employee discipline
Employee Discipline – Get it Right!

No one enjoys having to initiate employee discipline. Yet, this is part of the manager’s responsibility to maintain order and workplace compliance. There’s a few steps that must be followed in order to manage appropriate disciplinary actions and it all begins – and ends – with documentation.

Disciplinary Actions Must Be In Writing

Anytime it is appropriate to discipline an employee, put it in writing. This can be on paper and filed in a paper filing system, sent in email and then printed and saved to employee’s file, or shared and recorded to a digital personnel file. This is for the protection of the manager and the company and it supports an appropriate manager-employee relationship.

Employee Discipline Must Be Timely

It is important to issue the discipline right away. Don’t wait three weeks or until their next performance review. If the issue is a big enough deal to impact the employee’s current or future standing, do it right away. Waiting is not good practice.

Disciplinary Action Must Never Be a Secret

It is not appropriate to keep an infraction secret from the employee and then drop it like a bomb in an employee review. The employee must know about it when it happens. Having issued the discipline in a timely manner and recorded it in writing, provides documentation in support of a future promotion or demotion.

All Disciplinary Records Must Be Filed

No matter what form (paper, email, digital) employee discipline is issued, the disciplinary action must be put in the employee’s personnel file. This is not something you leave laying in the “file” bin or somewhere on or in your desk. Putting proper documentation in the personnel file is necessary for Human Resources to prepare for any litigious actions from a demotion or termination.

Do you have a particularly difficult disciplinary situation you’re struggling with? We’d love to help so you stay in compliance and implement a healthy disciplinary practice. Reach out! We’re here to help.

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What is HR Compliance?

Pump Act Update
“Pump Act” Update You Need to Know!

As of April 28, 2023, a Pump Act violation can make an employer liable for legal or equitable remedies under the FLSA. In other words, if an employer violates an employee’s right to reasonable break time and space to pump breast milk, the employee can take appropriate legal or equitable remedies under the FLSA.

If you’re not familiar with the legislation, here’s a Fact Sheet.

The “Pump Act” supports a lactating mother’s right to fulfill her desire to breastfeed her child. It is the goal of legislation to help reduce socioeconomic disparities in breastfeeding rates and the related barriers to breastfeeding for working mothers.

Employers who understand the benefits of breastfeeding can become an advocate and in doing so support better health for mother and child. Not only is breastfeeding good for mother and child, but studies show a mother choosing to breastfeed reduces costs for an employer since health risks to breastfed babies are lower and consequently reducing health care costs.

Here’s a Mini-Guide to help you become a supportive employer to the needs of lactating employees.

Do you have questions about staying in compliance with laws like this and more? Reach out! We’re here to help.

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Are You a Helicopter Manager?

We’ve all heard of helicopter parents, right! What about helicopter managers? You know, the one that’s always hovering and micromanaging. It’s reasonable to expect accountability but let’s talk about what that looks like from a skilled manager’s standpoint.

The Objective is the Outcome, not the Process

I think we can all agree a manager must stay in sync with the pulse of what’s happening with the team and their work. But it’s not good practice to delegate and then attempt to control every aspect of the work. A skilled manager delegates by providing the why, what, and when, but must surrender the how. The objective is to focus on the outcome, not the process. This is important to building trust with the team. If a manager is constantly hovering, the team doesn’t get to take ownership of the outcome.

Don’t forget to clearly communicate the desired deadline. And it’s not acceptable to say, “as soon as you can”, or “when you have time”. This is how a breakdown in communication and expectations can occur. Providing a specific date gives a team member the opportunity to let you know if that’s reasonable given their workload. The manager can clarify if this new project takes priority over others or not. This is also when a mutually agreed check-in timeframe can be discussed.

Letting Someone Else Lead is Challenging!

When you delegate work, this means you must let someone else lead. This can be challenging but if you don’t step back, your team won’t have the opportunity to grow. If you’re checking in too often, you can sabotage their momentum.

Speaking of checking in, when you have a check-in, it’s important to give constructive, specific, timely, and relevant feedback. It should also be presented in a supportive manner, not an intimidating way. Let go of perfectionism. If their process is different than yours, that’s ok. The desired outcome is the goal. Be sure to include positive feedback at the check-in too.

Finding the Balance

A skilled manager finds the balance between delegating with clear expectations and then stepping back and getting out of the way. If you feel tempted to hover, remember skilled managers have a self-sufficient team, not a co-dependent one. Fly away helicopter, fly!

If you’re new to being a manager, or you’ve promoted new managers, we’ve got you covered. Check out our Manager Training.

