Interview Tips – Employer

Interview Tips

Interview Tips

We at GuruLink know just how critical it is to develop effective interviews that allow you to accurately assess talent, and bring on the right type of candidates for your teams. It is for this reason that we pride ourselves on providing our clients with Candidates that have been thoroughly screened.

Please review our various articles before your next interview:

Our screening methods are designed to be exceptional in measuring the degree of breadth and depth of knowledge a candidate has. We have long understood that each organization, candidate, and role being interviewed for is unique.

The interview we decide to use is determined with you after having met to discuss the exact details of the role(s) in question and to get to know you and your organization more intimately. Tailoring the interview is only done after we have confidentially identified together exactly what your needs, objectives, goals, hiring budgets, hiring metrics, existing hiring procedures, and office dynamics are.

As mentioned in the Services section, our goal is to eliminate as much effort as possible from your existing recruiting process. To do so we must be on the same page. Being on the same page requires understanding specifically what your goals are and what the prospective candidate will need to offer professionally and personally in order to contribute effectively to those goals. It should be clear by now that our assessment procedure is quite thorough.  We go beyond simply asking you what position you are looking to fill.

Our experience, combined with specific assessments, allows us to compile the most effective screening interview to be implemented on your behalf with applicants that have been identified by the consultants of GuruLink as strong candidates. At the end of the day, we realize that it may not be entirely realistic to assume we can completely remove your recruiting process. The final say regarding the hiring of a candidate will, in all likelihood, come from the hiring manager or project manager.   For this reason, we have compiled valuable interview tips to guide you thorough the hiring process.

Interviews can be a daunting experience, not only for the candidate but also for the people doing the hiring. We appreciate this, and want to help make the process as effortless as possible for you. As your relationship grows with GuruLink you will find that this section will come in very handy for the rare occasions where you feel you need to perform a final interview.

Hire The Right Candidate

Here are some tips to help you make better hiring decisions and improve your recruitment process:

  • Make sure you have a written job profile and make sure the qualifications and requirements accurately predict future job performance. It is much better to describe how skills will be applied in the job than just listing skills. Top performers are interested in the challenges of a job and the opportunity for growth.
  • Don’t rely too heavily on automatic resume filtering based on skills or years experience, at the very least do not present these too early in the application process. It can leave out the best candidates.
  • Make sure to sell the job, your company, and the opportunity for growth throughout the interview process.  The candidate will walk away with a positive image of your company and make it that much easier to close them at the end of the process.  Even if you don’t want to hire them you want them to walk away wanting to work for you.
  • Make sure that job profiles are not just a list of skills.  Be sure to describe day-to-day duties, performance objectives, deliverables, challenges, responsibilities, and accomplishments that are expected of someone in this position.
  • Develop interview guides, standard interview questions, and procedures for each position so candidates are all evaluated objectively and on the same criteria.
  • Make use of panel interviews – this ensures you don’t ask the same questions over and over, saves time and makes sure all people are evaluating the same responses to the same questions.
  • Make sure during the interview you do not focus too heavily on skills but rather the practical application of those skills.  Focus on the candidates major career/job accomplishments.
  • There are 4 major things you should try to draw out of a candidate in an interview. First, you want to find out about their past individual accomplishments.  Second, you want to find out about past team accomplishments. You may want to look for any relations between the two. Thirdly, you want to get examples of prior accomplishments that are similar to the performance objectives set out for the position the candidate is being interviewed for.  The fourth and final thing, is how the candidate would go about accomplishing the major performance objectives of that job.  This will assist you in weeding out candidates who may interview well but are not, in reality, top performers.
  • Have candidates describe a few major accomplishments throughout their career. Make sure to find out the “who, what, where, when, why and how’s”.  (i.e. describe accomplishments, company they worked for, results achieved including numbers and facts, how long the project was and when it took place, the importance of this accomplishment to the corporation, their title and role, team size, major challenges, examples of leadership, initiative and decision making, working under pressure, technical skills required, actual role played, mistakes made, was project on budget and on time, dealing with conflicts, etc.)
  • Another great question to ask is, “If you were hired to do this job, what steps would you take to solve [state major/common problem]?”
  • Use a variety of different types of questions including behavioural, situational, and technical questions.  Make sure to ask how the candidate may react to certain situations that may arise if they are hired for this position.
  • Train hiring managers and other people who will be conducting interviews on effective interviewing techniques.
  • Don’t limit your sources for good employees.
  • Review your best employees in each position to see if their qualifications match that current job description. If not, then make the necessary revisions.
  • Analyze current employees and create job profiles and benchmarks to indicate future job performance requirements.
  • Leverage your employee referrals by developing an effective and rewarding Employee Referral Program.
  • Avoid hiring someone who averages more than one employer every two years.
  • Always promote from within to maintain employee morale before going externally.
  • A person with an extensive contracting background is very likely to go back to self-employment when the economy permits. Hire this person as a consultant.
  • Use a temporary employment agency instead of hiring an employee to assure that you do need this person on a permanent basis.
  • “Over qualified” people are always better than “under qualified” people.
  • If possible, have the person exiting the position meet with their potential replacement.
  • Assess a potential employee’s energy levels.  If you engage in more than one interview, try to do it at different times of the day.
  • Look into any significant gaps in applicant’s employment history.
  • Consider using outside recruitment agencies if you do not have the resources to follow a thorough hiring process.
  • Use pre-employment surveys.
  • Verify an applicant’s background and all references thoroughly.
  • Know the terms of employment.
  • Test the skills and industry knowledge of a prospective employee. Get specific.

