Love Them or Hate Them: How to Revamp Employee Rating Systems

Rating employees is an activity many people dread, whether it’s entry-level workers or the corner office. So much time is spent formulating performance management systems from number scores to the right workplace language to use i.e., “on target” and”meets expectations.”

According to Jennifer Steinmann, a chief strategist at consulting giant Deloitte, the company spends almost 2 million hours every year on its employee rating system from filling out forms to discussing and devising a system.

Wasted hours
All of those hours spent creating a system can come up short if ratings reduce workforce morale or do not engage employees in the part they play within the company.

“We’d call them the walking wounded,” Devra Johnson, a human resource director at Intel Corp., told The Wall Street Journal, about employees who received a middling grade.

The computer chip manufacturer still uses a scale ranking system that goes from “outstanding” to “improvement needed” even though other corporations such as The Gap and Microsoft decided to abandon the rankings altogether because of low employee morale.

According to Marc Farrugia, the vice president of Sun Communities Inc., a manufactured home developer, some bosses will use the employee rating system to give good marks and bonuses to high-performing employees that they are afraid might leave. On the other hand, some rating systems just do not give a clear picture because an employer will rate all employees as average to get the paperwork done and out of the way.

“I’m being more and more convinced that ratings are doing more harm than good,” Farrugia told The Wall Street Journal.

A study conducted by the University of Iowa found that 62 percent of the time, a supervisor’s rating of employees depended on the boss’ perceptions and subjectivity.

Frequent talks with employees is a better approach to evaluating their performance.More face-to-face talks with employees could be a better way to evaluate their performance.

A new system
So how does a company find a happy medium to encourage  employees to do their best but not cause anxiety or confusion? Deloitte thinks they have the answer by using the results from the Iowa study.

Steinmann said the solution is more face-to-face communication between supervisors and employees. Team leaders and bosses need to spend the time they currently use devising rating systems to actually talk with employees on a regular basis to discuss job expectations, how the employee is feeling about their role, how they can grow and where they see their career path going.

Having this dialogue is a better way to know what positions employees would be right for or where they would succeed in the company.

According to Steinmann, these weekly check-ins followed by quarterly meetings with an employee can give employers and human resource departments a better grasp and clearer picture of a hire’s performance rather than a laundry list of predetermined skills the person needs to meet.

The revamped employee review system could also add to retention rates while cutting down on workplace anxiety when it comes time for employees’ performance meetings.

Paperless Human Resource Practices Becoming Trendy

The permeation of technology into our society has benefited a wide range of business sectors, and human resources is certainly no exception. Traditionally, HR professionals managed extremely large numbers of hard copy documents. This included items such as paper resumes, applications and onboarding information such as tax documents and benefit elections.

However, many companies have decided to digitize many of these processes, making those who work in HR more efficient in their day-to-day operations. The use of human resource management software has become increasingly popular with companies of all sizes. The ability to save time and allow HR professionals to focus on more critical business areas are just two of the reasons why adoption of this solution has gained momentum in the business world.

“The use of human resources management software has become increasingly popular.” wrote that some of the key benefits of a human resources management system are the capture of correct employee data due to an integrated self-service option, reduced errors related to demographic and tax information and overall improvements in onboarding speed and efficiency. In addition to these advantages, there is also the mitigation of large quantities of paper being needed for each of these areas.

For those organizations looking to become more efficient in the management of human resources, here is a list of helpful guidelines on how to remain in compliance at the local, state and federal levels when using HR software:

  • Ease of accessibility: At some point in time, every company will need to undergo an audit to ensure that all files are complete and maintained in accordance with established laws at all governmental levels. Business Management Daily wrote that this information must not only be organized and stored properly, but there should be no hurdles when it comes to gaining access to this information when required during an audit of employee files and personnel records.
  • Separation and adequate management of medical files: According to HR Legalist, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to keep these files for a minimum of one year, while the Family Medical Leave Act guidelines calls for this information to be stored and maintained for three years. Both must be maintained separately from common personnel files. The website suggests creating two separate databases for both pieces of information with distinct access protocols to be established for each.
  • Disposal of hard copies: Once information pertaining to an employee file has been converted digitally, Business and Legal Resources wrote that the originals must be properly disposed of and destroyed immediately. However, this action must only be taken if certain state and federal guidelines do not recognize electronic records as being a suitable substitute for data recorded and stored in a hard copy format.
  • Proper handling of I-9 forms: In accordance with guidelines established by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services, HR Legalist wrote that companies using a human resource management system must not only keep I-9 information separate, but also conduct self-auditing to ensure that every document has been signed electronically, properly stored and indexed for easy retrieval, and have the ability to reproduce this information into a hard copy format when necessary. In addition, companies must store this information for a maximum of three years after an individual is hired and one year after the employee separates from the company.

