Guide to Human Resources & Staffing – Small business information, insight and resources | Thu, 15 Nov 2018 17:41:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Why Don’t Employees Use All of Their Paid Vacation Days? | 2018 Mon, 28 May 2018 21:36:01 +0000

In the U.S., the last Monday of May (May 28, 2018, this year) is Memorial Day, a national holiday honoring members of the military whose lives were lost in service to their nation. Unofficially, the day has also become the beginning of the summer vacation season. However, according to recent research commissioned by TSheets by QuickBooks, 32 percent of U.S. workers are reluctant to use all of their vacation days, saying they feel pressured not to take time off.

Having paid vacations vs. taking paid vacations

Most workers have access to paid time off, but many of them don’t use the full allocation of paid vacation provided.

84% | Percentage of workforce that currently has access to paid time off
65% | Percentage of workers with paid time off who don’t use their full allocation of days (in 2017)

18% | Percentage of those who don’t use full allocation of vacation days who blame their workload.
$573,694,800 | Estimated value of employee time off that is not used

While on vacation, most people do some work

60% | Percentage of employees who took time off but did some work while they were on vacation.
48% | Percentage of employees who believe they do not get enough time off

What do employees want? More time off vs. higher pay

74% | Percentage of employees who say they would prefer a higher salary than more paid time off
39% | Percentage of employees who say they would accept a job without paid time-off

Stressed out employees need vacation days, but often don’t take them

43% | Percentage or workers reporting they are “often” or “always” stressed
33% | Percentage of employees who say the stress they experience at work is detrimental to their health

51% | Percentage of employees who have taken time off due to stress, however many of the workers surveyed have used false reasons with (translation: lied to)  their manager for taking off the time.

Workers report that they have used false reasons for taking time off, rather than the actual cause

15% | Percentage of workers who avoided using insomnia as a reason
13% | Mental health
12% | Physical health
7% | A hangover

Going to work sick

89% | Percentage of employees who have come to work sick
19% | Percentage of employees who admit doing this more than once a month
11% | Never come to work sick.

The paid-leave benefits employees want most

91% | Paid holidays
88% | Sick leave
87% | Paid vacation day

Older workers get most paid time off, but are least likely to use it

57% | Percentage of workers 55 years old and over who receive 11 days of  paid time or more
52% | Percentage of workers 18-24 years-old who receive five days of paid time or less


Free Facebook Business Job Postings are Focusing Locally, Expanding Globally Fri, 02 Mar 2018 13:35:08 +0000
  • Facebook Business is expanding a free job postings feature it launched last year in the U.S. and Canada.
  • It will now be available in 40 more countries.
  • The postings are expanding into a greater number of job categories — ranging from side gigs, part-time jobs, summer jobs and other skilled and non-skilled blue collar jobs.
  • Currently, the postings are free for a business to list jobs on the service.
  • However, to reach more potential workers, the business will be encouraged to use Facebook ads.


How it works for businesses and job seekers

Businesses are able to post job openings to a Jobs tab on their company Facebook Page, a Jobs dashboard, the Facebook Marketplace, and the News Feed that they can promote with ads.

Job seekers can discover openings, auto-fill applications with their Facebook profile information, edit and submit their application, and communicate via Messenger to schedule interviews.

Challenge: Can work and Facebook fun co-exist?

Facebook stresses that potential employers can only see what’s been made public on an applicants profile. However, some users may be hard to convince that their party pictures won’t show up on the job application.

Facebook’s local strategy

While many analysts are focusing on the “blue collar” nature of the job listings, a different way to view Facebook’s direction is to view it as a “Facebook meets Craigslist strategy.”

Facebook business pages, Facebook Marketplace, Facebook Jobs are metaphoric infrastructures of a small town, urban neighborhood, or suburban community. All of these, plus features like food ordering, more local news, and the massive commitment it will take to train small business owners and managers how to use these tools will be a massive investment on the part of Facebook.

However, Facebook has that covered, as well. According to Alex Himel, VP of Facebooks Local:

“We know there is more Facebook can do to connect people and businesses. Since 2011, Facebook has invested more than $1 billion to help local businesses grow and help people find jobs. And in 2018 we plan to invest the same amount in more teams, technology, and new programs. Because when businesses succeed, communities thrive.”

How to use Facebook Jobs


Where jobs listings will appear on a Facebook Business page.

