human resources http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/6125/all en-US 25 Questions to Ask Before You Outsource HR http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/25-questions-to-ask-before-you-outsource-hr <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/25-questions-to-ask-before-you-outsource-hr" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/25-questions-to-ask-before-you-outsource-hr</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/25-questions-to-ask-before-you-outsource-hr" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000012028417Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you decided to start a business, it probably wasn&rsquo;t the fun of keeping up with the latest employment regulations, tax issues, and OSHA requirements that lit your fire. Nevertheless, if you have even a single employee, you&rsquo;re stuck with all that and more. You&rsquo;re not alone and fortunately, where there is opportunity there are generally <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-save-money-with-outsourcing" target="_blank">entrepreneurs with a solution</a>. Enter the world of professional employer organizations (PEOs). For the folks who run these companies, HR <i>is</i> their passion.</p> <h2>Professional Employer Organizations</h2> <p>In a nutshell, a PEO acts as a co-employer and assumes many of the HR administrative functions that frustrate small business owners. These can include:</p> <ul> <li>Payroll</li> <li>Benefit administration (including healthcare)</li> <li>Workers compensation</li> <li>Recruiting</li> <li>Background checks for new employees</li> <li>Development of employee manuals</li> <li>Safety management</li> <li>Training (particularly in HR-related matters)</li> <li>Drug screening</li> <li>Employment assistance programs</li> <li>Employment practices liability insurance</li> </ul> <p>My first-hand experience with PEOs came 15 years ago when I was running a vintage airplane ride business in San Diego. The business was, er, taking off, but the payroll and other compliance issues were dragging it &ndash; or at least, me down. Just figuring out which posters I was supposed to have on what walls was enough to bring on migraine. A company called <a href="http://employers-resource.com/" target="_blank">Employers-Resource</a> was my salvation.</p> <h2>Co-Employment</h2> <p>As a co-employer, the PEO becomes the employer of record for tax purposes. They do all the payroll administration and reporting under their own tax identification numbers. Their fees run between 3% and 15% of payroll.</p> <p>For some businesses, particularly new ones, an experienced PEO can offer big savings in Workers Compensation by virtue of their group rates. Group health insurance rates can be lower too, but it pays to check around. Some PEOs, due to their particular client base, may actually experience higher insurance rates.</p> <p>But efore you wash your hands of all that annoying HR administrative stuff, it&rsquo;s important to note that using a PEO doesn&rsquo;t mean you&rsquo;re entirely off the hook. If the PEO fails to pay the taxes for your employees, you&rsquo;re still liable. Similarly, they are no get-out-of-jail-free cards for any violation of employee rights, wage, or similar disputes.</p> <h2>What to Ask a Prospective PEO</h2> <p>According to the <a href="http://www.napeo.org/" target="_blank">National Association of Professional Employer Organizations</a>, while the industry is relatively young &ndash; less than 30 years old &ndash; there are more than 700 PEOs across the U.S. So how do you pick a good one? Here are some questions to get you started on your search:</p> <ol> <li>Does the PEO offer all the services you need or are likely to need in the near future?</li> <li>How does each specific service work?</li> <li>What options will you have for supplying payroll data? Email, fax, phone, website, hand delivery?</li> <li>Do they offer performance guarantees and what do they cover?</li> <li>What documentation will you receive regarding payroll, claims, filings, etc.? How often will you receive it? Will you have online access?</li> <li>What hours will they be available by phone, email, or instant chat? What is their standard for returning phone calls?</li> <li>What options will you have for reaching them in an emergency such as an on-the-job injury?</li> <li>What assurances will you receive that all tax and other liabilities are being met?</li> <li>What are their upfront and ongoing fees and how are they determined?</li> <li>Will they charge you an average tax rate based on all their clients or will it be calculated for your organization? The former can result in a higher tax rate.</li> <li>What rates will they be quoting for worker&rsquo;s compensation? Health insurance? Etc.? How do they compare to what you could get on your own?</li> <li>How long have they been with their workers compensation and health insurance carriers?</li> <li>Do they have experience with similar size companies in your industry?</li> <li>Are they licensed and operating in all the states where your employees reside, not just where they work?</li> <li>Will they assist you in the event of an audit?</li> <li>What is their customer retention rate?</li> <li>How long have they been in business?</li> <li>Are their financial statements audited by a CPA?</li> <li>Who is their third-party benefits administrator?</li> <li>How are their benefit liabilities funded?</li> <li>What insurance do they carry and what protections does it provide you?</li> <li>What makes them better than other PEOs?</li> <li>How are employee or company disputes handled?</li> <li>What is their track record on lawsuits?</li> <li>What are their cancellation terms? To what extent will they cooperate with supplying information to a new PEO?</li> </ol> <p>Naturally, you&rsquo;ll also want to check a prospective PEO&rsquo;s references with particular attention aimed at clients of a similar size and in similar industries.</p> <p>The big players in the field include companies such as ADP Total Source, Administaff Inc., TriNet Group Inc., and Paychex. While they may offer the most comprehensive services, if you don&rsquo;t need all of them, you may be paying for the extra overhead. Lots of smaller PEOs stand ready to take the HR burden off your shoulders, too.</p> <p>You can start your search for a PEO on the <a href="http://www.esacorp.org/AccreditedPEOsByState.aspx" target="_blank">Employer Services Assurance Corporation&rsquo;s website</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-lister">Kate Lister</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/25-questions-to-ask-before-you-outsource-hr">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/coworking-spaces-the-office-alternative">Coworking Spaces: The Office Alternative</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million">How I Got Over the Hump and Sold My Blog for $3 Million</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center employees human resources outsourcing PEOs professional employer organization small business Fri, 12 Aug 2011 19:19:30 +0000 Kate Lister 648961 at http://www.wisebread.com Hiring the Best: Go Beyond Asking Questions in an Interview http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/hiring-the-best-go-beyond-asking-questions-in-an-interview <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/hiring-the-best-go-beyond-asking-questions-in-an-interview" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/hiring-the-best-go-beyond-asking-questions-in-...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/hiring-the-best-go-beyond-asking-questions-in-an-interview" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000010883870Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Finding the perfect employee for your business can be difficult. Depending on the size of your business, you may not have a separate human resources department. You may also have limited resources you can commit to a search for job applicants.</p> <p>Contrast that with the exhaustive process (and extensive resources) used by online footwear retailer <a target="_blank" href="http://blogs.zappos.com/blogs/ceo-and-coo-blog/2009/01/03/your-culture-is-your-brand">Zappos</a>. At Zappos, hiring is just the beginning. From there, new employees go through a four-week training program and then spend two weeks on the customer service lines, no matter what position they&rsquo;re hired for. Zappos has become well known for this process, as well as a special offer the company makes to each new hire after the first week of training. If new hires agree to quit immediately, they can walk away with $2,000 in their pockets.</p> <p>The entire on-boarding process ensures that new employees are just as dedicated to Zappos as employees who have been with the company for years. But it&rsquo;s probably not a practical option for smaller businesses. Nevertheless, innovative small businesses can go beyond the standard interview routine to find the right employees.</p> <h3>Dig Deeper than the Interview</h3> <p>Interviews are a mainstay of the hiring process. They provide a way to get to know an applicant, but <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/4-hiring-mistakes-and-how-to-prevent-them">they don't say much</a> about how well the candidate will perform nor how she'll fit in with you and the rest of the team.</p> <p>To help her get a better sense of applicants, Alicia Vargo of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pamperedpassions.com/">Pampered Passions</a> uses card, board, and strategy games.</p> <p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t play an entire game of chess with an applicant,&quot; she says, &quot;you can imagine how time consuming this would be &ndash; however I sit down and either play gin rummy or chess with our applicants. Of course, they look at me quite strange.&rdquo;</p> <p>Despite the odd looks, Vargo&rsquo;s method gets results.</p> <p>&ldquo;When I sat down with one applicant, she was quite competitive, and frustrated with her mistakes. She was concerned about winning the game, and winning only. She was quite insecure at the same time about her strategies. Ultimately she was throwing her hands in the air, could not believe she was making the decisions she was making on the board, and gave up after about ten moves. She had mentioned that she was an excellent chess player prior to me taking out the game.&quot;</p> <p>Form this experience, Vargo surmised a few things about the candidate:</p> <ul> <li>She may be a perfectionist;</li> <li>She may not be a team player;</li> <li>She may give up in a challenging circumstance;</li> <li>She may not be a problem solver;</li> <li>She could not take the time to breathe through her frustrations.</li> </ul> <p>The result? &quot;She was not a candidate we hired,&quot; says Vargo.