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The 10 Biggest Leadership Mistakes to Avoid

October 17th, 2017

Anyone that is a boss, a manager or a leader knows that strong leadership qualities are a must if you and your team are going to succeed.

The 10 Biggest Leadership Mistakes to AvoidThere is so much information out there on how to be a great leader; however, there are also things that should be avoided if you’re in a leadership role.

The 10 biggest leadership mistakes to avoid include:

  1. Forgetting to listen

Leaders have an agenda, a plan and a mission that they are trying to carry out. However, they can sometimes forget to listen to the advice of others. There is wisdom in consulting people for advice and ideas. Listen to those around you and put your heads together.

  1.  Ignoring the details

Leaders can often fixate on the big picture. The only way you can pull off the ultimate goal is to stay the course and note the details that it takes to get there.

In other words, a leader should avoid ignoring the details. They matter and are what helps you to achieve the overall project or mission.

  1. Missing individual successes

Don’t forget to give credit where credit is due. Your team will thrive under a little pat on the back and encouragement. If you miss celebrating individual successes, then you could miss a very important motivator for your team.

  1. Slow to change

Strong leaders should be quick to change if it makes sense.  You gain nothing by making the process slow. If you can make an improvement for your team or company, then go for it.

  1. Being “incognito”

Don’t get lost! Your employees should be able to find you with ease. If they think you are always gone or unavailable, then you will miss opportunities to mentor them.

  1. Skip the micromanaging act

No one likes to be micromanaged. Be sure to hire well and you can skip the constant checking up on them and the getting into every detail.

  1. Not communicating well

The goal should be to inform your staff about what’s happening in the company. The fewer surprises the better for your team. Good communication is important for success.

  1. Making things about you

Don’t make everything about you.  Your team will get annoyed and not respect you. Be sure that you are open to helping the team as a whole rather than just you.

  1. Not admitting your mistakes

Leaders need to admit when they are wrong and make mistakes. Your honesty with the situation will help your team see you as more human and even more approachable.

  1. Not being willing to fire people

Terminating someone’s employment is never a good situation. However, leaders need to be willing to make a change and fire someone when it is warranted.
Leaders should focus on how to lead well but not miss these 10 mistakes to avoid at the same time. Strong leadership is essential to the success of a mission and company.
Contact us today for help finding top talent!

The Lawton Group Team
858-569-6260 ~ judy@lawtongrp.com
www.Lawtongrp.com

 

San Diego County Headquarters:
The Lawton Group
4747 Viewridge Ave.
Suite 106
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone (858) 569-6260
Fax (866) 580-0089
Toll free (800) 834-4576
Inland Empire, LA and Orange County:
Inland Empire Branch
7177 Brockton Ave Suite 338
Riverside, CA 92506
Phone (909) 481-4443
Fax (909) 481-4642

 

Good and Bad Legal News

October 10th, 2017

 Good and Bad Legal News

There has been activity in two areas regarding employment law in California. One is deemed to be good, even great, news and the other is not so great for smaller companies.

The good news is a court ruling that may affect many of you regarding vacation pay. A company had a policy stating employees earn one week of vacation after one year of employment. When an employee left the company after 6 months, he filed a claim that he was due half the vacation promised after one year.

CA law states earned vacation time is part of the employee’s wages and it is earned each day of work. Vacation time, once earned, cannot be lost… it is used or paid out. If the employee doesn’t use their earned vacation, the total unused time can be limited by a cap that will make the employee stop earning more vacation time until the employee’s balance is below that cap.

A 2009 court case decided the employee was due a portion of the first year’s vacation. However, in that case, the company’s policy stated employees earn one week of vacation during their first year of employment but they couldn’t use it until after one year. Since their way of writing the policy made it clear vacation time was being earned in that first year, the company had to pay out the earned time.

The most recent case was different because their policy specifically stated the employee earned no vacation during the first year of employment. Take a look at how your policy is written and let us help you update it, if needed.

