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During an exit interview, a departing employee accused one of our managers of harassment. Should we investigate even though the accuser is no longer employed here? The manager has been with us a long time, and we’ve never heard any complaints about him before.

Yes, I would recommend investigating the allegations even though the accusing employee has left the organization. If your investigation shows that harassment occurred, I would recommend taking disciplinary action as appropriate.  Federal law obligates employers to prevent or stop unlawful harassment. Harassment happens when behavior is unwelcome and based on a protected class such as race, gender, age, religion, national origin, or disability. It becomes unlawful when it is severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment. In this case, since you’ve been made aware of alleged sexual harassment, failing to investigate the allegations could invite risk, especially if

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Three Ways to Effectively Manage Your HR Responsibilities

The workplace – whether it’s an office, a salon, a restaurant, or a medical facility – is full of complexity. And many of those complexities are managed by the Human Resources Department. Sometimes the HR Department is a team of people with deep expertise, but often it’s one person who wears many hats in the organization and has no formal HR training. If your HR department looks more like the latter, and you could use a little help keeping it all together, we recommend the following three practices: Inventory who is doing whatBecause HR covers so many different tasks, those tasks are often assigned to different people in the organization. It’s common for owners, managers, and o

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The Ins and Outs of Conducting Background Checks

Have you considered conducting background checks as part of your hiring process? The practice is fairly typical in the banking and financial services industries, as well as with those who work with children, the elderly, or people with disabilities. If you’re wondering whether you should do so as well, check out our overview of the process below.   Identify the business reason for conducting pre-employment background checksBackground checks add time and expense to the hiring process, and they can create risk, so if you’re thinking about conducting them company-wide or for specific positions, you should have a business reason for doing so. In short, you should know why you

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Five Reasons to Rehire Former Employees

It’s not uncommon for organizations to have a policy against rehiring former employees. This sort of policy makes perfect sense with respect to troublemakers, poor performers, or others who left under a dark cloud. It’s also understandable given that companies invest a lot of money training and developing their people, and employees who go elsewhere take that investment with them, sometimes to a competitor. But times have changed, and expectations with them. Few employers these days expect employees to stick around for many years. Most know that employees will move between employers multiple times over the course of their career and that many of them will even change careers entirel

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Conflict Resolution Strategies

hr outsourcing

The recipe for workplace conflict is decidedly simple: bring two or more people together and assign them a task. Unless the stars have aligned in your favor, there’s going to be some cause for disagreement between them, and if conflict ensues, their ability to cooperate will suffer. Regrettably, too often employers tolerate unresolved conflict because it isn’t a legal matter with potential fines, they’re busy with other things, they don’t know how to manage it, or because doing so is sure to be uncomfortable. But unresolved conflict is one of the most dangerous threats to an organization because it prevents people from collaborating and working efficiently, and successful teamwor

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Our busy season starts next month. Is there anything we can do to help our employees reduce their stress?

There is! Here are a few things you can do to make the busy season run as smoothly and stress-free as possible: Remove or reassign non-essential work duties: Before the busy season begins, ask employees to make a list of tasks that others could feasibly handle for them or that could be put on hold. Then work on reassigning those tasks or simply hold off on non-essential tasks until business slows down.  Allow for flexible scheduling: If employees need to work longer hours on some days during the week, consider allowing them to work fewer hours other days of the week. Be aware, however, that some states have daily overtime laws.  Budget for overtime: Employees may need to

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I’ve heard serving alcohol at company parties can be a liability. What steps can we take to protect our organization and our employees?

Yes, alcohol can be a liability. Partygoers who overindulge could cause an accident or act in ways that violate your harassment policy. Here are some practices you might consider: Employers may be liable for employee misconduct and negligence when the employee is acting “in the course and scope of employment,” so make these kinds of events optional and clearly communicate that attendance is neither expected nor required.Don’t plan to have any work-related activities at the event.To further support the non-work nature of the event, hold it off-site and outside of regular business hours, and allow employees to bring a guest.Set expectations around respectful behavior and encourag

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Can we ask an applicant why they are leaving their current job?

Yes. While it’s fine to ask this question during the interview, we recommend you collect this information ahead of time by asking about it on an employment application. In the section where the applicant lists their previous employment experience, you can ask for the reason they left each job. Trends you notice may be cause for follow-up questions during the interview or a reason not to schedule an interview at all. If you ask about previous or current employment during the interview, be mindful of the direction the response goes. As with any interview question, you should redirect the candidate if they start to share sensitive information. For example, if a candidate says they left pa

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The Three Ways HR Makes Employment More Profitable

HR covers a lot of territory—much of it cluttered with paperwork—but it really does have a precise business purpose. The point of HR is to make employment more profitable. HR does this in three fundamental ways. First, HR protects the organization against employment-related lawsuits and fines. Second, it reduces the costs of employment. And third, it maximizes employee productivity. In short, HR helps the employer save money and make money in all things related to employment.   Protection from Lawsuits and Fines Nothing can prevent an employer from being sued, but good HR can substantially reduce the risk of lawsuits and other costly consequences of non-compliance by e

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What You Need to Know Before Disciplining or Terminating an Employee

The prospect of corrective action or termination makes a lot of managers nervous. That’s understandable. For employees, being disciplined or losing their job can be anything from moderately embarrassing to financially devastating, but it’s rarely a happy occasion. For the employers, these actions always come with some risk, and there are plenty of legal danger zones an employer can end up in if corrective action isn’t done properly. Here are some tips from our HR Pros to help you avoid these pitfalls and make corrective action productive for everyone:  Everyone in the organization, but especially those responsible for disciplining or terminating employees, should understand

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