Scott Ormerod | August 30, 2019
Change isn’t just inevitable…it’s also vital to continued growth, success and prosperity.
Coaching can be a great way to ready yourself not only to accept change that comes your way but to embrace, influence and even drive change for the betterment of your organization and yourself.
When Change Hits
Often, change is thrust upon you—it’s not necessarily your idea and not necessarily welcome. But whether you’re facing an unanticipated change in employer, position, team, boss, peer, systems or processes, you can enlist a seasoned coach to help you:
- Overcome resistance. Many people have a natural tendency to resist change or get caught up in negativity and drama surrounding it. A coach will work with you to examine your resistance and separate known factors, truth and reality from perceptions, preconceived notions and fears.
- Take control. Your coach will pique your curiosity about what’s possible with impending change and show you that you are both in charge of and responsible for how you respond to it. Together, you’ll find ways to stay engaged and begin to address change from a place of strength, commitment and zeal.
- Stay accountable. You’ll learn just how much you can influence change when you are willing to lean into it and be proactive about it. Your coaching partner will challenge you to look for solutions and creative ways to make change work most effectively and successfully for you and your organization.
- See opportunity. Times of change are always times to consider what else might be doable. A quality coach will open your eyes to opportunity—maybe it’s the chance to retool a position to better serve your needs, reprioritize goals to reflect what’s truly important, save money or harness new technological advances. You’ll find that, with skilled coaching, guidance and support, change can lead to unexpected freedom and breakthrough.
- Serve as model. As you thrive through times of change, others will likely take notice and be inspired to join you. What will emerge is a communal spirit of cooperation, collaboration and progress that will surely push you all, as individuals and as an organization, toward a better future.
A great coaching partnership will empower you to cope confidently with even the most overwhelming of changes and move forward with intention, assuredness and positivity.
It will also motivate and equip you to envision and drive well-thought, well-managed change. Your coach will encourage you to:
- Be strategic. All too often, people make changes for the wrong reasons—perhaps they’re attracted to what’s shiny and new, they’re fearful that something unwanted might happen or they’re restless and choose to institute change for change’s sake. A coaching partner challenges you to think strategically about your intentions and works with you to determine whether you really need change as well as how best to go about implementing it.
Strike a balance. The best kind of change achieves the ideal balance between doing things “the way we’ve always done them” and reinventing the wheel. Well-executed change honors the past and is based on a full understanding of what works (and what doesn’t), what’s already been tried (and what hasn’t) and how people are feeling about where things are and where they could be. It takes well-informed, calculated risks while acknowledging and celebrating the best of the old and reflecting and embracing the most promising of the new.
- Be thoughtful. Compassionate change leaders will recognize and appreciate how change impacts a company and its people. Stay particularly mindful of generational differences among employees that might affect reactions and approaches to change.
- Communicate well. Be transparent and straightforward about your reasoning behind any change, and be clear about your expectations. Make sure employees are comfortable voicing concerns, opinions and ideas and that you’re genuinely open to hearing them.
- Solicit buy-in. Support all parties to the best of your ability through change. Offer any resources they may need, including additional training, education, technology or tools for success.
- Recognize new possibilities. One change will often uncover another. Don’t be surprised, for instance, if a well-managed change spotlights a rock-star employee who simply didn’t have space and opportunity to shine before!
Flourishing Through Change
Sometimes change happens to you, and sometimes it’s well thought, well planned and well-executed. You need to be able to flourish through both. But even under the best of circumstances, change can be hard and often feels too fast and too furious.
The experts at Leap Solutions have decades of coaching experience, and we bring calm, clarity and efficiency to your change process. We also bring invaluable distance, outside perspective and insight while asking thoughtful questions, uncovering how change truly impacts you and everyone around you, challenging your thinking, and, together, imagining and realizing the incredible new opportunities that change can afford you and your organization.
