Archive for February, 2017

WARNING: OFCCP Sends “Audit” Letters February 17th

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Federal contractors and subcontractors be warned the Office of Federal Contracts Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has mailed a new round of Corporate Scheduling Announcement Letters (CSAL).  These letters are considered courtesy letters and are sent to federal contractors/subcontractors as an early notice that the company may be selected for an OFCCP audit.  The last time the OFCCP sent these notices was November 2014 and many of the audits since then have been based on that list.

These letters are sent to the company location that may receive the official audit letter later and are typically sent to the HR Director. Previously, these letters were sent to the company headquarters.  So advise your HR staff & directors at your locations to be on the look out for these letters.

If you do receive a CSAL letter, CAI encourages you to ensure your AAP is up-to-date.  You should also carefully review your data and be prepared for the official audit letter. Once you receive the actual audit letter, you only have 30 days to prepare the requested material.  So use the advanced notice to take the time to review all of your AAP obligations and records.

If you have a company location that receives the CSAL letter, it does not guarantee that you will receive an actual OFCCP audit.  You may also receive an actual audit without receiving the CSAL. If you need help putting together an affirmative action plan, contact Kaleigh Ferraro at CAI at kaleigh.ferraro@capital.org.

What is Your View of HR?

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Close your eyes and picture the human resources function at work.  It could be a deep department or it might be led by an office manager.  Either way, I bet your picture is incomplete.

Key roles of good HR will help you during your career.  Plug into them.  Ask the right questions.  Expect good service.  Be patient when things seem too slow.

  1. Timely Trains

HR makes the trains run on time in most businesses.  Incredible complexity, regulation, and risk are behind every paycheck, every 401(k) deduction or match, every group health claim dispute, every payroll deduction form, every voluntary benefit, every stock or bonus plan and every performance review.  We take them for granted.  Stop and thank HR.  It is really impressive that these things work almost all the time.  It is equally impressive HR gets anything else done.

  1. Truth Teller

Effective HR tells employees and leaders the truth.  If you want to hear the truth and are ready to act on it, ask HR how you can grow.  Ask HR strategies to work with your manager (they already know you have an inexperienced manager and how that feels).  Allow HR to help you understand the negative comments on your performance review and how easily most things can improve.  Ask HR how you can change career paths at your organization.  They have heard it all before and usually have good advice to give.

The CEO and a senior team really need someone with the information, credibility, and neutrality to tell them the cold, hard truth when that truth is needed.  Great HR does this well.

  1. Ombudsman

The toughest role for HR is finding the right balance between an advocate for management (and its business goals) and the employees.  Good HR finds a way to do both.  Know that human resource professionals struggle with this balance and usually do see your side of things.  Talk to them about this balance, about management’s position on an issue and whether employee needs were considered.  Most of the time, you will come away with a clearer view.

  1. Gatekeeper of Talent

The biggest impact from really good HR is who gets hired and who gets fired.  The “who” affects everything that follows.  The who makes strategy work (or fail).  The who makes it a nice place to work (or awful).  The who supports company values and engagement (or destroys them)

  1. Guardian of the Culture

HR has to make all this happen in a way that improves company culture:  how people behave when no one is looking.  If the trains run on time, truth telling is valued, employee needs are balanced with business goals, we hire (and keep) the right people, then a good culture will usually follow.

At CAI we build engaged, well-managed, low-risk workplaces. If your company could use an HR partner, please contact us at 919-878-9222 or learn more at CAI.

Bruce Clarke serves as CAI’s President and CEO, and has been with CAI since 2001. Bruce practiced labor and employment law with the national labor law firm of Ogletree Deakins for 18 years. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and was selected as one of North Carolina’s Legal Elite by Business North Carolina Magazine. Bruce is 100% committed to helping companies maximize employee engagement and minimize workplace liabilities.

4 Ways to Build Trust with Employees

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

According to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, almost one in three people don’t trust their employer. That’s bad news for businesses, because employees who perceive their leadership as trustworthy are more engaged, more satisfied, and more productive. Employees need to know that the person in charge won’t take advantage of his or her position – that they won’t lie, steal, play favorites or betray subordinates. Once subordinates lose trust in their leaders, the relationship is not likely to be repaired.

The trust issue is made even worse by the notion that many employees dislike their jobs. Some estimates suggest that 70% of the workforce consists of passive job seekers. These are people that while they are not actively looking for jobs, are more than willing to listen and explore other opportunities. Having a trusting relationship with the boss clearly improves both engagement and retention.

