Managing Different Generations in the Workplace

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As the economy continues to grow and the job market becomes increasingly robust, many employers around the country are probably starting to get antsy, wondering how they can entice their best employees to stick around instead of looking for a bump in pay or responsibilities elsewhere. Building employee loyalty can be a tough task for managers, but it’s something they can’t afford to ignore, as competition for skilled talent grows fiercer every day.

Today’s changing work environment is only making things more complicated, particularly when it comes to trying to satisfy and meet the expectations of employees across several generations. In 2016, Millennials became the largest generation in the labor force, and as of 2017, there were more than 56 million Millennials either working or looking for work. Following close behind are the nation’s 53 million Gen X’s and 41 million Baby Boomers. All this makes for a crowded workplace where managers need to keep things running smoothly while also exploring new ways to make their employees feel fulfilled and ensure they have a clear vision of their future with the firm.

What are some of the best strategies for pursuing this goal?

 First of all, make everyone feel appreciated. It might seem like the easy answer here is more compensation but cash bonuses aren’t the only way to say “thank you” anymore. As the survey reveals, for Millennials, loyalty is closely tied to a sense of opportunities for career growth. Eighty-six percent of Millennials surveyed said that their company providing career training and development would keep them from leaving their current position. But if that position is lacking in growth opportunities and the potential for leadership development, 67% of Millennials said they would be more likely to leave instead.

Next, employers need to prioritize flexibility when it comes to learning and advancement. This can go a long way toward creating a culture of continuous, lifelong learning, which is only going to become more essential in the workplace as key skills and competencies change and evolve faster every year. Giving employees the freedom to pursue professional development in whatever format and on whatever schedule is most convenient to them is a great approach.

 It’s also in tune with Millennial expectations, given that they consistently rank training and development even higher than cash bonuses on their list of priorities in the workplace. It’s a great way to keep Gen X employees—many of whom are a few decades into their career and likely in management roles at this point from feeling like they’re hitting mid-career plateaus or stagnation.

 Last but certainly not least, encouraging better communication is key. Employees across generations want feedback, but they differ in how they want to receive it. Millennials prefer to get feedback almost constantly while 60% of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers want a less frequent approach and prefer annual or biannual, formalized performance reviews.

Employers also need to make sure that feedback itself is constructive and helpful. With 78% of Gen Xers responding that performance reviews do not yield meaningful growth opportunities and 42% of all employees saying they would grade their employers at a C or below, it’s clear that many managers have work to do to make the review process productive for employees and not just an exercise.

It’s helpful to study this and other data to gain insight into what each specific generation values most so that needs and expectations can be balanced effectively across the workplace. In the end, however, there’s more that unites us than separates us, and every manager would do well to remember that all generations want:

To be treated fairly

Work that provides personal satisfaction

Employers that understand personal lives are important

Work that is valued by employers and customers

A clear sense of purpose from employers

Keep these tenets—and that focus on employee growth and professional development—in mind and employee loyalty is likely to disappear from your list of management concerns.

 

-MB

Is the Annual Company Holiday Party Still a Thing?

 
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In recent years, many companies have downsized their holiday parties to less lavish affairs or hosted other types of events that replaced the traditional after-hours holiday soiree. The decision whether to host a holiday party may come down to cost or employee interest.

 Moving away from the traditional party "seemed to come along with businesses becoming more budget-conscious in the aftermath of the recession, but it is also consistent with the business trend of focusing on company culture," said Catherine Wragg, senior vice president for human resources at TriNet, headquartered in Dublin, California. "Using that holiday budget to have more meaningful team-building activities throughout the year helps employees engage with the company on a more consistent basis and contribute their time and skills in a way that is focused on building community."

 

Could a Holiday Party Become a Liability?

One reason companies may choose events other than the traditional party to celebrate the holidays could be the desire to avoid potential liability. An employer could be held responsible for any activities that happen during the party, and some companies have decided the risk may not be worth it.