Traditional Interview Questions 

Interviewing can be as stressful an experience for employers as it is for applicants, especially if you do not hire on a regular basis.  For this reason, we have compiled a list of traditional generic questions that may have slipped your mind.

  • Could you please tell me about yourself?
  • How can you help us to grow? Why should I hire you?
  • What are your expectations from us?
  • What are your goals, both short-term and long-term? How will you establish them?
  • How did you learn about our organization? What made you apply for this position?
  • What would you consider are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • What qualities would look for if you were in charge of hiring new employees?
  • Are you willing to take courses?
  • How do you work under pressure? Give examples from your previous jobs?
  • Where do you see yourself in 2 years? What about 5-10 years from now?
  • In what ways do you think you could make a valuable contribution to our company?
  • What things about a job give you the most satisfaction?
  • Tell me about an accomplishment that you are proud of.
  • Describe your ideal job.
  • What have you learned from your mistakes?
  • What is your biggest frustration with your current or most recent position?
  • Why did you leave your last position or why are you looking to leave?
  • How would you like your next position to be different?
  • How do you get along with your current supervisor?
  • Tell me about a conflict you had with someone in your work environment and how you dealt with it.
  • How do you spend your time at work?
  • How has your college experience prepared you for your career? (If applicable)
  • What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
  • Why did you choose the career you are preparing for?
  • What qualifications do you have that make you think you will be successful?
  • What do you REALLY want to do in life?
  • What do you think it takes to be successful in an organization like ours?
  • How would you define the word “success”?
  • Do you have a geographical preference? Are you willing to relocate? Travel?
  • What criteria are you using to evaluate the company you hope to work for?
  • Why have you been out of work for so long?
  • Who do you admire?

Performance Management

Do you have a performance improvement department or training department?

Just a few years ago, an organization’s competitive advantage was measured in terms of physical capital. Today, organizations with the best talent, ability to access information, and ongoing performance improvement programs have the best opportunity for success.

This has shifted interest toward measuring performance improvement instead of just training.  For example, when British Petroleum, a major international oil company, used performance improvement methods they increased their profits by $30 million per oil well.  In the past, when drilling workers would discover new process that improved efficiency that information was never shared beyond the single drilling team.   British Petroleum took all the tacit knowledge found amongst the different drilling teams and created a culture of shared knowledge and performance improvement measurements.

Demand for performance improvement is increasing exponentially and many organizations are now renaming their training departments and holding trainers responsible for performance improvement results. Below are best practices in getting higher productivity for the training dollars.

Performance Improvement Strategies Used by Top Organizations are to:

 

  • Align skill development with organizational objectives.
  • Beware of the “Can’t see the trees for the forest” training syndrome.
  • Extend accessibility and training reach with e-Learning.
  • Make recruiters and trainers business partners in employee selection, training, and outplacement.
  • Use mentoring and coaching is a catalyst to performance improvement.

 

 

Behavioural Interview Questions

Many of you are moving away from a resume-driven style of interviewing to a behavioural format. The behavioural interview is very probing in nature and is based on the concept that a candidate’s past behaviour and attitude will be predictable measure of future behaviour. Navigating these interviews successfully requires that the candidate know themselves very well. You can detect whether or not they are prepared for this quite promptly.

Your goal is to assess:

  • Why the candidate made the decisions they have made that have brought them to this point in their lives?
  • How they explain and defend their decisions?

 

Questions that you might consider asking are as follows:

  • How have you demonstrated initiative?
  • How have you motivated yourself to complete an assignment or task that you did not want to do?
  • Think about a difficult boss, professor or other person and what made him/her difficult? How did you successfully interact with this person?
  • Think about a complex project or assignment that you have been assigned. What approach did you take to complete it?
  • Tell me about the riskiest decision that you have made.
  • Can you tell me about an occasion where you needed to work with a group to get a job done?
  • Describe when you were in danger of missing a deadline. What did you do?
  • Tell me about a time when you worked with a person who did things very differently from you. How did you get the job done?
  • Describe your three greatest accomplishments to date.
  • Tell me about a situation when you had to learn something new in a short time. How did you proceed?
  • Can you tell me about a complex problem that you solved? Describe the process you utilized.
  • Tell me about a challenge that you successfully met.
  • Walk me through a situation where you had to do research and analyze the results.
  • What leadership positions have you held? Describe your leadership style.
  • What new ideas have you generated while at school or at work?
  • Describe a situation where you successfully persuaded others to do something or to see your point of view.
  • Give an example of when your persistence payed off.
  • Describe a situation where class assignments, work, or personal activities conflicted. How did you prioritize? How did you manage your time? What was the outcome?
  • How have you most constructively dealt with disappointment and turned it into a learning experience?

 

How Everyone Wins at Salary Negotiations

About the Author: Tom Wood is the founder and President of Watershed Associates, a Washington D.C. based consulting firm specializing in negotiations and negotiation training.  He is the coauthor of the workshop series Best Negotiating Practices.

