Archive for the ‘Talent Management’ Category

California HR: Employee Terms of Employment should be presented in a Written Notice

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed bills enacting several new employment statutes that will affect the way employers conduct business. One Statue in particular, Section 2810.5, outlines an employer’s responsibility to communicate an employee’s terms of employment in a written notice. Effective January 1, 2012, employers should present the written notice to non-exempt employees at the time of hire and communicate the content in a manner that is deemed understandable by a “reasonable” person.

The written notice should include:

  • The rate or rates of pay and basis thereof, whether paid by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission, or otherwise, including any rates for overtime, as applicable.
  • Allowances, if any, claimed as part of the minimum wage, including meal or lodging allowances.
  • The regular payday designated by the employer.
  • The employer’s name, including any “doing business as” names used by the employer.
  • The physical address of the employer’s main office or principal place of business, and a mailing address, if different.
  • The employer’s telephone number.
  • The name, address, and telephone number of the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
  • Any other information the Labor Commissioner deems material and necessary.

Employers should notify employees in writing, within seven calendar days, if changes transpire to the information above through a written amendment, new written notice or modified paycheck stub containing the new information. Section 2810.5 does not apply to overtime exempt employees or public sector employees. Additionally, it dose not apply to employees covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement if their regular rate of pay exceeds California’s minimum wage by at least 30% and if their overtime compensation is paid at the proper premium wage rate.

The Labor Commissioner will publish a template sample of the notice in the following months for employers to customize. Employers are encouraged to use the template to ensure compliance.

What do you think about this Statue?

Compensation Strategies in the Recession: How to Cope with the New Economy

According to a Harvard Business Review survey, which analyzed the responses of 1,379 global business leaders, 70% of the respondents predicted a “double” recession will transpire in the following months. Additionally in a similar survey conducted by World Bank, indicated a decrease in global growth to 2.8% in 2011 from 3.8% last year (Harvard Business Review). These statistics indicate the recession is far from over. As the economy struggles to get back on its “feet” and the potential for a second recession grows more promising, it becomes even more important to manage human capital with a compensation strategy that is cost-sensitive as well as motivating. With the addition of performance-based initiatives incorporated into the compensation strategy, employers can foster an environment for learning, innovation, creativity, problem-solving and empowerment, while managing compensation budgets and ensuring resources are allocated accurately.      

Pay for Performance links an employee’s reward to their performance and the performance of the company. This type of compensation structure allows the employee to be an individual as while a collective contributor to the company’s bottom line by aligning their goals to match the organization’s goals. A key component in executing performance based-pay is implementing the “right” periodic performance review. Performance reviews or performance appraisals should reflect an employee’s true performance, instead of a subjective interruption of what managers think performance should be based on their own evaluation approach. The employee performance reviews must invoke both internal and external equity for it to be adopted by the employee.   

Primary Components of an Effective Performance–Pay System

  • Conduct a job analysis
  • Evaluate the worth of the job based on an absolute basis and relative basis of the job compared to others in the organization; assign a labor grade to the job based on the position  
  • Assign rate ranges (minimum, midpoint and maximum) with dollar values for each labor grade 

Best Practices of an Effective Performance Appraisal System   

  • Implement a rating system that supports calibration (adjusting the performance measurement to match a known standard), to eliminate a flat distribution of ratings. A wider rating scale results in a fairer and more accurate distribution.
  • Implement performance appraisal periodically, at least quarterly, to give an accurate assessment of the employee’s progress. Use the performance appraisal to document the employee performance throughout the year.
  • Provide feedback to employees on a constant basis (not only through the performance appraisal).This helps to motivate the employee and pinpoint problem areas.
  • Engage employees in two-way communication about their performance through an Open Door policy. This communication style decreases the likelihood of rumors or complaints about information being withheld and enables the employee to trust the manager and vice versa which leads to increased commitment and performance.
  • Implement an employee self-appraisal assessment to the process. The employee self-appraisal assessment can be completed prior to the performance appraisal meeting to gage the employee’s perspective on their performance in comparison to management’s point of view.
  • Creating and presenting performance goals is a critical step in the performance appraisal process. Goals should be set in way that reinforces the employee’s ability to plan, implement, and achieve the goals.      

Be Proactive: Promote Healthy Habits in the Workplace

The dreadful cold and flu season is here once again. This time of year sparks new challenges for employers attempting to avoid absenteeism and lower productivity levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 200,000 Americans are hospitalized each year due to the seasonal flu. It cost employers more than $10 billion in hospital costs and outpatient care and $76.7 million in absenteeism-related costs and other indirect expenses every year.


Symptoms of Flu

The Flu is easily spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing or even a small nasal drip. It is difficult to predict who will end up sick with the flu or when it might occur, however the symptoms are detectable. Symptoms including fever, chills, sore throat, coughing, headache, running nose, tiredness and body aches. In some cases diarrhea, vomiting and other neurological problems have also been reported. Many people recover from the flu any where from just a few days to a couple of weeks; however there are some individuals that might develop further complications such as pneumonia, sinus or ear infections which can sometimes become life-threatening.

