Employee Retention

Are You Addressing These HR Essentials?

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Typical human resource (HR) issues that employers face include recruiting workers, training employees, preventing discrimination, increasing productivity, ensuring safety, resolving conflicts, and offering benefits. To lighten your load, National PEO provides various staffing solutions ranging from comprehensive services to customized individual tasks. Access more useful employment information via our federal and state government links.

Recruiting Workers

HR specialists perform most employee recruitment duties. They must find methods from internet employment sites to job fairs that generate qualified candidate interest in specific positions and your company. Numerous firms face even bigger hiring challenges because globalization increases competition to encompass the whole world instead of one region or country. Today’s talent is searching for greater work/family/life balance, so offering flexible schedules and shorter hours may be wise.

Many ventures enlist independent contractors in addition to or in place of in-house staffers. Those freelance workers cover their own Social Security, Medicare, and income taxes plus insurance premiums. By performing tasks off site, they reduce company overhead costs because larger facilities, more workstations, extra equipment, and additional benefits are not necessary.

Classifying talent correctly as full-time, part-time, temporary, seasonal, or contract can influence your taxes and benefits greatly. National PEO experts will ensure that your staffing needs meet all government requirements and best business practices.

Training Employees

Virtually all industries and enterprises provide training so workers can follow their specific procedures and policies. HR professionals determine how and when to guide employees without interrupting or straining daily operations. They define how tutorial classes factor into their firm’s budget and calendar. National PEO’s instructional seminars range from employment regulations to labor law compliance. Besides avoiding lawsuits, we will help you maintain a welcoming, safe, stable, and productive work environment.

Preventing Discrimination

Organizations value diversity for blending assorted thoughts and experiences to inspire fresh ideas and improve output. Creating a feeling of equality supports teamwork. Entrepreneurs count on personnel specialists to diversify their crews through recruiting, hiring, promotions, and terminations. Laws prohibit various workplace prejudice forms, so HR must conduct employment duties by business and judicial standards. More jobholders recognize their employee rights today, so discrimination complaints could mount. National PEO can help your firm avoid such legal issues.

Increasing Productivity

Managing staffers to maximize productivity is a key goal that leads to greater revenue generally. HR personnel consider strategic aspects carefully including shift employee counts, team assignments, how to keep morale high, and motivators like bonuses. Those factors may share strong connections, so challenges revolve around making modifications in certain areas without disrupting others. Experts can develop appropriate adjustments and corrections that will not strain your company budget.

hressentials1Ensuring Safety

Workers in industries like construction and manufacturing must use safety equipment properly. Otherwise, accidents, physical harm, health problems, and/or property destruction may result. Prepare your team by conducting ongoing evacuation training, mock emergency trials, and fire drills.

Even standard office essentials like desks and computer keyboards that ignore ergonomics can be potential injury sources. HR personnel direct or coordinate solutions for such issues to protect all staffers. They also investigate managerial oversight and dangerous workplace allegations.

Resolving Conflicts

Although HR team members strive diligently to find good fits for your company culture, wide-ranging workforce personalities, skill sets, and experiences make some conflicts inevitable. Verbal and physical harassment complaints are commonplace, but controversies concerning stolen property, broken supervisor promises, and other disputes also occur.

Retaining involved employees is more cost effective than finding and training replacements typically. So if your firm does not resolve disagreements promptly and effectively, dismissals or resignations can be expensive outcomes.

Offering Benefits

All organizations offer some type of employee benefits to be competitive and/or comply with national, regional, and/or local regulations. HR and company leaders work together to develop employment policies and benefit packages. Common staff extras include paid vacation time, sick and personal days, health and life insurance, dental and vision coverage, product discounts, and retirement plans. Your firm may need to customize incentives for talent seeking opportunities that will decrease their financial risks in erratic economic times.

Benefits lapse when employees quit or leave following involuntary terminations, so keeping precise hiring and separation records is key. Managing COBRA that allows former workers to keep their health insurance at full price is a complex legal responsibility. Partnering with National PEO to handle your HR duties will ensure benefit administration accuracy and compliance.

Creating a Company Culture for Recruitment and Engagement

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Selecting new hires by cultural fit has become a modern recruitment mantra. That means looking beyond job descriptions and skills to choose contenders whose personalities and behaviors fit your firm’s core values, philosophies, beliefs, and attitudes. Unfortunately, a survey found that less than 50 percent of organizations have defined cultures.

If you are in that group, bad hires are likely. Too often, they provoke high staff renewal rates. A survey found that turnovers cost 150 percent of every lost employee’s salary on average due to disrupted workflow and replacing personnel. However, using the following suggestions to develop a favorable culture will help your business draw in and engage top talent, strengthening and stabilizing your workforce.

