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Common HR Traps and Managing Employees Effectively

The modern role of a Human Resources Manager is to recruit, interview, and hire employees, ensure the happiness and wellbeing of the employees in the office environment, ensure compliance with labor laws and employment standards, among other assorted responsibilities. It is a big job trying to advocate for each individual in the office, as well as trying to balance employee satisfaction with meeting the goals, objectives, and overall standards of the company, but someone’s got to do it. Due to the difficulties of this job, there are common HR traps which some businesses may experience. Here are just a few, as well as tips on how to avoid or resolve them:

 

  • Not Being Familiar with Employment Laws – As the HR rep, you should familiarize yourself with the proper procedures of hiring, maintaining, and terminating employees. If not, your company may be sued for improper or unlawful termination. Brainstorm clever interview questions that have to do with the job itself for which you are hiring, as well as a list of do’s and don’ts for your managers to follow during the interview process. These practices will help to ensure that you hire the best candidate for the position, and that you will be protected when it comes time to terminate.
  • A Lack of an Onboarding Process – Onboarding means that a new employee is properly oriented with the office and that managers and employees are ready to welcome the new hire to the team. Nothing sends off a bad signal like an unacquainted, new employee who walks into an empty or quiet office on their first day, particularly when the manager or other essential personnel is absent upon the newbie’s arrival. A good practice is to make sure the manager is in the office before the new hire arrives, in order to greet and familiarize them with the workplace and environment. Current employees should also be informed of the new hire’s arrival and should invite him/her out to lunch to make them feel welcome and like a valued team member.
  • Insufficient Training Periods – One of the most important, yet overlooked aspects of growing and expanding businesses is the need for continuous training. This is particularly common among smaller businesses because of the constant influx of new tasks and jobs. Combine that with the short history of the company, and you may end up with a recipe for disaster. These tasks are new to the company, meaning that people will have little-no knowledge of how to complete them. That’s where training comes into play. It is essential to train employees thoroughly, so they get a better grasp of their respective job duties, and, when the time comes, they can train someone else.

 

 

Don’t let your company be subject to common HR pitfalls and traps. The HR manager is on the front lines of the company, fighting with both the employees’ and the company’s ideals in mind. If you’ve experienced problems with your HR department, it might be time to consider formalizing it. This not only helps you hire and retain better employees, but you also build a positive reputation for your business.

BLS Provider CPR (1-day Initial or Renewal Course, multiple sessions available)

(Initial or Renewal Course based on the 2015 AHA Guidelines)
Basic Life Support (BLS) is the foundation for saving lives after cardiac arrest. This course teaches both single-rescuer and team basic life support skills for application in both in-facility and prehospital settings. This course is designed for healthcare professionals and other personnel who need to know how to perform CPR and other basic cardiovascular life support skills.

In addition, BLS training can be appropriate for first responders, such as police officers and firefighters, as well as for laypeople whose work brings them into contact with members of the public, such as school, fitness center, or hotel and restaurant employees.

Students must pass a written exam and skills test in order to qualify for a BLS Course Completion Card.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will receive a completion cad valid for 2 years.

Conveniently scheduled on Saturday, please choose the session that works best for you.

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Avoiding HR Issues

Owning a small business can be a major juggling act. Being a leader, chief financial officer, office manager and all the other roles that go into making a successful business can be hard. Keeping all the “balls in the air” can be a tough juggling act, which can cause mistakes – sometimes serious ones. Mistakes in the human resources area can be easy to make if you don’t understand and are compliant with the law.

Here are five of the most common HR management pitfalls small businesses face today and how to avoid making them. 

  • Outdated Employee Handbook – The employee handbook is your guidebook for all employees and company leaderships about work-related policies. These policies could include: discrimination policies, standards of conduct, compensation, benefits, work schedules, security, and vacation/sick policies. Each business is different so the policies laid out in the handbook should be updated regularly and be specific to your field of business. Not having company policies in writing and updating regularly is just asking for trouble.
  •  Staying knowledgeable of Changing HR Laws

    Understanding federal, state, and local labor laws are critical when running a successful small business. Compliance with these laws can be a big headache for small businesses. There are a multitude of regulations, and these laws continue to change rapidly. Have a dedicated employee or HR consultant who can stay on top of changing laws and compliance requirements.

