Archive for December, 2012

When Terminating Employees, Stick to Your Story

Friday, December 21st, 2012

employee background check, employee prescreeningSometimes employment decisions don’t go well. Seemingly good hires turn out badly, because of performance issues, attendance problems, inability to follow the rules, or other terminable offenses. Even the best employee screening process cannot tell you whether a candidate will succeed at the job.

When it’s time to terminate, many employers struggle with doing it right. In this age of litigation, fear of discrimination or wrongful termination lawsuits have kept many sub-performing employees on the payroll.

Employers have the right to terminate employees, but it’s best to avoid any possibility of a lawsuit. Doing so takes some organization, preparation and follow-up. And it means sticking to your reasons for termination throughout the process. Changing your story at any point is confusing to the employee, and can lead him or her to believe you are not telling the truth, which can open the door to a lawsuit.

Experts will tell you that the key to a solid termination case is to prepare yourself ahead of time. Document the employee’s performance and your actions, including counseling and recommendations for improvement. During the termination conversation, keep to the topic at hand. Don’t allow the employee to steer it to an airing of grievances or defense of his or her record. Have a witness in the room. And when informing the employee of the reasons for termination, keep it simple. Don’t try to over-explain, and don’t offer additional evidence. Simply state the reason, say the relationship didn’t work out and offer next steps.

Legal disclaimer:
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for obtaining professional legal advice applicable to your situation.

Year-End Bonuses and Employee Gifts: How Little is Too Little?

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

employee screening, employee background check

While the economy is sputtering back to life, it’s still been a rough year for plenty of small-and medium-sized businesses. So, what does a well-meaning employer do about the question that comes up every year at this time: to give year-end gifts or not?

Perhaps your company bounced back into the black and you feel like celebrating. Chances are, employee gifts are not a big dilemma for you. But if 2012 was unprofitable, you still need to closely control expenses.

Holiday parties, bonuses and gifts can easily get out of hand. But what do workers think of “token” gifts, or miniscule bonuses?

Surveys say that even small gifts are appreciated by employees, and go a long way to boost morale. The majority of 600 workers surveyed by benefits consulting firm Parago said that a $25 gift card would satisfy their expectations. Eighty-three percent said a reward makes them feel appreciated, motivated to work harder, or more loyal.

So if you can afford it, a small gift could reap big benefits for both employee and employer. But be careful that you don’t add injury to insult. If you’ve cut pay or benefits this year, a small token gift could upset workers more than motivating them.

Of course, you could also revamp your rewards program to give bonuses to employees who deserve them. Setting goals and tying rewards to performance takes all the guesswork out of what often proves to be a sticky situation for employers.

Employers Disincentivize Workers to Be Healthier

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

employee screening, background check, credit checkMany employers are embracing change in health care rates and regulations by trying to create a healthier workforce—one that smokes less, weighs less and has lower rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes and cancer.

Popular ideas include partnering with fitness centers for reduced pricing on memberships, and sponsoring smoking-cessation clinics and classes. Some employers pay workers to walk or ride their bikes to work, or have created sports teams and walking clubs. Still others help employees lose weight by paying for Weight Watchers or other weight-loss plans. All of these positive incentives have helped countless employees start on the path to healthier lifestyles.

Now there may be a bit more negative reinforcement going around. In a different approach to behavior change, many employers are encouraging employees to change their behavior through disincentives. These work by punishing employees for failing to meet goals that they set for themselves.

How does disincentivizing work? First, employees set health-related goals and sign a commitment contract that they will reach them. They also choose motivators to help them stick to the commitment. Penalties for failing to lose the weight or for smoking a cigarette include charges to participants’ credit cards or donations to a charity organization the employee particularly dislikes. For example, a bacon lover who needs to lose weight might see a $2.00 donation to PETA each week he or she fails to meet the goal.

For some employees, little punishments like these are much more motivating that all the positive reinforcement in the world. Try establishing some fun incentives or disincentives for your employees. Different people respond to different approaches, so try both to see what works. If a healthier company is the result, it will be well worth the effort!

When hiring new employees, be sure to conduct 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.