Highlight Your Firm’s Style as a Hiring Tool

Your corporate culture does not begin on each new hire’s first day. That ever-present phenomenon should shine throughout the recruitment process. Candidates experience your team spirit via interactions with your human resource (HR) staff. Your website may be informative, but HR’s dealings have a stronger influence on how prospects regard your company. Research shows that up to 64.3 percent of job applicants would share negative encounters with their personal confidants. Your reputation could suffer greatly if people spread critical opinions across social media.

Projecting your firm’s culture during all recruiting steps will boost your employment brand while increasing your talent pool. Because Google’s workplace climate is among the world’s best, it receives applications from over 2 million exceptional job seekers annually. Researchers found that positive hiring experiences might affect how personnel approach new positions. Some 15 percent who felt that HR treated them fairly in every employment phase dedicated extra efforts when they came onboard.

National PEO’s talent acquisition experts can handle your staff recruiting duties to make sure new hires slide right into your work environment seamlessly. From advertising openings to onboarding appropriate employees, we will make sure your new crewmembers are ideal matches for your culture.

Establish a Business Purpose

Getting personnel to stay late a few days is easier if their duties engage them. Similarly, they will demonstrate more devotion when you have a clear purpose. Consider what differentiates your organization. Which values make it distinctive? Why should job hunters choose your venture over competitors?

Salesforce entrepreneur Marc Benioff exemplifies a strong corporate mission by involving his technology, resources, and staff in global charitable endeavors. He built that integrated philanthropy approach into his business model. Current and potential employees are familiar with Salesforce’s humanitarian generosity. That staunch commitment helps it attract and recruit gifted contenders. Salesforce made the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work for list six years consecutively. To create your own uplifting culture, unite your firm around some specific inspirational goal.

companyculture2Focus on Clear Communications

According to research, 70 percent of organizations identify ineffective employee communications as their major difficulty. You can make collaboration a symbol of your workplace if teamwork is central to productivity. Consider holding brainstorming sessions regularly so all members can enjoy the satisfaction of management hearing their ideas. Test an open office plan to allow convenient staff interactions.

Careful structuring with written procedures and guidelines will make your culture plan more rewarding. National PEO can customize your employee handbook to feature new or updated policies that reflect your corporate atmosphere. Conveying your organization’s standards to your entire crew helps everyone understand and embrace your philosophies. Clear communications will increase staffers’ internal and external promotions of your principles, keeping them intact as your firm grows.

Develop a Safe, Supportive Environment

Management’s efforts to creative a safe, supportive work setting make employees feel that their bosses value and appreciate them, increasing job satisfaction. Executives and supervisors need to be approachable so personnel can speak with them openly about any concerns.

Implementing flexibility is advantageous if it does not hinder business success. Allow remote work whenever feasible. Besides being grateful, staff efficiency should improve. Encourage your team to become closer. Group lunches are ideal social occasions to nurture bonds among colleagues. Creating a tightknit workforce can enhance happiness along with productivity.

Relish the Rewards

Some companies making serious commitments and investments in their traditions are appointing internal culture advocates. Prioritizing a desirable corporate atmosphere can boost your recruiting and business triumphs. Welcome rewards start with attracting, fascinating, and retaining top talent. Often times, they extend to staffers’ performance exceeding management’s expectations.

Are Your Best Employees Leaving? You Could Be the Problem

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Are Your Best Employees Leaving? You Could Be the Problem

One of the top issues facing any organization is the retention of top talent. It is one thing to attract and hire excellent employees — it is something else altogether to keep them happy, engaged, and loyal to your company.

Because the costs of losing a top performer is so high — the average financial cost to replace an employee is around $5,000, and that is not even considering the potential hit to morale and productivity — it is important to understand the most common reasons that people leave their jobs, an how to avoid them.

Reason #1: Too Many Policies

Some managers see policies as the defining line between a functioning organization and a free-for-all. Granted, some policies are important, as they provide structure to the organization and help ensure fairness and prevent legal problems.

However, when there is a policy for everything, and the employee handbook can be used as a doorstop, employees do not feel like they are trusted. Establishing too many policies creates an environment of fear, and no one wants to spend every day fearing a reprimand for a minor infraction.

Instead, trust your talent to perform, and give them some freedom. Individual problems may arise from time to time, but overall you will see an increase in satisfaction, engagement, and performance, as well as more long-term employees, when you limit the number of policies in place.

Reason #2: Failing to Support Engagement

It is a common refrain: “The recruiting process was great. It seemed like a great company to work for, but now that I am here, I am not so sure. I feel like I was thrown to the wolves.”

Keeping top talent requires more than enticing them with a good salary and benefits. It is important to foster engagement, and that includes:

  • Establish a relevant onboarding process. Integrating a new employee into your company is more than just paperwork formalities. The first few weeks can set the tone for the rest of someone’s time at your company, so it is important to take time to have conversations about how he or she fits into the bigger picture. Pair him or her with a mentor to help ensure a smooth transition, and make leaders available to answer questions and address concerns.
  • Provide training and development opportunities. A “sink or swim” approach to management is not going to keep people happy. Provide training from day one, and offer opportunities for your best people to develop their skills and talents.
  • Set goals and establish expectations. You have to give employees a reason to engage; otherwise, they become drones waiting for their paycheck. Work with them to establish goals and plans for achieving them, and make it clear why they are important to the mission. When employees feel that their contributions matter, they remain engaged.