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For further reading, check out: No Ego: How Leaders Can Cut the Cost of Workplace Drama, End Entitlement, and Drive Big Results by Cy Wakeman, St. Martin’ Press, 2017
Teri Lohrmann | January 30, 2019
20 Years Ago: The First Leap
You can take a step toward what you want, or you can take a leap.
In 1998, Scott Ormerod took an exhilarating leap…and he’s never looked back. With the launch of Leap Solutions, Scott created an outlet for his wide-ranging ideas and a business devoted to helping others solve organizational problems and find their own ways to leap to the next level of their success.
The original logo for Leap Solutions, dreamed up and designed by Scott’s niece, is a leaping frog. But it’s no ordinary frog; it’s an origami frog. Origami is an ancient art of Japanese paper folding that requires a unique and well-honed set of skills, experience and imagination. The paper-folding artist needs knowledge, accuracy and finesse to make the intricate patterns and detailed folds take shape. With enough ingenuity, creativity and vision, origami becomes an art form with infinite possibility. The origami frog serves as a perfect visual for the expertise and creative solutions Leap brings to each and every client.
Scott participated in Leadership Santa Rosa (LSR) 17 from 2000–2001. He was already making his distinguishing mark on the community and establishing strong roots for Leap Solutions.
15 Years Ago: The Collaboration
In 2004, Scott met the indomitable Chuck McPherson, who had started his own consulting business the year prior for many of the same reasons that Scott started Leap Solutions. Chuck had always wanted to be his own boss, and he, too, was ready to rid himself of the boundaries and restrictions of a corporate employer and eager to put his innovative ideas into action to help others transform and realize their vision.
It wasn’t long before Scott and Chuck shared an office, hired one another as consultants and started going after work together. Between 2007 and 2008, Chuck participated in LSR 24 and further solidified his place in the community and his fervent commitment to Santa Rosa.
10 Years Ago: The Partnership
After five years of working side by side and bumping into one another at all the same meetings and events, there was no denying it: one plus one is greater than two. Scott and Chuck realized that, together, they could make a bigger impact on clients than they could individually.
Seeing the tremendous value in collaborating, Scott and Chuck legally became business partners in 2009 and merged their businesses to form Leap Solutions Group, Inc. United, they were able to divide their time and energies into different, complementary activities and accomplish much more, which allowed for the sustainable growth of their newly joint venture.
Leap Solutions held steady during the Great Recession and then began to thrive. Scott and Chuck added a third core pillar, Recruiting and Executive Search, to their Organizational Development and Human Resources offerings. They hired amazing new team members who make an impact, and they expanded into new industries (including healthcare, hospitality, agriculture, small business and corporate, nonprofits, manufacturing, education and more) as well as new regions. After the devastating October 2017 firestorm, Leap Solutions gratefully supported, and continues to support, employees, clients and the community of Santa Rosa through recovery and rebuilding efforts.
We feel privileged to have spent the last two decades doing what we feel passionate about: helping our clients feel passionate about what they do. As we look back on the first twenty years of Leap Solutions, we’re proud to say we’ve always worked hard (while maintaining our perspective and humor and managing to have a whole lot of fun along the way!), and we’ve never lost sight of our commitment to integrity and to the health, vitality, security and success of our clients and our community.
As we look excitedly to the future of Leap Solutions, we see growth and innovation. We intend to expand into new industries and regions, and we’ll continue to hire the best and work to the strengths of our culture. Our original logo may be retiring to legacy status as we unveil polished new branding, but that skillfully crafted origami frog will always represent our expertise, creativity and limitless possibility. At Leap Solutions, we remain constantly energized by the people, organizations and industries we serve, and we love playing a vital role in your success stories.
Here’s to the next twenty years, and here’s to you, our valued clients, advisers and community: when deciding whether to take a step or take a leap toward what you want, may you always choose to leap…and may Leap Solutions be your trusted partner when you do.
Chuck McPherson | May 14, 2018
At the core of every business is an operational team that’s responsible for transforming materials, labor, and technology into the production and delivery of goods and services. Their work requires constant planning, coordinating, managing, and streamlining of facilities, equipment, and processes. With such full plates, it’s little wonder operations team members can become so focused on getting the job done, they lose sight of the greatest asset and strongest predictor of success: your people.