It’s a long process, this business of recruiting, interviewing and selecting a candidate for a position in your company. But eventually, you will reach the point where you’re ready to make an offer; the candidate has indicated that he or she will likely say “yes.” And now the fun begins.

If you commence salary negotiations the way most hiring managers do, you focus on a pay range that’s available for that particular position, and open discussions at the low end. The rationale here is that it gives the employee room for advancement without necessarily needing an actual promotion. But, in truth, your marching order really is, “Get the most employee for the least amount of money.” And, if the employee isn’t a savvy negotiator, so the reasoning goes, well, so much the better for the company. But if the employee demands more, again so the reasoning goes, it gives the company some insight into how demanding that employee might be in the future. And, if that employee is really demanding, talks just might break down.

“In this tight labour market, the deal is really yours to lose.” So what do you stand to gain out of this old negotiations model? The savings of a few thousand dollars, which amortized over the course of a salary year, doesn’t really add up to much. What do you stand to lose? Rare, hard-won talent could slip through your fingers, and worse, perhaps you will lose that candidate to your competitor. But even though both of you might be equally interested in the other, in this tight labour market, the deal is really yours to lose. So here’s where negotiating becomes a selling tool for you.

This is the time when the candidate is putting the company to the test for the first time. How flexible ARE you really? How invested ARE you really in the employee’s future? How good a listener IS the company really? How committed IS the company to the principle that employees are its greatest asset? In some ways, the outcome isn’t nearly as important as the process. The WAY you negotiate — not so much the final deal — is going to determine whether that person is going to take the job.

Before dollar signs start swimming in front of your eyes, it’s helpful to understand that meeting an employee’s “demands” does not necessarily break the bank. Negotiable terms can include not only salary, but also benefits, the working environment, amount of flexibility the employee might enjoy.

Here are some tips for helping you achieve world-class negotiations and land the job candidates of your dreams:

  • Do leave room to negotiate, start low but be reasonable. Unreasonably low-balling a salary offer could stop the conversation before it really starts.
  • Avoid single-issue negotiations. A single issue, for instance, is salary. But perhaps there are other motivating factors for your candidates: Do they like to travel? Are they committed to continuing education? Is high visibility important to them? Tuition reimbursement, leave without pay, paid conference attendance can all be folded into a final employment deal.
  • Never devalue your product.  In this case, the position being negotiated. Emphasize the future potential for growth and continuing employability.
  • If a low salary is absolutely non-negotiable, try to agree to an earlier salary review.
  • If the candidate’s demands are beyond your sphere of influence, remind the candidate that the terms are company policy and that, personally, if you could meet them you would. Continue to reinforce the overall environment and that you are both on the same side. The shared goal: A perfect employment match.

But there’s more flexibility than most of us are aware of in salary negotiations. Here are some of the elements of an agreement that are the most negotiable:

  • salary
  • benefits
  • signing bonuses
  • performance bonuses
  • job responsibilities
  • review
  • profit sharing
  • equipment
  • flex-time
  • tuition, training, education
  • job description
  • severance
  • professional association memberships
  • corporate credit card
  • types of projects

As a hiring manager, you have one of the most creative positions in the company. And the results of your dedication are immediately obvious and measurable.

Where once the final line of the conversation might have been, “Congratulations you’ve got the job,”….. things have changed.  Now you’re now waiting to hear: “Congratulations, I’ll take the job.”

And isn’t that music to your ears?

Talent Management

Talent Management

Job Profile Building Tips

GuruLink has extensive experience in working with a large number of firms from a variety of industries. We know how essential it is to create effective job profiles that put the right type of candidates in front of you. Part of our value added service includes customized training in developing accurate job profiles.

We have developed a number of questions and hints that will guide you in building the right type of Job Profile.

A. Begin by briefly describing the job’s primary purpose or contribution to the department or the organization.

B. List the job’s essential or most important functions and responsibilities. Include all important aspects of the job — whether performed daily, weekly, monthly, or annually, and any that occur at irregular intervals.

C. Are there any supervisory responsibilities?

D. Are there subordinate supervisors reporting to this job? If yes, how many subordinate supervisors report to this job? What are the names of the departments supervised by this job?

E. How many employees, in total, report to the subordinate supervisors? Are there non-supervisory employees who report directly to this job? If yes, how many employees are directly supervised by this job?

F. What is the education and/or experience required? Select the level of education and/or experience needed to successfully accomplish the essential duties of this job.

  • No prior experience or training.
  • Less than high school education; or up to one month related experience or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • High school diploma or general education degree (GED); or one to three months related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • One year certificate from college or technical school; or three to six months related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Associate’s degree (A. A.) or equivalent from two-year college or technical school; or six months to one year related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Bachelor’s degree (B. A.) from four-year college or university; or one to two years related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Fifth year college or university program certificate; or two to four years related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Master’s degree (M. A.) or equivalent; or four to ten years related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Doctoral degree (Ph. D.) or equivalent; or more than 10 years related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.