Going paperless in HR through the use of software has continued to gain momentum in the business world as the many benefits of this practice are being realized. For organizations considering this step, working with a third-party provider well-versed in the understanding of laws at the local, state and federal levels would be advantageous.

The Death of the Individual Independent Contractor

Article Courtesy of Kraig Marton of Jaburg | Wilk PC

A Growing Trend Points to an Uncertain Future

It should come as no surprise that the workplace environment is rapidly changing. In the past, many industries have routinely hired temporary or part time workers and called them independent contractors. After all, it is a lot easier and saves money. But those days may be ending. Changes in policy and stepped up enforcement now make it highly risky for any employer to classify any individual worker, even if hired part time or temporarily, as an independent contractor.   

The consequences can be incredibly serious for an employer that claims a worker is an independent contractor when they are really an employee. There can be fines, penalties, and enforcement actions. And a problem with one agency will be just the beginning because many agencies now share that information.

Savvy workers can improve their situations in many ways if their employer wrongly claimed they were an independent contractor. The employee could find themselves covered with Worker’s Compensation, unemployment coverage, and other employment benefits if their employer misclassified them.

Perhaps it’s time for employers to bite the bullet and quit claiming they have individuals who are independent contractors. To learn more click here.

What to Look for in an Applicant Tracking System

A human resource management system can make the lives of HR professionals much easier. Automating certain functions can make these individuals more effective in their roles and allow the department to operate like a well-oiled machine.

The benefits of an HRM system can be seen in the sourcing and recruitment activities of those in human resources. The success of any organization is closely tied to the skill and talent level of its employees. As such, consistently bringing in individuals who are highly qualified is the ultimate goal of any company’s workforce assembly plans.

Applicant tracking is a critical part of the recruitment process. A system of this kind helps those in HR post open positions to multiple job boards at once, screen resumes as they come in and can even generate pre-interview questions that will help identify if an individual meets all of the necessary requirements of the position.

Applicant tracking system can make the candidate recruitment process easier. Applicant tracking systems can make the candidate recruitment process much easier.

There are a number of HRMS platforms on the market today that come equipped with an applicant tracking component.  When screening software vendors, there are a number of questions that should be asked to ensure that the solution selected will be able to adequately meet the needs of the organization. Here are few things to be mindful of during the selection process:

  • Reporting and analytics: These days it seems that almost every aspect of corporate operations is data driven. HR is certainly no exception. As such, when choosing an applicant tracking solution, it’s important to query the vendor on the robustness of platform reporting capabilities, the Smart Recruiters Blog wrote. From identifying the percentage of rejected applicants, the time it takes to fill a position, to calculating cost per hire, these metrics can help an HR department isolate its weaknesses to make the necessary improvements and build on the aspects of recruiting it already does well.
  • Cost: No two companies are the same and neither is an applicant tracking system. Some solutions are designed to be used inside of large organizations that do large amounts of hiring, while others are more geared toward smaller firms that may only hire a few people per year. According to The Tim Sackett Project blog, many companies often invest too much capital when it comes to purchasing an ATS. Organizations should understand their own hiring trends and use this information to choose a system that will meet their needs.
  • Agility: There are a number of technological advancements that have made software more functional and practical than ever. Companies who have HR decision-makers who are constantly on the go, may want to consider an ATS that offers mobile functionality, myStaffingPro wrote. Being able to review resumes and candidate qualifications using a smartphone or tablet ensures that no potential employees slip through the cracks.
  • Document formatting: This may seem relatively minor, but when it comes to the effectiveness of an ATS, it’s a big deal. Many systems allow applicants to upload copies of their resume. However, Careerealism wrote that when candidates are given the option to attach a resume in a PDF format, it makes it difficult for the system to read. Vendors whose solutions make .doc, or Word formatting a priority is a plus.

An applicant tracking system is a vital tool for HR professionals to use during the sourcing and recruitment processes. However, taking the above mentioned considerations in mind will eliminate selecting a system that doesn’t generate an adequate return on the initial investment being made into platform adoption. Thoroughly understanding the company’s needs and aligning them with vendor offerings will make the process of choosing an ATS much easier.

Tips for Developing Human Resource Recruitment and Retention Strategies

Effectively managing human resources is a challenging task. However, for HR professionals, dealing with employee turnover can seem to be a never-ending part of the job. There will always be individuals who come and go. However, the most successful organizations are those that can keep their best workers on board while attracting new candidates who will be willing to help the company grow and thrive so that they may flourish professionally as well.

