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Effective Hiring and Interviewing Lies at the Core of an Organization’s Strength

 

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Hiring and interviewing are the most important techniques for building an organization’s critical mass. HR has to work diligently on these aspects

Ask any HR professional what she would rate as the organization’s most important asset, and the answer is not likely to be anything other than “people”.

Indeed, people are an organization’s greatest strength, and how does an organization find and cultivate this asset? Through effective hiring and interviewing, of course. Interviewing skills make or mar a great hire. Only organizations that adapt effective hiring and interviewing get the best people, and unfortunately, the opposite is equally true: poor skills result in inappropriate candidate selection, leading to potential loss of millions of dollars.

What should Effective Hiring and Interviewing Skills be like?

effective-interviewing

Ask the questions that help the organization thoroughly assess the candidate’s suitability, strengths and weaknesses

  • Identify subtle and invisible dark spots in the hire’s skills or character;
  • Knowing the art of interpreting evasive responses from candidates;
  • Demonstrate thorough knowledge of the legal aspects of hiring.

 

For hiring and interviewing to be effective, the following aspects, among others, of a candidate’s characteristics need to be assessed:

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Not Calculating Overtime Correctly Can Prove Fatal

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Failure to correct common areas of errors in calculating overtime pay correctly, such as misclassifying non-exempt employees as exempt, not tracking time properly, not paying overtime as required, not paying for break time, travel time, and improperly classifying employees as independent contractors will lead to loss of millions of dollars.

An area in which there is considerable disagreement between employees and employers is on the topic of calculating overtime pay. The reason for this is that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which is the guiding document on this topic, is nebulous.

Features of overtime pay disagreements

  • Pay is calculated on an hourly basis
  • There is no agreement on what constitutes hourly pay.
  • Dispute centers around which of the employees’ working hours need to be compensated.
  • Problem arises when an employee legally challenges an organization over lower-than-agreed pay.
  • The Department of Labor added 200 more auditors to handle the increased volume in their investigations
  • Of late, escalated audits have resulted in millions of dollars in back wage payments as well as penalties, fines and interest.
  • This constitutes a clear threat to businesses

Possible Solutions: Overtime Pay Disagreements

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Organizations Should Inculcate the Habit of Document Retention

It is crucial for organizations to stay compliant with document retention guidelines. They run the risk of inviting lawsuits if they fail to.

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Document or record retention is a very important, yet tricky part of an organization’s working. This is because there are comprehensive guidelines as to the duration and type of document retention, depending on the nature of the document. Failure to comply with the regulations lands the organization in legal trouble.

There are a myriad number of types of documents that need to be retained by an organization. Each of these comes with a stipulated time period. A few of the kinds of documents that have to be retained:

  • Employee records;
  • Tax and expense records;
  • Board level meetings records;
  • Public filings/press releases;
  • Files relating to the legal aspects of the organization;
  • Intellectual property consisting of patents, copyright, trademarks, trade secrets;
  • All kinds of contracts the organization may have entered into;
  • Stipulated kinds of emails.

Given the enormity and complexity associated with document retention,organizations could consider the following:

Spreadsheets

  • Publish information about document retention to respective departments and employees;
  • Get expert help in sorting out confusion regarding the periodicity of document retention;
  • Ingrain the habit of document retention into the organizational mindset;
  • Make it part of organizational policy.

In conclusion, the regimen of retaining of documents has to be instilled into the relevant employees in the organization.

The most common challenges Organizations face with Document Retention:

A few Practical Solutions

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Components of a Sound Management Audit System

Over the past few years, management audit has been gaining ground as an important assessment tool for organizations. Just as there is financial audit, product quality audit, compliance audit and so on; some organizations are feeling the need to implement a management audit, too.

What is management audit?

Management-Audit

As the term implies, management audit is a system of assessing and evaluating the performance of the management team. In a sense, management audit may be considered the most important audit for an organization, because it is management that is responsible for making an organization what it is and for taking it to its chosen destination.