  • The Jobs dashboard
  • The “Jobs” option in the “Explore” section on mobile
  • Click on the Jobs icon in Marketplace
  • Visit the Jobs tab on any business’ Page.

Here’s how an applicant interacts with the posting

  • Create an application, which will populate with job history and other information in your Facebook profile
  • Edit your application, the “Submit” it
    • Once submitted, a Messenger conversation will open with the business Page so you can have direct contact with the employer and confirm when your information has been received.
    • Businesses will only be able to see the information you provide them directly, and what’s available publicly on your Facebook profile.
  • To stay on top of the type of job you’re interested in, you can also subscribe to alerts.

Here’s how businesses interact with the job posting feature

  • Page admins can create job posts directly from their Page with details like job title, job type (full-time, intern, part-time), salary and more.
  • While the listings are free, businesses can purchase Facebook advertising to boost posts to reach more candidates.
  • Businesses can also manage their applications and communicate with applicants, including scheduling interviews and sending automated reminders, directly through Messenger.

Photos: Facebook, istock

Survey: Harassment Prevention Training Needed in Small Businesses | 2018 Thu, 22 Feb 2018 02:44:32 +0000

Since last October (2017), dozens of high-profile workplace sexual harassment cases have raised the awareness of how widespread the problem is. A recent Insureon survey of 1,600 small business owners registered in Manta, the online business directory, revealed the need for more training to reduce the occurence of harrassment. Here are some of the findings of the research.

The need for training is widespread

53% | Percentage of companies providing some type of sexual harassment training or education
43% | Companies that provide employee training during an employees onboarding process
32% | Hold regular sexual harassment training for staff
27% | Outline sexual harassment policies in an employee handbook, but offer no formal training.
27% | Provide some other form of training
1% | Require employees to complete online training

79% | Percentage of respondents who have business insurance
83% | Of those who have business insurance, the percentage who have  Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI), the type of insurance that, among other things, addresses sexual harassment lawsuits

The financial cost of sexual harassment in the workplace

In addition to the victimization of the employee, harrassment cases can destroy a small business – even if they are settled out of court. If a jury believes a business owner was aware sexual harassment occurred but failed to take appropriate action, it could award punitive damages to the victim.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) can reduce the financial risk associated with sexual harassment legal cases. For instance, a policy can cover lawsuit expenses related to claims of harassment, discrimination, and wrongful termination. But a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment is much better protection for your company–and is clearly the correct thing to do.

$160,000 | The average EPLI lawsuit settlement

Steps to protect employees while also managing business risks

  • From day one, communicate the company’s commitment to a hostility-free environment
  • Codify your commitment with a statement that sexual harassment of any kind will not be tolerated
  • Provide a written policy that includes
    • An overview of what constitutes sexual harassment.
    • The steps employees should take if they need to file a complaint.
    • Reassurances that anyone reporting harassment will not face retaliation.
    • An overview of the investigative procedure for complaints, including the disciplinary actions perpetrators might face.
  • Review this policy with all employees regularly.

Note: Business legal decisions should be discussed with your trusted legal advisors.


What is the Federal Minimum Wage and the Minimum Wages in all 50 States, DC and Territories? | 2018 Sun, 04 Feb 2018 03:58:48 +0000

UPDATE | This listing is an update of our 2017 state minimum wage information.

In the U.S., states set minimum per hour wages an employer must pay its employees. However, the federal government sets a national minimum wage that supercedes the state rate. In other words, if the state has set a $5.25 per hour rate, the employer must still pay at least $7.25 per hour, the current federal minimum wage. (Just to make it even more difficult to follow, there are exceptions to that rule, as well. See the footnotes for such exceptions.)

The following list shows state minimum wages in January 2018. (State minimum wages can change frequently and many states have legislated multi-year increases. So always check with your local jurisdiction for the most up to date information.)

