Archive for August, 2011

10 Leadership Traits Anyone Can Use

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

employee screening, pre-screening, employment screeningLeaders vary in their styles and how they motivate employees to perform at their best. But good leaders have commonalities that help everyone around them. All business owners and managers can learn from the great leaders, who typically utilize the following traits to be effective:

  1. Confidence: No matter how you go about boosting yours, confidence is an essential trait that every leader needs. If you’re not confident in your abilities, no one else will be. Being confident doesn’t mean being arrogant or knowing the answer to every question. It does mean knowing what you don’t know and being willing to find out the answers.
  2. Curiosity: Finding out who you really are and learning more about your team members are important aspects of becoming confident. Knowing your strengths and those of your direct reports makes everyone more efficient.
  3. Focus: Great leaders know where they are going. They are focused on the goal and how to achieve it.
  4. Listening Skills: Just as focus on a goal helps you achieve it, listening to people moves everyone toward the objective. People who don’t feel heard will soon tune you out. No matter what rank or level a person is, giving them your full attention will make you soar in their eyes.
  5. Integrity: It should go without saying that leaders do what they say they’ll do with honesty, so people can count on them and trust in their words. Lack of integrity will sink a leader quickly—and has no place in any reputable company.
  6. Engagement: The ability to engage an entire team is a sign of a great business leader. By challenging your people, seeking their ideas and recognizing their contributions, you’ll have then engaged and motivated to help achieve the goal.
  7. Communication: Being a good communicator means being open to sharing both good and bad news, talking about your vision and hopes for your team and your company, and instills trust. It also fosters communication back to you, which all leaders need from their teams.
  8. Support: Foster a positive environment that helps your teams flourish. Letting people know you truly care can motivate them more than money.
  9. Collaborate: Ask for ideas and help from your team members, both the best and those who may struggle more. Collaboration makes people feel valued and encourages them to do better.
  10. Celebrate: Let people know you’re proud of their accomplishments. Celebrating successes helps relive stress that today’s competitive environment can bring, and helps recharge workers’ batteries.

Whether you’re a business owner, project manager or team leader, you owe it to your people to work on strengthening your leadership skills. Not only will your team feel happier at work, but they will be more productive and may even stick around longer!

If you’ve found the perfect candidate, don’t overlook proper background screening. The best pre-employment screening process includes employee background checks, employee credit checks, and criminal background checks. You’ll know you’re hiring safe when you screen employees before offering a position.

Employer News: Judge Dismisses Sex-Bias Case Against Bloomberg

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

employeescreeningblog, employee screening, pre-employment screeningA 2007 lawsuit that accused Bloomberg L.P. of routinely discriminating against pregnant women and mothers was dismissed by a judge in Manhattan. The U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) failed to provide sufficient evidence that Bloomberg engaged in a “pattern or practice” of discrimination.

The lawsuit alleged that Bloomberg reduced pay for pregnant women or women who recently returned from maternity leave; demoted them; excluded them from management or subjected them to stereotypes about female caregivers in violation of U.S. law.

While allowing some individual claims to proceed in the case, the judge rejected the EEOC’s claim based on a lack of statistical evidence of discrimination. “Here, much of the evidence appears to be the EEOC’s claims that individuals were unhappy with the amount of a rise or unhappy with a denial of a transfer or unhappy about not receiving a promotion,” she said.

Further, the judge acknowledged that individuals who spend more time away from work will face more challenges in terms of advancing, especially in a “company like Bloomberg, which explicitly makes all-out dedication its expectation.” Essentially, the decision to make family a priority over work comes with consequences for anyone—not just pregnant women and mothers.

A Bloomberg spokesman said that the ruling confirms what the company has known all along: that the evidence would be on the company’s side and that the case is without merit.

Is Telecommuting a Good Option For Your Employees?

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

screening employees, employee background checkMany employees like the idea of telecommuting. Avoiding the crowded freeway sounds like a great idea. Gas prices are high, so commuting can eat into a paycheck. And keeping an eye on the kids while getting a daily to-do list accomplished is a winning combination for parents who work from home (in their pajamas?).

But is telecommuting as productive as working in the office? Employees say so. In fact, 86% said they were even more productive during telecommuting, according to a recent survey of telecommuting employees by Staples, the office supply retailer.

In addition, 76% of employees who are allowed to avoid the daily commute to the office (an average 75-mile round trip among those surveyed) said they are more willing to work extra hours and feel greater loyalty to the company.

What more could telecommuting employees want? A better chair. Nearly half said they need a more comfortable chair and that clutter in their home office affects their productivity. Of course, since Staples was conducting the survey, this finding is not all that surprising.

Other interesting tidbits from the employee telecommuting survey:

  • Telecommuters are succeeding on their own, not because of support from their employers. 87% said their company supplied no furniture and about 60% said they received no equipment or supplies from their employers.
  • Employees who telecommute report they eat healthier and are less stressed. The average reported drop in stress level was 25%.
  • 80% of telecommuters say they have a better work/life balance.
  • To stay in touch with the office, 96% of telecommuters say they rely on email, while 68% use instant messaging and 44% videoconferencing.
  • 40% of respondents said they’d rather take a pay cut than stop telecommuting.