Category Archives: Human Resources

Three Great Ways to Find Top Talent for Your Company

There are many benefits of hiring top talent. Productivity, meeting company objectives, increased motivation among co-workers…the list of incentives go on. While attracting top talent to your team is one thing, finding an employee with the talent you require is certainly another.

There are presently many employment opportunities across all spectrums of the workforce in the U.S. However, finding ideal candidates with the same drive for success can often be time consuming and present all sorts of challenges. As there are many hiring methods used by hiring managers and HR professionals, here are three great starting points to begin your search of finding top talent for your company.

  1. Network, Network …and Network

Attending trade shows, conferences or other industry-related events overtime can no doubt lead to developing a plethora of contacts and potential great hires. According to Fundera.com networking is a “tried-and-true-way” to seek out new employees. It also allows you to recognize the hiring atmosphere of an industry, establish stronger rapport with potential candidates and even recognize skill sets and experience more easily.

Networking is not just limited to industry-related events. Online business and employment-oriented services such as LinkedIn are great ways to source talent. Many offer a bevy of features including customized profile searches, the ability to connect with contacts directly related to your industry and allow you to join professional groups with like minded industry peers.

  1. Get Creative with Job Postings

Any industry has its own required skill sets, specific roles and terminology. Fundera.com suggests that by including your business’s personality and values through job postings candidates can more easily understand if they would be a good fit within the company’s culture and/or the specified role.

Also, be very specific – rather than vague – in a job description. By including distinctive terminology, responsibilities and/or criteria only experienced employees would understand, it allows you to see if a potential candidate identifies with the role, if they understand the responsibilities, and have the desired experience.

 

  1. Persistence and more Persistence

For some hiring managers and HR professionals, finding top talent is like finding a needle in a haystack. According to LinkedIn, thousands of resumes are posted on popular online job sites every day like Indeed.com. While this may result in searching through many profiles and online resumes, chances of success are far greater if this is a consistent practice.

It also means each new search presents new opportunities to find top talent. However, as not all employees are the same to all employers, searches can be simplified by using effective keywords or utilizing functions such as custom-tailored, daily Resume Alerts.

 

Finding an employee may not be difficult, but finding one with the talent you need might be. While there are many tried-and-true methods among HR professionals and hiring managers, these are just a few starting points that may lead to finding that top talent your company requires for long term success.

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Consider These Steps when Terminating an Employee

Terminating an employee is never easy. It is a difficult situation for both the employee and the employer. There’s some criteria to consider when terminating an employee. Yet, despite the grounds, legalities, etc., there are certain criteria to consider that can make the process less strenuous for both parties.

1. Get to the Point

Terminating an employee is always disheartening. It’s best to arrange a meeting with the employee as quickly as possible and inform them right away. Employees easily detect bad news and it’s best to be clear and direct as possible. In fact, according to an article in the Harvard Business Review, by announcing the termination immediately, the employer will get the individual’s attention about what’s coming next. Additionally, it’s suggested to inform the employee directly, then state the reasons(s) clearly so they understand it’s a firm decision that has been determined prior to the meeting.

2. Listen to the Employee

As it’s not difficult to predict the reaction of an employee getting terminated, The Harvard Business Review also suggests that by taking time, seeing their reaction, and listening to what they have to say makes it much easier to clarify the reasons of their dismissal. Plus, rushing through the meeting may seem insensitive, callous and may create unnecessary irritated emotions.

3. Be Organized to Avoid Future Repercussions

Always have the proper documents completed, including a written notice of termination (or similar documents) and details on severance (if applicable). Geneviève Desmarais, the Assistant Vice-President of Legal Affairs for The Business Development Bank of Canada suggests that when an employee disputes their termination, it’s due to the lack of back-up documentation to support it. It then “becomes a question of ‘he said, she said’ and the burden lies on the employer to demonstrate the termination was made for a just and sufficient cause, and was properly conducted.”

Some employees may be surprised by being let go, while others may have predicted their termination by realizing their lack of performance or behavior. Regardless, showing courtesy, respect and overall professionalism can help make the process less strenuous and smoother for both the employee and employer.