Proactive Workplace Solutions

  • Display notices within the office to promote proactive cold and flu prevention. The CDC has some great posters on cough etiquette techniques to limit the spread of germs Cover your cough posters.  Other great reminders include washing hands frequently, routinely cleaning and disinfecting work stations and common areas and avoid sharing food or utensils.
  •  Provide hand sanitizer in common areas of the workplace, including near entrances and exists of the office. Sanitizer can be a useful alternative when washing hands may not be a convenient option.
  • Inform employees about the benefits of getting a seasonal flu vaccine. Provide information on local clinics and allow individuals some time off to get vaccinated or offer on site flu shots if possible.
  • Promote personal hygiene by having tissues and disinfectants available for use, no-touch trash cans and disposable towels to clean work surfaces.
  •  Ensure heating and ventilation systems are properly maintained and work at optimal levels to allow circulation of fresh air within the workplace.
  •  Encourage employees who have flu-like symptoms to take time off of work until they are better, to reduce spreading the virus to other employees.
  •  Establish communication protocols to identify and communicate when an employee will be out of the office and their availability to return to work.
  •  Encourage employees to live a healthy lifestyle by providing access to health related resources. View relevant health related tools and resources at
  •  Incorporate a contingency plan that includes workplace solutions in case of an unexpected surge in absenteeism.

Importance of Conducting a Human Resource Audit

Human Resource (HR) Audit is a comprehensive examination of organization’s current HR policies, systems, and procedures to evaluate compliance with employment regulations and identify areas for improvement. A well executed HR Audit will reveal gap areas that can potentially lead to costly legal disputes and governmental fines. It is advisable to conduct an HR audit once every year. Additionally, conducting an HR Audit after a significant change in the organization (such as reconstruction, expansion, or deduction in force), will help to identify the right practices and highlight functions in need of modification.

Types of HR Audit

  • Legal Compliance Audit: This audit ensures compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and reviews whether the current HR policies and systems meet the legal requirements.
  • Comparative Audit: This audit involves comparing the current procedures of the organization with other organizations in the market that have proved to be successful in practice, in order to gain a competitive advantage.
  • Strategic Audit: This audit involves evaluating the SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of the HR processes to ensure that they are in alignment with the organization’s strategic plan.
  • Function-Specific: This audit focuses on specific functions in HR such as Training, Compensation and Recruitment and helps to measure their effectiveness in relation to long-term business goals.

The HR Audit Process Model

Process Model


Areas of Focus for HR Audit

  • DocumentationReview of hiring practices often uncovers inadequate documentation, such as a missing or incomplete I-9 Forms. Employers can be fined between $100 and $1,000 for each failure to accurately complete an I-9 Form. Fines for these violations can easily add up, with reported cases of repayment totaling over $100,000.
  • Personnel FilesA review of personnel files often reveals inadequate documentation of performance (e.g., informal, vague and/or inconsistent disciplinary warnings). Performance evaluations may be ambiguous, inaccurate or outdated. Personal health information is often found in personnel files, despite medical privacy laws requiring such data to be kept separate. Accurate and detailed records are essential for employers to defend any type of employee claim, particularly unemployment compensation or wrongful termination claims.
  • Attendance PoliciesControlling excessive absenteeism is a big concern for most employers. However, the complexity of family and medical leave laws, with sometimes conflicting state and federal protections, has made many formerly acceptable absence control policies unacceptable. Absences affect workers’ compensation, family and medical leave, disability accommodations and pregnancy laws. Companies often have policies that either do not comply with relevant laws and regulations or grant employees more protections than required.
  • FLSA ClassificationAlmost every company has job positions that are misclassified as exempt from overtime eligibility. The complexity of wage and hour laws and regulations makes it easy to err in classifying a job as exempt, thereby exposing the company to liability to for past overtime.
  • Time RecordsEmployers typically require nonexempt employees to punch a time clock or fill out time sheets reflecting their time worked each week. The records generated by these systems typically are the employer’s primary means of defense against wage and hour claims, so it is essential that timekeeping policies and practices by clearly communicated and consistently administered.

Body Language: Mastering the Art of Powerful Postures

Researchers from Columbia University and Harvard University have found a link among powerful leaders besides pure charisma. The connecting factor is their use of powerful body postures to convey authority.

So how does posture relate to power and authority? A study titled Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance by Dana R. Carney, Amy J.C. Cuddy and Andy J. Yap indicated that males and females express power through expansive postures (i.e. standing or seating with relaxed limbs) as oppose to contractive postures (standing and seating with hands and legs closed). Individuals whose postures are more expansive exhibit higher levels of testosterone, lower levels of cortisol (adrenal glands or pituitary glands), and an increased tolerance for risk. Expansive postures are high power nonverbal body communications that exude confidence, illustrate a lack of nervousness, and demonstrate an individual’s ability to overcome challenges.

With practice, you can use expansive postures to present yourself in a more powerful demeanor and boost  your confidence.

