Friday, November 19, 2021

It’s Time to Remember and Give Thanks!

We are Thankful!

The older we get the more we find that with the holidays comes reflection. We remember past celebrations and the people we shared them with. We cherish the present for the chance to get together with family and friends, keep up holiday traditions, and create new ones. And we also find ourselves looking forward to what future holidays hold.

And this Thanksgiving is no different.

We are busily prepping our home to welcome out of town family and planning our dinner that will feature family favorites and some new dishes to try. And despite being exhausting, we are thankful for all of it.

But our gratitude and reflection doesn’t end there. At API, we are also truly thankful for our wonderful clients and our small business friends. 

Without your patronage and support we could not have weathered all the recent uncertainties or been able to run our business for the past 25 years! 

We don’t take your loyalty lightly and we will be forever grateful!

So, from the bottom of our hearts…..We wish you and yours a wonderful holiday filled with hope, happiness, family, and friends.

To all our Small Business friends and followers…..What are you especially thankful for this year? Please share by commenting below! We would love to hear from you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Sunday, November 14, 2021

Why Background Checks are necessary before every Animal Adoption

Want to adopt a pet? Then get ready for the Background Check!

Screening potential adoptive pet parents and foster families is important. While most people that want a pet will be caring and loving to their furry friends, that is not always the case. There are those who will end up harming and neglecting them.

"Every 60 seconds, one animal suffers abuse". Source1

For that reason, many shelters and foster programs require all applicants to undergo background checks before placing any animal.

The goal here is to make sure that they will provide their pet with a safe and nurturing home. So before you decide to foster or adopt, it is best that you are first prepared.

Pet Adoption or Fostering background checks will most likely include the following:

  • criminal and civil court record checks ~ they will be looking for complaints or past instances of animal cruelty, abuse of animals and/or of people
  • employment verification ~ this is checked to determine if the applicant is financially able to take care of their new pet
  • questioning references, neighbors,  and friends
  • determining whether there are children in the home
  • asking about other pets and checking their vet records 
  • asking if any pets have ever died in their care (whether by their hand or not)
  • conducting a home visit or asking questions about the home to determine whether it is suitable for a pet

Less commonly, potential fosters or adoptive pet parents may also be screened on social media or even have their driving records checked.

While some may think these requirements go too far, are too intrusive, and may even be discriminatory, the alternative is potentially placing a pet in an unsuitable or even dangerous home. That is unacceptable.

Background Checks are critical in protecting the safety of adopted or fostered pets!  “Tweet This”

Sadly, many adopted pets are already being returned, abandoned, or even removed from their owners because they could no longer be taken care of or are being harmed.

"Annually, over 10 million animals in the US are abused to death". Source2

To curb this trend, it is vital that we do everything we can to first assure that no animal is ever placed in a dangerous situation where they end up neglected or abused. That is why these animals depend on those working hard to find them a new home to do their best to make sure they will be safe.

Without a background check, that task is difficult. Foster and adoption agencies have no way of knowing who is taking the animal home unless they first do their due diligence.

That is why it is best to err on the side of caution and, despite privacy issues, to screen all potential adoptive or foster pet parents. Our common goal should always be the safety of our furry friends, and background checks are a great way to achieve that goal!

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Source1: 45 Disturbing Animal Abuse Statistics We should Know in 2021

Source2: 33 Heartbreaking Animal Abuse Statistics to be aware of in 2021

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Do You think Skipping the Background Check will help you Hire more Quickly? You should think again!

Companies are competing for New Hires!

Right now, the reality is that job seekers are in the driver’s seat. Many companies are in desperate need of employees to keep their business running, yet oftentimes very few applicants apply.

If you find that your business is facing the "I need to hire but no one is applying" dilemma, instead of throwing in the towel, you need to do this instead ~ take a good hard look at what you and your business are offering!

And it all starts with being honest with yourself about your business……

  • Before the pandemic hit did you have a high employee turnover?
  • Despite your company earning increasing business profits, did your employees’ wages remain stagnant?
  • Did you ignore or refuse to offer incentives such as good benefits and perks to attract and retain good workers? 

If the answers to any of these questions is yes, then the next question becomes….What can you do now?

Learn the steps you can take to find the hires you need here!