G. What are the desired language skills? Select the level of language (ability to read, write, and speak needed to successfully accomplish the essential duties of this job):

  • Ability to read a limited number of two- and three-syllable words and to recognize similarities and differences between words and between series of numbers. Ability to print and speak simple sentences.
  • Ability to read and comprehend simple instructions, short correspondence, and memos. Ability to write simple correspondence. Ability to effectively present information in one-on-one and small group situations to customers, clients, and other employees of the organization.
  • Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals. Ability to write routine reports and correspondence. Ability to speak effectively before groups of customers or employees of organization.
  • Ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures, or governmental regulations. Ability to write reports, business correspondence, and procedure manuals. Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, clients, customers, and the general public.
  • Ability to read, analyze, and interpret common scientific and technical journals, financial reports, and legal documents. Ability to respond to common inquiries or complaints from customers, regulatory agencies, or members of the business community. Ability to write speeches and articles for publication that conform to prescribed style and format. Ability to effectively present information to top management, public groups, and/or boards of directors.
  • Ability to read, analyze, and interpret the most complex documents. Ability to respond effectively to the most sensitive inquiries or complaints. Ability to write speeches and articles using original or innovative techniques or style. Ability to make effective and persuasive speeches and presentations on controversial or complex topics to top management, public groups, and/or boards of directors.

H. What are the quantitative skills you desire for this job?

  • Minimum Skills: Ability to add and subtract two digit numbers and to multiply and divide with 10’s and 100’s. Ability to perform these operations using units of American money and weight measurement, volume, and distance.
  • Basic Skills: Ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide in all units of measure, using whole numbers, common fractions, and decimals. Ability to compute rate, ratio, and percent and to draw and interpret bar graphs.
  • Intermediate Skills: Ability to calculate figures and amounts such as discounts, interest, commissions, proportions, percentages, area, circumference, and volume. Ability to apply concepts of basic algebra and geometry.
  • High Skills: Ability to work with mathematical concepts such as probability and statistical inference, and fundamentals of plane and solid geometry and trigonometry. Ability to apply concepts such as fractions, percentages, ratios, and proportions to practical situations.
  • Very High Skills: Ability to apply advanced mathematical concepts such as exponents, logarithms, quadratic equations, and permutations. Ability to apply mathematical operations to such tasks as frequency distribution, determination of test reliability and validity, analysis of variance, correlation techniques, sampling theory, and factor analysis.
  • Highest Skills: Ability to comprehend and apply principles of advanced calculus, modern algebra, and advanced statistical theory. Ability to work with concepts such as limits, rings, quadratic and differential equations, and proofs of theorems.

I. What reasoning skills and abilities are needed to successfully accomplish the essential duties of this job?

  • Minimum Skills: Ability to apply common sense understanding to carry out simple one- or two-step instructions. Ability to deal with standardized situations with only occasional or no variables.
  • Basic Skills: Ability to apply common sense understanding to carry out detailed but uninvolved written or oral instructions. Ability to deal with problems involving a few concrete variables in standardized situations.
  • Intermediate Skills: Ability to apply common sense understanding to carry out instructions furnished in written, oral, or diagram form. Ability to deal with problems involving several concrete variables in standardized situations.
  • High Skills: Ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete variables in situations where only limited standardization exists. Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram, or schedule form.
  • Very High Skills: Ability to define problems, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions. Ability to interpret an extensive variety of technical instructions in mathematical or diagram form and deal with several abstract and concrete variables.
  • Highest Skills: Ability to apply principles of logical or scientific thinking to a wide range of intellectual and practical problems. Ability to deal with nonverbal symbolism (formulas, scientific equations, graphs, musical notes, etc.,) in its most difficult phases. Ability to deal with a variety of abstract and concrete variables.

J. What certification, licenses, or degrees are required to perform the essential duties of this job?

K. What are other skills and abilities?

L. General qualifications?

Introduction to Attendance Management

This document has been reprinted with permission from Benefits Interface Inc. – a federally incorporated Canadian corporation that assists employers in maximizing the value of their employee benefit compensation through creative plan design, cost containment, communication and administration.

The management of attendance is an important aspect of supervision in the workplace. The cost of absenteeism is greater than the direct payment of wages and benefits paid during the absence. Organizations must also consider the indirect cost of staffing, scheduling, re-training, lost productivity, diminished moral, turnover, and opportunity cost.

The indirect costs often exceed the direct cost of absenteeism. Each occurance of absence costs $2,500 in both direct and indirect costs (based on 9 days absent out of 250 working days and an average payroll of $35,000). Effective supervisory efforts in attendance management will affect a relatively small percentage of employees but will generate substantial savings, increased productivity and morale.

Definition of Absenteeism

Absenteeism is referred to herein as failure of employees to report for work when they are scheduled to work. Employees who are away from work on recognized holidays, vacations, approved leaves of absence, or leaves of absence allowed for under the collective agreement provisions would not be included.

The Causes of Absenteeism

The causes of absenteeism are many and include:

  • serious accidents and illness
  • low morale
  • poor working conditions
  • boredom on the job
  • lack of job satisfaction
  • inadequate leadership and poor supervision
  • personal problems (financial, marital, substance abuse, child care, etc.)
  • poor physical fitness
  • transportation problems
  • inadequate nutrition
  • the existence of income protection plans (collective agreement
    provisions which continue income during periods of illness or accident)
  • stress
  • workload
  • employee discontent with a collective bargaining process and/or its results

 

The Cost of Absenteeism

Decrease in Productivity

  • employees may be carrying an extra workload or supporting new or replacement staff
  • employees may be required to train and orientate new or replacement workers
  • staff morale and employee service may suffer

Financial Costs

  • payment of overtime may result
  • cost of self-insured income protection plans must be borne plus the wage costs of replacement employees
  • premium costs may rise for insured plans

Administrative Costs

  • staff time is required to secure replacement employees or to re-assign the remaining employees
  • staff time is required to maintain and control absenteeism

 

Sources of Absenteeism Statistics

A good source of paid sick leave statistics are Labour Reports because of their frequency of issuance . Another source is Workers’ Compensation Board Statistics.

