Blog Post

Dear ReWorker: What Should My Company's COVID-19 Quarantine Policy Be?

Suzanne Lucas

Founder, Evil HR Lady

Dear ReWorker,

We recently had our first employee test positive for COVID-19. I told her coworkers that they need to quarantine. But our CEO says as long as they are symptom-free, they can still come to work. What should my policy be when an employee tests positive?

Sincerely,

Confused About COVID Protocols

+++++

Dear Confused,

I hope your employee recovers rapidly with no side effects—and that no one else at the office tests positive. There are the clear guidelines from the CDC for quarantining in case of COVID-19 exposure. Not only does your CEO need to get familiar with them, but she or he needs to comply. If you suspect there’s intentional non-compliance taking place, you need to have a serious conversation. More on that below.

But first, here’s what you need to know about COVID-19 policy.

If an Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

The employee needs to quarantine for 10 days, be fever-free for 24 hours (without fever-reducing medication, like Tylenol or Advil) and have reduced COVID symptoms before returning to work.

There’s no need to provide a negative COVID result—in fact, the employee may still test positive at that point, but the CDC says individuals are no longer contagious after 10 days.

Of course, if your employee is still feeling terrible, or his doctor says he’s not ready to return to work, then he stays home. Employers don’t override doctors.

When Colleagues Need to Quarantine

Only employees who have been exposed need to quarantine. But what does exposure mean? Here is the CDC’s definition:

An individual was within six feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more.

An individual provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19.

An individual had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them).

A colleague shared eating or drinking utensils with an infected individual.

An infected individual sneezed, coughed or somehow got respiratory droplets on a colleague.

Because we’re talking about a professional setting, it’s likely that you only need to be concerned about the first situation—being within six feet of the infected employee. Even though your CEO might not like it, colleagues that had this level of close contact need to quarantine.

While the gold standard of quarantining is now 10 days as long as there are no symptoms, there are some other options, too. If an exposed colleague tests negative at least five days after the exposure, the quarantine period can be reduced to seven days.

The only other alternative to quarantine is previous illness or vaccination—if someone was exposed, but they’ve already had COVID-19 in the past three months, or if they’ve been fully vaccinated, there’s no need to quarantine. Again, these are official CDC policies—your CEO doesn’t get to choose otherwise. Now, about the CEO...

Consequences For Non-Compliance with COVID-19 Regulations

The strongest argument for any cause is an evidence-based one. Show your CEO this piece, detailing OSHA regulations that businesses must follow—including quarantine orders. If putting employees’ lives in danger doesn’t resonate with your leader, then perhaps this will: the CDC can issue guidelines, but OSHA can issue fines. That hurts the bottom line, and no company wants to throw money away.

Plus, depending on factors like role and industry, healthy quarantined employees can work from home. And, until March 31, 2021, if your company has fewer than 500 employees, you can receive tax credits for paying those who quarantine.

And here’s one other incentive to keep in mind: What happens if these exposed employees get sick, expose others and suddenly turn your company into a COVID hotspot? Not only does this become a health disaster, but it also creates a PR nightmare.

When you have a leader on your hands that’s not taking the pandemic seriously, sometimes, you need to play hardball. Get your CEO on the same page immediately, and send everyone home who should be home.

Sincerely,

Your ReWorker

Suzanne Lucas, EvilHRLady.org

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Alexander Mann Solutions wins Cornerstone OnDemands sponsored categories at the TIARA 2020 Talent Solutions Awards

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Alexander Mann Solutions wins Cornerstone OnDemands sponsored categories at the TIARA 2020 Talent Solutions Awards