</p> <h3>The Handwriting on the Wall</h3> <p>Chess and board games aren't your only alternatives. While a variety of assessment tests have become commonplace in the hiring process, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.sheilalowe.com/">Sheila Lowe&rsquo;s</a> handwriting analysis stands out. Lowe provides employers with a deeper insight into the people that they may hire and her analysis has proven out for her clients. &ldquo;I had provided an analysis of a woman who was applying for outside sales. In my report I noted that while she had many fine qualities for the job, her strong sensitivity gave her tendency to blow up at the slightest provocation. While not all my clients share with their applicants that their handwriting is being analyzed, this particular one did. He told the woman what my report had said and &ndash; she blew up.&rdquo;</p> <p>Lowe&rsquo;s efforts provide employers with an additional layer of information about a candidate. &ldquo;I never tell a client that they should or shouldn&rsquo;t hire someone,&quot; she says, &quot;but my analyses provide objective information (I never meet the applicants) that they can add to their impression in the interview, application, skill testing, background check. I&rsquo;m not there to stop good people getting a job, but to help the employer make sound choices. In most cases, it&rsquo;s not poor job skills that cause people to lose their job, it&rsquo;s personality problems.&rdquo;</p> <h3>Show, Don&rsquo;t Tell</h3> <p>Many applicants will come to you with impressive resumes &ndash; but a resume doesn&rsquo;t tell you how they really do their job and how they fit in with your team. Having a prospective employee actually get down in the trenches and do a trial project (paid, of course) can give you a much clearer picture of how they&rsquo;ll actually work for your company.</p> <p>Sara Sutton Fell is the CEO of the jobsite <a target="_blank" href="http://flexjobs.com/">Flexjobs.com</a>. Applicants to her company are asked to complete an exercise that shows how they would perform in the real world.</p> <p>&ldquo;One of the positions is a researcher role,&quot; Fell says, &quot;so we gave the candidates similar guidelines that our current researchers have, and asked them to take a half hour and submit the results of the research guidelines. It gives us a great insight into (a) their current level of understanding of the job; (b) the quality of their work; and (c) in what areas they may need training. &quot;</p> <p>Because her current researchers are already experts, she includes them in the process, helping her &quot;grade&quot; candidate responses. &ldquo;We had four candidates who just knocked the research component out of the park, with their submitted results being 100 percent usable and up to our current standards, with absolutely no training. The other submissions ranged on the spectrum, with about half of them ensuring their progress to the interview stage.&rdquo;</p> <p>Fell's process has resulted in positive responses from applicants, as a general rule. After all, many potential hires aren&rsquo;t sure how a company really operates until they land the job and start work. The test offered a glimpse of what applicants were applying for. The insights that a work exercise such as Fell's research test provides can be beneficial to applicants as well as the companies interested in hiring them.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/hiring-the-best-go-beyond-asking-questions-in-an-interview">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-should-do-if-youre-stumped-during-an-interview">What You Should Do If You&#039;re Stumped During an Interview</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/coworking-spaces-the-office-alternative">Coworking Spaces: The Office Alternative</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center hiring human resources innovation new employee small business Fri, 03 Jun 2011 23:54:31 +0000 Thursday Bram 545616 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Workplace Situations That Just Won't Wait http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-workplace-situations-that-just-wont-wait <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/5-workplace-situations-that-just-wont-wait-julie-rains" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/5-workplace-situations...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-workplace-situations-that-just-wont-wait" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007114491Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A typical workday may have you setting priorities and communicating them to your team, everything neatly aligned with your strategic plan. No matter what your road map tells you, though, there are some workplace situations that can't wait. Here are five that should always demand your attention <i>now</i>.</p> <p><b>Claims of Sexual Harassment </b></p> <p>An employee complains that a co-worker never addresses her by name but calls her &ldquo;beautiful&rdquo; or &ldquo;good-looking&rdquo; instead. This behavior makes the employee uncomfortable.</p> <p><b>Take complaints seriously</b>. Avoid categorizing any employee complaints &ndash; including sexual harassment complaints &ndash; as inconsequential. Gather facts and, if possible, get statements from witnesses. Speak directly with the accused, explain that certain behaviors have been brought to your attention, and ask to hear about the situation from his or her perspective. Be open-minded and objective. Be respectful toward all parties involved. Document your activities.</p> <p><b>Follow-up</b>. Meet with the employee who expressed the concern. Explain specific actions taken to remedy the problem. Confirm that he or she feels comfortable at work, given this resolution. Finally, ask to be informed of further incidents.</p> <p>The immediate goal is to prevent further harassment. Your long-term goal is to establish and maintain a professional work environment.</p> <p>Set the tone for appropriate behavior by modeling respect in the workplace and creating policies that support your values. Policies should cover standards of appropriate language and behavior, definitions of inappropriate language and behavior, methods of dealing with complaints, and consequences for violations. Your state's Employment or Labor Department will have guidelines to help you develop appropriate policies.</p> <p><b>Paycheck Errors</b></p> <p>An employee questions the accuracy of her paycheck.</p> <p><b>Communicate</b>. Let the employee know that you are committed to prompt resolution of any payroll problems. Direct your payroll staff or outside payroll provider to address concerns quickly, preferably by the end of the workday. Certain matters may require more time to investigate but make sure that resolution happens within deadlines specified by the Department of Labor and your company&rsquo;s policies.</p> <p><b>Be proactive</b>. Make sure your payroll team can handle payroll nuances and respond quickly to concerns. Direct them to confirm proper treatment of pay-rate increases for merit raises and promotions, adjustments to income tax withholdings, updates to employee deductions, increases in 401k contributions, etc. before finalizing payroll and distributing paychecks.</p> <p>Be especially careful in setting rules about bonuses and sales commissions. Make sure that everyone -- your employees, your payroll group, and you -- share a common understanding of how these payouts are calculated. Advise employees of any changes prior to paycheck distribution and ask them to alert you to any problems.</p> <p><b>Employees under Drug Influence</b></p> <p>You or one of your managers observes that an employee is exhibiting erratic behavior, seems excessively drowsy, or has become dramatically less productive.</p> <p><b>Ask the employee to stop working</b>. Don&rsquo;t accuse the employee of substance abuse. Your priority is to maintain a safe workplace rather than expose underlying problems. Focus on eliminating the possibility of injury to either the suspected employee or others. Explain why you have pulled the employee aside, and allow him or her to offer an explanation of the behavior. Depending on the response, a drug test may be appropriate. If the employee is impaired, have him or her escorted to the test facility and then home.</p> <p><b>Follow-up when the employee returns to work</b>. Sit down with the employee to discuss any non-drug-related problems that may be causing unusual behavior. If the drug test confirms drug use, take the appropriate next step, which may include a warning on the use of certain drugs, referral to substance abuse counseling, or termination.</p> <p><b>Develop policies that will help prevent substance abuse</b>. Your state Employment or Labor Department and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/substanceabuse/index.html#small">OSHA</a> both have guidelines to help you create a substance abuse policy. If you establish your business as a drug-free workplace, require negative test results from drug screens as a condition of employment and arrange for random testing of all employees.</p> <p><b>Workplace Accidents </b></p> <p>An employee is injured in an accident at your workplace.</p> <p><b>Seek medical evaluation and treatment immediately</b>. Prompt care will ensure the best outcome and avoid complications. Depending on the nature of the accident, suspend activity in the area in which the injured employee was working.</p> <p><b>Next, investigate the accident</b>. Observe workplace conditions and talk to witnesses and the injured employee (if possible) to get a clear picture of the events that led to the accident. Address any safety violations before anyone else is allowed to enter the area. Over the following days, pinpoint the cause and devise a plan to remedy safety problems.</p> <p><b>Consider a risk assessment</b>. Comprehensive safety programs can provide a framework for preventing accidents, responding to them, and taking corrective action later. Ask your insurance carrier to conduct a risk assessment (relating to <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/money-saving-strategies-for-workers-compensation-julie-rains">workers&rsquo; compensation insurance coverage</a>) and provide guidance on accident prevention. To augment the safety program, create an incident-response plan to guide decision-making immediately following an accident.</p> <p><b>Irate Customers</b></p> <p>A customer is incensed about a real (or perceived) failure on your business&rsquo;s part to deliver results as required and expected.</p> <p><b>Respond immediately</b>. Your goal is to prevent escalation and collateral damage. Customer service policies, though useful as a guide for most interactions, may not be helpful in situations with irate customers. Solutions will vary depending on the nature of the problem but may include invoice adjustments. Getting to the root cause of the problem and making corrections to underlying processes are essential, but you may not have the leisure to wait for an investigation; taking immediate action, even if based on imperfect information, is the better course.