How does your company handle human resource issues? Do you have a dedicated department or does your company rely on an HR consultant? Either way, there are probably some common issues that every office deals with at some point. Let’s take a look at some of the top legal issues that HR professionals deal with, especially with small or medium-size businesses.
What is a Human Resource Department?
Whether you have a dedicated HR staff or a consultant who handles your HR issues, you should know the basics of what they do. Most human resources specialists focus on a number of major areas including: recruiting and staffing, compensation and benefits, training and learning, labor and employee relations, and organization development. Human resources staff is also responsible for advising senior staff about the impact on people (the human resources) of their financial, planning, and performance decisions.
What are the Top HR Issues?
If you manage a small office you know that word spreads fast whether it is good news or bad. It’s very difficult to keep a secret in a small work environment. Therefore it is one of the top issues that a human resource specialist deals with. It’s critical to the day-to-day functioning of the workplace that complaints, problems, or personal issues remain confidential. It is not only an ethical responsibility, but a legal one as well.
Labor Rights and Compliance:
It is the job of a human resources department to stay on top of developing laws that pertain to the rights and protections for employees. This could include a safe work environment for the accessibility for employees with special needs. There are regulations on everything from hiring practices, to wage payment, to workplace safety. Take a few minutes to read through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment Law Guide. If business leadership chooses to ignore the laws or believes that they do not apply to their specific workplace, then there could be audits, lawsuits, and possibly even the demise of your company.
This is always a touchy subject when it comes time for annual reviews that result in raises, bonuses or, alternatively, a decline in pay or hours. Human resources should always be involved if there is a review that is not stellar. The neutral party can help relay some of the findings and pave the way for improvement in work habits.
Do you have questions about human resources, especially the legal questions that inevitably crop up? Check out our workshop “Understanding Legal Issues in Human Resources” led by Maureen Pomeroy on November 13 at the Enterprise Center.
(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.
One of the most stressful events in a person’s life is starting a new job. Why all the stress? A new job comes with anxiety regarding learning about the new position, new co-workers, possibly more responsibility and discovering the ins and outs of the inner workings of a new office. Yep, that is a lot of stress. One of the things that can reduce that stress on both the employee and employer’s is a mechanism called on-boarding.
On-boarding refers to the process through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members of a business team. On-boarding is more than just new hire orientation. It is much more than donuts and coffee in the conference room so the new hire can sign all the paperwork and meet everyone in the office. On-boarding, rather, is part of a more comprehensive process. It covers matters related to training, scheduled milestones, mentoring programs and interactive meetings to evaluate how the transition is going.
Here are a few steps to consider when creating your company’s unique on-boarding process.
- Plan Well in Advance – Plan ahead to have all the tools necessary for a new hire to start off on the right foot. This will include: a clean work space, all the HR paperwork ready to be filled out, as well as alerting the reception desk and IT department that there will be someone new added to the office and the computer system. This will allow them to have immediate access to email and documents that they may need. A first week agenda may also be a good idea, too. This could include meeting key people and learning the basics of office activity from the people he/she will be working closest with.
- Define a Work-Buddy System – There is nothing worse than starting a job and not knowing who to ask about simple work tasks. Assign a work buddy who can check in with the new hire over the first few days and weeks and can give insider information of how things work.
- Human Resources Points to Consider – Be sure not to miss any big points that will come back to haunt you later in the employee/employer business relationship. Go over the employee handbook within the first few days to be sure the new hire knows about benefits, vacations days, calling out sick, sexual harassment laws and legal points necessary to run a safe and productive work environment.
- Create Goals with the Employee – Everyone in this new relationship wants to know what to expect. Create a list of goals both short term and long term that can help give direction to a new hire that will be itching to make their mark. Plan for times to review these goals and allow for open conversations. Some goals should be easy to reach and others may be “reach for the stars.”
- Create a 30-90 day Ramp Up Program – Let’s face it, it takes a while to get one’s bearings in a new position. Allow a transition time, then ramp things up a bit slowly over the course of the first month to three months.
- Evaluate – After a week, two weeks, a month and several months be sure to continue checking in with the newest member of the team. Evaluate what on-boarding programs worked and didn’t work. Change course if needed and change protocols for future employees as you see fit.
Welcome to the team! Here is a pack of forms that need to be filled out (in triplicate) for Human Resources, a room full of strangers that you will need to get to know and a company handbook that you will need to familiarize yourself with! And then you need to become a contributing member of our work team and fit in flawlessly.
If this seems like a bit much for a new employee then you need to work on your onboarding strategy to make for a smooth transition for all new hires. What used to be called orientation has now evolved into the latest business buzz word “onbboarding”. The orientation process of yesteryear has now become a more thorough process of acclimating a new hire in such a way that they become a productive and satisfied members of the staff. Onboarding goes beyond the paperwork and introductions of the first few days into strategies to deal with long term training, mentoring and scheduled milestones.
Onboarding Is Not the Same as Training. A study of 264 new employees published in the Academy of Management Journal found that the first 90 days of employment (often called the probationary period) is pivotal to building rapport with the company, management and coworkers. When support levels were high from the team and leaders, new hires often had more positive attitudes about their job and worked harder. When support and direction were not offered, the inverse occurred, leading to unhappy and unproductive employees who didn’t make it much further than four months. (Forbes)
So how do companies maximize the success rate and retention rate of their new hires? Here are some tips and pointers to consider for your onboarding program.
Prior to the Start Date – There are many things that need to be done before the new employee even sets foot in the door including: creating a job description, a list of duties, setting up work area including phone, tech and email accounts, arranging for meetings with critical members of the staff, and prepare for some time with human resources.
During the First Few Days – Those first few days can be anxiety ridden with both sides asking “Is it a “good fit”? Make those first days smoother by:
- reviewing job expectations
- matching employee up with a mentor
- allow for socialization time
- tours of the business
- continuing review of job policies
- technology training
During the First Months – Many companies fall off with onboarding around this time. Unfortunately, this is a time when a new employee may need further help reaching independence and the ability to mesh with the company brand.
- Continue having regularly occurring one-on-one meetings.
- Meet for informal three-month performance check-in
- Have employee “shadow” you at meetings to get exposure to others and learn more about the department and organization.
- Continue professional training and mentoring with a “buddy” in the office.
During the First Year –
- Create an employee development plan. (Short and long term.)
- Provide formal and informal feedback on job performance.
- Recognize positive employee contributions.