Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Address These 4 Employee Needs for Maximum Retention

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

Recruiting top employees involves a relevant understanding of what attracts candidates to an opportunity; what do they want, and what are their priorities.  Once you have them on board, how do you retain them?  The needs and priorities of an employee can be different than those of a candidate.

In addition to the usual priorities like compensation, benefits and a flexible work schedule, most employees have four (4) basic needs to be happy and engaged in the workplace.  Those four needs are:  Caring, Respect, Appreciation, and Praise.

CaringMost people can tell if you genuinely care about them or not.  Something in your voice, the way you address them, or even your body language can tip them off.  Sincerity is difficult to fake and insincerity is difficult to hide.  Employees need to know their management cares about them for more than just what they bring to the business each day.  Be sure they know your door is always open.  Make certain you are responsive by setting aside sufficient time to understand their concern and to try and help address it.  Remember, for them, coming to you is a big step.  If you seem at all as if you do not care, or that you do not have time for them, they may not come to you again.

Respect – Everyone wants respect.  Respect for what they do and respect for how they do it.  One of the quickest ways to demonstrate a lack of respect for your employee is to micromanage.  Micromanaging suggests a lack of trust in your employee’s ability to get the job done.  On the other hand, one of the best ways to demonstrate respect for your employee is to allow them to grow to their full potential.  Offer your leadership and mentoring to help them succeed.  Provide training for employees who demonstrate initiative and show true promise for advancement.

Appreciation – Showing your appreciation for an employee’s results and work ethic is not difficult, and it does not have to be expensive.  We sometimes focus far too much and far too often on the negative, and not enough on the positive.  A simple “Thank You” can go a long way.  A pair of movie coupons or recognition in front of peers is a great way to show your appreciation.  Without appreciation, an employee may feel beaten and defeated.  They will eventually come to believe they can do nothing right, and will not want to come to work.

Praise – This is really just “appreciation” kicked up a notch or two.  It is always nice to feel appreciated, but to receive praise is an entirely different feeling.  Praise is larger, and therefore should be reserved for recognition of an employee going above and beyond their everyday job function.  An innovative idea, a new time-saving process, or productivity metrics well over 100% are just a few reasons to award special praise over simple appreciation.  Praise for employee who exceeds their expectations can also serve to incent other team members to “step up their game” in order to receive similar recognition.

This all sounds very simple, but in fact it takes time and thought.  These are very deliberate actions on the part of leaders, and time must be built into the day to accomplish even two or three of these for at least one or two individuals.  Over time, Caring, Respect, Appreciation and Praise will begin to filter across the workforce and you will have employees who not only trust you, but are loyal to you and your organization as well. Employees will feed off of the positive culture and demonstrate care, respect, appreciation and praise for co-workers.

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.

5 Great Ways to Annoy the HR Manager

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

Stay in the HR profession long enough, and you will begin to realize that there are certain ‘universal truths’ that every company faces. One of those truths is that some employees will not pass up a good opportunity to get ‘under the skin’ of their HR manager.

Here are just a couple of ways those employees can skillfully accomplish that mission:

1. If you are a line manager and you need to provide bad news to an employee, simply blame the decision on HR.

For example, “I proposed a higher salary increase for you, but you know HR, they disagreed. If you have problems with your increase, go talk to HR.”

This is most effective when you can further add, “I’m only doing this because HR told me I had to………….”

2. Fail to read and respond to information regarding benefits or any other important items.

Even though clear communication was repeatedly provided to you, along with specific instructions and deadlines for a response, ignore it. If HR talks about it at a meeting, act like you weren’t present at the meeting.

This method also works well when you say, “Oh yeah, I got it but I didn’t read it.”

3. Wait until you want to fire an employee before coming to HR for help.

Don’t bother wasting time with performance improvement coaching, disciplinary action, and/or that pesky documentation that must accompany all such actions prior to firing an employee.

This works best when the employee issues have festered and gone unchecked for months.

 4. Present an unqualified close friend or relative as the ‘perfect’ candidate.

Become indignant when the HR manager requires that normal hiring filters and protocols must occur. Act as if it is some sort of personal attack against your integrity.

This approach is most annoying when you can bring up an example of someone else who was hired as a referral, and they didn’t have to ‘jump through all of these hoops.’