The bad news is that CA’s SB63 has passed through the legislature and is now ready for the governor’s signature. If this bill is made into law, companies with only 20 or more employees will now have to provide employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off each year for family/medical purposes. Currently, similar laws (FMLA, CFRA) only affect companies with 50+ employees.

SB63 provides eligible employees protected time off for certain things, such as baby bonding and medical issues for themselves or family. Pregnant employees would have available both the time off provided in CA’s Pregnancy Disability Leave (up to 3 months) and the 12 weeks available through this bill because they cannot overlap. While you do not pay for any of this time off, the employee could receive supplemental pay from the state for about 3 months while on leave.

Aside from having employees off work for up to 12 weeks, companies will have additional administrative responsibilities in the form of various documents to be sent in a timely manner and tracking the time off related to these leaves. Remember, this is protected time off so hiring someone to fill their position will be on a temporary basis because the employee must be provided with their same or similar job when they return from the leave.

We’ll let you know if the governor signs or vetoes this bill. Even if the bill is vetoed, remember you can still allow employees unpaid time off as a personal leave of absence to accommodate baby bonding or medical leaves for your employees.

… Click here to visit the HR Jungle >>

We would love to hear your comments. Please leave your comments below or email us today!

 

San Diego County Headquarters:
The Lawton Group
4747 Viewridge Ave.
Suite 106
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone (858) 569-6260
Fax (866) 580-0089
Toll free (800) 834-4576
Inland Empire, LA and Orange County:
Inland Empire Branch
7177 Brockton Ave Suite 338
Riverside, CA 92506
Phone (909) 481-4443
Fax (909) 481-4642

 

Are You Being SMART?

October 3rd, 2017

7 Things that Mentally Strong People Avoid

“I’ve been trying to give employees goals but, when I ask about how they’re doing on their goals, I hear excuses about how they’ve been too busy or they are waiting on someone else before they can move forward, etc. How can I make them take the goals more seriously?”

Your HR Survival Tip

The first step in having employees take your goals seriously is to make sure you’re taking them seriously. While it’s fine if you create the goals, you’ll find more cooperation if the employee has a say in what those goals might be.

There are three steps that will help you. You need buy-in from the employee regarding the goals to get them excited and in agreement with you; you need to structure each goal so they know what needs to be done and when; and you need a carrot.

Start with the initial buy-in by giving the employee a brief outline of what you are thinking. Then ask the employee to come up some ideas about this. Set a time to finalize detailed goals.

The structure of goals can make or break this project. Details will help both of you determine whether each goal was successfully accomplished.

  • Specific — Rather than saying you want significant, more, better, etc., say what you really want. Example 1: You must produce at least 25 widgets consistently each week. The work must be of high quality, with no returns. Example 2: You must increase sales next quarter by 5% and maintain that level going forward.
  • Measurable — Quantify anything possible. It creates a target for both of you, plus everyone knows what is being measured. Without something specific to measure, how does your employee know they have achieved the goal?
  • Achievable — Can this goal realistically be achieved or did you put the bar so high they don’t even try? It’s one thing to make the employee stretch a bit but it’s a problem if they need a ladder to reach the goal.
  • Relevant — Does the goal make sense to the employee and the employee’s job? Make sure the goal helps the employee move forward in gaining more knowledge, better skills, a higher-level of productivity, or something else of value.
  • Timelines — I’ve seen goals written on annual reviews and, a year later, they wonder why the employee didn’t accomplish the goal after being given a whole year to do it. When you give employees too much time, they are more likely to procrastinate until too late. If the goal has value, it needs a deadline. Otherwise, you’re just making a suggestion. Don’t make due dates so tight the employee is completely stressed or has to work extra hours just to meet that date.

You and the employee should sit down and discuss any goal. Everything can be broken down into steps that will get you to the end result you want. Help the employee see this and work out smaller steps and deadlines that will ensure the goal is reached by the final deadline. If an employee is new to goals, it’s also helpful to have weekly meetings to discuss the progress and any problems that have come up.