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Bullying in the Workplace and What Employers Can Do About It

Bullying was at one time just an issue in school yards and classrooms. Yet, in recent years, bullying in the workplace has become a major concern among employees, managers and/or supervisors. While having a tough, demanding boss is one thing, bullying is something different altogether. It can essentially undermine an employees’ performance, greatly affect their overall attitude and cause unnecessary stress.

According to The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, bullying in the workplace is not illegal in the U.S. unless it involves various forms of illegal harassment. The result of bullying is extensive and can even be the potential source of physical and mental health problems. So, what can employers do about bullying and how can they prevent it in their workplace?

Here are a few actions employers can take to fight against this age-old behavior in efforts to prevent it:

1. Identify Bullying

Unlike the school yard tormentor, bullying in the workplace goes way beyond stealing lunch money. The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries also states that bullying involves many behavioral patterns towards an employee(s) including (but not limited to):

  • Being shouted and sworn at or humiliated.
  • Deliberately excluded or isolated
  • Excessive mentoring and micro-management
  • Deliberately singling out an employee for no apparent reason

 2. Educate Managers, Supervisors and Directors

Employers or human resource professionals may want to implement a zero-tolerance anti-bullying program (or policy) to ensure senior staff is aware of bullying and that they are provided with proper training on how to get involved constructively. In fact, The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries states that bullying will less likely take place if a company takes a strong stand and the tormentor is likely to be accountable for their actions.

 3. Reporting and Investigating Bullying

Employers can also encourage staff to report any incidents. Although no employee wants to be known as a “snitch or a tattle-tale,” reporting about bullying should be handled quietly and confidentially with assurance that there won’t be any further consequences in the workplace.

On a final note, according to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, if an employer, supervisor or manager doesn’t take action against bullying in the workplace, then they are accepting a share of the responsibility for future abuses.

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Three Reasons Why You Should You Hire a Summer Intern Full-Time

With a robust economy, low unemployment rate and manufacturing at a steady pace, it’s no surprise the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), reported that employers projected to hire 3.4 percent more interns in 2017 than 2016. In fact, 2017 was the first year since 2013 employers revealed positive hiring projections for interns, co-ops, and full-time, entry-level hires.

The association also stated that over the last several years, most membership-employers with internship (75.2 percent) and co-op (65.9 percent) programs said the primary focus of internship programs is to recruit college graduates for full-time positions.

Summer internship programs are beneficial for the employer and intern. The employer receives added assistance with daily work tasks while the intern gains much-needed work experience. It’s often easy to spot the talent of a summer intern during a summer program, yet why should a company offer a full-time position?

1. They Can Bring Value to Your Company

Many summer interns are keen and enthusiastic. Consistently devising fresh ideas and concepts for projects on an ongoing basis is a sure sign of potential future development and progress. Plus, they developed experience within a corporation over the course of an internship, and can further build on their ideas and quite possibly bring something new and exciting to the table for the long term.

2. Smooth Transition

Hiring and training new employees takes time. It can be frustrating for an employer to make the time and effort with on-the-job-training only to realize the employee becomes unhappy in their role or the employer is disappointed with their performance. Summer interns, however, have already grown into a role, their work habits are recognized, and are well-acquainted with other employees and/or clients. Plus, they are current with company operations and upcoming or ongoing projects.

3. Cost Savings

In simple terms, hiring and training a new employee means revenue for a company. According to a report from the Society for Human Resource Management, the average cost-per-hire is approximately $4,129, while the average time it takes to fill a given position is 42 days. Whereas, an intern is already present in their given role and an investment has already been made in their training.

Offering a summer intern full-time employment has several more benefits and is an effective way to develop a great team and grow a company. Even if there are no immediate openings for another team member, it’s always wise to leave the door open for a summer intern in the event of future hires.

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Why You Should Your Company Use Independent Contractors?

As the hiring of contract employees is on the rise among corporations, are the days of the golden handshake, class A office space, and water cooler gossip a thing of the past? Not quite and there’s no need to worry about losing your cozy, corner office just yet.

Even though full-time still reigns supreme among America’s employed, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May 2017 that of the four alternate work arrangements, independent contract employment accounts for a leading 6.7 percent for total employment. On-call workers were a distant 1.7 percent, temp agencies were 0.9 percent and contract firms had a total 0.6 percent.