Employment attorneys agree that holiday parties can be risky for employers. "More bad behavior occurs at company holiday parties than at any other time of year," said Mark F. Kluger, attorney and partner at Kluger Healey LLC in Fairfield, N.J. "The combination of the holiday season, pent-up feelings about co-workers and, most importantly, alcohol often lead to uninhibited behavior ranging from sexual harassment to expressions of intolerance." 

Community Service Projects, Team-Building Trips Might Be Preferable

One way to celebrate the holiday season is to have employees participate in a service project together.

One idea is to distribute toys to underprivileged and needy children in the community. Choosing a local organization to collaborate with to have an impact where employees live and work. When employees end their workday at noon and spend the rest of the day together having a light lunch and wrapping presents for others, it becomes a team-building activity while increasing the holiday spirit. Other community service projects, such as collecting items for a local food pantry or running a mitten and hat drive for a homeless shelter, can also be strong team-building activities during the holiday season.

 Another idea would be to do a "mystery trip" as an alternative to the standard holiday party. Doing a mystery trip opens the door to encourage team building and building relationships among people in the different teams of the company; doing this leads to experiences and memories that will last longer than a cocktail party will.

Employers might want to consider not doing an event at all. According to a TriNet survey, 73 percent of employees would prefer a cash bonus during holiday time, while 51 percent favor having extra paid time off between Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Because December can be a busy time for many people, a traditional holiday party could feel like an obligation to employees.

Politics & The Workplace

 
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While the midterm elections have passed, there are still a wide number of people strongly debating what current policy and events will mean to people’s futures. Passions are running high, and not every discussion ends up being civil. Managers must make sure that the discussion doesn’t divide staff members into angry, tribal camps, while at the same time make sure not to simply silence everyone’s views or attempt to force employees to take on management’s views. Employees need to be able to discuss how to handle the issues the best possible way.

1. Hold Transparent Discussions Between Staff and Management

Company leaders should allow employees the freedom to have discussions; banning all political conversations just causes further divide. Cultivate a culture where everyone feels welcome whether they are liberal, conservative or anywhere in-between. Don't force the political view of the executive team on the rest of the organization either.

2. Tell People to Keep It Lighthearted

Management should communicate to all employees that it is perfectly OK to engage in political discussion, as long as they keep it as lighthearted as possible. Encourage non-confrontational questions, rather than discussions about hot-button issues where there is little to no middle ground. Develop a culture that is respectful to others’ views and fosters an open mindedness.

3. Encourage A Culture of Respect

Whether the topic is politics or pay, employers should focus on promoting the organizational expectation of a respectful workplace. It is important that company leaders model this expectation in how they communicate and interact with employees. It's also important that the leadership team is trained on key actions and talk points when those discussions pop up in the workplace.

4. Redirect Conversations About Non-Work-Related Topics

Political opinions about non-work-related topics should not be discussed at work for the same reason personal matters should be left at the door: they have the potential to create a hostile work environment. However, a healthy dialogue about political matters that impact the business is important. Train managers to redirect to the issues that impact work life, not personal life.

5. Help People Gain Perspective

Reasonable people can disagree on movies, child rearing, sports, personal financial management strategies, educational institutions and so much more. When a disagreement becomes emotional, managers should help employees step back and try to recognize and appreciate diversity, the commonality of good intentions, and the work that diverse individuals can accomplish together.

6. Foster an Inclusive Environment

Educate your employees on the value and importance of having a diverse and inclusive environment. Let them know that dialogue is encouraged, but the office is not the environment for debates. If employees aren't open to hearing different points of view, they should refrain from starting and/or joining the conversation.

Employee Negligence and Cybersecurity Risks

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Employee negligence is the main cause of data breaches, according to an industry report. The report found that 47 percent of business leaders said human error such as accidental loss of a device or document by an employee had caused a data breach at their organization.