A good management audit program analyzes the organization’s overall position and helps it identify its areas of strengths and weaknesses. It helps management understand the direction and level it is at in relation to achievement of the organization’s strategic objectives and helps them take steps to realize these.

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A management audit technique usually does its work at a macro level, and seldom works at the level of individual managers. Rather than pointing at individual managers; management audit sees the overall picture.

Purpose of management auditm

Management audit is a metrics-driven approach to understanding where the organization stands in relation to its managerial capability. It helps the organization understand the effectiveness of the management in relation to productivity, marketing, meeting social responsibility obligations and so on. In other words, management audit is a complete checklist of the management’s abilities and performances. It helps the organization realize where it stands in relation to the competition, which is why it is said to be a very important audit.

Given the enormity and importance of management audit to an organization, it is understood that it is quite a complex task. It is not the same as auditing any one or more individual areas of the organization. Ideally, management audit should encompass the following:

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Timing and Purposefulness are the Hallmarks of Employee Recognition and Incentives

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Employee recognition and incentives form what is perhaps the most important factor in making employees stay in an organization. Also sometimes referred to as rewards and recognition; employee recognition and incentives strike at the very heart of employee morale. It is at the very core of human nature to crave for recognition and to get rewarded for good work. When an organization does that, the feeling of gratification it arouses in the employee is simply inestimable.

The two are different from each other

Employee recognition and incentives are sometimes treated differently from each other, although there is a strong relationship between the two. Incentives are in the form of gifts or other short term benefits. They are more like a prize that an employee gets for doing well at a point of time. An example of an incentive is “Employee of the Month”, which is a small reward that the employer gives an employee who worked best during a particular month. A symbolic gift or vouchers are usually given as incentives.

A recognition award is a different ball game. It is awarded in recognition of the fact that the employee is a valuable contributor to the organization. Employee recognition and incentives have a stronger meaning when the employee feels that the management is constantly observing and appreciating her performance. The fact that such employee recognition and incentives are given out at specific occasions and is made known to the entire organization is a great booster.

Employee recognition and incentives need to be very inventive

An employee recognition and incentives program can carry extra punch if it is timed and executed to a nicety. Here is where the employer’s finesse comes to the fore. Instead of the usual gifts – these can be good motivators too – a more powerful gesture such as announcing to the whole organization the work that an employee did carries far greater impact.

A simple but effective method of recognizing the employee through an effective employee recognition and incentives program could be to send out a Thank You mail in which every employee, or every employee who was part of the project for which the recognition is being made, is marked.

The purpose of an employee recognition and incentives initiative should not be lost

The point to be noted about employee recognition and incentives is that it is not the enormity of the gift, but rather the timing, meaning and the way in which it is done that matters to make the employee recognition and incentives a successful one. The aim should be to give the employee her due for her diligence or hard work or inventiveness and make her feel special about it and cherish it for a long time to come.

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5 attributes for employee assistance program

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a program that an organization implements to ease some of the personal problems faced by its employees. An employee assistance program is largely voluntary, in that it is not mandatory either for organizations to implement it, or for very employee to avail it.

employee assistance program - TrainHR

According to the Employee Assistance Professionals Association, here’s what to look for:

  1. 24/7 phone response. Seek out providers that have trained counselors on duty answering a toll-free phone line at all times. Avoid EAPs that require users to navigate an elaborate phone tree before reaching a counselor.
  2. Confidential services. Licensed, professional counselors should deliver assessments and face-to-face counseling sessions in safe, private and confidential offices. Make sure there are enough counselors in your area to deliver timely services in both urgent and nonurgent cases.
  3. Referral support and follow-up. The EAP should assist employees by providing referrals for long-term or specialized care based on assessed needs, recommended treatment and employees’ financial resources. The EAP should provide follow-up and ongoing support for employees.
  4. Crisis intervention. Will EAP counselors come to your facility if there’s an emergency, such as an incident of workplace violence? Good EAPs can provide counseling for traumatized employees. They can also help management coordinate emergency-response plans.
  5. Substance abuse expertise. Given their disproportionately great impact on the workplace, drug and alcohol abuse problems often represent the bulk of EAP cases.
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Mental disorders and the workplace

Mental disorders are varied and complex. Symptoms of several kinds of mental disorder don’t usually show up easily. Many others are more overt. A person with a mental disorder may have the care and affection of the family; but when it comes to the workplace, it is a difficult luxury to get, because the workplace is not the family! It has invested on that person to get tangible and definite results from him. To discover that the person they found was perfect at the time of the interview and the selection process has a mental disorder can be galling for everyone.

