It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. If you’re in the office today, you’re likely to see coworkers receiving heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and lavish bouquets of lilies from their loved ones. But what if such a display of affection occurs between coworkers?
Workplace relationships can pose a wealth of potential problems, from discrimination to sexual harassment. These issues can be especially complicated for businesses that don’t clearly address workplace relationships in their employee handbooks. If it’s too late to set policy amidst burgeoning love, supervisors and HR representatives will have to rely on their common sense to handle workplace relationships. To make that process easier, remember to PREP by being:
Professional: When talking to employees, keep comments business related by addressing productivity, performance, and professional conduct. Don’t discuss anything personal, and remember that any personal information confided in you should be kept strictly confidential.
Reasonable: Be reasonable about the demands placed on your employees. They spend a lot of time together, which can naturally foster closeness. Without a written policy to address workplace relationships, your response can only extend so far. You can’t ask employees not to date, and even if you could, more problems could be created by enforcing unrealistic rules.
Equitable: As a matter of good HR practice, it’s important to treat all employees (and all workplace relationships) the same. This applies even if the relationship involves an extramarital affair.
Proactive: After a relationship problem arises, it’s too late to implement a formal company policy, so don’t attempt enforcement beyond what federal, state, or local laws require. Instead, talk with management about establishing a written policy to address workplace relationships. A clear policy will be the best way to manage future workplace relationship issues.
With or without a formal policy, when a workplace relationship ends, things could get messy for both the former couple and the HR Department. What was once welcome personal attention could now be considered unwelcome sexual harassment. During the relationship, it may have been common for one partner to frequent the other’s desk to chat, but that chat may now make the other partner uncomfortable. If left unaddressed, this unwanted conduct could easily snowball into a sexual harassment issue.
That’s why it’s best to catch these issues early. As an HR representative, start by sitting down separately with each employee to clarify what professional behavior means to them and to your business. Outlining professional standards may be enough to stop the unwanted conduct, but if the behavior continues, these conversations are a good starting point for potential disciplinary action. Remember, everything should be documented, from the complaint to the sit-down conversations, to create a solid base for future action. It’s important to take these issues seriously as professional matters and not just private conflicts.
I’m assuming that many of you are active Human Resources professionals, and as such you’re responsible for everything from evaluating candidates, posting job descriptions, to handling employee’s questions regarding their retirement, and making sure their benefits are in order. However, for the focus of this post, I’d like to offer some insights regarding the hiring process from the perspective of a candidate who has been searching for a job for quite a while. Anyhow, take from my thoughts what you will! I hope I can be of some help.
The first area I’d like to offer my advice in is to say this: avoid confusing job descriptions. Now, I’m sure you do your best to write good job descriptions, but I still want to counsel you to try to look at what you’re writing from the perspective of a desperate job hunter. The vague job descriptions bring in all sorts of desperate people, many of whom are unqualified, who justify their applying for a job they’re clearly not capable of doing because the job description is unclear.
Secondly, you should try to make the interview process as easy as possible for the candidate to navigate. This means telling the candidate the basic information up front. You’d be surprised at how many interviews I’ve been invited to attend, only to have to call back later and ask for directions, for the names and positions of the people who will be interviewing me, and how long I can expect the interview to last and any other special considerations. Job candidates who are asked to interview are already stressed as it is; try to make the process easy on them.
Finally, once the interview is over, be in touch with the candidate, regardless of the outcome. I’ve sat through interviews that I thought were going well, only to leave without knowing what the process going forward is. I’ve had several places not call me to inform me of their decision. If you invite someone in for an interview, it’s only right that you follow up, even if that person did not make the cut.
I realize that many of you are already doing your jobs well, and probably do these things above all the time. So this isn’t a criticism at all. Instead, it’s just a gentle hello from the other side of the job application website, saying “Don’t forget about me!”
So far, you’ve learned when to update your business’ employee handbook and how to avoid potential handbook horrors. In our third and final entry into our employee handbook series, you’ll find out key points to include in any effective handbook.
When properly prepared, the employee handbook should be a critical communication tool between your business and its employees. Your handbook should explain your business’ expectations from its employees and establish what your employees can expect from the business. This information should be presented in a clear and easy-to-understand fashion.
Here are ten essential items that should be included in every employee handbook:
- A form acknowledging the employee’s receipt of the handbook
- A disclaimer reserving the employer’s right to change the handbook’s content in the future
- The organization’s mission statement
- Recruitment practices, including how open positions are posted and filled
- Salary administration practices, including merit increases and performance reviews
- Computer and Internet use policy
- Employee code of conduct
- Absence policy, including maternity leave, bereavement leave, and jury duty
- Complaint and grievance procedures
- Guidelines for employment termination
It’s 2011, and with a new year brings a new way to steer your small business toward success! One strategy you might not have considered: enlisting a professional employer organization (PEO) like Global Human Resources Outsourcing to take care of your business’ Human Resources needs. By partnering with a PEO like GHRO, your business will benefit from a skilled and efficient Human Resources team at a fraction of the cost of maintaining an internal HR department.