Reason #3: Failure to Adhere to the Psychological Contract

Employers and employees have a psychological contract, an implicit agreement that the expectations and needs of both sides will be met.

From an employee’s standpoint, those expectations may be to grow in his or her career and earn a promotion while doing meaningful work. An employer expects diligence and commitment to the organization.

A breakdown on either side of the contract leads to problems. Employees who do not feel that their employers are holding up their end of the deal — for example, it becomes clear that a promotion is never going to happen, despite it being dangled like a carrot for months on end — are likely to become disenchanted and will begin looking for other opportunities. Employers who want to keep top talent, therefore, need to understand and acknowledge the psychological contract, and make sure it is healthy and everyone’s needs are being met.

Reason #4: Poor Leadership

There are dozens of theories and millions of pages written about leadership, but despite all of the training and resources available, poor leadership still abounds in many companies — and it is driving people away. Leaders who do not effectively manage conflict — or even “stir the pot” via their own actions, fail to trust their employees, do not listen, are not willing to accept new ideas, or lack consistency are routinely cited as the reason employees leave their jobs.

If your employees do not have strong leaders, they will not succeed, so it is important to ensure that managers are up to the task and receive ongoing training and support to ensure that they keep the best employees happy and engaged, and not looking for new opportunities.

Reason #5: Lack of Opportunity

Very few people take a job expecting that it will be their last. They want to move into new positions as they develop their skills, not stagnate in the same place they have been for years. Yet too many companies base promotions on seniority, not ability, or leaders hesitate to advance talent out of fear of competition or a desire to keep that talent for themselves. Even if a promotion is not possible, engaged employees want to take on new responsibilities and challenges, but when they are thwarted, dissatisfaction sets in. Keeping the best people under your roof requires giving them the chance to grow, not holding them back.

Of course, there are times when nothing is going to keep a top employee on staff — sometimes, other options are just too enticing to pass up. However, if you avoid the most common reasons that people leave their jobs, you will retain your top performers.

Engage New Staffers With Charity and Volunteerism

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Engage New Staffers With Charity and Volunteerism

Charity and VolunteerismLike many employers, you may face challenges acquiring and retaining top talent. National PEO can advertise your openings with expertly crafted job descriptions that draw in your industry’s best applicants. They’re likely to be millennials from 18 to 34 years old who represent today’s greatest workforce proportion at 34 percent. Generation X makes up 32 percent, and baby boomers trail at 31. But the youngest labor pool’s low company loyalty poses challenges for employers’ retention plans.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that average job tenures are much shorter for young adults, compared to their more mature colleagues. Among 20- to 24-year olds, the cutoff is under 16 months. Those from 25 to 34 stay three years. Add all older generations into the mix, and the median job duration reaches five and a half years for everyone over 25. Employee engagement efforts that support bonding and loyalty while strengthening teamwork encourage new hires to remain at companies longer.

Focus on Millennials’ Priorities

A study discovered that millennials prioritize helping needy people over their own high-paying careers. Other research shows that volunteerism is vital to engage employees, lift morale, increase job satisfaction, and enhance productivity. So charitable projects have become popular workforce engagement tools. While critics claim that America’s job-hopping young adults act like an entitled group, most companies can’t afford to disregard their psychosocial and emotional needs for purpose and meaning in their jobs.

Astute business leaders realize that every generation approaches volunteering differently. According to a BLS report, millennial workers want to share community giving and feel a connection through mutual enthusiasm for their employers’ cause culture. Energetic, tech-savvy millennials represent the social media age, so engaging in interactive volunteer experiences will inspire them to give more to charities and at work.

Most of the attributes that retain millennials are the ones that convinced them to join organizations initially. Their top considerations are business culture, cause involvement, staff diversity, work environment, and human resource (HR) standards. Companies that integrate altruistic endeavors into their cultures and adapt their corporate social responsibility (CSR) approaches to millennials increase their odds of landing and retaining young recruits.

Experience shows that whatever satisfies millennials probably fulfills everyone’s needs. All employees hope their employers care about their surrounding communities. So integrating philanthropy into your firm’s core mission is crucial. The most successful programs have company-wide support and understanding with businesses tracking specific and measurable goals.

