Archive for August, 2017

Ask Your Employees This Question

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

“What is the most important thing I can do for you?”

Think of the power in this question for a spouse, friend, aging parent or new neighbor. It says, “I care about you” and that “Your happiness and success matter to me.” It is powerful because it is all about that person’s needs, not the asker’s needs.

The question is just as powerful at work for the same reasons. It avoids suggestion box syndrome since it is personal and one-to-one.

When a manager asks an employee this open-ended question for the first time, it may create confusion.  “You mean me? What do I need?” is answered by “Yes, what do you need to do your best, to enjoy your work, to learn what you need, or to remove hurdles in your way?”

“Nothing really. I’m good. Thanks for asking,” might be the response. Everybody has something they need to remove pain or open doors, and everybody knows it if given the time, the prompt and the context to think. Here are some real-life examples:

“I am frustrated every day by lack of tools to do the job.” “The expectations are unclear.” “I see so many opportunities to improve service.” “Operations in the warehouse are unsafe and I worry every day about an accident.” “If I just knew how to use pivot tables my analysis would be more powerful.” “We have one team member who prevents forward progress, can you help?” “I am thinking of leaving for another job because of these issues.”

There are no bad answers. Small items are good and hairy issues are good. The point is not just the response itself, but the impact of asking, caring and working on an answer together.

You are looking for one issue or a related set of issues that deserve attention and resolution. Maybe no action is needed, just some listening and explanation. Another issue might be game-changing for both the employee and business.

Why ask for just one issue? Like the 80/20 principle, focusing on one item with the most perceived impact makes sense. Bigger discussions and broader topics are better for periodic reviews and career planning.

People’s real and perceived problems are a great window into how they work, what they value and what they expect. You will be surprised at the insights and depth of some answers, and disappointed in the shallow and self-serving responses of others. All are valuable.

Listen for the real issue. A person who begins with frustrations about others may eventually reveal skills and techniques they need to build. Problems with a poor manager may be a common complaint or could reveal a unique challenge. Expect very different responses from employees because you have asked how you (individually) can help them.

Managers must bring the right intent to the conversation: to discover and act on reasonable problems and opportunities identified. Use this question with an employee as often as it continues to produce useful conversations.

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 336-668-7746 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 build engaged, well-managed and low-risk workplaces.

 

The Latest from USCIS: There’s a New I-9 in Town

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

Wow, it seems as if we just received a new I-9 form, that’s because we did, just this past January a revised form was introduced and employers were instructed to begin using it by January 22, 2017.

As with any good thing, the use of that form has come to an end. On July 17, 2017 a new I-9 form was released, and employers may begin using the new form immediately, and must use it exclusively by September 18th.  The version with revision date 11/14/16 is acceptable through September 17, 2017.

 

 

What’s new on the form?

  • The Consular Report of Birth Abroad is added as an acceptable document on List C
  • All certifications of birth have been consolidated into one section, section #2, on List C
  • The consolidation of certifications of birth resulted in a change in the number order for List C
  • Section 2: added space for “Citizenship/Immigration Status” answer based on employees’ response in Section 1. For example, if employee indicates “A citizen of the United States” enter “1” in the space.

Since we’re discussing I-9s, here are a couple of interesting I-9 questions (with answers) I saw in a recent article.

Q: Must I reverify a female employee who changes her name upon getting married? What about a transgender employee who changes both name and gender?

A: You may, but are not required to, reverify an employee who has a name change. Since the form does not ask about gender, the same principle should apply to a transgender employee. One other interesting point about transgender employees: The “Other Names Used” field in the form has been changed to “Other Last Names Used” to avoid potential discrimination issues and provide increased privacy for transgender individuals and others who have changed their first names.

Q: I’m completing an internal I-9 audit and my predecessor collected copies of too many documents (e.g., an employment authorization document (EAD) and a driver’s license), but only recorded the required documents (e.g., the EAD). May I discard the extraneous documents?

A: This question resulted in a heated debate among my lawyer colleagues. Some took the position that the extraneous document(s) could simply be shredded because they arguably were not collected “in connection with” the I-9 process. A more conservative approach, with which I agree, suggests that, while the superfluous document(s) could be shredded, a memo should be made to the file to indicate that, while the document was collected in the course of completing the Form I-9, it was not used for the I-9 process and thus has been shredded.

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 336-668-7746 or learn more at CAI.

by: Andrea Breazeale-King, CAI HR Business Partner

 

source: Young, Becky.2017, Top 10 Q&As for Tough I-9 Issues, www.shrm.org