Archive | January, 2013

Creating An Offer Hard To Refuse

30 Jan

job-offer-hard-to-refuseConsidering the current climate that companies and consumers are climbing out of in terms of employment continuity, many candidates have been looking for a while and may feel jaded about the process. Positions they’re applying for now that they may be extremely qualified for were unavailable or incredibly scarce over the past few years. But now that employment opportunities are increasing, once applicants are past the interview it lies in the hands of HR staff to make the call about employing them or not.

Quite literally, it needs to be a phone call.

In a modern age where people are using the internet and Facebook to communicate more than anything else, there are some forms of business etiquette that cannot be overlooked in order to make the perfect job offer. Especially with the job market turning fiercely competitive over the last six months, the best candidates may soon be hard to find once again.

One of the biggest mistakes that HR personnel make when extending a job offer is doing it via email. While it may seem more time effective to employees, a potential candidate will see it as a slight or a sign that the organization doesn’t really care about that position. It is one of the best ways of driving away top talent and creating an aversion for other similar candidates in the future.

It’s imperative that companies move fast to snatch up the strongest talent, as they won’t stay on the market long. Chances are, with the job market becoming so competitive again, the best personnel are already hired somewhere, and those that are still available will once again become scarce. With that in mind, keeping turnover short between interviews and job offers is a good way of showing potential hires that businesses really care about that person’s time and what he or she has to offer.

Making Offers Great With Perks Besides Money

Another factor to consider besides speed and personalization are the kinds of compensation that a company is willing to offer someone. The modern working world is not one solely fixated on the dollar, especially with companies trying to cut costs while still attracting and retaining the best workforce. Sometimes what a business can offer staff members in the form of perks can make one placement more appealing than another, even with lower salary.

Your company can couple stock options or 401(k) vestments early in the employment process. Full medical benefits are also desirable, but wellness initiatives are seeing a new push in the workplace. There are also many organizations looking into educational opportunities, both in sending employees to nearby colleges or providing them with online training programs to further their skills and make them more valuable as individuals, as well as to the businesses they work for. These kinds of programs show that companies are interested not just in the person right now, but what he or she will still be able to offer in a few years’ time.

With the economy rebounding and employment for the best talent becoming easier to find, such candidates are looking for more than just a business that will hire them right now. Potential hires want to know they will have a long-standing relationship with an organization, and that in turn requires seeing the company as one prepared to meet future financial and global obligations. Presenting a corporation in this light also requires that businesses stay on top of modern trends like mobile device deployments, cloud computing and basic online analytics. If a corporation isn’t up to speed with the rest of the world, that in and of itself could sabotage even the best job offers.

5 Tips to Keep Your Payroll in Compliance in 2013

28 Jan

2013-payroll-compliance-tipsWith tax season just around the corner, businesses everywhere will be checking to make sure they have reported records accurately for the past business year. Many HR departments and small business owners have struggled with processing payroll. The task can be overwhelming at times, which may result in pay mistakes. In order to avoid errors, which can cause substantial penalties and fines, the following points represent essential information that every employer should be aware of regarding compliance during payroll processing.

5 Mistakes Employers Make Concerning Payroll

1. File forms on time - In October of 1996, the federal government passed a law that requires all employers to report new hires to their individual states. From there, the states then report the starting employee to the National Directory of New Hires. Most employees are expected to be reported within 10 to 20 business days. Employers should always keep a copy of W-4 and I-9 forms on file documenting every employee. Withholding this information could lead to an audit by the IRS if a report is made.

It’s also important to send the correct forms when filing for taxes. If you are unsure whether a document is required, it’s better to send it in than be sorry that you didn’t later on. Employers who fail to send all qualified forms could be subject to penalties.

2. Not reporting a worker as an employee - Many businesses, big and small, have different relationships with their workers. Workers can be classified as an employee, an independent contractor, a statutory employee or a statutory non-employee, meaning not all workers are continuously employed with a business. If you aren’t sure how to classify a worker, there are several things you should do before hiring and independent contractor. Firstly, make sure to use the IRS Form SS-8 to determine worker status for tax purposes. This form should be submitted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which will notify the employer as to what category the worker should be classified under. It’s important to withhold taxes and report wage and tax information during payroll periods until the IRS has contacted the business with their classification decision. Not withholding taxes or reporting wages could result in a company paying more to the government after filing taxes.