 5. Become a world-class tattletale.

Feel the need to report every perceived slight or unfairness to the HR manager. Don’t take responsibility or try to resolve the problem yourself, instead go directly to HR for a ‘quick fix.’

Make sure that everyone is aware that you are only sharing this information for the good of the organization, and not personal gain.

CAI delivers HR, compliance, and people development solutions to 1,100+ NC companies to help them build engaged, well-managed and low-risk workplaces. Contact us to find out how we can help your company.

Source material: thebalance.com

Photo credit: Pixabay

New Rules About the Manager-Employee Relationship

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

Once upon a time, there were “rules” about a professional reporting relationship.  The manager was clearly the authority and was to be revered by the employee.  Often, the manager was older than the employee and the assumption was that he or she possessed greater wisdom.  Therefore, the employee was obliged to listen and generally heed that wisdom.  A clear delineation of power existed between the two and everyone recognized that the manager was to be held in high regard and treated with deference by the employee. Both parties understood that becoming too familiar with the other was not in his or her best interest when it came to success in the workplace.  Managers were discouraged from socializing with their charges outside of work and in all cases, the employee was expected to take a subordinate role to his or her “superior”.

Fast forward to today.  In many organizations, a far more egalitarian approach exists. Managers serve more as coaches, facilitators and partners. For one thing, they are no longer the sole guardians of information that formerly gave them so much power.  With technology changes, nearly everyone can get vital information at the touch of a keystroke.  Management is no longer reserved for those with seniority, and workers of any age may rise to positions of authority due to their technical prowess, their ability to relate to others and their leadership qualities.  So, in many environments, one person may carry the title of manager, but the employee is considered more of a colleague than a direct report.

So, what is the “etiquette” of the reporting relationship today?  The manager has many responsibilities; among them the obligation to share information, encourage and support growth, and to hold employees accountable for their work.  The employee is expected to learn as well as to teach, to take responsibility for their work and to share ideas and concerns with their manager.  Both parties are expected to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Can a manager and an employee also share a personal friendship outside of work?  The question is more “How do I differentiate between friend and boss?”  And what do I need to do to avoid the perception of favoritism?  Some guidelines include:

  • Having a conversation with employees to let them know that at work, your responsibility includes assessing their professional performance.  Providing feedback is part of your job as a manager and your intent is to support them to do their very best.
  • Having a conversation with the team to let them know your clear expectations and how they can contribute to the team’s success.
  • Holding regular one-to-one meetings with employees to discuss their progress and to find out how you as the manager can help them achieve their goals while continuing to do the work of the organization

CAI offers hundreds of training courses and programs to improve the skills and performance of managers, supervisors, professionals and HR. Classroom training is offered in Raleigh, Greensboro and Greenville. If you prefer remote access, visit e-learning. Find out more here about why you should choose CAI to optimize your employees’ potential.

Blog post by: CAI’s Linda Taylor, Learning & Development Partner

Photo credit: Office Space, Twentieth Century Fox

2017 Employment & Labor Law Conference Recap

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

Last week, over 450 professionals attended the Employment and Labor Law Update. For two days, attendees heard from Ogletree Deakins attorneys about the latest developments in state and federal employment law, recent court decisions and how they affect employers now and in the future.

Workplace regulations are constantly evolving, especially this year as new administrations have taken office at a state and federal level. To help you stay up to date, we’ve gathered the top takeaways from the conference.

1. The process for employee exit just as important as onboarding. Don’t let shoving an employee out the door trip you up down the road. Make sure you are consistent, prepare for possible claims, recover company property and learn from past mistakes.

2. Well-demonstrated training and well-written policies for employees are the best defense to prevent sexual harassment. To be proactive, you must consider the quality of both. Related – don’t make legal claims and document that sexual harassment occurred; state that the employee violated employer’s policy.

3. There are many ways to effectively manage the risks when conducting a Reduction in Force. Most importantly, PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. Determine your departments and target positions, then develop RIF selection criteria. Also, be sure to train your decision makers. There are so many moving parts – so if you must implement an RIF, the team at CAI can help you develop a plan.

4. The OFCCP will possibly merge into the EEOC. This speculation is supported by a recent report from the Heritage Foundation and from the Trump Administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget. Read more about this topic and potential effects here – White House Budget Released: EEOC Will Absorb OFCCP.

