Create Effortless Employee Communication by Using SMS

Create Effortless Employee Communication by Using SMS

Solid communication within your company is going to give you a solid foundation on which to build your business on. Text Messaging will improve your employee communication, increasing employee productivity and engagement. When you have SMS in place for internal communication, it will be easier to set up meetings, share ideas, and increase team building among your employees. To optimize communication between employees, you have to give them the simple tool of text messaging to communicate fast and efficiently.

Better Communication Saves Money

While a text messaging software is an investment, it is one worth making. Save time by automatically scheduling staff, which will end up saving you money. When you streamline communication within your company, people are going to work more efficiently. You will get more work done out of employees who can communicate more effectively. Text messaging is worth spending your money on, because it will pay for itself with increased productivity and better communication.

Solid Communication Avoids Confusion

Internal communication that isn't optimized will lead to confusion among your employees. A strong company understands the importance of solid communication to avoid errors and frustration among employees. To retain the employees that are a good asset to your company, you have to keep communication open and effective. SMS will provide everyone with the platform necessary for solid, direct communication.

Talk with Employees About Good Communication

When you want employees to communicate, you have to share this with your employees. Encourage communication at all times, letting your employees know that you want active discussions and communication. Make sure that your employees feel respected, and always pay attention to the ideas offered from your employees. Let your employees know that ideas should be shared, and that text messaging is an excellent way to share ideas.

If there is a security risk in the building, HR can send a text to everyone about the risk. For example, Omni Dallas Hotel used a texting software to alert over 650 employees when tragedy struck the Dallas Police Department within close vicinity of the hotel. Fortunately, with the power of a mass communication system like SMS, they were able to immediately notify their employees which kept them and all guests safe. No matter what is going on, you can reach all of your employees within minutes when you use texting as part of your communication strategy.

Focus on Communication Among Management

To strengthen all communication within your company, you have to look at the various levels at which communication exists. For example, there is peer-to-peer communication as well as manager to employee communication. In addition, communication between managers is vital to the overall management of your company. For your company to truly benefit from text messaging, you have to show your employees how to use texting, email and video conferencing to share ideas and communicate efficiently. Ask for feedback from employees to see what methods are working best.

Talk with Your Company Leaders to Set the Communication Tone

When you want your employees to use texting to communicate, it's important to get your company leaders on board. Whether it's to ask a quick question or to solidify a meeting time, texting can make a big impact on how fast employees can communicate. When your leaders use texting effectively, so will the employees who they supervise. Keep the lines of communication open and remind all employees what is acceptable communication through texting, and what is not.

Work closely with the leadership in your company when you are trying to change how everyone within the company communicates. When you use a new SMS platform, make sure that your leaders understand the importance of using the communication. When your leaders are on-board with using text messaging, the rest of your company is going to begin using the same techniques. Encourage an open dialogue through texting. No matter what is going on within your company, you can share information on trainings, events, or emergencies through text messaging. If you want to keep communication flowing, text messaging is going to help facilitate ongoing communication between all of your employees.

Guest Blog Provided By:
Joel Lee is the marketing specialist at Trumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart Targeting, and advanced automation. Jumpstart your business by grabbing your free copy of this powerful Mobile Marketing Success Kit.

10 Tips to Avoid I-9 Pitfalls and Expensive Fines

10 Tips to Avoid I-9 Pitfalls and Expensive Fines

Only seven months into fiscal year 2018, ICE (the agency that enforces immigration compliance in the workplace) has already opened more worksite investigations than the agency completed in all of FY 2017. Since October 2017, ICE has launched 3,510 worksite investigations, initiated 2,282 I-9 audits, and made 594 criminal and 610 administrative worksite-related arrests. These investigations have doubled last year's total, and worksite-related arrests have nearly quadrupled.

Now more than ever, employers need to evaluate their Form I-9 documents and practices to ensure they are protected in the event of an audit. Fines can vary and often range from $75 for each error found on an individual form up to $3,200 for missing or incomplete I-9 forms. Additional penalties and fines can be assessed if gross negligence is determined.

Follow these 10 tips to ensure your I-9 documents are ready for a successful audit:

1.       Section 1 of the Form I-9 must be completed, signed and dated by the employee on the employee’s first day of employment.

2.       Section 2 must be completed, signed and dated by the employer or designee within 72 hours of the employee’s hire date. If an employer operates during the weekend, then those days count toward the three-day time frame.