  • Handling Terminations Poorly – No business leader wants to deal with a termination but they happen all the time. Messy fires can lead to unwanted lawsuits. Both performance and policy violations require documentation and a paper trail. “Make sure that you document any disciplinary issues, safety inspections, performance discussions, and the like. These records can save you if done right — or kill you if done poorly or not at all.”(Source: Intuit Books)  This is yet another reason why the well-written employee handbook is needed.
  • Develop a Reward System – Employees want to know how they are doing.

    Recognition of good performance is essential to a healthy workplace; without it, your business could face retention issues. Plan and maintain a reward system that will allow your company to maintain employees that do their job well. It is easier to maintain a good employee than to train a new one. 

  • Weak Hiring and On-boarding System – Too many employers hire hastily because they need the position filled quickly. Spend time weeding out unqualified candidates and on-boarding exceptional ones. Take the necessary time to be sure the candidate feels at home, has a mentor and understand the daily running of the office so they don’t feel overwhelmed or out-of-place.

Benefits of an Employee Handbook

Writing, maintaining and executing all of the parts of an employee handbook can be a daunting task for any employer. Most new companies hold off writing such a document until their business has grown to a point where it necessary to have a formal list of items to review with each new employee during the on-boarding process. While it may seem overwhelming at first to put into a single document the goals, rules and policies of your company it is a good idea to do so for many reasons. The benefits can be numerous including the following:

  • Every employee receives the same information about the rules/policies of the workplace.
  • Employees will know what you expect from them (and what they can expect from you).
  • Valuable legal protection if an employee later challenges you in court over any human resource issue such as benefits, hiring/firing, workplace rules, discipline, safety and a host of other topics.

Top Benefits of Spelling it all out in an Employee Handbook:

  1. All employees know and have read the core mission of the company.
  2. All employees understand the expectations of their job whether it is in regard to workplace attire, hours of operation, expected behaviors, harassment, or even drug and alcohol use.
  3. All employees will have a written document explaining the benefits whether they are medical, dental, retirement or paid time off.
  4. All employees and managers will have a written document explaining the need to comply with state and federal laws.
  5. All employees will understand where to turn to if they need help.
  6. All rules and specific policies are clearly stated for all employees to read and follow.
  7. All managers and leadership position understand their role including the consistent and fair dealings with each employee.
  8. Serves as a reference guide for both the employee and the employer, thereby eliminating common misunderstandings and unreasonable employment expectations.
  9. Allows all employees regardless of level, to understand the compliance regulations of the company when it comes to technology use/misuse and communications outside and internally within the company.
  10. Explains all safety regulations and rules so that the work environment can remain a safe and secure place to work.

Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law – Are you compliant?

As of July 1, 2015 the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 148C, took effect.  Depending upon size of the business, most Massachusetts employers are subject to this new law.  MA Sick Time Law may be broadly applied but it does not impact every employer the same.  Let’s look further at this new law and guide you to some resources that will aide your Human Resources Department as well as companies who operate without one.

In brief the MA Earned Sick Time Law allows that all employees who work predominantly in Massachusetts are eligible to earn sick time. It, however, does not impose the same requirements on all employers. Employers that maintained an average of 11 or more employees on its payroll during the preceding benefit year must offer paid sick leave. Employers that maintained an average of less than 11 employees need only provide unpaid sick leave. Employers determine their average number of employees by dividing the total number of full-time, part-time, and temporary employees on their payroll during each pay period by the number of pay periods.

More specifically, for employees and businesses that fit this description, eligible employees must accrue sick time at a minimum rate of 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked,(3) up to a cap of 40 hours per benefit year.(4) Salaried employees must accrue sick time based on their “normal work week,” which is assumed to be 40 hours per week unless their job specifies a lower number.

To find further resources on this law as well as complete summaries, complete regulations and frequently asked questions see the following links:

Mass Gov:  Earned Sick Time

AIM Webinar on Earned Sick Time Massachusetts

In House Advisor
TriNet:  How Earned Sick Time will Impact your Business