Let’s look at the four basic ways a leader can improve the trust factor:

  1. Be More Predictable– while it may not be very sexy, predictability is a major ingredient of trustworthiness. In fact, people who are very creative and spontaneous may have trouble getting others to trust them simply because it is often much harder to predict what they’ll do next.
  2. Be More Empathetic – employees want a boss who takes the time to understand them a bit. Take some time to understand the interests of the people on your team. Those could include personal, as well as, professional developmental interests.
  3. Be More Resilient – the ability to remain calm and resilient under pressure depends on high emotional intelligence. It’s difficult to trust a boss that freaks out in the course of stressful situations. In doing so, they unwittingly send a signal that when the going gets tough, they can be counted on to ‘lose it.’
  4. Be More Humble – Where self-promotion is one of the keys to making it to the corner office, humility may be the key to staying there. Humble managers engender trust and help build a better sense of team.

CAI helps employers build an engaged, well-managed and low-risk workplace. Let us help you tap into your employees potential to become effective leaders. For more information on developing your leaders, take a look at one of our upcoming courses, The Five Leadership Practices Certificate Program. 

Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad-based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team.  He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations. 

Office Romances Pose Challenges for HR

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

According to CareerBuilder’s annual Valentine’s Day survey, 41 percent of workers have dated a co-worker (up from 37 percent last year and the highest since 2007). Additionally, 30 percent of these office romances have led to marriage, on par with last year’s findings. The national survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from November 16 to December 6, 2016, and included a representative sample of 3,411 full-time, private sector workers across industries and company sizes.

Office romances are just not happening between peers: Of those who have had an office romance, more than 1 in 5 (29 percent, up from 23 percent last year) have dated someone in a higher position than them — a more common occurrence for women than men (33 percent versus 25 percent). Fifteen percent of workers who have had an office romance say they have dated someone who was their boss. And as if dating a superior weren’t risky enough, 19 percent of office romances involved at least one person who was married at the time.

Additional survey findings include:

  • Nearly two in five workers who have had an office romance (38 percent) had to keep the relationship a secret at work. Male workers were just as likely to keep their office romances secret (40 percent) compared to their female counterparts (37 percent). By region, of those who have had office romances, 45 percent of workers in the Northeast say they kept their office relationships secret compared to 41 percent in the South, 34 percent in the West, and 31 percent in the Midwest.
  • About 1 in 5 employees (21 percent) say what someone does for a living influences whether they would date that person (18 percent of men and 24 percent of women). Seven percent say they currently work with someone they would like to date this year. Five percent of workers who have had an office romance say they have left a job because of an office relationship gone sour.

These trends serve as a good reminder to employers to conduct regular sexual harassment training.  CAI members have access to these online training tools: Sexual Harassment Prevention Training for Employees and Sexual Harassment Prevention Training for Managers and Supervisors. CAI helps 1,100+ member companies build an engaged, well-managed and low-risk workplace. We can help you today!

 Doug Blizzard brings a wealth of knowledge to CAI, serving as Vice President of Membership. During his first 15 years at CAI, he led the firm’s consulting and training divisions and counseled hundreds of clients on HR and Employee Relations issues. If he isn’t speaking at North Carolina conferences, teaching classes on Human Resources or consulting clients on EEO and Affirmative Action, Doug is leading the company’s membership services.

Telecommuting Should Be Carefully Planned

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Telecommuting, often referred to as “working from home,” is not for everyone or for every company.  There are pros and cons for both the company and for the employee that must be considered in order to be successful.

Employees interested in telecommuting imagine a definite benefit to having the ability to literally “come to work” each day in their pajamas.  However, many telecommuters fail to notice they can often work an average of 10-12 hours each day should they also work during their normal commute time.  Management sees an opportunity for increased productivity when telecommuting is offered to the workforce, yet may sacrifice some creative thinking as a result of less collaboration among team members.

Before instituting a policy on telecommuting, careful thought is required.  Although research has shown telecommuting provides for lower job-related stress, improved performance and greater job satisfaction, these positives do not happen for everyone.

Some workers who telecommute actually miss the face-to-face interaction with their co-workers and their management. Other trade-offs which can occur with telecommuting include increased productivity vs longer work days, greater independence vs less collaboration, and more flexibility with family and work vs blurred boundaries of the two.

As a company, some other factors to consider include:

  • Are employees allowed to decide if they telecommute?
  • How much are employees allowed to control their schedules?
  • Is an employee’s work interdependent on the work of others?
  • What are the current relationships with co-workers and supervisors?

Still, after some careful consideration and planning, a successful telecommuting implementation can be a powerful recruiting and retention tool.  Telecommuting opportunities can also open the door for a diverse and truly global workforce by taking advantage of available collaboration technology.

If your company decides to incorporate telecommuting, as an HR manager you’ll want to stay in the know. Ask managers who have telecommuters these types of questions –  How do your telecommuters separate their home life from work life? Do they have established “office” hours? Do they have a work environment conducive for a dedicated workspace? How do you keep the lines of communication open? Understanding the answers to these types of questions will help HR with the broader view of how telecommuting impacts your particular organization. Learn more about how CAI helps 1,100+ North Carolina member companies with HR, Compliance & People Development Solutions.  