5. Return to the fundamentals of HR. Too often, we know the HR basics and exactly what we should do, but we forget to practice that. We sometimes choose to take shortcuts for the sake of expediency. The attorneys reminded us the risks associated with doing so, so make sure you revisit – and regularly revisit – the basics in your HR department.

Next up CAI’s 2017 Compensation & Benefits Conference. Save the Date! September 14 & 15, 2017

 

Prescription Drug Abuse in the Workplace

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

More than 70% of US employers are feeling the direct impact of prescription drug misuse in their workplaces, according to a survey released by the National Safety Council. The survey also found that although 71 percent of employers agree that prescription drug misuse is a disease that requires treatment, 65 percent feel it is a justifiable reason to fire an employee.

“Employers must understand that the most dangerously misused drug today may be sitting in employees’ medicine cabinets,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president, and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Even when they are taken as prescribed, prescription drugs and opioids can impair workers and create hazards on the job. We hope these findings prompt employers to take the lead on this emerging issue so that workplaces can be as safe as possible.”

Drug poisonings, largely from opioid painkillers, now eclipse car crashes as the leading cause of preventable death among adults. Nearly half of Americans are personally impacted by prescription drug addiction, with 44 percent knowing someone who is addicted to a prescription pain reliever. Seventy-five percent of those struggling with a substance use disorder are in the workforce, revealing a hidden epidemic that many employers are struggling to address.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Only 19 percent of employers feel ‘extremely prepared’ to deal with prescription drug misuse in the workplace.
  • Although just 13 percent are ‘very confident’ that employees can spot the signs of misuse, 76 percent do not offer training to help close that knowledge gap.
  • 81 percent of respondents’ policies are lacking at least one critical element of an effective drug-free workplace program.
  • Just 57 percent are drug testing all employees. Of those employers who conduct drug testing, 41 percent are not testing for synthetic opioids.
  • 88 percent are interested in their insurer covering alternatives to pain relief treatment so that employees can avoid taking opioids, and nearly 60 percent believe the insurance company will be responsive. However, 30 percent of those employers will not act on that interest.
  • Encouragingly, 70 percent would like to help employees who are struggling with prescription drug misuse return to their positions after completing treatment.

The Council provides a free Prescription Drug Employer Kit to help employers establish policies and manage opioid use at work. For resources and information about prescription drug abuse both in the workplace and at home, visit here.

CAI delivers HR, compliance, and people development solutions to 1,100+ NC companies to help them build engaged, well-managed and low-risk workplaces. Contact us to find out how we can help your company.

Source: National Safety Council

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.

How to Help Your Managers Resolve Conflict in the Workplace

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017
resolving conflict image

Photo of my co-worker’s son, who’d decided to resolve conflict in his own way. Fortunately, he did not follow through with his course of action!

A key workplace skill that always seems to be overlooked is managing and resolving conflict. The beauty of this skill is that it can be utilized in both your professional and personal lives.

While it is clear that not all conflict is unproductive, oftentimes smoldering conflict works beneath the surface to undermine our relationships, and add unwanted stress.

Managing and resolving conflict requires the ability to quickly reduce your stress levels to bring your emotions into balance. You can ensure that the process is as positive as possible by sticking to the following guidelines:

1. Listen to what is said (and felt)

When we really listen we connect more deeply to our own needs and emotions, and to those of other people. Listening also informs us, and makes it easier for others to hear us when it’s our turn to speak. For best results: Listen to ‘hear or understand,’ and not to ‘respond.’

2. Make conflict resolution the priority rather than winning (or “being right”)

Maintaining and strengthening the relationship, rather than “winning” the argument, should always be your first priority. Be respectful of the other person and his or her viewpoint. By doing so, you increase the odds of a “win-win” outcome.

3. Focus on the present.

When you hold on to grudges or past resentments, your ability to see the reality of the current situation is greatly impaired. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the here-and-now to solve the current problem at hand.

4. Pick your battles.

Conflicts are often draining. As such, it’s important to consider whether the issue is really worthy of your time and energy. If you go through life ‘searching’ for opportunities to be pissed off at the world, you shouldn’t have any problems finding a good conflict every day. That type of demeanor will only serve to bring you down and create collateral damage all around you.

5. Be willing to forgive.

Resolving conflict is impossible if you’re unwilling or unable to forgive. Resolution can only be found when you let go of the urge to punish. The urge to punish can never compensate for our losses and only adds to our injury by further depleting and draining our lives.

