Does Your Company Have a Texting Policy?

Most people are aware that texting as a norm has exploded over the past several years.  Typically, the younger you are, the more you are texting.  Texting is the most popular communications activity among young adults who ultimately prefer to be reached by text message than by phone or email.  It is instant communication.   Woman texting at office

  •          The average person responds to a text message in 90 seconds, compared to 90 minutes for an email.
  •          Over 97% of text messages are opened, while only 22% of emails are opened.
  •          90% of all text messages are read within 3 minutes of their delivery
  •          45% of 21-50 year-olds prefer texting to voice calling

With rampant cell phone use increasing, it begins to raise a lot of questions about whether texting requires a separate policy at the office to set guidelines or can it be addressed in other existing policies.

Texts Can Easily Be Misunderstood

Just as emails can be misunderstood, so can texts, especially due to their brevity.  When communicating with your staff it is best to play it safe and have a conversation.  There are less misunderstandings and assumptions made this way.

There are exceptions to this rule.  For example, in emergency situations a text may be needed to reach a large group of people in a short amount of time. 

Change Your Expectations….Or Your Policies

If your current policies do not address texting and it is one of your concerns, then you need to revisit what your policies say.  Many employers report that their staff will text them to let them know they will be late or absent.  Often times an employee may text to avoid speaking directly with a supervisor.  Is it OK if your staff member texts you that they are going to be late or not in at all?  Does the policy for calling in clearly state that they must verbally communicate this with you via phone?  Will you need to reach an employee quickly to try to fill a shift last-minute?  The policy should cover this scenario as well.

Organizations should also consider including in current anti-harassment policies a statement that offensive texts may not be sent or shared among co-workers.  The policy should also caution employees that when they are using a company cellphone, they should have no expectation of privacy and the company reserves the right to monitor its usage.

Texting Policy – The Right Fit

The type of business you are in will determine the best policy for texting.  For those that are in retail where customer contact is frequent, you may want to spell out that texting is prohibited.  Same with occupations that texting may be more of a safety issue:  tellers, receptionists, manufacturing floors, drivers, lab workers, etc. 

Whether you have a very flexible “Results Only Work Environment” (ROWE) approach or an environment where professionalism is vital, modify or create a policy that is right for the organization as a whole.  Just be sure to keep your employees well informed on both your expectations and the overall benefit to your organization of your new texting policy.

Does your company currently have a cell phone and/or texting policy?  How do you currently handle the use of cell phones in the office?

2013 Private Practice SIG Fall Conference

2013 APTAMA Private Practice Special Interest Group
Fall Business Conference

September 26 and 27, 2013
Framingham Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center – Framingham, MA

Don’t miss Thursday September 26, 1:45-3:00pm

Are you in Compliance?  How to avoid costly mistakes and save yourself time and money

This presentation focuses on conducting an HR audit. Federal and State agencies have recently been targeting certain industries to primarily audit for worker misclassification, wage and hour, and record-keeping matters. Employee claims of unfair discrimination or practices in the workplace also can trigger a Federal or State agency audit knocking on your door. So, be constantly prepared and proactive. This presentation will review the four different types of HR audits and you will leave with take home tools to utilize in your practice to determine if you are safe or not.

Speaker:  Nancy Dube, Dube Consulting

Nancy is the founder and principal of Dube Consulting, a full-service provider of outsourced human resource services. Ms. Dube is a seasoned human resource professional with over 25 years of experience.

Exhibitor Registration – Sept 27 only

Attendee Registration

Complete Course Descriptions – click here:
Brochure to share

 

You Don’t Know, What You Don’t Know!

Yesterday while talking to a prospective client, it became apparent to me that I am a subject matter expert.  I am not bragging or tooting my own horn here but Human Resources is a complex field.  What I took for granted from a business owner is that they knew what they needed.  WRONG ASNWER – Instead, our conversation went from a bandaid approach to a full operation.  It never occured to me one, that a business owner knows only about “their” business.  When starting a business often times “you don’t know, what you don’t know.”  I want to thank this business owner for opening my eyes.

