Sunday, July 31, 2016

Would Gender Quotas Help Us or Hurt Us in our Quest for Equality?

Created by Kimberly Kline, API

As women, we are still on our 
quest for equality.  

Whether that means equal pay for equal work or wanting a level playing field when it comes to getting a job or promotion, women continue the fight.

And there is no doubt that the road to gender equality is a slow one.  It is a sad fact, but we are still fighting for some of the same rights we were asking for years ago.  This leaves many of us feeling frustrated.

But there has been progress.

Over time, we have seen a gradual closing of the gender pay gap.  And currently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is on a mission to close it even further.  

But that only addresses equal pay.  

It does little for advancing the cause of helping women rise in the ranks.

Other countries have looked to bring more women into leadership positions by enacting gender quota laws.  Their goal is to make women more present in both the political arena and on corporate boards.

But when it comes to women here in the 
United States, 
would Gender Quotas help us or hurt us?

As a country, we have often paid lip service to giving women an equal shot and cracking the “glass ceiling”.  Companies, at least outwardly, say they welcome us in their executive positions.  And many are even actively recruiting women to achieve this goal.

Sadly, the presence of women in the boardroom still lags behind.

At times, this absence is caused by a lack of interest in promoting women or even to true gender bias.  But most often, the real cause is much more subtle.

Employers, without even realizing it, may have a subconscious belief in the stereotypes that hold women back in the workforce.  For example, tradition has it that we are the primary caregivers and responsible for the majority of the family’s day to day needs.  As a result, employers might think we can’t put in the time necessary to excel in higher level positions.


This perception continues.  Because of this, we can be excluded when it comes time to promote. And it can derail our professional progress.

Are Gender Quotas the Way to Get More Women in the Boardroom?  “Tweet This”

So, what can we do to get more women in the boardroom?

Are Gender Quotas the Answer?

Implementing gender quotas indeed would result in more women being hired and promoted.  To comply, companies would have to bring more women into their companies or risk scrutiny and litigation.

And if simply filling a pre-determined number of leadership and lower level positions with women were our goal, then gender quotas would be a success.  

Created by Kimberly Kline, API

But, does that really further our true cause?

Instead, I believe that if quotas are enacted, every time a woman is hired or promoted, it puts in question “why”.  Was it simply to meet that quota or because we were really the best person for the job? 

This immediately puts women at a disadvantage and surrounds our hire with suspicion (much as it does with race based quotas).  Instead of helping us, this perception hurts us.

And if our ultimate goal is the equal treatment of men and women in the workplace, then quotas may actually end up dividing us more.  

Quotas actually go against our belief in 
equal opportunity.

Women candidates would suddenly be favored over male candidates, even if we are less qualified.

This does nothing but make others resentful and encourage the belief that our hire or promotion was not justified.

Some may argue that despite the division and resentment that gender quotas would create, that “the ends justify the means”.  

That by forcing more women in the door, we are at least a step closer to getting them to the executive suite.  And once we get there, we can pay it forward and help other women succeed.

I think this is an error in thinking.

Ultimately, if a company is forced to hire us, even if they feel other candidates are more qualified, then we lose.

And the reason is the word “force”!  When anything is forced upon people, there is a tendency to resist, and a feeling of resentment builds.

Instead, when women succeed in business based on our merit and skill, we all, companies as well as women, benefit.  Here we are not being promoted simply because we are women, but because we have earned it.

This is critical if our quest is for women and men to be truly equal in and out of the workplace.

Created by Kimberly Kline, API

Of course there will still be employers who are biased.  They will continue to hire us less frequently, or will deny us the promotion, simply because we are women.

That is where stronger enforcement of existing anti-discrimination laws should step in.

The Fair Credit Reporting Agency (FCRA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) already have guidelines in place that prohibit discrimination in hiring.  Denying employment, or eliminating from promotion, any person based on their race, religion, age, sexual orientation, or gender is illegal.

And these laws continue to be expanded and suits filed against companies who do not comply.  

It is active, persistent, and strong enforcement of these hiring laws, and not gender quotas, that will encourage the hiring and promotion of women.