State Minimum Wages | 2018


Minimum Wage

Future Enacted

Indexed Automatic
Annual Adjustments





Indexed annual increases begin
Jan. 1, 2017. (2014 ballot measure)

American Samoa

varies 1



$11.00 eff. 1-1-19
$12.00 eff. 1-1-20

Rate increased annually based on cost of living beginning Jan. 2021 (2016 ballot measure)





$12.00 eff. 1-1-19
$13.00 eff. 1-1-20
$14.00 eff. 1-1-21
$15.00 eff. 1-1-22

Indexed annual increases based on CPI begin Jan. 1, 2023



$11.10 eff. 1-1-19
$12.00 eff. 1-1-20

Rate increased  annually based on cost of living beginning Jan. 1 2021 (2016 ballot measure)







$13.25 eff. 7-1-18
$14.00 eff. 7-1-19
$15.00 eff. 7-1-20

Indexed annual increases based on CPI begin July 1, 2021



Annual increase based cost of living. (Constitutional amendment 2004)






















$10.00 4

$11.00 eff. 1-1-19
$12.00 eff. 1-1-20

Indexed annual increases based on CPI begin Jan 1, 2021



$10.10 eff. 7-1-18


$11.00 5



Annual increases take effect Jan. 1, 2019, linked to the CPI. Increases not to exceed 3.5%. (2014 Legislation)


$9.65/$7.87 6

Indexed annual increases begin
Jan. 1, 2018.

(2014 legislation)




$7.85 7

Minimum wage increased or decreased by cost of living starting Jan. 1, 2008. (2006 ballot measure)


$8.30/$4.00 8

Increases done annually based on the CPI and effective Jan. 1 of the following year. (2006 ballot measure)




$8.25/$7.25 9

Increases subject to the federal minimum wage and consumer price index. Increases take effect July 1. (Constitutional amendment 2004/2006).

 New Hampshire

repealed by HB 133 (2011)

 New Jersey


Indexed annual increases based on the CPI, effective Jan. 1, 2014. (Constitutional Amendment 2013)

 New Mexico


 New York


$11.10 eff. 12-31-18
$11.80 eff. 12-31-19
$12.50 eff. 12-31-20After 12-31-20, the rate is adjusted annually for inflation until it reaches $15.00

 North Carolina


 North Dakota




Indexed annual increases based on the CPI. (Constitutional amendment 2006)


$7.25/$2.00 12



$10.75 eff. 7-1-18
$11.25 eff. 7-1-19
$12.00 eff. 7-1-20
$12.75 eff. 7-1-21
$13.50 eff. 7-1-22

Indexed annual increases based on the CPI are effective July 1, 2023 (2016 legislation)



 Puerto Rico

$7.25/$5.08 14

 Rhode Island


$10.50 eff. 1-1-19

 South Carolina


 South Dakota


Annual indexed increases begin
Jan. 1, 2016. (2014 ballot measure.)









Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, minimum wage increased annually by 5% or the CPI, whichever is smaller; it cannot decrease. Note: Vermont started indexing in 2007 but enacted additional increases in 2014.
(2014 legislation)

 Virgin Islands


$10.50 eff. 6-1-18





$12.00 eff. 1-1-2019
$13.50 eff. 1-1-2020

Annual indexed increases began Jan. 1, 2020. (ballot measure 2016)

 West Virginia







Sources: U.S. Dept. of Labor, and state websites via National Conference of State Legislatures.


1 American Samoa: The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-28) sets minimum wage rates within American Samoa and provides for additional increases in the minimum wage of $0.50 per hour each year on May 25, until reaching the minimum wage generally applicable in the United States. The wage rates are set for particular industries, not for an employee’s particular occupation. The rates are minimum rates; an employer may choose to pay an employee at a rate higher than the rate(s) for its industry.

2  California: The minimum wage scheduled increases are delayed by one year for employers with 25 or fewer employees. The rate increases to $10.50 per hour effective 1/1/2018 and is increased by $1.00 increments annually until it reaches $15.00 effective 1/1/2023

3  Connecticut: The Connecticut minimum wage rate automatically increases to 1/2 of 1 percent above the rate set in the Fair Labor Standards Act if the Federal minimum wage rate equals or becomes higher than the State minimum.

4  The Maine minimum wage is automatically replaced with the Federal minimum wage rate if it is higher than the State minimum.

5  The Massachusetts minimum wage rate automatically increases to 10 cents above the rate set in the Fair Labor Standards Act if the Federal minimum wage equals or becomes higher than the State minimum.

6  Minnesota: With the passage of H.B. 2091 (2014), the annual sales volume threshold was reduced to $500,000. For large employers, with an annual sales volume of $500,000 or more, the minimum wage is currently $9.50; for small employers, those with an annual sales volume of less than $500,000, the minimum wage is $7.75.

7  Missouri – In addition to the exemption for federally covered employment, the law exempts, among others, employees of a retail or service business with gross annual sales or business done of less than $500,000.

8  Montana: The $4.00 rate applies to businesses with gross annual sales of $110,000 or less; $8.15 applies to all others.