Once you have taken a good hard look at what you offer to potential employees, then you need to take the steps necessary to ensure your new hire will be an asset to your business.

The best place to begin is with the Employment Background Check!

While it might be tempting to skip or even rush, your employment background checks due to your need to hire now, that is never a wise course of action.

Screening potential employees is a vital tool in helping you hire safely and effectively. 

Knowing as much as you can about the person you hire into your company simply makes good business sense.

Understanding the skills they bring to the table, whether they are honest, and if they have a criminal record that could jeopardize your company, are all good reasons to screen before you hire.

Still on the fence about the importance of employment background checks? Consider this..... 

A good Employment Background Check will:

  1. Verify whether Your Applicant’s Resume is Truthful
  2. Help You keep a Safer Workplace
  3. Protect Your Company and its Assets
  4. Stay Compliant with Current Federal and State Employment Laws
  5. Protect Your Company from Potential Lawsuits

Learn more in “The Top 5 Reasons You should use Employment Background Checks".

When it comes to employment background checks, it is important that you never go in without a plan. And the Key to it all is to be Proactive, not Reactive, when it comes to hiring for your small business!

The best way to achieve this is to have a sound hiring process in place long before you need it.

When done right, this plan will give you a step by step guide to exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it. It will include the right time to hire, how to hire, and why a good background check is crucial to making a successful hire!

In “Why you need to be Proactive when it comes to Employment Background Checks”, you will learn not only “When” and “How” to hire for your Small Business, you will discover the importance of good job descriptions and choosing the right candidate in the first place!

“When” to Hire for Your Small Business

Understanding “When” to hire is the best place to start.

You should hire when…..your current workforce cannot meet demand, you need a new skill set to grow your company, and you can afford to hire!

Then it is important to outline the steps you will take to make that hire.

“How” to Hire for Your Small Business

When you have determined you are ready to hire, you should then take a look at “how” to hire. The best way to do this is to make sure you have good job descriptions firmly in place before you start your search for the best candidates.

Writing an effective and detailed job description is important. It not only helps you hire the best person for the job, it also protects your company legally.  

The right job description ensures that both your applicants and your existing employees understand what is expected of them. It will also help you, as a manager, to determine whether your employees are meeting the job’s expectations”.

In addition, Your Job Description will:

  • outline the duties and expectations of the position
  • determine your job training goals
  • help you evaluate your employee’s performance

Taking all these steps before you are in dire need of a new hire will set you up for success to the benefit of your company, clients, and existing workforce.

But if you really need to hire NOW, then be sure you make no final decision until you screen your top candidates. It is the absolute best way to get the information you need to make a good hiring decision and keep your business and employees safe in the process.

Contact API today to learn more about Background Checks and how they can help you hire right! And we will work with you to develop an effective plan that keeps in mind your needs and your budget.

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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Ageism in the Workplace ~ Discover Why you need to Hire and Retain Older Workers

Is Your Company Ready to Embrace Older Workers?

Did You Know……

"According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 40 percent of people ages 55 and older were working or actively looking for work in 2014. That number, known as a labor force participation rate, is expected to increase fastest for the oldest segments of the population —most notably, people ages 65 to 74 —through 2024k with an 86% increase in workers  over 75 . In comparison, participation rates for most other age groups in the labor force aren’t projected to change much over 5% in the 2014–24 decade". Source1

What does this surge in older workers and job applicants mean for today’s workplace?

When it comes to hiring and the workplace, companies need to do what they can to be fair and equitable ~ not just in dealing with traditional “protected classes”, but also in how they handle older job applicants and employees once they are part of your workforce.

The question is ~ are your company’s hiring and employment practices up to the task?

Is “Ageism” the new Discrimination? “Tweet This”!

According to recent studies by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and many others, “Age discrimination is alive and well in the digital age, despite 50 years of laws intended to protect older Americans’ right to work. In fact, it’s thriving, with 20,857 such complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2016 alone, AARP states on its website.

A recent study that looked at more than 40,000 job applicant profiles found statistical evidence of age discrimination in hiring—discrimination against both women and men. Older applicants—those 64 to 66 years of age—experience more age discrimination than middle-age applicants ages 49 to 51, while women—especially older women, even those of middle age—experience more age discrimination in hiring than men do, the study indicated.” Source2

Thanks to better healthcare and lifestyle changes, people are living longer than ever before. Many are more active and vital long past their 60s and they want to keep doing what they love ~ and for some, that means continuing to work, or even embarking on a new career!