Goals usually help your business grow so you want employees to have a successful experience in reaching their goals so the company meets its goals. However, most people need a carrot. What is the “carrot” for your employees to motivate them to achieve the goals? And what happens when they aren’t successful? Are you building the goals into your compensation or bonus programs? Give employees their “why” for achieving the goal and watch their faces… are they excited or are they trying hard not to roll their eyes and sigh? That look will usually tell you if you’ve created a good goal program for your employees.

… Click here to visit the HR Jungle >>

We would love to hear your comments. Please leave your comments below or email us today!

 

San Diego County Headquarters:
The Lawton Group
4747 Viewridge Ave.
Suite 106
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone (858) 569-6260
Fax (866) 580-0089
Toll free (800) 834-4576
Inland Empire, LA and Orange County:
Inland Empire Branch
7177 Brockton Ave Suite 338
Riverside, CA 92506
Phone (909) 481-4443
Fax (909) 481-4642

 

7 Things that Mentally Strong People Avoid

September 26th, 2017

7 Things that Mentally Strong People Avoid Mentally strong individuals have common characteristics such as optimism, persistence and a drive that help them to succeed. They are a force to be reckoned with and often avoid things that will draw them away from productivity and their overall goal for success.

Mentally strong people avoid these 7 things and find greater achievement and fulfillment as a result.

  1. Entertaining the fear of change

Those that are strong mentally do not fear change. Rather, they embrace it and feel more inspired because they do. These individuals won’t shy away from change but instead they welcome new opportunities.

  1. Wasting time feeling sorry for themselves

Mentally strong people don’t sit around and feel sorry for themselves. They know how to handle a variety of circumstances and grow from the hand their dealt rather than “cry over spilled milk.” In fact, they tend to rise up with a shrug of the shoulders and press on.

  1. Worry over things outside their control

Mentally strong individuals are not complainers. They don’t worry about things beyond their control. When times get tough, they choose a positive outlook and work toward the things they can control rather than spending time on things they cannot.

  1. People pleasing

A person that is mentally strong will not try and please others but just be themselves. They are able to extend goodwill toward others but not worry over pleasing everyone around them. If someone gets upset, then they accept that as a possibility and do the best they can to be pleasant while not changing their course of action to please others.

  1. Habitual, similar mistakes

One that is mentally strong will not continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. They learn from their mistakes, struggles, and tough situations. Mentally strong people take responsibility for their errors and bad calls.  Moving forward, they make different choices and grow from their past experiences.

  1. Focus on the past

Dwelling on the past can bring you down.  Mentally strong people are able to look to the future rather than focus on the past. Moving forward and learning from their experiences is important and they will work hard to grow in all situations.

  1. Begrudge other’s success

The mentally strong can celebrate other’s success.  They don’t feel threatened because someone else has abilities or shows potential. In fact, they may even take note of the decisions that helped someone else succeed so they can do the same.

Mentally strong people rise up rather than shy away from opportunities for growth and success.

We would love to hear your comments. Please leave your comments below or email us today!

 

San Diego County Headquarters:
The Lawton Group
4747 Viewridge Ave.
Suite 106
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone (858) 569-6260
Fax (866) 580-0089
Toll free (800) 834-4576
Inland Empire, LA and Orange County:
Inland Empire Branch
7177 Brockton Ave Suite 338
Riverside, CA 92506
Phone (909) 481-4443
Fax (909) 481-4642

 

How To Go From Failure To Success

September 18th, 2017

Failure is often the best teacher in life.  Painful at times?  Absolutely, because no one likes to fail.  We have the desire to succeed but an occasional failure helps us to learn new things along the way. How to go from failure to success

Failing at something teaches a lesson and helps you to change, grow and ultimately succeed.  The things we are working toward are not always easy but as the old saying goes, “practice makes perfect.”  Success takes time and there is often a learning curve.

