Symmetry provides outstanding human resource advice, support, and advocacy to start-up and small companies who do not have an in-house human resource team.
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If you’ve ever spoken to someone on our team you will have heard: Document, document, document. But just writing things down isn’t enough. We all need to recognize and avoid common documentation mistakes. Although the purpose of documentation is to minimize risks, it can come back to haunt if it’s done wrong. And if it’s not done at all, the employer is almost certain to be seen as the “big, bad employer” and a litigating employee is likely to be seen as the “poor, innocent employee.
Employers have long used paid vacation policies as a compensation benefit and a means of enhancing employee productivity. To keep pace in a competitive hiring market, many start-ups offer employees the right to take “unlimited” paid vacation. While “unlimited vacation” policies do offer certain benefits, the law on such policies is currently undeveloped, and employers must pay careful attention to implementation and administration to minimize legal risks.
Willful blindness is a legal term that means there is information you could and should know but have elected not to know. Deliberate indifference and contrived ignorance also are used to describe the phenomenon. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of willful blindness in the world today. Willful blindness causes the downfall of an organization’s leadership and culture.
It may be a cliché to say employees are an employer’s greatest asset. But if that weren’t true, it wouldn’t be a cliché and employers wouldn’t focus so much attention on retaining their best and brightest. The reasons behind an employee’s decision to leave a job depend on each individual’s situation, but new research identifies minimal wage growth and a lack of flexibility as chief culprits.
One of the most common questions we hear from employers involves when they can or can’t dock employees’ paychecks. It’s very tempting to use an employee’s paycheck as a way to recoup losses you’ve incurred because of her actions, especially when, as a practical matter, there will never be any other way to collect the debt from her. However, you should exercise caution when docking an employee’s paycheck because federal and state laws limit the deductions that can legally be made.
Ever been fooled in a job interview? Some applicants interview well but then turn out to be disappointments on the job. Others might seem iffy during the interview process but become star employees. The uncertainty inherent in the hiring process has led many employers to devise ways to test candidates in real world situations, either with job simulation programs from vendors or by developing their own tryouts.
According to a 2012 Stanford University sociology study, 10 percent of people meet their spouses at work. Coworker dating is common. Unfortunately, not all relationships end well, and when they don’t, employers can face harassment and retaliation claims. Although most businesses have no rules about office relationships, now may be the time—while the office is awash in hearts and the fragrance of flowers—to decide what’s best for your workplace.
As an employer you know that your employment practices and policies need to comply with federal and state laws. What you may not realize is that the various state and federal agencies that enforce these laws could at any time conduct an audit to scrutinize those employment practices and policies. Regulatory audits can pose serious risks to your business, take up your time and money, and result in stiff penalties, effectively turning your business on its head.
Gossip is rampant in most workplaces. Sometimes, it seems as if people have nothing better to do than gossip about each other. They talk about the company, their coworkers, and their managers. They frequently take a partial truth and turn it into a whole speculative truth. Many managers turn a blind eye to employee gossip (or worse, participate in it). This results in low employee morale and a toxic culture.
If you are like most business owners, you are inundated with résumés from applicants looking for jobs at your company. Sifting through the summaries of job applicants’ credentials and experience can be a Herculean task. When you find the perfect applicant with a stellar background, your efforts may seem worthwhile. Unfortunately, sometimes applicants who tout amazing credentials on résumés aren’t as stellar as they appear on paper.