3. Tax regulation for families - Children under the age of 18 employed by a parent, whether they are the sole proprietor or a member of a 50/50 spousal partnership, do not have to file for Social Security, federal unemployment or Medicare taxes. If the child is still employed after he or she turns 18, the child must have Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from their paychecks. They may, however, continue to be exempt from federal unemployment tax until they turn 21. It’s important to remember the U.S. and state departments of labor monitor classification of workers closely, which is why employers need to identify the family relationship with an employee. Spouses who are employed under one another through a sole proprietorship need to have Medicare and Social Security taxes withheld, but may be exempt from federal unemployment taxes.

4. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) - Minimum wage, overtime, child labor, recordkeeping and equal pay are governed by federal law and they are often some of the most common mistakes regarding FLSA compliance issues. However, business owners must also comply with state regulations regarding specific standards in the workplace if they benefit the employee. Federal law sets the standards for the workplace, such as minimum wage, which is listed as $7.25 per hour and $2.13 per hour for tipped employees. When conducting payroll, it is imperative that HR managers and business owners check their state laws to ensure that they are in compliance.

5. Keep records organized - Any and every document regarding an employee should be kept on file. Paper documents, especially new hire documents, reviews, disciplinary action, and termination paperwork should be stored in a safe place, even after the employee leaves the company. The following is a list of time regulations for employee documentation from the FLSA:

• Employee payroll records need to be stored for three years after the last entry date.
• The IRS requires employee records be held on file for four years after they leave the workplace. Businesses risk fines if they fail to do so.
• Any workplace that employs 50 or more workers must keep records regarding any employee leave in compliance with the FMLA.
• Every state adheres to individual laws governed by unemployment agencies that require businesses to retain employment records. The time frame to hold onto these records can last between four to seven years.

Neglecting to maintain proper payroll paperwork for the above could lead to trouble with state and federal governments. These tips can help HR and business owners better manage employee records and payroll receipts to make sure their company is in compliance with payroll policy. For further information about payroll policy, we recommend looking at the U.S Department of Labor website.

For a more detailed overview of critical compliance issues for 2013 and beyond, as well as summary of options that will help ensure your business can meet regulatory demands register now for the live webcast Compliance in 2013: Are You Prepared? on January 29, 2013 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The Efficiencies and Savings of Electronic Payroll

25 Jan

Electronic-payroll-savingsOld methods of payroll processing required calculations by hand and physical checks for all personnel, even at major employers, but those are outdated modes for a reason. Now, integrated human resources management software and advanced payroll software can assist in completing these tasks quickly and efficiently, as well as provide all staff members with a way of reviewing a plethora of information about their payment and employment status. Finding the options to best utilize these solutions and other options that most fit with these tools can help save money for companies.

Certain agencies are now also facing mandatory changeovers to electronic payment solutions, especially those under federal regulations. Organizations that fall under that category or must remain compliant with specific guidelines should verify that their payroll solutions are up to date, as the government modification to all-electronic benefits payments will hit as of March 1, 2013.

Using Electronic Methods
A vast amount of HR and payroll processes are currently handled through electronic means, including internal employee self-service portals, cloud deployments and virtual server applications. There are other tools that correspond well with these structures, such as electronic payment options, that have become standard operating procedure for many organizations. However, this is not the case with all entities, and failing to institute these kinds of opportunities could be costing companies a good deal of money.

Recently, it has been reported that the Veterans Affairs Department is finally switching over to electronic payments, issuing checks as direct deposits into employee and benefit recipient accounts. There will also be a payroll card option available to those without bank information on file or who prefer to have a separate method for receiving paychecks.

On top of saving companies money, using this solution in tandem with payroll software can help businesses cut paper and labor costs, boosting savings even more. It can also help with document management and file archive tending, so if an audit or eDiscovery should ever occur, these requests will be easy to meet without incurring high investigative expenses.