When the Entrepeneur comes alive, a passion grows inside inspiring you to become a Small Business Owner.  We begin by putting together a business plan.  One excellent resource to help is Center for Women and Enterprise.  So the business plan is done, you find a location perhaps with the help of my friend Maureen at Glickman Kovago and Company  Your ideas are fressh and you are excited to open your business.  Now you need insurance so contact PJ Lombardo Insurance Agency and get the agent that you will know, like and trust!  Still getting set up you need a business consultant and tax confidant.  I highly recommend Accountable Business Solutions    I could go on and on with referrals – WHY?  Because my job as a Human Resource Professional is to “Build Human Connections.”  I network and can offer solutions with trusted resources for any small business.  Please reach out to me for more connections – Bankers, Lawyeres, Service Contractors and more…..

So after helping this prospective client with some connections, she stated that she needed to hire employees.  I can help, I said.  I began to discuss the job description, the method of attracting quality candidates, the sourcing and interview process, the actual onboarding and then the framework to support the new business – paying your employees, tax liability,  employee handbooks, legal compliance, performance reviews and went on and on.  What I didn’t know is that she did not know all that was involved.  Who do you know that doesn’t know?  I would love to help!  Contact me .

 

NETSAW – Network for South Asian American Women Entrepreneurs

Members of NetSAW are coming together for an afternoon of productive networking, sharing, and learning! Take an active role in managing your career by meeting other like-minded women, expanding your professional network, and identifying specific professional and leadership opportunities that will enhance your success and talents as we learn Networking with LinkedIn.

As Business Professionals, we are expected to stay up-to-date with innovative trends and branding, but this is often a challenge. Nancy Dube, Principal of Dube Consulting will provide us with insight on using social media to find quality candidates, customers, and leverage the connections you already have. Nancy has “Rock Solid Experience” as an HR Manager, Recruiter and Consultant encompassing a 25 year span. She has been using LinkedIn since 2003 and is noted as an expert on the subject.
 
Nancy has been a featured speaker on this topic for groups including: the Worcester Chamber of Commerce, Marlborough Chamber of Commerce, and Center for Women and Enterprise. She will explain how to use LinkedIn to network and for business.
 
Description:
82% of small businesses say word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective way to market their business and find new customers. (Source: American Express Open and SEMPO, “Small Business Search Marketing Survey” March 23, 2011)
LinkedIn’s core is making business-to-business contacts, but its power goes beyond simple connections.
No matter what your line of work or type of business, LinkedIn can be beneficial for:
  • Demonstrating expertise through the content you post in the site’s Answers section. Scroll through open questions posed by others on the site and answer those that fall in your area of expertise.
  • Connecting with professionals like you in the Groups Area. Groups are discussion forums centered on a topic or industry. You can use the Groups area to share ideas with peers, pick up a few tips to help your organization grow, and connect with people who share similar passions.
  • Helping your search engine optimization efforts. Search engines love inbound links, and your personal profile and company page can both link back to your website, giving you a higher rank in the world of Google.
  • Staying on top of industry news. Using LinkedIn today you can get the latest news sent right to your inbox and/or at the top of your screen every time you log in.
 Guest speaker, Nancy Dube from Dube Consulting helps build human connections.  This is a presentation not be missed!

The New Year is Approaching – Does Your Business Need an HR Tune-up?

Give Your Organization a Strategic Tune-up

As a business owner, we can help you take an objective look at your company’s HR policies, practices, procedures, and strategies to protect your business, establish best practices, and identify opportunities for improvement.   Dube Consulting  is an experienced provider of HR tune-ups for small businesses. Dube Consulting offers several different tune-ups which are designed to accomplish different objectives.  Some of the more common tune-ups include:

  • Compliance. Focus on how well your organization complies with current federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
  • Best practices. Help your organization maintain or improve a competitive advantage by comparing your practices with those of companies identified as having exceptional HR practices.
  • Strategic. Focus on the strengths and weaknesses of systems and processes to determine whether or not they align with your company’s strategic plan.
  • Process-specific. Focus on a specific process in the HR function (e.g., hiring, training, compensation and benefits, performance management, and records retention).

