Monthly Archives: June 2014

Ten Tips to Hiring and Keeping Employees

A company relies on employees to be contributing to a profitable bottom line.  While some employees will have a significant impact, others may be smaller, or at least less noticeable, but all of them are important.  Recruitment and employee retention can benefit a company, providing an edge if done properly and strategically.  Here are some helpful suggestions to help attract and retain the best employees.

  1.  Always be Recruiting:  Have a good sense of the talent that will best benefit your company, and always be on the lookout for a person that will be able to advance your company.  Even if there are no current openings, you never know when something will come open, or growth will happen.
  2. Build a Standardized Hiring Process:  Don’t count on your conversational skills to choose between candidates. At a basic level, your standardized hiring process should include criteria-based screening of an adequate number of candidates, a background check, standardized assessments and structured interviews.
  3. Make your Job Post Matter:  You should tell candidates about what your company does and stands for. Include your mission statement. Make clear what your expectations are, from the start. You want potential employees to proactively identify with what you’re all about–before they even submit an application.
  4.  Interview Multiple Applicants:  Commit to meeting and interviewing a specific number of people, don’t hire the first person you like.  You never know if the next person will be a better fit for the company.
  5. Ask Probing Questions:  Use the interview to find out an applicant’s attitude, energy level, life goals, ability to take on responsibility, track record, and ability to work with the flow of your organization and your work culture.
  6. Check References:  Often we get too busy and assume that we won’t get a thorough reference regardless, but take the time to try.  You may find out enough to narrow down your choices.
  7. Train your New Hire: Recruitment doesn’t end with the offer letter. You’ve got to give new people the tools to do the job well.
  8. Keep Expectations Clear:  From day one make sure that employees understand what is expected of them, how you will measure it and what the benefits are for achieving their goals.
  9. Offer Compensation:  Offer talent an attractive compensation.  Be fair and recognize effort by rewarding with benefits or salary.
  10. Continue Development of Employees:  There is so much potential that frequently goes underutilized in organizations, offer employees feedback, coaching, cross training and opportunities for advancement.

You are sure to reduce your turnover and increase proper hiring by utilizing these tips.

HR’s Workload May Be Expanding

By Jared Bilski,

Based on the feds’ recently released Semiannual Regulatory Agenda, agencies like the DOL and the EEOC have some big plans for the remainder of 2014 — plans that could potentially have a major impact on HR.

So what can you expect before the end of 2014? Here are the highlights of the Spring Agenda:

DOL’s minimum wage, OT and FMLA plans

Wage and Hour Division (WHD). All in all, the DOL listed 91 regulatory items in the agenda, with five of those items specific to the WHD. Of those five, two items were listed as long-term actions — meaning the agency doesn’t have a projected date for when it may issue a proposed rule.

The good news is one of those long-term items is the “Right to Know” rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). If you remember, the Right to Know rule would require employers to perform a written classification analysis for every exempt employee — and share that info with all affected workers. This would add a significant administrative burden on HR pros. While it’s too soon to say the feds are abandoning the rule altogether, many benefits experts feel it’s headed in that direction.

The other long-term action item involves the Child Labor Hazardous Occupations Order, No. 7.

In terms of the action items on the WHD’s priority to-do list, the agency listed three main items:

  • Obama’s overtime reg overhaul: This was listed as “Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales, and Computer Employees.” President Obama made national news when he used his authority to order the DOL to amend the current overtime regs under the FLSA. And the DOL has prioritized these rule changes as “Economically Significant” and assigned a tentative date for when the proposed rules will be issued: November of this year.
  • Revised definition of “spouse” under the FMLA: Following the Supreme Court’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) decision, the agency promised to amend this definition to reflect the slew of federal benefits same-sex married couples are now entitled to receive. The WHD listed this proposed rule as “imminent.”
  • Executive Order 13658: Back in February, President Obama issued a proposed rule on raising the minimum wage for certain federal contractors — and the WHD needs to scramble to complete this rule by the Executive Order’s deadline of Oct. 1, 2014.

Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). The main item on the EBSA’s agenda continues to be an expanded definition of fiduciary status under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). However, this has already been delayed several times and action may not be taken until after the November elections.

The EBSA also has plans to refine the existing fee-disclosure regs under ERISA. Specifically, it’ll focus on drafting enhanced disclosure requirements for target-date funds. Finally, the DOL’s benefits division will focus on the fiduciary implications of self-direct investment (aka, “window”) accounts for the remainder of 2014 and into 2015.

Big news from the EEOC coming

Although the EEOC has nine items on its list, there is just one new action item: Wellness programs offered through company-sponsored health plans.

The agency is looking to draft a proposed rule on how wellness incentives given to employees should be treated under federal laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). According to the EEOC, HR pros should prepare to see the ADA amended to address whether, and to what extend, the law allows employers to incentivize or penalize employees via wellness programs.

The EEOC also says it’ll make changes to the current GINA regs to: “resolve the frequently-asked question of whether employers may offer inducement to employees’ spouses or other family members who answer questions about their current medical conditions” on health risk assessments, which are sometimes included in wellness plans.

How to Highlight Your Skills

Oftentimes during an interview, the interviewee is asked to describe his or her skill set.  This can be a daunting request to respond to, due having a multitude of skills and abilities to offer.  At we recommend that you focus on the skills that are useful for the job you are interviewing for; your transferable skills.

Use this opportunity provided to really highlight your strengths and skills that would benefit the company and were directly sought after in the job ad.  Explain your aptitude with each skill set as well as a possible timeline in achieving it (ex:  I learned Microsoft Excel in high school, I took two classes on it in college and used it on a daily basis in my last position).

If you have other skills that were not directly asked for in the job ad, but you can clearly see would benefit the company, take the time to explain how and why you are the perfect person because of your experience and expertise.

Stand Out in a Pile of Applications

You are ready for a change.  You have your sights set on a career, and you have found that the job you have been waiting for is available.  What’s next?  How can you stack the deck in your favor?  Here are a few tips for modern job seekers.

Update your resume.  Make your resume job specific and easy to read.  Don’t be tossed aside by the hiring personnel due to a lengthy resume; take out the irrelevant job skills that you have and only include those that will benefit you in your current search.  Also make sure you include transferable skills that may have worked for you in one way at your current position but can set you apart in the position you are applying for.  For example, if you are currently a customer service representative and deal with a variety of personalities and issues you could easily relate that to your new goal, outside sales.

Do not underestimate the cover letter!  It is very important to showcase yourself and should not be overlooked.  The cover letter is where you can show a little personality.  Keep it simple and direct, but use the opportunity to introduce yourself, explain how you heard about the opening and why you are the perfect choice for the job.  Don’t forget to add your contact information and thank the hiring professional for his/her time and consideration.

This is the age of social media.  Most job seekers have a Twitter, Klout, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, YouTube, etc. account.  Before you put your resume out there, make sure your sites are clean.  Remove any pictures that could prove to be detrimental to a possible hire, remove any negative feeds, notes or comments.  Keep your pages professional and appealing to a hiring manager.

Last of all think about designing a personal website to showcase your professional traits.  Very few people have personal websites, and the use of one can really help you showcase your strengths and stand out from the crowd.  Make sure your website is 100% developed and you have proofread it (twice) before making it live and putting it on your resume.  A poorly done site could negatively impact you and that is obviously not the goal.

Using these tips you are sure to land that dream job you have been thinking about!