Monday, April 24, 2017

Do You Need Laws to tell You to Do What’s Right?

Why Do We have Laws?

Laws provide guidelines for how we should treat each other and the world around us. They are also designed to protect us from those who choose to do harm. 

Sadly, we can’t always count on people doing the right thing. That is why laws are also used to punish those who break them.

But, should we really need laws and regulations to tell us to do what is right?

Many of us recognize the need for doing what is right in our personal lives. Few would argue that, except under the most dire circumstances, it is wrong to kill another human being. As people, we also rally when we see the need to protect those that can’t protect themselves. 

Essentially, we know how we should treat others, and most of us try to live our daily lives this way. 

But when it comes to the laws and regulations that govern our businesses, things can be less clear cut.

Do Your run Your Business by Doing What is Right? “Tweet This”

Every time we elect a new president, or a new justice is appointed to the Supreme Court, laws and regulations that govern our businesses can change. Even voting in new local representatives can make a difference.

Suddenly existing labor laws, regulations, and guidelines may come under fire. Minimum wage laws may change. Guidelines concerning equal pay, workplace accommodations, and even what is considered a “protected class” may fluctuate under a new administration.

But does this mean our businesses 
should follow suit?

There are some laws and guidelines that, to my mind, are simply the right way to do business. They focus on the fair treatment of our employees, from hiring to the workplace, and our impact on the environment.

Currently, many of these laws and regulations focus on employee hiring and background check guidelines, especially for those applicants who have a criminal history. 

The biggest, and often most controversial of these, is “ban the box”.

At its most basic, ‘ban the box’ is the removal of the question or “box” on an application that asks whether the person has a criminal history. The belief is that by disclosing that (a criminal history) early in the application process, many are being automatically rejected”, excerpt from “Background Checks and Ban the Box ~ The Pendulum Swings”.

The EEOC started the ball rolling by enacting guidelines recommending employers ban the box. Many states then followed suit. 

Even if this law didn’t exist, its spirit, giving people a second chance, is often the right thing to do. Along with individual assessments (find out more about them here), recognizing that people people are different, that they have their own unique experiences and stories to tell, is what makes us human. And hiring for our businesses this way makes sense.

Other hiring legislation focuses on discrimination. Hiring those of different races and genders, applicants with disabilities or of different sexual orientations, all currently fall under what is described as “protected classes”.

Existing laws not only govern the hiring of these types of employees, but how we treat them in the workplace. 

Hiring policies that show, or even suggest, employment discrimination against protected groups can result in consequences for your Small Business.

When we hire, we have the power to make a difference in someone’s life. For me, that is reason enough to do everything possible to make sure people are treated fairly.

The problem of Equal Pay and Gender Wage Bias is also addressed in current legislation.

Sadly, what should not be a novel concept, getting equal pay for equal work, is not always the reality. In many industries, women continue to make less than their male counterparts doing the same job.

The ramifications of this impact not only women, but also their families. Learn more in “Discrimination ~ Gender Bias Keeps Us from Earning What We are Worth”. 

The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) and many states have addressed the issue of equal pay. The EEOC pushed for companies to release their pay data in the hopes of identifying those that are guilty of wage bias (when a new administration took office in 2017, this requirement lost steam). 

But some states continue the fight. Laws barring companies from asking salary history, ending pay secrecy, and enforcing “equal pay for equal work”, are all designed to if not eliminate, but lessen, the occurrence of wage bias.

Find out more about these state laws here.  

There are also regulations that address the impact our businesses have on the environment. Manufacturers must lessen the amount of waste produced by their businesses. Chemical run-off into our waterways must fall within acceptable guidelines. Even recycling efforts are encouraged. 

But what if these laws, or ones like them, 
no longer existed? 
What would you do?

The bottom line is, why should we need laws and regulations to force us to run our businesses ethically? 

Shouldn’t we simply want to do what is right?

Choosing to hire as fairly as possible. Striving to achieve a more inclusive and tolerant workplace. Paying our employees the same for doing the same job at the same skill level. All these are not only good business, but are fundamentally right!

How we treat our employees is a strong reflection on us as people, and it speaks volumes about our business. 

Recognizing that our employees matter, that no one is “less than” anyone else, should never come in question.

Creating a welcoming workplace not only helps our employees, but it is good for our business. It will help us attract and keep top talent because word will spread and people will want to work there!

When it comes to our environment, we need to remember that we are all part of one world. Doing what we can now to protect it makes sense.

While presidents, judges, governors, representatives, and administrations 
will change, and laws and regulations 
may come and go, 
doing what is right should not! 

There will always be laws and regulations in place that concern our businesses. They will be designed to shape how we hire, how we run our workplace, and how we impact our world.