Ultimately, this is what I believe:

  • I believe that women deserve to be treated equal to men, in all facets of society.

  • I believe that companies benefit from having a diverse workforce.

  • I believe in equal pay for equal work.  

This is a cause we can’t abandon.  

There should never be an instance where women doing the same job as men, and with the same qualifications, is paid less. 

Learn more in “Discrimination ~ Gender Bias Keeps Us from Earning What We are Worth”!

  • I believe in the stringent adherence to all anti-discrimination hiring laws.

  • And, most importantly, I believe Women are Strongest when We Band Together.

We need to present a united front and put aside the differences that divide us.  We must be ready to help ourselves!  (You can read more about my thoughts on this in “Women in Business ~ My Case for Why We Need to Help Ourselves!”.

These beliefs will never change.

I vow to continue to further the cause for women wherever I can, and to believe that every step we take brings us further towards the equality we truly deserve.

But I don’t believe Gender Quotas are the way to get there.

Share Your thoughts here!  
I would love to hear from you!

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

What You can Do to Help Your Employees Deal with Tragedy

Created by Kimberly Kline, API

Sadly, in this world, tragedies happen.  
From recent events, to ongoing acts of hate across the globe and at home, incidents of violence and terrorism are part of the world we live in.

Whether on a local, national, or world wide scale, they impact us all.

And if they happen within the workplace, or hit close to home for any of your employees, then you need to know how to deal with the aftermath.

It is important that you provide, or help your employees and their families find, the support they need both emotionally and personally. There are even workplace accommodations you may want to consider.

Steps to Help Your Employees Deal with Tragedy “Tweet This”

Developing a plan to help guide you through this emotional time, long before a tragedy strikes, makes good business sense.

Created by Kimberly Kline, API

What You Should Do:

Reach Out
Reach out to your employees.  Offer them support and understanding. Many times simply giving them a chance to come together as a group or share their grief individually can make all the difference. What is important is that your employees know you care and that you sympathize.

Help Your Employees Deal with Their Grief
Your employees can be emotionally impacted or even physically injured by a tragedy or violent episode.  They may experience symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or become debilitated by extreme grief. Because of this, they may be entitled to certain accommodations as outlined in the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA). Make sure these are listed in your plan and that your employees understand how they may pertain to their individual situation. 

Consider Increasing Your Time Off and Leave Policies
To help your employees particularly affected, you may consider expanding your leave of absence policies. This can include extending FMLA leave to your employees whose family members have been victims or otherwise affected by the incident. Taking this step shows you recognize their feelings of grief and loss and want to help them deal with them in a respectful and compassionate way. Being flexible now will not only help your employees heal, but it will also be remembered and appreciated later. 

Give Back and Make a Difference 
When tragedy strikes, people often feel helpless. They search for something, anything, they can possibly do to make some sort of a difference. Empowering them by organizing efforts to help makes sense. You can make a donation or raise funds to help support the victims, their families, and your community. Or you could come together as a group to create your own project. No matter what you choose, finding a way to help will give your employees a chance to make a difference and, most importantly, start to heal. 

While there is not much you can do to prevent acts of terrorism, violence, and evil from happening in the world, you do have some control over what happens in your own workplace. And, as a business owner, this should be one of your top priorities.

That is why you need to be proactive and develop clear policies to deal with Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment, and Violence in your workplace.

Created by Kimberly Kline, API

How To Fight Discrimination, Bullying & Harassment, and Violence in Your Workplace

Fighting discrimination in the workplace begins at the hiring stage. It is never acceptable to deny employment based on race, gender, religion, or any other protected status. The fight continues by prohibiting any type of discrimination against existing employees. 

You need to make sure your employees know that any action taken against another employee because of their race, sex, etc. will not be tolerated. This includes racial slurs, derogatory comments, and any physical actions including touching and, most definitely, assault.

Bullying & Harassment
Despite your employees being adults, it is important that you recognize that Bullying does occur in the workplace. And, if it happens, there can be serious consequences for the victim, you, and your business.