Do You Have An Absenteeism Problem?

Many organizations set aside approximately 3% of budget for absenteeism. This makes an average of about eight (8) days a year per employee.

If absenteeism is above your budgeted figure or certain employees exceed the average in your organization then this could indicate that you have an absenteeism problem. However, even if absenteeism is below your budgeted or average days per year, a problem may still exist for individual employees or for individual departments. A focused effort will likely yield improved attendance.

Trends in Absenteeism

Recent surveys indicate the following trends in absenteeism.

  • The higher the rate of pay and the greater the length of service of the employee, the fewer the absences.
  • As an organization grows, there is a tendency towards higher rates of absenteeism.
  • Women are absent more frequently than men.
  • Single employees are absent more frequently than married employees.
  • Younger employees are absent more frequently than older employees but the latter are absent for longer periods of time.
  • Unionized organizations have higher absenteeism rates than non-union organizations.

 

Understanding Absenteeism

The definition of absenteeism, its causes, its affects on productivity, and its costs in terms of finances and administrative effectiveness are quite clear. What is not as clear is how to take affirmative action to control absenteeism in such a way as not to create mistrust, costly administration and systems avoidance (game players). Traditional methods of absenteeism control based only on disciplinary procedures have proven to be ineffective. It is almost impossible to create a fair disciplinary procedure because even well run disciplinary systems, which treat similar actions in consistently similar ways, are usually seen as unfair. The reason for this is discipline alone usually does not identify or address the root causes of absenteeism.

Every employee who takes time off in defiance of company regulations has reasons, right or wrong, which justify to themselves the legitimacy of their actions. Unless a management attendance program identifies and addresses the causes of employee absenteeism it will be ineffective and unfair. Traditional disciplinary programs alone can, at best, give the illusion of control. It is no secret that there are ways to beat even the best systems. The fear of discipline often only increases the desire to avoid management systems. If absenteeism is to be controlled. The physical and emotional needs of employees must be addressed. In a 1985 study on “Rates of Absence among Nurses” it was found that 50% of absenteeism could be controlled through attending to employees physical and emotional needs.

Purpose of Attendance Management

The purpose of attendance management is to develop a willingness on the part of all our employees to attend work regularly and to assist them in motivating their coworkers to attend work regularly. This can be done through:

  • addressing the physical and emotional needs of our employees
  • communicating the attendance goals of the organization so employees can understand and identify with them
  • dealing with cases of excessive absenteeism effectively and fairly so deterrence can occur

Successful administration of an attendance management program requires managers and supervisors to be aware of and create work environments in which the following can be actualized:

  • The greater the extent to which individuals identify their goals with the goals of the organization and care what happens to it, the greater their motivation to be regular in attendance.
  • The more people find their jobs meaningful to them, the greater their motivation to be regular in attendance.
  • As employees workload increases due to the absence of a co-worker, peer pressure is exerted on the absent co-worker to attend work on a regular basis.
  • The more people like working for the organization the higher their motivation to attend regularly. Recognition of good employee attendance helps improve attendance.
  • Employees will have a lower absence ratio if they feel free to discuss their on-the-job problems with their immediate supervisor.
  • Employees with a low absence ratio have attitudes of confidence and “team” spirit.
  • Low absence ratio employees are found to be more satisfied with their opportunity for promotion and upgrading.

 

Commitment to Attendance

This paper provides the information necessary to begin an effective attendance management program which will yield long term results. This paper is intended to be a guide rather than an instruction manual or policy. To make an attendance management program truly successful, it will require insight into the special dynamics present in your work place. It will require two-way communication, as both the needs of the employees and of management must be met if good attendance is to be achieved. Attendance is the responsibility of the facility management and ultimately the administrators.

Attendance is not an expectation. It is a right of employers to have good attendance. Each and every employee has a contractual obligation to attend work regularly. All levels of management must believe in, be committed to, and communicate their expectations of good attendance. If a specific number of sick days are considered acceptable per employee, at best that will be the result. Employees will live up or down to expectations. Expectations must be clear to both management and employees in order for an attendance management program to get maximum results. Goals must be tangible. Attendance expectations must be clearly communicated and followed.

 

Income Protection

A common misconception about income protection plans is that they are a benefit as are vacations, and as such, should be fully utilized. The truth is income protection plans are an insurance. The sole and only purpose of pay for sick leave is to assist in protecting employees against loss of income in the event of an unavoidable absence due to sickness or a non-work related injury. Use of income protection plans for any other purpose negates their intent and, therefore, is intolerable. Communicating the true intent of income protection plans and our commitment to maintaining this original intent is an essential aspect of attendance management.

Positive Discipline

The following article has been taken with permission from BizMove. Please visit their site for more information on staff management, personal management, or other business management topics.