9  Nevada: $8.25 without health benefits; $7.25 with health benefits.

10  New York: The new minimum wage varies across the state based on geographical location and, in New York City, employer size.

11Ohio: $7:25 for employers grossing $299,000 or less

12 Oklahoma: Employers of ten or more full-time employees at any one location and employers with annual gross sales over $100,000 (no matter the number of full-time employees) are subject to federal minimum wage; all others are subject to state minimum wage of $2.00 (OK ST T. 40 § 197.5).

13 Oregon: In addition to the new standard minimum wage rate, SB 1532 sets out a higher rate for employers located in the urban growth boundary, and a lower rate for employers located in nonurban counties. Their respective planned increases are below.

Other Exceptions

  • Puerto Rico: Employers covered by the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are subject to the Federal minimum wage of $7.25. Employers not covered by the FLSA will be subject to a minimum wage that is at least 70 percent of the Federal minimum wage or the applicable mandatory decree rate of $5.08, whichever is higher. The Secretary of Labor and Human Resources may authorize a rate based on a lower percentage for any employer who can show that implementation of the 70 percent rate would substantially curtail employment in that business.
  • Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Puerto Rico, Utah, and Virginia exclude from coverage any employment that is subject to the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Hawaii, Kansas, and Michigan exclude from coverage any employment that is subject to the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, if the State wage is higher than the Federal wage.
  • The Georgia state minimum wage is $5.15. Employees covered under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act are subject to the federal minimum wage of $7.25, but those not covered under the FLSA may be paid the state minimum wage of $5.15.

Cities and counties with minimum wage requirements

In some states, a city or county can enact a minimum wage higher than the states’. The cities and jurisdictions in the list below have different minimum wages than the states in which they are located. As these can change often, check with local tax departments for information on these locales.


  • Birmingham


  • Flagstaff


  • Berkeley
  • Cupertino
  • El Cerrito
  • Emeryville
  • California
  • Los Angeles County
  • Los Angeles
  • Malibu
  • Milpitas
  • Mountain View
  • Oakland
  • Palo Alto
  • Pasadena
  • Richmond
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • San Leandro
  • San Mateo
  • Santa Clara
  • Santa Monica
  • Sunnyvale

New Mexico

  • Albuquerque
  • Bernalillo County
  • Las Cruces
  • Santa Fe City
  • Santa Fe County


  • Chicago
  • Cook County


  • Portland


  • Montgomery County
  • Prince George’s County

New York

  • Nassau County
  • New York City
  • Suffolk County
  • Westchester County


  • Portland Urban Growth Boundary


  • SeaTac
  • Seattle
  • Tacoma



Hiring Your First Employee? Here is an 8-Step Checklist of Things to Do Thu, 11 May 2017 20:24:47 +0000

As your business grows and prospers, it may be time to hire your first employee. From the U.S. Small Business Administration, here are eight steps you should take that will help you start the hiring process and ensure you are compliant with key federal and state regulations.

Step 1 | Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Before hiring your first employee, you need to get an employment identification number (EIN). It’s also referred to as an Employer Tax ID or as Form SS-4.

Why you need one: The EIN is necessary for reporting taxes and other documents to the IRS. In addition, the EIN is necessary when reporting information about your employees to state agencies. You can apply online for an Employer Tax ID from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

Step 2 |  Set up Records for Withholding Taxes

You must keep records of employment taxes for at least four years.

Below are three types of withholding taxes you need for your business:

  • Federal Wage and Tax Statement
    Every year, employers must report to the federal government wages paid and taxes withheld for each employee. This report is filed using Form W-2, wage and tax statement. Employers must complete a W-2 form for each employee who they pay a salary, wage or other compensation. Employers must send Copy A of  W-2 forms to the Social Security Administration by the last day of February to report wages and taxes of your employees for the previous calendar year. In addition, employers should send copies of W-2 forms to their employees by Jan. 31 of the year following the reporting period. Visit for more information.

Step 3 | Employee Eligibility Verification

Federal law requires employers to verify an employee’s eligibility to work in the United States. Within three days of hire, employers must complete Form I-9, employment eligibility verification, which requires employers to examine documents to confirm the employee’s citizenship or eligibility to work in the U.S. Employers can only request documentation specified on the I-9 form.

Employers do not need to submit the I-9 form with the federal government but are required to keep them on file for three years after the date of hire or one year after the date of the employee’s termination, whichever is later.