Here at Cornerstone, we absolutely love to hear inspiring stories and share them far and wide, especially when they are about talent management! We were recently headline sponsors of the TIARA 2020 Talent Solutions Awards. These annual awards, hosted by TALiNT International, celebrate excellence across the RPO, MSP and Talent Solutions marketplace, and recognise the wonderful ways companies are demonstrating exemplary growth, innovation and leadership. For 2020, it was the usual great awards with a bit of a difference. As we know, everything has now moved online – even this year’s Convergence! But this didn’t seem to impact the TIARA Talent Solution Awards at all. Despite not being able to celebrate face-to-face, the event was filled with laughter, engagement, and most of all, lots of fun! This year, we also supported the Best Use of Technology Award as well as the Overall Winner. The winner – triumphing in both categories – could not be more deserving, and so we duly wanted to pass on our huge congratulations to Alexander Mann Solutions! Alexander Mann was awarded the Cornerstone OnDemand Best Use of Technology Award for their brilliant ‘Find Your Fit’ technology solution. The platform offers users personal preferences and assisted future growth through interactive videos, personalised one-to-one calls, and a dedicated platform to match skills with current roles within the organisation. The solution had 1,200 employees enrolling within just six months of implementation and is continuing to improve every day. Find Your Fit helps employees to understand how their organisation functions better, including the areas that are growing the most rapidly. In turn, this helps employees to develop the skills they need in order to take advantage of these developments to enhance not only their personal career progression, but overall business performance. After all, businesses don’t innovate, people do! The judges commended this entry for “the clear way in which an innovative technology solution clearly delivered in results”. The judges also applauded Alexander Mann for demonstrating customer care by really listening to client’s individual challenges and using inventive technology solutions to help design a custom built solution that helps to support the overall internal career options and pathways available to each organisation. The award was accepted virtually by Stephen Gordon, Recruitment Tech Lead at Talent Collective/AMS. In addition to being awarded Best Use of Technology, Alexander Mann was also recognised as this year’s overall winner of the Talent Solutions Awards. Chair of Judges, Jim Richardson highlighted that “the overall winner is based on the organisation that consistently demonstrates excellence and innovation across all of its activities”. Both Peoplescout and Guidant Global were highly commended by the judges for their brilliant work, but ultimately, Alexander Mann took home the award for demonstrating consistently high standards across all areas. Jim Richardson added that although Alexander Mann has the resources to support many initiatives, it has still managed to deliver consistently on large scale and complex global projects. This is a phenomenally impressive achievement that all of us at Cornerstone also wish to say a huge congratulations for! The other winners and nominees from this year’s TIARA Talent Solutions Awards have highlighted more excellent work and brilliant stories across the recruiting sector and HR community. For the full list of winners, check out the TALiNT International’s September/October 2020 edition here.

Blog: Why HR need to lead the agile change journey

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Blog: Why HR need to lead the agile change journey

It's been going on for a while now - the shift towards more agile and flexible companies that quickly can adapt to the fast-changing times of today. Organisations that are unable to make this move are gradually losing competitiveness and finding it more difficult to prove themselves against smaller and faster players. Those who recognise the need and are able to create new conditions for the business, in the form of new structures, will survive and flourish in tomorrow's economic reality. Agile HR can be viewed from two different angles; How HR should work together within the HR team and what / how HR should deliver value to the business for which they exist. All HR processes that are part of Talent and People Management will be different when you start working agile, and each of the processes have their specific tools and working methods. Here we will look at HR from a more general perspective, to get an overall understanding of how the HR role, and the corresponding deliverables, change in a company that wants to increase its business agility. The goal is to focus on creating better workplaces through the development of teams and individuals, throughout the whole organisation. Small and medium-sized companies are easier to change, as they have less hierarchical structures, and often a more decentralised business, where everyone has an ability to make the decisions that need to be made, locally rather than centrally. The larger and more complex a company is, the more systems, processes, and structures there are that cannot be easily and quickly changed. Although it is possible to change a department in the organisation, some issues might remain that forces the department back into the central structures. This happens because it is not possible to isolate a specific part of the business. You can compare it to an attempt to change a rubber ball. It changes when it is being squeezed, but when you let go, it quickly returns to its old shape. However, there is one functional department in most large organisations that can influence all the other parts at once – HR. In many large companies, HR controls; ● Leadership programs and development ● Change management ● Organisational development ● Employee engagement ● Employee training and skills development ● Rewards and bonuses ● Recruitment ● Goal setting and performance reviews ● Long term mix of employees All these processes or areas flow through the entire organisation. These are the structures that can support, or prevent, a more radical change towards a more agile company. It all depends on HOW we work with processes and programs. They can be developed in a way that, paradoxically, prevents performance and commitment. Or they can optimise performance and employee satisfaction. HR struggles with criticisms, it is accused of being some kind of "organisational police", which hinders performance and commitment by implementing Talent management processes in a way that was intended to increase the same. This needs to change. HR has been in the back seat for too long and now it is time to take responsibility for a change in how to support the organisation. Because it is about people, and relationships between people, this is the key to how the company performs as a whole. It is the system that fundamentally needs to change, not the people. We do not need to do more things or implement complicated frameworks and methods. Instead, we need to understand how we can make it easier for people to make their best contribution to the company, by providing supportive structures, instead of hindering structures. It is through more experiments and by trying different working methods, that one can find the best path for each organisation, and each team/individual. Here, the agile principles and the agile mindset serve as a guide. Agile tools and frameworks work sometimes, but not always. The only way to continually improve is through constant learning, which also means that we sometimes fail. Companies that learn faster than others, and turn that knowledge into new ways of working for employees, but also new products and services for external customers, gain a competitive advantage and will be the winner of the future. HR has the power and the ability to design the structures that aim to either support or make it harder for employees to contribute in creative and innovative ways. If HR sticks to the old, traditional ways of working, the consequence will be rigid and non-agile organisations that use inefficient systems and processes. HR can either hinder or support the change, so HR must show the way. By providing opportunities for alternative and more agile working methods, and by focusing on value creation and value flows for the internal and by extension also external customers, HR can lead companies through changes that no other department is capable of. The next blog chapter will dive into HR's changing role.

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