</p> <p><b>Plan ahead</b>. Before you deliver a product or service, verify that your company is in full compliance with all specifications so you can articulate and defend your position if conflicts arise. For less clear situations, consider examining and updating your marketing communications so that your products or services are more closely aligned with customer expectations. In some situations, though, you&rsquo;ll need to identify and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/get-rid-of-bad-customers-julie-rains">get rid of bad customers</a> before problems surface.</p> <p>You may never encounter these high-risk, sensitive situations. But planning now to avoid them and deal with the unexpected can help your workday go smoother, every day.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-workplace-situations-that-just-wont-wait">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/coworking-spaces-the-office-alternative">Coworking Spaces: The Office Alternative</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million">How I Got Over the Hump and Sold My Blog for $3 Million</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center employees human resources payroll errors sexual harassment small business workplace crisis workplace drug abuse Wed, 23 Feb 2011 21:44:51 +0000 Julie Rains 491546 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Tips for Using the Internet at Work http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-using-the-internet-at-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-tips-for-using-the-internet-at-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/163908271_85076c155b_z.jpg" alt="internet at work" title="internet at work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most employees get on the Internet for personal reasons while they&rsquo;re at work. It makes sense &mdash; when you&rsquo;re online all day anyway, you may as well check your personal email, Twitter, or even Facebook.</p> <p>Many employers don&rsquo;t mind if their employees spend some personal time online, as long as it doesn&rsquo;t interfere with customer service or hamper productivity. In order to keep it that way, though, there are some tips you should keep in mind. They are, for the most part, common sense, but you might be surprised how many employees break them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-being-nice-at-work-can-payoff" title="5 Ways Being Nice at Work Can Payoff">5 Ways Being Nice at Work Can Payoff</a>)</p> <h3>1. Know Your Company&rsquo;s Policy</h3> <p>More and more companies have written policies covering what their employees can and cannot do online from the office. Ask about this or look it up before you have the chance to get in trouble, as it will look especially bad to be found breaking it if you&rsquo;re <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/starting-a-new-job-3-rules-to-live-by" title="Starting a New Job: 3 Rules to Live By">new to the job</a>. While you may feel awkward asking about checking personal email at your orientation, doing so will help you get started on the right foot.</p> <h3>2. Avoid Blocked Websites</h3> <p>Some companies have started blocking social networking sites or video sites, like YouTube, so that computers on their premises cannot access them. Usually the programs that block these sites also record which computers are trying to access them. If you make repeated attempts, or more attempts than most people do, you may find yourself having an awkward meeting with HR.</p> <h3>3. Watch What You Say</h3> <p>When you&rsquo;re at work, you represent your company, even if you&rsquo;re sending a personal email. That may not seem straightforward to you, but it will certainly seem that way for your company. Thus it&rsquo;s important to watch your words, especially if there&rsquo;s the chance that a keylogger is installed on your computer.</p> <p>Refrain from swearing, tirades, rants, and other overly emotional communication at work. Even if you&rsquo;re not talking about your company directly, these sorts of communications may garner you more attention than you&rsquo;re looking for.</p> <h3>4. Don&rsquo;t Knock Your Company</h3> <p>This one may seem particularly obvious, but people still get fired regularly for the things they say about their company online. If you have something negative to say about your job, your corporation, your boss, your coworkers, or anything possibly pertaining to work, just don&rsquo;t say it online. Don&rsquo;t Tweet it, don&rsquo;t post it to Facebook, don&rsquo;t blog about it, and don&rsquo;t email anyone about it.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re angry about a specific situation and you need to talk, take a break (even if you have to take personal or vacation time to do it) and call someone close to you. Go outside, have your rant, and be done with it. If you need to tell someone at work what&rsquo;s going on, do it in person, not via the web.</p> <h3>5. Don&rsquo;t Give Away Company Secrets</h3> <p>Again, this one should be obvious. But people email their work passwords to a personal account all the time. Even if you have a perfectly legitimate reason for doing this, at least clear it with your supervisor first. That way, if the company has certain keystrokes flagged and you trigger an alarm, you have support when defending yourself against the charges.</p> <p>Emails about trading information, new designs, product revisions, personnel reviews, and more should all be sent encrypted if they&rsquo;re leaving your company. Some may disagree with this, but you want to cover yourself in case something gets leaked.</p> <p>It goes without saying that you shouldn&rsquo;t pass secure information via the Internet for illegal purposes, either. Your job and your reputation are more important than any data you might obtain.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s easy to be a responsible employee and still keep up with your personal life online while at work. Just make sure you&rsquo;re not being a moron, and do what you know is right.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-using-the-internet-at-work">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/starting-a-new-job-3-rules-to-live-by">Starting a New Job: 3 Rules to Live By</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-excuse-me-your-job-is-waiting">Book Review: Excuse Me, Your Job is Waiting!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-quit-your-job">How to Quit Your Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-answer-23-of-the-most-common-interview-questions">How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-re-fired-20-signs-that-a-pink-slip-is-coming">You’re Fired! 20 Signs That a Pink Slip is Coming</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building human resources social networking at work starting a new job Tue, 14 Dec 2010 15:00:10 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 381248 at http://www.wisebread.com Questions You Can't Ask When Hiring http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/questions-you-cant-ask-when-hiring <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/questions-you-cant-ask-when-hiring-thursday-bram" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/questions-you-cant-ask...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/questions-you-cant-ask-when-hiring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000010061109XSmall.jpg" alt="Job interview" title="Job interview" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Legally speaking, you can ask just about anything at a job interview. But there are plenty of questions that you should never actually ask, because they'll quickly come back to haunt you. If you ask a question that could be interpreted as discriminatory and then choose not to hire the interviewee, it can be very easy for that interviewee to say that he or she didn't get the job due to discrimination.</p> <p>Here is just a handful of the many questions that can get you into hot water:</p> <ul> <li>Are you planning on having children?</li> <li>Have you ever been arrested?</li> <li>What religion do you practice?</li> <li>Have you ever declared bankruptcy or had your wages garnished?</li> <li>Do you have any handicaps?</li> <li>What ethnic background do you come from?</li> <li>Are you pregnant?</li> </ul> <h3>A Question of Discrimination</h3> <p>Off-limits questions boil down to any that could lead to accusations of discrimination down the road. Roberta Matuson, the president of <a href="http://www.yourhrexperts.com">Human Resource Solutions</a>, has seen the trouble a well-intentioned small business owner can get into.</p> <blockquote>During the interviewing process you cannot ask anything that is related to marital status, race, religion, sexual orientation or anything else that might be perceived as discriminatory. Common mistakes small business owners make when hiring include asking people (generally women) about their plans for a future family or how they will care for their children while at work. Or they will ask questions such as, 'Where did you learn to speak Spanish?' which can cause the candidate to reveal their origin.</blockquote> <p>Matuson points out that some questions can even be double-whammies:</p> <blockquote>'What does your husband do?' This answer to this question reveals both sexual orientation and marital status.</blockquote> <p>It may seem difficult to ask an interviewee about what he or she wants in the future, based on the long list of questions that are essentially off-limits. That doesn't mean that you can't get a good idea of what you can expect with a prospective employee. Matuson suggests:</p> <blockquote>The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Look at the person's track record. Ask them to explain why they left each position they've worked in. If they've jumped around for reasons that make you suspect they may do the same if you hire them, then pass.</blockquote> <h3>How You Ask Questions</h3> <p>You can't protect your business by warning candidates that answers won't be taken into consideration or that they don't have to answer. Chris Beck, the managing director of <a href="http://www.firsttransitions.com">First Transitions</a>, has more than twenty years of human resources experience. He tells the story of a sales manager conducting interviews in different cities for sales representatives for his manufacturing company:</p> <blockquote>The sales manager used the following 'technique' in all of the interviews: he truly thought that if he 'warned' the candidates that he intended to ask inappropriate questions by stating, 'this next part is off the record' &mdash; he could ask anything he wanted and it would be OK. After he told each candidate that 'this next part is off the record,' he proceeded to ask the following questions: How is your financial status? Are you in debt? How are things at home with your spouse &mdash; any trouble there? How will your spouse feel about you traveling if you get hired? When you travel on business, do you party or 'fool around' at all? Have you ever been in trouble with the law?