Category: Legal

  • Partnering with recruitment employment agencies for candidate background checks

    Time and money. Most companies can’t afford to lose either by hiring the wrong person. While making a bad hire may happen on occasion, employers can minimize it with background checks of promising candidates.

    Background checks help ensure a job candidate is qualified for a position and poses no threat to the safety and security of others in the workplace.

    Most employers run some type of background check on every single hire. To do so, they need a candidate’s signed consent. If they decide not to hire someone based on a background report, they must notify the candidate in writing and provide a copy of the report.

    Because background checks can be labor-intensive and time-consuming, companies sometimes outsource them to companies specializing in these services.

    The most common pre-employment background checks used today

    Former employment checks are used to verify a candidate’s claims about education, work history, and professional license. Recruitment employment agencies can fulfill these background searches to confirm the facts as presented on the resume.

    Reference checks can be challenging and take more time. Job candidates tend to supply “safe” references—people whom they believe will vouch for them. So, can hiring companies go beyond these references to ask about skills, past performance, and personality? ... Read More

  • Looking for experience when recruiting employees? Consider older workers

    With the low unemployment rate coinciding with many older adults working longer, it would be wise to be more open to the skills of well-experienced workers when recruiting employees.

    The unemployment rate in southcentral Pennsylvania ranges from 3.7 to 4.2 percent, and businesses remain challenged by the difficulty of finding skilled workers. At the same time, employees age 55 and up have been the fastest-growing segment of the American labor force for more than 20 years. The U.S. Department of Labor expects this trend to continue through 2026.

    A 2016 Gallup poll showed that one in every three employed adults intends to work until age 68 or older. But despite the tight labor market, many of them have been downsized from their jobs and have had difficulty finding a new one.

    Include qualified older workers in your plans for recruiting employees

    About 60 percent of older workers who lose their jobs retire involuntarily because they can’t find new ones, according to a report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. So, why don’t they want to retire early? Of course, some older persons need to work for financial reasons, but not all. Some prefer to keep working because they are healthy and ... Read More

  • Are your employees Slacking? An online communications tool in the workplace

    If your employees work in teams or collaborate on projects, they might be using Slack, a cloud-based communications tool that facilitates planning, scheduling and chatting with co-workers.

    With an estimated 9 million weekly users, Slack is one of the most widely used applications for communication and collaboration at enterprises and startups today, particularly popular with workers 40 and under. Slack is even beginning to replace email among co-workers in some companies because it organizes and stores communications within a group (“channel”) of colleagues, so no one is left out of the loop.

    “We use Slack for quick and easy internal communications,” says Lauren Hunter, staffing manager at TriStarr. “It gives us the opportunity to touch base in a quick and efficient manner and helps build our internal community between departments.”

    The benefits of online communities for planning and collaborating

    A Slack public channel—a virtual workspace—is open to all team members who have been invited to join for collaboration and discussion. Private channels, used for smaller groups of members, help them break up projects into smaller tasks and communicate confidentially as needed.

    “At our company, we value transparency, so we use Slack channels with broad membership for work-related chat to help keep conversations from being siloed,” says ... Read More

  • An HR best practice: How to terminate an employee

    Most business owners and HR managers consider terminating an employee to be the most unpleasant of their responsibilities. The manager who wakes up, considers the coming day and thinks, “I can’t wait to fire so-and-so,” is rare … and maybe shouldn’t be a manager.

    Terminating an employee, even when due to performance issues, requires sensitivity, with a few exceptions. Even the most tolerant manager might check her sensitivity at the office door for flagrant offenders, such as those willfully breaking company policy or the law.

    A termination that is due to sub-par performance should not come as a total surprise to an employee. Ideally, previous meetings have been held with the employee to suggest ways for improvement, and this would be documented in his file. If this has been done, and performance is still lacking, and you no longer expect future improvement, termination might be the best option.

    Be sure to prepare every detail of the termination meeting. Plan on doing the following:

    Before the meeting:

    • Inform your HR director and attorney of your plans to terminate the employee.
    • Arrange for another manager to be in the meeting. You should have a witness to the conversation.
    • Notify security that you will be terminating the employee.