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hiring process
5 Tips to Improve the Hiring Process

Does the hiring process stress you out? You are not alone. Business owners everywhere struggle with this time-consuming process. And if you get it wrong, it can be very costly! Turnover in the workplace takes a bite out of the finances of every business when they do not have solid hiring practices. No wonder the hiring process is so stressful, right!

We’re sharing 5 pro tips to improve the hiring process.

Create an Accurate Job Description

This is an area where it often goes badly. An inaccurate job description won’t attract the right candidates and it will result in fewer candidates. This makes the hiring process slow down considerably. The job description should not be a wish list including details not relevant to the actual job. Include as many of the duties and responsibilities of the job as possible. Leaving things out or stuffing the job description full of unrealistic expectations could result in missing an excellent candidate.

The job description must contain the applicable skill set required to fulfill the job, and what education the job requires to be a viable candidate. And don’t forget to note if job training will be included.

BONUS TIP: Did you know the job description (if done well) can also be used as a guide for the interview process and a checklist for the job performance evaluation?

Collect & Screen Resumes Efficiently

If you’re like most small businesses, you’re doing the resume collection using a site that doesn’t really lend itself to being helpful. You’re stuck sifting through tons of resumes that do not come close to being qualified. This gets tedious and time-consuming and can feel like the work of a detective. That is why clients hire us for our recruiting services. We save tons of time and headaches.

 If you’re still doing this yourself, start by pulling out the resumes of the candidates that have the required credentials and/or the equivalent in experience. Then sort again, looking for the specific skill set you’re looking for. Consider that individuals who possess some leadership abilities or have worked in a role that requires good communication will shorten the learning curve and assimilate into the company culture faster.

Keep the Interview to a Structured Format

Now that you’ve narrowed the candidates down to the best ones for the job, it’s time to schedule and perform interviews.

The interview is not a time go que sera, sera. A structured interview often leads to better results for both the interviewer and the interviewee. Start by introducing yourself. Engage in a few minutes of light-hearted small talk to put the candidate at ease (and it will help you relax too).

Begin gathering or reviewing information about the candidate as it relates to credentials and job experience. This is a good place to use the job description as your guide, in conjunction with the candidate’s application and/or resume. Don’t forget to ask the candidate if they have questions for you.

Wrap up by setting expectations about potential next steps. It’s helpful to let them know if they’ll be another interview or a timeframe within which you expect to make your decision.

Know the Law Regarding Background or Reference Checks

Now that you have narrowed your candidates down to your top one or two, it is time to do the background and/or reference check. The objective is to verify their former employment experience and confirm the candidate’s knowledge and skills. While there is no federal law against companies sharing what it was like to work with a candidate, many companies have a “no reference” policy to reduce the risk of liability for discrimination and/or defamation.

The federal law actually pertains to the former employer illegally giving a negative or false employment reference (or refuse to give a reference) because of a person’s race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information.

Some of the questions you might ask if you get a member of HR to be responsive during your reference check might be, was the candidate late or absent often, or did the candidate have any issues with job performance, or ability to work in a team. You might also confirm salary, any promotions, or disciplinary actions, and if they know the reason the candidate left the company.

If you get stonewalled, alternatives to a formal reference check would be to ask the candidate for a performance review from former employment, or if employees at a former place of employment are willing to share what it was like to work with the candidate.

Make a Proper Job Offer

You have selected a candidate. Now it is time to move quickly. You do not want that gem to get away. It is best to make a phone call or do a video call to make it even more personable. Be sure to express your excitement. After all, you want to get a yes! To demonstrate you are sincere, it’s a good idea to provide reasons why you want to move forward. Don’t forget to share the pay information, and include benefits, or PTO or other perks.

Ask for a response by saying, ‘how does this sound to you’ as opposed to a yes or no question. This allows the candidate to express their thoughts about the offer, so you know where they stand. If there is not an immediate acceptance or decline, provide a timeframe within which the decision must be made. Ask if the candidate has any questions and set up a time to begin onboarding if their response was favorable. Let them know a formal, written offer will follow and the method by which it will be delivered.

Summary

The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 4 million people quit their jobs in February of 2023.  It’s no wonder the hiring process can be daunting. Good talent can be hard to find, and clearly hard to keep.

We are here to help with your hiring process. Contact us at your convenience.

Book a FREE Consultation or Email us at: linda@azhrhub.com

Is Work Overload a Choice You’re Making?

It’s likely your first response is emphatically, no! After all, who in their right mind would choose work overload, right?

We all know work overload means less time with our loved ones, losing touch with our personal needs, and it inevitably results in burnout and frustration. On the surface no one wants to admit they’ve chosen work overload.

Let’s Take a Closer Look at Work Overload.

