Posts Tagged ‘Employee Management’

When Employees Lie—or Hide the Truth

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

employment screening, employee background check, pre-employment screeningIf you’re lucky, you have good employees, who are honest and hard working. They don’t steal from you and you can always count on them to tell the truth. Or can you? How do you know for sure if employees are hiding the truth or outright lying, unless you catch them in the act?

Here are some examples of less-than-honest behavior that almost always seem to come to light:

  • An employee sees another worker taking office supplies home, but does nothing.
  • An employee mistakenly breaks a piece of equipment, but he doesn’t admit it or bring it to your attention.
  • An employee sends out a post on Twitter that contains incorrect information, realizes her mistake, but covers it up and doesn’t tell you.

When employees lie or hide the truth, does the problem lie with them or with you? Perhaps it’s a good time to take a long, hard look at your company, and ask a few questions:

  • Why don’t your employees feel safe admitting mistakes or letting you know you’re being cheated?
  • What is your company culture really like?
  • How have these types of situations been handled before?
  • Are employees in fear of retaliation, termination or ridicule?
  • Have you demonstrated trust in your employees?
  • Does management view these types of incidents as the cost of doing business, or as big problems?

If you can honestly say that your company has an open and respective culture, where errors are understood and employees are used to giving and receiving feedback, then these types of incidents might be more of an employee problem.

How would you handle each of the above employee scenarios? The first thing to do is to have a talk with your employee. Clarify what really happened and why she reacted the way she did. If no one was notified, why not? Did she not know the correct procedure? Was she afraid? Explain the acceptable behavior and ask for a commitment that she will follow procedures should another incident occur.

Company cultures are living things that need care and feeding. It’s not enough to simply establish a culture and expect everyone to follow and embrace it forever. Keep working on instituting mutual respect, tolerance and communication to prevent lies and secrets from harming over your company.

Hiring For Skill

Friday, April 6th, 2012

pre employment screening, employee background checkAs the economy recovers, more employers will be hiring to replace those workers they’ve been doing without. If you’re dipping a toe back into the hiring pool, here are some tips that can help you do it better.

An improving job market could mean employers will be competing for the most skilled and talented workers. This is where your networking skills come in. Talk to your contacts, whether in your industry or not, to get information on the hiring scene in your area. Who were the #2 and #3 candidates for the position just filled at a peer company? Who’s now hiring for similar jobs? Can you get any recommendations from those hiring managers? Are there state or local government agencies that have cut staff lately? Find out who’s been laid off.

What is the overriding skill set needed to succeed in your organization? If you’re in a technical business, you’ll need to focus on recruiting workers with the right technical expertise. If it’s a service business you’re hiring for, it doesn’t really matter where your recruits have worked before, if the have exceptional people skills. And an employee with drive, a great attitude and integrity can be an asset to nearly every type of business.

What about job-hoppers or career-switchers? Is that a sign of boredom or great flexibility? Individuals who like new challenges are natural learners. They catch on quickly to new tasks, and could be well suited to a health care or high-tech environment.

Once you hire highly skilled employees, let them do their jobs. Allow workers to collaborate with their peers. Give them challenges that require creativity and problem solving skills, and let them grow. Letting go like this can be tough for many managers. It’s a risk, for sure, and there will be some mistakes made along the way. But in the long term, employees who feel trusted and empowered are happier and more productive.

Cultivate a culture of open discussion and shared goals. Encourage employees to keep you informed of any problems they encounter. If you look at your job as a director of resources, you can help remove roadblocks and solve problems.

Hiring highly skilled workers and keeping them engaged will go along way to making your company more successful.

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.

Employer Claims Ownership of Twitter Account in Lawsuit

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

employee screening, employee background checkIn today’s business world, many firms hire a social media manager , who is in charge of a company’s Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube channel, and other social media marketing platforms. They’re tasked with promoting the company, gaining followers and engaging customers.

In other organizations, employees have a looser affiliation with the company’s official social media presence. They may have a personal Twitter account where they post both business and individual messages.

A new lawsuit is bringing the value of a social media account into question. Namely, can a company claim ownership of an employee’s social media account?

In this case, an employee for, a mobile phone site, set up a Twitter account under the handle Phonedog_Noah that grew to 17,000 followers. He left the company, which at the time said he could keep his Twitter account if he tweeted on the company’s behalf from time to time. He agreed and changed his handle, but kept his followers.

Eight months later, PhoneDog Media sued him, saying the follower list was a customer list that the company owned. It sought damages of $2.50 per follower per month—a total of $340,000. The employee claims the suit is in retaliation for his own lawsuit against PhoneDog for unpaid wages and profits. He also disputes the worth of the Twitter followers.