It’s vital to hire the right people for your operational team, treat them with dignity and respect, provide fair pay and equal benefits, and create and foster a safe and happy environment and company culture. But even when you’ve accomplished these things, there’s no guarantee operations will perform optimally. The best—and maybe only—way to ensure excellence is to actively develop your team.
Whether you’re eager to address known weaknesses or struggles in your current operations or you’re confident your team is solidly and consistently functioning well, there are always opportunities for better communication, greater efficiency, and enhanced productivity. To build and empower a truly great operational team, put tools like these to work:
- Behavioral profiles. Profiling programs provide invaluable information about individual team members’ unique personalities and characteristics, ideal workflows, communication
- tendencies and preferences, decision-making approaches, leadership and management styles, and more. With this insight, you’ll learn to recognize and capitalize on each one’s natural strengths and contributions to the team.
- Team assessments. Assessment tools such as 360 evaluations can identify team dynamics and group characteristics, examine the effects of management styles, offer a composite view of what’s working well, and identify opportunities to enhance communications. This knowledge can be used to guide group formation and interactions, establish more collaborative and efficient workflows, and improve team performance.
- Team building. Skilled team-building facilitators see threads between team members, bridge communication styles, develop mutual understanding, and link systems and processes for a more bonded, cohesive, and effective group dynamic. Stronger teams are more motivated, more accountable to one another, and more likely to inspire creativity and innovation.
- Training. With custom training programs to address your team’s specific needs, you can develop and strengthen employees at all levels, equipping them with skills to consistently perform at their best.
- Coaching. Expert coaching provides team leaders with systems and strategies for setting and achieving meaningful goals and objectives, overcoming barriers and resolving conflict, developing interpersonal and management styles, driving change, and more.
These tools and expertise—along with the deepened understanding, heightened camaraderie, and boosted morale that come with them—will immeasurably strengthen your team and make your operations more impactful than ever.
* This article originally appeared in the August 2017 issue of Spirited Magazine, a national publication for and about the beer, wine, cider and distilled spirits industry.
When you’re ready to strengthen your core by actively developing your team, call on us!
Leap Solutions has all the resources, strategies and expertise you need to empower your businesses by empowering the people in it.
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Tracy Emmerich | November 26, 2017
As the calendar year is winding down, Leap Solutions Group is gearing up to prepare employers for the many new employment and labor laws that could impact your organization, your employees and your bottom line in 2018. Here, we highlight just a few imminent changes and provide insights and recommendations for addressing each proactively and confidently.
Ban the Box on Criminal History
Effective January 1, 2018, Assembly Bill 1008 makes it unlawful under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) for employers with five or more employees to ask applicants about prior convictions on job applications. According to the bill, it’s illegal to inquire into or consider an applicant’s conviction history until after extending a conditional job offer.
At that time, employers may conduct a background check but are prohibited from considering, distributing or disseminating information related to prior arrests not followed by convictions as well as any diversions and/or sealed, dismissed, expunged or eradicated convictions. Further, should an employer intend to deny a candidate a position solely or in part because of the candidate’s conviction history, the employer must make a clear, individualized assessment as to whether that history has a direct and adverse relationship with the nature and specific duties of the job. The bill explains detailed guidelines for notifying the applicant of the intended decision, granting time for the applicant to respond (and possible additional time to dispute the decision and gather evidence) and making and presenting a final decision. (Certain specified positions, including criminal justice agency jobs, are exempt from this bill.)
What this could mean for you: Meant to help formerly incarcerated people support themselves and their families with gainful employment, AB 1008 restricts employers’ abilities to make pre-hire and personnel decisions based on an individual’s criminal history. Employers should immediately review and update applicant screening procedures, including revising all job applications to remove any boxes that ask about prior convictions or criminal history. You must also refrain from inquiring about criminal history during interviews. As an alternative, you may opt to request criminal history information in your offer letter. You are still entitled to conduct a background check on any candidate after an offer is made (and you might want to consider doing so as a matter of course if you don’t already). However, should the results of an applicant’s background check alarm you and make you reconsider hiring, we urge you to consult with Leap Solutions Group. We can help you perform the required individualized assessment, make any adjustment to your offer, and ensure that you remain in compliance throughout the process.