</blockquote> <p>Beck continues:</p> <blockquote>Of course, there is nothing 'off the record' in an interview. Even if the interviewer takes the candidate for a cup of coffee after the interview, it is still considered part of the interview...inappropriate questions are still inappropriate. Some of these sales candidates did question the sales manager why they were being asked those questions during the interview. Fortunately for the manufacturing company, none of the unselected candidates filed a claim &mdash; although they could have.</blockquote> <h3>Planning for an Interview</h3> <p>Linda Pophal, the author of <em>Employee Management for Small Business</em>, notes that employers should only ask those questions that relate to the job, but that making sure you stay on track during an interview can be particularly difficult.</p> <blockquote>For example, then, if you're hiring a data entry clerk, things like speed and accuracy will be important to you. What won't be important are things like sex, age, race, religion, marital status...It really is quite straightforward. Where small businesses (and even large ones!) get into trouble is when they begin just asking questions without a plan and without a focus on job-related hiring criteria.</blockquote> <p>In order to make sure that you stay <a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;218396076;41475586;v?http://www201.americanexpress.com/sbsapp/FMACServlet?request_type=alternateChannels&amp;lpid=298&amp;openeep=17460&amp;ccsgeep=17460">on track</a> during an interview it's important to have an idea of what you need before you even schedule the interview. Pophal suggests coming up with your questions before the interview:</p> <blockquote>If one of your requirements is that a candidate has strong customer service skills, you would come up with questions that you felt would help you most effectively determine whether/not they had these skills. For instance: 'Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer. What was the situation? What did you do? What was the outcome?' or 'What do you believe are the strongest characteristics of a person with strong customer service skills? Which of these skills do you believe you are strongest at? Which do you feel you could improve on?'</blockquote> <p>If it proves difficult to come up with appropriate questions, Matuson points to more information as the solution.</p> <blockquote>The best way for small business owners to protect themselves is to educate themselves. Ways to do this include asking your attorney for a list of questions that are best avoided or working with an HR expert who can guide them through the minefield that is often associated with everyday hiring.</blockquote> <p>While you may not be able to get the free and easy feeling of choosing your questions on the spot, going in with a plan guarantees that you'll learn what you need to know about your prospective employees, without asking anything that could cause problems down the road.</p> <script type="text/javascript"> federated_media_section = "gold"; </script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/questions-you-cant-ask-when-hiring">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/coworking-spaces-the-office-alternative">Coworking Spaces: The Office Alternative</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million">How I Got Over the Hump and Sold My Blog for $3 Million</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center employees hiring human resources small business Sun, 16 May 2010 00:34:51 +0000 Thursday Bram 6063 at http://www.wisebread.com The Small Business Benefits Package http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/the-small-business-benefits-package <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/the-small-business-benefits-package-thursday-bram" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/the-small-business-ben...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/the-small-business-benefits-package" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000002021513XSmall.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a small business owner, winning over and keeping the best employees can be difficult. The right benefits package can make a world of difference: You can improve employee morale, make it easier for your employees to come in to work every day and make your business run a little more smoothly.</p> <p>On top of offering the right <a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;218396076;41475586;v?http://www201.americanexpress.com/sbsapp/FMACServlet?request_type=alternateChannels&amp;lpid=298&amp;openeep=17460&amp;ccsgeep=17460">benefits</a> for your employees, it can be particularly important to create benefits that you, the business owner, can take advantage of.</p> <h2>When to Add a Benefits Package</h2> <p>Recognizing the point when offering benefits, no matter what kind, can be difficult. In many cases, offering costly benefits from the day you open your doors simply isn't cost effective. But as your business grows, you increase the size of your work force, or your personal needs increase. Adding certain benefits can make a word of difference.</p> <p>Rashelle LeCapitan, the president and founder of Connecting Cultures, found that offering health insurance as a benefit was crucial to her company moving forward.</p> <blockquote>We wanted to become a competitive employer throughout our community. More importantly our industry did not have full time positions available for healthcare interpreters. The goal of the company was to provide employment opportunities for bilingual individuals wanting to connect their communities through language services. In order to do this, we felt providing health insurance was critical to attract and maintain a professional staff. It was also important to provide benefits that I, as owner, was able to take advantage of.</blockquote> <p>Being aware of your employees' needs can be as simple a matter as sitting down with them and talking over the matter. It is crucial to handle such a situation delicately, of course. The concern is that many employees may want benefits that you are not yet able to offer and it's possible to create a problem if you are not absolutely clear when you discuss the circumstances.</p> <p>However, as long as you are aware of such concerns before you start the discussion, you can typically head off issues from the beginning. And, after all, it's important to get information on what benefits would be suitable for your employees. Even within a single type of benefit, such as health insurance, there can be wide variations between plans. What may be right for a young, single employee may not be so helpful for an older employee with a family.</p> <h2>What Benefits to Offer</h2> <p>The standard benefit most employees look for is health insurance. It can be a critical component of the package that you offer, but there are alternatives worth considering. For instance, many business owners find that a traditional health insurance plan isn't the only solution to their employees' needs: a health savings account or a monthly allowance can be useful options.</p> <p>For many employees, benefits such as assistance with public transportation or the opportunity to telecommute can be particularly useful. While it is not necessary to directly involve your employees with the process of choosing specific benefits, it is important to be aware of their needs. LeCapitan's choices were based first and foremost on her business' financial capabilities.</p> <blockquote>Health insurance came first. Second was paid vacation and holidays. Currently we offer dental and AFLAC as well,&quot; said LeCapitan. &quot;The intangible benefit that is also available is our flexibility and understanding for the personal needs of our staff. As an example, and within reason, an employee may not be penalized for having to stay home with their sick child. Small businesses can offer benefits that large corporations do not and vice versa.</blockquote> <p>Be creative with your choice of benefits. You can often negotiate a better company rate for certain services your employees need than they can get for themselves. A gym membership, for instance, can help your employees stay healthy and (as long as you have more than one or two employees), you can negotiate a group rate for a membership as a benefit. It's easy for your benefits package to serve multiple purposes.</p> <h2>Working With a Benefits Provider</h2> <p>There are many companies that have put together benefits packages with small businesses in mind, and as the new health care reforms come into effect, it is likely that even more packages will be available. David Jenson, the managing director of Oliver Russell, chose to work with A Plus Benefits because the company provided easy offerings that met the company's employees' needs. Jenson notes:</p> <blockquote>Our employees recognize the importance of good benefits and appreciate that we provide the best options for them and their families. With A Plus, we're able to offer our team broad medical and dental benefits as well as options that allow them to pick and choose plans that work best for them; everything from Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to traditional PPO plans.</blockquote> <p>When working with such a company, it's important to make sure that your benefits provider is reliable. Jenson says:</p> <blockquote>Employees rarely worry about payroll or human resource issues until there is a problem or mistake. It only takes one incident for an employee to lose trust and start questioning the company. In a time where employees expect benefits, the ability to provide a generous benefits package can make a company very competitive and can go a long way towards attracting top talent.</blockquote> <p>Other options for finding a benefits provider can include looking to your business' local memberships, such as chambers of commerce or professional associations. LeCapitan says:</p> <blockquote>Our initial step to finding insurance providers was working with our local chamber of commerce. They have a health insurance program that takes all of their members as one group to provide more reasonable rates for their members' employees. The insurance agent that had an existing relationship with my co-owner was our initial vendor. Ultimately we switched vendors as we grew and as our needs changed.</blockquote> <p>Working with an individual agent can also be an option. If you handle most of your business' insurance policies through the same agent, you may be able to negotiate a lower rate. Get a quote from as many sources as possible as a starting point.