The big question is: why is contract employment so popular? You might be surprised with the many reasons, and just as many of the benefits. Here are four of them:

Cost savings

According to Nolo.com, having a full-time employee increases payroll expenses. Benefits, dedicated office space, plus contributions to social security, unemployment compensation insurance, etc. can inflate a business’s payroll by approximately 20 to 30 percent. Whereas recruiting a contract employee eliminates most – if not all – of these expenses.

 Flexibility

Nolo.com also states that many businesses experience fluctuating work flow levels throughout the year. Rather than pay a full-time salary (or salaries) – even during less busier times – the cost of a contractor is discontinued when the project is completed. Additionally, any legal compensation in the event of layoffs is – in most cases – usually not required for contractors.

Specific skillsets

It’s common knowledge that “bringing someone in” for a project will be trained specifically for a particular project. This eliminates time, effort and costs in training. Plus, having “a hired gun” for a specific project allows existing full-time employees to concentrate on other business growth.

There’s always a good time to hire an independent contractor

In a recent article from The Balance Small Business, hiring an independent contractor is ideal for when a large project is not part of a core business, which in turn, allows the opportunity for a company to generate revenue from another business sector. Additionally, the project can be executed by a professional with little supervision. Also, as contract employment is sometimes only for short periods, the project will be completed and scheduled in an allotted set period of time.

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Three Basic Labour Laws to Know Before Hiring a Youth

Part-time employment for youths is a win-win situation. It’s cost effective and productive for a business while providing an opportunity for youths to develop certain skill sets and work habits in “the real world” after school hours.

However, as an employer, before you start hiring and scheduling hours, there are several laws and regulations in accordance to The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that you are required to know and abide by. While understanding the basic laws of hiring of youths is just a starting point, having a clear understanding will make the hiring process easier and make your employee’s experience more efficient.

Here are just three of the basic laws set out by The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to get you started:

How many hours can youths work?

According to The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) the minimum age for youths to work is 14 with the basic minimum age being 16. In fact, Youth Rules! – a division of The U.S. Department of Labor – states that youths of aged 14 or 15 are limited to hours they are allowed to work. For example, youths may are not permitted to work:

 

  • Outside of school hours.
  • More than three hours on a school day (including Fridays).
  • More than 18 hours per week during the school year.
  • More than eight hours per day when school is not in session
  • More than 40 hours per week when school is not in session
  • Before 7 a.m. or after 7 pm on any day (hours are extended to 9 pm from June 1 to Labor Day)

 

However, while a little restricted for employers, there are no limited work hours for those aged 16 to 17 and can perform “any job that has not been declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor.” Plus, once a youth reaches 18, “they are no longer subject to the federal child labor provisions.”

Youth Employment Wages

According to the FLSA, the federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour. Yet, for those under 20 years-old (and are eligible to be paid the minimum wage), an employer is entitled to pay as low as $4.25 per hour for the first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment. Following the 90 days, they are then required to pay the full minimum wage.

 

What Type of Businesses Can Youths Work For?

Other than the agricultural space, which entails a whole other set of labor laws and regulations, there are several kinds of employment available (non-manufacturing and non-hazardous jobs) including:

 

  • Various businesses in the retail space
  • Computer programming, tutoring, or the entertainment industry (singing, playing an instrument, etc)
  • Delivery services
  • Yard work (not including the use of power-driven mowers or similar equipment)
  • Loading or unloading objects at worksite including rakes, hand-held clippers, and shovels
  • Gas stations or car detail services.
  • Select restaurant jobs (such as washing dishes, cleaning equipment and limited cooking tasks)

Further, 14 and 15-year-olds who meet certain requirements can perform limited tasks in sawmills and woodshops, while 15-year-olds under certain requirements can work as a lifeguard at public pools or water parks.

By reviewing all the laws and regulations in accordance to the FLSA and that’s outlined by Youth Rules!, you are ensured that you’re meeting the required laws and regulations. Plus, you’re providing a lawful business place for you and your employees!

 

As youth labor laws may vary from state to state, its best to review the limitations and allowances for your area. For more details visit the US Department of Labor at https://www.dol.gov or Youth Rules! at https://www.youthrules.gov.