Employers can use information taken from the Form I-9 to electronically verify the employment eligibility of newly hired employees by registering with E-Verify.

Visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s I-9 website to download the form and find more information.

Step 4 | Register with Your State’s New Hire Reporting Program

All employers are required to report newly hired and re-hired employees to a state directory within 20 days of their hire or rehire date. Visit the New Hires Reporting Requirements page to learn more and find links to your state’s New Hire Reporting System.

Step 5 | Obtain Workers’ Compensation Insurance

All businesses with employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage through a commercial carrier, on a self-insured basis or through their state’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance program.

Step 6 | Post Required Notices

Employers are required to display certain posters in the workplace that inform employees of their rights and employer responsibilities under labor laws. Visit the Workplace Posters page for specific federal and state posters you’ll need for your business.

Step 7 | File Your Taxes

Generally, employers who pay wages subject to income tax withholding, Social Securit, and Medicare taxes must file IRS Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return. For more information, visit

New and existing employers should consult the IRS Employer’s Tax Guide to understand all their federal tax filing requirements.

Visit the state and local tax page for specific tax filing requirements for employers.

Step 8 | Get Organized and Keep Yourself Informed

Being a good employer doesn’t stop with fulfilling your various tax and reporting obligations. Maintaining a healthy and fair workplace, providing benefits and keeping employees informed about your company’s policies are key to your business’ success. Here are some additional steps you should take after you’ve hired your first employee:

Set up Recordkeeping

In addition to requirements for keeping payroll records of your employees for tax purposes, certain federal employment laws also require you to keep records about your employees. The following sites provide more information about federal reporting requirements:

Complying with standards for employee rights in regards to equal opportunity and fair labor standards is a requirement. Following statutes and regulations for minimum wage, overtime, and child labor will help you avoid error and a lawsuit. See the Department of Labor’s Employment Law Guide for up-to-date information on these statutes and regulations.

Also, visit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Fair Labor Standards Act.

A Dozen Benefits Employees Value Most Fri, 21 Apr 2017 12:55:55 +0000

Nearly one-third of an employee’s compensation can come in the form of benefits. While most benefits are optional for small businesses, so important are benefits to employment, Atrium Staffing, a New York City-based employment agency, surveyed its database of job seekers and found 91 percent would accept a different job if better benefits were offered, according to U.S. News in an article listing these 12 benefits valued most by employees.

1 | Health Insurance

The Kaiser Family Foundation found the average annual cost for an employer-sponsored family health insurance plan was $18,142 in 2016. Of that, employers covered $12,865 of the cost.

2 | Retirement Plan

The standard company retirement plan is a 401(k). Although these are funded largely by workers, some firms make an automatic contribution to the fund as part of a compensation package.

3 | Health Savings Account

Health savings accounts are still underutilized but provide a great value for employees. Money deposited into the account is tax-deductible. It then grows tax-free, and withdrawals used for qualified health care expenses are tax-exempt.

4 | Company Equity

Google made hundreds of people instant millionaires when the company went public in 2004. These people were workers who had been awarded stock options as part of their employment at the then startup.

5 | Employee Health Care and Assistance Services

Some companies offer screenings for early cancer detection, resources to treat chronic conditions or free gym memberships. Other employee-assistance programs offer free counseling, legal services or financial planning.

6 | Parental Leave

Parental leave can be a significant benefit both financially and emotionally. Current U.S.  maternity leave policy is regulated by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) which includes a provision mandating 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually for mothers of newborn or newly adopted children. Some states have additional requirements. Small businesses are typically not covered by these regulations or guidelines.

7 | Paid Time Off

While paid vacations are not required, companies who need skilled workers have determined the return-on-investment in vacations can be worth it. In fact, some companies like Netflix have placed a high emphasis on individual performance, they let employees determine their own work and vacation schedules. With such freedom comes accountability, however. At Netflix, employees earn the perks they enjoy.

8 | Career or Personal Development

Career development sessions give workers the chance to gain skills and knowledge needed to further their careers.

9 | Tuition Reimbursement or Loan Repayment

Talent experts say loan repayment will be increasingly rolled out. Forward-thinking companies are doing that because they see young people suffocating under their student loans.

10 | College Savings Accounts

Although employers don’t often make contributions to “529” college savings accounts on behalf of workers, merely offering payroll deductions for the plans can be valuable.

11 | Parking

In Los Angeles, parking can cost up to $400 a month.