Finger usually points to HR

The HR of the organization would feel doubly embarrassed, because it is the one that is the prime mover of the selection process. It is one thing for a person to develop a mental condition after taking up a job and being in it for many years. This means that at least at the time of the selection, he was fine. Now that the mental disorder would have developed due to some situations at work or at home; it is some kind of consolation for HR. But what kind of consolation is this! Irrespective of the time at which the mental disorder set in; the person needs attending to, and this is one of the prime responsibilities an organization’s HR needs to discharge.

They need support, not sympathy

While this is true largely, we don’t have to worry too much about fixing the blame. A mental disorder can be something that the person hides at the time of the selection process. This being the case; it is difficult to say whether it is HR or other managers that need to be blamed for selecting such a person. First of all, we need to understand that people having mental disorders are not scary. Most of them are people like you and me, it is just that there are a few who get disturbed and behave irrationally or erratically during times. People with this condition need support, and everyone in the organization has a role in making a person come to grips with his condition.

What is the result of having people with mental disorders?

First, let us get an understanding of what can happen at the workplace that has people with mental disorder.

There are many kinds of mental disorders that people suffer from. Many have conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and the like. It is highly unlikely that a person could have more than one of these at the same time.

One of the most common behaviors of these people is that they find it difficult to concentrate at work for long hours; they are restless, nervous or irritable; they can sometimes be short tempered or eccentric. Some people have sleeping difficulties, because of which they find it difficult to concentrate at work. These result in loss of productivity.

Behaviors are different at different times

People with such conditions and disorders behave differently at home and at the workplace. They are usually subdued at the workplace, but are more vocal and sometimes aggressive at home and other places other than the workplace. Many people with mental disorders would be under treatment at the time of taking up their jobs. When they come out openly about their illness at the time of selection; it becomes easier for HR to deal with the problem. But most people hold this information back; for fear that it could come in the way of their selection, or the fear that they could lose their jobs once they are diagnosed with it after taking up their jobs.

How are people with mental disorders identified?

Every person has symptoms that are strongly rooted and displayed in people with mental disorders. How many of us do not exhibit traits like restlessness, shouting out loudly at colleagues, feeling listless and down, and restless and hyperactive? The difference though, is that people with mental disorders do this very often during their working time, and many times are obsessed with this kind of behavior.

Ways of dealing with them

HR has a very important role to play in dealing with people with mental disorders. It is true that everyone, especially teammates, have to help in identifying the problem, but it is HR that plays the role of facilitator in resolving the issue.

The simplest and most effective of remedies HR can bring about is to seek medical attention for the employee with a mental disorder. If the employee has been showing signs for the first time; he needs to be counseled to seek medical advice.

Take colleagues into confidence

Once the problem has been diagnosed, HR has to take such an employee’s colleagues into confidence and apprise them of the situation. It should ideally speak to the doctor and get tips on how to educate colleagues who work with that employee about ways of dealing with such a person. It should first of all make sure that colleagues cooperate with such an employee and not deride or stigmatize him.

Mental disorders are neither wished for, nor do they appear in people who will it. A mental disorder is a complex phenomenon that happens due to factors that science is yet to fully understand. HR has to approach it in a sensible and sane manner, without hurting the diagnosed employee further. It should make sure it handles these cases with utmost dedication, just as if it were a caregiver. If it could help put the person back on track; it is some kind of justified triumph for those in HR.

References:

http://www.reintegration.com/reint/employment/workplace.asp

http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/mental-illness-in-the-workplace/#.URsImme2pDI

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2010/February/mental-health-problems-in-the-workplace

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