This case puts the spotlight on an increasingly difficult problem for many employers. While tweeting and posting to Facebook or LinkedIn are often assumed to be an employee’s prerogative, which can improve (or at times, harm) the company’s reputation, while enabling employees to network and learn information that can improve their job performance.

The California District Court, which is hearing the case, may issue a ruling that puts the decision back in Twitter’s hands. After all, Twitter owns the entire site and everything that happens on it.

Companies that wish to avoid such interruptions and expenses should immediately craft clear social media policies, covering questions about ownership and portability.

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.

How to Be an Employer of Choice

Thursday, November 17th, 2011,, employement screeningIf you want to have the kind of company that people want to work for, here are some tips to help you achieve that goal and reduce employee turnover:

  • Create a positive environment: Promoting open communication, positive feedback, and friendliness can produce an overall feeling of positivity among your company. Relax the rules and allow comfortable clothing. Encourage employees to express their personalities in their attire and work environments. Celebrate happy occasions more often.
  • Open it up: Ban the private office in favor of group work areas. Provide private areas with comfortable couches for brainstorming sessions.
  • Be family-friendly: Provide quality onsite day care. Absenteeism will decrease, and satisfaction will increase among staffers with kids.
  • Promote play: Engage staff in activities such as 5K runs at lunch, mountain biking or surfing, or occasional bowling nights. If you’re close to the ocean, provide surfboard parking so employees can go surfing at lunch. Install a bike rack and buy a few used bikes for anyone to use. If you’re near a trail, encourage walking meetings. Close down for a day and go on a field trip. Install showers so employees can get their exercise before work or in the middle of their day.
  • Make it meaningful: If your company gives back to charities, involve employees in making the decision about which groups to support. When their efforts support causes they believe in, their efforts to do well increase. When their work is meaningful, people are much more engaged in the outcome.
  • Respect everyone: Respect comes in many different forms. From soliciting their ideas, to showing appreciation, to allowing employees to listen to music as they work. You can even provide the ear buds.
  • Trust: Communicate expectations, but then trust staffers to meet their deadlines by working however how they work best. Give them the freedom to meet their objectives, but do check in to see if they need help.
  • Do the right thing: If an employee needs time off for personal reasons, or if they need a more flexible schedule to care for kids or a parent, work with them. Flexibility doesn’t hurt the bottom line, but it goes a long way to creating loyal employees.

Allowing employees to be themselves means they will bring their best selves to work every day. By promoting respect, play, freedom and trust, yours can be a company that people – even you – want to work for.

Keeping Good Employees

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

pre employment screening, employee background checkA recent survey of 1,400 workers by a Philadelphia management firm reported that 84 percent of respondents said they plan to seek a new job in 2011. What would happen if you surveyed your employees? Would the number be that high? And if they all resigned, how would your company look after the exodus?

Employers know that finding and keeping great employees is one of the toughest aspects of running a business. It takes a great deal of resources—both time and money—to hire a new employee, and there are no guarantees that a new hire will stick around long enough for the company to recoup its investment.

The tough economy has added to employee dissatisfaction. Working conditions at many companies have been difficult, with fewer employees doing the same amount of work. Benefits and hours have been cut, too, leaving plenty of people ready to jump ship as soon as hiring starts up again.

What can an employer do to keep a good employee from jumping ship? And how can one avoid a surprise batch of turnovers?

Listen and observe your staff. Do you see general apathy? A lack of enthusiasm for new tasks? Are people coming in late and leaving early? Your employees may be trying to tell you that all is not well.

Try moving people around to different positions. Cross training can perk up and employee, make their job more interesting and keep him or her from looking for a new job.

Engage your staff more often. If you need fresh ideas on how to improve sales, cut costs or increase customer satisfaction, hold a brainstorming session to get everyone’s input. Who knows your business and customers better than your staff? Asking for their help builds value.

Remember that keeping a good employee longer starts with recruitment. Hire for a great attitude and provide tools a new employee needs to succeed. And don’t overlook the importance of pre-employment screening. It’s the best way to know that you’re hiring a qualified and trustworthy employee and building a strong team.

5 Ways to be a Great Boss

Friday, February 25th, 2011

employee screeningIf you’re new to managing employees, it can be a daunting task—especially if you haven’t been formally trained in employee relations. Much of being a great boss is basic, common sense. Try basing your approach on these tips while you continue to learn how to be a better leader and employee manager.

