Archive | September, 2011

Avoiding an Email Faux Pas

30 Sep

Avoiding an Email Faux PasEmail has been around for years, and the proliferation of smartphones and other mobile devices has made its use even more common in business settings. It is surprising how few people understand that emails are just like other incriminating documents – unlike face-to-face and phone conversations, the written conversations can lead to complications for a company and often end up serving as evidence in legal battles.

Amazingly, managers and other professionals still say things they should not, and some do not take the time to cool off before responding to a hotly worded email with poorly chosen phrases of their own.

Human resource managers can help minimize the damage by initiating an email training program that offers a few best practices for electronic correspondence. Also ask supervisors to make it a habit of having meetings when possible, rather than using email to avoid an in-person meeting.

Use the fact that more communications are done in written formats to your advantage. Document electronic correspondence in your human resource management system for later reference. Having the written record will make recreating the progression of events much easier if a legal complaint arises later.

Does your company include email and electronic correspondence in the list of managerial training topics?

Can personality tests boost ROEI?

28 Sep

Personality Test In Employee Hiring or Review ProcessAdministering personality tests as a part of a hiring decision has fallen in and out of style over the years, and many still debate whether or not the process is worthwhile.

When used incorrectly, the tests can infringe on privacy rights and labor laws. But do they offer some value in ensuring a new hire will fit with the company and stick around for years to come? Considering how much time and money required when on-boarding a new hire, it can be worth the extra effort to analyze in order to maximize the return on employee investment.

Questions regarding how much an employee values loyalty, success, building relationships versus career advancement can be good indicators of whether he or she will be dedicated to mastering responsibilities and making connections through the company.

Keep in mind, some tests can be by their nature discriminatory, so be sure to review federal and state labor laws in your human resource management system before downloading one from the internet.

Do you think personality tests are useful in the hiring or review process?

Engaging Older Workers

26 Sep

Pairing WorkersA few years ago, senior employees at your company may have had one foot out the door. But the economic reality today means many workers are stepping back into the office.

The fact is, many employees who were once closing in on retirement are now planning to spend a few more years in the labor force. Here is a way you can ensure they aren’t isolated from younger staff members and are still working to their maximum potential.

Give veteran workers additional responsibilities. Consider pairing them with a younger employee to remind them that they still have a lot of knowledge to offer colleagues. It may put a new spin on their daily routine and give them added incentives to bring their top game to work every day.

Avoiding disengagement of older staffers will ensure that the company continues seeing a return on employee investment for years to come.

How do older workers at your company fit in with the rest of the workforce?

How an HRMS Can Help During An Investigation

26 Sep

An HRMS Can Help Your Company In An Employee Related InvestigationIt’s rarely a pleasant experience, but sometimes an internal investigation is necessary when a series of complaints from employees reveal a disturbing trend of ethical or legal violations.

Some recent human resource-related lawsuits have landed employers in the defendant’s chair, but information like employee warning letters that you store in your human resource management system could be the difference between a favorable ruling and heavy legal fines.

If the company has found illegal activity during an investigation, you can use information about labor and payroll laws in the HRMS to draft new policies that will help avoid such activity in the future.

Use the HRMS to keep track of and run metrics on the diversity of your workplace. This can be useful when arguing against accusations of discriminatory hiring practices – toward a certain race, gender or protected group – and can also help you police yourself and avoid practices that, though innocent, could appear otherwise to an outside observer.

You can also scroll through employee files to see if a particular worker has a several complaints against him or her, and take a proactive approach to stop any negative behavior.

How do you keep track of data that could be important in the event of an employee investigation?

Tips For Interviewing via Webcam

23 Sep

Interviewing via WebcamMany companies expand their scope beyond their local geographic area when hiring new talent, but budget cuts and high travel costs can make the practice of flying in applicants for an interview less expensive.  When it is appropriate, interviewing via a webcam can replace an in-person face to face meeting.  Here are a few tips for interviewing via a webcam.

It’s important to make sure the internet connection is strong – an inability to maintain a connection can disrupt not only the flow of the interview, but will make it appear that the company isn’t technologically savvy.

Avoid multitasking when conducting a webcam interview. Resist the temptation to respond to any emails that pop up. The only documents that should be open at this time are the ones relevant to the interview, such as the person’s application and resume.

Don’t treat this like a social webcam meeting - webcam interviews should still be professional. Even if the time difference means you’re conducting a online interview at home, make sure your shirt is business dress, and don’t have your kitchen in the background. Double check the time difference. Some countries don’t observe daylight savings time, so sync your clocks when setting up the interview.