“Maintaining a high employee retention rate isn’t impossible.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Job Opening and Labor Turnover” report from December 2014, 5.1 million people were hired in the month and there were 4.9 million separations. Of the latter figure, 1.7 million workers were either discharged or laid off, and 2.7 million employees quit their jobs. Both actions put an enormous strain on the efforts of those in HR tasked with replacing individuals who left their posts and ensuring those already working remain with the company.

Despite the challenging nature of both tasks, maintaining a high employee retention rate isn’t impossible. Those in HR must work with decision-makers and other organizational leaders to create an environment that prevents staff members from seeking outside opportunities.

For HR professionals, retaining top talent is just as important as attracting qualified individuals to come and work for an organization.For HR professionals, retaining top talent is just as important as attracting qualified individuals to work for an organization.

Here are a number of helpful suggestions to develop an internal culture that will not only help attract quality talent, but also make it difficult for individuals who may be considering leaving to follow through on their plans:

  1. Set expectations during the initial interview: HR professionals are often on the front lines of hiring. These individuals often make the initial contact with potential candidates and these discussions will routinely set the tone for interviews that take place with hiring managers or other decision-makers. wrote that it is important for those in HR to communicate clearly to job seekers what the company’s expectations are, and if possible, outline what management will look for in potential prospects, both pre- and post-hire. Doing so will make an individual feel more at ease and help them determine if the organization and the position are the best fit for them personally.
  2. Create and promote professional development action plans: Most employees are motivated by recognition received for a job well done, as well as an opportunity to move up the ladder and advance within a company. Unfortunately, the road leading to a promotion is not always clearly marked. This can lead to worker frustration and increase the chances of both voluntary and involuntary separation. According to Forbes, HR professionals should clearly outline the ways an individual can progress inside of an organization and maintain an open door policy should staff members have any questions related to their current standing and what they can do to improve their chances of receiving a promotion.
  3. Develop an attractive benefits package: Those working in HR often wear many hats and manage a wide range of duties. One of these is benefits management. Job-seekers will accept an offer of employment for a variety of reasons, and salary may not always be the most important one. A robust benefits package can greatly improve a company’s retention rate. Forbes suggested that corporate leaders work closely with HR professionals to better understand workplace demographics and the general needs of staff members to create a benefits package that will not only be attractive to those seeking employment, but for those who may be inclined to leave in search of a better plan with another organization.

Is HR Consulting Right for your Business?

Having a human resource consultant involved in a business can lead to more effective processes in terms of managing employees and benefits. Many different types of companies have used HR consultants to fill a gap in their hierarchy, to replace a traditional in-house HR director or to improve operations when current methods fail to produce desired results. But how do you know if using a consulting service is right for you? Answering a few questions will indicate whether such a need is present within your company:

HR consultants are valuable to many types of businesses.Adding a human resource consultant can be the key to better functionality.

Are HR functions causing problems with benefits, compensation or employee engagement?
Because the HR department is directly involved in administering the various payouts and perks employees receive at a company, delays in these processes can have a significant and negative effect regarding staff engagement. Bringing in a consultant allows businesses to find problems in the processing and provision of these benefits, reducing the time spent and eliminating reasons for employees to become less engaged.

Do seemingly intractable problems exist in your HR department?
Are there persistent concerns related to HR administration that have been noticed and discussed, but not resolved? The Houston Chronicle’s small-business section pointed out that HR consulting efforts bring expertise to a business that may lack it in a specific area. Consultants can help troubleshoot specific issues as well as provide day-to-day guidance, depending on the situation.

Is a small HR department getting overwhelmed?
Demand Media said an HR team getting overwhelmed is one of the common reasons to supplement a current structure with a consultant. As businesses grow and change, it becomes more difficult for an HR team to meet increased demands for their resources. Bringing on a consultant can help address many related issues.

Senate Passes ACA Small Group Market Rule Repeal

Article: Courtesy of Arizona Benefit Consultants

On Oct. 1, 2015, the U.S. Senate passed legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that the small group market in every state be expanded to include businesses with 51-100 employees.

The Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) Act was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier in the week. It has been reported that President Obama will sign the Act into law, although some sources previously indicated that he might veto it.

Small Group Market Expansion

Most states have historically defined “small employers” as those with 50 or fewer employees for purposes of defining their small group health insurance market.

Effective for 2016 plan years, the ACA expanded the definition of a “small employer” to include those that employed an average of between one and 100 employees.

The PACE Act eliminates the ACA’s new definition and gives states the option of expanding their small group markets to include businesses with up to 100 employees.

