Posts Tagged ‘Business and Employees’

Are Millennials Really Ready for the Workforce?

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

employee screeningWe’ve all heard stories about younger job applicants’ conduct during interviews: from being unprepared and texting, to having their mothers call the interviewer—some behavior ranges from annoying to bizarre. Has the millennial generation somehow missed the memo on how to be prepared for the workforce?

Many 20-somethings are new at this work thing. They came of age during the recession, when typical teenager jobs like flipping burgers or scooping ice cream were going to more seasoned, older workers desperate for a paycheck. They haven’t experienced typical job pressures of showing up on time, doing what they’re told and carrying themselves with some sense of professionalism.

Plus, millennials have a different approach to the workplace altogether, which may strike older generations as odd. In fact, a major human resources company conducted a recent survey which showed that 66% of hiring managers don’t believe recent college graduates are prepared for the workplace. In other words, most hiring managers don’t think millennials can land and keep a job.

Others disagree, saying that the younger generation’s affinity for collaboration and dedication to causes will make them ideal trainees. They may be better at working on and building teams, and demonstrate greater loyalty—especially when made to feel that they are part of something bigger. However, this group was also stung by seeing friends and family struggle with job searches after being laid off during the recession. As a result, they may tend to mistrust employers.

Since millennials will eventually make up the bulk of the working-age population, hiring managers and business owners will need to figure out how they fit into their worker mix. As a group, they are well-educated and technically savvy. With clear direction and loyalty from their employers, they could become just as successful as previous generations.

When you’re recruiting the perfect team, don’t neglect employee 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.

Nevada Set to Restrict Employer Use of Credit Checks

Friday, June 7th, 2013

employee screening, background check, credit checkPerhaps as a result of fallout after the Great Recession, Nevada’s governor signed a new law limiting employers’ use of credit checks when making hiring and personnel decisions. The law, which takes effect October 1 2013, prohibits employers to ask any employee or prospective employee to submit a consumer credit report or other credit information as a condition of employment.

Further, employers may not use, refer to or inquire about a consumer credit report of discipline or discriminate against an employee or deny employment or a promotion on the basis of a credit report. Employees who refuse or fail to submit consumer credit reports and those who have file complaints in the past cannot be discharged or disciplined, either.

That’s a very broad prohibition of credit checks, denying employers the right to know whether a prospective employee has a history that could negatively affect the employer’s business.

However, Nevada allows certain exceptions, including:

  • The employer is required or authorized under state or federal law to use a credit report for an accepted purpose.
  • The employer reasonably believes the employee or prospective employee has engaged in a specific activity that may violate a state or federal law.
  • The information contained in the employee’s or prospective employee’s credit report is reasonably related to the position for which he or she is applying or being evaluated for.

“Reasonably related” refers to several categories. Employers may conduct credit checks for employees or prospective employees who:

  • Would be handling or responsibility for money, credit and debit cards and financial accounts.
  • Would have access to trade secrets, proprietary information or confidential information.
  • Are being considered for managerial or supervisory responsibilities.
  • Have access to financial information belonging to others.
  • Would be handling or responsible for personal information of others.
  • Would be directly exercising law enforcement authority.
  • Are being considered for employment with a financial institution or a licensed gaming establishment.

The new law contains remedies of up to $9,000 for each violation, along with lost wages, reinstatement, promotion or employment, depending on plaintiffs’ claims.

Joining California, Washington, Oregon, Illinois, Connecticut, Colorado, Vermont and Hawaii, Nevada is making it more difficult for employers to use credit checks in personnel decisions, unless the person falls under one of the above categories.

Respect the Personal-Professional Wall Between You and Your Employees

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

criminaldata.com, employeescreeningblog.com, employement screeningEmployers often speak of their staff members as “family.” It’s great when supervisors and workers can hang out together, bond over a softball game or grab a beer after work. But in the age of social media, it’s far too easy to know far too much about your employees’ personal lives. And getting too involved can lead to real problems.