</p> <script type="text/javascript"> federated_media_section = "gold"; </script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/the-small-business-benefits-package">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/coworking-spaces-the-office-alternative">Coworking Spaces: The Office Alternative</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million">How I Got Over the Hump and Sold My Blog for $3 Million</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center employee benefits human resources small business Sun, 09 May 2010 17:40:29 +0000 Thursday Bram 6232 at http://www.wisebread.com Temps, VAs, Contractors and Employees: Who Should You Hire? http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/temps-vas-contractors-and-employees-who-should-you-hire <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/temps-vas-contractors-and-employees-who-should-you-hire-thursday-bram" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/temps-vas-contractors-...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/temps-vas-contractors-and-employees-who-should-you-hire" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/temps_vas_contractors_and_employees_who_should_you_hire_photo.jpg" alt="Hire me" title="Hire me" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="151" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The options for bringing in some help for your business go far beyond hiring a full-time employee. While an employee can be a good choice in many situations, it's worth taking a look at the other options out there, as well as the situations in which each can best help you grow your business in the long term.</p> <h2>Temps</h2> <p>Depending on the type of projects you need help completing, a temp may be more practical than bringing in a new employee full-time. On an hourly basis, it may appear that a temp is more expensive than hiring someone directly, but the hourly rate you pay for a temp is typically not that far off from the actual <a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;218396076;41475586;v?http://www201.americanexpress.com/sbsapp/FMACServlet?request_type=alternateChannels&amp;lpid=298&amp;openeep=17460&amp;ccsgeep=17460">cost</a> of an employee when you calculate taxes, insurance and so on. You also have the benefit of only paying for a worker when you have a project for him or her to work on. Another benefit of hiring through a temp agency is that the agency handles most of the paperwork and other details that go along with hiring an employee. As a general rule, agencies test applicants' skills, check references, handle payroll taxes and more.</p> <p>Whether or not a temp is a good fit for your business tends to be a question of just how much work you have that you or the other employees already in place can't handle. For the occasional project where you just need a spare pair of hands (like changing over a filing system or conducting inventory) a temp can significantly speed up the process at a reasonable rate. But if you've reached the point where you need at least a few hours every week, it's likely that a temp isn't the best choice for you. After all, there's no guarantee you'll get the same temp every time, which can mean training a new person on a regular basis.</p> <h2>Virtual Assistants</h2> <p>Sometimes you don't need a full-time employee, but you do need to work consistently with the same person. A virtual assistant can often fill that gap. While you may never meet a VA in person, he or she will provide you a certain number of hours of work a week, doing everything from administrative tasks to web design, depending on the VA in question. Typically, virtual assistants are contractors, running their own businesses, although some will work for a larger business providing a range of assistant services. Different VAs will offer different skill sets.</p> <p>The price tag that goes along with working with virtual assistants can vary pretty dramatically. Many virtual assistants are based outside of the country and can offer significantly lower rates due to their location. However, there are trade-offs, including difficulties communicating and working with someone in a very different time zone. VAs closer to home tend to be more expensive, especially if they offer a specialized skill set. However, it is worth noting that the costs associated with an employee are absent when you work with a virtual assistant. You don't even have to pay to have the lights on when your VA is working.</p> <h2>Contractors</h2> <p>For particularly specialized projects, it may make sense to bring in a contractor or a freelancer. If, for instance, you need a new website built for your company, a freelance designer is likely to be the most cost effective option: you aren't likely to need more than one website any time soon, so hiring a web designer on a long-term basis just doesn't make sense. A contractor is likely to have better-developed web design skills, as well, than an employee for whom web design is just one more responsibility. Contractors are generally one of the best options when you need a specialized skill set on a short-term basis.</p> <p>Pricing for contractors is fairly similar to that of virtual assistants. You'll likely pay a premium for the best work and for someone located within the country, but a freelancer does not work from your office nor require you to pay benefits or taxes. Many contractors are also willing to work on a per-project rate. However, it is important to be careful to make sure that your professional relationship is based on a contract and to check out the IRS rules for working with contractors. There are certain circumstances in which the IRS will reclassify a contractor as an employee, which can be a big mess for both you and the contractor.</p> <h2>Employees</h2> <p>The first type of help most employers think about bringing in when they're ready to expand are employees. Typically, employees are expected to work for a company indefinitely, meaning that an employer is making a long-term financial commitment to any employee. There are other financial considerations that can set an employee apart from the other personnel that might help you with your business: when you have employees you have legal obligations such as payroll taxes. You may also choose to offer employees benefits, while it's very rare that benefits are available to other people who may be working for your business.</p> <p>If you know you're going to consistently need the same skill set in your business for a long time to come, an employee is probably going to be the best option, whether part-time or full-time. It may also be worth considering an employee if you need someone to work specific hours and in a specific location. Those are both concerns that can lead to contractors being reclassified as employees.</p> <h2>Choosing Your Help</h2> <p>It's crucial to look at the specific responsibilities you have in mind for anyone you're considering bringing into your business. Are those responsibilities flexible in any way? If there's a lot of variety, would they be better broken up into smaller projects? How important is it that you have the same person handling these responsibilities day in and day out? These questions can be key to deciding whether you really need an employee or whether hiring someone as a contractor, a virtual assistant or a temp may prove to be a more cost effective option.</p> <script type="text/javascript"> federated_media_section = "gold"; </script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/temps-vas-contractors-and-employees-who-should-you-hire">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/coworking-spaces-the-office-alternative">Coworking Spaces: The Office Alternative</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million">How I Got Over the Hump and Sold My Blog for $3 Million</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center employees hiring human resources small business Fri, 30 Apr 2010 20:32:16 +0000 Thursday Bram 6064 at http://www.wisebread.com The High Cost of Employee Turnover http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/the-high-cost-of-employee-turnover <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/the-high-cost-of-employee-turnover-scott-allen" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/the-high-cost-of-employee...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/the-high-cost-of-employee-turnover" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000008240854XSmall.jpg" alt="Job turnover" title="Job turnover" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's impossible to be all things to all people. No matter how great your company is, it's likely that some of your employees will eventually move on to other opportunities. That may be costing you more than you realize, once you consider both the direct and indirect costs. Investing a little more into hiring and retaining the right people can pay out big in the long run.</p> <p>Just how much employee turnovers cost varies widely by industry and job type. Studies by American Management Association and others report a range between 25% and 250% of annual salary per exiting employee. Entry-level, unskilled positions are at the lower end of the cost range, while executive, managerial and sales positions are at the higher end. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average non-farm monthly turnover rate is 3.3%.</p> <p>Let's put this in perspective. Using the median personal income of full-time workers of approximately $32,000 per year, and assuming a 100% of salary as turnover cost, for a company with 100 employees, that's an annual cost of $1.3 million. And much of it you'll never notice, because you don't just write a check for it &mdash; it appears in the form of lost productivity and other less immediately obvious factors.</p> <p>A web search will turn up several online turnover cost calculators, but if you want to get an accurate picture, it's best to set up your own spreadsheet that incorporates all of the factors relevant to your business.</p> <h2>Calculate Profit Per Day (PPD)</h2> <p>For each affected position &mdash; the vacated position, HR staff, managers, etc. &mdash; calculate an approximate cost per day for lost productivity. For sales staff, start with the individual sales quota less the cost of sales; for non-sales staff, calculate with the gross income (revenue less cost of sales) per employee. Then subtract the employee's salary and benefits and divide as needed to calculate the daily profitability per employee. You'll need to tweak it intelligently according to the person's position &mdash; clearly the CEO has greater potential impact on the company's profits than an entry-level unskilled worker. You'll end up with a number for each affected employee that will give you an approximation of the value of their lost productivity</p> <h2>Exit Costs</h2> <p><strong>1. Human Resources</strong><br /> There's potentially a lot of paperwork when an employee leaves. Calculate the cost of your HR staff's time to conduct an exit interview (and the time of the exiting employee), stop payroll, change benefit enrollments, COBRA health insurance notification, and any other administrative activities.</p> <p><strong>2. Managerial Handoff</strong><br /> Calculate the cost of the manager who will conduct their own exit interview, review the exiting employee's work-in-progress, and determine how to cover that work until a replacement is hired.