12 | Food

Complimentary meals have long been a mainstay at startups. Others have food brought in weekly.



Photos: istock

How to Determine if a Potential Employee Has Entrepreneurial DNA Wed, 29 Mar 2017 22:16:03 +0000

As you shuffle through résumés of job candidates, don’t get too hung up on finding the perfect mixture of background and technical skills. The most important qualification a job seeker can possess isn’t always evident on paper. Be sure your new hires have entrepreneurial DNA, write Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey in this article, a version of which first appeared in the magazine and website Ceramic Industry. (Used by permission.)

Hiring an entrepreneurial employee is one of the best things you can do for your bottom line, because these individuals will be self-reliant, engaged, empowered, and innovative problem solvers. In today’s ever-changing business world, adaptable and entrepreneurial employees are your most valuable competitive advantage. Here are seven ways to help you determine if a job candidate has the entrepreneurial DNA you seek.

1 | Are they willing to bet on themselves?

Entrepreneurs don’t have any income unless they are constantly satisfying their customers, and they’re constantly looking for ways to increase their income, profits, and growth.

2 | Pay attention to body language

Entrepreneurs’ confidence shows in their posture and their body language. They have prepared themselves by learning about your company and display self assurance when they are interviewed and scrutinized by strangers like you. These “tells” are physical evidence of your candidate’s attitude and self esteem.

3 | Talk about their mistakes

Successful entrepreneurs know that blame is disempowering while doing what can be done to prevent a reoccurrence is staying in control. Ask follow-up questions to see how well each candidate analyzed what happened and whether they took steps to prevent the same thing from happening again. Entrepreneurs can’t afford to make the same mistake twice. They build their successes on the backs of their mistakes.

4 | Look for evidence of resourcefulness

Ask job seekers how they solved a professional problem when they lacked the time, support or funds they needed. Listen for evidence of how they used their imagination, asked for help and thought outside the box. See if their solution solved more than one problem. Entrepreneurs know that the ball is always in their court.

5 | Gauge their preparedness

Candidates with entrepreneurial DNA will treat you like a prospect for their services. They think of everyone as a customer for them, their service or their product. They know that the best sales pitch is, “I can help you sell your product,” and they can’t do that unless they have thoroughly researched your company in preparation for the interview.  They’ll come to the interview with a pen and notepad and a list of questions.

6 | Determine how they work on a team

Look for candidates who show an interest in understanding all the jobs, procedures, outsourced services and suppliers that keep the customer loyal. Ask them how their last job fit into their company’s big picture. Ask them how they worked with their teammates and improved communication both inside and outside their previous company.

7 | Test their attentiveness and organization

During the final portion of the interview process, tell the candidate more about what the job entails, who they will be working with and why, how the job supports the customer experience, how your company is organized, and what the performance expectations are. Be sure to include how the funds get from the ultimate consumer to the company to cover their paycheck. After your explanation is finished, ask the candidate to write a one-page summary of your company, the money trail, how they will be working with their colleagues, and why they qualify for the job. Then tell them it’s due by 5 p.m. the next day. This summary will tell you volumes about the candidate’s comprehension, organization, communication and ability to hit a deadline; these are all attributes of an entrepreneur.

Additional Considerations

Remember, it’s not enough to say you are looking for entrepreneurial DNA in your candidates—you and your company have to walk the walk. You must build a culture of permission, enthusiasm, inclusiveness, recognition, and acknowledgment, and have a performance-based compensation plan. If you want your employees to be more entrepreneurial, create the fertile ground in which they will bloom.

BY | Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey are coauthors of The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways to Engage and Empower Your People, companion to the best-selling business book The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand.

VIA | A full version of this article appeared in the magazine and website, Ceramic Industry. Used with permission.

Checklist: Items to Keep (and NOT Keep) in Employee Files Thu, 03 Nov 2016 13:00:55 +0000 It is important–and sometimes, required by law–to set up and manage a personnel (or employee) filing system. However, it’s important to remember there is not just one file per employee.

  • Some personnel files are used for helping managers make employee-related decisions.
  • Other files are highly confidential and can contain information protected by privacy laws.

Therefore, a personnel filing system can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach, as there are certain types of information related to employees that are highly personal (medical, for instance) that should be maintained in a system separate from that which is used for personnel decision purposes.

Another factor in determining what types of files to manage relates the size of the company. For instance, some companies with less than 50 employees may not be required to maintain a specific type of form, what those with 51 are.