Here are 5 Ways to Be a Great Boss:

  1. Show Your Passion: If you’re not enthusiastic about your company, why would your employees be? Passion is contagious—spread it around and you’ll be the leader that your staff wants to follow.
  2. Be Respectful: Remember the Golden Rule? Treat your employees with respect, and they will do the same. Show them your loyalty and support. Say “thank you”more than you think you need to.
  3. Look for People Who Balance Your Personality: This trick ensures a team that is well-matched for any challenge, with a variety of strengths and personal characteristics that complement each other. Too many employees who are just like you leaves the organization with all its talents (and weaknesses) in the same area.
  4. Recognize Achievement: Don’t let an employee’s outstanding effort stay just between the two of you. Public praise is a sure way to encourage everyone to do their best. Almost everyone loves to be recognized by their boss0—especially in front of their peers.
  5. Don’t Expect Perfection: You won’t get it. Motivating your staff to perform is your job, but if you think you can motivate them to perfection, you’re wrong. They are human. They have other interests besides work. Maybe they won’t work as many hours as you do; perhaps they aren’t as smart or talented as you would like them to be. But as long as they are performing as well as you need them to, that should suffice. Expecting them to be human (and acting like one yourself) will go a long way toward creating a strong an loyal team.

4 Steps to Take When Ranting Employees Threaten Your Business

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

prescreen employee, employee background checkMany employers have experienced the dramatic exit of a fired or quitting employee. While most don’t compare to the infamous JetBlue flight attendant who slid away on the emergency chute, any company can suffer embarrassment or damage to its reputation or brand when disgruntled employees leave. Especially now, in the age of instant broadcasting via Twitter, Facebook or YouTube, employers can be the brunt of ugly rants or even brutal verbal attacks.

4 Steps to Take When Disgruntled Employees React

  1. Act quickly. If an employee is ranting, ask to meet with him or her privately. If they refuse, then have them quickly escorted from the building. If the situation escalates and the individual threatens harm to himself or other workers, call police.
  2. Keep credibility intact. While responses are sometimes warranted, retaliation is usually not. Making the wrong move can cause more damage than the temporary hit a company might take when the employee quits or rants upon being fired. Keep cool, respond in a professional way, and do your best to move on.
  3. Reassure the rest of the staff. Assure staff that their jobs are not affected. Be open and invite questions. Let remaining employees know that they are welcome to share frustrations in private and that working toward win-win solutions is the goal. .
  4. Control the message. Take the power back from the employee. Generally, employee terminations are not to be discussed. Responding with “We do not discuss employee matters” is sufficient. But when the company’s reputation or brand is on the line, it is appropriate to distribute a message via press release or on the company’s website that a regrettable situation has occurred, but business will go on as usual. “We will continue to focus on providing excellent service and fulfilling your electronics needs” is one example of a simple, effective message. Avoid responding to endless comments on blogs or Facebook pages.

Of course, you should continue to thoroughly prescreen employees to avoid similar situations in the future. By conducting criminal background checks, and verifying ID, address and previous employers, you’ll know you’re hiring the most qualified employees and minimizing risk to your company and staff.

Workplace Violence: 7 Warning Signs

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

employeescreeningblog.comPreventing violence against employees is an employer’s responsibility—and not one to be taken lightly. Being aware of the risks and taking steps to make your company a safe workplace are the first steps in a successful violence prevention policy.

Seven Warning Signs Of Potentially Violent Behavior

  1. Threats: either direct or veiled threats of harm
  2. Aggressive or inappropriate actions: Intimidating, belligerent, harassing and bullying behavior
  3. Weapons: Bringing one to the workplace or inappropriate references to or a fascination with weapons
  4. References to workplace violence: agreeing with violence as a solution to a problem, fascination with incidents of workplace violence, or identifying with perpetrators of workplace homicides
  5. Indications of desperation to the point of contemplating suicide: over finances, family problems, or other personal problems
  6. Drug and or alcohol abuse
  7. Extreme changes in behavior

These signs differ from broader examples such as a worker who has experienced the ending of a relationship, or one who has been to counseling. Those are not indicators of workplace violence any more than are broad age-group (men in their 40s) or physical descriptions (wears black clothing).

Rather, the seven behaviors above are not to be ignored—they are clear signs that something is wrong. Identifitying and dealing with an employee who exhibits these behaviors may help prevent workplace violence. Depending on the behavior, the solutions can range from immediate police intervention to disciplinary action or referral to professional help.

Providing employees with a company policy on workplace violence tells them that management takes it seriously and that their reports of threats or unusual behavior will be dealt with. Failing to provide a policy, take reports seriously and deal with threats means employers will fail at preventing violence as well as instilling trust.

Employees must be trained in how to recognize signs of violent behavior and encouraged to report it. Emergency procedures should be practiced so that all staff members know what to do in the event of an incident.

Management can take advantage of training to learn how to take disciplinary actions and diffuse anger, as well as handling crisis situations. Most important, management must ensure that appropriate pre-employment screening is conducted on every employee. Knowing whether the candidate you’re about to bring into the workplace has a history of arrests, criminal activity or violent behavior is the one of the best ways to prevent future workplace violence.

While workplace violence incidents can occur at the hands of people without criminal pasts, thorough employee background screening also includes checking references and talking to previous employers about an employee’s work history, handling of emotional issues, anger management and temperament.