Another report reveals that 61 percent of small to medium sized businesses suffered a cyber-attack in 2017 and 54 percent experienced a data breach. The cost of these attacks can range from thousands well into the millions of dollars. Of the businesses stricken with ransomware attacks and data breaches, 60 percent shut down within six months of a breach, according to the U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance.

Having a comprehensive and detailed internet and computer use policy in your employee handbook can help lower your risks. Cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, and no single-shot solution exists to deliver absolute protection. It a good idea to be informed of such risks to your company. Contact your human resources department and information technology support to help put a protection plan in place. Contact us if you are in need of support on this matter.

ICE Increases Enforcement

 
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U.S Immigration & Customs Enforcement

After California Governor Jerry Brown signed sanctuary laws in October 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has cracked down on arresting undocumented individuals in California. ICE Director Thomas Homan stated that because California's sanctuary laws limit cooperation with state law enforcement partners, ICE actions "will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests, instead of focusing on arrests at jails and prisons where transfers are safer for ICE officers and the community."
In January 2018, ICE issued Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to 77 companies in Northern California. The following month, ICE issued 122 NOIs to companies in Southern  California and made over 200 arrests. According to Homan, "88 % were convicted criminals." Employers who received NOIs regarding their I-9 forms had three days to prepare for the inspections. Failure to comply could result in civil fines and possible criminal prosecution.

Since September 2017, ICE has conducted raids all over the U.S. and issued one of the largest fines in its history -- Asplundh Tree received a $95 million penalty. ICE also served audit notices on 98 7-Eleven franchises and conducted raids that led to over 20 arrests.

California is not the only enforcement target. 

Below are ICE's statistics for the 2017 fiscal year:

  • Conducted 1,360 I-9 audits

  • Made 139 criminal arrests and 172 administrative arrests

  • Ordered businesses to pay $97.6 million in judicial forfeiture, fines, and restitution and $7.8 million in civil fines


These statistics are part of the first two prongs of ICE's three-pronged enforcement process: 

  1. I-9 inspections and civil fines

  2. Arrests of employers and unauthorized workers


ICE offers the IMAGE Program which trains and certifies employers to set an example for other employers.

Employers who are looking to get certified must:

  • Complete the IMAGE Self-Assessment Application

  • Sign an IMAGE partnership agreement

  • Enroll in E-Verify within 60 days

  • Establish a written hiring and employment eligibility verification policy

  • Conduct yearly I-9 self-audits

  • Submit to an initial I-9 inspection


For employers who enroll in the IMAGE Program, ICE will:

  • Waive potential fines if substantive violations are discovered on fewer than 50 percent of the Form I-9s. If more than 50 percent of forms have substantive violations, they will mitigate fines.

  • Not conduct another inspection for two years.

  • Provide information and training before, during and after inspection.

Expansion of Sexual Harassment Training Obligations

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Governor Brown Signs SB 1343 Expanding Sexual Harassment Training Obligations

On September 30, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1343, which lowers the number of employees a company must have to trigger mandatory sexual harassment training.

SB 1343 takes effect on January 1, 2020.  Any California employer with 5 or more employees will be required to provide mandatory sexual harassment training to all employees both supervisory and non-supervisory employees, as well as temporary and seasonal workers..

Currently, any California employer with 50 or more employees is required to provide at least 2 hours of sexual harassment training to all supervisory employees within 6 months of assuming the supervisory position.  After the initial training, employees are required to have updated sexual harassment training once every 2 years.

Please contact HR Advisors for more information about our Sexual Harassment Training Program.

Tips for Open Enrollement

6 tips to share with your employees during open enrollment.

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1. Take an active role.

Many employers are working on making enrollment quick and easy. One of the ways your company can do this is by clearly communicating what is changing from previous years. You should also encourage your employees to take advantage of the resources you provide.