Develop Humanitarian Strategies

Giving your staff chances to utilize company time or resources to benefit charitable causes will satisfy their desires to give while also communicating that your civic compassion matches theirs. Try these strategies to incorporate volunteering into staff positions:

  1. Couple painting houseHold workday team-building activities. Donate combined efforts to build Habitat for Humanity houses. Landscape playgrounds or plant gardens at schools. Host Big Brothers and/or Big Sisters lunches and then watch performing arts presentations together.
  2. Conduct contests. Allow winning entrants to donate their prize money to their favorite charities. Researchers found that such competitions motivate employees more than bonuses while also honing their collaboration skills.
  3. Establish an incentivized volunteer program. Let employees take off a set number of paid workdays to give back at personally chosen charities. On a larger scale, consider covering all expenses for domestic and international volunteer trips or offer bonuses.
  4. Invite staffers to attend your firm’s grant committee meetings. Listen to their recommendations on which nonprofits should receive your company’s contributions.

Enjoy the Rewards

Serving worthy nonprofits provides multiple advantages for your company and personnel. Offering expertise and skills to benefit others is rewarding. Employees who can leave work to donate their time and talents to others will be grateful for your benevolent policies. They’ll appreciate being able to provide community services without the financial penalties of using up their paid time off, losing wages for their generosity, or needing to make up missed time. They’ll also return with new abilities they acquired while volunteering.

Staffers helping local non-profits represent your firm and display its values publicly. They humanize what local residents may perceive as just another uncaring faceless operation. Corporate volunteering demonstrates that your organization extends beyond tools and calculations. Neighborly people living in and contributing to your region are driving your business. Charitable activities build stronger ties from boosting community spirit to strengthening your internal team. While spreading your company’s civic pride and concern, your local humanitarian presence also may attract potential new like-minded employees.

Employee Benefits that Improve Hiring and Retention

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Employee Benefits that Improve Hiring and Retention

Employee BenefitsA new benefit survey of human resource professionals found that around a third of companies had more trouble hiring and retaining employees at all levels in 2014 than the two previous years. Some 29 percent of businesses leveraged their incentive packages to gain new staffers while 25 percent utilized them to retain current team members during the previous 12 months.

Health Insurance Tops the List

To overcome recruitment and retention hurdles, 85 percent of companies relied mostly on health insurance to attract new hires while 74 percent used that perk to retain existing workers. Retirement savings and planning programs came in second with 72 percent promoting those rewards to hire personnel and 62 percent offering those enticements to keep present employees. In third place, 51 percent of organizations used leave benefits to hold onto their best staffers.

As businesses compete for top candidates, employers are distinguishing their advantages by emphasizing employee motivators. With 56 percent of companies struggling to attract highly skilled recruits, 32 percent publicized incentives to draw in talent. But just 9 percent reported that their workforces have significant knowledge about their employers’ available perks. And 22 percent agreed strongly that their communication efforts relate reward information to their staffers very effectively.

More than 50 percent of respondents noted which fringe benefits they thought would become more important in their employee retention efforts during the next three to five years. Retirement planning and savings came in at 67 percent, health care at 58 percent, wellness and preventive health at 57 percent, flexible work schedules at 54 percent, and career and professional development at 51 percent.

Employer Communications Need Improvement

Some 83 percent of companies provided online or printed benefit enrollment forms, and 70 percent held group sessions with organizational representatives who explained options to employees. Just 4 percent shared perk information with staffers through social media. The surveyors noted that HR communication is vital because previous research shows that benefits are important contributors to workforce job satisfaction. But personnel won’t value extra packages without adequate employer notifications.

If these issues are overwhelming you, outsourcing your incentive management and promotions will keep employees up to date on their total reward packages. National PEO offers extensive benefit administration services including plan election and registration, staff communication materials, vendor payments, payroll deductions, customer service, claims support, and annual renewals. Our expert financial advisors administer, manage, and process various retirement planning options including IRAs, 401(k) plans with and without company matching, and pension plans.

Employee BenefitsWorkforce Confusion

HR experts believe that employees might misunderstand their benefits in these six areas:

  1. Awareness of available company-sponsored perks: Only 9 percent of respondents rated their workers as very knowledgeable about their benefits while 73 percent were somewhat knowledgeable.
  2. Companies’ compensation disclosure effectiveness: Some 22 percent of HR pros agreed strongly that their firms conveyed their employee reward information very effectively while 58 percent agreed somewhat.
  3. Perk communication budget changes: Respondents reported that 32 percent of employers upped their benefit explanation funds for 2014, compared to 2013. But 9 percent decreased that budget.
  4. Employee resource material changes: According to HR staffers, 63 percent of organizations revised their reward materials during the previous 12 months. Throughout 2014, 70 percent of employers scheduled meetings with organization group representatives to announce benefit details, compared to 62 percent in 2013. Companies using online or printed newsletters went up from 34 percent in 2013 to 41 percent in 2014.
  5. HR disclosure approaches: The two top ways organizations offered benefits to workers were online or printed enrollment forms at 83 percent and/or staff meetings with organizational reps at 70 percent. Some 52 percent of businesses offered private sessions with reps while 46 percent posted details on company intranet sites.
  6. Social media communications: Just 4 percent of respondents disseminated benefit information via social media. Among the rest, 8 percent planned to initiate social media announcements during the next year.