Impact on Employers

The expansion of the small group market was expected to have a significant effect on mid-size businesses. These businesses would have been required to buy coverage for employees in the small group market, which is more heavily regulated than the large group market.

This change was expected to increase premiums costs for employers and employees and reduce flexibility in plan design due to added small group market requirements.

Some states have already amended their state laws to adopt the expanded small group market definition. These states will have to take action to undo those changes.

Most states are already taking advantage of a transition rule provided by the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS has said it will not enforce small group market regulations for mid-size businesses if their policies are renewed by Oct. 1, 2016.

This means that many employers have already been able to delay moving from the large group to the small group market. The PACE Act will make this relief permanent.

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Issues to Look for During Job Interviews

If you’re a recruiter, hiring manager or even a regular human resource staffer, you most likely interview your fair share of job applicants. You might even recall the most enjoyable and worst interviews you’ve conducted based on the candidates.

At times you can easily spot red flags with a job applicant, but sometimes certain traits won’t be readily apparent. Additionally, what some would consider “warning signs” for a position, others might not.

The following is a list of issues hiring managers should look for when identifying poor candidates for a position:

1. Tardiness
Excluding a natural disaster or a serious issue, such as a death in the family, if an applicant arrives late for a scheduled interview then it should be a warning sign to the hiring manager. Showing up late is especially a red flag for an office that depends on team work, according to Fortune magazine. Tardiness may show that the candidate is lukewarm about the position he or she has applied for or indicate that they may be nonchalant about serious business maters.

Job candidates exhibiting any of these behaviors could be a problem.Interviewers should be wary of job candidates that show any red flags.

2. Treating others poorly
Another issue that should give you pause is if the job seeker exhibits rude or impolite behavior to administrative assistants or other staff members, either over the phone or in person while waiting for the interview process to begin. Being disrespectful or disdainful to staff before they’re even hired should be a red flag, according to It could be an indicator of how he or she will treat you and your employees in the future.

If candidates show arrogant behavior and over-confidence without having any past completed projects to discuss in the interview, these can also be warning signs Fortune noted, adding that such attitudes could conflict with their ability to adapt and change to their work environment. A nice demeanor is much more valuable to an office that works as a team, according to The Society for Human Resource Management.

“If it is a red flag that directly conflicts with the job description, I always acknowledge it and explain how the job description indicates it as a red flag,” Laura Paramoure, president of professional training firm eParamus, told The Society for Human Resource Management. “A good attitude can be more important for a person to succeed; a good culture fit is as important – some say more important – than any required skill.”

Other warning signs may include a job applicant that speaks poorly or negatively about former employers. Even if candidates switched jobs because of a bad supervisor or experience, they need to recount it in a professional manner, according to Fortune. Placing the blame on others should be a red flag.

“You should start to get suspicious and ask some probing questions to get to the bottom of the incongruity,” Kaitlyn Annaert, human resources manager for told SHRM. “Comments about manager disputes or when someone says negative things about a company they previously worked at should be a sign to pause.”

3. Vague and inconsistent answers
The whole purpose of a job interview is to get to know the candidate applying for the job and to see if he or she could be a good fit for your company. A human resource team should be wary if an applicant answers questions in the meeting with vague responses. If you ask questions about the candidate’s resume and his or her answers do not coordinate with what’s written then you and your hiring managers should be cautious.

The applicant might not be articulate, however, so ask he or she for verification of any degrees they received or proof of past employment if you feel the candidate is suspicious.

Human resources should be on the lookout for any red flags candidates display in interviews.Hiring managers need to be on the lookout for any warning signs applicants might display.

4. Arriving unprepared
A good candidate should show up to the job interview prepared with copies of his or her resume and cover letter as well as wearing proper professional attire. Besides applicants’ outward appearances, recruiters may consider eliminating candidates who haven’t researched the company or the position they applied for, according to A good candidate should arrive with knowledge of the business and at least a few questions about the company or role.

Airbnb Looks to Create a New Workplace Culture in the Sharing Economy

The company that revolutionized the hospitality industry in just a few short years, is looking to do the same when it comes to its corporate human resources and employee benefits.

Airbnb, the San Francisco-based business that allows people from all parts of the world to list available rooms for rent, wants to take its mantra of “belong anywhere” and apply it to its office environment. An open-floor plan, glass conference rooms, lounges and free food are just a few of the amenities the company is using to brighten employees’ workdays.

According to Jeanne Meister, a Forbes contributor and partner at Future Workplace, the web-based bed-and-breakfast purveyor wants to create a “workplace of experience.”

So far, the new culture is working as employees new and old give good marks to the business on, a website that allows workers to rate their employers both past and present. The CEO maintains a 97 percent approval rating on the website.

