Posts Tagged ‘Human Resource’

Retaining and Benefiting From Long-Term Employees

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

All successful company leaders and senior management executives understand the value that comes from long-term employee relationships. With low levels of turnover, organizations are better positioned for success, internal consistency and stability, but how can companies get to the point where employees consider their place of employment permanent instead of temporary? It all comes down to maintenance, recognizing individual and departmental needs and making those needs an overall company priority. Here are five ways to keep your employees’ loyalty at a high level:

Motivating and challenging workload – Boredom is one of the fastest ways to have your staff turn to job employment search engines. There is little or no excitement that comes from performing the same routine day-to-day. Even though the mundane tasks still need completion, make sure employees are participants in interesting projects and that their workload is challenging.

Acknowledgement and appreciation of work well doneConfirmation of strong performance is more effective than you may realize. By publicly acknowledging the achievements of your staff, you remind individuals of their own personal value to the organization, which is critical. When employees can visually recognize that the work they do not only matters, but makes a difference on a companywide scale, they have little reason to find satisfaction elsewhere.

Upward growth opportunities – When given a challenging workload and excelling at the tasks at hand, employees sooner or later are going to inquire about internal advancement. Be open to discussing growth opportunities and remember, employees are not looking for instantaneous promotion; they just want to know that there is an open path for management consideration.

Healthy working environment – Does your company operate under high levels of tension, stress or anxiety? Monitor the environment your employees are exposed to and try to keep high levels of stress and concern within executive offices. When employees are aware of all elements of the organization, performance levels may decrease because of the concern and worry that arises.

Personal relationships and understanding – Employees are likely to remain loyal when relationships have a personal component. It’s important to maintain the subordinate-management roles, but make sure that employees understand you are there for support, mentorship and guidance.

Long-term employees have a strong organizational knowledge base that will assist in the teaching and training of new company members. Investing in your current staff will always benefit you and your company in the long run.

For additional information on employee retention, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo source: A Pillow of Winds

The Six Criteria for Unpaid Interns

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

With the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) Wage and Hour Division focusing so closely on uncovering and investigating violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers need to be sure that they are complying with every part of the wage and hour law.  One area where the actual regulations often fail to match what employers believe them to be concerns the paying of interns.

Thankfully, USDOL released Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs under the Fair Labor Standards Act last year, which provides general information to employers to help determine whether interns must be paid under the FLSA for the service they provide.  For an internship to be unpaid, it must meet the following six criteria:

1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an education environment;

2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;

3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;

4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;

5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and

6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

Along with the six criteria, USDOL also provides some examples and interpretations of workplace situations in the Fact Sheet.

We encourage employers who have an internship program in place, or who are considering one, to review this important Fact Sheet.  A review of the six criteria and the interpretations in this Fact Sheet should help clarify any confusion.  Interns who do not meet the criteria should be paid at least minimum wage, plus any earned overtime.

If you have any questions about intern compensation, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photos Source: Inspiring Interns

Don’t Just Dress to Impress, Dress to Succeed

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Appropriate work attire is often stressed by college advisors and career coaches when preparing candidates for their first interviews. To be helpful, they will share lists that feature interview appearance etiquette, such as “hair should be well-groomed” and “jewelry should be kept to a minimum.” Unfortunately, after their interviews are secured and jobs are offered, workers do not always place dressing professionally at the top of their to-do list to succeed.

Although putting importance on your workplace wardrobe doesn’t directly affect your ability to perform your job, it can directly affect how others in your work environment perceive you, which is important when trying to climb the ladder. Managers and teammates may be well aware of your abilities to perform your tasks and assignments. Others, however, who do not interact with you daily, but can decide the future of your career (ex, your manager’s boss), can judge your work ethic solely by the clothes you’re wearing.

Dressing professionally and appropriately depends on your workplace dress code. If not already discussed during the job orientation, it is important to ask if there is one, as well as a document that specifies suitable clothing options. Receiving this information will prevent violations and indicate what to look for when shopping for work items. Company standards can range from formal, such as suits and ties, to casual, which may include jeans and shirts without collars. No matter the policy, making sure you look your best is an easy goal to achieve. For example, if jeans and a T-shirt is the office uniform, ensuring your jeans are free from holes and the shirt is nicely pressed will demonstrate to others that you value your job.

When deciding if an outfit is professional, envisioning how your clients or customers would view the ensemble is a good starting point. Do you think they’d trust the product you’re selling and would they see you as a serious employee? If either answer is no, you should move on to a different outfit. Reviewing how successful people at your company dress can also be a factor in choosing the right apparel. Spending time to put your best foot forward each work day can catapult you to the next level of your career. Not only will you impress others with your clothing, you might raise the bar for office standards.