You cannot, by law, discriminate against employees who belong to a protected class or category. Examples are gender, race, age, sexual orientation, religion or disability. You can’t even ask questions about these issues in interviews. Why? Because there is a possibility of discrimination if decisions are made based on these characteristics.

It’s important to create a workplace that is free from any inkling of discrimination. And the less you know about employees’ personal lives, the easier that becomes. For example, you might have an employee who shows up every day on time, works hard, achieves his goals and has a great attitude. But if you’re friends with him on Facebook, you may also find out that his political views are 180 degrees from your own—even if he’s never brought up politics at work. And that could affect how you treat him.

Here are some other personal things you don’t need to know about your employees:

  • How they spend their free time. Some people run for fun. Others sit in bars. It’s not your concern one way or the other.
  • What church they belong to—or don’t. If an employee speaks about his religious beliefs or tries to proselytize to other workers, have a talk and insist that the behavior stop.
  • How they spend their money. If you know she buys expensive shoes or likes good wine, you might decide Sara doesn’t need that raise she has earned.
  • Their sexual orientation. It’s none of your business. Period.
  • Whether they have physical or mental illnesses. Some illness will carry over into the workplace. But knowing that an employee is in therapy, taking medication or dealing with a chronic disease can affect your objectivity in evaluating her performance. Remember though, that employees with disabilities who need work station adjustments are entitled to them.

In a time when everyone announces what they’re eating for breakfast on the Internet, it takes more effort to respect the employer/employee professional relationship. But this is also a litigious time, and knowing less about your employees could keep you out of legal trouble. Keep the professional wall between you and your employees intact.

New Rules Protect Employees With Cancer, Diabetes, Epilepsy

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

"employee credit check, employee background check"The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued revised rules designed to protect employees and applicants with certain diseases or conditions.

Under the law, employers are forbidden from treating an applicant or employee less favorably because he or she has a history of disability (such as cancer that is in remission), or is believed to have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory and minor. In addition, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation to job applicants or employees with disabilities, unless it would cause undue hardship.

Harassment of applicants or employees who have or have had a disability is also illegal. Harassment is deemed illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it causes a hostile or offensive work environment, or results in an adverse employment decision (firing or demotion, for example).

Recently, the EEOC issued revised documents updating the requirements of anti-discrimination laws. The updates cover how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to applicants and employees with cancer, diabetes, epilepsy and intellectual disabilities.

The new guidelines take into account the nearly 34 million Americans with epilepsy, diabetes and cancer, and the two million with intellectual disabilities. Many of these Americans are in the workplace, or trying to enter the workplace.

The documents contain changes to the definition of “disability” to make it easier to conclude that people with these diseases and conditions are protected by the ADA. In addition, the documents answer typical employer questions, such as what types of accommodations they must make, how to handle safety issues and whether the employer is allowed to ask employees and applicants about medical issues.
From the EEOC website, the following is a definition of disability:

A person can show that he or she has a disability in one of three ways:

  • A person may be disabled if he or she has a physical or mental condition that substantially limits a major life activity (such as walking, talking, seeing, hearing, or learning).
  • A person may be disabled if he or she has a history of a disability (such as cancer that is in remission).
  • A person may be disabled if he is believed to have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory (lasting or expected to last six months or less) and minor (even if he does not have such an impairment).

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.

Are Your Employees Getting Restless?

Friday, March 15th, 2013

employee screeningEmployees are not getting training and development to help them advance in their careers, according to a recent survey. In addition, two-thirds of workers aren’t receiving any feedback or recognition at all.

The data was released after a November survey conducted by Cornerstone OnDemand, Inc., an HR software vendor. The company asked nearly 500 U.S.-based employees about their jobs and future plans in the wake of the economic slowdown.

The survey revealed that in the past six months, slightly less than one-third of employees received training, while only 25% had met with their supervisors to develop a career plan.