Upgrading Benefit Information

The survey report included three recommendations to increase workforce knowledge:

  1. Allocate funds for your employee resource disclosure program: Understanding overall compensations better can boost job satisfaction, so budget ways to explain available perks’ values.
  2. Revisit your reward promotion efforts routinely: Because changing laws, strategies, and costs keep the benefit landscape in flux constantly, reviewing your strategies and communications regularly is vital.
  3. Explore social media usage: Consider using multiple social media avenues to reach and increase employee benefit awareness.

Rehiring a Former Employee

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You’re Fired . . . Or, Maybe Not: Rehiring a Former Employee

Rehiring a Former EmployeeFor most people, getting fired means that the door to that company is closed completely. Most bosses aren’t going to go to all of the trouble of terminating someone if they aren’t completely sure that the person is not suitable for the position, or if the employee does something so egregious that termination is the only option.

Except there have been cases in which the words “you’re fired” didn’t exactly mean, “You’re gone forever.” While the likelihood of someone being rehired for the exact same position under the exact same supervisor is usually unlikely, fired employees might find that they can land a different position within the company, or do similar work if they can prove that they have made changes to address the deficiencies that led to their dismissal in the first place.

The issue of rehiring a fired employee can potentially be a contentious one, and needs to be handled with care. The potential fallout could hurt morale — and if you make a bad decision, you could find yourself in the position of having to terminate again. At the same time, rehiring an employee could prove to be a great boost to productivity and morale in the company. So how do you decide?

3 Pros of Rehiring a Former Employee

There are several good reasons that you should consider rehiring an employee who has been let go in the past, whether for the same or a different position.

1. Improved Morale

Sometimes, a fired employee is a popular one, and his or her termination leads to decreased morale among the other employees, especially when the decision comes as a surprise. Not only does bringing a well-liked and respected employee back into the fold make people happy, it also sends a message that, as an employer, you are willing to be fair and give people second chances.

2. Correction of Deficiencies

One of the most important parts of the termination process is to outline the specific reasons for the firing. Simply saying, “You’re not a good fit,” is not enough; you have to give the employee specific reasons for his or her termination.

If the decision was made due to performance reasons, but the employee can prove that those deficiencies have been corrected, then it may be worth giving him or her another chance, especially if there weren’t any other problems.

3. Smoother Transition

Employees who have worked for your company before already “know the ropes” and tend to have an easier time assimilating into your company culture. You may even be able to save time and money, since you may not have to provide as much training to someone who has worked at your company before.

Rehiring a Former Employee3 Cons of Rehiring a Former Employee

Of course, for all of the potential upsides of hiring a former employee, there are some drawbacks as well. For example:

1. Morale Could Suffer

While the return of a popular employee may be applauded, someone who had contentious relationships or caused drama can cause those feelings to resurface.

Employees might also feel that there is no incentive to perform, since even if you get fired, you can just come back to work.

2. Problems May Still Exist

Even if the employee appears to have corrected deficiencies, there is always a chance that they could still have problems, or that old behaviors and habits could return. You might find yourself having to address those problems again.

3. Resentment

Former employees who return and begin taking on plum assignments can incur the wrath of others. There could be a sense that the new-old employee has not yet paid his or her dues and earned those assignments. That could cause resentment, gossip, and even destructive behavior.

Things to Consider Before Rehiring an Employee

Opting to rehire a former employee is not an easy decision, nor should it be made as a knee-jerk reaction or a means to avoid doing the hard work of the hiring process. Turning to a former employee to fill a role in order to prevent having to interview a large number of candidates or complete the full onboarding process rarely works, and is bound to backfire. You can use our services to recruit new employees if you’re trying to reduce your workload.

Terminated employees who wish to come back to your company should have to go through the same hiring process as any other candidate, although it’s reasonable to expect that you will scrutinize those applications more closely than others.

Among the factors that you should consider include:

  • The circumstances of the termination. How serious was the offense, and how were other employees impacted by it?
  • The former employee’s relationships with co-workers.
  • How will rehiring affect other employees?
  • What steps has the former employee taken to correct deficiencies?
  • In what capacity would the employee be working? A different position in a different department might not create the same animosity or issues as someone returning to work in the same department.
  • Are there any legal issues associated with bringing someone back to the company?

Determining whether to rehire a former employee can be a difficult decision. Much depends on the circumstances of the termination, and the overall affect that someone’s return can have on the company. As they say, time heals all wounds, and it might just be that time away can turn a poor employee into a great one.

Managing Millennials

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5 Things You Need to Know About Managing Millennials

Managing MillennialsBy the year 2020, Millennials — the generation born between about 1980 and the year 2000 — will make up 46 percent of the workforce. These young people are ambitious, educated, and like most workers, eager to find their place in a meaningful career. But if you’re a Gen-Xer or a Baby Boomer, you might be feeling the generational divide when it comes to managing these optimistic and tech-savvy, if inexperienced, young professionals.