But instead of being welcomed and encouraged, many are being faced with a subtle roadblock ~ their age is being held against them.

“A new data analysis by ProPublica and the Urban Institute shows more than half of older U.S. workers are pushed out of longtime jobs before they choose to retire, suffering financial damage that is often irreversible.” Source3

And Ageism is worse in some industries more than others.

Over 40% of Tech Workers worry about Ageism

“Not only do employees witness an imbalance in age representation, but it is also causing anxiety among some workers.

Our survey of tech workers found that close to half of respondents (43%) worry about losing their job because of their age. Even more troubling, nearly one 5th (18%) say they worry about it “all the time.”.

It’s there in the cliched but widespread perception that employees need to be young to have a good grasp of the latest technology. And it’s there in startup cultures that push for long hours and low pay, which are hardly friendly to older workers with families. And as firms battle to attract young talent with ever more extravagant perks, they can unintentionally create an environment and culture that excludes older workers".

The fact remains that “retirement” is no longer at 62 or even 65 for a variety of reasons.

Some may find that they simply can’t afford to retire. Lack of pensions, rising healthcare and insurance costs, and increasing taxes all can factor into this decision to keep working.

Others simply love what they do. Their career gives them personal satisfaction and speaks to their desire to stay relevant and productive.

Now it’s time to get employers on board.

Employers Lose when they won’t Hire Older Workers! “Tweet This”

While many companies have anti-discrimination policies in place that include age, it often becomes lost in the day to day. The time is now for employers to Practice what you Preach! 

Your actions, especially when it comes to hiring, must follow the guidelines both in your policy and those that exist within local, county, state, and federal laws.

It is important that you show a strong dedication to hiring for qualifications and fitness for the job no matter the age, sex, race, religion, or sexual orientation of your applicants. 

You can accomplish this by:

  • Using age-inclusive language in your hiring and employment practices, including job postings.
  • Focusing on establishing benefits that take into consideration the wants and needs of your diverse workforce.
  • Creating a welcoming and innovative working environment that encourages collaboration.

“In order to really succeed in creating an innovative and welcoming environment, you (companies) need a mixed workforce. Having both experienced and skilled employees at all levels is key.

Creating an atmosphere where each generation of employees can learn from the other is one that will thrive and prosper. This results in the best of both worlds ~ a marriage between the tried and true and the up and coming.

This type of culture embraces experience while recognizing the benefits of introducing new talent and ideas. It is also the perfect way of establishing a strong company succession plan ~ something that every successful company needs”; excerpt from “Hiring? What You Should Do Now to Attract the New Hires You Need!”.

Do so, and this is what you will gain ~ a diverse group of employees that provide much needed skills, knowledge, and experience to your workplace.

In addition, building a diverse workforce is an amazing way to attract and retain the best hires.

It creates an environment filled with varying ideas, skills, and experience. The key is to get your diverse employees working as a team and sharing their knowledge and skills to better themselves and your company.

A great way to start is to establish a strong Mentoring Program.

Mentoring allows employees of different ages and backgrounds a better chance to know and learn from each other.

“While some businesses already understand the benefits of a strong internal Mentoring program, not all are as yet so savvy".

Business owners would be wise to embrace the idea of Mentoring. It is a great way to “onboard” new hires, especially those who have recently graduated and interns just entering the workforce. It can also be valuable as a way to get existing employees ready for promotion.” 

Establishing mentoring relationships between diverse employees, and that includes different ages, helps spread your employees’ knowledge and skill pool throughout your workforce!

Learn more about the value of Mentoring in your workplace in “Are You Ready to be a Mentor?”.

The fact is, rather than retire at age 65, more older Americans are remaining in or returning to the workforce. Some are continuing to work due to longer life expectancies, health expenses or financial insecurity. Others simply enjoy the social interaction and the fulfillment and sense of identity work provides.

In order to succeed, it is vital that your workplace embrace them. Is your company ready?

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Source 1* Older Workers: Labor Force Trends 

Source 2* Despite Laws intended to Prevent it, Age Discrimination ‘Alive and Well 

Source 3* If You're over 50, Chances are the decision to Leave a Job won't be Yours