Preventing workplace violence is one of the most important duties of an employer. Educate yourself, your management team and your staff on the seven signs of potentially violent behavior.

The Art of Delegating

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

employeescreeningblog.comRecently a Jet Blue flight attendant named Steve Slater made a dramatic exit from his job—and made the news world-wide. His “I can’t take it anymore” rant was heroic to some, and simply whiney to others.

Those who see him as a hero say he represents the overworked masses that have made it through the recession, but with nerves frayed and tempers flaring. Many of these workers, it seems, are just waiting for the next incident to push them over the edge.

But what about their bosses? Many have been hesitant to pile more onto employees who are already maxed out. Are managers getting ready to crumble under bigger piles of responsibility, too?

How does a manager avoid putting too much onto employees and risk having one quit in a dramatic fashion, or “slide the chute,” as the Jet Blue flight attendant did? It’s a matter of delegating—which is an art. Doing it right maintains a balance and keeps everyone’s workload manageable—including yours.

Here are some tips on delegating well:

  • First of all, recognize that if you don’t delegate, you will cripple your ability to manage.
  • Get to know your staff better. What area of the business they want to learn more about? Find tasks that will advance their knowledge and they’ll be more likely to do them well.
  • Don’t “hover.” Once you give someone a task, let it go and let them do it—even if they’re doing it differently than you would (also known as doing it “wrong”).
  • Give them time. Realizing an employee is capable of handling some things as well as you—even if they’re only at 50% now—comes with time. So delegate a task, teach them how to do it right, and expect that that will. Be patient.
  • Empower employees with knowledge of how each project fits into the company’s operations. Let them see how important it is, and they’ll be more likely to take ownership of it.

When the recession hit, employers knew their workers couldn’t just walk out the door and find another job. Now that we’ve been through a couple of years of the downturn, stressed-out staff need to be handled carefully in order to keep them from running toward the exits as soon as things start getting better.

But, just because your staff may have options now or in the near future doesn’t mean you can’t add to their responsibilities. Who knows—maybe delegating some of your job duties will make their jobs much more fulfilling and your employees more likely to stick around!

Hiring? 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.

5 Ideas for Hiring Outstanding Salespeople

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

employeescreeningblog.comIn many industries, business is starting to pick up; employers are at least thinking about hiring again. One of the most important positions you’ll hire for is salespeople. What’s the best way to approach this challenge?

Salespeople need to do two things: acquire new business and take care of existing customers. It takes a certain type of employee to make a great salesperson—and there are few businesses that can survive a bad sales hire. Think about how long your company can wait for a new salesperson to get up to speed, and hire the best you can.

Five ideas to consider when you’re ready to hire sales staff:

  1. Expert sales people can sell anything. Often, employers focus on finding someone who already works in their industry. They believe that if Tom has been installing flooring for several years, he should be able to sell it, too. Our first tip is to flip this thinking upside down. Try looking at people who have the skills, drive and temperament it takes to be a successful salesperson—even if they know nothing about your business category. It’s easier to teach a good salesperson about the difference between berber carpet and linoleum than to teach a good carpet installer how to close a sale.
  2. Consider hiring from your competition. If you’re paying attention, you know what’s going on with your competitors. Perhaps they have a very strong sales staff you’d like to emulate. One way to do it is to hire those people. Hiring another company’s staff does not come without challenges, so be sure to do your homework. Confidentiality is the goal—but it’s not guaranteed. If you’re okay with your competitor knowing you’re trying to hire her star salesperson, go ahead. And be prepared to invest enough to lure her in and keep her happy and productive.
  3. Speaking of investing in salespeople, hiring the best means offering an attractive compensation package. Salespeople are driven by a variety of factors, like the thrill of the game, winning the business and of course, making money. Growth is achieved through sales—and if you structure your compensation package correctly, you can make both your new salesperson and your bottom line happy. Consider a base salary plus a commission of some type. Commission only makes some salespeople desperate. Some companies put a cap on commissions—that’s not always a good idea. Why cap sales? Do look for quality of sales when figuring out commissions. Lower percentages for lower-profit items makes more sense than a flat fee no matter how much the sale actually nets the company.
  4. Always be recruiting. This means you should have an idea of who your next salesperson should be long before you hire anyone. Through social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, you can get to know more people quicker than ever before. You could meet an unknown sales star at a networking event, a parking garage, or your neighborhood pizza restaurant. A natural people-person is a natural salesperson too. Keep an ongoing list of who you’d like to talk to when hiring for your next sales position—whenever that may be.
  5. Do your due diligence on reference and background  checks. Salespeople can charm even the most wary employer into believing everything they say about their history and sales performance. Ask for former client and employer references, and don’t skip the credit check.