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Talking About What Matters to Employees

Don’t Press That Button!

Understandably, you may want to record that conversation your boss or HR is about to have with you. DON’T! Not without their express (and recorded) consent. Unless you are expecting to tape record someone admitting or committing extortion, kidnapping or physical violence against a person, you will be the one on the wrong side of the law. California is one of 12 states in which recording an otherwise confidential conversation, without the express permission of the other person(s), is a crime – specifically, a misdemeanor. It can subject you to as much as a year in jail and/or a $2500 fine. Equally important, the tape recording may not be admissible in court in any case you may bring in the future. So, if you are in California, shut off those iPhones and Droids during confidential conversations.  Instead, take notes during the meeting or consider taking a few minutes right after the conversation to write down everything that you can recall about the conversation, including what each person said. Even if you are upset by the conversation, take a deep breath and write as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances (such as whether you continue to be employed after the conversation), you may want to send an email to your boss or HR confirming what was said. And always keep your emails and other written communications polite and to the point....

Here’s to Hoping that Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella Learned Something About Equal Pay in His First Year

Today is the one-year anniversary of Microsoft’s announcement that Satya Nadella would become the tech giant’s new Chief Executive Officer.  Nadella had worked in Silicon Valley since 1992, and had been with Microsoft for 22 years when he was elevated to the position of CEO.  His first year compensation amounts to about $84 million.  Until October, Nadella’s tenure as Microsoft’s CEO was unremarkable.  But then came his remarks at the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the World’s largest gathering of women technologists.  The head of Microsoft chose this gathering of more than 8000 attendees, mostly women, to suggest that women were better off trusting “karma” than pushing for raises.  The incident raised the hackles of women inside and outside the technology world and immediately raised Nadella’s profile as well … but not in a good way. The CEO had been invited to speak at a plenary session, which was open to all conference attendees.  In response to a question the best ways for women to advance in corporate America, Nadella said that “[i]t’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.”  Nadella went on to say that not asking for a raise was “good karma.” Not too surprisingly, Nadella’s remarks immediately drew the ire of women, particularly as studies routinely show that women are paid less than men.  Indeed, some research shows that Nadella’s advice is exactly the opposite of what women need.  According to Linda Babcock, an economics professor at Carnegie Mellon University and leading researcher on women and pay negotiations, one of the reasons that women make less money is because they are less likely than their male counterparts to negotiate their compensation. There is at least one silver lining in the story of this CEO blunder — it appears that Mr. Nadella may have learned something from the experience.  The first sign of the lesson learned came in the form of a tweet.  Unlike many CEOs, he did not try to explain away the ignorant remarks.  Instead, within hours of leaving the stage, Mr. Nadella tweeted:  “Was inarticulate re how women should ask for raise.  Our industry must close gender pay gap so a raise is not needed because of bias.” Next came Nadella’s brief email to all Microsoft employees, in which he stated that his response to the question was “completely wrong.”  Yes, you read that right.  Within hours of making a foolish and...

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