2. Assess your and your dependents’ health care needs.

Encourage employees to start by reviewing how much they have spent out-of-pocket in the past year, the costs of their regular prescriptions, and the number of doctor visits they have had. If they are participating in a flexible spending account, encourage them to re-evaluate their contribution levels based on their actual and anticipated expenses for 2019. It’s also important to think about any life changes that may impact their decisions, such as an addition to the family or the development of a new medical condition that may impact health care expenses.

3. Evaluate your plan’s provider network.

There have been many changes taking place in the provider community, including doctor’s groups joining together and hospitals and health systems re-contracting with insurers. As a result, health plan options may include vastly different combinations of doctors and hospitals than in the past.

4. Evaluate whether a consumer-driven health plan is right for you.

CDHPs often have lower premiums, which make them an attractive option for individuals who want to reduce the costs taken out of their paychecks each pay period. While employees may have a higher deductible to meet, many employers combine these plans with health reimbursement accounts or health savings accounts, which employees can use to help pay for eligible out-of-pocket health care costs. It’s important for employees to understand how the employer’s contributions work so they can maximize this subsidy.

5. Determine the best source of coverage for your dependents.

If an employee’s spouse, partner or adult children have access to health coverage elsewhere, including through their employer, it may be more cost effective for them to enroll in this coverage instead of being covered by you. Encourage employees to carefully review and compare these plans to ensure they are choosing the coverage they need at the most favorable cost.

6. Take advantage of health and wellness programs.

Many employers offer a wide range of health and wellness programs, such as health assessments, weight loss programs and health coaching to help employees get and stay healthy. Taking part in these programs can help employees understand their current health status, and they might even be able to take advantage of a financial incentive for doing so.

Halloween & The Workplace

 
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Beware, Halloween is right around the corner!

You just picked out your costume, so now what? It’s important to remember that if you plan to wear that costume to work or decorate your office space, you must always consider your audience. To help prevent any scary situations, here are five things to think about:

1. Holiday Decorating Policy

Always check to make sure your company doesn’t have a policy or restrictions on certain decorations. For safety reasons, it is common for companies to prohibit items such as open flame candles, electrical lights and fog machines. Better to be safe than sorry!

2. Simplicity is Key

Wearing elaborate or heavy costumes can present some complications or snags in being able to perform your daily tasks. After 8 hours of trying to maneuver through your work day, it might not be worth the trouble. Instead, dig out those cat ears, witch hats and pumpkin t-shirts and call it a festive and successful workday!

3. Holidays Don’t Cancel Out the Dress Code

Everyone should continue to follow the standard for dress in their workplace even on Halloween. In recent years, it seems that almost any costume can be modified to become “sexy.”, however, just because it is a holiday, it doesn’t mean that the company’s dress code policy doesn’t apply.

4. Stay Clear of Controversy

One person’s idea of a funny costume may not be the same as another’s. Avoid costumes that could be insensitive to someone culture, religion, political stance, or related to a recent hot-button news story.

5. Find Other Ways to Celebrate

Instead of dressing up, place some sweet treats on your desk. Another option is to plan a department lunch and decorate pumpkins that can be displayed in your workspace. While many companies encourage healthy eating habits, there’s nothing wrong with indulging a little during the holidays!

If your company is restricting what you can do to celebrate this year, don’t take it personally. The people who make these decisions want to keep everyone’s best interests in mind.

Forms I-9 Scam Wreaking Havoc on Employers: What to Watch For

 
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If you get a very convincing email from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) about information on your employees’ I-9s, do not follow the instructions! The I-9 information request is the latest in a series of sophisticated scams targeting employers. Moreover, the scam appears to be working.

Employers are not required to submit I-9s to the USCIS, so such a request should raise some red flags. Nevertheless, the request is throwing employers off because the emails look very authentic. In fact, the emails actually come from a uscis.gov email address and they even contain logos from both USCIS and the Office of Inspector General.

As if that’s not enough to fool some time-strapped HR professionals, many of the emails also contain other details designed to make the messages appear legitimate — like your company’s mailing address.