Meanwhile, the welcoming culture is also finding a place in the firm’s human resources department as it implements changes to how it treats potential job candidates.

Airbnb's human resources wants employees to feel more at home during the workday.Airbnb hopes to bring a feeling of hospitality to its office.

Working from home at the office
Much like other Silicon Valley firms, Airbnb’s office is an open-floor plan devoid of any cubicles. However, the company wants to take the office layout further by forming a welcoming culture for its employees and potential job candidates.

“At Airbnb we are focused on bringing to life our mission of creating a world where you can belong anywhere, by creating memorable workplace experiences which span all aspects of how we relate to employees, including how we recruit them, develop them, the work environment we create with them, the type of volunteer experiences we offer them, and the food we share together,” Mark Levy, Airbnb’s global head of employee experience, told Forbes. “While these may sound like common sense, they are not.”

Not only does Levy perform the usual human resources tasks of talent development and hiring, but also implementing a new, more welcoming office culture.

The company wants work to feel more homelike, from the free meals it serves employees, to allowing its staff to work from anywhere in the office including the kitchen and living room areas of the building.

According to Joe Gebbia, Airbnb’s co-founder, the goal is to bring the hospitality it specializes in to its office. The free office meals focus on cuisine from the nearly 200 countries Airbnb operates in while employees are invited to meet and work in one of the office’s lounge rooms.

A welcoming company
Meanwhile, Airbnb also revamped its recruiting and human resource management process to be more in line with these new welcoming attitudes. After taking feedback from existing employees about the hiring process, the answers collected led the department to explore new ways of treating candidates.

According to LinkedIn, the HR department even went as far as applying for job openings with competitors to see how they were treated from initial introductions to interviews. The experience led Airbnb’s HR to rewrite its auto-reply emails to applicants by taking out the bland tone and inserting a friendly and warm personality.

The human resource policies and procedures related to rejecting job applicants also received a major readjustment.

“Now we reject candidates via email and invite them to call for feedback,” Jill Riopelle, Airbnb’s head of recruiting, told LinkedIn. “It’s a win-win: it gives them time to digest, it makes the conversation more productive, and that in turn makes them feel more positive toward Airbnb.”

Therefore, potential candidates will receive a welcome from start to finish with the company.

Abercrombie Halts Contentious On-Call Scheduling

Abercrombie and Fitch, the New Albany, Ohio-based teen clothing retailer announced that it would end its controversial on-call scheduling practices at its New York stores later this year. The store’s decision comes just two months after L Brands said it would stop the last-minute scheduling at its Victoria’s Secret shops as well.

Both brands are two of 13 companies drawing heat from the New York attorney general for the way they schedule employees for their shifts. Eric Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, sent letters to each of the businesses in April notifying them they might be violating the state’s laws by using on-call schedules, Reuters reported.

Full schedule, frustrated employees
Some retailers and restaurants’ human resource departments employ software that can quickly fill in schedule gaps depending on how busy they think they’ll be. The software is able to predict when more workers are needed for shifts based on analyzing sales reports and other data, according to The Wall Street Journal.

While the software helps corporations maximize profits during peak periods it causes frustration for employees by calling them to come in during their off-hours or sending them home early due to slow shifts, CBS MoneyWatch reported.

Schneiderman wrote that the scheduling is both a financial and health strain on minimum wage earners.

“The requirement of being on call also interferes with such employees’ ability to obtain supplemental employment in order to ensure financial security for their families,” he wrote in his April letter.

Abercrombie and Fitch said it will halt its last-minute shift filling practices.Abercrombie and Fitch will stop its on-call employee scheduling.

Abercrombie’s new schedule
According to the New York attorney general’s letter, under the current system, stores’ only give employees one day or even a few hours notice if they are needed for a shift.

In a letter sent to Schneiderman and obtained by The Wall Street Journal, Abercrombie said it would phase out the erratic scheduling and begin sending shift schedules a week in advance to its employees. The retailer employs 65,000 salesclerks, 57,000 of which are part-time, according to CBS MoneyWatch.

The company will also send out email alerts notifying employees if there’s a shift open that needs immediate filling. Employees won’t be required to sign up for the alerts or to fill the vacancies, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Hard on families
On-call scheduling can cause particular problems for working parents who arrange for child care services. Schneiderman said the style of scheduling could break state law since New York requires employers to pay workers at least four hours of minimum wage earnings if they show up for a shift but are later sent home. However, companies don’t compensate employees for canceled shifts, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“One of reasons it is coming to light now is that people are organizing around it,” Tsedeye Gebreselassie, a senior attorney at the National Employment Law Project, told Reuters after the attorney general’s warning earlier this year.