It’s true that most Millennials grew up with doting parents who constantly told them they were capable of doing anything they set their minds to. Most members of this generation spent their childhoods in structured activities, instead of simply going out to play as members of previous generations did. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot to offer their employers, as long as you keep in mind that Millennials are very different in their attitudes and perspectives than Baby Boomers and even Gen-Xers.

Millennials like a flexible working environment, because they typically have very busy lives. They like structure and guidance, but they also have tech skills that can be valuable to older workers. They appreciate chances to grow professionally and build skills through formal training. Above all, they like variety and are always ready to rise to a challenge.

1. Millennials Need a Flexible Working Environment

If you spend any time getting to know your younger workers, you’ll soon find that they’re pretty busy. They like to make time to spend with their families, time to socialize with friends, and time for volunteer work and hobbies as well as time for work. As a result, they may blur the lines between work time and personal time — a Millennial employee may think nothing of answering personal emails or sending personal texts while at the office, but he or she will also think nothing of sending work emails or taking work calls while at home.

Nevertheless, work-life balance is of the utmost importance to Millennials, who don’t see the point of working 60-hour weeks like their parents did. Millennials will appreciate perks like flex time and telecommuting — but so will your older workers, who also have personal lives to live. Younger workers expect their employers to offer them great benefits, and while they’re loyal, they won’t hesitate to use their Web and networking skills to find another position if they aren’t happy with their current company.

2. Millennials Need Guidance and Structure

The majority of Millennials had childhoods filled with structured events, and they got more attention from their parents than any previous generation. As a result, they need and want a great deal more feedback, structure, and guidance from their managers than you may be accustomed to giving older employees. While older workers may be happy with a “no news is good news” situation, Millennials — especially the younger, less experienced members of the generation — want frequent feedback about the quality of their work. They want to know what key business skills they should develop, and how they can develop them. They want meetings, corporate events, and deadlines to occur on a regular schedule. Most of all, they crave mentoring from older coworkers.

Managing Millennials3. Millennials Want Formal Training

Millennials are among the most highly-educated professionals in the workforce, but they have the fewest opportunities for additional formal professional training once they enter the working world. Formal training in hard skills can help these younger, often inexperienced workers to succeed.

Many of them can also benefit from learning soft skills, as can their older co-workers. Formal training in soft skills can help every member of your team improve.

4. Millennials Love a Challenge

If there’s one thing you can say about Millennials, it’s that they’re confident in their abilities and optimistic about the future. They’ve always been told that they can do anything, and they definitely believe it. Your Millennial workers will multitask all day long, and they love variety in the workplace.

Make sure they’re always working on something different; they’ll be happiest and most productive if they’re not bogged down in repetitive tasks. Don’t be afraid to challenge them — they’re always looking forward to the next challenge.

5. Millennials Have a Lot to Teach You

Your Millennial employees may be young and inexperienced, but they’re the first Internet generation, and they know a thing or two about computers and networking. You can leverage both of these skill sets to your advantage. Pragmatic managers set up reverse mentoring programs whereby Millennial employees can show Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers the ropes of using text messaging, Skype, and social media to stay in touch with traveling colleagues, recruit new hires, and network with other professionals. Millennials are the perfect employees to take charge of company social media profiles and recruit new employees.

Millennials already make up more than a third of the workforce, and they’ll soon make up the majority. If you’re like many older managers, you’re baffled by these young workers’ attitudes and lifestyles. But once you take the time to understand what your Millennial employees need, expect, and want, you’ll be in a much better position to bring out the best in these desirable young workers.


What to do Before You Fire an Employee

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Stop! Do This Before You Fire an Employee

Notice of TerminationAs a manager, one of the least pleasant tasks that you’ll ever have to do is firing an employee. It’s never fun to be the one who has to share news that negatively affects someone’s livelihood, never mind their overall career path and self-esteem. And while the vast majority of people take the news of a termination as well as one might expect, there is always the possibility that such a conversation could end badly, adding an additional layer of apprehension to the situation.

While in some cases, termination is the only viable option for dealing with a problem employee, firing someone should always be your last resort. Not only does making a snap decision to terminate leave you vulnerable to legal action, it’s not always to best solution to the problem. So before you let someone go, there are a few things that you should do.

1. Performance Improvement Plans and Progressive Discipline

Among the most common reasons that companies terminate employees are poor performance and failure to comply with company policies. Someone who is chronically late or absent from work can be a drain on the team, and the longer the behavior goes unchecked, the more likely it is that productivity and morale will suffer.

However, before you start looking for a replacement, you should work with the employee to improve their behavior and performance. The employee could be dealing with issues or obstacles that you’re unaware of, and when you address those issues, performance will improve. Creating a detailed performance improvement plan and checking in with the employee at specified intervals can make a significant difference, and prevent the loss of an otherwise excellent employee.

In the event that performance or behavior does not improve, following the principles of progressive discipline, such as written documentation of warnings and plans, will serve as evidence, should termination become necessary.