So what can GHRO do for your business? Our experienced specialists provide all the services of complete HR and payroll departments. We’ll act as your personal staffing agency; start to finish, from developing a customized recruitment strategy, to screening potential candidates, to assisting with employee selection and negotiations. Additionally, we’ll function as your payroll department, keeping abreast of the latest payroll laws and regulations. We’ll also act as HR consultants and risk managers, monitoring safety and workers’ compensation law, government compliance, and employee benefits. We can also help you establish an employee wellness plan, an employee handbook, and other strategies to best fit your business’ unique needs and goals. With GHRO, you can efficiently outsource the employee relations that can stress your business’ time and budget.
With GHRO on your side, you’ll be gaining a trusted business advisor, just like your CPA or attorney. So let us assume the risks and responsibilities of maintaining your employees while you concentrate on your core business. We have a package to meet the needs of any small business. Contact us today to see how your business can benefit from GHRO!
According to a recent Gallup poll, one-third of Americans believe unemployment is the most important problem facing the nation today, followed closely by 31 percent who believe the economy, in general, is most important. These results put unemployment in the top slot for the first time since April. Throughout all of 2010’s polls, unemployment and the economy have remained either the first or second most important problem facing the country. January 2008 marked the last time neither of these issues was number one; the war in Iraq was America’s foremost concern.
As a rule, unemployment worries have been on the rise over the last two years, increasing 30 percent from October 2008 to now. This understandably coincides with increases in the unemployment rate, currently at 9.6 percent. If this trend continues, it may correspond to other points in American history when unemployment was cited as the nation’s top concern. Over half of all Americans said unemployment was the nation’s biggest problem in 1946, just after World War II, and in 1983, the last time the unemployment rate spiked close to 10 percent.
Until the nation shows definite signs of economic recovery, eyes will remain focused on unemployment. This was evident during the midterm elections, when voters turned toward conservatism and away from the Democrat incumbents who campaigned with promises of economic change but were slow to deliver. Republicans gained six seats in the Senate and a staggering 60 seats in the House, while Democrats lost eight states in the gubernatorial elections. It remains to be seen how this power shift will affect the economy and unemployment concerns, but one thing is clear—Americans are hoping to see some economic recovery!
The state of California requires all businesses with one or more employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance is meant to protect you, the employer, in case your employees are injured on the job. Not carrying workers’ compensation insurance can have serious consequences for your business.
Workers’ compensation benefits can only help you and your employees with work-related injuries if you are properly insured. If you’re uninsured and an employee suffers an on-the-job injury, you are responsible for paying any damages relating to that employee’s claim. Also bear in mind, in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim, that employee can file a civil suit against you because you’re illegally uninsured.
Most important, it’s a criminal offense not to have workers’ compensation coverage! Under the California Labor Code, failure to provide workers’ compensation coverage is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $10,000 fine or up to one year in county jail, or both. The state’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement may also issue penalties of $1,000 per employee, to a maximum of $100,000. In addition, if an injured worker’s claim successfully goes before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board and the judge finds the employer was uninsured, the employer may be fined up to $10,000 per employee, to a maximum of $100,000.
Don’t get caught in a workers’ compensation bind! Global Human Resources Outsourcing is here to help. As one of Southern California’s leading HR professional employer organizations, GHRO can assist your company with its workers’ compensation needs. GHRO offers workers’ compensation support with all three of its HR PEO packages, from the basic HR Essentials package to the comprehensive HR Total Solutions package to care for all of your company’s human resources needs. For more information and to receive a free quote, visit our website or call 888-308-0338.
In addition to offering payroll services, and managing employee benefits and government compliance issues, GHRO offers recruitment services for businesses looking to outsource their human resources needs. Recently, we received a letter from one of our clients telling us how GHRO was able to help her out.
You went above and beyond! I appreciate it.
I am doing great. I have to say I absolutely LOVE working for Job Corps.
The people are fantastic, and the Center Director is amazing. I love her
spirit and she is quite the mover and a shaker.
Working for an organizations whose core values that parallel my own is a
breath of fresh air and the students are absolutely delightful. I think
you did an excellent job of pairing us together and hope this is the
beginning of a very long relationship!
If you’re looking to hire professional caliber employees, or you’re looking for the next step in your career, Global Human Resources Outsourcing may be able to help you on your way!