Besides Abercrombie, Schneiderman’s office also sent warning letters to Gap Inc., J. Crew Group Inc., Burlington Coat Factory, Urban Outfitters, TJX Cos., Target Corp., Sears Holdings Corp., Williams-Sonoma Inc., Crocs, Ann Inc. and JCPenney Company Inc.

Representatives for Target, Sears and JCPenney told The Wall Street Journal they do not practice on-call scheduling for their sales employees.

Understanding the Value of HR Automation

Most human resource professionals know that their job requires them to juggle multiple tasks at any given time. From recruiting and retention to payroll and benefits administration, working in HR means that at any given moment, an individual will be donning several hats.

Many HR processes are time-consuming, pulling someone’s attention away from more pressing company matters that need to be addressed. This can often lead to frustration and inefficient HR practices. For this reason, many organizations are looking into the viability of working with a third-party provider specializing in the automation of certain HR functions.

In an article for TLNT, a website dedicated to addressing workforce management issues, Laurie Ruettimann wrote that many HR departments function on a 1 percent/99 percent scale. This means that while 99 percent of HR representatives tackle myriad tasks on a daily basis, only 1 percent of these individuals actually do work considered to be essential to the department and the organization at large.

Because of this, companies have begun exploring ways to streamline HR functions. This highlights the value of an automated human resource management system.

Automation tools can help make corporate HR departments more efficient. Automation can help make corporate HR departments more efficient.

Save time, mitigate hassles
Laserfiche, an enterprise content management firm, describes HR as a process that requires the management of various hard-copy documents to complete departmental tasks. This can be related to benefits management, employee onboarding, payroll and other critical functions. This in true in a number of HR departments that are largely driven by the management of information created and stored in a hard-copy format.

According to, citing data from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the average HR professional will spend as much as 25 percent of his or her time managing employee-related paperwork.

It’s not difficult to ascertain how much energy is devoted to the proper handling of these functions in HR departments, no matter how large or small. However, like in most business sectors, technology has created significant operational improvements in a variety of areas and HR is no different.

Lastly, HR management software can effectively streamline both the timekeeping and payroll processes that a large number of professionals are all too familiar with. This is especially in relation to the number of hours it actually takes to ensure accuracy in both areas .In fact, wrote that by using automated tools, companies can greatly improve employee productivity, positively affecting on the bottom line. In addition, HR professionals will be able to complete more tasks using far fewer resources, ultimately making these individuals more efficient in their day-to-day tasks.

Ultimately, the use of HR software can significantly lower the number of administrative tasks the average HR employee deals with by as much as 50 percent, and the overall costs associated with these actionable items by an average of 60 percent, wrote. In short, it makes sense for companies looking for a more streamlined HR department to use software that automates a variety of critical job functions.

As the value of HR software becomes realized on a wider scale, it is likely that many organizations will begin exploring ways to integrate technology into their HR departments. By adopting a solution such as those offered by Payroll Experts, companies will see noticeable improvements in all areas of HR operations.

Utilizing a system that will allow a company’s HR professionals to spend their time and energy on the more critical areas that exist within their professions will lead to a higher rate of satisfaction in the HR department and the company as a whole. This will in turn lead to improved productivity and efficiency.

Trends in Millennial Recruiting

For many who work as human resource professionals, you may have already come to the realization that the workforce demographic has changed dramatically. The Great Recession created a shift in the job market that a number of organizations may not have been adequately prepared to address.

Older and more experienced workers either changed careers or chose to retire during the economic downturn. These individuals were most likely replaced with successors in waiting, however, because many organizations instituted a hiring freeze during the recession, many entry- and mid-level positions were left largely unfilled.

Now that economic recovery is on the rise, organizations find themselves looking to add to their payrolls. However, these same companies are finding that the candidate pool is largely comprised of millennial job seekers who are full of promise, but don’t possess the same level of experience and expertise that a business may be looking for.

Millennial recruitment has become a point of emphasis inside of many companies. Millennial recruitment has become a point of emphasis inside of many companies.

As such, those in HR have had to adjust their recruitment strategies to attract the attention of millennials and bring them on as employees. While this change isn’t something that happened overnight, many companies still found themselves ill prepared once the recession finally came to an end.