3.       If the employee does not present their documents within the 72-hour period, with few exceptions they must be terminated and rehired when they are able to present their approved documents.

4.       Allow employees to choose which of the approved documents they will use (refer to the list of Acceptable Documents). Do not mandate that any particular document be presented by the employee.

5.       Ensure that the documents presented are original and not expired. Copies or expired documents cannot be accepted. The only time an employer may accept photocopies is if the document is a certified copy of a birth certificate.

6.       Employers or their designee must physically examine the documents in the employee’s presence. A photocopy of the documents is not required, but should an employer decide to maintain copies they should be consistent in their practice to do so.

7.       Make sure to follow the I-9 retention requirements! I-9 forms must be stored for three years after the date an employee was hired or one year after the date employment is terminated, whichever is later.

8.       I-9 forms should be stored separately from employee files/records for ease of auditing and retrieval in the event of a government inspection. A best practice is to create a separate binder/file for active employees and one for terminated employees.

9.       Always ensure you are using the most current Form I-9! Occasionally the USCIS updates the form and will establish a date by which the new form needs to be in use.

10.   Protect your business by using the E-Verify system to confirm the eligibility of your new employees. E-Verify verifies the identity and employment eligibility of newly hired employees by electronically matching information provided by employees against records available to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

We suggest employers audit their Form I-9s on an annual basis. Using an experienced HR professional for this audit is strongly encouraged and will help employers avoid six-figure fines.

******

Solvere HR Consulting provides powerful HR solutions that optimize your organizational capability and profitability through your most valuable asset -- your employees. 

 

The 4 Elements of an Effective Onboarding Program

The 4 Elements of an Effective Onboarding Program

“With a ‘sink or swim’ approach, companies and leaders are flirting with disaster.” —Lee Hecht Harrison

Accelerate the investment you made on your new hire by onboarding effectively. Research consistently reports that effective onboarding programs lead to higher retention, elevated performance and increased loyalty and engagement.

The most critical time of the employee life cycle is the first 90 days of employment. You can hire the best and brightest talent to join your team, but without an effective and positive onboarding experience the chances of you being able to retain them diminishes every day. The Wynhurst Group reports that “employees are 58 percent more likely to be at the company three years later when they complete a structured onboarding process.”

Further, giving employees a thoughtful, organized and well-planned out onboarding platform will accelerate their learning, increase their assimilation into the company and strengthen their connection to your mission. Benjamin Franklin reminds us that “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Following best practices, the onboarding cycle should be structured into four (4) primary areas over the course of 90 days: 

1)      Prepare (pre-hire)

Onboarding starts before the new hire starts employment. Being well-prepared before the new hire arrives on their first day ensures they will have a positive and memorable first day! Prepare their onboarding plan, ensure their workstation and computer are ready and have a welcome lunch planned. 

2)      Assimilate (first 1-3 days)

To avoid overwhelming your new hire, fill the first few days with experiences that teach them culture, build relationships, explain workplace expectations and give them the space they need to get oriented. 

3)      Engage (first 60 days)

Operational immersion should begin with role-specific training including shadowing, reverse shadowing, a strong buddy/mentor resource and weekly checkpoints with their manager. Checkpoint meetings should be geared toward collecting feedback from the new hire and determining where additional support and training may be needed.

4)      Review (within 60-90 days)

At the end of the onboarding period, the new hire’s manager should conduct a formal review meeting to share their observations on how the new hire is performing, norming to the culture and engaging with the broader team. While formal and documented, this “review” should be approached within the spirit of feedback and supporting their long-term success with the organization.

“Research and conventional wisdom both suggest that employees get about 90 days to prove themselves in a new job. The faster new hires feel welcomed and prepared for their jobs, the faster they will be able to successfully contribute to the firm’s mission.”

 – Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM)

Solvere HR Consulting provides powerful HR solutions that optimize your organizational capability and profitability through your most valuable asset -- your employees. Contact us today to discuss how we can support your onboarding needs!

Six Things Employers Should Do Right Now To Prevent Harassment Claims

Six Things Employers Should Do Right Now To Prevent Harassment Claims

Sexual harassment claims in the media are rising at an alarming rate. These growing allegations and the #MeToo campaign have given employees a safer platform to share their story and callout sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. While these shared experiences are prompting increased openness about discussing the issue, it is up to each organization to create an environment in which employees know that this behavior is unacceptable at the highest levels of the organization. Only then will employees be confident that it is safe to have this conversation and that they are encouraged to bring forward claims.