Caveats to Adoption
Moving to digital check options is a good first step for many companies looking to save money, but there are important aspects to remember when switching to these tools. Employees must be given time to present information necessary for turning over the process, firstly, and all workers should be provided disclosure resources showing if there are any new fees or benefits for them using specific handling methods. In some cases, businesses can forge agreements with certain banks to get payroll released a day or so earlier than traditionally expected, for instance, and other agencies may charge an extra fee for people that continue to request paper checks.

Currently, the U.S. Department of the Treasury stated that more than 70,000 recipients in West Virginia alone could be receiving payroll cards in the near future, as anticipation of the federal electronic payments change has prompted organization to debit cards to its clients. These kinds of cards are also available for companies looking for alternative payment options for their personnel.

Streamlining the payroll process should focus on a single method of payment solutions. If companies can encourage employees to choose electronic direct deposits for HR and payroll convenience, it could represent a huge way to save money at work. Handling all income and outgoing funds through a single payment tool can help centralize cost and revenue data, for instance, making it easier for organizations to manage overhead.

The Importance of Valuing Your Existing Workforce

23 Jan

Value-happy-workforceThe unemployment sector has seen significant movement in the last few months, and some companies see this as a prime opportunity to recruit new personnel. Some companies are still in the midst of reducing overhead and cutting staff, so acquisitions like Apple scooping up Texas Instruments IT personnel after a recent mass layoff have been lucrative moves for organizations poised to make them. On the other hand, employee engagement may suffer in entities where focus is placed on bringing in new staff members rather than investing in the ones already working for a particular company.

Return on employee investment is a huge part of the planning that human resources management software is meant to assist with, as talent and performance management tools allow businesses to monitor individual and group progress. This in turn helps HR personnel pinpoint those doing the best and others slowing the company down, as well as ensuring that adequate training is being given to workers who need it most. By investing in existing personnel, businesses stand to see better engagement, productivity and customer returns.

Plans For The Future

Engagement strategies are an integral part of retaining and improving on top talent, as well as fostering an internal workforce of people specializing in that entity’s corporate culture. Building up those already familiar with how the business is run and its values will make them easier to cultivate in terms of what the business wants specifically.

A recent review of the 50 best small and medium-sized businesses in Canada showed that top companies in the nation experienced engagement scores of more than 80 percent, while less successful organizations saw less positive reviews. Much of this good feedback is tied to the level of interest businesses show in their workforce, the study revealed, as well as extending both full-time and permanent positions to their employees. By treating staff members well, they in turn will speak well of the corporation they work for and take pride in their effort, producing superior products and service in exchange for the service they feel their employers deliver to them.

Overcoming obstacles to engagement and retention are essential in order to boost morale and perform better as an organization, but finding methods to achieve that goal are more clandestine. There are a number of ways of doing that, and many of these can be accomplished without an additional expense to businesses that might already be having a hard time balancing finances.

Steps to Better Engagement

Assessing how employees are doing in their assigned positions is the first task to address with human resources management software, as this can indicate serious issues with basic functions within the corporate structure. It may be a simple matter of assigning additional training to those who exhibit the need for improvement, or it’s possible that placing them in a new capacity or different department could make for a better fit. Helping employees feel comfortable in their job functions will make them feel happier about the company they work for, and it will better serve the organization as a whole.

On top of that, supplying input and feedback as to employee performance will help workers know if they’re doing what they must and if it’s at a satisfactory level. Employee engagement requires that communication lines remain open, and offering regular performance assessments can be a critical part of this equation. Management should initiate these chats, and they must be a regular occurrence, or staff members may not feel that their employers take any general interest in them as individuals.

By encouraging more communication and an amicable environment, organizations can increase retention and employee engagement by making everyone feel like part of the equation. If people think they are essential to the everyday operations of the business, they will take more pride in the jobs they perform, knowing that their efforts are genuinely appreciated.

Despite what some may see as optimism and opportunity in the unemployment market, balancing the cost of hiring and training a new employee versus the return on investment that can be realized by focusing on the existing workforce has showed many institutions the value of the assets they already have. Expanding on internal options and building a better rapport with personnel could be the key to retention and engagement strategies.

Are Your Personality Traits Derailing Your Career?