6. Know when to let something go.

If you can’t come to an agreement, agree to disagree. It takes two people to keep an argument going. If a conflict is going nowhere, choose to disengage and move on.

CAI delivers HR, compliance, and people development solutions to 1,100+ NC companies to help them build engaged, well-managed and low-risk workplaces. Contact us to find out how we can help your company.


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.

Employment Law Advice Now Available…

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

CAI filed suit on January 23, 2015, to overturn a state law that currently prevents us from providing legal advice and services to member companies. We believe this state law is unconstitutional because it prevents free speech and free association by our members, and by our lawyers on their behalf. The lawsuit is still pending and our Motion for Summary Judgement will be filed in the first half of 2017. Essentially, it will argue the U.S. Constitution renders our restrictive state law unconstitutional and void. We expect the defendants will file their own motion to dismiss our claims. In our view, this case presents legal questions for the court, not fact-based inquiries. Litigation is expensive and slow, but given our experience in the General Assembly, it is the only path to providing members direct legal services through CAI’s own licensed attorneys.

In the meantime, due to the time required by litigation, we created a CAI Pre-Paid Legal Services Plan for our members. CAI members will now receive employment law advice from experienced attorneys serving our Plan as part of CAI membership dues. Services are provided by independent, local, licensed NC attorneys assigned to serve CAI members in an open-ended, no-extra-fee environment. CAI’s Plan is for members – created specifically to help reduce employment law risk (this is not an employee PPLSP benefit.)

CAI already provides members unlimited consultation with our HR professionals. These Plan attorneys add telephone-based legal advice in a very similar format. They will also use legal templates to help you resolve employment law matters such as separation and release agreements. They will help you understand claims and charges filed against you and your options. They will give opinions on employee handbook provisions.

Members can access the CAI PPLSP, and speak with the third-party firm’s attorney located in the CAI Raleigh office, by asking for an Advice and Resolution team member or for the attorney. The Plan has already served dozens of members with timely, immediate responses to urgent needs for essential legal advice. Full details of this new member benefit are provided at www.capital.org/pplsp.

Not a CAI member yet? Learn more about how CAI can help your company.  We deliver HR, compliance, and people development solutions to 1,100+ NC companies to help build engaged, well-managed and low-risk workplaces. Contact us to find out how we can help your company.

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.

Can HR be Held Liable for FMLA Denial?

Friday, April 28th, 2017

An employer that took issue with an employee’s FMLA paperwork and refused to allow her to return to work until she provided new documentation, and ultimately fired her for job abandonment after a breakdown in communication, will face a jury on her FMLA interference and retaliation claims, the Second Circuit ruled in reversing summary judgment against the employee. The court also reinstated her FMLA claims against the HR director since she could be liable as her “employer” under the FLSA’s economic realities test, but refused to revive the employee’s ADA associational bias claim (Graziadio v Culinary Institute of America, 2d Cir.).

The employee, who worked for the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), took two weeks of FMLA leave in early June to care for her son after he was hospitalized for Type I diabetes. She returned on June 18, 2012, and submitted a medical certification on June 27. That same day, her other son fractured his leg and underwent surgery. She gave notice of her new need for leave, stating that she expected to return by July 9. When that date arrived, she requested a three-day week schedule for the next few weeks and asked if she needed to submit further documentation.

Despite her numerous inquiries as to when she could return, she heard nothing until the HR director sent her a letter on July 17 stating that her FMLA paperwork did not justify her absences. After she sent several emails attempting to determine what “paperwork” was needed, the HR director provided her with a Department of Labor brochure and refused to allow her to return to work until she provided proper documentation. As communication broke down, counsel for the parties became involved and the employee was fired on September 11 for job abandonment.

Individual liability. There was sufficient evidence for the employee to advance her FMLA claims against the HR director individually as her “employer.” Applying the economic-reality test used in FLSA cases, the Second Circuit found that triable issues existed as to the director’s authority since she appeared to have played an important role in the decision to fire the employee and also controlled her rights under the FMLA. Notably, the director specifically instructed her supervisor not to communicate with the employee and that she alone would handle her leave dispute.

FMLA interference. A jury could also find that the employee was denied leave to which she was entitled. First, it appeared that she may have taken intermittent leave to care for her diabetic son which was not approved by CIA. For example, the HR director’s July 17 letter stated that her documentation was insufficient and after she submitted a new certification, the director never responded (suggesting that she continued to withhold approval). Moreover, her updated certification arguably met the statutory requirements.