For those in HR who are currently dealing with such challenges, here are a number of trends taking place in the area of recruitment that could be helpful in developing solid recruitment strategies to place candidates in a position to be successful:

  • Social media recruiting: Let’s face it, we all have at least one social media account that we engage in faithfully. Millennials are no different. Savvy HR professionals have found that social networks can be a great candidate recruiting tool. The Houston Chronicle, citing research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, wrote that more than 56 percent of those in HR who participated in the SHRM poll, stated that they used social media to recruit candidates. Gone are the days where ads were posted on job boards and candidate resumes flooded in. Now HR professionals must be much more proactive and aggressive in finding the right candidates.
  • The use of big data: As companies become more advanced from a technology aspect, big data has become a buzzword used across a variety of industries. HR is certainly no exception. According to Origin Learning, this robust set of information can be used to help those in HR have a detailed look at everything from the effectiveness of recruiting and hiring practices for millennials, to Gen Y turnover and uncovering the kind of candidate who would potentially do well in a particular role. Big data isn’t going anywhere and those in HR would be wise to learn how to parse such an abundance of information and use it to their advantage.
  • Understanding what millennials want: Those in Gen Y are very unique from their Gen X predecessors. When it comes to working, the latter has starkly different needs from the former. For millennials, a situation that offers a healthy work-life balance is much more appealing than a job that doesn’t offer this. As such, those in HR may have to work with organizational leaders to institute a culture change that the Gen Y candidate will find attractive.

The role of the HR professional is changing. The position has moved beyond simply managing human resources in the area of payroll accounting and benefits administration. Now, the HR department essentially functions as the central nervous system of an organization. Those in HR must be savvy in making an impression with job seekers, be on the front lines when it comes to recruitment, ensure that current employees are retained, and rely heavily on the use of technology to perform at a high level on a consistent basis.

The NLRB’s Assault on Employee Handbooks: Potentially Illegal Workplace Rules and Policies

Article Courtesy of David Farren of Jaburg | Wilk PC

Most employers and their legal counsel take pride in rules and policies that have become standard fare in the workplace. Employee Handbooks almost always contain, and certainly should contain, conspicuous provisions that expressly disavow the existence of any contract of employment or any intent to alter, amend or modify the parties’ at-will employment relationship. Handbooks are also typically stuffed with policies designed to protect an employer’s confidential information, discourage bad behavior and promote courtesy and professionalism in the workplace. These rules and policies make sense most of the time, and are perfectly legal most of the time.
Knowing what is perfectly legal, however, is not always easy. We lawyers don’t always know a rule or policy is suspect until a court or government agency tells us it is. And, although the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) does not immediately come to mind when thinking about employment relationships outside of the labor union context, it should.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a federal agency that enforces the NLRA, has been actively promoting what it calls employees’ Section 7 rights to engage in “concerted activities.” Section 7 of the NLRA guarantees employees “the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations . . . and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.” These Section 7 rights apply to all employees and prospective employees, regardless of their union status or affiliation.
Employees engage in Section 7 concerted activities when they act in concert with, or on behalf of, their fellow employees for their mutual aid or protection with regard to the terms and conditions of their employment. “Concerted” does not have to be one-handed. Even a single employee can engage in concerted activities by lodging complaints on behalf of all employees. An employer who interferes with, restrains or coerces its employees in the exercise of their Section 7 rights commits an unfair labor practice in violation of Section 8 of the NLRA.
So what does that have to do with Employee Handbooks?  Read on!


David N. Farren is an attorney at the Phoenix law firm of Jaburg Wilk and works in employment law, antitrust, and commercial litigation. He can be reached at 602-248-1048 or at

Sleep incentives: Napping on the job is good

While there are few regulations for getting a good night’s sleep outside of the trucking or airline industry, its importance is now on corporate America’s radar. A Harvard University study found that the average worker who experiences insomnia and sleepless nights loses 11.3 days of productivity. Translated into human capital terms, that’s $2,280 per employee and $63.2 billion when accounting for the whole nation’s workforce.

Meanwhile, a recent University of Michigan study suggests napping at work can improve worker productivity and increase workplace safety. According to the study, participants who napped for an hour during the day maintained a professional composure and solved assigned tasks at a faster rate compared to their sleep-deprived colleagues. Continue reading

Top 10 Bad Questions to Avoid When Interviewing a Job Applicant

Article Courtesy of David Farren of Jaburg | Wilk PC

When interviewing job applicants, there are good questions and bad questions. A good question seeks relevant and helpful information about the person applying for the job and about the applicant’s job qualifications consistent with a business necessity for asking the question.  A bad question seeks personal information that is irrelevant to the applicant’s job qualifications and lacks any business necessity for asking the question.  A bad question may be used as evidence of an unlawful discriminatory hiring practice.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and similar state laws generally prohibit discrimination against employees and job applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex (gender), ancestry, age, disability or even sexual orientation.  A job applicant need not prove that he or she was not hired because of unlawful discrimination, only that unlawful discrimination was a motivating factor in the decision to not hire the applicant.  Such proof can be direct or circumstantial.  Asking a bad question can be the direct evidence of a discriminatory motivating factor that an unsuccessful applicant needs to file a charge and pursue you in a lawsuit.
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Impact of Young V. UPS and Steps for Employers