21 Jan

success-motivation-managementHow many of you have taken a personality traits test to identify what type of learner you are? Do the test titles “What type of partner best matches your personality?” or “What job field would you excel in?” ring any bells? For the most part, the Myers Briggs personality test can help individuals identify their strengths and weaknesses and may better explain why we do the things we do. According to the Briggs test, there are 16 personality types to identify with. (If you’ve never taken the Myers Briggs personality test, do a quick search online. Many sites will let you take the test for free, so you can quickly and easily identify what personality type you have).

Traits That Can Hinder Career Advancement
A recent SHRM survey showed that personality traits can either help or hinder employees trying to move up in the corporate ladder. Think you know which personality type were surveyed to be more successful than others?

If you immediately pinned the personality type labeled ENTJ – which stands for extroverted thinking intuitive judging – you’re right, but only to a certain point. ENTJ’s are assertive and outspoken with a drive to lead others. Although ENTJ’s are classified as being intelligent and well informed, they have little patience for inefficiency and disorganization, especially in the workplace. ENTJ’s often advance to a certain level of the corporate ladder then hit a glass wall due to their competitive and intimidating behaviors.

PDNI Ninth House released a study in August revealing that many business-unit leaders scored highest in this category, which was helpful to their career to an extent. Once they reached level of CEO, however, the competitiveness that drove them to that point starts to threaten their careers. When they are too focused on benefiting themselves, it can derail their upward trajectory. Negative tendencies such as a competitive edge, selfishness and intimidating behaviors do not make for good business leaders.

Traits That Yield Success in The Workplace
It may be less of a shock to know that the most successful CEOs and senior level executives fall into the ENTP category. Someone who is classified as ENTP – which represents an individual with extroverted, intuitive, thinking, perceiving personality traits – is able to bypass their ENTJ counterparts. Unlike ENTJ’s, ENTP’s direct others in positive ways. HR Magazine identified successful supervisors (ENTP’s) as being individuals who can influence others (rather than intimidate team members to get their way), with high levels of energy. Through it all, this group still maintains a take-charge approach.

ENTP’s are creative, resourceful, and quick thinkers, which helps them identify and understand conflicts. These traits assist them in the workplace to go about solving problems in a logical way. ENTP’s are well-versed in considering others and know that positive influence with a bit of assertiveness yields better results than backing employees into a corner and being impatient when mistakes are made.

Obviously there are exceptions to every rule, and ENTJ’s may find a way to break through the corporate barriers. If and when they do, it’s important for them to take a minute and remember that not everyone shares the same attitude. If ENTJ’s want to ensure a long and successful career, they’ll need to focus less on micro-managing others or using hidden agendas to motivate action within the workplace and instead brush up on their people skills. Research consistently shows that one primary reason people leave their jobs is because they don’t like their boss. ENTJ’s have a hard time connecting with others, which comes from differences in individual temperaments. If ENTJ’s aren’t able to compensate for their lack of empathy or patience in some way, they may have a hard time retaining employees.

Now that you’ve been educated on personality traits in the workforce, it may be time to reevaluate how you approach problem solving, teamwork and managing yourself in the office. If advancing your career is a goal for the New Year, make sure you don’t spend your energy competing with every co-worker or brainstorming ways to put others down to better your image. Instead, take charge by showing you’re a team player with a lot of ideas. Positive energy is contagious, making it a great way to influence others in the workplace and show off your leadership skills instead of manipulating them to get what you want.

Managers might find it beneficial to have all employees conduct a personality trait test. The findings can help supervisors better understand how to communicate with individual workers based on their personality type results. Any tools that help communication within the workplace should be utilized by human resource managers and employee supervisors. The Myers Brigg test is one tool that can aid in understanding how employees work and the different ways in which people learn.

Are there any other personality traits that you’ve seen have positive or negative effects on career progress? Let us know on Twitter by mentioning @SageHRMS in your tweet or drop a note on our LinkedIn forum, Human Resources & Payroll Challenges for Midsized Businesses.

