Train for Success


Last night, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton won just about everything it could at the 2016 Tony Awards-11 awards, only one short of the record of 12. It seems that everyone is enamoured with the story of a “bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence impoverished.”It’s clear that Hamilton was a genius (as is Miranda), but if he appeared on the scene today, it’s unlikely he would have been as successful.

Today’s environment wouldn’t have been so accepting, even though we claim to care a lot more about diversity than anyone did in 1776. Here’s why you wouldn’t hire Alexander Hamilton if he submitted his resume today.

Criminal Past

So, punching the Bursar at Princeton didn’t happen, but it certainly rhymed well. But, he wasn’t exactly known for a cool demeanor. As a revolutionary, he did things like stealing British Cannons. We say yeah, it was a war, but the reality is the act was illegal. Today, there’s a good chance that Hamilton would have a criminal conviction record.

To keep reading, click here: You Would Never Hire Alexander Hamilton, and That’s a Problem

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Managing a Weight Loss Program at Work

by Evil HR Lady on June 13, 2016

“How much do you weigh?”

It’s a simple question, but it’s a sensitive one, too — whether you’re lean, overweight or somewhere in between. Weight is a thorny subject for many of us, and talking about weight loss can be even trickier.

But high weights are consistently associated with long-term health problems, leading to higher insurance rates for the overweight, so many companies find it’s an important subject to address. Some businesses implement a weight loss program to promote overall employee wellness and encourage healthy habits at the office.

If you’re likewise tackling weight loss in your workplace, keep these tips in mind to help you stay sensitive and ensure a positive experience for employees.

To keep reading, click here: Managing a Weight Loss Program at Work


One of my friends asked me for some help. She works for a small accounting firm that has had a run of bad hires.

Everything looks great on the resume and in the interview, but then the person doesn’t work out, for one reason or another.

They haven’t had to fire the new hires, they’ve quit, but it’s becoming a huge problem.

Her business isn’t the only business to run into this. Unemployment is still pretty high, so it stands to reason that hiring should be easy. Post an ad, get applications, and pick the best person.

But, when you keep having bad matches, it’s probably not them, it’s you. Here are things you need to think about in this situation.

To keep reading, click here: Human Resources Rescue: We’ve Had a Run of Bad Hires, Help!


Dilemma of The Month: Fragrance in the Work Place

by Evil HR Lady on June 9, 2016

I recently developed a sensitivity to fragrances. I get headaches, suffer from vertigo and generally feel awful. My boss allowed me to post signs that say “Fragrance-Free Zone,” but some people persist in wearing fragrances. Once, a perfume-wearing coworker came to my cube and I felt a migraine coming on. I explained my problem and asked her to step back. She was offended and told my boss my behavior was completely inappropriate. I’m non-exempt and can’t work from home: Part of my job is to take notes in meetings, and the biggest fragrance offenders are in these meetings. What can I do?

To keep reading, click here: Dilemma of The Month: Fragrance in the Work Place


I spend a good deal of time on LinkedIn, and find it a valuable site, but there are some things that bother me, like the time they wanted people to bring their mommies and daddies to the office. (Just say no!) The other thing that bothers is me is that they are constantly asking me to include what causes I care about.

Knowing what I care about does not indicate my ability to do any particular job, and it can bring up controversy that most people would rather not inject into the networking process. Not everyone likes the same organizations and wants to support the same agenda. Activism of all sorts can make a future employer nervous. Are you going to come into work for me and, instead, be focused on your pet cause?

But, what if the company you work for decides to make your LinkedIn profile part of their activism? Consulting Giant Booz Allen Hamilton, as part of Pride Month has changed their LinkedIn logo to include a rainbow overlay.

To keep reading, click here: Turning LinkedIn into a Social and Political Statement


When an Employee Survey Says You Stink

by Evil HR Lady on June 7, 2016

I received the following email from a reader:

My company recently eliminated the commission for salespeople. For some, it is a majority of their pay. Employees are dropping like flies…including recently promoted associates who are not earning what they did as salespeople. Many more are planning to leave, including some productive and conscientious people who helped build the business for several years.

The corporate office asked me to be the spokesperson for our store to share associates feelings and stories about the company. Some of the questions included: Why they chose the company; What is an example of our company at its best?; What do we love most about the culture- Is there anything you wish you could change? My favorite: What are some moments you felt particularly recognized or rewarded at this company? (when I received my paycheck every 2 weeks perhaps?) What could the company do differently in this area? (maybe pay commission again?) H-E-L-L-O–you let 100 people go at Corporate the beginning of December and you just eliminated commission. Morale stinks!

Please give me some insight into what they are thinking and how do I report all the negative comments from my store at a corporate meeting the end of this month? I don’t want them to shoot the messenger.

To read the answer, click here: When an Employee Survey Says You Stink


Why You Should Leave Work Early Today

by Evil HR Lady on June 6, 2016

According to the National Day Calendar, June 2 is Leave Work Early Day. Laying aside the ridiculous nature of this “national day,” I’m going to get behind it.

Everyone go home. As soon as you read this article, go home.

My work here is done.

Just kidding. I don’t really care whether you go home early today or not, but leaving work early should be something that you do from time to time. Many employees (especially exempt employees) work a lot of hours, and they suffer from it. We all need a break from time to time. Here are 10 things you can do if you leave work early today–or any other day.

To keep reading, click here: Why You Should Leave Work Early Today


I had the opportunity to go onto Stacking Benjamins and talk about the new Overtime Rules. Please note that we recorded this before the DOL released their final ruling, which changes the salary to $47,476 per year. I talk about $50,440 in this podcast, but it’s $47,476.

I’m at the end, but the round table is interesting too–I learned a ton listening to financial experts discussing their own financial errors. My biggest error? Thinking that because both my husband and I worked in Pharma we could buy individual pharma stocks and become fabulously wealthy. Yeah, no. (No worries, we weren’t trying to do insider trading–we didn’t buy the companies we worked for.)

Anyway, here’s a link to the Podcast: What Are Your Biggest Financial Regrets?