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March 9, 2015

Keeping it Simple!

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Performance Management4:46 am

Simple

by Nancy Norman, HR Product Manager

Having worked at HR Performance Solutions for nearly 12 years, I have been “around the block” when it comes to dealing with performance appraisals. After implementing hundreds of performance management systems and training thousands users on performance management best practices, I have one piece of advice that can make all the difference.  Keep it simple!

What do I mean by this? The process should be kept simple enough that it makes it easy for your managers and employees to be successful. Often I hear how difficult it is to get managers to do timely appraisals or to keep track of things throughout the year. Employees often think of appraisals as a bad experience or one that has little or no value.

Here are three tips to keep it simple and find greater success:

  1. Culture: Create a culture that expects both managers and employees to manage performance throughout the year. When managing performance is the expectation and foregone conclusion, it’ll become a natural part of their daily routine. “Everybody’s doing it.”
  2. Tools: Implement tools that are simple and easy to understand. Sometimes the biggest hurdle is an application that’s difficult to understand and use. If the problem is training, you can fix that.  If the problem is the tool, you can fix that as well.
  3. Process: Well meaning, but misguided decision making sometimes results in an over-complicated appraisal process. It can be hard enough to get employees and managers to do one appraisal a year, let alone monthly or quarterly. If the nature of your business is such that it demands this level of feedback, then make sure your employees understand why and help them to buy into the process. If you’re able to meet the needs of your business and your employees with a simpler process, you might want to scale back.

Ultimately, ask yourself why you do appraisals and what do you expect for your return on investment? Does your business culture, its tools you use and the processes you have defined support the “why”? Are you getting the results you need and expect? If not, don’t be afraid to mix it up.

And if you need help, HR Performance Solutions is here to review your system setup and make recommendations. Our HR consultants are here to help get your organization where it needs to be.

 

 

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February 23, 2015

When is an Independent Contractor Not an Independent Contractor?

Filed under: General HR Buzz9:37 am

analyze staff

By Joyce Marsh, SPHR, Sr. HR Consultant

Think you have a good grasp on the difference between regular employees and independent contractors? The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) seems to be cracking down even more lately when it comes to enforcing misclassifications.

The DOL recently announced numerous instances where a number of companies failed to classify their employees correctly and now owe the agency back wages and damages ranging from $109,000 to $1.3 million. To save your company from being added to this list, here are a few vital warning signs that you may have misclassified your employees:

  • You have given your contract employee paid vacation or sick leave.
  • You pay your contract employee by the hour or on a salaried basis, versus by the project.
  • The work they perform is usually paid reported on a W-2 basis.
  • The person’s business expenses have been reimbursed.
  • You’ve had the contract employee sign a non-compete agreement.
  • They only perform work for you and do so as an individual, rather than as a company.

Don’t be mistaken, the DOL is taking this seriously. They’ve hired over 2,000 investigators since 2008. Looking for misclassifications has become a routine investigation for them now.

So, take a second look at any contract employees you may have and reclassify as needed. Just make sure you make up any back pay you may owe them to be compliant.

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February 16, 2015

Internal or External Hires – Which is Best?

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Hiring & Jobs,HR Consulting3:14 am

 

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by Megan Mohr, CCP, Compensation Consultant, HR Performance Solutions

In an ideal world, HR would be able to hire the perfect mix of internal and external candidates to keep their company running smoothly and its staff happy. Unfortunately, none of us work in a perfect world! So, that leaves HR with the internal vs. external quandary for most of their hires. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for when to hire internally or externally, here are some pros and cons of both options:

Internal Hiring 

Pros

  • Increased engagement
  • Quicker onboarding
  • Less expensive
  • Better cultural fit

Cons

  • Potential for less innovation
  • Internal politics
  • Biased hiring
  • Fewer applicants
External Hiring 

Pros

  • Fresh ideas
  • Larger talent pool
  • Increased diversity
  • Avoid internal politics

Cons

  • Less cost-effective
  • Longer onboarding
  • May not fit company culture
  • Possible detriment to staff morale

These lists of pros and cons only skim the surface of the components HR considers when making the decision of internal vs. external hiring. If you look at the numbers, the majority of positions are filled with external candidates. The SHRM Human Capital Benchmarking Database shows that in 2013, 66% of positions were filled externally compared to 26% internally.

