Thursday, April 24, 2014

Celebrating Employee Birthdays in the Workplace

In one of the many classic episodes of Seinfeld, Elaine rails to her coworkers about the seemingly endless run of office birthday celebrations. While her points about the calories may be on point, the fact remains that celebrating coworkers milestones can be fun and can have positive effects on office morale. Advised guidelines include being consistent, keeping things under control in terms of what is served and for how long, and maybe yielding a bit to Elaine's concerns and keeping things as healthy as you can while still keeping it fun. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How to Handle Employee Telecommuting Requests

Can you offer suggestions on how to handle employees that are interested in telecommuting for part of their work week? - HR Manager, Marketing Firm

The first concern you need to explore is how to offer this type of flexibility, while maintaining the integrity of the role this employee fills. How will it work when they are not in the office? What problems will arise? How many other employees will ask for the same arrangement --- and how many more could you accommodate? On the other side are concerns about losing this employee, if you don't offer this option. What is leading them to make such a request and are these breaking points? So to answer the question - handle the request thoughtfully. The more collaborative the discussion, the better the chances are of a positive outcome, even if the answer is "no".

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Asking Potential Candidates About Receiving Constructive Feedback

Tell me about a time when you received constructive criticism about a project, at work. Who provided this feedback and how did you take it?

The success of your team in many cases can come down to how well your employees take feedback and even criticism. Their ability to embrace the feedback and use it to facilitate positive change is critical. Asking about a candidate's experience in situations like these will tell you something about their flexibility, willingness to change, desire to grow, etc.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Disability Accommodation During the Hiring Process

There's always a lot of confusion pertaining to what an employer's obligation may be, when it comes to someone who is disabled and seemingly unable to perform the job available. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has several areas that are vague and non-specific, leaving the employer to make judgment calls. As a result, it is imperative to not dismiss a candidate's viability for a position due to disability, but instead consult an expert on your legal obligations and options. Generally speaking,  the ADA calls for employers to make a "reasonable accommodation" for an employee, so that they may perform their role. To that end, a business may need to provide a lifting device to someone, who is wheelchair bound, for a warehouse job that requires the lifting and placement of boxes. What's not 100% clear is how small a business needs to be before the burden to make such a purchase is too great and therefore considered an unreasonable accommodation. Bottom line - seek out expert advice.

Friday, April 18, 2014

What Goes Into an Effective New Hire Orientation Program?

How do I create an effective New Hire Orientation program?
- HR Director, Public Relations

Aside from securing advice and direction from experts in the field, your best bet is to survey your previous new hires and ask them what they learned and what they did not, when they arrived. Thereby, establishing a list of items to cover in your orientation. A mix of information on benefits, policies, company history and even logistics of your operation are all staples of a solid program.