Tips to Managing Change: The Compelling Why

16 Jan

hr-change-managementGetting others to change is no easy task. Whether we are talking about one person or a whole organization, if we want to increase the probability of successful change we have to start the right way. John Kotter, a Harvard Business School professor and the guru of change, recommends that any good change effort should start with a high level of urgency. In essence, what Kotter is suggesting is that we need to give a compelling “why” that will serve to overcome any resistance we may face. In this post, I’m going to offer to you some practical ways to craft the perfect “why” in order to lay the foundation for successful change.

A Compelling “Why”

A good “why” or reason for change should have sound logic and a strong emotional tug. Getting people to change is akin to getting an addict to break from his or her addiction. You won’t get there with logic alone. You’ll need to throw in a healthy dose of emotion to get them feeling suitably uncomfortable. Many forms of emotion can work: sadness, fear, anger, worry, etc… However, there is one emotional lever that has the highest probability of success: anxiety. In essence, anxiety is urgency. Your goal is create a compelling why that leaves the person feeling so uncomfortable, so anxious, that they want to do “something” and they want to do that “something” right now. It’s at that moment that they are ready to hear your plan for action. So, how do we establish urgency? Consider the following two types of urgency.

Urgency Type 1: “You are going to die”

This form of urgency is equivalent to laying out a “worst case scenario.” It is extremely powerful in shaking people out of their patterns and forcing them to overcoming their fears. After all, what’s worse than some version of death? With this approach, your goal is to lay out a picture of impending doom. Perhaps that doom takes the form of the organization falling off of the proverbial cliff and ceasing to exist unless something is done soon. Or perhaps it takes the form of impending job loss if the individual doesn’t change. Or perhaps it paints a picture of the individual losing something else precious to him or her (family, friends, followers, etc…). Regardless of what you choose, this version of urgency entails that you hit them right between the eyes with quickly approaching storms. The trick to creating anxiety and heightened urgency utilizing this approach is to be sure to also attach a short time horizon. For example, I could say to you “you are going to die if you don’t change.” In response, you might say, “we’ll yeah, we are all going to die one day.” However, if I said to you, “you are going to die in 30 days if you don’t change now” all of a sudden, you are bit more interested in what I have to say.

Occasionally, I have to utilize this technique with clients. Consider “Tonya,” a client of mine several years ago. Tonya had taken on a big role that had tripled her work load, and she was not handling her new responsibilities well. She was yelling at her direct reports, she regularly locked herself in her office to avoid distractions and she wasn’t doing any of the actions I had prescribed her. She was failing miserably and things were coming to a head. At our next meeting, it finally came time to have the conversation. I said to her, “Tonya, it has come to my attention that if you don’t change, you are going to be fired in 30 days. Do you understand what I am saying? Repeat back to me what I just said so I know you know how serious this is.” Her eyes became as big as marbles as the gravity of the situation finally hit her. Change had begun.

One caution with this approach: too much doom and gloom can lead to paralysis. If you tip too far and put it on too thick, it can appear that the situation has gotten too out of control or it is simply too late to take it on. A little bit of this “hot sauce” goes a long way.

Urgency Type 2: “You can have everything you’ve always wanted… if you hurry”

This second type of urgency paints a vision of great things happening if we act now, but the longer we wait, the more likely it is that this perfect vision will slip through our fingers forever. You often see this approach used when organizations are trying to change their strategy or enter into a new market. Leaders will set out a vision of an untapped market that is a wonderful land of eager customers and high margins as far as the eye can see. But wait, competitors are starting to pay attention. The time is now to make the move. While this approach is a fantastic tool for leaders, you don’t have to be a leader of an organization to use it effectively. You could use the same approach to get another person to change their role or approach within the team in order to increase their value and importance. I utilize this same approach when I’m coaching young professionals that deeply want to make a career change but are afraid of the change required. I tell them, “my experience has been that if you make this change now, you can have the career you’ve always wanted. However, I’ve also noticed that by age 38, the window of opportunity slams shut. By that age you have family obligations, greater career responsibilities, a more defined career path, etc… Your clock is ticking so you better move now.” It reminds them that there are seasons for opportunity and sometimes you have to act in the face of fear if you truly want something.