Effective January 1, 2018, Assembly Bill 168 makes it unlawful for employers to ask an applicant (or the applicant’s current or former employers)—orally or in writing, directly or indirectly—about prior salary, compensation and benefits. (Salary history may be discussed, however, if the applicant “voluntarily and without prompting” discloses it.) Employers may not use an applicant’s prior history as a factor in determining whether to offer employment or what salary to offer. In addition, upon request of a job applicant, employers must provide the position’s pay scale.
What this could mean for you: AB 168 aims to address pay inequalities. Employers should immediately review and revise all job applications to remove questions about previous salary or salary history. You must also refrain from inquiring about criminal history during interviews. This is an ideal time to conduct a market-based compensation analysis; Leap Solutions Group can help you determine your compensation formula based on job, region, function and industry and develop or update pay scales and clear job descriptions. (Don’t forget that 2018 also brings another increase in hourly minimum wage—as of January 1, for employers with 25 or fewer employees, minimum wage is $10.50 per hour; for those with 26 or more employees, minimum wage is $11.00/hour.)
Parental Bonding Leave
Effective January 1, 2018, the New Parent Leave Act (Senate Bill 63) requires California employers with 20-49 employees within a 75-mile radius to provide up to twelve weeks of unpaid, job-protected parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement. To be eligible, employees must have more than twelve months (and at least 1,250 hours) of service with the employer during the twelve-month period prior to the leave. Employees are entitled to use any accrued paid time off, such as paid vacation and sick leave, during the parental leave. In addition, employers must maintain and pay for the employee’s continued coverage under a group health plan at the level and same conditions that coverage would have been provided had the employee continued to work. If an employer employs both parents, and they are entitled to leave for the same birth, adoption or foster care placement, the parents’ combined leave will be capped at twelve weeks. An employer may (but is not required to) grant simultaneous leave to both employees.
What this could mean for you: The New Parent Leave Act allows more Californians to take leave to bond with a new child without fear of losing their jobs. If you’re an employer of 20-49 people and don’t already offer this type of bonding leave, you will need to fully understand eligibility and conditions and how they might impact your employees and your organization. You’ll want to develop and communicate clear policies and processes for facilitating and managing these new mandated parental leaves.
Paid Family Leave/State Disability Leave Expansion
For periods of paid family leave or state disability leave starting after January 1, 2018 (but before January 1, 2022), Assembly Bill 908 substantially increases the weekly benefit amount available under California Paid Family Leave (PFL) and State Disability Insurance (SDI) from the current 55 percent of earnings to either 60 percent (for higher wage earners) or 70 percent (for lower wage earners). AB 908 also eliminates the waiting period for PFL claims (but does not change the waiting period for SDI claims, which remains at seven days).
What this could mean for you: Employers should inform affected employees of their benefits and plan for any additional expenses. You’ll also want to monitor for any potential changes to payroll deduction rates.
Immigration Worksite Enforcement
Effective January 1, 2018, Assembly Bill 450 prohibits employers from voluntarily allowing federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to enter nonpublic areas of the workplace without a judicial warrant or to access, review or retain employee records without a subpoena (with exceptions). AB450 also requires employers to specifically notify affected employees (in writing in the language the employer normally uses to communicate employment information with each) of any ICE inspection of I-9s or other employment records within 72 hours of receiving notice of the inspection. AB450 further prohibits employers from re-verifying a current employee’s employment eligibility when not otherwise required by federal law.