However, the USCIS, has made it abundantly clear it’s not sending any emails to employers about their I-9s. It’s also warning companies not to click on any links in the email or respond to the sender. Another reason employers may be eager to cooperate is that the Federal Government recently announced they are ramping up I-9 audits; but again, the USCIS will never email you about an I-9 audit.

What to do if you are targeted:

To prevent your company from falling victim to this I-9 scam, there are several preemptive steps you should take ASAP.

 First, make sure your employees are aware of the I-9 scam email and what the phony email will look like. If workers do receive an I-9 information request, they should forward those messages to the Federal Trade Commission via the ftccomplaintassistant.gov website.

 Lastly, if you receive an email from the USCIS and are not sure if it’s legit, you can always double-check by forwarding it to uscis.webmaster@uscis.dhs.gov.

The Importance of Regular Feedback

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Giving your employees feedback about their work performance makes a positive impact on your company. Below is a short list of why this type of communication is key.

  • Regular performance feedback lets your employees know what they're doing well, and which areas they can improve in. Instead of just pointing out what is not working, good performance feedback offers tips and suggestions on how to do better in the workplace.
  • When managers and employees communicate honestly on a regular basis, it creates a better relationship between them over time. The main reason employees leave a company is when they have a poor relationship with their manager. If feedback is given both ways, it can help retain employees. Also, employees will likely feel more comfortable approaching their managers with questions, comments, or concerns, and managers will have an easier time giving direction.
  • Feedback eliminates guesswork. When managers and employees are guessing, it typically means communication is lacking. Poor communication can lead to poor performance and low productivity or work quality. Regular feedback provides employees with an understanding of exactly what is expected of them.
  • Regular performance feedback helps improve conversation skills. It encourages to communicate better with not only their manager but other co-workers as well, which improves teamwork.

For more guidance on employee evaluations and employee relations, contact HR Advisors!

The 6 Worst HR Mistakes

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The number of lawsuits against employers has increased significantly over the past 10 years and one small HR mistake could cost a company a great amount of time and money.
Below are some of the most important HR mistakes to avoid.

1. Using the wrong wording in job ads and interviews. It is very important that managers and supervisors are aware of the topics they should avoid in job postings and during interviews. Statements or questions that relate to race, religion, age, disability etc. could expose the company to a hiring-bias lawsuit. The main question should be: "How well can this candidate perform the job duties?"

2. Wage-and-hour errors. Employee-pay lawsuits have increased by 300% over the past 10 years. Employers must ensure that workers are properly classified (exempt vs non-exempt). It is recommended that employers create a policy regarding unauthorized overtime, and to apply progressive discipline for employees working off-the-clock, but they must be paid for any time
worked whether or not it was approved. It is also important to make sure that overtime pay is calculated accurately.

3. The beginning and end of an employee's tenure are the most legally risky. Employers should avoid making any legally binding promises to workers. Also, without the proper documentation, the company cannot defend that the business decision to terminate an employee was not based on a discriminatory reason (race, religion, sex, age, disability or retaliation for voicing a legal complaint).

4. Giving the impression of electronic privacy. Employees should be informed that their computer usage and data can and will be monitored.

5. Lack of supervisor training. Employers should make it a priority to properly train supervisors and managers so they are aware of their legal limits when it comes to interviews, hiring, daily management and terminations.

Management Practices to Improve Employee Productivity

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Increasing productivity is a major goal for most (if not all) employers. Managers and supervisors play an important role in ensuring that the company is getting the most from their employees. Below are some tips for managers to help improve productivity.

1. Economic Incentives. Designing a program that benefits employees at all levels of the company will motivate "lower-level" workers to contribute to the company's success, rather than just those at the upper level.

2. Constructive Feedback. Providing regular feedback to employees helps them understand what they are doing well and what they need to improve on. Delivering the message in an encouraging way is key.

3. Training. It is important that managers and supervisors at all levels in the company have received the proper training.