Decisions, Decisions …

Each company and each position is different and has different needs. HR will usually make its internal/external hiring decision based on whether the position requires collaboration, if the skillset is unique to the company, what the internal supply of talent actually is and any changes within the company or industry. Whichever approach your HR department decides to take, it needs to consider these factors when making a decision:

  • Thoughtful Job Descriptions
    If you find you’re using the same tired, canned job descriptions every time and getting unsatisfactory hires, it might be time to breathe new life into what’s written. Be sure the language you choose is universal and not limited to just what an internal candidate would understand. Take some time to see how the competition is handling job descriptions. Many industries are opting for more fun yet realistic job descriptions versus the old, worn out ones.
  • Beware of Biases
    No one is without bias. But in HR, you can’t let that affect any decision you make. Don’t fall for any pressure to hire from within if that’s not the best decision for the company. Take a hard look at your hiring practices to see if there’s more of an internal or external trend and then determine why it may favor one over the other.
  • Take a Good Look at What Makes You Unique
    Every company and its culture are truly unique. Take a good, objective look at what makes your organization and the positions unique. This will help the HR team better weave its new hires and the company culture into a more tightly-woven and cohesive entity.
  • Think Succession Planning
    Make sure you know the movers and shakers within your company and those that do their best to fly under the radar and take that into consideration when new positions open up. Keep upper management up-to-date on who’s moving up and who is stalled out. This lets you be proactive when it comes to succession planning.
  • Don’t Stop Onboarding

If you think that once the new hires have been shown their desk and gone through orientation that onboarding is done, think again. To the new hires, onboarding can be a long, slow process. Make sure they get to spend quality time with not only the team they’ll be working with but with upper management as well. The more employees feel like they understand and are part of the big picture, the more welcome they’ll feel and the harder they’ll work.

Let HR Performance Solutions and its HR consultants help your organization with its recruiting, hiring or onboarding process. Contact us today for more information.

 

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February 9, 2015

HR’s Influence on Culture and Innovation

Filed under: General HR Buzz4:21 am

superhero

by Emily Sternberg, HR Consultant, HR Performance Solutions

Managers often say “if we keep doing what we’ve always done, we’ll get what we’ve always gotten.” In today’s business environment, this couldn’t be less true; managers should now state; “if we do what we’ve always done, we may go out of business.” The key to success in today’s business landscape is transformational innovation.

According to recent KPMG study, innovation isn’t brought on by investing more in research and development or better technology, but by investing in human capital and creating an innovative culture. Human resources professionals are now uniquely positioned to influence a culture of innovation. It begins with talent acquisition and performance management. HR must work directly with functional leaders to identify competencies for success in specific positions and recruit for those needs.   Performance Management is the next key role in developing a culture of innovation. Train and encourage managers to set stretch goals and hold employees accountable to them. These types of goals will help the company achieve its objectives and more importantly its competitive advantage. HR must encourage risk taking, rewarding successes while also using failures as an opportunity to learn and try again.

Most importantly, HR must recognize that culture change isn’t a task to check off a list. The role of creating a culture of innovation is ongoing, it’s about looking at industry best practices, and applying those not in the same manner that brought success to other organizations, but in a way that is a best fit for your company.

 

 

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February 2, 2015

The Love/Hate Relationship Employees Have with their Jobs

Filed under: General HR Buzz11:20 am

 

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by Joyce Marsh, SPHR, Sr. HR Consultant

It’s not unusual to complain to coworkers about your job or unload on your loved ones when you get home from work about a bad day at work. On the flip side, most of us have been known from time to time to actually gush or brag about what they do for a living and where they do it.

Have you ever wondered if the things you love or hate about your job are just you? Or do others have the same complaints or compliments? Wonder no more, Glassdoor compiled its millions of company reviews to find the top ten likes and dislikes employees mention about their jobs. Are yours on the list?

10 Biggest Employee Likes

1. Great Co-workers

2. Work Environment

3. Good Benefits

4. Interesting Work

5. Good Pay

6. Work-Life Balance

7. Flexible Work Schedule

8. Company Culture

9. Fast-Paced Environment

10. Smart People

 

10 Biggest Employee Dislikes

1. Annoying Co-workers

2. Poor Work-Life Balance

3. Poor Work Environment

4. Long hours

5. Low Pay

6. Management

7. Inflexible Work Schedule

7. Few Career Opportunities

8. Poor Company Culture

9. Few Training Opportunities

10. Little Fun

 

Common Threads

After you read through the lists you may notice some converse likes/dislikes such as Work Environment/Poor Work Environment, Flexible Work Schedule/Inflexible Work Schedule and Company Culture/Poor Company Culture. One thing we noticed was that Good Pay and Low Pay were on the lists. This is a common denominator in many companies, but if your company’s pay tends to trend on the “dislike” list, there’s something you can do about it.

HR Performance Solutions programs Compease and Performance Pro can put you on the “like” list in no time. Compease is our compensation administration and salary planning program that’s loaded with current and market-driven salary survey data to help ensure your compensation is fair and equitable. Performance Pro is our powerful and easy-to-use talent management system designed by HR experts that can reduce administration expenses by up to 67% and boost employee performance.