Good faith compliance. Regarding her injured son, a jury could conclude that the employee attempted in good faith to comply with CIA’s certification requests and that its conduct excused any residual failure in compliance. The HR director’s vague request for “paperwork” hardly sufficed to give adequate notice that CIA was requesting a medical certification, especially given the employee’s repeated requests for clarification. Although the HR director then sent her a Department of Labor brochure, she failed to respond to any of her continued pleas for clarification. Such unresponsiveness might itself run afoul of the FMLA.

After the employee submitted a doctor’s note, the HR director quickly rejected it and cut off communication by refusing to discuss the matter further until she appeared for an in-person meeting. The employee could thus have believed that she could not submit new medical information until the meeting. The director’s concurrent failure to acknowledge receipt of her updated certification for her diabetic son might also have signaled that further submissions would be futile. The meeting never occurred and the HR director never reopened the lines of communication until August 30, when CIA’s attorney demanded a new medical certification.

On this record, a jury could reasonably conclude that the employee made sufficient good faith efforts to comply with her employer’s requests and that defendants’ conduct—their imprecision in requesting certification, their failure to answer her questions responsively, and their failure to communicate with her after deeming her doctor’s note deficient—relieved her of any unsatisfied obligation to provide a medical certification to support her leave. Freed of this obligation, she may have been denied leave to which she was entitled.

FMLA retaliation. The employee also sufficiently demonstrated that CIA’s proffered reasons for firing her were pretextual since the record suggested that CIA’s assertion that it fired her because she abandoned her job was unworthy of credence. Although the August 30 email from CIA’s attorney instructed her to contact her supervisor to return to work, it also contained two paragraphs reiterating that if she wanted to return, she must submit FMLA medical certifications. The weakness of the evidence supporting CIA’s explanation, in conjunction with the very close temporal proximity between the employee’s leave and termination, suggested that the real reason for her discharge was her much-contested attempt to take FMLA leave.

ADA claim. However, the Second Circuit refused to revive the employee’s associational disability bias claim because she failed to show that she was fired because CIA feared that her concern for her diabetic son would cause her to perform inadequately. Rather, she presented evidence that she was terminated because CIA felt she had taken too much leave to care for her sons. Thus, it did not fear that she would be “inattentive at work,” but rather that she would not be at work at all.

We’ll have to wait and see how this case turns out.  In the meantime, CAI members always have access to our Advice & Resolution team for questions about FMLA leave for an employee.

CAI delivers HR, compliance, and people development solutions to 1,100+ NC companies to help them build engaged, well-managed and low-risk workplaces. Contact us to find out how we can help your company.

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.

Is Your Office Space Repelling Good People?

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

Millennials are considered by many to be the first generation since the 60’s to come with their own set of preferences as to what they desire in regards to various aspects of their daily life – including their work environment. An interesting position to take, considering the ups and downs of the economy, but this group of individuals also bring the technology, innovative thinking, and energy to the table, creating a very competitive recruiting atmosphere in which their desires must be taken into account.

For this reason, companies are working to understand what does and does not appeal to this latest generation to join the workforce.  Office space is being specifically designed and re-designed to attract these highly sought-after workers.  Large, closed-in office space with more doors than windows is quickly losing popularity in favor of open work areas with space for collaboration over traditional conference rooms.

Desks which can be raised to accommodate employees who prefer standing part of their workday are being introduced, along with desks that stand over working treadmills to encourage a healthier environment.  Smart boards are being used to record brainstorming notes, and then send them to a computer or printer with the press of a button.

In addition, on-site fitness centers complete with showers are now common in many businesses. Millennials are researching potential employer locations to determine what amenities they currently provide “on campus”.  Are there bike racks?  Are there walking trails?  Are restaurants and retail shopping options within walking distance?  Are mass-transit drop points within walking or biking distance from the office?  The millennial generation is known for living a healthier lifestyle with an affinity for convenience.  Speaking of convenience, another popular feature with millennials at the workplace is a resident concierge to handle things like travel arrangements, massage appointments, pick up/delivery of dry-cleaning and order in lunches.