</p> <p><strong>3. Involuntary Termination</strong><br /> If the employee was terminated involuntarily, calculate the costs of any severance package, benefits continuation and unemployment insurance premiums, if eligible.</p> <p><strong>4. Lost Customers and Contacts</strong><br /> Non-compete agreements are extremely difficult to enforce in practice. Particularly if the employee is in a sales or customer service position, consider the potential cost of customers the employee may be taking with them to their new position. For any position, consider the value of the contacts they have developed (of course, a new person may bring in their own contacts that offset this).</p> <p><strong>5. Lost Knowledge</strong><br /> During their time at your company, the exiting employee may have developed specialized knowledge and skills about your business. You may have even invested in training for them. (Note: You should only count training costs on either the exiting employee or the new employee, not both.)</p> <h2>Absence Costs</h2> <p><strong>1. Coverage</strong><br /> The exiting employee's essential responsibilities are going to be taken up by other employees, which means that some portion of their own current workload will typically be given up and their productivity reduced. Or, you may have increased overtime costs to cover the work. Be sure to include the additional management costs to re-delegate the work.</p> <p><strong>2. Direct Productivity Loss</strong><br /> The rest of the tasks performed by the exiting employee simply won't be done in their absence. Estimate that portion and multiply it by their PPD.</p> <p><strong>3. Disruption</strong><br /> While it may be difficult to put an exact number on this, an exiting employee may be disruptive to essential business processes in a way that goes beyond simple coverage issues. What's the cost if a customer gets upset because something didn't get handed off properly? Also, consider the effect on the morale of other employees when a respected peer leaves.</p> <h2>Recruitment Costs</h2> <p><strong>1. Advertisements</strong><br /> Where and how will you advertise the available position? Classified ads and internet job postings typically cost several hundred dollars per listing. Employee referral costs typically run from a few hundred to $2,000 or more. External recruiter fees can run as high as 1/3 of the salary for the position.</p> <p><strong>2. Internal Recruitment</strong><br /> Calculate the time cost for the internal recruiter to understand the position requirements, develop a sourcing strategy, review resumes, prepare for and conduct interviews, conduct reference checks, make the offer to the selected candidate, and notify unsuccessful candidates.</p> <p><strong>3. Hiring Manager</strong><br /> Calculate the cost for the hiring manager(s) and other key stakeholders to review resumes, conduct interviews and make their selection.</p> <p><strong>4. Internal Candidates</strong><br /> Calculate the lost productivity for any internal candidates who may apply for the position.</p> <p><strong>5. Screening</strong><br /> Calculate the costs of drug screens, background checks, skills assessment, personality profile testing, and any other tasks (especially outsourced ones) used to screen candidates.</p> <h2>Onboarding Costs</h2> <p><strong>1. Onboarding</strong><br /> Calculate the cost of both the new employee and HR staff for orientation and onboarding paperwork, including business cards, ID badge, credit card, mobile phone and so on. Also consider the costs for IT staff to set up user accounts, telephone access, etc.</p> <p><strong>2. Training</strong><br /> Calculate the cost of both structured training (including materials) and the time of managers and key coworkers to train the new employee to the point of 100% productivity.</p> <p><strong>3. Productivity Ramp-up</strong><br /> Depending on the position, it may take anywhere from a few days to a few months for the new employee to be at 100% productivity. For a simple calculation, take the number of days to 100% productivity and divide it in half. Multiply that by the PPD for this position.</p> <p>Once you look at just how widespread the impact of employee turnover is, it's easy to see how associated <a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;218396076;41475586;v?http://www201.americanexpress.com/sbsapp/FMACServlet?request_type=alternateChannels&amp;lpid=298&amp;openeep=17460&amp;ccsgeep=17460">costs</a> and productivity losses could run as high as 200% or more. Once you've done your own calculations, it may give you some food for thought: Relative to the cost of the churn, investing in simple things that make your company a more comfortable and rewarding place to work could yield big dividends, even if they're hidden.</p> <p><em>This is a guest post by <a href="http://scottsocialmediaallen.com/">Scott "Social Media" Allen</a>, a 25-year veteran technology entrepreneur, executive and consultant.</em></p> <script type="text/javascript"> federated_media_section = "gold"; </script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/scott-allen">Scott Allen</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/the-high-cost-of-employee-turnover">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/coworking-spaces-the-office-alternative">Coworking Spaces: The Office Alternative</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million">How I Got Over the Hump and Sold My Blog for $3 Million</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center employees human resources small business Fri, 09 Apr 2010 19:42:22 +0000 Scott Allen 6203 at http://www.wisebread.com Incentive plans always go awry http://www.wisebread.com/incentive-plans-always-go-awry <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/incentive-plans-always-go-awry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/carrot-incentive.jpg" alt="Carrot Incentive" title="Carrot Incentive" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="344" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ever worked someplace that had an incentive plan (as in, &quot;Hit these targets and you'll get a bonus&quot;)?&nbsp; Ever been a manager whose job it was to administer an incentive plan?&nbsp; Ever tried to create an incentive plan, hoping to get people to do more of what you want them to do?&nbsp; Here's a little tidbit for you:&nbsp; Incentive plans always go awry.</p> <p>I don't mean to say that incentive plans don't work.&nbsp; They just never do what you want them to do.&nbsp; Here's why:&nbsp; They replace intrinsic motivation with extrinsic motivation.</p> <h2>Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation</h2> <p>Ever seen a kid <a href="/how-to-become-an-expert">try to learn</a> how to do something he wants to be able to do?&nbsp; (For example, learn to beat a level on a video game or learn to jump a skateboard up onto a wall?)&nbsp; If so, you've seen intrinsic motivation.&nbsp; I've seen kids spend hours, doing the same thing over and over again, until they get it right.&nbsp; People offering bonuses have seen the same thing too.&nbsp; That kind of concentrated hard work is what they're trying to get, only they want it focused on <strong>their</strong> project.</p> <p>They're never going to succeed, because only intrinsic motivation does that.</p> <p>That's not to say that extrinsic motivation doesn't have an effect.&nbsp; Offer a bonus, and people will try to get the bonus.&nbsp; But observe:&nbsp; Their motivation is not to accomplish your goal--it's to &quot;get the bonus.&quot;</p> <h2>Incentive programs and metrics</h2> <p>Any kind of incentive program has a metric--the thing that you're measuring to decide whether someone gets the bonus.&nbsp; For salesmen, it might be a target number of sales.&nbsp; For the quality-control guy, it might be keeping the number of bad units below some level.&nbsp; For a corporate executive, it might be some level of return on investment.</p> <p>Whatever metric you pick, though, it will be something that can be gamed.&nbsp; A salesman can sell more units a dozen different ways: &nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>He can stop pushing a single right-sized unit and start getting customers to buy two or three smaller units.</li> <li>He can make aggressive use of financing to sell units to people who can't afford them.</li> <li>He can stop providing support for his old customers and spend all his time chasing up sales to new customers.</li> <li>He can make wink-and-nod deals to &quot;sell&quot; units with the understanding that they'll be returned next quarter.</li> <li>He can kick back a fraction of his bonus to purchasing agents who buy what he's selling.</li> </ul> <p>Now, the head office can thwart any of these moves.&nbsp; It can change the bonus metric from number of units to number of dollars in sales or number of dollars of profits.&nbsp; (Then the salesman puts all his effort into selling the most expensive or most profitable units.)&nbsp; It can delay credit for vendor-financed units until the bill gets paid.&nbsp; (Then the salesman stops using vendor financing even for customers where it makes sense.)&nbsp; It can mandate a certain amount of time spent supporting existing customers.&nbsp; (Measured how?&nbsp; Answer:&nbsp; According to some metric that the salesman can game just as easily.)&nbsp; In fact, it can spend all its time fiddling with the incentive plan, to the point where the head-office folks don't have time to do their own jobs--but nothing it can do will keep employees from gaming the metric, and nothing it can do will produce intrinsic motivation.&nbsp;</p> <p>The point is that, under an incentive plan, <strong>everything is worse</strong>.&nbsp; Everybody's focused on the metric, and nobody's focused on doing the work that needs to get done.</p> <p>Notice what the underlying assumption is:&nbsp; that the employees haven't already thought about what's best for the company and what's best for their customers.&nbsp; That their intrinsic motivation is something other than doing a good job.&nbsp; Some employers no doubt have plenty of disgruntled, unmotivated employees just there to pick up a paycheck for the least work they can get away with--but the answer to <strong>that</strong> problem is figuring out what's gone so terribly wrong with the business.</p> <h2>What to do instead</h2> <p>Whenever I point out that incentive plans make things worse, people always say, &quot;But what should we do instead?&quot;</p> <p>Of course, just asking the question shows that you haven't grasped the essential point:&nbsp; <strong>Incentive plans make things worse</strong>.&nbsp; It's like whacking yourself on the foot with a hammer.&nbsp; The first thing to do is to stop.&nbsp; Once you've done that, you can focus on aligning employee's intrinsic motivation with the firm's business needs.</p> <p>First, think for a minute about what people's intrinsic motivations are.&nbsp; My own experience is with software engineers.