 
CAI’s Advice & Resolution Advisor Renee Watkins is a seasoned HR professional with a diverse background in Human Resource. Renee provides CAI members with practical advice in a wide range of human resource functions including conflict resolution, compliance and regulatory issues, and employee relations.

4 ‘Must-have’ Leadership Behaviors

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

There are four behaviors that every effective leader must possess:

1. Effective problem solving

The process that precedes decision making is problem-solving when information is gathered, analyzed, and considered. This is deceptively difficult to get right, yet it is a key input into decision making for major issues as well as daily ones. 

Effective problem solving is a rare commodity. This is because most individuals do a poor job at root cause analysis. Their natural inclination is to bypass the analysis and jump right into the ‘solve.’ The end result is often a quick fix, Band-Aid approach that addresses the symptom and not the actual problem.

 

HR leaders can help by coaching business partners to avoid the immediate ‘jump to solve.’

2. Operating with a strong results orientation

Leadership is about not only developing and communicating a vision and setting objectives but also following through to achieve results. Leaders with a strong results orientation tend to emphasize the importance of efficiency and productivity and to prioritize the highest-value work.

Results orientation begins with clearly articulated expectations relative to key performance indicators. HR leaders should work with their operations partners to ensure that managers are having weekly discussions with their staffs regarding, actual vs. expected results.

3. Seeking different perspectives

This trait is exhibited by managers who monitor trends affecting the organization, grasp changes in the environment, encourage employees to contribute ideas that could improve performance, accurately differentiate between important and unimportant issues, and give the appropriate weight to stakeholder concerns. Leaders who do this well typically base their decisions on sound analysis and avoid the many biases to which decisions are prone.

On the other hand, leaders who suffer from the ‘smartest person in the room syndrome’ consistently think they have all the right answers. They tend to alienate others and consequently miss out on other, better alternatives.This is typically a self-awareness issue that can be mitigated through effective coaching.

4. Supporting others

Leaders who are supportive understand and sense how other people feel. By showing authenticity and a sincere interest in those around them, they build trust and inspire and help colleagues to overcome challenges. They intervene in group work to promote organizational efficiency and help to prevent non-productive internal conflict.

As a result, these supportive leaders tend to have a much greater enterprise value.  By that, we mean that they are actually synergistic in their value. They help to ‘lubricate’ the organization and reduce unnecessary problems and issues.

CAI has multiple ways to build leaders within your organization. We offer a wide variety of instructor-led courses in our Management Advantage program to train your leaders, managers, and supervisors. And, CAI members have access to leadership tools and templates along with the opportunity to receive guidance and coaching from our local, experienced HR experts. Learn more about how CAI can help with leadership training and workforce planning.

Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad-based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team.  He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations. 

 

Are you using the new Form I-9?

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Beginning January 22nd, 2017, all employers are required to utilize the new Form I-9.  The new form was created to reduce confusion and the resulting technical errors by both employers and employees.  This new form can be completed digitally and contains pull-down menus, embedded calendars and the like.

However, employers who complete the new Form I-9 online using Adobe Reader or other PDF reader, will still be required to print the form, procure handwritten signatures and store in a safe and accessible place.  Furthermore, employers will also need to monitor re-verifications and updates with a calendaring system.  You will also have to use E-Verify as a separate system.    You can read more about the new form at the USCIS website; https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.

If this system still sounds complicated to you, CAI has an easier solution.  Our Form I-9 service offers a version of the electronic Form I-9 that allows you to complete and store your I-9s paperless, and with the assurance that you are filling out the form in a compliant manner.

In addition to the electronic I-9, our system can seamlessly incorporate E-Verify.

Highlights of our service include:

  • Electronically complete, sign and store the Form I-9.
  • Real time validation of data entered into the Form I-9.
  • Instant Employment Authorization.
  • Expiration Notices – Email notification of an employee’s expiring work authorization is sent out before it becomes a problem.
  • No servers or software to install or maintain.
  • Easy Searching – Search for stored forms to export, or print the PDF.
  • Audit Log – All actions (creation, view and print) relating to a form are tracked in the audit log.
  • Multiple permission levels for increased security.
  • Duplication Alert – User is notified when entering a form for an employee who already has a form on file, thus preventing employees from using the same SSN.
  • Remote employee authorization – we have notaries around the country who can verify documents.
  • Great Customer Service – You know and trust us, we are just a phone call or email away.

If you would like to learn more about our electronic I-9 services, please give us a call and ask for Brielle Earley or Kevin von der Lippe at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Kevin W. von der Lippe is a licensed private investigator at CAI and for 19 years has managed our detective agency and background checking business.  He is security minded and proficient with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the enforcement of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as administered by the EEOC as it relates to background checks. Capital Associated Industries Services Corporation is a licensed investigative agency, specializing in corporate pre-employment background screening. Our corporate agency license is BPN 001473P11.