So think of a personnel filing system as being several types of files.

  1. Certain employee files contain information that laws and regulations require; and that they require confidentiality. This protected information can only be seen by personnel who are designated to see it for specific, government-approved reasons. Such files can relate to benefits, salary, medical conditions, and legal issues.
  2. The other file, and the one most typically referred to as the general “personnel file,” contains information related exclusively to the employee’s performance on the job that can be seen by the employee’s supervisory personnel.

Why have records at all?

There are several basic reasons for maintaining files related to each employee:

  • They aid in promotion or layoff decisions
  • They provide a means to track activities related to such things as training, vacations, accolades, conflicts
  • They are necessary to comply with various local, state and federal laws and regulations
  • They provide records of activities, conversations, reviews, etc., that can be important in reducing the potential liability if an employee is laid off

What stays and what goes?

The following should, and should not, be included in a basic employment file.

Should be included

Job description (present, past positions)
Records relating to job offers, promotion, demotion, transfer, layoff, rates of pay and other forms of compensation, and education and training records
Records relating to other employment practices (including policy acknowledgments and agreements)
Letters of recognition
Disciplinary notices or documents
Performance evaluations and goal setting records
Termination records
Employment Application
Orientation Checklist
Emergency Contact Information
Employees Withholding Allowance
Certificate W-4
State Specific Employees Withholding Allowance Certificate, if applicable
Copy of Driver’s License, if required for the position
Signed Receipt of Employee Handbook and Employment-at-will Statement
Change in Personal Data Form
Performance Evaluations
Position/Rate Change Forms
Record of Disciplinary Action (Verbal and Written Warnings), if applicable
Absentee Record
Requests for Time Off
Training Requests
Documentation of Training
Documentation of Certification and/or License (if applicable)
Requests to Review Personnel File
Resignation Statement

Should NOT be included in a basic employment file

| There should be one file per employee. DO NOT mix together into a shared file the payroll file documents for more than one employee.

| The following documents belong in a SEPARATE file(s) and SHOULD NOT BE accessible to supervisors who are seeking information about the employee’s work performance. The information found in these documents are protected under privacy laws and belong with other guarded, confidential documentation.

EEO/invitation to self-identify disability or veteran status records.
Interview notes and employment test results.
Reference/background checks.
Drug test results.
Immigration (I-9) forms.
Medical/insurance records (medical questionnaires, benefit enrollment forms and benefit claims, doctors notes, accommodation requests, and leave of absence records).
Child support/garnishments.
Litigation documents.
Workers’ compensation claims.
Investigation records. (Only any relevant disciplinary action, counseling or other direct communications would be placed in the employee’s personnel file.)
Requests for employment/payroll verification.

Benefits File (Confidential)

( | There should be one file per employee. DO NOT mix together into a shared file of benefits documents for more than one employee.)

Benefits Declination Form
Health, Dental, Vision, and/or Pharmacy Insurance Enrollment Forms
Other Insurance Enrollment Forms (Life Insurance, STD, LTD, etc)
Flexible Spending Account Forms
Election Form/Compensation Reduction Agreement
Employee Direct Deposit Signup Form
Enrollment Form, Retirement Forms, Profit Sharing Forms
S125 Premium Only Plan Forms
Beneficiary Designation Form
COBRA or State Continuation paperwork, if applicable

Payroll File (Confidential)

( | There should be one file per employee. DO NOT mix together into a shared file the payroll file documents for more than one employee.)

Direct Deposit Authorization
Payroll Deduction Authorization Forms
Overtime Requests, if applicable
Time Sheets
Employee Expense Report
Auto Mileage Reimbursement Vouchers
Garnishments/Income Executions
Requests for Pay Advances

More Confidential Files

( | There should be one file per employee. DO NOT mix together into a shared file the payroll file documents for more than one employee.)

Documentation of Investigations
Lawsuit or DOL/EEOC investigation correspondence
EEOC and Affirmative Action Data
Background Check and Drug Testing Results
OSHA Forms
Employee Incident Report
Medical Information
FMLA Forms
Employee Request for Family Medical Leave
Certification of Health Care Provider
Family Medical Leave Periodic Reports
Family Medical Leave Return to Work Certification
Disability and/or Workers’ Compensation Claim Forms
Accommodation Requests

Sources:,, (PDF).

