Posts tagged Employee Handbook

Workplace Romance – What’s a Business To Do?

With the recent public scandals of ESPN analyst Steve Phillips and David Letterman, work place relationships are becoming an increasing concern for business owners.  Forget the idea of banning dating in the office, a survey by Vault.com cites close to half of us have had a romantic relationship with a co-worker, and that many of these end up with a long term commitment or marriage.  A strict “no romance” policy will most likely result in employees pursuing or continuing relationships behind your back.  Instead, develop clear policies on appropriate workplace relationships and how your company will handle actual or perceived conflicts such as:

  • Favoritism
  • Perceptions of favoritism
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Hostile work environment
  • Sexual harassment

To avoid or minimize such concerns, consider adding a Workplace Relationships policy in your Employee Handbook. Make sure the policy includes the following details:

  • A clear statement that you require all employees to behave in a professional manner in the workplace at all times.
  • State that employees are to avoid public displays of affection that may be perceived as unprofessional, such as hugging, kissing, handholding, etc.  Such displays may make co-workers uncomfortable and detract from the professional image of the workplace.
  • Notify employees that they are to notify you if they are involved in a romantic workplace relationship that could result in real or perceived favoritism by others.
  • State that a relationship that results in perceived or real favoritism may require you to transfer or terminate one of the involved employees.

 

Be sure to use discretion and handle each workplace romance evaluation with sensitivity.  With care and concern you should be able to develop an arrangement that allows the relationship while maintaining a professional image and workplace environment for your employees.

 

Jill Critchfield is a professional Human Resources Consultant.  Through her business, Pacific HR, she has provided HR services to over 150 small and mid-sized businesses in Portland, Oregon since 1999.

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5 HR Hot Topics

Here are 5 HR Hot Topic Items – things that are often ignored or avoided by small business owners. Make sure your business is protected and that you are being proactive in managing HR issues.

  • Employee HandbookMake sure you have an up to date and customized Employee Handbook for your business. A well written Employee Handbook will:
    • Define your policies & procedures
    • Communicate to your employees
    • Protect your business from liability

  • Classify Contractors and Employees Correctly – Make sure you have people classified correctly as either Contractors or Employees. Use the 20 Rule test to determine if you are meeting IRS classification criteria.

  • Make sure you know your state employment rules

Employment regulations and rule can vary wildly from state to state. Make sure you are versed in your state’s rules.

  • Job Descriptions – Develop accurate and up to date Job Descriptions for every position in your company. Job Descriptions should include the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities required for each position, as well as primary responsibilities for the job. Well drafted Job Descriptions are:
    • Great for defining the new and current jobs
    • Works as documentation if you need to discipline a current employee.
    • Help when hiring for a new position – use the job description to create the ad and screen candidates.

  • Document all discipline! There are two primary purposes to documented disciplinary action:
    • Clearly communicate the issue and correct behavior to employees.
    • Protect your business!

Jill Critchfield is a professional Human Resources Consultant. Through her business, Pacific HR, she has provided HR services to over 150 small and mid-sized businesses in Portland, Oregon since 1999.

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HR Resolutions for 2009

January is a great time to review your current HR procedures and make resolutions for the coming year.  Here is a list of 5 HR Resolutions for 2009:

1.  Employee Handbook Review – Don’t have an Employee Handbook yet?  Make this your top priority for the year.  If you haven’t had your handbook reviewed for a couple of years, contact an HR consultant to make sure your manual is up to date.  A well written Employee Handbook is a must for any small business.

2.  Update Job Descriptions – Job descriptions are invaluable tools for any business. Make sure your job descriptions are up to date and accurate.  Not sure where to start?  Ask your employee’s to review their own job descriptions and give you feedback on the accuracy of the document. 

3.  Annual Performance Evaluations – Many small business owners drag their feet when it comes to annual performance evaluations.  Make this the year that you conduct Performance Reviews on time for all employees!

4.  Employee Files – Make time this year to ensure you have a complete Employee File for each staff member.  Review your State’s regulations in regards to Employee Files and make sure you are in compliance.

5.  Review ADA procedures – New changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act go into effect on January 1, 2009.  Take time to review the changes and how they may affect your business.

 

 

Jill Critchfield is a professional Human Resources Consultant.  Through her business, Pacific HR, she has provided HR services to over 100 small and mid-sized businesses in Portland, Oregon since 1999.

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Tips for Terminations

Conducting terminations is one of the toughest jobs for any business owner.  Before you sit down with the employee, make sure you have done everything necessary to have the meeting go as smooth as possible.

 

Before conducting a termination, ask yourself:

 

·       Was the employee clearly told that they needed to improve the behavior?  Were they given the time necessary to improve the behavior?

·       Was the employee told that failure to improve may result in termination?

·       Is there documentation on all of the activities leading up to the termination? 