The word discipline has many negative meanings associated with it. It is quite often used as a synonym for punishment. Yet discipline is also used to refer to the spirit that exists in a successful hockey team where team members consider the needs of the whole as more important than their own.

When employees understand the company rules as well as the objectives, and do everything possible to support them they are exercising positive discipline in a business that creates an atmosphere of mutual trust and common purpose. Any disciplinary program outlines that all of your employees have a clear understanding of exactly what it is that is expected of them. Hence, the need for a concise set of rules and standards must exist that is fair, crystal clear, realistic and communicated at all levels without exception. When the standards and rules are universally understood by all employees, discipline can then be enforced equitably and fairly. A fair set of rules does not need to be more than one page, but will prove essential to the success of a small business. A few guidelines for establishing an environment of positive discipline is as follows:

The rules and standards that must exist are communicated clearly and administered fairly at all levels of the organization without exception.

  • Rules and standards must be fall within reasonable boundaries.
  • Rules should be communicated so they are explicitly known and understood by every employee of the organization. An employee manual can help with communicating the given rules.
  • While a rule or a standard is in effect, employees are expected to adhere to it until they are informed otherwise.
  • Even though rules exist, people should know that if a personal problem or a unique situation makes the rule exceptionally harsh, the rule may be modified or an exception would be taken into consideration and, in all likelihood, would be granted.
  • There should be no favorites and privileges should be granted only when they can also be granted to other employees who fall into similar circumstances. This means that it must be possible to explain to other employees, who request a very similar concession with less justification, why the privilege cannot be extended to them in the given situation.
  • Employees must be aware that they can and are encouraged to voice dissatisfaction with any rules or standards they consider unreasonable as well as with working conditions they feel hazardous, discomforting or burdensome.
  • Employees should understand exactly what the consequences of breaking a rule without permission will be. Large companies have disciplinary procedures for minor violations that could easily be applied just as effectively in small companies. They usually require that one or two friendly reminders be given. If the problem continues, there is a formal, verbal warning, then a written warning. If the employee persists in rebelling, there would be an immediate suspension and/or dismissal. In violations of more serious rules, fewer steps would be used. It is not easy to communicate this procedure since it should not be so firm that it can be expressed in writing. If it is made clear to employees who violate a rule at the first reminder, the procedure soon becomes universally understood throughout the organization.
  • There should be an appeals procedure in the event that an employee feels you have made an unfair decision. At the very least, the employee should be aware that you are willing to reconsider your own decision at a later date.
  • To be fair, employees must be consulted when rules are set or changed.
  • Good performance should be recognized, as should reliability and loyalty. From time to time rules are going to be broken by some people regardless of how good your positive disciplinary practices are. In such circumstances, corrective action is sometimes deemed absolutely necessary. In some cases the violation may be so serious that severe penalties are required. If an employee is caught in the act of stealing or deliberately destroying company property, immediate dismissal may be necessary. In all other severe cases, a corrective review and interview is necessary to determine the reasons for the problem and to establish what penalty, if any, is appropriate. Such a procedure should include all, or most, of the following steps:
    • Clearly defining the problem to the employee in question, including an explanation of the rule or procedure that was broken.
    • Permitting the employee to give their perspective of the story. This step will often draw out issues/problems that will need to be resolved to avoid rule violations to occur again in the future.
    • Exploring with the employee what should be done to assure that a recurrence of the problem does not occur again.
    • Coming to a mutual agreement with the employee on what corrective action should be fairly taken.

Communicating with Your Employees

The following has been taken with permission from BizMove. Please visit their site for more information on staff management, personal management, or other business management related topics.

As the manager of a small business you not only have the day-today responsibilities of operating the business, but also the responsibility to establish and administer the disciplinary procedure and to effectively handle grievances and complaints. Your actions are the major factor in determining the human relations climate in your firm. Communication provides the “key” to successfully meeting these responsibilities. Large corporations recognize this responsibility and use many different media to assure that employees understand, and are kept informed of all matters of interest to them. Small businesses often fail to recognize this need, even though, when compared to large organizations, they have a distinct advantage. It is certainly much easier to communicate with 5, 10, or 100 employees, than with thousands. Yet, in spite of their advantage, many small companies have poor and inadequate communication with their employees.

Part of the problem lies in recognizing what your employees need to know about the work they’re doing, and the company itself, and part of it is that owner/managers often believe that they do keep employees informed. The more employees know, the more they feel part of the company.

There are many things on which employees should receive information, either regularly or when the occasion arises. These include:

  • vacation plans
  • holiday plans
  • benefits
  • overtime and other special work schedules
  • any plans about changes in the work or work environment such as: new products and services, & moves of furniture or work places

In addition, it is desirable to keep employees informed about matters affecting the company:

  • how it is doing, and where it is going
  • improvements in company operation
  • laws or regulations affecting company operations
  • new contracts
  • new product plans

Employees want to know most everything about their company, and more importantly, matters affecting them; keeping them informed, therefore, satisfies an important need. There are two channels of communications through which employees obtain information:

  • The informal communications network which includes any conversations you have with individual employees or small groups of employees. The informal network also includes the rumors which spring up when there is concern about something but no direct information.
  • The formal communications network includes such methods or procedures as:

a. Any regular meetings you (or your supervisors) may hold with employees to brief them on matters of interest and to discuss anything of concern to the company or to them, including problems with production, standards or rules, as well as any concerns they may have. Such meetings provide considerable feelings of belonging to employees and bring many suggestions on how specific projects, as well as overall operations can be improved.

b. A small employee manual, which proves useful in the orientation of a new employee to your company, but also serves as a reference on policy benefits, important rules, safety programs and procedures for handling grievances.

c. An organized bulletin board with current information. Notices of holidays, changes of shift or work schedules, new policies, emergency telephone numbers and any other information that would prove of interest to employees, can be posted on such a bulletin board. Notice of personal information regarding your employees – congratulations on birthdays, births, marriages – can also be posted.

d. Posters promoting safety, health, and good housekeeping procedures can also add to a good communication climate as long as they are kept clean and neat, and changed regularly.