The business environment is ever changing and an occasional failure is bound to happen.  Consider these steps to turn a failure into success:

  1. Seek advice from others.

Ask your trusted family members, friends and coworkers to give you feedback on your failure.  They will give you a different angle and perspective to consider.  If you want to succeed, you need to be willing to hear the truth from others.

What they share may make a huge difference in how you handle your business and clients going forward.  We don’t always see our situation as clearly as others.

  1. Switch your course of action.

After you listen to the feedback of others, be willing to adjust your habits, style, and course of action.

In other words, get yourself on track with a new plan to ensure success.

Albert Einstein once said that “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”  Don’t let that be your story; rather, remember that change is helpful and essential for success.

  1. Change is good.

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.  Change is a good thing.  Once you see that it’s necessary, act quickly to bring about the success you hope for.  We can learn a lot from failure.  (Changing just to change is not recommended. Change when necessary)

The goal is to grow and be different because of what we’ve experienced.  Don’t wallow in pity, self-doubt or the failure.  Remember that change is progress.

Business has a variety of facets that keep everyone on their toes.  Even though failure is inevitable from time to time, we can learn from those mishaps and grow in the process.

Success is usually not immediate.  I encourage you to value each “mishap” on your journey because they are learning opportunities that will help you succeed over time.

We would love to hear your comments. Please leave your comments below or email us today!

 

San Diego County Headquarters:
The Lawton Group
4747 Viewridge Ave.
Suite 106
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone (858) 569-6260
Fax (866) 580-0089
Toll free (800) 834-4576
Inland Empire, LA and Orange County:
Inland Empire Branch
7177 Brockton Ave Suite 338
Riverside, CA 92506
Phone (909) 481-4443
Fax (909) 481-4642

 

How To Boost Staff Morale

September 14th, 2017

When you run a business, there are a lot of challenges that you will face. Bringing on great employees is definitely a difficult thing to achieve. What might be even more difficult is keeping those individuals happy in their job.

It is very important that you invest in the staff and do things that will boost their morale. If you have people that are unhappy in their job, they will find other places to work.

Here are some great ways that you can boost staff morale.

Find Ways to Thank The Staff

Everyone needs to be thanked for their contribution to the team. Come up with ways that your staff will feel appreciated. This could come in the form of a bonus, party, retreat, or something simpler like a thank you note.

However, you chose to thank your staff, do it with sincerity. If it were not for these valuable people, your business would not be successful. If you are not sincere, the sentiment will be picked up on, and your efforts will not be received well.

Offer Continued Education

To help your staff feel more confident in their job, offer them continued learning opportunities. They will know they are valued if you invest in their education.

Providing training for your staff is beneficial to them and to you. The more trained they are, the better they will be able to do their job. Also, the more they know, the more valuable they will feel.

Provide Opportunities For Promotion

Great employees want a chance to grow in their jobs. Make sure that the more motivated employees have a place to move up to. Otherwise, they will become dissatisfied with your company and find another opportunity to pursue.

When you have staff members that are in a positive environment and in a job they enjoy, they will stay with you longer. If the moral of your employees drops, it makes production go down and your chances of high turnover increase. It is very important to invest in boosting your staff’s morale.

Need help boosting your staff’s morale? Give us a call today!

We would love to hear your comments. Please leave your comments below or email us today!

 

San Diego County Headquarters:
The Lawton Group
4747 Viewridge Ave.
Suite 106
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone (858) 569-6260
Fax (866) 580-0089
Toll free (800) 834-4576
Inland Empire, LA and Orange County:
Inland Empire Branch
7177 Brockton Ave Suite 338
Riverside, CA 92506
Phone (909) 481-4443
Fax (909) 481-4642

 

Whose Temp Are They?

September 12th, 2017

“I often hire someone as a temp to do a bit of contract work for me. The job usually only lasts from 2-4 weeks and I pay them an agreed-upon amount. Is this the same as the independent contractors you’ve written about?”