 As a small business owner, you cannot be an expert at everything.  Our comprehensive tune-ups are designed to evaluate whether specific practice areas are adequate, comply with applicable laws and regulations, and/or are effective for your operation.

The results can provide you with a road map to make informed and strategic decisions.

  • Package 1 – Mini Tune-up   – 50 questions covering: Function-Specific
  • Package 2 – Midsize Tune-up – 100 questions covering: Function-Specific, Strategies, Best Practices
  • Package 3 – Full Tune-up – 175 questions covering: Compliance, Function-Specific, Strategies, Best Practices

For details and cost contact us today – http://www.dubeconsulting.com/contact

 

 

 

Do You Need a Social Media Policy?

If your employees are mature, responsible, and ethical and always think before they write, then the answer is “NO.”

I bet you are thinking to yourself, be real… When do employees act that responsibility?  Perhaps you have the best company around and just one person has a lapse of memory/judgement.  How will that reflect on your business?  You understand now that I am a proponent of social media policies.

Let me share 5 things to consider when writing your social media policy:
1.  How far do you want to reach? Social networking presents two concerns for employers – how employees are spending their time at work, and how employees are portraying your company online when they are not at work. Any social networking policy must address both types of online use.
2.  Do you want to permit social networking at work, at all? It is not realistic to ban all social networking at work. For one thing, you will lose the benefit of business-related networking, such as LinkedIn. Without turning off Internet access or blocking certain sites, a blanket ban is also hard to monitor and enforce.  Although this may be necessary in a few specific industries such as banking, finance.
3.  If you forbid social networking, how will you monitor it? Turning off Internet access, installing software to block certain sites, or monitoring employees’ use and disciplining offenders are all possibilities, depending on how much time you want to spend watching what your employees do online.
4.  If you allow employees to engage in social networking at work, do you want to limit it to work-related conduct, or permit limited personal use? How you answer this question depends on how you balance productivity vs. return on your market.

5.  How will social networking effect other policies such as: harassment and confidentiality? Employment policies do not work in a alone. Employees’ online presence, can violate any number of other company policies. Drafting a social networking policy is an excellent opportunity to revisit, update, and fine-tune other policies.

We specialize in writing policies and procedures to protect the small business owner.  If you need help with social media, policies, or even developing an on-line business presence we are here to help.

Top 5 Reasons to Conduct an Audit?

Audits help businesses uncover problems and ensure efficiency.

Here are the top 5 reason to conduct an audit:

1.  To insure the effective operation of an organization.

2.  To review compliance with a multitude of administrative regulations.

3.  To instill a sense of confidence in management that the business is functioning well and you are prepared to meet potential challenges.

4.  To maintain/enhance the organization’s reputation in the community.

5.  To perform a “due diligence” review for shareholders or potential investors.
Not all policies, practices, and procedures are committed to writing. It is vitally important that companies have a process
to ensure that everything stays up-to-date and legal, AND actually works as intended.

Do you want things to run smoothly? Conducting an audit is one way to accomplish that.

Engage Dube Consulting to perform your audit and help you overcome these challenges.

Conducting HR Audits to Help Propel Your Business

Understanding what audits are, the purpose they serve, and
the significance they provide can position a business to be compliant with
various employment laws and sought after as an employer of choice. Remember;
conducting an audit is not something you do just once.  It is never a done and over with deal. Instead,
effective audits are to be conducted, at minimum, regularly once a year.

Generally, there are four types of HR audits:

  • Compliance: Evaluation of the company’s compliance with state and
    federal workplace laws as well as industry regulations.
  • Function-Specific: Comprehensive assessment into specific areas of the HR
    function, such as Benefits, Compensation, and Safety.
  • Best  Practices: Comparative review of internal
  • business practices with those of other businesses considered to be leaders
    in the industry or in the HR field.
  • Strategic:
    Examination of the strengths
    and weaknesses of the company’s systems and processes to gain greater
    market competitiveness.

