Archive for April, 2013

Mandated Paid Sick Days: A New Issue for Small Business Owners

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

employee screeningIn cities like Philadelphia and Portland, Oregon, city councils have recently approved laws requiring that employers give employees paid days off when they are sick.

San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Seattle and Connecticut have already enacted laws that require paid sick leave. In addition, two lawmakers have introduced a bill in Congress that makes paid sick leave a federal requirement.

How does your small business handle sick pay? Some allow employees to accrue sick days according to time on the job. Others give a set amount of paid time off per year, and employees can choose to use it for vacation or when they are sick. And others don’t give paid days at all, forcing employees to choose between going to work when they’re ill and getting paid.

Many employers say they cannot afford to give sick time; it’s a burden they can’t handle until the economy fully recovers. Others are nervous about federal health care changes, and aren’t sure what their financial impact will be.

But employees and experts say that paid sick leave is worth the investment, because it improves morale, increases productivity and lowers turnover.

Employees feel valued by their employer when they are incentivized to get well before returning to work. Plus, they don’t spread their illness to others, keeping productivity higher. Keeping illness out of the workplace is particularly important in the food industry, but any company can benefit.

Nationwide, 66% of all small businesses (up to 499 employees) provide paid sick leave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Of those businesses with fewer than 50 employees, half do. And 82% of employees at companies with 500 or more workers receive paid sick leave.

The federal Healthy Families Act would require that workers be allowed to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave per year. It would exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees. The BLS recently issued a study that shows that in general, workers take few sick days. Those in information, transportation, financial services and professional services take an average of four sick days per year. In the leisure, construction and hospitality industries, the average is two per year.

What do you think about the prospect of a federal law mandating paid sick leave? Or do you already offer this benefit to your employees?

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.

Improve Company Culture to Improve Retention and Recruitment

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

employee screening, employee credit check.

Do you have a strong company culture? Does your staff, from top management to the newest employee, share common values and goals? Or is there a distinct lack of cohesiveness or identity in your company?

When everyone in a company believes in the same vision, whether it’s making the very best dog biscuit in America or putting a space ship on Mars, and feels needed to do their part to make that happen, there’s a sense of pride that cannot be overstated.

Apart from vision, pride and values, companies with strong cultures also tend to be honest with employees, sharing both good and bad news. They demonstrate that all employees are equally needed and important. They allow creativity in approaching how to do their jobs. And they celebrate when good things happen. All of these factors make good employees better, and attract the best people.

It doesn’t even matter how large or small your business may be; if you don’t have a strong culture, you’ll hurt your chances of keeping your best employees and attracting the strongest candidates. A strong culture can also make the hiring process easier, such as when an otherwise promising candidate shows signs that he or she won’t fit into the company’s culture. It’s much easier to pass on such a person, than to hire and find out that it was never going to work out.

Your company culture could be attracting talented peopleor turning them off from the start. Take a look at yours and make improvements where you need to. Start with easy-to-implement changes, and ask employees for their suggestions and input. In fact, that’s a great way to immediately improve your company culture.

What to Watch Out For When Interviewing

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

employee screening, background checksIt’s difficult to learn everything you need to know about a candidate from one interview. But learning more about personality types can be very helpful in knowing whom not to hire.

Here are some red flags you should look for. Perhaps they will help you avoid hiring someone who could prove to be troublesome.

  • Low energy: If your interviewee doesn’t have much energy during an interview, he or she might not make much effort to get the work done. Or, they might expect others to take up their slack, which could lead to resentment. Check out their posture, how they speak and speed at which they enter and leave the room.
  • Bragging: Prospective employees who brag about accomplishments, or are completely full of themselves can prove to be a negative influence on your team. Confidence is one thing, but narcissism can be dangerous. These types can be manipulative and caustic. They can also be charming and interview very well, so ask lots of questions about teamwork. If your interviewee focuses only on their own accomplishments or puts down their teammates, let that be a warning sign.
  • Bullying: People with emotional or anger problems are everywhere—but that doesn’t mean you want them in your company. Aggression is not always easy to spot, but listen for clues such as complaining about previous supervisors or peers, and ask interviewees lots of questions about how they handle problems. Challenge them to explain and provide specifics, and you may see frustration or anger come up.
  • Complaining: Candidates who practice their interviewing skills will rarely complain outright about former employers or co-workers, but negative people often find ways to get it into the conversation. They might make their mistakes someone else’s fault, or debate you when you ask clarifying questions. Negativity can be very harmful to your company culture and work environment.