4. Employee Support. Management support in times of need (updating equipment, emotional support and work-life balance support) will never go unappreciated and boosts employee morale.

5. Employee Recognition. Management does not gain anything by withholding praise when it is well deserved. Studies have shown that many employees value recognition for their hard work over money.

6. Lead by Example. Employees can be quickly demoralized when they see senior-level managers behaving in a way that they do not respect. Employees notice when those in leadership positions are "walking the talk," and they also notice when they aren't!

For information on management training, please contact HR Advisors.

3 Ways to Provide Actionable, Helpful Feedback That Improves Performance

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Giving helpful, constructive feedback can be surprisingly difficult. While it’s easy for most people to work out how a behavior or process doesn’t work, turning this into a piece of advice that’s actionable and helpful is rarely an easy process.

Despite this, giving feedback is one of the most important aspects of building a great team. Without feedback, it’s impossible to know where and how to improve and put the changes into place that required to develop and get better.

Luckily, it’s possible to provide actionable, helpful feedback to colleagues and team members using a few simple techniques. Apply the three tactics below to give your colleagues and employees helpful feedback that they can use to improve.

Make sure your feedback is relevant, timely and specific. 

The best feedback ticks three boxes: it’s highly relevant to the task or situation that’s at hand, it’s delivered at the right moment to help the recipient, and it’s very specific and directly applicable.

Does your feedback meet all three criteria? Many people give great advice that’s not relevant to the situation, or they deliver the right advice at the wrong moment. Lots of great advice is given that’s also too general to put into practice.

Giving relevant, timely and specific advice makes your feedback more valuable than any other messages your team members or employees receive. It gives an employee the chance to directly implement your advice and improve a specific situation.

Before you give advice, make sure that it ticks all of the three boxes above: it’s highly specific, timely and relevant. When all three conditions are met, your feedback is far more likely to have a positive effect on your employees or team members.

Be positive, and ensure your feedback has a constructive tone. 

It’s easy to sound overly negative when you give feedback. Because of tone, it’s quite common for people to interpret positive, constructive feedback as an insult or mean, negative statement about their job performance.

Because of this, it’s important to make sure that your feedback is always built to be positive and constructive. Great feedback should give people valuable help, and not feel like it detracts from their abilities or belittles them.

Before you give feedback, think about how you would react if you were the recipient instead of the giver. Would you view it as a helpful piece of actionable advice or as a personal insult or complaint?

Phrasing, tone and word choice can have a huge impact on the way your feedback is received, even if it doesn’t change its content much. Before you give any advice, use the above test to make sure the recipient isn’t likely to misinterpret your feedback.

Be consistent, or else your feedback is largely meaningless. 

One of the most common complaints of disgruntled or frustrated employees is that their bosses simply don’t listen to them. When you give inconsistent feedback, it’s extremely difficult for your employees or team members to know what to do.

As written above, great feedback is relevant, timely and specific. It’s also consistent, with great feedback maintaining the same message no matter how or when it ends up being delivered.

If you deliver inconsistent feedback to an employee, it becomes difficult for them to know how to improve. This is particularly true if several people each provide their own contradictory feedback on how a person, task or project could be made better.

When you’re part of a team, ensure you all have the same goals and can deliver the same key messages in your feedback. As an individual, make sure you stick to one message and remain consistent when you offer feedback to your team members.

How to Hire the Wrong Person Every Time

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Here are 10 Questions to Ask Yourself:

1. Do you ONLY recruit when you have an immediate need? 

If that's what you do, you probably do not have a list of pre-screened candidates to call.

2. Do your recruitment ads attract people who are looking for a job - ANY job - rather than people who really want to do the job you have to offer?

3. Have you neglected to identify the particular capacities (both mental and physical)? 

Skills, personality traits, and other core competencies that are necessary to being successful on the job is the key to hiring the right person. 

4. Do you neglect to ask your employees, vendors, business networks, family, and friends if they can refer to anyone who would be a good fit for the job?