These figures are telling, because they illustrate a fundamental problem with America’s employers—they are not developing their employees, training them to improve and build real careers. What happens then? The employee leaves, and the cycle begins again.

Certainly, many employers cut back on training and development during the recession. But the lack of training is leading workers to change jobs in a big way. According to the survey, 13% of the U.S. workforce (or 19 million employees) plan to change jobs this year. The cost to businesses is estimated to be about $2 trillion.

The survey revealed the following about employees:

  • 14% plan to leave their current job within six months to a year.
  • 25% plan to switch employers within the next three years.
  • 46% of those surveyed said they have a long-range career with their current employer.
  • 48% of respondents said they stay at a job because of a good manager.
  • 46% stay on a job because of appreciation.
  • 39% cite opportunities as a reason to stay.
  • 32% said the chance to develop new skills is why they’ll remain on the job.

If companies fail to give employees the recognition, training and development they want, they should almost plan on workers leaving and seeking it elsewhere.

Why Do Employees Leave?

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

employee screening, background checkThe process of recruiting, hiring and training employees is a big part of most companies’ personnel expense budget. When you find good workers, it can really be a letdown to see them resign. Not only does it drain resources, but it can be bad for morale, too.

Every manager wants a strong team of dedicated workers, who know their jobs and do them well. They want to see their teams move forward, grow into positions of greater responsibility and thrive with the company.

But employees do leave, and we don’t always know why—so we can’t always prevent it from happening again. An exit interview can provide clues as to why an employee decided to take a new position. Perhaps he found better pay. Maybe she’s after better perks or an environment she believes will serve her needs better.

Some employers want to know more than why an employee is leaving. They want to know what made him or her start looking for a new job in the first place. Was it the working hours? Lack of home/work balance? Did he hate his boss? Were her contributions overlooked?

Finding the turning point between employee satisfaction and dissatisfaction can be key to retention. Before you need to do exit interviews, why not survey your employees before they head out the door?

5 Best Employee Survey Questions

  1. Do you have the tools you need to succeed?
  2. Do you feel you work in an open, trusting environment?
  3. Do you feel your contributions are valued?
  4. Do you feel your voice is heard?
  5. Do you receive feedback from your supervisor?

Even in the best companies, employees will leave if there are issues with their direct supervisor. Find out ahead of time if that’s happening in your company, and you may not need to do those exit interviews after all.

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.

New Password Protection Law in California

Friday, October 26th, 2012

employee screening, background checkLegislators around the country have been reacting to reports of employers requesting or requiring employees and/or applicants to provide access to their personal social media accounts. Maryland and Illinois both enacted “password protection” laws, followed by the California, where Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a new bill into law.

California’s law generally prohibits employers from requesting employees and applicants to provide access to their personal social media accounts and content. However, it is not as broad as the Illinois law, which prohibits employers from demanding access in any manner to an employee’s or prospective employee’s account or profile on social media sites. Illinois employers may not ask for log-in information, look over employees’ shoulders to gain access to it, or request screen shots of social media posts.

Maryland employers may not directly request log-in credentials, but are allowed to access an employee’s social media account when the request is in conjunction with securities fraud investigations or improper use of trade secrets.

California’s law also prohibits employers from requiring employees to access their social media accounts in the employer’s presence (“shoulder-surfing”) or to provide log-in information. In addition, it prevents employers from requiring employees to share any social media content, such as the Facebook posts of co-workers.

However, California’s law permits employers to ask workers to divulge personal social media content if there is a reasonable belief that it would be relevant to investigations of employee misconduct or violations of laws and regulations.

Note that this part of the law does not apply to job applicants. In addition, California’s law states that employers may not discharge, discipline or retaliate against an employee or applicant if they refuse to comply with a request or demand for access to a personal social media account.

Expect more of these laws to be passed around the country in the near future.

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.