What this could mean for you: While Governor Jerry Brown has made California a “sanctuary state,” his landmark legislation does not prevent or prohibit ICE or the Department of Homeland Security from acting on federal immigration enforcement. What you can do as an employer is know your and your employees’ rights and responsibilities and understand that some employees experience fear or concern. Most importantly, you must communicate thoroughly and effectively (and in writing) about any ICE inspection; to that end, the California Labor Commission will develop a template notice by July 1, 2018; until that time, employers are required to create their own written notices in accordance with the specific guidelines spelled out in AB 450 (Leap Solutions Group can help with interim notice writing and translation).
- Human Trafficking. California law currently requires certain types of employers (including but not limited to alcohol retailers, airports, emergency rooms and adult or sexually-oriented businesses) to post a specific notice concerning human trafficking and hotlines available for assistance. AB 260 extends this requirement to hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast inns. In addition, SB 225 requires the notice to state that an individual may text a particular number to access support and services.
- Transgender Rights. SB 396 requires employers to prominently post a poster, developed by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, on transgender rights. (The bill also requires employers with 50 or more employees to include information on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation in prescribed sexual harassment prevention training for supervisors.)
- Agriculture Overtime. Beginning January 1, 2019, Assembly Bill 1066 will gradually lower the daily and weekly hours-of-work thresholds for paying overtime to agricultural employees. At the outset, employers will be required to pay agricultural employees 1-1/2 times their regular rate for all hours worked over nine in a day or over 55 hours in a week. (Employers of 25 or fewer employees will have a delayed phase-in starting January 1, 2022.) The thresholds will drop annually from there so that by year 2022 (2025 for smaller employers) agricultural employees will earn overtime wages on par with most other non-exempt employees.
The HR professionals at Leap Solutions Group can demystify these and many other complicated new employment and labor laws for you and your HR staff, hiring managers and supervisors. We specialize in compliance; we stay continually up to date on federal, state and local requirements; and we have expertise in pay equity and compensation, management/employee training and handbooks, FEHC/FEHA, FMLA and much more. Moreover, as a small business ourselves, we appreciate how challenging it can be to do business amidst these ever-changing rules and regulations.
Count on Leap to guide you through the complexities of each new piece of legislation and provide the knowledge, tools and resources you need to respond efficiently, reduce legal risk, minimize expenses and achieve the peace of mind that comes with keeping your organization and your people safe, strong and successful.
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Chuck McPherson | October 23, 2017
Recovery Strategies for Employers
Everyone has been impacted in some way by the catastrophic fires that recently ravaged our beloved Sonoma County, and Leap Solutions Group is no exception. All of us were evacuated from our homes and sought refuge with neighbors, friends and family. One of our team members is still displaced, and another is regrettably among the many thousands who lost their homes entirely.
Residents are returning to their homes and workplaces or sifting through the sites where they once stood, and businesses are resuming operations where possible. As our community begins to cope with devastating losses, employers and employees find ourselves managing situations we never could have anticipated.
At Leap Solutions Group, we are heartened to see Sonoma County already proving to be stronger and more resilient than ever. As you and your organization navigate toward your new normal, we encourage you to start with these areas:
- Now is the time to reaffirm your commitment to each and every employee in your organization. Take roll call to confirm the safety of all, and check in personally and continually to assess the unique, immediate and ongoing needs of each individual. Provide resources in different languages as appropriate, and remember to perform workplace safety checks.
- For most of us, a disaster of this proportion is unprecedented. Providing flexibility to your employees can go a long way toward easing their stress levels during these unusually intense times. Temporary modifications—whether in the form of adjusted work hours, work-from- home arrangements or other creative ways to meet personal needs—might
not be in keeping with your company’s existing policies, but extraordinary times may well call for makeshift measures. You must, of course, remain compliant with local, state and federal regulations throughout the recovery period. As you determine what works best in this particular situation, you may choose to incorporate a version of these modifications into a formal disaster policy.