Dealing with Employee Grievances

The following has been taken with permission from BizMove. Please visit their site if you are interested in finding more information on staff management, personal management, or other business management related topics.

When discipline is based heavily on enforcement, complaints will inevitably arise from too rigid adherence to rules or from excessive penalties for violations. But discipline related problems are not the most frequent sources of grievances. Dissatisfactions leading to grievances can come from almost anywhere.

Complaints about discrimination and favoritism in work assignments, work standards, or physical working conditions are frequent sources of grievances. It is important to remember, though, that anything about which an employee is dissatisfied can lead to a serious grievance. Grievances need not necessarily be based on real problems; they can be the result of misunderstandings.

If a positive climate exists, in which there is considerable trust between employees and manager, dissatisfaction rarely turns into grievances.

Even in the best environment though, the people who work for you will occasionally feel unhappy about something. They may not get paid on time, or may feel that the room is too hot, too cold, drafty or too dark. They may feel that they deserve a merit increase, or you may have hurt their feelings inadvertently. When this happens; good personnel policies require that employees know how they can express their dissatisfaction and obtain some consideration.

A written grievance procedure, known to employees, can be very helpful in creating a positive atmosphere. It informs employees how they can obtain a hearing on their problems and it assures that you, the owner/manager, become aware that the problem exists. When employees know that someone will listen to them, grievances are less serious and hearing a complaint carefully often is half the job of resolving it.

A good grievance procedure begins with the manager making it a point to be actively looking for signs of possible sources of dissatisfaction, and by noticing changes in employee behavior which signal that a problem may exist. This often makes it possible to handle a situation when it is still easy to resolve. Positive and effective grievance prevention requires, besides the positive discipline steps discussed previously in this section, a few steps which will assure that the best possible solution to the problem is found. Such steps could include:

1. Discussion, on a one-to-one basis between the employee and you, or if there is a supervisor, with him or her.

Often misunderstandings are cleared up at this point and that ends the grievance. If more than a misunderstanding is involved, a compromise solution can often be found at this point.

There are a number of steps which you, or your supervisor, should follow to assure the best results from such a discussion:

  • Make sure that the employee is comfortable and that your conversation will not be disturbed. An atmosphere of concern and trust is necessary and these precautions can help to start the discussion on a positive note.
  • Listen to the employee attentively and hear him or her out. This will help you more clearly understand the entire problem, not only the immediate cause of the dissatisfaction. There is often more than one thing which disturbs an employee and contributes to the problem.
  • Explain how you see the situation.
  • When all the facts are known, try to come to some mutual understanding or workable compromise. If that is impossible, suggest that you will think about the situation and that the employee should do the same thing. Set a specific date when you will let the employee know what it is that you can, and will do.
  • Follow up on the situation. Make certain that you carry through on all aspects of your decision. If you promised to review something, or to have something fixed, be sure that these really happen. Otherwise employees will not feel that you are sincere with them when you discuss their complaints and dissatisfactions with them.

2. If disagreement continues, employees should be aware that they can bring the subject up again for further discussion or that they can take it to the owner/manager if their initial discussion was with a supervisor.

3. Some small businesses use the managers of neighboring businesses to serve as mediators in such disputes.

If that is done, the business owners agree to help each other in such situations. The “mediator” talks independently to employee and owner and thus brings an impartial point of view to the situation. A competent mediator can make both sides see the situation clearer, and it is therefore more likely that a mutually satisfactory solution can be found. If a mediator is used, his or her role should be clarified; that function is to explore and seek various possible solutions that might be acceptable to both sides, not to suggest specific solutions.

This guide has presented ways to implement a grievance procedure in a small business. There are several positive results of a good grievance procedure:

  • Providing relief for any negative feelings of employees, before these feelings are released in non-constructive ways – being late, not reporting for work, etc.
  • Restoring employee morale by clearing misunderstandings and improving working conditions.
  • Notifying management of any dissatisfactions at an early stage.

Maintaining Consistent Policies To Control Internet Abuse

Abuse of the Internet at work can be prevented by defining what activities are deemed abusive. At this point, management must establish policies governing employee use of the Internet and e-mail that will not sway for any persons at any time.

Some managers consider personal use of the Internet to be employee theft. They are rightfully concerned about lost work time, use of corporate equipment and software to run other (perhaps competing) businesses, and potential legal liabilities if employees engage in illegal activities. Meanwhile, there are managers who take a more liberal view, considering personal Internet use to be productive play. In their companies, productivity is measured more by outcomes and trust rather than how each minute is spent.