5. Do you neglect to pre-screen applicants by phone first?

This process would help ensure that they meet your minimum hiring requirements.

6. Do you neglect to test applicants for the needed skills and other requirements someone needs to be successful in the position?

Just taking their word that they will be able to do the job or just assuming they can do it well because they did it somewhere else before is risky.

7. Do you rely on your "gut" instinct during interviews? Naturally, if you "like" an applicant, you look for reasons to hire them and, if you don't "like" them, you look for reasons not to hire them. This may lead to hiring the wrong person for the job. 

8. Do you tell applicants all about the job and what the ideal candidate looks like before you find out who they are and what they can do?

You will have given them too much information and they will gear their interview answers to what you have confided in instead of waiting until you have received information from them to compare with what the ideal candidate looks like.

9. Do you neglect to plan for the interview? 

If you do not plan, then you just "wing" it and the result is that you hire the person with the best presentation skills rather than the person who is the best fit for the job.

10. Do you neglect to check references? Don't just assume that none of the people you call will tell you anything useful.

If you are doing most of the things cited here, the formula is for frustration and failure. When the new hire doesn't work, you can go out and do it this way all over again OR you can reverse engineer the process and hire the right person!

For recruitment services, please contact HR Advisors.

What Is the Cost of Hiring Bad Employees?

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At some point most business owners realize they have made a bad hiring decision. The employee may have poor customer service skills or frequent tardiness. Bad hires tend to have a ripple effect in business.

According to CareerBuilder, on average each year, 69% of employers are negatively affected by a bad hire. The costly adverse effects may shock you. 

What is the actual cost of hiring bad employees. 

For 41% of business owners a bad hire cost them a minimum of $25,000.00, and 25% of business owners say that it cost them $50,000.00.

Bad employees hurt productivity and can cause a loss in sales and/or damage customer relationships. After firing a bad employee, recruiting, hiring and training a new employee costs the company time and money.

Why do bad hires happen?

According to a survey from CareerBuilder, the biggest reason for bad hires is the need to fill a position immediately.

Although having an open position takes a toll on the company, hiring a bad employee is actually worse. There is no financial benefit of hiring an employee just to fill a position quickly.

Other reasons for bad hires include:

·         Insufficient recruiting

·         The need to adjust sourcing techniques

·         Fewer recruiters needed to review applicants

·         Failure to conduct reference checks

·         Lack of a strong employment brand

How can you avoid hiring the wrong person?

Create a job ad that specifically states what skills are needed. Be specific in the ad so you can attract candidates that have the skills you seek and who can be immediately effective on the job.

Prepare a list of interview questions that pertain to the position. Don't ask generic questions during the interview.

Gather feedback from existing employees. Ask current employees what kind of person they would want to work with and include those qualities when searching for the right candidate.

Google the candidate and see what comes up. Check social media accounts and posts for any red flags.

Do a second interview. Although this may be time consuming, it will refresh your memory on the candidate and help reveal more of their character traits.

Conduct reference checks. Call the candidates most recent employer and ask to speak with a manager or supervisor who worked with the candidate.

Business owners want to hire the right person and a great deal of time and energy goes into this process. In the long run, taking the time to find long-term employees will help keep turnover down and save the company a great deal of money. HR Advisors offers full cycle recruitment services, please contact us for more information!

 

- Five Stars

Ten Common Mistakes In Employee Handbooks

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An employee handbook can be the foundation of employee performance and a shield against law suits OR it can be a time bomb that confuses employees and strips away your legal defenses!

It depends on how well it's written and implemented. Here is a list adapted from The HR Law Weekly of common mistakes in company handbooks:

1. Adopting a "Form" Handbook -  It many include promises you will never be able to keep.

2. Including too much detail on procedures - This is confusing to employees and provides fodder for lawyers. Stick to company policies and keep separate procedures manual for managers.