But no matter what current dictates require, running your company with a focus on 
treating people fairly, as unique individuals, and caring about our planet, 
is simply right. 
And that is good for everyone!

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Why You Need to Take an "Active Break" Every Day

It's once again that time of year....
the weather gets warmer, the skies look bluer, and the sun is shining. 
After winter's passing, 
I can hear the days calling me to 
get outside and relax.

But the responsibilities of work, home, and family often get in the way. I simply can't always just stop what I am doing and go enjoy the day.

As a solopreneur, it can be even harder to do. All the day to day tasks of running my business fall squarely on my shoulders. And while I am grateful for the freedom and flexibility this gives me, it is often hard to close my laptop and be done for the day ~ or sometimes for even an hour!

However, I know that pace is not good for me. Sitting behind a computer all day is 
unhealthy and unwise. 
The older I get, 
the more I can feel the stiffening in my back and legs. Even my eyes get tired.

Not to mention the brain overloadAt times, I can find myself too tired and stressed to even think clearly! 

Taking an "Active Break" is Good for You & Your Business! "Tweet This"!

That is when taking an "Active Break" makes all the difference!

Getting up and going outside, even for a quick walk around the block, helps clear my head, get my muscles moving, and puts a smile on my face. I even find that when I go back to my work, I am re-energized and re-focused.

You can find out more about the benefits of incorporating "Active Breaks" into your day in "Tips to Help You Gain Focus and Get Active"!

So the next time you find yourself stressed, achy, or mentally tired ~ get up and take an "Active Break"!

Do you have tips that help you 
stay healthy and productive? 
Please share here!

Please Pay it Forward and 
Share this article on Your Favorite Social Sites! Thanks!

*all pictures featured were taken during my own "Active Break"!

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on our Website!

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Hiring? What You Should Do Now to Attract the New Hires You Need!

Does the Way You Hire 
attract the new employees you need?

How you hire can say a lot about You and Your Company. That is why it is so important that you are aware of what yours is saying about you!

Does your Hiring Process mesh with your brand and company values? Does it show your commitment to your employees, not just your bottom line? 
Simply put ~ 
Are you doing enough during the hiring process to grab the attention of your best new hires?

Millennials currently make up the largest portion of our workforce, and the number of even younger workers will only continue to grow.    

Because of that, it makes sense that as an employer you consider what drives this group of younger job seekers when choosing how you hire and run your workplace.
How to Change Your Hiring Practices to Land Your Top New Hires! “Tweet This”
What does this mean to employers? 
For many, it means it is time for a Change!

Companies will have to focus on how their workplace and hiring practices appear to the current pool of job seekers. This means taking a hard look at your “applicant experience”, including your employment background checks. 

Addressing this generation’s love of technology and social media is a good start. 

You will need to advertise your open positions using a wide variety of job sites and social media platforms. In addition, your application processes need to be both highly reactive and easy to use. This will show your recognition of where your future applicants live.

But, if you really want to 
set your company apart, 
make certain that your quest to be “social” 
goes both ways.

Be sure to acknowledge when you receive an application. Keep your job posting up to date, even going as far as sharing when a position no longer becomes available.

This personal touch will help establish your company as someone who cares about their applicants and goes a long way towards projecting a positive company brand!

You must next address your employment screening

When it comes time for the background check, many applicants are understandably wary. This is especially true of younger job seekers. If you want to truly attract new hires, then you need to put them at ease. This means making the entire process as completely transparent and accurate as possible.

Open communication between you and your potential new hire should be your focus. You must be upfront and truthful about all stages of the background check. You should share:
  1. What You Will Check 
  2. What You are Looking For 
  3. What Factors can cause Delays 
  4. What You will do to Lessen the Possibility of Errors 
  5. What Your Applicant’s Rights Are    
Discover more about the steps you can take to prepare your applicants in “Ready to Hire? What Your Applicant Needs to Know!”.

As the number of younger people entering the workforce grows, many employers are also adding Social Media checks to their hiring process. This can make potential new hires even more uncomfortable.

Some applicants may consider this type of check an invasion of their privacy and not relevant to their job search. Others may question what you will find.   

Once again, being as transparent as possible about what will be checked, and why, will go a long way in alleviating those fears. It is also important to emphasize that, as an employer, you will never ask your applicant for their social media passwords or request that they “friend” you or another employee so that you have more access to their profiles.

Find out more about what your applicants need to know about how social media is used in the hiring process here!

While improving your applicant experience 
is a great way to attract new employees, 
it can’t stop there.
You also need to be ready to "sell" you and your business. This is especially true if you run a Small Business!

Be clear about what you have to offer. Share concrete examples of the advantages enjoyed by your employees ~ everything from chances to take on growing responsibilities to workplace flexibility.