Hit ‘Em With Everything You’ve Got

The very best change agents are masters at combining both forms of urgency into one message to ensure the message sticks. Combining both urgency types is the equivalent of your doctor prescribing you a strong antibiotic as well as a steroid to ensure you knock out that nasty infection. So, consider packing an extra punch by combining both forms of urgency. Illustrate the impending doom if one does not change as well as the potential wonders that await him or her if they change right now. A powerful combination to be sure.

As a good mentor of mine would say, “Change is hard, what is the easiest way we can get there.” He couldn’t me more right. However, don’t confuse “easy” with “comfortable.” If you want to get others ready to take action, you’ve got to get the urgency rate as well as their level of discomfort high enough that they want to take action, but they just don’t know how. Anxiety and urgency are uncomfortable itches that we all desperately want to scratch when we feel them.  Get others uncomfortable enough and change might be just around the corner.

Essential HR Compliance Tips for 2013

14 Jan

2013 HR TrendsThe beginning of the year brought a little bit of relief when the government finally managed to pass a resolution saving the country from plunging over the fiscal cliff. The problem, though, is that this solution doesn’t save businesses from the negative backlash they anticipated going into 2013. Taking steps to prepare for new taxes, protect employee retention rates, and come up with strategies to get ready for other compliance changes should start right now so firms aren’t caught off guard later in the year.

Taxes and the Fiscal Cliff

Everyone spent December on pins and needles while anxiously watching the Senate and House of Representatives debate how to best handle the future income of corporations and consumers in terms of helping pay off federal debts, or in other words, increased tax rates. While some reports were as pessimistic about the cliff as if another Mayan disaster was approaching in the world of finance, others felt that the impact would be significant but not as damaging to personal or business revenue.

What came out of Washington was a deal that shot a lot of employees in the leg, aiming just above the foot with the fiscal bullet by going for the over $200,000 income bracket more aggressively. Some private individuals could see tax rates jump as high as 40 percent, The Atlantic reported, a change that will require human resources management software to make some swift calculation alterations in order to keep up. Failure to remit correctly from here on out could result in a substantial compliance problem, and as the source reported, every employee will need to be reviewed, their filing status assessed and taxes adjusted accordingly.

Benefits on Belay

Hanging tightly to income tax rates may seem more like an employee-facing issue, but since software for payroll is responsible for managing these facets of corporate finance, it’s essential that HR personnel be in touch with what’s happening to pre-tax and tax rates in general.

Another fist to the face of employee retention rates, beyond the initial insult of reduced take-home pay for pretty much everyone in the corporation, is the rising cost of medical coverage. This is both a reaction to new federal medical guidelines and increasing general program costs. The Affordable Care Act has gone into effect finally, causing about 1 percent in increased taxes for all workers across the board. Every person who makes more than $200,000 will have to see this deduction taken from their pre-tax income as of January 1, and on top of the other increases to personal withholding, businesses need to be wary of what they can do to help reduce the impact of these changes.

While the financial repercussions on the individual level are not the fault of the company responsible for taking them out of paychecks, simply maintaining compliance could hinder workforce retention rates. Some recent surveys of employee engagement have shown that income is once again an important factor in how likely a worker is to stick with a corporation, so in addition to benefits and work environment, seeing a reduction in overall pay could make top talent reticent about maintaining their current job status.

Focus on Information

All of this input needs to be fed into human resources management systems, analyzed and monitored, correlated with individual employee files and added to personnel profiles so that ongoing maintenance of the workforce can be kept up to date. Firms are already struggling with big data deployments, social media inundation and increased threat environments from cloud and mobile offerings. Now, HR personnel also need to make sure their electronic filing solutions are up to federal compliance guidelines, because for firms in the healthcare field, this is the first year where Electronic Health Records will be a requirement. Other businesses will want to start heading this way, too; the increased usage of eDiscovery, federal audits and government reliance on digital systems means that laws could soon mandate these tools for every industry.

Compliance Week wrote that keeping track of Affordable Care Act provisions, fiscal cliff tax updates and employee retention, and benefits issues is much easier when operating on integrated databases. Where once all these elements were siloed into individual departments and maintained by independent aspects of the corporate information environment, now HRMS tools are allowing personnel to cross-reference employee files with productivity and payroll information, check past histories to see if there have been substantial fluctuations in these indicators and try to isolate the corporate occurrences that precipitate any drastic variations in workforce performance.