2. Consider the Impact on the Company

Firing an employee doesn’t just affect the employee — your whole team, as well as other departments, will feel the impact of someone being let go. In some cases, others may breathe a sigh of relief when a “problem child” is shown the door. However, if the termination is due to factors that other employees aren’t privy to, such as failure to meet sales goals or work quality issues, the termination could come as a surprise, and lead to resentment, fear, and lowered morale due to other employees feeling like they could be next in line for a surprise pink slip.

In addition, if the employee on the chopping block is instrumental to your dealings with clients and other departments, you need to consider how this decision will affect them. For example, a client might be unhappy to learn that their account representative has been let go, and take their business elsewhere. While you can’t let personal relationships dictate business decisions, before you fire an employee you must consider the ripple effect and take steps to reduce the fallout. Again, the best course of action is almost always to find a way to salvage the situation.

3. Evaluate Your Response to Infractions

One reason that terminated employees are often able to sue for wrongful termination successfully is that they are able to prove inconsistent application of policies. In other words, if they can prove that they were fired for the same actions that others did without consequences, then you could run afoul of the law.

Therefore, before you draw up a termination letter, it’s important to examine your records to ensure that you have applied all policies consistently. If you haven’t, you may need to resort to a progressive discipline approach or develop a performance improvement plan to address the issue first.

Terminating Employment4. Consider Other Options

Sometimes, personalities just don’t mesh well — and someone who seems like a “bad” employee really isn’t. That same person who wasn’t a good fit in your department could be a top performer in another area, or under different leadership.

Before you end an employee’s employment, talk with other leaders and try to determine whether there are opportunities elsewhere in the company that could be a better fit.

In most cases, the employee in question will be aware of the problems and willing to work with you, but you never want to surprise someone with a transfer to another area — or “dump” a poor performer on another manager to avoid the unpleasantness of firing that person. Still, if someone has the potential to be a great employee or a skill set that your company needs, a shift to another role could be the ideal solution, instead of termination.

Firing an employee is never an enjoyable task, and in some cases, it’s unavoidable. However, before you pull the plug, take some time to carefully consider your decision and consider alternative solutions. You could save yourself a lot of unnecessary angst, as well as a lawsuit from an unhappy former employee.

Progressive Discipline Policy

by National Peo National Peo No Comments

Why Your Company Needs a Progressive Discipline Policy

Employee write-upsIt can happen to even the best leaders: An employee (or employees) fails to follow company policies. Perhaps they are chronically late, take too many breaks during the day, or spend too much time updating their Facebook statuses and not checking on client status. Whatever the offense, the outcome is that productivity is down, and the employees that are following the rules are starting to get frustrated.

Many leaders overlook occasional minor offenses. After all, who isn’t late for work every once in a while? However, when employees habitually break the rules, it’s important to take action, since many people cite inconsistent enforcement of the rules as a reason for leaving their jobs. The problem, though, is that if you don’t take the right action, you could be setting yourself up for a disgruntled employee, or even worse, a lawsuit brought by an employee who feels he or she was unfairly disciplined or terminated.

Covering your bases when addressing rule infractions is the primary motivation for a progressive discipline policy. A progressive discipline policy addresses employee behavior with an increasingly punitive series of sanctions, ranging from warnings up to termination. A clearly outlined set of responses to rule infractions not only ensures consistency when it comes to discipline, it also provides guidelines for leaders who may be uncomfortable or unprepared to reprimand their colleagues.

What Goes Into a Progressive Discipline Policy

The most important part of a progressive discipline policy is a written policy regarding behavioral expectations. In other words, you must tell your employees what is and isn’t allowed. Some points might seem like common sense, like showing up to work on time, but if you do not clearly articulate your expectations and what constitutes a violation, an employee could potentially claim discrimination when disciplined for a violation.

Therefore, the first step to a progressive discipline policy is to outline the punishable offenses. Keep in mind that you don’t want to be overly legalistic, but you want to create a comprehensive list of offenses that could lead to progressive discipline. These might include chronic tardiness or absences, failure to meet deadlines, failure to meet quality standards, inappropriate use of company Internet or phones, failure to meet job requirements, arguing with co-workers, taking too many breaks, taking extended breaks, insubordination, and harassment.

Keep in mind that in some states, enacting a progressive discipline policy could be viewed as a requirement to use it; in other words, employees may “test the limits,” expecting that they will only face verbal warnings, even though they have committed a fireable offense. Therefore, you must carefully consider the behaviors that will be covered by the progressive discipline policy, and outline the offenses that are exempt from that policy and could lead to immediate termination.

Progressive Discipline PolicyHow Progressive Discipline Works

Progressive discipline is exactly what it sounds like: The punishment progressively gets more severe as infractions continue.

In most cases, progressive discipline includes four levels.