Victims often find themselves experiencing health problems, stress issues, and emotional turmoil. They may even be absent from work more often.  All of these will have an impact on their work performance.  

Bullying and harassment can also have a negative impact on your workplace.  Other employees will feel the stress and tension. They may even be concerned that they will become a victim.

This will all have an overall effect on your business. Lower levels of productivity and a stressful work environment can all cost your company.

Before bullying or harassment become an issue in your workplace, you need to set clear and concise expectations of acceptable behavior within your company.

Screening your employees before making a hire, making your company a Zero Tolerance / Bully Free Zone, and establishing a safe way to report any incidents is key.

Find out more about what you can do to prevent and deal with Bullying and Harassment in your workplace in Dangers to Your Small Business - Workplace Bullies.

Workplace Violence
Incidents of violence in your workplace can have a devastating effect on your entire company ~ but especially on your employees and their families.

Luckily it is not common, but having a plan in place to deal with it in case it does is wise.  

As an employer, it is your obligation to ensure your workplace is as safe as possible. This means doing background checks before you hire, being aware of signs that a problem may be brewing, and knowing how to deal with an act of violence if it does occur.

Of course prevention (as far as is possible) should be your top goal. This includes running not only a criminal court record search on all your potential employees, but also checking with their past employers and references.

You should also develop a comprehensive written policy that specifically deals with workplace violence. It is vital you include language that prohibits any violent behavior and also addresses the consequences if it does occur.

You can learn more about dealing with Violence in the Workplace in Dangers to Your Small Business ~ Violence & Drugs in the Workplace.

The most important thing for you to remember is that you don’t have to be helpless. By taking simple, concrete steps now, even before a tragedy occurs, you will not only will you be helping your employees and their families, you will be protecting your company. 
And that is important for any Business!

We can help you develop a strong employment background check and Security plan 
that fits your Business!

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Ready to Hire? What Your Applicant Needs to Know!

Is Your Hiring Process as Easy and Stress-free as it could be?
Hiring is a stressful proposition ~ both for the employer and the applicant. Employers are concerned about having a good pool of applicants and then finding the right person for the job.

Job seekers are worried about finding the job they really want and need. They question whether anyone will even call them in for an interview, let alone offer them the job.  

While these fears are understandable, there is one additional thing that gives both job seekers and employers angst ~ and that is is the employment background check!

And when it comes to background checks, we believe that knowledge and open communication are the answer to quashing those fears.

Open Background Check Communication Starts with You, the Employer!  "Tweet This"

The best place for this open communication to start is with you, the employer!

You need to be completely up front about the following:
  • What You will Check
  • What You are looking for in the background check 
  • What Factors can Cause Delays in the Background Check 
  • What Errors can be encountered during the entire process 
  • What Rights are afforded to Your Applicant
What You will Check
The best place to start your explanation of the background check process is to discuss what you will be checking, and why.  

The scope of the screening should be something that you decide on long before even advertising your open position. That scope is best when it starts with a well thought out job description.

A good job description will help you determine exactly what skills and experience you need to fill your position. It will also help job seekers know whether  they will be a good fit with your company.

Find out more in “Job Descriptions ~ How to Write One and Why it is Important to Do it Right!”.

Beyond that, your job description will be invaluable in deciding  what you need to include in the background check. The job’s duties will be your guide.

You will need to consider the level of your position (hourly, salary, management), whether your hire will have access to company assets or sensitive data, and if they will they have direct contact with clients, customers, and other employees.

Answering these questions will help you decide on the scope your background check needs!

Find out more in “One Size Does Not Fit All ~ Why You Need to Fit the Background Check to the Job”.  

What You are Looking For
As an employer, it is wise to share with your applicant exactly what you are looking for when it comes to the background check. Knowing this in advance can go a long way towards alleviating their fears.

“This fear often arises out of a lack of understanding about what a background check really entails. Applicants are confused about what will be checked, worried about their privacy being compromised, and don’t know what an employer is really looking for!”; excerpt from “Are You Afraid of Background Checks?  They are Not as Scary as You Think!”.