Read “4 Reasons Why Job Seekers will Want to Work for Your Small Business” to find out more! 

It is important to understand that this new workforce approaches employment differently, and your company would do well to recognize and respond to this.

While certainly valuing their professional lives, younger employees expect to have a personal life too ~ and they want to work for a company that supports this. Benefits such as flexible work schedules and ability to telework are key to the attractiveness of any job. 

I don’t see this as unreasonable, but a move in the right direction!

Creating an environment that helps your employees reach their goals, encourages their own ideas of success, helps them develop marketable skills and set their own goals, and gives them the opportunity to advance is key to retaining your top talent.

Find out more in “Why I have Faith in the Millennial Generation”! 

A company that not only understands but embraces this different approach to their employees’ professional and personal lives will also attract, and keep, the best new hires.

While appealing to this generation of job seekers is certainly important, 
that does not mean it is 
out with the old and in with the new!

In order to really succeed 
in creating an 
innovative and welcoming environment, 
you 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.

The time is Now 
to really look at Your Hiring Practices 
and Your Workplace Environment
Updating them to reflect the 
interests and goals of your potential new hires will not only ensure you get 
quality applicants, 
it will create a better environment 
for all your employees ~ old and new
And nothing could be better for You 
and Your Company than that!

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Hiring and Employment Screening Process!

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Pending Charges ~ What You need to Know Before You Hire!

Imagine this… have found someone you think will be a perfect fit for your company and the job. They have all the right qualifications and they interviewed well. And while you have no reason to think you will find anything negative, it is time to start the background check process to make sure.

That is when it happens. While checking the courts for a criminal history, you find a case. 
But instead of it being closed, it is an active or pending case. There is no disposition. No sentence. What do you do? 

How Should You Treat Pending Cases found in Your Background Check? “Tweet This” 

Whether you are an employer, or a background check company, it is important that you have a plan in place to deal with this situation.

When it comes to criminal history, the best practice is to consider only convictions, not arrests, when making your employment decision. Arrests do not determine guilt, so it makes sense they should not be part of the hiring equation.

When you have evidence of a conviction (especially those verified through a quality background check company), you know the record is that of the applicant and you know the outcome of the case. Only then can you make a truly fair and informed determination of the applicant’s suitability for the job”, excerpt from “Why Checking an Applicant’s Criminal Past Should be About Convictions, Not Arrests!”.

But with a pending or active case, there is no such determination of guilt or innocence. And there are times when courts will have significant delays in trying a case, closures due to COVID-19 are a perfect example, that can delay your ability to fill the job.

So what is an employer or background check company to do?
This is where a well thought out plan of action is invaluable.

Pending charges can impact the employer, the company, and the company's other employees. 

For example, there is likely to be one or more scheduled dates where your applicant will have to appear in court. If hired, they would need to take this time off.

If your new hire is simply found not guilty, or the charges are dropped or withdrawn, time off for court may be as far as it goes.

However, there is also the possibility they will be found guilty. What then? 

If they are sentenced to jail time, you may have to start the entire hiring process all over ~ wasting the time and money spent in vetting and training your new hire. 

Even if granted probation, or a sentence requiring county or state sponsored rehabilitation programs, your hire will most likely miss work to fulfill this part of their sentence. This is also a drain on your finances and on the other employees who must cover your absent employee’s work.

However, if you as an employer were unaware of the pending case, you would have hired blind to these possibilities. 
That is why reporting pending and active cases is so important. But it is also vital to remember, pending or active cases should not determine your final employment decision. 

So, what should you do if your applicant's background check contains Pending or Active cases? Hire them on a conditional basis! 

Hiring your employee on a conditional basis means that they would be placed on a probationary status pending the final outcome of the case. You will then have the opportunity to "pre-plan" how you will handle possible absences due to their court case obligations.

On the positive side, you will also be giving someone a second chance and the opportunity of better themselves. Face it, people make mistakes. Being solely defined by those mistakes, however, serves no one.

That is why it is important to balance cautiousness with fairness. 

Employers must continue screening their potential hires to protect themselves, their company, and other employees. But if a criminal past is found, that is when employers have the opportunity to make a difference.

Find out more about safely hiring ex-offenders in, “Once a Criminal, Always a Criminal ~ Why We Need to Believe in Second Chances”.

The key to handling Pending and Active cases is going in with your eyes wide open and fully aware of the potential outcomes when the case is finally decided.

The bottom line ~ 
Employers have every right to know all the relevant information there is to know about their applicants before they hire
And that includes any pending or active cases. Hiring without this knowledge can put them at a disadvantage and cost a company time and money in the long run.

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