&nbsp; They're strongly motivated to:</p> <ul> <li>do new, cool stuff with the latest technology</li> <li>do work that's worth doing</li> <li>gain the respect of their peers</li> </ul> <p>Clever managers can use that to get employees to do what needs to get done.&nbsp; (For example, by making sure that every engineer gets to do some new, cool stuff, by not assigning pointless work and making sure that engineers understand why a task that might seem pointless is worth doing, and by making sure that everybody gets to see some of what their coworkers are doing.)</p> <p>Most managers, though, have a different focus.&nbsp; They're too busy &quot;managing&quot; to have time to explain why the pointless work is worth doing--to them, it's worth doing because senior managers assigned it--and the new, cool projects go to key employees, because they're high-visibility, must-succeed projects and putting a junior engineer on it would be too risky.</p> <p>With intrinsic motivations out of the picture, managers have to fill the gap with extrinsic motivations--praise, raises, promotions, and bonuses.</p> <p>It's important to note that there's nothing wrong with any of these things--managers should lavish their employees with all of them.&nbsp; What's wrong is <strong>using them as an incentive</strong>.&nbsp; As soon as you do that, you've got your employees trying to hit the metric, rather than doing what needs to be done.</p> <h2>Minimizing the harm</h2> <p>Even though the harmful effects of incentive plans have been known for a long time, and the harm has been throughly documented--See for example, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0618001816?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0618001816"><cite>Punished By Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes</cite></a> by Alfie Kohn--they haven't gone away.&nbsp; How then can we minimize the harm that they do?</p> <h3>For managers</h3> <p>First, remember that the harm is done by having an incentive tied to some metric.&nbsp; It does no harm to pay people for their work, nor does it do any harm to offer a bonus that isn't tied to an incentive plan.&nbsp; For example, a profit-sharing plan does no harm, and is often a good idea for everyone involved.&nbsp; (It means that the employer can lower payroll costs during bad times without having to lay people off or cut salaries.)</p> <p>Second, if you have to have a metric, make it something that employees have no control over--total profits, for example.&nbsp; This will be de-motivating, of course--employees will be frustrated at having a bonus plan that's essentially a lottery ticket--but not as bad as if all your employees are spending their time trying to hit the metric.</p> <p>Third, if you have a bonus tied to a metric, keep the bonus as small as possible.&nbsp; That way your employees can continue to follow their intrinsic motivations to do a good job without feeling like chumps for not gaming the bonus system.</p> <p>Fourth, don't set your employees up to be competing against one another.&nbsp; You want your employees to be collaborating.&nbsp; Putting them in competition for a bonus is exactly the wrong thing to do.</p> <p>Fifth, don't waste time trying to come up with a metric that your employees can't game.&nbsp; It's impossible.&nbsp; Unless their job is absolutely trivial, it will always be easier to maximize the metric than to do a good job.&nbsp; Any effort you put into creating a perfect metric is wasted effort.</p> <p>To the greatest extent possible, though, avoid incentive plans.&nbsp; If your business has any kind of reasonable structure, your employee's intrinsic incentives are already aligned with the business's interests.&nbsp; (If they aren't--if your employee's natural inclinations to do work that's worth doing and to do it well doesn't lead them to do what you need done--then <strong>that</strong> might be a good place to focus your managerial efforts.)</p> <h3>For employees</h3> <p>I don't actually have much useful advice for employees suffering under an incentive program, except to try to find employers where the incentive programs are small and the target metrics are out of employee's control.</p> <p>Really, your natural inclinations are going to be the right ones.&nbsp; If the bonus is small enough to be ignored, just ignore it and do your job.&nbsp; If the bonus is so large that you can't ignore it, put in whatever effort it takes to get the bonus, and then spend the rest of your time doing whatever you should have been doing.&nbsp; But you knew that already.</p> <p>Everybody should read Alfie Kohn's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0618001816?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0618001816"><cite>Punished By Rewards</cite></a>. It will change the way you think about incentive plans--and change it for the better.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/incentive-plans-always-go-awry">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/motivating-yourself-and-others">Motivating Yourself and Others</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/walking-away-from-a-job-that-s-going-away-on-your-terms">Walking away (from a job that’s going away) on your terms</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-modern-company-as-specialized-venture-capital-firm">Modern companies as specialized venture capital firms</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-keys-to-great-management-learned-from-an-inner-city-mission-worker">10 Keys to Great Management, learned from an inner-city mission worker</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-the-aig-bonuses-be-taken-away-or-not">Should The AIG Bonuses Be Taken Away Or Not?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income bonus hr human resources incentive plan incentive plans incentive program incentive programs incentives management managers managing Thu, 27 Mar 2008 18:04:00 +0000 Philip Brewer 1952 at http://www.wisebread.com Walking away (from a job that’s going away) on your terms http://www.wisebread.com/walking-away-from-a-job-that-s-going-away-on-your-terms <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/walking-away-from-a-job-that-s-going-away-on-your-terms" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_in_suit_walking.jpg" alt="man in suit walking on sidewalk" title="man in suit walking on sidewalk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="191" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you just gotten a disciplinary notice after years of stellar performance? If you have and you&rsquo;ve read Paul Michael&rsquo;s <a href="/you-re-fired-20-signs-that-a-pink-slip-is-coming" target="_blank" title="http://www.wisebread.com/you-re-fired-20-signs-that-a-pink-slip-is-coming">You're Fired! 20 signs that a pink-slip is coming</a> &hellip; (#14) you sense that you're in trouble. Rather than let the progressive disciplinary madness continue, take action.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s what a friend of mine did, after we talked and I agreed with him that a reprimand delivered by human resources most likely portended termination.</p> <p>First I want to tell you about his accomplishments; he had (for the employer who was looking to fire him):</p> <ul> <li>brought current industry practices to a good-ole-boy company</li> </ul> <ul> <li>introduced new services, processes, and programs that reaped immediate and ongoing benefits to his area&rsquo;s performance</li> </ul> <ul> <li>modified internal systems to improve his staff&rsquo;s analytical tools</li> </ul> <ul> <li>trained and developed a high-performing staff</li> </ul> <ul> <li>turned around the attitude and performance of a particularly ornery employee</li> </ul> <ul> <li>re-focused certain aspects of customer relationships to gain compliance with procedures</li> </ul> <ul> <li>educated internal managers on the significance of his area to the company&rsquo;s profitability</li> </ul> <ul> <li>completed company-sponsored executive training through a prestigious, industry-recognized program</li> </ul> <p>When he was asked to issue a disciplinary action on the turned-around, ornery employee that he felt was bogus, suspicions were aroused. When he received a written reprimand for a mistake that he had already admitted making and had put processes in place to correct, suspicions were confirmed. Putting pieces of the disciplinary puzzle together, he realized that his company needed to cut headcount; the HR department, rather than advocating for him, sided with his bosses.</p> <p>Coincidentally, my friend had sold his home just weeks earlier, realizing that the housing market was still strong and aching for a new challenge that might present itself in a different city.</p> <p>What did he do with his suspicions? He approached his boss (with whom, oddly, he had a great relationship), explained that he knew what was going on, and negotiated a severance package. He agreed to leave the company but faced the inevitable (displacement) on his terms, which included a consulting stint while he looked for another job.</p> <p>I&rsquo;d like to say that he found a new job prior to the end of the severance period and consulting assignment. He didn&rsquo;t. Instead, he moved back home and took care of his mom when she suffered and then recuperated (with his help) from a major health crisis. After a few months, however, he landed a new job and is now happily employed. Having a termination on his record is something that he avoided.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a plan if you get an out-of-the-blue disciplinary notice just after getting a great performance review, especially after you&rsquo;ve been told there are to be layoffs and/or you are asked to issue disciplinary notices that are unwarranted:</p> <ul> <li>Recognize the handwriting on the wall</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Accept your fate</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Don't get angry</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Approach your boss</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Negotiate a package</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Get recommendations testifying to your stellar performance</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a title="Job search tips" href="http://www.wisebread.com/lost-my-job-tips-for-the-recently-laid-off">Look for a job</a></li> </ul> <ul> <li>Walk away</li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/walking-away-from-a-job-that-s-going-away-on-your-terms">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laid-off-what-to-do-before-plunging-into-the-job-search">Laid Off? What To Do Before Plunging Into The Job Search</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/incentive-plans-always-go-awry">Incentive plans always go awry</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-worst-things-good-employees-do">The 8 Worst Things Good Employees Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-times-youre-better-off-without-a-promotion">12 Times You&#039;re Better Off Without a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-people-who-have-their-dream-jobs-do">5 Things People Who Have Their Dream Jobs Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income disciplinary action discipline human resources negotiate pink slip severance package Thu, 26 Jul 2007 19:52:33 +0000 Julie Rains 907 at http://www.wisebread.com Book Review: Excuse Me, Your Job is Waiting! http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-excuse-me-your-job-is-waiting <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/book-review-excuse-me-your-job-is-waiting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new_job.jpg" alt="New job sign" title="help wanted sign" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="160" height="240" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A few weeks ago, I won a copy of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1571745297?