- Employers can’t fix everything, but we can certainly do our part to support the emotional wellness of our employees. People cope with trauma in very individual ways, so it’s key to meet everyone where they’re at and manage our own perceptions, assumptions and expectations accordingly. Some have experienced unimaginable losses, others may seem fine but actually harbor some form of survivor guilt, and most everyone is in varying stages along the recovery process. Give your employees the freedom to talk openly about how they were impacted and what their future plans might be, help them look into their benefits packages for free or low-cost counseling sessions, and communicate widely about any and all mental health support services you know to be available to them, including California state Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offerings where applicable.
- Many people feel understandably paralyzed after trauma, but volunteering can be a great way to get out of the immediacy of our current situation, regain perspective, renew purpose and focus on a brighter future. Inspire your employees with any of the countless feel-good stories of how the disaster has already brought out the best in our community, and look for ways this shared tragedy might actually provide a rare opportunity for employers to galvanize our teams in the spirit of service.
Further, we urge clients, employees, self-employed individuals and businesses to look into the many resources available to support ongoing recovery efforts, including (but not limited to):
Local Community Resource
Information site for recovery efforts related to the Sonoma County fires. This is an official page for the County of Sonoma and City of Santa Rosa and is a resource for all things concerning these unprecedented disasters that have affected our community.
California Employment Development Department (EDD)
(also available in Spanish)
The California Employment Development Department (EDD) provides a variety of services to people and businesses impacted by disasters in California. These range from assistance for people who may have lost jobs due to the disaster to employers who are forced to shut down operations.
The Governor has issued a State of Emergency proclamation, and the President has issued a Federal Emergency Disaster Declaration for the California wildfires. For these disasters, the one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits is waived, and Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits are available for people who are not eligible to receive regular state unemployment benefits.
Note: The EDD encourages anyone out of work due to these wildfires to apply for unemployment benefits through either the state or the federal unemployment insurance program. The deadline for filing claims is November 16, 2017.
Employers directly affected by the disaster may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the EDD to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest.
Local Assistance Centers (LACs)
Local Assistance Centers (LACs) are open to assist those impacted by the California wildfires. LACs include representatives from the EDD and other local, state and federal agencies, non-profit and voluntary organizations with disaster assistance programs and services, including unemployment benefits and payroll tax extensions for employers.
Disaster Loss—California Franchise Tax Board (FTB)
For California purposes, a casualty loss becomes a disaster loss when both of the following occur: (1) you sustain the loss in an area the President of the United States or the Governor of California declares a state of emergency, and (2) you sustain the loss because of the declared disaster.
Taxpayers may deduct a disaster loss for any loss sustained in California beginning on or after January 1, 2014 and before January 1, 2024. You can claim a disaster loss in the taxable year the disaster occurred or in the taxable year immediately before the disaster occurred. The advantage of claiming a loss in the prior year is that the loss will generally reduce the prior-year tax liability, generating a refund that Franchise Tax Board (FTB) can issue quickly.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
The mission of FEMA is to support citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.
The mission of the Disaster Assistance Improvement Program (DAIP) is to provide disaster survivors with information, support, services, and a means to access and apply for disaster assistance through joint data-sharing efforts between federal, tribal, state, local, and private-sector partners. The Disaster Assistance website allows you to:
Benefits.gov is the official benefits website of the U.S. government, with a mission to reduce the expense and difficulty of interaction with the government while increasing citizen access to benefit information. The website provides online access to information from 17 federal agencies.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-relief-for-victims-of-wildfires-in-california Special tax relief and assistance is available to taxpayers in Presidential Disaster Areas.
Consult with your individual insurance carrier and policy for benefits you might not realize you have, such as business interruption insurance.
Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA offers disaster assistance in the form of low-interest federal loans for businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate or property. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition. The SBA works alongside FEMA at Disaster and Business Recovery Centers, where disaster survivors are able to apply in person and get counseling on the next steps toward recovery.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
State of California Employees and eligible dependents have access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAP offers completely confidential, no-charge, face-to-face counseling or telephone coaching for state employees, managers, supervisors, and eligible dependents 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
At Leap Solutions Group, our hearts are with you and our door is open as we, together, begin to recover and rebuild.
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