Article Courtesy of Gary J. Jaburg  of Jaburg | Wilk

Since 1978, pregnancy and pregnancy related health conditions have been protected conditions under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”).  A recent Supreme Court case, Young v. UPS may increase the ability of pregnant workers to sue their employer for failure to accommodate or disparate accommodation.  Young claimed she had been a victim of both gender and disability based discrimination due to a denial of workplace accommodations available to other employees who had similar health related work restrictions.

Facts of Young v. UPS

Young become pregnant and her medical providers advised her not to lift more than twenty pounds.  UPS’s Employee Handbook requires that their employees (at least in the department where Young was working) be able to lift up to seventy pounds.  Young was unable to meet this work requirement.  She used all available leave, including her FMLA leave.   UPS required Young to take an extended, unpaid leave of absence during which time she lost her medical coverage. Young returned to work at UPS.  Subsequently she sued them claiming that she had been the victim of gender and disability based discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act based on disparate treatment.

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Government Agencies Are Out To Bust You For Misclassifying Your Employees As Independent Contractors

Government Agencies Are Out To Bust You For Misclassifying Your Employees As Independent Contractors

Article Courtesy of David N. Farren, Attorney at Jaburg | Wilk PC

Both federal and state labor authorities are hot on the trail of companies who hire employees and call them “independent contractors.”  The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with a number of states, including Arizona, mandating the enforcement of laws pertaining to properly classifying employees as employees.  The DOL and these states have made this issue an enforcement priority and may soon be asking questions at your place of business.

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Time and Attendance Software Can Significantly Reduce Overtime

Although the economy has shown strong signs of recovery, this does not mean that companies are looking to spend money frivolously or in a reckless fashion. Certainly organizations are looking to retain their current staffing levels and add to their talent pool with qualified individuals who can help them achieve their goals, but neither is a sign of fiscal irresponsibility.

Even though there are large number of businesses looking to add to their payrolls, they would prefer not to let this particular business expense get out of hand. Overtime, while necessary in many instances, can become costly for companies. These extra monetary payouts on top of an individual’s hourly wage can add up pretty quickly.
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HR Software Can Help Maintain OFCCP Compliance

Whether a company is hiring one employee or 100, the onboarding process is multi-layered and calls for great attention to detail. This is because at some point, any company that holds federal contracts will be audited as a part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. According to America’s Job Exchange, the purpose of these audits is to ensure that companies are operating within established affirmative action and discrimination guidelines.
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HR Consulting Services Can Help Maintain OFCCP Compliance

Whether a company is hiring one employee or 100, the onboarding process is multi-layered and calls for great attention to detail. This is because at some point, any company that holds federal contracts will be audited as a part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. According to America’s Job Exchange, the purpose of these audits is to ensure that companies are operating within established affirmative action and discrimination guidelines.

OFCCP audits are necessary for companies that hold government contracts. OFCCP audits are necessary for companies that hold government contracts.

OFCCP compliance requires businesses to maintain transparency throughout the hiring process and ensure that no discrimination of any kind is taking place. When job openings become available, they must be reported to state employment agencies and be open to any applicant, regardless of his or her gender, ethnicity, disability or veteran status.

Working with a third-party organization that can manage every step of the hiring process using an automated applicant tracking and on-boarding system can help companies ensure OFCCP compliance in the following areas:

  • Collection of voluntary self-identification data: When a job seeker applies for a position with a company, he or she will be asked to complete a brief affirmative action questionnaire. Companies must have this information on-file at all times. This data must be collected and maintained for both hired employees and those who were not selected during the screening process, Business Legal Resources wrote.
  • Proper job posting distribution: In addition to updating job boards, companies must also be sure to notify state agencies of their openings. A third-party service bureau will ensure that all postings are routed and tracked appropriately.
  • Manage candidate elimination: Every job applicant who meets the requirements of the open position must be promptly notified. Typically, this involves some sort of communication to be sent, most commonly via email. However, companies must also have clear guidelines on why a candidate may not be considered. Working with an outside vendor is the most efficient way to maintain the integrity of this critical process should an OFCCP audit take place.

Being in compliance with OFCCP regulations is critical for organizations looking to remain in good standing and keep their government contracts. Working with a vendor to help with this process is a wise investment and makes good business sense. Organizations should conduct thorough research on the human resources management platforms that will help remain compliant and prepared in the event of an audit.

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