Archive for August, 2012

The Potential Problems of Personal Mobile Devices

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

employee screening, employee background check, prescreen employeesAt first glance, whether to allow employees to use their personal smartphones and tablets for work purposes seems like a job for IT. But it can be a headache for the HR department and business owners, as well. Mobile devices are more popular than ever, enabling people to work from almost anywhere, around the clock. This is where it starts to get sticky from a personnel policy standpoint.

Non-exempt employees must be paid for any work they perform for an employer, whether or not they are onsite—and whether or not the employer knows about or authorizes their work. To avoid this potential nightmare, many firms have established policies against issuing company-paid devices to these workers and closely monitoring any use of personal devices. At minimum, a clear policy prohibiting the practice is required. Even exempt employees could be entitled to pay if they check messages or check in on projects while on vacation or a leave of absence, so be careful to communicate the policy at every opportunity.

Personal devices also leave companies at risk for a variety of lawsuits. The proliferation of texts and social media posts present the potential for liability, from sexual harassment to consumer retaliation. It’s important to maintain the same control over text messages as any written communication—even through texts are often viewed as less formal, and therefore not subject to established policies on sexual harassment and public statements.

Finally, employees’ personal devices can be conduits for sensitive company information. When staffers with access to such information are terminated, big problems can ensue. Even though it can wreak havoc if placed in the wrong hands, employers may not be entitled to access an employee’s personal device, either to capture information for use in legal proceedings or to wipe it clean. It’s best to limit access whenever possible, but that’s not always practical. When developing a personal device policy, include a release that workers agree to allow the company to recover data from their smartphones or tablets when they leave the company under any circumstances.

Be sure to include these issues when writing your company’s policy on workers using their personal devices at work. And if you haven’t yet instituted such a policy, you should consider making it a priority.

What Does Hiring Look Like for the Rest of 2012?

Friday, August 17th, 2012

employee screening, pre-employment screening, background checksCareerBuilder, the online job-search site, released a report about the state of hiring in the U.S. for the rest of 2012. According to the report, things look good for job seekers—at least, when compared to 2011. Overall, jobs recovery is slower than in previous times of recession, but 44% of private sector employers plan to hire full-time, permanent staff through December 31, 2012. That’s an increase of 9% over the same period last year, and 16% over 2010.

The report’s findings were based on a survey of more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resources professionals across the country, spanning many industries and company sizes. Additional findings from the report include the following:

  • Job listings now show more variety in terms of size of company and region. In 2010, “hiring activity… was driven by large employers in metropolitan areas,” said CareerBuilder’s CEO, Matt Ferguson. Today, jobs are being advertised in all industries and market and company sizes.
  • Employers planning on hiring part-time employees through the end of 2012: 21%, up from 15% in 2011.
  • Employers with 500 or fewer employees who plan on hiring full-time, permanent employees: 34%, up from 27% in 2011.
  • Employers with 50 or fewer employees planning on hiring full-time, permanent employees through the end of 2012: 21%.
  • Full-time, permanent hiring looks promising in all regions, with the West at 47% of employers, up from 35% in 2011; the South, 45%, up from 28%; the Northeast, 44%, up from 34%; and the Midwest, 40%, up from 32% in 2011.
  • 7% of employers expect to downsize staff.

As far as industries go, 24% of new hires will be in customer service, 22% in information technology, 21% in sales, 16% in administrative, 13% in business development, 12% in accounting/finance, and 11% in marketing.

If you’re an employer who expects to hire new personnel in the next few months, be sure to perform due diligence on each new hire. Check references and perform employment screening checks to be sure that the person you hire is who he or she says she is, has the background you’re looking for, and is not hiding any criminal background information you need to know!