It is not Wall Street, the large multi-national corporations or even the vast banking institutions that are the driving force behind the American economy. Small businesses remain the dominating factor that figure into the continuing success of the U.S. Economy. Small businesses with less than 500 employees support more than half of the private sector American workforce. By hiring a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) to help stay profitable in turbulent financial times, small businesses are able to reduce their operating costs, raise the efficiency of their management and stay competitive in the marketplace, thus keeping them playing a successful role in U.S. economy.
Small businesses do the following:
- Employ over half of America’s private sector workforce.
- Are responsible for hiring at least 40 percent of workers in the technological fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.
- Include over 50 percent of home-based businesses.
- Make up nearly all of the firms dedicated to employment.
- Generate the majority of new inventions and innovative breakthroughs in science and technology.
Despite the fact that banks and other lending institutions are currently creating more barriers than providing assistance to small businesses relying on loans to establish credit lines for commercial mortgages, vehicles, equipment and leases; as well as the fact that government regulations are making it increasingly difficult and more expensive per employee to stay in compliance, it has never been more crucial for small businesses to survive in the down economy.
Your PEO to the Rescue
For the reasons above, Professional Employer Organizations are coming to the aid of small business and providing hope for the future to many small business owners.
- Establish an employer relationship by contractually assuming many employer risks by becoming the employer of record for government compliance, safety and worker’s compensation and employee/labor relations.
- Incorporate optional health benefits, 401k administration, general liability coverage, background checks, recruitment services and payroll services.
- Provide relief from the burden of HR management, employee benefits, employee leasing and HR audits.
- Improve employment practices, compliance and risk management in order to reduce a business’s liabilities.
- Allow access to a comprehensive administrative service, employee benefits and HR Consulting.
The astronomical cost of health insurance and related benefits is forcing small and mid-size businesses to cut back on full-time employees. However, in order for companies to continue meeting productivity goals, stay competitive in today’s marketplace and remain profitable, they are turning to Human Resources Outsourcing as a solution to offset the rising cost of employee benefits.
Due to soaring medical costs, it is now estimated that employee benefits make up approximately 30 percent of the total employee compensation dollar. As a result, the days of employers offering first dollar health coverage are long gone.
Presently it is more likely that employers will offer options such as employee contribution, co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance as part of their benefits packages. Yet during these troubled economic times the price tag of these measures is still too high for many small and mid-size companies.
When a company turns to human resources outsourcing as a solution and hires a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) to assume the responsibility of employee benefits, they are able to provide competitive benefits packages while saving a substantial amount of money. This is because many insurance carriers offer PEO reduced prices for employee benefits while offering a full range of healthcare plan options.
By offering comprehensive employee benefits packages, smaller companies are better able to attract, recruit and maintain more qualified employees.
PEO’s not only help small businesses with employee benefits but also assume many other HR responsibilities including:
- Employee/Labor Relations
- Employee Leasing
- Government Compliance
- HR Audits
- HR Consulting
- Safety and Worker’s Compensation
Many small and mid-size companies are finding that by outsourcing their recruitment, HR management and other services that a PEO provides they can expand their core business with greater success.
By leaving the HR management to experts who have years of experience in not only finding a skilled labor force, but also in training and maintaining them, small and mid-sized companies can focus on productivity and growth while cutting costs at the same time.
Companies who are seeking to expand into technical fields or have taken on a project that requires employees who have special skills are finding solutions in hiring independent contractors and outsourcing agencies.
When expanding into a new arena, utilizing human resources outsourcing is an effective and reliable way to access experts with the technical background and skills needed to complete the project.
Many times retaining a full-time employee would not be profitable. Enlisting the help of an outsourcing vendor is a cost-effective way to achieve short-term staffing flexibility while filling the job to completion. By allotting the responsibility to a team of professionals provided by a professional employment organization, companies can reduce risks associated with the improper execution of additional projects or expansion.
The Advantages of Human Resources Outsourcing for Companies Seeking Skilled Employees:
- Lowered developmental operating costs
- Greater focus on production and implementation
- Access to latest technologies
- Access to employees with technical knowledge
- Efficient employee management
It is estimated by the year 2012 this country will be short three million skilled workers. A recent survey found that over 20 percent of American businesses are having difficulty finding the right people to fill open positions. By using a professional employment organization for recruitment services and HR management, companies can utilize skilled employees for one particular project without having to take on the expense and risks of hiring a full time employee.
The most commonly outsourced skilled labor includes:
- Web Design
- Computer Programming
- Data Entry
- Research and Development
- Creative Services
- Legal Services
- Payroll Services
- Recruitment Services
- Healthcare Services
- Customer Support
- Tax Preparation
- HR Management
Staying competitive in today’s marketplace often means expanding into broader arenas. Outsourcing can resolve the problem of recruiting, training and managing skilled labor.