In short, there is a brave new world of data analytics available to businesses that make the best use of digital systems and big data infrastructure. Monitoring these tools for compliance and security will be primary areas for IT personnel to get preoccupied, but HR staff will be instrumental in the maintenance and governance of these solutions as well.

For a more detailed overview of critical compliance issues for 2013 and beyond, as well as summary of options that will help ensure your business can meet regulatory demands register now for the live webcast Compliance in 2013: Are You Prepared? on January 29, 2013 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Is Your HR Team Making This Hiring Mistake?

11 Jan

The hiring process can be a difficult time regardless of the kind of position or number of placements being handled. Every person in a company forms helps contribute to the support network that holds the company together, and the failure of one individual could result in far-reaching repercussions for the rest of the establishment. With that in mind, HR personnel understand that the decisions they make regarding job offers could make a dramatic difference in the organization as a whole.

Still, not all businesses follow best practices when it comes to hiring and retention policies. While there is no set standard for who cannot be offered a position, and equal opportunity laws require that employers exercise nondiscriminatory practices, there are those who may not make good fits for certain companies based on past performance. Just as a worker with a standing history of tardiness or insubordination probably wouldn’t be the best team player, so too do other past personal trends impact the way an individual is likely to behave at work.

In order to determine which candidates are right, getting references and running background checks can be an easy start in finding undesirable patterns. Not all businesses look for these trends, though, a scenario that could cost the company later.

Examining Hiring Procedures

Some of the leading concerns when looking through a candidate’s history is where they have been and what they’ve done while there. This can apply to school, past jobs and even everyday hobbies and activities, depending on the kind of position and company applied to.

What can trip up HR personnel, though, are the things that aren’t as obvious when meeting a candidate for the first time. Looking over a resume and conducting an interview can present an idea of an individual that is either positive or negative, but it will not reveal everything about a person’s life. Making sure that the job history listed is in line with actual experience can ensure solid performance if the person is appointed, instead of being left with a worker who doesn’t actually understand the tools needed to do the job correctly.

Profiling Problem

More importantly, it seems that one of the biggest stumbling blocks HR personnel encounter with background checks is whether a person has a criminal history. A CareerBuilder survey stated that about half of all companies have hired workers with a record of past offenses due to poor checking habits or a complete lack thereof.

Part of the problem here, the source reported, is that former offenders fear they will be overlooked for a position based on their past indiscretions. On the other hand, CareerBuilder wrote that employers are more likely to pass over a candidate that lies about this sort of thing, as it makes that person seem even more untrustworthy. The important thing, though, is for the ex-offender to point out the lessons he or she learned from the experience and what kinds of changes have occurred in habits, thinking and lifestyle since that time.

The Right Background

Identifying previous offenders in the hiring pool is essential for companies, as even though these individuals may have changed behaviors since then, HR personnel may not want to make certain placements based on criminal histories. Banks could be skittish of extending a job offer to someone with a history of theft or forgery, while childcare and healthcare facilities would be wary of those with violent offenses.

Companies do need to be careful how they search for this information, though. If a business specifically pursues only criminal records on certain potential employees, it could result in a discrimination issue. However, looking at a wide range of background data for all applicants will give the human resources department much better insight into the kinds of people they are considering bringing into the corporation.

Seeing as every individual can pose a major impact into the success of themselves, their coworkers and that of the business itself, it makes sense that this step would be mandatory among all organizations. Sometimes companies leap at a candidate without looking at their backgrounds first. HR personnel should use the results of these searches to encourage more dialogue with candidates, as this can also help eke out the best choice.

Stay ahead of the curve and help avoid costly employment issues with Sage Employer Resources. An online encyclopedia featuring thousands of pages of employee benefits and human resources-related content about topics that every business needs to know, including HR and employment information on key topics such as interviewing, hiring, background checks, performance reviews, and termination.