You may ask yourself, “Do they really need all that?”  A better question would be “Does my company really need all that?”  There are several things to consider here:

  • Is it more cost efficient to retrofit your current space or to simply give up your current office and move to a more modern facility?
  • Would the increased and improved collaboration from a more modern work environment lead to more innovative thinking and creativity among teams?
  • Does your business model dictate a more traditional or forward-thinking atmosphere?
  • Which type of environment will appeal more to your clients / customers / business partners?
  • How do you want your company to be viewed – both internally and externally – by your competitors, your peers, your current and future employees?

That’s right, take a look at your competitors and peer companies.  What are they doing?  Ask your employees for their opinion on the current work environment and any suggested improvements.  Write down a list of amenities your office has to offer new recruits.  Is it enough?  If you were interviewing with your company today for a job, would it be enough for you?  Answers to these questions might provide you with some ideas for change, even small changes, which could be very important to fueling your business growth in regards to your workforce.

CAI delivers HR, compliance, and people development solutions to 1,100+ NC companies to help them build engaged, well-managed and low-risk workplaces. Contact us to find out how we can help your company.

 

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.

Top Tips for Organizing Personnel Files

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

At CAI, we receive numerous calls from our members asking how to organize and maintain compliance with personnel files. If you were to take compliance guidance from government agencies literally you would conclude that you need to have a lot of separate files spread throughout many different file cabinets.  While you might get a point for being compliant, this scenario just isn’t reasonable for most employers.  Fortunately, we offer an easier way to organize your files that balance the need to be reasonably compliant with your need to be practical.

There are certain types of information that need to be maintained separately from the employee’s main file. Below I have listed the different types of files that I have used in my filing system, of course as long as you are maintaining confidential documents separate from the main general personnel file, you can develop a system that works best for your company.  A process that worked well for us was to have our medical files locked away separately. The other files listed below were kept inside a general employee file (we used a multi-tab folder similar to this one) in small manila folders that could be removed if a supervisor needed to review the file. It is also a good idea to keep your I9s completely separate (we kept in a multi-tab expanding file sorted by last name alphabetically).

Pre-Employment Information:

  • Background checks
  • Drug screenings
  • Credit checks
  • Reference Checks
  • Any EEOC Pre-Employment Disclosures (Self-Identify Veteran or Disability Status)

Benefits/401(k):

  • Enrollment information
  • Beneficiary information
  • Distribution information
  • Any benefit related information (notices, request for information, etc)

Medical:

  • Doctor Notes
  • Leave Requests (including FMLA)
  • ADA Accommodation Request information
  • Incident Reports
  • OSHA Incidents
  • Workers Compensation Claims/Incidents

Payroll:

  • Federal and State tax forms (W4 and NC4)
  • Garnishment requests
  • W2s
  • Any payroll information with Social Security numbers
  • Request for employment/wage verification
  • Direct Deposit Authorization Form

Confidential File:

  •  EEOC Claim information
  • Investigation information (EEOC, internal investigations)
  • Settlement claims

General Employee File:

  • Employment Application/Resume
  • Offer Letter
  • Any policy acknowledgments (confidentiality, code of conduct, handbook, etc)
  • Performance appraisals
  • Pay/Compensation information
  • Disciplinary actions, documents
  • All promotion, transfer, demotion, layoff information
  • Exit Interview
  • Termination documents

So to review, you have one separate medical file, one file with all of your I-9’s and then organize everything else into one big pendaflex file.  Alternatively, you could convert to electronic personnel files, including I-9’s.

Overall, the most important aspect of maintaining compliance with personnel files is securing the access to the files. The files should be kept in a secure location (behind “lock and key”) and access should only be granted to specific employees (probably within the HR department or specific information to supervisors as outlined in your personnel file policy).  On that note, it is important to remember that access to the files should even be restricted within the HR department on a “need to know” basis: the benefits specialist doesn’t need access to the confidential file, the recruiting specialist doesn’t need access to the medical file, etc.

CAI delivers HR, compliance, and people development solutions to 1,100+ NC companies to help them build engaged, well-managed and low-risk workplaces. Contact us to find out how we can help your company.

Emily’s primary area of focus is providing expert advice and support in the areas of employee relations and federal and state employment law compliance as a member of the Advice & Resolution team for CAI. Additionally, Emily advises business and HR leaders in operational and strategic human resources areas such as talent and performance management, employee engagement, and M&A’s. Emily has 10+ years of broad-based HR business partnering experience centering around employee relations, compliance & regulatory employment issues, strategic and tactical human resources, and strong process improvement skills.