  1. Verbal Warnings. Step one is letting your employee know that there is a problem, and that they need to correct their behavior or risk additional punishment. For example, if an employee arrives late four out of five days, have a conversation to let the employee know that you have noticed, and try to get to the root of the problem. It could be that he or she has to put their children on the school bus, and the bus consistently arrives late. In that case, you might be able to adjust that employee’s schedule, or at least give him or her a few minutes leeway.
  2. Written Warnings. In general, if the verbal warnings don’t change the behavior, a written warning is the next step in a progressive discipline plan. In this case, the supervisor will meet with the employee to discuss the behavior and desired course of corrective action, but also provide a written statement covering the issue. This statement should be signed by the employee and kept in his or her employee file. In some cases, supervisors will opt to make more than one written warning before moving on the next step.
  3. Performance Improvement Plan. If behavior doesn’t improve after the written warning, the third step is generally a performance improvement plan. In some cases, this also includes a suspension from work. The PIP outlines the issue and the corrective action taken thus far, and presents a plan for corrective action, which could include increased supervision, more training, fewer privileges, or any combination thereof. Most PIPs cover a 30-, 60-, or 90-day period and allow for additional actions should the behaviors recur or other problems arise.
  4. Termination. The final step in a progressive discipline plan. If the employee has failed to comply with the terms of the previous steps, then termination may be the only option.

Again, not all offenses can be handled appropriately with a progressive approach to discipline, and some — such as violence or theft — may warrant immediate termination. However, by maintaining a progressive discipline policy, you can handle discipline problems fairly and consistently, and keep your employees happy in the process.

Beat the First Day Blues

by National Peo National Peo No Comments

Beat the First Day Blues: How to Make a New Employee’s First Day the Best It Can Be

Employee's first day of workThe first day of any new job is often nerve-wracking and overwhelming, no matter what your position in the company may be. Not only is it time to show off all of the skills that got you the job in the first place, you also have to meet the whole team, fill out reams of paperwork, and figure out where the bathroom is located.

As an employer, you can make the onboarding process go more smoothly and help a new employee feel more welcome — and start on the right foot — if you do a few important things on the first day of work. Instead of showing a new team member to his or her cubicle and dropping a pile of file folders on the desk, take some time to get him or her comfortable and off to a good start. After going to all of the trouble to find and hire the perfect candidate, you don’t want to make him or her feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable from the start.

Prepare Ahead of Time

Before your new employee arrives to work, run through his or her workspace to ensure that everything is in place before day one. That means making sure that there is a clean desk and chair, that all evidence of previous employees has been removed, and that the tools and equipment necessary to be productive are all in place. Would you want to have to track down a stapler and some pens on your first day? It’s also thoughtful to put together a small welcome gift of company swag for new employees. A coffee mug or tote bag is a nice way to help the employee feel welcome and part of the team.

Use the Buddy System

New employees shouldn’t be left to fend for themselves on their first day, or have to track down others to find out what to do next. Pair new employees with others from the team to help show them the ropes; several people can takes shifts throughout the day to avoid overburdening one person. Make sure that at least one person is available to take the new employee to lunch; all the better if the boss can join as well.

Ease the Paperwork Burden

Most people expect to spend the better part of their first day on the job filling out endless forms. While it’s important for HR to check certain documents to ensure eligibility for work, many forms can be taken care of via a paperless system, or given to the employee to fill out at home either before or after the first day. Not only will that save time, it will also allow the new employee to more thoroughly review the options and make better choices.

Provide Training

Inevitably, there will be equipment, a process, or a procedure that the new employee is unfamiliar with. Before his or her first day, prepare a checklist of the areas that the employee will need to be trained in, and determine who will provide the training and when. You might not get to everything on the first day, but be sure to cover the top priorities so that the employee won’t be stymied if they need to handle something unfamiliar. If you have to spread training out over several days, create a schedule — and stick to it — so nothing is overlooked.

Incorporate Some Work Time

While most first days include a lot of orientation, familiarization, and introductions, there are bound to be times when other team members have to get work done, or there might be occasions when the newbie will finish something faster than expected. It’s a good idea to have a few small assignments prepared so that he or she can start wading into their actual work and feel like a part of the team. Ask your existing team members to prepare summaries of projects that are in process and share copies of notes, directives, already completed work, and other materials that will help a new person get up to speed quickly.

Employee's first day on the jobConduct a Postmortem

Schedule some time at the end of the day to have a wrap-up and first day postmortem with your new employee to get a sense of how the day went, and to outline the rest of the first week and what he or she should expect.

Encourage the new person to jot down questions or concerns throughout the day that you can address during this meeting. Go over any questions or issues the new employee might have and ask whether the employee needs anything for the next day or going forward that will ease their transition into your company. Reiterate that you are glad to have him or her on the team, setting the tone for a productive relationship going forward.

While most employees expect that the first day of work will be a whirlwind of introductions, paperwork, and getting settled, as an employer, you can make the first day a reflection of the employment experience and set the tone for the employee experience going forward.  When you do, you increase the likelihood of a seamless transition and a happy, more productive employee.