Many people in the field of information systems do not view personal use of the Internet as theft and are quite upset that others would. Senior management certainly has the option of banning all employees from having personal use of the Internet during work hours. However, policing this policy could be a daunting task, especially since the senior management might want to make personal use of company equipment and time to surf the Internet.

If senior management decides to permit limited personal use of the Internet, they should have a policy-making meeting that involves tech managers, human resources managers and representatives of different levels of employees. At this, point a number of factors will have to be measured: The number of hours employees typically work, including the work environment, the various legal implications of personal Internet use, the need for creativity in some jobs, the stress level of the workplace, and the organizational structure. The level of access that is allowed to employees would be determined at this meeting.

Senior management should consider some sort of compromise in determining the personal use of the Internet. Whatever is decided must be clearly communicated to all the employees. Disciplinary actions that will be taken if employees violate the policies must also be clearly defined and communicated.

Employee Well-Being

Imagine one member of your staff is totally overworked, gets emotionally stressed out and sometimes ends up with migraine headaches. She is the only person working on a large project. She had complained to her former manager about her situation, and the manager’s response was that she was “fine” the way she was.

What does that mean? Does that mean that the manager was happy that she is stressed and sick from trying to complete her daily duties? Or with her not being able to complete her daily duties because there was simply too much to juggle? Customers would not be terribly impressed with this.

If a member of your team trusts you enough to tell you about a job problem, believe them. If they say they are exhausted, overworked, and need a more full-time assistant, consider it. Granted, make sure they can show that people are calling their group complaining that their inquiries are not being addressed in a timely manner.

Anybody looking objectively at the situation would find that this employee has been doing the best she can. What is required of this person simply demands more time than they can allocate to it on any given day. This will in all likelihood mean that they are almost always behind, or working late nights and one day per weekend, just to make due.

It’s your job to fix this. You should at this point:

  • Find an assistant
  • Eliminate their other less important duties and relocate them to another department, allowing them to stay focused on the higher priority project.

If you wait until your employee burns out and quits, you could be left without anyone taking care of this person’s responsibilities. Having nobody around to train the next person is also problematic. Granted, there are the employees who simply love to complain. However, when your staff comes to you with a genuine problem implying that their job satisfaction, if not their personal well being, are on the line, be very certain to pay attention and do something to remedy this.

Employer Resources

Employer Resources

Employer Resources

GuruLink understands that the key to a company’s success is its ability to hire and retain the best staff. We have compiled the following list of resources to aid you in the hiring process, and structure your business and practices to help keep that talent on board.

 

If you are interested in hearing how GuruLink works with you to achieve these goals, please contact a GuruLink Representative.

At GuruLink, our success is directly linked to yours!

 

Organizational Management

Brainstorming New Products or Services

A manager can make the company more valuable by coming up with new products or services that are wholly viable. Ideas might include new software, a web-based supply chain solution, or new customer relationship management solutions. Having come up with some potential ideas, you should perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) Analysis on them.

The results should have you question:

  • Does your company have the capital to undertake this concept? “Yes” would be considered a strength, “no” would mean inadequate resources, and the weakness within your analysis.
  • Can your company round up the human capital necessary to bring this concept to reality? This would include your IT people, your marketing team, and sales representatives who would be responsible for closing deals.
  • Have you thought about how this new product could be executed in the development stage and then distributed when successfully completed? If “yes”, you have a strength, while a “no” would be your weakness.
  • How does your target market perceive your new concept? “Well” or “respected” would be a strength, while “poorly,” “disrespected,” or “unknown” would in all likelihood be weaknesses.
  • Do you have the patent or trade secret advantage over other competitors? “Yes” is clearly a strength, “no” could be taken as a weakness or a threat depending upon whether or not the other company has trade secrets over you. Do you have the latest and hottest necessary technology, systems, and processes to harness in order to make this concept a reality? Again, “Yes” would be a strength, while “no” would be a weakness.
  • Do you, as manager, have the resources to be at the helm of the development of the concept? Do you have someone you can assign to that task? Once again, “yes” is a strength while “no” would be a weakness.
  • How is your success rate in implementing new concepts? “Strong” or “excellent” would be strengths, while “poor” or “abysmal” would be obvious weaknesses.
  • How thinly stretched is your department? We have the time and personnel to perform this service or produce this product – “strength.” Anything else would be a weakness.

 

Payroll & Benefits

 

Life Planning Resources

Life Planning Resources

Life Planning Resources

Providing for your family and future are important concerns. With that in mind we have compiled a list of useful resources relating to things such as what standardized benefit plans consist of, future investments, pensions, accounting concerns, or contracting issues, etc.

If you have any further information that you believe could be of interest to those viewing our site, please feel free to contact us.

News & Research

News & Research

News & Research

In today’s dynamic and fast-paced business environment, keeping up-to-date is so important. Market trends, mergers and acquisitions, new technologies – staying on top of all the activity can feel like a full-time job in itself. We have compiled a list of news resources to help keep you informed and current.

Immigration Resources

Immigration Resources

Immigration Resources

Now, more than ever, cross border employment issues are becoming increasingly complex. Do you want to become a Landed immigrant or Canadian Citizen? Would you like to become a contractor and work in the U.S.? Want to work overseas? Are you an employer looking to hire a new Canadian?

GuruLink can help you find the answers you are searching for.

Please browse our various links and articles:

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