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How to Keep Top Talent Happy at Your Work Place

High turn-around among employees is challenging for any business. It’s time consuming, cost intensive and can be potentially unproductive when it comes to meeting company goals. It can also hinder a company’s reputation and the ability to keep or even attract top talent.

There are any number reasons for a having a high turnaround of employees. Yet, when it becomes apparent that the front door to your business is more like “a revolving door,” perhaps take a closer look at your work environment to find the cause.

Outside of salary increases and great benefit programs, which are strong incentives to any employee, no business environment is perfect. There’s always politics, that “one employee who creates a headache for everyone” and of course, the common stress-factor. However, establishing and maintaining a harmonious work environment may offset these challenges. In turn, it may provide a more productive, enjoyable experience for your employees, and the ability to hire and keep favorable ones.

Here are three aspects to make your work environment more enticing:

1. Minimize Stress:  Distribute Work Evenly and “Recognize Weak Links”

There’s a long list of things that can cause stress in the work place and too much work is at the top of that list. Having the luxury of a large department to handle major projects is not always feasible for many businesses. Yet, by dividing responsibilities fairly among a team will alleviate some stress, especially when it comes to meeting deadlines. Plus, realizing all your employee’s strengths and weaknesses during a project and placing them in more appropriate roles can further reduce stress, plus provide a more relaxing atmosphere for “the performers.”

2. Address Employee-to-Employee Issues Immediately

There are several reasons for less-than-desirable relations between co-workers and can be a good reason for any good employee(s) to resign. This is an issue that always needs to be addressed and it’s pertinent to realize that a problem exists, determine the root cause and then find a resolution immediately for both parties. In the end, it may create a more positive atmosphere for everyone involved without the issue escalating into larger problems.

 3. Recognize Achievement Where it’s Due

There’s an old saying that “good work is always rewarded with more work.” This can become a burden for any top performer. It can make them feel they are being taken advantage of or not being properly recognized for achievements and as result, become disgruntled. While many large companies offer attractive bonus structures or other monetary incentives to recognize achievements, sometimes a heartfelt thank-you or other means of recognition is all takes to make an employee feel appreciated. In fact, according to The Young Entrepreneur Council, recognition programs, implement peer-to-peer recognition, or even arranging a small celebration off-site is all that is needed to boost morale. Although some employers just don’t have it in their hearts to acknowledge good, solid work, these are all positive incentives to consider. The results may be surprising.

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3 Things to Know Before Hiring a Summer Intern

School is out. The days are long. And thousands of high school and college-age students are looking for summer internships.  If your company is looking to hire an intern, here’s what you need to know.

  1. Don’t Hire an Intern Just to Fetch Coffee

It can be tempting for a company to view an intern role as nothing more than inexpensive labor there to assist with grunt work and coffee runs. Don’t be one of these companies.

Your company culture should inspire internships that allow interns to make a dent while learning from your experienced staff. Many of us have bad memories of being interns for ungrateful organizations when we were younger, so have some empathy and create internship positions that matter. This will attract talented candidates hungry to prove their value, and word will quickly spread that your organization has the hottest internship position in town.

  1. Use the Intern Role to Fill Gaps in Your Organization

Is your marketing team swamped? Is accounting constantly playing catchup? Use an internship position strategically to help fill gaps in your organization.

Hiring an intern to pick up slack in the company is a quick and easy way to jolt bottom line performance. Let’s pretend your summer intern joins a team of five full-time staff and works 40 hours a week. The 40 hours the intern works were previously split among the full-time staff, meaning each staff member is getting 8 hours (40 ÷ 5) added back to their availability every week.

What would you get done with an entire day freed up each week?

  1. Use Your Intern as a Swiss Army Knife

Interns can bring new skill sets and fresh vantage points not found anywhere else in your organization. Don’t be afraid to unleash this fact to your advantage and craft a flexible job position. For example, maybe the new HR intern has been taking courses in videography and filming things in her leisure time. If you have a need for a new company video, let her help the marketing team. She might spot something they overlook.

Or maybe your new accounting intern is skilled in the latest social media tools and practices. Let him meet with the social media team for a day. These interactions can be mutually beneficial and they’ll lead to a more well-rounded internship experience.

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Is Unlimited Vacation a Good Idea?

Summer is the busiest travel season of the year. With kids on summer vacation and warm weather nationwide, hundreds of thousands of employees are taking time off to visit new places.