What are some other important things to remember when conducting an interview via webcam?

What To Avoid In An Employee Warning Letter

22 Sep

Employee Warning LetterHave you ever had a troublesome worker who ignored company rules, or who brushed off repeated verbal warnings from supervisors?

There are plenty of reasons that employee behavior may merit a written warning, and incidents have to be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. However, here are a few of the things that should never make it into a warning letter.

Avoid overly negative phrases, as being barraged with hostile words may put the worker on the defensive, preventing any chance of implementing a positive turnaround in habits.

Don’t give a laundry list of misdeeds without making suggestions for improvement. A letter is meant to prevent termination, so try to keep the language as constructive as possible.

Be sure to place a copy of the letter in an employee file, or if your company uses a human resources management system (HRMS), save it to their profile as it’s important to keep a detailed record of all verbal and written disciplinary action taken against an employee. Doing so can protect the company from litigation later.

Do you think letters are an effective method for reversing employees’ bad behavior?

The Salary Question

20 Sep

Over the course of an interview, hiring managers will ask the job applicant tough questions about work history, professional skills and future plans for growth. But as the session winds down and approaches the money topic, the tables will turn. Now you have to answer the difficult question.

What is the best way to bring the subject up and talk hard numbers? Here are a few ideas:

Survey the battlefield, and don’t go in unarmed. Before telling the applicant what you’re ready to give, ask him or her what kind of salary they are expecting and maintain a poker face. You will have to gently lower their expectations if the figure suggested is too high.

Have an open discussion. Employee pay is about more than the check – there may also be benefits, stock options, tuition reimbursement, the value of a short commute and more. Talk about these bonuses with the applicant to get a feel for the type of compensation he or she is looking for.

Don’t tie yourself to a price until you’re ready to offer the position. It’s better to give a price range and a summary of benefits rather than a concrete figure. Skill sets, past experience and salary history can all factor into the final offer.

Do you have a special technique for discussing pay?

Free Ways to Reward Employees

19 Sep

Constant feedback and appreciation of hard working employees lets them know a company values their work and is a great way to retain workers and cut back on turnover.

Though most businesses may still be feeling a pinch, here are a few suggestions on how to reward employees at no cost.

For a heartfelt and more personal touch, companies can send a note to an employee’s family, expressing how that worker’s contribution has helped the company.

Granting telecommuting privileges or flexible hours can also be a strong incentive for your staff. Offering a vacation day can reward an employee and may pay off for the company – a refreshed worker will likely be more productive when he or she comes back to the office.

You can also tie a reward with an employee’s regular review, such as offering a public thank you. Using human resource management software to track employee progress will enable HR managers to privately note what workers can do to improve, but also give them a chance to publicly acknowledge employee accomplishments.

How does your company recognize employees who go above and beyond?

How To Generate Employee Loyalty

14 Sep

Motivated, Loyal EmployeesIn any growing business, the need to maintain productivity levels is paramount, as even the slightest hiccup can be referenced by investors, partners or customers as evidence of instability.

The process of maintaining peak operational levels is made even more complex across an expanding workforce, wherein responsibility and accountability become diluted as the payroll broadens.

For that reason, most savvy managers turn to the promotion of employee loyalty as key in maintaining productivity levels. If workers feel passionate about their job and their company they are much more likely to go the extra mile in getting their work done.

But how does one develop loyalty? It’s important to understand that loyalty is a reciprocal relationship. If employers express loyalty, respect and admiration toward their workers, it is natural that they will receive similar appreciation.

Another way to promote employee loyalty is through advancement opportunities. If workers recognize places where they can grow alongside the company, they will be even more inspired.

What are some other ways employers can promote loyalty?

Becoming a More Self-Aware Manager

12 Sep

Introspective ManagerThere are a range of factors that can work to demoralize your employees. Everything from the lack of free coffee to being constantly scolded by managers can, in some way, contribute to a less motivated staff.

What is worse, many business owners and managers assume, especially in this economy, that employees should do what’s told of them and not expect recognition for it simply because they receive a paycheck. This only breeds resentment and complicates the ability of owners to be aware of their management practices. The reality is that what’s racking employee satisfaction and morale may actually be you.

How can you tell? With all the responsibilities that go along with running a business, it can be difficult to stop and ask yourself if a given task or comment is rubbing others in the wrong way.

Start by focusing on your speech and articulating your thought process. Be courteous and take the time to thank workers when they accomplish something. Focus on what employees are doing correctly as much as what could be improved, as this will help balance your attitude.

What are some other ways that as a manager you can become more self-aware?

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