Every now and then I report in this space about some goings on at work. The most recent was the tale of employee complaints about the way we paid out our quarterly bonus.
As HR Manager I get to deal with a lot of unhappy employees. Since I’m responsible for both the payroll function (including the time reporting) and the benefits, there always seems to be something wrong with one or the other of those areas – at least in the mind of one of my charges.
A minor example today was easily taken care of, but it will give you the idea.
Our health insurance plan USED to define a dependent child as eligible until age 19 unless, at that age, the child was a full time student. So long as he/she remained a full-time student, the child retained eligibility until age 25.
There were always problems involving how we defined “full-time” student. If in college, the usual test was whether the child was taking 12 or more semester hours. But that was problematic if during one semester only 6 or 9 hours could be scheduled due to availability of classes without conflicts.
So we removed the “full-time student” requirement last year, and now will cover children up to age 25 so long as they qualify as IRS dependents to our employee.
Well, today one employee brought to me a letter from our insurance company requesting verification of full time student status for his 21-year-old daughter. My employee’s wife panicked, because the daughter is only taking 9 hours this semester. They were certain that her claims would be denied and they would have to buy health insurance for her.
It was just an error at the insurance home office. One quick phone call cleared it up. But when it came to my office it was close to a full-blown emergency!
Anyway, my point is that I tend to think of employees as selfish and always complaining. Little children, so to speak.
But this week I began our annual United Way campaign. All I do every year is send an email announcing the campaign, and encourage everyone to consider a “fair share” gift of one hour’s pay per month. Then I distribute pledge cards.
No meetings, no arm-twisting, no pressure at all.
I did all that on Wednesday. Today, two days later, I already have back 25 cards, and almost ALL of them pledged a fair share gift. That is EXTREMELY generous. The employees at my plant fall almost every year in the top ten in per-capita giving. I’ll have the rest of the cards back within a week or two at the most, and almost everyone will pledge something. Over half will pledge the fair share gift, if this year is typical.
They may sometimes act like children, but they’ve got big hearts!