Many of the recent allegations in the media are truly shocking and reveal how often organizations were aware of these allegations and chose to silence the victims instead of holding the perpetrators accountable. This can be very concerning to many employees and some may be wondering where their organization and leadership stand on this issue.

Organizations who are proactively responding to this issue are sending a message to their employees that it is safe to bring forward their concerns and reinforces the organization’s commitment to a harassment-free workplace. Failing to address this issue head on could inadvertently perpetuate a culture of silence in which sexual harassment is not brought forward by victims or witnesses.

Don’t be fooled! Just because an organization hasn’t received a formal claim of harassment in the past doesn’t mean they are safe from future claims. This is a critical time for organizations to take a hard look at their culture, workplace behaviors, and policies to proactively assess areas of risk. Responding to these trends should be a top priority for every organization in 2018.

What You Need To Know. While "quid pro quo" cases make the most headlines, they are far less common than "hostile environment" harassment, where an employee is made to feel uncomfortable by the discriminatory or harassing behavior of another co-worker, client or customer. For harassment to be considered unlawful, it has to be so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or results in an adverse employment decision, like the victim being fired or demoted. However, employers shouldn’t wait until it escalates to an unlawful level before taking action.

What You Should Do Right Now. Here are six (6) steps every organization should take right now to protect their employees and the organization from distracting workplace behaviors and expensive legal claims:

1)      Design and deliver customized harassment prevention training. Many organizations are tempted to quickly offer online, generic harassment training in response to these trends. However, this is not enough to address the unique context within each organization and provide the venue for dialog about the issue. Offering customized, onsite training provides employers the opportunity to reinforce their organization’s core values, reflect their cultural norms and share examples that are relevant to their work environment. This is a far more effective than asking employees to review a handbook or watch a generic online training.

Managers and employees need to be told different things during sexual harassment training, so we recommend keeping their training separate. Employees need to know the basics on respectful and professional behavior and where to turn if they are the victims of sexual harassment. Managerial training should focus on how to end disrespectful conduct, avoid liability, appropriately handle complaints, and reinforce anti-retaliation policies.

Following best practices, these trainings should take place within all new hiring onboarding and on an annual basis thereafter. Some states, like California, have even enacted these requirements into state law.

2)      Conducting effective and unbiased investigations. How an organization handles a complaint or even a whisper of sexual harassment has significant impact. Turning a blind eye or worse – handling an investigation poorly - will create more liability for the company. HR (or whomever in the organization conducts investigations) needs continued professional development on leading effective investigations to avoid legal missteps and ensure that each party is treated fairly and objectively throughout the process. While every employee has a right to come forward and lodge a complaint, every alleged harasser is also due the benefit of an objective investigation.

3)      Conflict resolution is a core competency. The goal of an anti-harassment policy and subsequent training is to prevent and remedy harassing conduct before it rises to the level of illegality. The first step in doing so is to encourage employees to attempt to resolve the conflict amongst themselves. Should an employee become uncomfortable with the behaviors of coworker, being able to tell them directly may be enough to quash the issue.

To build this skill in your organization, employers should ensure that harassment trainings are complemented with conflict resolution and active listening skill development sessions.

4)      Ensure your policies are legally compliant. If there was ever a time to ensure your policies are legally compliant, up to date and effective, now is that time. Beyond just citing the requirements of the law, anti-harassment policies should be customized and specific to your culture, work environment and operational norms. Here are four (4) key areas to include in your policy review:

·       Avoid legal-ease. Write your policy in a way that is easy to understand, reflects your company’s culture and outlines your workplace expectations while also stating the requirements of the law. Simply citing the legal definition is fine for lawyers but, without more context, provides inadequate notice to employees.

·       Use examples. It’s a best practice to include real-life examples of unacceptable conduct that is relevant to your workplace. Using behavioral examples that will resonate with your employees will provide the necessary context to avoid unintentional harassment.

·       Have a multi-option complaint policy. Companies should have two or more unrelated ways that employees can complain about harassment, discrimination or retaliation. For example, if your policy states to go to your manager, and that individual is the harasser, your policy is completely meaningless. 