Your HR Survival Tip

Probably not. We consider a temp to be someone’s employee who is assigned to a company for jobs that may be for short or long periods of time. While you can have your own pool of temps available to you, most are employed by an agency and you contract with the agency for that worker.
On the other hand, we consider an independent contractor to be a small business. They offer their services to you, invoice you when payment is due, and carry their own liability insurance. Plus, their fees are at risk if you aren’t pleased with the work they do.

Unless you are getting your temps through an agency, you need to put these workers on your payroll as you do with any other employee. Yes, if they don’t qualify as a business, they are employees. Only non-profits can have volunteers… everyone else is a business, an employee, or unemployed. You will always pay an employee or a business for any services you need.

There can be big fines for misclassifying these temps. Not only are you not paying payroll taxes on them but you aren’t providing paid sick leave. If you’re not prepared to put these workers on your payroll, hire or payroll them through a legitimate temp agency so you are legally compliant. Let us know if you need a referral.

Click here to read on >>

We would love to hear your comments. Please leave your comments below or email us today!

 

San Diego County Headquarters:
The Lawton Group
4747 Viewridge Ave.
Suite 106
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone (858) 569-6260
Fax (866) 580-0089
Toll free (800) 834-4576
Inland Empire, LA and Orange County:
Inland Empire Branch
7177 Brockton Ave Suite 338
Riverside, CA 92506
Phone (909) 481-4443
Fax (909) 481-4642

 

Salaried But Not

September 8th, 2017

“Just to make things easier for me, I pay everyone a salary. What are my risks with doing this?”

Your HR Survival Tip

Where do I begin? Let’s talk about what being salaried really means. Bottom line, a salary is much more of a payroll term than a legal term. When HR professionals say someone is salaried, we are implying the employee is exempt. Exempt is the legal term to show an employee has met one of the legal exemptions from overtime pay, rules about meal and rest periods, etc. When payroll uses a salary, they are merely saying the employee gets paid the same amount each pay period.

The problem is, over the years, the terms “salaried” and “exempt” no longer carry distinct meanings for many companies and employees… and, oops, you just fell into a big hole when you don’t remember there are legal consequences for confusing those terms.

Your payroll system will usually ask if the new employee you’re adding will be on a salary or hourly. Why do they ask the question that way instead of exempt or non-exempt? Because most people either aren’t familiar with the terminology or they don’t know how to determine (legally) if someone is truly exempt. Choosing “salary” works for payroll but that doesn’t make it legal.

So often we hear non-exempt (hourly) employees are put into payroll as salaried “because it’s easier.” However, why on earth would you think it’s easier?

  • You still need to have non-exempt employees complete a timecard. The timecard is your only proof those employees were paid correctly.
  • Every payroll period you have to reconcile their salary amount against their time card to determine they were paid at least as much as owed.
  • If they worked more regular hours than the salary covers, you need to add that amount to the salary to avoid claims for late payment.
  • If they worked ANY over time, you must add that on top of the salary because a non-exempt’s salary can’t legally include overtime in California if the employee is really non-exempt hourly.
  • If your payroll is set for semi-monthly (twice per month), you have a huge risk because a semi-monthly salary defaults to 86.67 hours per pay period. Are those non-exempt hourly employees actually working 86.67 hours or are they really working 80, 88, or 96 hours? You’re paying too much or too little at least once per month and the state would love to hear about you.

With all the reconciliations and changes, you need to do each pay period to pay that salaried non-exempt employee correctly to avoid wage and hour law claims, where exactly is there less time and effort involved? Make it truly easy on yourself and put your non-exempt employees back to hourly in payroll so you just have to enter hours worked… isn’t that easier?  … Click here to read on >>

We would love to hear your comments. Please leave your comments below or email us today!