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=1571745297">Excuse Me, Your Job Is Waiting: Attract the Work You Want</a> from <a href="http://www.consumerismcommentary.com/" title="Consumeris Commentary">Consumerism Commentary</a> (thanks, Flexo!). If the sign above describes your job, then this book is for you! </p> <p>Actually, I&#39;m not currently looking for employment, but I was interested to know what Laura George had to say about it from a &quot;Law of Attraction&quot; point of view. </p> <p>Before I read this book, I knew very little about the Law of Attraction, other than the fact that I&#39;d seen it several places on the &#39;net and that it had something to do with that Oprah book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1582701709?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=1582701709">The Secret</a>. I didn&#39;t know if George would expand on it in this book since the focus is on finding employment, but I figured it was worth reading to see what I could see.<br /><strong><br />Summary</strong></p> <p>As it turned out, George had a lot to say about the Law of Attraction. Basically formulated, it states that like attracts like. She applies it specifically to the realm of feelings, saying that if we feel positively about the world and our place in it, we will attract good things. On the other hand, if we feel negatively or mediocre, we will attract negative or mediocre things. What we are sending out and attracting is, according to George, energy. She explains how to use this to &quot;flip&quot; the negative things we tell ourselves (that cause us to send out negative energy) into positive things (so we will send out, and attract, positive energy), how to build up positive energy when we are in the middle of something draining and difficult like a job search.</p> <p>In the middle section of her book, George discusses practical ways to go about an actual job search. As someone who has worked in human resources for years, she has a ton of good insights and ideas for thinking about and producing resumes, cover letters, follow-up letters, interviews and, eventually, job offers. I especially liked her list of common articles of clothing and their connotations (sexuality, power, or approachability) and which connotations you might want to be producing in interviews. She is articulate and funny, and if I ever find myself wanting to really go after a particular job, I&#39;ll come back to this part of the book for sure.</p> <p>The last section of the book covers some sundries that didn&#39;t seem to fit anywhere else. She talks about rejection, and how to formulate positive thoughts when you don&#39;t get a job you thought you wanted and really fit in to. She discusses going solo, starting your own company or freelancing, and is honest about the pros and cons of that. While this part of the book isn&#39;t as structured as the rest, it addressed some questions I&#39;d had as I was reading the rest and I was excited to read her answers.</p> <p><strong>Evaluation: Job Searching</strong></p> <p>I&#39;m breaking my evaluation of the book into two sections, because I have two very different responses to the book on two different levels.</p> <p>George&#39;s insights into job searching are spot-on. After reading the section on resumes, I feel like I know more about resume-writing than I ever have before (things like, be sure to include keywords from an ad or a posting in the resume, because sometimes they&#39;re scanned and evaluated initially by computers). For the first time, I can see how a follow-up letter could be not annoying, but professional and appropriate, and I feel like I could write one. </p> <p>I also have a much better grasp of what goes on behind the scenes in most companies when they&#39;re hiring. Having been there for years, George knows this intimately and explains it with a candor that surprised me. Those sorts of details have always been hush-hush, at least in the companies I&#39;ve worked for. To know what has to happen internally before anyone can be hired gives me patience and understanding for the people I&#39;ve been so frustrated with in the past! Her understanding and explanation of some of the labor laws helps me see why some of the hoops that I have felt so stupid jumping through are necessary and appropriate.</p> <p>Overall, this is one of the best &quot;practical advice for getting a job&quot; books that I&#39;ve ever read.<br /><strong><br />Evaluation: Law of Attraction/Energy Theory<br /></strong><br />This part of the book didn&#39;t make a lot of sense to me. It felt like George was taking observations she&#39;d had and was trying to find a theory that made sense of them. While I like her observations, I&#39;m not so sure about the theory. </p> <p>It&#39;s true that positive people tend to sell themselves better and get jobs they want, while negative people tend to have long job searches and struggle to find any job, let alone one that helps them thrive. However, the Law of Attraction doesn&#39;t make sense as a cause of this phenomenon.</p> <p>When George first talks about &quot;energy,&quot; she seems to indicate that the energy she&#39;s referring to is physical energy, from the human body. What I don&#39;t understand is how my emotions change that, and how other events have charges. When I&#39;m happy, am I actually emitting positively charged particles? When I&#39;m angry and frustrated, am I emitting negative ones? If the energy is truly physical, then this has to be true. I&#39;ve only done a little digging on this, but I&#39;ve found nothing to indicate that the energy in a physical human being changes at all, let alone based on his emotional state. </p> <p>In addition to this question, I wonder how events get charges. Does &quot;car accident&quot; necessarily come with negatively charged particles, which are attracted to my negatively charged particles when I&#39;m upset? Does &quot;super fantabulous job that will let me work part-time from home&quot; somehow carry a positive charge?</p> <p>I have a feeling that people are going to tell me that I&#39;m just a little slow and skeptical, and that it&#39;s really an emotional thing where &quot;energy&quot; is the best word to describe it. In response, I would like to note that George is the one who emphasizes the physical. I don&#39;t think that offering a physical explanation when the energy is actually something else is fair, even if the purpose of the book is not to explain the Law of Attraction but to help people use it to get jobs. If anyone has a coherent explanation of this energy, where it comes from and how events get it, please feel free to leave a comment. As it stands, I don&#39;t understand.</p> <p>As someone who has a little psychological training, it seems like there are other explanations for the phenomena George is trying to explain. I agree that people who are positive, upbeat, and who believe they are the perfect candidate for the jobs they apply tend to get the jobs they want, and they tend to be happier in their jobs than people who are negative, low-energy, or don&#39;t believe in themselves. But this does not have to happen because of some mechanical/natural process. As human beings, we are complex creatures who respond to each other in complex ways. While I can&#39;t go into all the details here, it seems sufficient to say that those doing the hiring respond positively to people who are positive because of human interaction or relationship, not because their energies are somehow meeting and complimenting each other.</p> <p>I could go into a lot more detail and write a book of my own, but my point is not that my explanation is true, but that there are other, legitimate explanations to the phenomena George explains through the Law of Attraction. Since that &quot;Law&quot; has some logical problems, it seems like the best bet is to examine these other explanations.</p> <p><strong>Conclusion</strong></p> <p>George has written a book about getting a job that will make you feel like you can go out and conquer the world. I felt that way after I read it, and I&#39;m not even looking for different employment! She also has tips and insights that will seriously help the process along. The focus on the Law of Attraction makes some of that difficult to read, but I found that her job advice was good even though I couldn&#39;t buy in to the Law of Attraction. If you&#39;re looking for a job, or might be some day and don&#39;t know much about what you&#39;ll be throwing yourself into, give this book a look. You have to do some weeding to get around the Law of Attraction stuff, but the rest is quality.</p> <p>In the spirit of continuing to give, I&#39;m going to pass my copy of the book on to another reader. Leave a comment telling me why I should send it to you (as opposed to anyone else) by next Tuesday at noon, Pacific Time. I&#39;ll pick the one I like the best (I know, I&#39;m SO subjective) and send it along. If you want to actually be able to get the book, please make sure we can contact you by email. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-excuse-me-your-job-is-waiting">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-case-for-not-tweaking-your-resume">The Case for Not Tweaking Your Resume</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-job-search-stunts-to-get-you-noticed-by-employers">7 Job Search Stunts to Get You Noticed by Employers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-should-do-if-youre-stumped-during-an-interview">What You Should Do If You&#039;re Stumped During an Interview</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-words-you-need-to-delete-from-your-resume-right-now">12 Words You Need to Delete From Your Resume Right Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-not-to-answer-10-of-the-most-common-interview-questions">How NOT TO Answer 10 of the Most Common Interview Questions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Excuse me human resources job search Law of Attraction resume Fri, 15 Jun 2007 05:00:00 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 736 at http://www.wisebread.com