    During the meeting:

  • Beware of the dangers of small talk in interviews

    Most job interviews begin with a bit of small talk, and that’s fine. In fact, small talk before the formal interview serves several useful purposes. It helps candidates relax and express their personality before the questioning begins. It lets interviewers form initial impressions of candidates’ social and communication skills. And small talk offers both an opportunity to make desirable impressions and build an early rapport.

    However, be careful. It’s often the seemingly harmless small talk that sometimes gets hiring managers into trouble. When two or more people are engaging in friendly chit chat, they can more easily let down their guard and say something they might not otherwise.

    Minimize it and keep it light

    There is good, acceptable small talk: “How was the traffic?” “Wow, that’s some rain we’ve been having.” “I’m still getting over the shock of Sunday’s big game.” Innocent questions and comments like these can sometimes lead to a few minutes of relaxed, harmless conversation. Traffic, weather and sports are usually safe topics.

    Avoid small talk like this

    But there is also inappropriate small talk: “We have the same alma mater. When did you graduate?” “You have an interesting accent. Where did you grow up?” “I see that you’re limping. What happened?” ... Read More

  • Monitoring Off Duty Conduct: How Far Can You Go?

    by Jeannine Hohman, HR Strategist

    Employers are well aware they have a right to monitor their employees’ work e-mail, internet use, telephone use, etc. and often have policies or handbook statements to support this action.  However, when it comes to policing off duty conduct, how far can employers really go?

    Today employers certainly have access to a wealth of information through social media and other internet sites.  As we’ve discussed before, many employers have turned to using social media as a recruitment tool.  However, accessing such sites Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube, can provide employers with TMI (too much information) about what their employees are doing outside of work.  Not only that, but people talk.  For example, a manager may find out that one of their key sales representatives has a bottle-of-scotch-a-day drinking habit after work.  Can the manager discipline this employee or try to change their behavior?  Not likely without getting hit with some type of discrimination or privacy invasion law suit.

    Most states, including Pennsylvania, prohibit employers from discriminating against employees for participating in lawful conduct outside of work.  However, if an employee’s off-duty conduct or activities put your company in legal or financial trouble, most likely, the courts will ... Read More

  • A Lesson in How NOT to Motivate Employees

    I came across this little nugget this weekend and I just had to write about it.  Unfortunately it’s a true story – and may pick up some “viral legs” – so remember where you may have heard it first.

    It seems that an owner of some convenience stores in Iowa decided to have a contest where his employees could win some cold hard cash.  Nothing wrong with that – right?  Well – here is a copy of the memo, as reported by the DeMoines Register  from the business owner to the employees:

    “New Contest – Guess The Next Cashier Who Will Be Fired!!!

    To win our game, write on a piece of paper the name of the next cashier you believe will be fired. Write their name [the person who will be fired], today’s date, today’s time, and your name. Seal it in an envelope and give it to the manager to put in my envelope.

    “Here’s how the game will work: We are doubling our secret-shopper efforts, and your store will be visited during the day and at night several times a week. Secret shoppers will be looking for cashiers wearing a hat, talking on a cell phone, not wearing a QC Mart shirt, having someone ... Read More

  • How We Will Work – A Paradigm Shift in the Employer / Employee Relationship

    Everywhere we look, we can see the global workforce undergoing a massive structural change. We don’t work at the same company for life, expecting the benefits and security that come with full-time employment. We’re no longer defined simply by our title, such as customer service representative, or designer, or reporter. Instead, we’re part-time CSR’s who design or blog on the side.

    We call them freelancers, contractors, sole proprietors, consultants, temps, and the self-employed.  There are more and more of them every day.  They will make up more and more of your workforce every day.  And, perhaps most surprisingly, many of them love it, and once we accept this new phenomenon we will like the results as much as they like working this way.

    This transition is nothing less than a revolution. We haven’t seen a shift in the workforce this significant since we transitioned from an agricultural to an industrial economy.  Now employees are leaving the traditional workplace and opting to piece together a professional life on their own. As of 2005, one-third of our workforce participated in this “freelance economy.” Data show that number has only increased over the past six years. Entrepreneurial activity in 2009 was at its highest level ... Read More