Possible Delays
While usually the screening process runs smoothly, delays are possible. These road blocks most commonly occur when trying to verify education and employments. Often times the source is either unavailable or is not responding in a timely manner.

However, delays can also happen when it comes time to contact courts for criminal or civil records. Accuracy here is key, and it may be necessary to pull physical records to make sure they truly belong to your applicant.

No matter what the potential cause for delays may be, being proactive and sharing this information with your applicant makes sense.

Learn more in “The Life of a Background Check, Start to Finish” and “The Truth Behind Hiring ~ What Really Goes on When You Apply for a Job”.

Possible Errors
It is also important to explain to your applicant that errors are possible during the screening process.

Common names, court records missing critical identifying information (date of birth, social security number, etc.), identity theft, and records that have not been updated to include the disposition or an expungement are all cause for background check errors.  

Mistakes can also occur due to human error. Court record information can be entered incorrectly. Names, addresses, and other identifying information may be mistyped.  

No matter what the cause, the most important thing is for you to explain this possibility to your applicant upfront. You should then assure them that all care will be taken to be as accurate as possible.

Find out more about potential causes for screening errors in “The Truth Behind Background Checks” and “Background Checks and Online Databases ~ What You Need to Know

Applicant’s Rights
Finally, before you even begin the background check process, it is essential that you explain to your applicant that they have rights.

First and foremost, they have the right to know that a background check will be done. You must then obtain a signed release from your applicant and inform them, in writing, of their rights if negative information is found during the process.

Those rights include providing your applicant a copy of their background check report, along with contact information for the company that provided the report. Your applicant must be given a copy of these rights in writing.

In addition, your applicant has the right to mitigate or deny the negative findings. It is required that you assess this additional information before making your final hiring decision. The best way to accomplish this is through Individualized Assessments.

“Individualized Assessments are used when the background check on your applicant uncovers a criminal past that may keep you from hiring them. And when this happens, there are specific steps you must follow to be compliant with EEOC guidelines.”  

Find out more in “Individualized Assessments ~ What They are and Why You Need to Use Them in Your Small Business”!

Preparing your applicants for the Hiring and Background Check process will go a long way towards creating a positive first impression about You and Your Company.
It will also make hiring the best candidate much smoother…and isn’t that your ultimate goal?

Need Help Hiring in Your Small Business? Contact UsWe will guide you in creating a Hiring Policy that works for You!

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Are You Afraid of Background Checks? They are Not as Scary as You Think!

"Background Checks are Great, but I don’t want one done on me!!!".
This is something we hear quite often.

You want companies to do background checks. You want employees who work in schools and in hospitals screened. You want people who work in our homes and in our communities checked. You believe screening employees makes a workplace safer.

But when it comes to having one done on you, the need for a background check suddenly doesn’t seem so clear!

Background Checks are Not as Scary as You Think!  “Tweet This”

Getting an employment background check done should not be a scary proposition!

This fear often arises out of a lack of understanding about what a background check really entails. Applicants are confused about what will be checked, worried about their privacy being compromised, and don’t know what an employer is really looking for!

When it comes to background checks, we believe that knowledge and open communication are the answer to quashing those fears.

First off, all applicants need to know that once you get to the background check stage, the employer WANTS to HIRE YOU!

By that time, they have put in time, money, and energy to advertise the position, wade through resumes, and interview, often multiple times, interesting prospects.

Only then will they make you a conditional offer of employment and proceed with the background check.

Employers do not just assume that you have a dangerous criminal record or that you have lied on your resume. In fact, it is just the opposite. A background check is simply the final step to ensure they are making the right decision”; excerpt from my article “Surprise ~ Doing a Background Check Means They Want to Hire You!”.

Another concern you may have about background checks is that they feel like an invasion of privacy. This could not be further from the truth!

There are laws and guidelines that govern the use of background checks to make a hiring decision. These must be followed by all employers.

It is first important to understand that no legitimate employment background check can be done without your full, informed consent. This requires a signed release. Second, you must be notified, in writing, of your rights when it comes to the results of the background check. And finally, if negative information is found, you have the right to mitigate or deny the findings.

Employers are also required to handle your personal and private information in a secure manner. This means having a sound record protection policy.