Examples of necessary reasons to conduct an HR audit
include:

  • State
    and federal employment laws and industry regulations,
  • Company
    size in terms of number of employees,
  • Business
    development into new areas including expansion into multiple states,
  • Internal
    restructuring of the organization,
  • Mergers
    and acquisitions, and
  • Business
    cycles / seasons.

Federal and State agencies have been recently
targeting certain industries to primarily audit for worker misclassification, wage and hour, and
recordkeeping matters. Employee claims of unfair discrimination or practices in
the workplace also can trigger a Federal or State agency audit knocking on your
door. So, be constantly prepared and pro-active.

10 Things to Never Say When You Fire an Employee

 If you are the boss, the hardest thing you have to do is to lay off an outstanding employee because of lack of work because that means you failed them. The second hardest task is to fire an employee. When you fire an employee, you should have two goals in mind:

 1. Treat the employee with respect, and 2. Protect your business from a legal aspect.

 As the boss, firing someone is hard to do. For the employee, being fired is financially and emotionally devastating. So let’s make sure you don’t make a bad situation worse by saying:

1. “This is really hard for me…” Who cares? The employee doesn’t. Firing employees is part of the job. Any time you talk about how difficult the situation is for you the employee thinks, “Oh yeah? What about me? How hard do you think this makes me fee?” If you feel bad talk it over later with someone you trust, such as an HR Consultant.

 2. “We’ve decided to go in a different direction.” You’re not a sports team firing its coach. You’re not holding a press conference. Save the cliché’s, don’t leave the employee wondering. If you’ve done your job right the employee already knows why he’s being fired. State the reason for your decision as clearly and concisely as possible or just say, “Jane, I have to let you go.”

3. “I’ll have to get with HR to figure out…” Firing is both an ending and the start of another process for the employee: Returning company property, collecting personal items, determining what happens with benefits, etc. It’s your job to know how all that works ahead of time. Getting fired is bad enough; sitting in limbo while you figure out the next steps is humiliating for an employee who wants nothing more than to leave so they can cling to whatever dignity remains. Know your stuff and never make an employee wait to meet with others who are part of the process.

4. “Compared to Joe, you just aren’t cutting it.” Never compare employees when you fire an individual. Simply state the cause is a failure to meet standards or behavioural expectations. Drawing comparisons between employees makes it possible for what should be an objective decision to turn into a deep black hole you’ll find incredibly difficult to escape.

5. “I disagree with you, and here’s why…” Some employees plead, most are quiet, and a few argue. Never let yourself be dragged into a back-and-forth discussion. Just say, “Jane, I’ll be happy to talk about this as long as you like, but you should understand that nothing we discuss will change the decision.” Arguing or even “discussing” almost always makes the employee feel worse and could open you up to potential legal issues. Be professional, be empathetic, and stick to the facts. And don’t feel the need to respond if an employee starts to vent. Just listen!

6. “Fine, if it makes you feel better, I’ll go get my boss.” Occasionally an employee will want to discuss things with someone above you. Never open that door. Firing is final and you have the last word.

7. “You’re a good employee… but we have to cut staffing.” If you’re downsizing, leave performance out and just say so. But what if you’re not actually downsizing and you’re hiding behind an excuse so the conversation is easier for you? Then you do the employee a disservice and you open your business up to potential problems, especially if you later hire someone to fill the open slot. Don’t try to protect the employee’s feelings. Just be honest.

8. “I know you weren’t happy here; you know… this could work out for the best in the long run.” Possibly so but it’s not your place to judge. For the employee there is no silver lining to be found in the “You’re fired,” at least not at first. Let the employee figure things out for themselves.

9. “I need to walk you to the door.” Say, “Jane, go ahead and gather up your personal belongings.” Observe Jane collecting their things and escort them quietly to the door. She’ll know why and won’t argue.

10. “We.” The word “we” is appropriate in almost every setting, but not this one. If you are the person firing the employee, say, “I.” At this moment you are the company. Take responsibility and do not say “If there is anything I can do for you, just let me know.” You should say, “If you have any questions about benefits, final pay checks, or other details, call me. I’ll make sure you get the answers you need.