When was the last time you, the business owner, sat down and gave thought to where you are, where you want to go, and how you will get there? Have you taken measures to outline the steps necessary to reach those bigger goals? Or have you gotten sidetracked making frantic to-do lists every day and hoping you get through another day of chaos?

You’re not alone if you find yourself overworking but let’s be honest with ourselves. Overworking will produce results in the short term, but it is not a long-term solution and shouldn’t be mistaken for ambition. Let’s call it what it is. It’s a choice you’re making every day. Don’t beat yourself up or judge yourself about this. This is a sneaky situation, and it happens incrementally. It’s something we find ourselves in the middle of without realizing it. Then, when this happens for extended periods of time it leads to losing sight of business goals and working in alignment with our purpose.

How Can We Choose Differently?

Delegation is the path to ending work overload. Learning the art of delegation is a must for business owners with big goals and dreams. And it is how you demonstrate to your team that you trust them. This boosts morale and helps build their skills and gets more work done in less time.

It also helps keep your ego in check. Staying in touch with the fact you don’t have every skill needed to operate your business creates an important reality check. This makes you a better leader and able to take your company forward by leaps and bounds. Surrounding yourself with a team more talented than you in the areas needed is crucial to the success and longevity of any business.

What if You Don’t Have the Help You Need?

If your small business doesn’t have all the talent needed, it’s probably time to get some help. One of the best ways we’ve found to help small business owners soar is working with an HR consulting firm. This gives you access to expertise in many areas needed to help you reach big goals.

Because if you’re choosing to get caught up in the work of human resources, (recruiting, payroll, compliance, employee development, etc.) who’s running the company? Who’s doing the planning and ensuring the business is on course to reach the mile markers of success?

Let’s look at the question again. Are you choosing work overload?

You must step back every now and then and evaluate the choices you’re making every day. Otherwise, you risk taking much longer to achieve your goals, or maybe not achieving them at all.

Here’s to choosing well.

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Hiring
3 Tips to Stay on Trend with Your Hiring Efforts

It is undeniable these past couple of years have been challenging years for organizations everywhere. It is the duty of businesses to adapt and develop recruitment strategies that respond to current workforce needs.

An important way to do this is to understand how current trends relate to individual organizations. Why? Because when recruiting new talent, if your business does not demonstrate you are in touch with current issues, the competition takes the talent that could have been yours. And we all know in today’s employment climate, obtaining new talent is challenging to say the least.

Today, we will share three ways you can stay on trend with your hiring efforts. Want to know more about this, reach out so we can help you with your recruiting efforts.

Develop a Talent Strategy

One of the biggest challenges hiring managers face is the shortage of available candidates. Developing a talent strategy is of the utmost importance. Businesses must anticipate future talent needs, know how to upskill and re-skill employees.

According to a study done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers it states that businesses plan to increase hiring of new graduates by nearly 15%.

Think creatively with your talent strategy. There are both digital and non-digital creative ways of attracting and keeping talent. Extending your search beyond platforms intended for professional use is a creative approach. For example, think about the type of content your target candidates consume organically. The audience you reach may be smaller, but it will also be more select, which is key to finding candidates who are a strong match.

Another option is to let AZ HR Hub do the recruiting for you. We cannot share all our secrets for ‘thinking outside the box’ when it comes to recruiting but we can tell you… we are good…really, really, good!

Take Steps Now to Prevent Quiet Quitting

If you have not heard of the term ‘quiet quitting,’ it does not mean employees are not silently quitting their jobs. It means employees are doing the bare minimum of the work required to keep their jobs. They are no longer actively participating in meetings, not jumping to take on more tasks, and they refuse to work overtime. It is believed this happens due to stress, little to no recognition, an unclear career path, indifferent management, and work-life imbalance.

The ability to turn this around lies in the hands of managers and leaders. Here is one way to do that. More people are looking for work that connects to a larger purpose. In other words, they want to do work that has meaning. As such, it is important for a business to demonstrate the larger purpose in their organization. It has always been important to develop management and improve their leadership skills but now more than ever this is important. And it must spring from an increased focus on making workers feel heard, respected, and reinforcing how their work is purposeful.

Develop Your Front-Line Talent

Creating a career path for aspiring talent is key to keeping the talent you have. According to employment reports lack of a career path was the third most common reason for employees changing jobs, with salary and work/life balance preceding it.

This means, it is just not enough to hire someone. As a manager, you must be cognizant of your team’s future within your organization. And you must make this awareness known to your potential and current employees. Postured correctly, it will even create friendly competition.

These are just a few of our ideas. As HR experts, we specialize in all the above trends, and we stay on top of all of them, so you do not have to.

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