Despite so many people taking off work at once, the economy never collapses and organizations keep humming along. Which got us thinking about one of the newest crazes in company perks: unlimited vacation policies.

Are they a good idea? Or is the old model of 2-3 week restrictions still ideal? Read on to find out.

Pro #1: It Increases Employee Happiness

A 2017 report from Gallup showed that 53 percent of employees rank having a job that allows them greater work-life balance and personal well-being as “very important.” Giving employees complete flexibility over vacation schedules is the quickest way to appease this wish.

Con #1: Employees May Abuse the System…Or Get Abused by It

The verdict is still out on what type of companies truly benefit from unlimited vacation policies. Some employees can’t handle the unlimited time-off and abuse too much of a good thing. This leads to lost production hours for the company.

And on the flip side, many company cultures are so cutthroat that flex time is viewed as a weakness that sets careers back, so employees actually take less time off than they would if prescribed a set amount of days.

Pro #2: It Can Cut Costs

Traditional vacation policies result in accrued unused days off at the end of each year. And when an employee quits, gets laid off or retires, the company has to pay out these unused vacation days. Contrast this to companies with unlimited vacation policies that don’t have to carry any liability on their books for unused time off, and the difference is staggering. According to the U.S. Travel Association, this has the potential to save companies $1,898 per employee.

Con #2: Vacation Days Can No Longer Be Used as a Reward

Long-tenured employees may not take a liking to unlimited vacation policies. They spent years, and sometimes even decades, working hard to build up extra vacation days, and they viewed their surplus as a badge of honor. When the playing field is leveled and new employees are granted the same number of days off (unlimited) as everyone else, morale can take a hit.

And if companies can no longer offer an extra week of vacation in exchange for continued employment, there is one less negotiating chip on the table when an employee considers leaving for a new opportunity.

Pro #3: It Can Help Attract the Best Talent

According to a brand new survey from MetLife, the Los Angeles Times reports that unlimited vacation is now the #1 benefit workers want. Your company can use this insight to their advantage when recruiting talent. In fact, research from Glassdoor shows that nearly 80 percent of workers prefer additional benefits over income increases. That figure grows to 90 percent with millennials.

 

Con #3: You Have to Trust Employees to Manage Their Projects Accordingly

Offering unlimited vacation can backfire if you don’t have policies and procedures in place. Without structure, companies open themselves up to being burned during the busiest times of the year. When vacation days are capped, there is a safeguard in place to protect against people being out too often. Managers will need to communicate more heavily and set clearer expectations when the safeguard is removed.

 

 

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Fire Them Before You Hire Them: Why Your Hiring Team Should Perform Premortems

About to extend an offer to a candidate? Maybe you should fire them first.

Premortems—the hypothetical opposite of a postmortem—have been popularized in business media the past decade and a half. Made famous by Harvard Business Review (HBR) and Amazon, premortems are performed before a project starts and operate on the assumption that the project has failed. So, the purpose is to ask what did go wrong instead of what might go wrong.

The intention of this reframe is to get your mind thinking about concrete threats to success before the project begins, rather than trying to brainstorm hypotheticals from scratch. And studies show “prospective hindsight—imagining that an event has already occurred—increases the ability to correctly identify reasons for future outcomes by 30%” according to HBR.

But these exercises are typically performed in project management circles, not personnel or HR decisions.

Until now. Here’s why your company should perform a premortem firing before hiring your next candidate.

  1. Many people are reluctant to speak up with their reservations and true feelings during the hiring phase. A faux firing of candidates highlighting how and why they failed makes it safe for dissenters who otherwise may be too worried to speak up with doubts. After all, anything said in a premortem is entirely hypothetical.
  2. Engaging in a premortem firing session will bring creative ideas to the table. Maybe there is one area of doubt you are feeling about a candidate but you can’t find the words to articulate it. Having an entire team use their imaginations to find reasons why the candidate didn’t succeed will more fully flesh out your thoughts.
  3. You’ll make better hires and continually improve at it. If prospective hindsight increases our ability to correctly identify reasons for future outcomes by 30%, your team will weed out the wrong candidates with 30% more efficiency. Apply this to your next 10 hires and you can start to see how big of a difference this practice can make in your organization.

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