It’s important to mention that dressing to reach success does not have to be budget breaking. Malls and department stores regularly have sales that drastically cut the prices of suits and shoes. Discount stores, including Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, offer designer business pieces for less, and WalMart and Target provide affordable options as well.

Devoting extra time to your professional appearance will make supervisors take notice of your attributes, as well as make subordinates and colleagues more respectful of your position. Your self-esteem will also increase while you work toward improving your career.

For additional information about implementing, reviewing or adhering to dress code policy, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo Source: karsten.planz

Recruiting The Best and Brightest

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Employees are the framework for all organizations, and represent a driving force behind the success or failure of a company. As one of the key elements for long-term success, it’s critical that companies place focus on the hiring process, and strive to recruit the most intelligent, motivated and versatile employees available.

How can companies position themselves to not only recruit employees, but attract top talent?

Evaluate Current Processes

First, evaluate the current selection process your organization has in place. Because of convenience, countless job seekers will come through newspaper ads and website postings, but by using additional outlets (social media, executive staffing firms, industry professional associations, conferences and online boards) a new kind of job candidate can be uncovered. By extending your network pool, you can build relationships, and much can be said about hiring a person whose character you know, instead of hiring solely on Internet credentials.

Provide Thorough Job Descriptions

Once you are recruiting within the correct market, make sure that your company job descriptions are clearly outlined. A detailed description of requirements and responsibilities is imperative, as it’s a way for you to label and define the expectations of future candidates. Don’t wait until the interview process to discover your interviewee doesn’t meet the basic qualifications. If you allow the job description to cover basic requirements, your interview process will reveal the candidate whose skills stand out above the rest.

Keep an Eye on Talent

To recruit the best and brightest, employers must always keep an eye open for top talent. Firms with exceptional recruiting results always monitor potential applicants, whether hiring or not. Through continuous evaluation of the candidate pool, organizations have a better idea of who to select when the time comes. By keeping a running list of candidates, you can keep a watch over top talent and avoid hiring at the last minute.

Monitor your Company Brand

An important piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked is to monitor your company brand. What people say outside of the company walls matters immensely. The overall public perception of your organization will be a leading determinant for many candidates. Outside of salary and job growth, employees want to be part of a company whose culture is respected and valued. Treat your current staff well, as they will be your spokespersons to others about what makes your organization great.

For additional information about recruiting, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo Source: Argonne National Laboratory

Eight Things N.C. Employers Need to Know About the U.S. Department of Labor

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Albert Bell, Jr., Attorney at Law with Ward and Smith, P.A., advised participants in CAI’s recent members-only Ask the Experts session on the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) stepped-up enforcement and pro-labor approach, and highlighted areas that can present problems for employers.

Some of the key points in the presentation included:

  1. Increased collections for wage and hour violations – In 2009, the government collected more than $172 million in back wages for 219,560 employees.
  2. Increase in wage and hour investigators – There was an increase of 250 investigators in 2010, and USDOL is projecting that they will have 1,000 investigators by the end of 2011.
  3. Focus on employees – Protecting the rights of employees is the priority for USDOL.  In December 2010, it established a partnership with the American Bar Association to provide a toll-free number to employees to refer them to a private attorney in their area whom they may contact to discuss a complaint.  For more information, see http://bit.ly/dol-aba.
  4. USDOL is less helpful to employers – Employers used to be able to write letters to the USDOL explaining a situation and asking for guidance. The USDOL would then respond with an Opinion Letter to the employer but would post the Opinion Letter anonymously on the Web.  These Opinion Letters were helpful to employers in understanding USDOL interpretations of laws.  In 2010, the USDOL started issuing Administrator Interpretations and eliminated the Opinion Letter process.  The Administrator Interpretations address general interpretation of the law rather than specific situations.  The USDOL also withdrew some prior Opinion Letters.
  5. Hot Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) issues – Rounding of time, and donning and doffing are areas that plantiffs’ attorneys are focusing on because of the number of employees affected and the resulting potential gold mine.
  6. Strategy for 2011-2016 – The emphasis is on Plan/Prevent/Protect.  USDOL plans to propose regulations requiring employers to put systems in place to address risks, hazards and inequities in their workplaces and correct deficiencies to be compliant with the FLSA.  It is expected that once the USDOL outlines the regulations for this process, they will conduct audits to see that employers have the systems in place, rather than auditing just for specific violations of the FLSA.
  7. Proposed recordkeeping rule in 2011 – USDOL intends to publish a rule in 2011 requiring employers to notify employees of their rights under FLSA and how their hours and pay are determined.
  8. Employees you don’t know you have – Employers should revisit independent contractor classifications to make sure they truly are independent contractors and not employees.  To determine whether someone is an independent contractor or employee the USDOL considers who has control, the opportunity for profit and loss, investment, skill and permanency of the relationship.

For additional information on the current initiatives of the USDOL, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo Source: 4nitsirk