Click here to contact us or visit hrperformancesolutions.com to learn more.  

 

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January 26, 2015

Save Time, Save Money – Improve Meetings

Filed under: General HR Buzz6:30 am

office meeting

by Gene Mandarino, Manager, HR Consulting

Times are tight – and so is time. But if everyone could improve meetings, we’d all be able to save time, money and aggravation.

We all live our lives attending meetings: staff meetings, management meetings, board meetings, project meetings, etc. Then we go home, gobble our dinner and run to a PTA meeting, school meeting, scout meeting or church meeting.

When was the last time someone told you they were actually looking forward to attending one of these meetings? Probably never, right? Well it’s no wonder, most people running these meetings haven’t been trained on how to conduct a good meeting. And if they have been trained, they often forget. This leads to meetings that are inefficient, too long and boring – wasting time and money.

Here are some helpful reminders when preparing for and running your next meeting:

  • Identify meeting objectives (what you want to accomplish) before the meeting.
  • Plan your agenda. A good agenda outlines the steps you will take to accomplish the objectives.
  • Communicate meeting objectives and agenda to participants in advance of the meeting.
  • Ask participants to prepare in advance by reading reports, minutes, etc. before the meeting.
  • Start the meeting on time, stay on time and stop on time.
  • Encourage open communication. Ask what people think and really listen to what they say.
  • Respect participants’ time and ideas. 
  • Summarize action steps at the close of the meeting.
  • Ask participants how the meeting could be improved for next time.
  • Act on the actions after the meeting.

I know these may be painfully obvious to some of you, but so is eating right and exercising. We know we are supposed to do it, but we often forget. So, the next time you plan a meeting, think about these tips.

 

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January 19, 2015

Pay Equity Roadblocks

Filed under: General HR Buzz2:18 pm

pay and compensation equity

 

by Megan Mohr, CCP | Compensation Consultant

Does your organization have an unusually high turnover rate? Or maybe it’s getting one too many employee complaints when it comes to salaries and raises? You might be facing pay equity roadblocks.

As many compensation experts know, the risk of pay inequity has never been this high. Pay equity not only promotes good pay practices, it can help your organization address the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ (OFCCP) concern with systematic risk. The agency is on the lookout for instances of supposed broad discrimination by race, ethnicity and gender.

The OFCCP now mandates that companies submit an annual “Equal Pay Report” to show compensation data by race, ethnicity and gender. This quest for additional company reporting is not just happening locally but on a global level as well. Recent research from Mercer and the World Economic Forum uncovered that women are underutilized in the workplace. Labor force participation for women aged 25 to 54 in the United States was 74.5% in 2012, a full 14.2% lower than men in the same age group. Employer risk liability with equitable pay was also increased when President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 into law.

Does Your Company Have Pay Inequity?

If your organization is unsure if it’s facing pay inequity, look for these indicators:

  • Negative feedback from employees on salaries and promotions
  • Discrepancies among demographics like race or gender
  • Your company lacks a formal system for evaluating and setting salaries or forecasting promotional ranges

Moving Forward

The key to moving forward on pay equity is to remember that your approach to it is as important as the actual compensation plan it implements. Pay inequity can affect both your staff’s behavior and performance and your organization’s ability to attract and keep quality employees. These are two potential roadblocks in its road to success. Be sure your pay is equal, internally and externally, and those roadblocks will soon disappear.

 

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January 12, 2015

The New FLSA Rule is Coming. Are you Ready?

Filed under: FLSA,General HR Buzz,Salaries & Pay3:22 am

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By Joyce Marsh, SPHR, Senior HR Consultant

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) proposed rule should hit somewhere in the first quarter of 2015. This release is somewhat later than the original forecast of November 2014 for the final rule.

The final rule shouldn’t differ too much from the proposed one, so now is the time to start looking at classifications. While no one knows for sure what the changes will be to the white-collar exemptions, here are some educated guesses from some employment law experts:

  • An increase in the minimum salary threshold
    There’s speculation that the current threshold of $455 per week/$23,660 per year could more than double to $970 per week/$50,440 per year.
  • Exempt duty standards will change
    Following California’s current requirements, standards could change to employees needing to engage in exempt duties at least 50 percent of the time.
  • Executive exemption standards will change
    In an effort by the DOL to change or eliminate the primary duty standard, executive exemption could be lessened.

As we said, these are just highly educated guesses. So whatever happens with the FLSA proposed rule, the main lesson here is to be prepared.