Body Gestures

1. Eye Movement: Maintaining eye contact with your audience reflects confidence and honesty, and makes the speaker appear more experienced. To maintain correct eye contact with a person, visualize an inverted triangle in the person’s face with its base immediately above the eyes; this is the area to look at during discussions. While speaking to a group of people, make eye contact with everyone and not just one person.

2. Hand Gestures: During conversations, use your hands confidently to express sweeping gestures. Utilize your hands to explain or to stress a particular point. However, avoid using them too frequently because they will become distracting.

3. Facial Expressions: A simple smile when you agree can enhance your nonverbal communication skills. Keep in mind that people can recognize even a most fleeting expression such as anger or annoyance, so cautiously manage your reactions when people are sharing thoughts.

4. Body Image: Keep your body balanced and slightly wide by distributing your body weight evenly on both the feet. Make sure that you are on level without bending on one side, and your shoulders are relaxed. These posture techniques illustrate that you are an action-oriented person with exemplified authority and stability.

Practice Power Poses: People that use up more space, meaning those who use open and large gestures, have high levels of testosterone flooding their systems which causes them to feel more powerful. Before a meeting or presentation, locate a quiet corner and stretch your hands and legs in expansive positions in either sitting or standing positions. When you dominate the space around you, your mind receives the message.

Make Powerful Gestures a Habit: It is essential to monitor your body language to evaluate your efficiency in conveying messages. Make it a habit to use powerful postures in your daily routine.

Voluntary Resignations

Hiring the Right Person for the Right Job is an important goal of any organization. An organization’s employee-team is one of the determinative factors of the organization’s success. However, in recent years, employers often hear the words ‘I quit’ from their employees.

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), voluntary resignation levels have increased from 1,576 in January 2010 to 1,744 in January 2011, which currently surpasses the level of employee layoffs. Reasons for voluntary resignations include personal dissatisfaction with job; unfavorable time and work conditions; non-job related problems associated with the employee’s personal life; new career opportunities; fear or anticipation of involuntary termination; and retirement (based on an employee’s age).

The subject of voluntary resignation presents an opportunity for the employer to reassess strategies and restructure workforce. When an employee voluntarily resigns, it is imperative for the employer to assess the reason behind the resignation. If there are job-related issues, they need to be resolved in advance to ensure that these issues do not create a negative impact on other employees in the organization.

Studies indicate that the cost to hire a new employee is five-times the salary of the position. To avoid the financial burden of hiring a new employee and to maintain productivity, employers should take steps well in advance to prevent voluntary resignations. For example, employers should track key performance indicators for each employee. An organization should perform the following tasks upon each voluntary resignation:

  1. Documentation: Documentation is essential to protecting employers from unfavorable claims made by employees. For example, employers should ask for a letter of resignation that includes the employee’s reasons for resigning, and last day the employee intends to work.
  2. Verify: To the best of the employer’s ability, it is important to verify that the reasons given by the employee for the voluntary resignation are correct and to obtain documentation to back up statements.
  3. Complete an Exit Interview: Conducting exit interviews is a great way for an organization to gather additional information to assess the situation and the work environment.

In some situations, it is not advisable for an employer to allow an employee to start or complete their work assignment based on the individual’s intended last day of work. Doing so may at times jeopardize the work product.

Helpful Ways to Manage Employee Turnover
  1. Evidence suggests that recruitment and selection practices strongly influence turnover. Employers should present applicants with a realistic job preview during the recruitment process, and select candidates based on a multitude of criteria including skills needed to complete the job, ability to interact well with other employees. and inherent individual characteristics that align with the organizations vision, mission, and values.
  2. Plan and implement socialization practices that help new hires become familiar with the company and the current employees. These practices may include shared and individualized learning experiences, formal and informal learning activities, and assigning seasoned employees as mentors for new hires.
  3. Provide and plan for continued training and development to keep current employees satisfied, engaged, and well-positioned for growth opportunities.
  4. Consider compensation and rewards that fit the organization’s business and HR strategy through approaches such as: tailoring rewards to individual needs and preferences, promoting equality and fairness in pay and reward decisions, and explicitly linking rewards to retention.
  5. Invest in the development of high-quality managers. The quality of an employee’s relationships with his or her supervisors is a crucial factor of turnover. You’ve heard the cliché phrase: “people leave because of bad bosses.”
  6. Strengthen employee engagement within the organization. Engaged employees are satisfied with their jobs, enjoy their work, take pride in the company, and believe that their employer values their contributions.
Signs of Employee Disengagement
  1. An employee stops attending or participating in company activities and functions.
  2. A normally competitive employee loses their drive to compete.
  3. Decrease of an employee’s focus on tasks and duties – the employee may begin to miss deadlines on a regular basis and no longer cares about work-performance.
  4. Attendance and leave patterns change and/or increase.
  5. A  conscientious employee no longer goes out of his or her way to welcome new employees or volunteers to help out.

These are just some warning signs of a disengaged employee; managers should be aware of these signs and address them. Treating an employee with the same care you took when hiring them will bring substantial rewards to the company and their employees.