·       Does your Employee Handbook outline that this action may result in termination?

·       Would any other employee be terminated for the same activities?

·       Is the termination being conducted in a timely manner, as to the final incident?

·       Will a final paycheck be ready in accordance with your State’s final pay rules?

·       Will the employee be surprised by the termination?

 

If the answer is “no” to any of the above questions, reconsider the fairness of the termination.

 

When conducting a termination meeting, be sure to:

 

·       Hold the meeting in a private area

       Be sure to avoid any public humiliation for the employee

       Be brief and to the point

       Don’t allow the discharge to turn into an argument

       Have an appropriate witness, if available

       Escort the employee off company property

       Don’t discuss the discharge with other employees

       Document with sign off if possible

 

 

Jill Critchfield is a professional Human Resources Consultant.  Through her business, Pacific HR, she has provided HR services to over 100 small and mid-sized businesses in Portland, Oregon since 1999.

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HR Checklist

Use this handy HR Checklist to identify your current human resources needs. Great for any new business, or for a review of your current HR procedures.  This HR Checklist can also be found at www.pacifichr.com

 

Employee Handbook   ____
Handbook is complete, current and in compliance with State & Federal regulations

 

Employee Files  ____
Complete employee files for all current employees. Terminated employee files are kept on site. Information regarding medical conditions, FMLA and workers’ compensation are kept separate from employee files.

 

I-9 Forms  ____
Federal I-9 form on file for all employees, separate from employee files, in accordance with federal guidelines.

 

State & Federal Postings  ____
Required postings up to date and are posted in an area accessible to all employees.

 

Job Descriptions  ____
Job Descriptions are completed and up to date for all key positions

 

Payroll  ____
Payroll is processed accurately and without incident. Records are retained in accordance with state law.

 

FMLA  ____
Procedures are in place to ensure compliance with FMLA regulations.

 

COBRA  ____
Procedures are in place to ensure compliance with COBRA regulations.

 

Hiring Process  ____
Hiring process is organized to ensure compliance with federal discrimination laws and record retention requirements

 

Termination Process  ____
Termination process is organized to limit wrongful discharge liabilities. Final checks are issued in accordance with state law.

 

Disciplinary Process  ____
Disciplinary Process is designed to ensure fair and equitable disciplinary action.

 

Unemployment Claims  ____
Unemployment claims are managed to minimize unemployment tax liability.

 

Performance Evaluations  ____
Performance evaluations are performed annually for all positions.

 

Jill Critchfield is a professional Human Resources Consultant.  Through her business, Pacific HR, she has provided HR services to over 100 small and mid-sized businesses in Portland, Oregon since 1999.  Information about Pacific HR services can be found at www.pacifichr.com.

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Employee Handbook – Top Ten Reasons To Update Now

A clear and thorough Employee Handbook is an important tool for any business.   Here is a list of 10 reasons to get your Employee Handbook up to date:

  1. Document Policies & Procedures: An Employee Handbook is a great place to get all of your company policies & procedures in one place.  Going through the Employee Handbook creation process will help identify and correct gaps in current polices.
  2. Communicate with Employees:   Employees can’t be expected to follow rules unless you clearly communicate your company policies.  A well written Handbook gives employees a one-stop resource for researching company policies, workplace expectations and corporate culture.
  3. State At-Will Rights: Your At-Will status as an employer could be jeopardized if you don’t clearly outline your rights with clear and accurate At-Will statement.
  4. Explain Employee Benefits: Give employees a resource for looking up benefit details and qualification criteria. 
  5. Promote Your Culture: An Employee Handbook is a great way to set a tone with new employees as to your business culture and ethical standards.   
  6. Support your Supervisors: Supervisors will find a thorough Employee Handbook an invaluable asset in guiding employees through company policies.
  7. Present a Professional Image:  A well written Employee Handbook improves your professional image to employees and candidates.
  8. Protect Your Business: A copy of your Employee Handbook is one of the first things an investigatory agency will ask when researching a claim.  What will you say if you don’t have a Handbook, or if it is out of date or incomplete?
  9. Complying with Certain Laws: Some employment laws, such as the Family Medical Leave Act require that employers include an FMLA policy in their Employee Handbook.  Failing to meet this requirement could jeopardize the employer’s rights under the act.
  10. Save Time: A complete and accurate Employee Handbook will free up time for you and your supervisors.  The Handbook is a resource for an employee’s questions and will minimize questions posed to management on company policies. 

In short, an up-to-date Employee Handbook is an invaluable resource for any business.  Take a look at your Handbook today and take steps to make sure it is accurate, thorough and complete.

 

Jill Critchfield is a professional Human Resources Consultant.  Through her business, Pacific HR, she has provided HR services to over 100 small and mid-sized businesses in Portland, Oregon since 1999.

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