 

 

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January 5, 2015

Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions for HR Professionals

Filed under: General HR Buzz,HR Consulting2:26 pm

2015

by Emily Sternberg, HR Consultant

As we look at the calendar and realize that another year has started, we may have made a New Year’s resolution or two, maybe to lose those extra few pounds or to try to get more organized.    Professionally, it’s time to turn over a new leaf as well. Companies are starting to execute new strategic plans and employees are excited to see what the New Year will bring.  With this, let’s review the top 5 New Year’s resolutions for HR professionals:

  1. Create True Succession Plans
    Over the next 5-10 years, businesses nationwide will experience record retirements as the baby boomers begin to retire at greater numbers. Now is the time to prepare your younger staff members to take on these leadership positions. Provide management as well as tactical training and support to these staff members who will be the future leaders of your company. Ask yourself what skills will be required and if your current staff currently possess those skills.
  2. Be Transparent
    This is a buzzword in the HR field, so use 2015 to create more than a buzz around transparency by creating a culture that embraces honest and open communication to staff members. In a world where information is never more than a click away, it will be imperative for business leaders in 2015 to share information in a format that impacts and engages staff members.
  3. Create a Positive Working Environment
    For millennials and the incoming Generation Z, fostering positive relationships at work will be a method for retaining top talent. Studies show less turnover among employees who have a “best friend” at work.
  4. Provide an App for That
    In our technology-driven world, employees strive for convenience in conducting their day-to-day business. We have mobile banking, online tech support, etc.    Employees are looking for convenience in conducting daily transactions such as requests for time off, benefit reviews, changing personal information and receiving pay stubs. Try to make these available via a mobile device.
  5. Be a Storyteller
    In an age of video technology and interactive presentations applications, it’s imperative for HR professionals to consider trading in lengthy PowerPoint presentations and delivering training in a more engaging way to participants. Become a storyteller and create relatable stories that convey a concept to training participants.

If your organization needs help bringing these resolutions to life, HR Performance Solutions can help. Our HR consultants can guide you through a successful New Year. Click here to contact us for more information.

 

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December 29, 2014

Don’t Forget the Basics When Managing Change

Filed under: General HR Buzz6:26 am

solution-sm

by Gene Mandarino, Manager, HR Consulting

Whether you’re implementing new technology, building a sales culture, initiating a new strategy or changing hours, it requires managers who can influence others to change the way they think and act.

Initiating and managing change can be the most challenging, yet rewarding, responsibilities of being a leader.  Leaders understand the rationale for change and have a clear picture of what they want the future to look like. More often than not, however, leaders have a hard time getting buy-in from the troops because they forget the basic principles of change. Somehow, during the stress of change, the basics get lost and leaders can revert to an authoritarian model of change which culminates in cliché phrases like “either get on the bus or get out” or  “you can either embrace the change or embrace a job change.”

If you are leading a change in your organization it may be time to review the basics of leading change and then, more importantly, discuss how to remember the basics when stress sets in.

Present the reasons for the change in terms people understand.  Change does not happen without some discomfort, especially if it is mandated. Leaders must take the time to articulate the rationale for the change and the benefits of complying with the change in a way that followers understand. If a leader cannot communicate the fundamental points, the change will be viewed (and rightly so) as a change for “change sake”, not a valid, new way to do business. Open, clear explanations compel followers to embrace the change rather than just complying with the change.

Invite followers to be a part of creating solutions.  Leaders have the experience, knowledge, and big-picture view to create solutions. However, their solution may not always be the best and often will be resisted if followers feel the solution has been imposed upon them. Leaders must present solutions as possible solutions, not the only solution. They must ask what others think, and then listen and let the right solution evolve. Followers gain a sense of control, and are more likely to support the solution. This collaborative approach may also lead to a better solution.

Implement, reinforce, and celebrate success.  Implement the change, reinforce it, and celebrate your progress. Leaders must:  (1) continue to market the need for change through constant communication; (2) revise the performance management system to be sure it rewards desired behaviors; (3) give people the training they need to successfully implement the change; and (4) take the time to celebrate every success!

Sticking to the basics when stress sets in.  How can you ensure you stick to the basics when the day-to-day stress of running the operation consumes you? Here are some tips:

  • Get organized and delegate day-to-day duties. Leading change takes time and energy to do it correctly. A leader must carve out time to manage the change. If you are planning a change, free yourself to lead the change and be available.
  • Embrace doubters—appropriate efforts to challenge or question change is a healthy. It shows people trust their leaders will listen to their concerns. Rarely is there a negative consequence. Allowing people to vent their concerns helps them overcome their fears about the change and come to support it. Beware of the silence when you implement change. In this case, silence it is not golden.

The message is clear, when managing change; remember the basics, free yourself to manage the change; get someone who is not afraid to tell you when you go off course; and embrace the doubters, sometimes they can be your best supporters.

 

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