]]>’s Guide to Creating an Employee Manual Tue, 01 Dec 2015 12:47:29 +0000

As your company grows, it becomes increasingly important to have an employee manual.

  • It establishes clear and consistent communication between you and your employees concerning company policies.
  • It sets forth your expectations for employees.
  • It describes what employees can expect from your company.
  • It describes your legal obligations as an employer.
  • It describes employees’ rights.
  • It helps you comply with federal and state laws regarding your obligations and employee rights.

Employee manual outline

Each business is unique. Your policies related to employees will also be unique. Some companies have very flexible policies, while others may have very strict rules and policies. No matter how lax or strict your policies may be, here is an outline of topics to cover in your employee manual.

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and Conflict of Interest Statements

Legally mandated policies, requirements & procedures related to:

  • Equal employment opportunities
  • Discrimination and harassment prohibitions
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Information about required withholdings of state and federal taxes
  • Voluntary deductions related to company’s benefits programs
  • (Companies with 50+ employees) Healthcare insurance guidelines and overview (provided by carrier)
  • (Companies with less than 50 employees) If healthcare insurance is not provided through the company, the only requirement is to inform employees of the existence of health insurance marketplaces


  • Pay schedules
  • Overtime pay
  • Bonuses
  • Performance Reviews

Benefit programs and eligibility requirements

  • Required benefits
  • Optional benefits
    • Health insurance
    • Retirement plans
    • Wellness programs

Workplace Expectations

  • Schedules
  • Hours
  • Punctuality
  • Absences
  • Breaks
  • Telecommuting (if an option)
  • Flex schedule (if an option)
  • Dress guidelines
  • Code of ethics
  • Legal obligations
  • Office conduct

General Employment Information

  • Overview of business
  • Employment eligibility
  • Job classifications
  • Employee referral
  • Employee records
  • Job postings
  • Probationary periods
  • Resignation procedures

Safety and Security

  • Company’s commitment to and policies for creating a safe and secure workplace
  • Compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s laws related to:
      • Accidents & injury reporting
      • Safety hazards
      • Safety suggestions

Technology and Equipment

  • Policies for appropriate technology (computers, mobile devices, software) use
  • Security requirements for electronic information
  • Privacy and security guidelines

Social Media & Traditional Media

  • Guidelines, suggestions and training related to work and social media
  • Policies related to work-related  communications with news media

Leave Policies

  • Family medical leave
  • Jury duty
  • Military leave
  • Time off for comply with state and local laws (for example, court appearance, voting)
  • Vacation
  • Holiday
  • Bereavement
  • Sick leave

(via: Small Business Administration)

20 Questions for Job Candidates in a Behavioral Interview Tue, 13 Oct 2015 11:47:37 +0000

Behavioral interviewing is a technique to learn about the job candidate’s past behavior in specific situations. Why? Past behavior in a specific situation is a better predictor of future behavior than questions about a hypothetical future situation.

  1. What was the last project you headed up, and what was its outcome?
  2. Give me an example of a time that you felt you went above and beyond the call of duty at work.
  3. Can you describe a time when your work was criticized?
  4. Have you ever been on a team where someone was not pulling their own weight? How did you handle it?
  5. Tell me about a time when you had to give someone difficult feedback. How did you handle it?
  6. Tell me about a work incident in which you were totally honest, despite a potential risk or downside.
  7. What is your greatest failure, and what did you learn from it?
  8. What irritates you about other people, and how do you deal with it?
  9. Which do you prefer: flex time or a specific time when everyone should be at the office—and why?
  10. If I were your supervisor and asked you to do something that you disagreed with, what would you do?
  11. What was the most difficult period in your life, and how did you deal with it?
  12. Give me an example of a time you did something wrong. How did you handle it?
  13. Have you ever led a team where a personal crisis like an illness or death of a loved one caused a team member to be gone for an extended period of time? How did it impact the project and how did you relate to the team member when he or she returned?
  14. What irritates you about other people, and how do you deal with it?
  15. Tell me about a time where you had to deal with conflict on the job.
  16. If you were at a business lunch and you ordered a rare steak and they brought it to you well done, what would you do?
  17. If you found out your company was doing something against the law, like fraud, what would you do?
  18. What assignment was too difficult for you, and how did you resolve the issue?
  19. What’s the most difficult decision you’ve made in the last two years and how did you come to that decision?
  20. Describe how you would handle a situation if you were required to finish multiple tasks by the end of the day, and there was no conceivable way that you could finish them.