Learn more about Background Checks and Privacy issues in “Do You Believe Background Checks are an Invasion of Your Privacy?”.

Employers also bear part of the responsibility in alleviating their applicant’s fears about background checks.
It is up to you to put them at ease. The perfect start is for you to be completely up front about what you are checking for and why!

Be clear about the entire process. Explain the steps you will take, the scope of the check, and even the expected time frame until completion. 

For a reference to what companies screen for and the reason behind it, please check out “Background Checks ~ What Companies are Really Looking For!”.

It is also important that you don’t forget to explain the possibility of delays and why they occur. Slow response time, checking physical court records, and many other things can lengthen the process. Your applicants need to understand this. The best thing you, as an employer, can do is to keep them in the loop.

Eliminating the fear of employment background checks takes a team effort. Both applicants and employers need to do their part. Job seekers should educate themselves and Employers need to be open and communicative about the entire process. Only then will both parties find looking for a job and hiring less stressful!
We can help Job Seekers and Small Businesses through the Hiring Process. Find out more by visiting our 

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Ready to Change the World? Then We Need to Remember to Do What is Right!

Created by Kimberly Kline

Here I take a departure from my regular blog topics and share with you something that means a lot to me…..

"We live in a world in which 
we all need to share the responsibility. 
It’s easy to say, It’s not my child, 
not my community, 
not my world, not my problem.  
Then there are those who see the need and respond.  
I consider those people my heroes.”   Fred Rogers

Courtesy of

Do these words strike a chord with you?  They speak to me ~ they speak to my heart and to my soul.

They speak to my most basic need to care about those around me, and to be willing to act on those feelings.

As I write this, I, and many people I know, are gearing up to enjoy a long weekend.  But that is not how it will be for some.

Recent events have brought this home more than ever.

Acts of hate, violence, and tragedy have filled the news.  They have left me reeling.  I am wondering how we can ever move on.

With so much happening around us that generates fear, many of us feel hopeless.  

We must both recognize and embrace the fact that we are all truly a part of one world, one community, and even one family.  And we need to treat each other as such.

To Change the World, We Need to Do What is Right!  “Tweet This”!

That is why taking action and making the changes needed for a better world makes more sense than ever.

Created by Kimberly Kline

We Should all Pledge to ~

Embrace Our Differences

Allow Others to Seek Love and Family in Whatever Way Makes Them Happy

Treat Others with Respect and Kindness

Agree to Disagree - especially when it comes to Politics and Religion

Look out for One Another and Stand Up When We See Them Being Wronged

Harm No One

There are times we may lose sight of what is right.  We allow our fear and distrust to take ahold of us.  And that is when we may find ourselves making bad choices.

But I believe we are all capable of doing better.

Instead, we need to answer our inner call…our gut instinct.  Inside we all know what is right and what is wrong.  We try to teach our children to listen to their conscience.  So why are we losing this as adults?

We need to shake off fear and do what is right.

No matter how we feel about a certain issue, or about how to live our lives, in no way should our beliefs lead us to hate or violence. There is no reason to harm others or treat them as “less than”. 

And when we see those who choose to throw aside their humanity and terrorize others, we need to band together and stand up for our fellow man.  Presenting a united front will quash the few who live in a world of hate and intolerance.  Right will win out in the end.

I know this may seem idealistic, but what is the alternative?  A world that continues to be dominated by fear, distrust, and hate.  Is this what we really want to leave behind?

We need to create a better world for our children, grandchildren, and future generations.  This current path is not one that will result in something I want to be my legacy.

And I believe there are many of you who feel the same.  

While these words from John F. Kennedy address political differences, I believe they really speak to all the differences that divide us.

Courtesy of Benjamin O'Keefe

"Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic Answer, but the right answer.  Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the Future".  John F. Kennedy

Instead of doing 
what is in only our own best interests, 
we need to all stand up and 
Do What is Right!

Please share your thoughts.  I would love to hear from you!

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My usual focus is on Small Business Hiring and Blogging.
Please visit my About Me  and Services pages to find out more about what drives me!