 

San Diego County Headquarters:
The Lawton Group
4747 Viewridge Ave.
Suite 106
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone (858) 569-6260
Fax (866) 580-0089
Toll free (800) 834-4576
Inland Empire, LA and Orange County:
Inland Empire Branch
7177 Brockton Ave Suite 338
Riverside, CA 92506
Phone (909) 481-4443
Fax (909) 481-4642

 

Paying Under the Table

September 5th, 2017

“I occasionally pay people under the table when I have them participate in a working interview for 1-2 days before I decide whether or not to hire them. Once in a while, I also pay under the table when an employee is doing a different job for me on the side. Is there a better way to handle these situations to take away my risk?”

Your HR Survival Tip

Paying workers “under the table” means you are handing them cash and neither of you is reporting it (yet). There isn’t a way to take away your risk because what you are doing is illegal.

If your interview process includes having the candidate follow someone around for 1-2 days (shadowing) or actually performing the job for 1-2 days, this is compensable time. Paying this person cash instead of adding them to payroll could easily create problems for you. Yes, adding the person as an employee is more work than not doing it but that’s because you are only looking at the moment, not the long-term.

In the long-term, you need to look at a potential EDD audit because one of those people added you as an employer when they filed for unemployment. Whoops, EDD doesn’t show that person listed as one of your employees so they decide to audit you to see who else hasn’t been reported.

Your employees may have skills not needed for their usual job. However, you’ve realized one of those extra skills has value to you. The employee is  … Click here to read on >>

We would love to hear your comments. Please leave your comments below or email us today!

 

San Diego County Headquarters:
The Lawton Group
4747 Viewridge Ave.
Suite 106
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone (858) 569-6260
Fax (866) 580-0089
Toll free (800) 834-4576
Inland Empire, LA and Orange County:
Inland Empire Branch
7177 Brockton Ave Suite 338
Riverside, CA 92506
Phone (909) 481-4443
Fax (909) 481-4642

 

Group Health Insurance Tidbits

August 31st, 2017

Group Health Insurance Tidbits

“I’m considering adding group health insurance for my employees. What do I need to do that the insurance broker won’t do?”

Your HR Survival Tip

It’s great you want to provide health insurance! Adding this benefit can be a big step due to the expense but you should find this will aid in recruitment and retention of employees.

You’ll want your broker to help you sign up for a Premium-Only Plan (POP) so you can take the employee’s share of any premium as a pre-tax deduction. Without a POP in place, any deductions must be made with after-tax dollars. You will always pay the full bill from the carrier and the employee’s share reimburses you.

Your broker will make a recommendation for certain plans but it will be up to you to decide how much of the premium is paid by you versus the employee. Our preference has you paying a percentage (50-100%) of the employee-only cost of the lowest level plan you offer. Employees then pay the remainder of that premium, plus the full cost of covering dependents or choosing a higher level plan. We prefer employees pay at least a small amount to save you money but to also avoid employees electing coverage just because it’s free rather than needed. You will find the amount a company might pay toward benefits will vary greatly based on your industry and ability to pay.

Reconciling the carrier’s bill every month is crucial. Insurance carriers don’t add or terminate employees as quickly as you might expect. You could see a back charge of 2 months of premiums because the bill is catching up on a new employee’s premiums. When someone’s coverage terminates, you submit their termination to the carrier but keep paying the full premium until the carrier pulls them off the plan and reimburses you for any premiums previously charged. If you try to deduct that employee’s premium off the bill, you’ll get a notice from the carrier stating you did not pay the bill in full and are now subject to cancellation. If an employee hasn’t been added or dropped by the end of 2 months, talk with your carrier or broker to ensure they received the change.

Pay stubs must list each  … Click here to read on >>

We would love to hear your comments. Please leave your comments below or email us today!

 

San Diego County Headquarters:
The Lawton Group
4747 Viewridge Ave.
Suite 106
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone (858) 569-6260
Fax (866) 580-0089
Toll free (800) 834-4576
Inland Empire, LA and Orange County:
Inland Empire Branch
7177 Brockton Ave Suite 338
Riverside, CA 92506
Phone (909) 481-4443
Fax (909) 481-4642

 

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