Payroll Card Conveniences Explained

9 Jan

Cashing in on the convenience of a payroll card is beneficial to both employers and staff members alike. These payroll cards are an alternative payroll processing option, where instead of issuing a paper check or directly depositing money into a worker’s account on a regular basis; funds are electronically issued to a specific debit card in the person’s name. These cards function much the same way as a conventional debit account, but they do come with added perks for companies and consumers that use them.

Understanding the Benefits

For workers, there may be some initial friction when proposing the adoption of payroll cards. There are associated fees for withdrawals from these monetary devices, and sometimes just maintaining the card from month to month comes with a surcharge. However, for those without bank accounts, check cashing fees will completely disappear, representing huge savings for employees. What’s more, these tools provide an instant means of money management, and they are more secure and easily tracked than carrying cash or writing checks.

Internally, payroll personnel will appreciate the streamlined process that comes with instituting cards instead of a myriad other financial options. Many employers may offer checks and direct deposit, as well as additional paper statements for those that have already chosen electronic payment. Removing all of this physical documentation from the equation is easier with the convenience of a payroll card option.

What’s more, bringing this into a business structure as a primary means of payment can save banking fees for both parties. Individuals get the benefit of not having to pay for check cashing anymore, while employers don’t have to worry about service fees from direct deposits or other similar expenses. Eliminating physical checks cuts down on the likelihood of fraud and other kinds of theft that regularly affect these forms of currency as well.

Putting it to Work

Companies are already cashing in on the benefits of this system, which offers a big improvement over outdated paper checks without creating a more cumbersome solution for payroll. Some of the largest payroll providers, boasting thousands of regular staff, have seen how financially sound the convenience of a payroll card really is to business revenue, and they are pushing more employees to take up this tool that helps both the company and its staff as well.

Wal-Mart has made the transition for all its employees, partnering with American Express to offer safe and secure payroll cards. As the largest private employer in the world, the company stands to save a substantial amount of time and money through this crucial human resources substitution. What’s more, the business is offering these cards to consumers as well for use at their own jobs.

Have you considered offering your employees access to a payroll card?  You can learn more by registering for our weekly live webcast, Paperless Payroll with the Sage Payroll Paycard.

3 Tips For New Hire Success

7 Jan

 Fast-growing companies often overlook the importance of proper employee training and development. Last year, employers spent more than $59 billion on training programs – a 13 percent increase over the previous year. As the dynamics of the global workforce shift, employers are demanding more and more highly skilled job candidates. But the ability to rely on previous experience and education is rapidly diminishing. Increasingly, companies have to deploy in-house training and development programs to meet the skill demands of today’s business environment.

It helps to look at employee development as its own kind of investment. If you spend money to develop your workers now, not only will your organization benefit from a more competent and qualified staff but your employees will, in turn, become more engaged and appreciative of your investment in their growth. At Sage, we call this idea the return on employee investment or ROEI.

There are some basic steps HR managers and development leaders should consider before implementing an employee training program.

1. Observation and Learning

While the fundamentals of talent development vary from company to company, a keen interest in self-improvement is a prerequisite. You simply can’t develop employees who have no interest in bettering themselves. But if that interest is already there, the initial observation phase should be easy for them. It basically entails “tailing” other team members to learn the ins and outs of the job.

Managers and co-workers should also be filling in the gaps where possible, clearly explaining procedures and practices that may otherwise seem confusing or counter-intuitive. The new hire should be taught how products and services are delivered, and be challenged to come up with questions pertaining to the company and his or her role within it.

2. Practice and Initial Performance

Depending on how routine the position is, the new hire should be given a chance to perform some of the basic elements of the job. If it is a sales position, for example, he or she should answer a few stock questions or perform a role playing scenario. This is a good time to point out basic errors, mistakes and oversights.

3. Shadow

The new hire should begin work on a given project or duty while the trainer observes their performance. While it’s important to make yourself present, you don’t want to intimidate the trainee. Allow them to assimilate in their own way. As the hire gets the hang of it, managers and trainers can gradually begin to back off.

How else can managers ease the process of training new employees? Let us know on Twitter by mentioning @SageHRMS in your tweet or drop a note on our LinkedIn forum, Human Resources & Payroll Challenges for Midsized Businesses.

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