3. Mentoring a "probationary" period - To be effective, it must be called an " introductory period."

4. Being too specific in your discipline policy - This may give the idea that the policy covers every infraction.

5. Not being consistent - Make sure all policies speak in one voice.

6. Overlooking an at-will disclaimer

7. Sabotaging disclaimers by what you say- Especially by reassuring employees their jobs are safe.

8. Not adapting the handbook to accommodate each state's  laws

9. Failing to update the manual frequently for changing laws

10. Setting unrealistic policies -  If managers won't enforce it- don't put it in the handbook.

For handbook services, please contact HR Advisors. 

 

- The HR Law Weekly

The Key to Defeating a Discrimination Claim

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If an employee is able to prove that that he/she was wrongfully terminated (e.g. discrimination), does the company have any defense to such a claim?

A recent case demonstrates that California employers can avoid liability if they are able to prove that they would have made the decision to terminate regardless of the wrongful factor.

In 1977, William A. Davis worked as an insurance agent for Farmers. In 1983 he entered into an independent contractor agreement, however he was restricted from representing any other insurance companies and was required to abide by all of Farmer's regulations.

Davis filed a lawsuit against Farmers for misclassification (stating he should have been classified as an employee not an independent contractor), as well as wrongful termination claiming that he had been fired because of his age (57).

The jury decided that Davis was indeed misclassified and should have been hired as an employee. During the time that Davis' wrongful termination lawsuit was pending, the California Supreme Court held in Harris v. City of Santa Monica, that when an employee supports a Fair Employment and Housing (FEHA) discrimination claim by demonstrating that an illegal reason was a major factor of his/her termination, the employer may avoid liability by establishing that the decision would have been made regardless of the wrongful factor.

The court instructed the jury to reflect the holding in the Harris case at Davis' trial. The jury found that while Davis' age was a key motivating factor of his termination, Farmers would have made the same decision for valid reasons such as poor performance. Davis was not awarded any damages.

 

- HR Daily Advisor

Can You and Should You Keep Employee’s Salaries a Secret?

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Making salary information public shows transparency which in turn can boost employee morale; while on the other hand, keeping this information private can cause employees to feel “cheated” if they learn that someone in the same position is receiving higher pay.

Although transparency is valuable, there are some downsides to making salary information public. For one, this might cause some employees to feel that they are being paid too little in comparison to others, which may lead to a hostile or jealous work environment. This also limits the employer’s ability when it comes to negotiating salaries.

Although some companies choose to keep salaries confidential, they should be weary of discouraging employees from sharing their wage information as this may be illegal. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) prohibits employers from preventing employees from discussing pay with each other.

Furthermore, President Obama signed an Executive Order in 2014 which prohibits federal contractors from retaliating against employees who disclose their wage information. Should the Paycheck Fairness Act pass, this protection will apply to all employees.

There are positive and negative aspects to both options when it comes to disclosing salary information, but regardless of how each company chooses to handle this, it is important that they stay in compliance with the NLRA.

 

-HR Daily Advisor

Qualities to Look for When Hiring

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A bad hire is more costly than leaving a position open for a few extra weeks or even a couple extra months. When hiring, below are some key traits to look for in candidates, regardless of the position.

1. Responsibility. Someone who possesses this trait will show desire for taking ownership of assignments and projects from start to finish.

2. Resourcefulness. Things don’t always go as planned, so it is good to have someone who is resourceful, can think on his/her feet and can get the job done regardless of any “surprises.”

3. Positive Attitude. Someone who has a positive outlook is likely to take on challenges in a proactive manner and handle them more effectively and efficiently.

4. Good Listening Skills. A good listener will learn from the information they take in from training, discussions and from being aware of what is going on around them.

5. Relationship Builders. Most of the time it takes more than one person to get the job done which is why it is important to hire people who are able to work well with others.

In addition to the traits listed above, it is important to keep in mind your company’s culture and the nature of the job when searching for the candidate who will be the best fit!

 

-Compensation & Benefits Daily Advisor