·       Beyond employees. Do your employees work with customer, clients, vendors, or contractors on a regular basis? Your policy should emphasize that anti-harassment expectations and protections extend beyond just employees.

5)      Reinforcing a culture of respect. Respect is a basic human principle that applies to everyone regardless of their position, salary, gender, race, socioeconomic status and more. Creating a respectful work environment where all employees are valued and treated equally is the core foundation to a harassment-free workplace. Organizations should take this opportunity to consider how respect, equality and inclusivity are valued in their workplace. For example, are those words expressly captured in your organization’s core value statement?

6)      Top-level executive engagement. It starts at the top. To set the tone for the organization, top-level executives should quickly engage with the issue by preparing a well-crafted statement reinforcing the organization’s commitment to a harassment-free work environment and announcing the launch of a company-wide anti-harassment campaign.

Beyond legal ramifications, the business case for a healthy work environment is clear. The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that, “in addition to hundreds of millions of dollars paid out in settlements every year, sexual harassment causes low employee morale, high job turnover, increased sick leave, decreased productivity and reputational loss. While written sexual harassment policies are a must at every organization, preventing sexual harassment involves much more from the top down. Prevention starts with an attitude by top-level executives that they will not tolerate any form of harassment.”

These efforts don’t have to change the essence of your culture! Friendly banter and humor in the workplace is an important part of creating a fun, desirable work environment. As such, we work with our clients to create a custom designed anti-harassment campaign that will balance cultural values and support personal relationships while establishing appropriate boundaries between fun and harassment.

6 Critical Policy Updates for 2018

6 Critical Policy Updates for 2018

The employment landscape changes frequently, as such employers are encouraged to review and update their Employee Handbook every year. Employers need to be conscientious of the significant number of legal changes on the federal, state and local level that occurred this year. Therefore, it is critical for an employer to review, amend and properly update its handbook for 2018 to reflect the latest legal requirements.

Employee Handbooks are the backbone of an organization’s culture. More than just policies, these guiding principles should tell the story of who you are and describe the motivations and priorities that drive your business. Beyond the necessary legal updates, we also advise that during this review you evaluate your content and tone to ensure it continues to reflect your culture and leadership practices.

Below are 6 critical policies employers should review and update in their Employee Handbook:

1.     Sexual Harassment Policies. With the recent rise in sexual harassment claims, employers should ensure your policy emphasizes zero-tolerance on sexual harassment and gender inequality. Additionally, the policy should clearly outline the process to bring forward instances of harassment.

2.     Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policies. Many states have enacted laws this year providing employment protections to new and emerging protected classes and expanding the coverage of equal opportunity laws. Maintaining updated policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment and retaliation based on membership in a protected class is critical from a compliance perspective.

3.     Review Reasonable Accommodation Policies. Several states have enacted or expanded reasonable accommodations for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and for those with marijuana prescriptions in 2017. Your Handbook should expressly comply with these requirements.

4.     Comply with New and Updated Leave Laws. States and cities remain very focused on passing paid sick leave laws and family and medical leave laws. For example, Colorado state law requires employers to offer up to 3-days of unpaid leave for instances associated with domestic abuse. 

5.     Safe Driving Policies. Employers must remember that in an increasingly mobile society, employees are always on the go while still needing to remain connected for business and personal reasons. An employer should make sure enforce safe driving policies that comply with state law, such as Colorado’s state law prohibiting texting while driving.

6.     Amend Smoke-Free Workplace Policies. The increased presence of e-cigarettes and tobacco substitutes has forced employers to update their smoke-free workplace policies to ensure the workplace is comfortable and pleasant for all. It is advisable for any smoke-free workplace policy to also specifically prohibit the use of e-cigarettes.

It’s not enough to just update the contents each year. Employers must make sure employees are aware of the policies and have had adequate opportunity to review and comprehend them. Employers are encouraged to provide employees a copy of the Handbook upon hire and after every update. It is a best practice to always have them sign an acknowledgement upon receipt.

Don't have a Handbook? It may be time for your organization to build one. It's just like building a culture of accountability. Your Handbook sets expectations - both employer and employee expectations. When you use your Handbook consistently, trust is build and culture will thrive. 

Solvere HR Consulting provides powerful HR solutions that optimize your organizational capability and profitability through your most valuable asset -- your employees.

Learn more at www.solverehr.com.