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Confusing Wage and Sick Time Laws

August 9th, 2017

“I know we have to follow the minimum wage laws and the sick leave laws but it’s very confusing. I network with other business owners and we all seem to do something different. What is the law?”

Your HR Survival Tip

Yes, it’s confusing because there is a state law and 22 California localities have added different local laws. This means you may need different rules for different employees based on where they actually perform their work. It doesn’t help that both state and local laws may also have differences based on the size of your company.

Using a federal contractor … 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

 

7 Employee Handbook Must Haves

August 3rd, 2017

Every business needs an employee handbook.

If you don’t have one, then you need to contact your HR department ASAP. There are so many important sections in an employee handbook but I’ll focus on the 7 essentials today.

7 Must Haves for an Employee Handbook:

  1. Code of Conduct

You must have clear expectations laid out in writing for specific behaviors, dress code, attendance and a variety of other policies.  The only way to have clear expectations is to put them in writing.

  1. At Will Disclaimer

Be sure to have an “at will employment disclaimer” in your handbook.  Everyone needs to understand that the employment is not forced but at will and is at the discretion of the employer.

  1. Family Medical Leave Act

An employee handbook is not complete without the FMLA regulations defined.  Companies with more than 50 employees are required to comply with 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year.

  1. Harassment and Discrimination Policies

The details of these polices are essential.  The goal is set expectations and alleviate any potential fears or concerns for your employees.  Everyone wants to feel at ease in the workplace and a policy that explains what is permissible is quite helpful.

  1. Confidentiality

Each company’s handbook should have wording that ensures your employee’s personal info will be kept confidential.   This should protect the info about them during and after they leave the company.

  1. Leave of Absence

Employees want to know the details about vacation days, sick days, bereavement, paid time off and the days a business closes.  Don’t assume that they will know what you mean.  Be very specific and include the hours of operation and specific dates that you are open and closed.

  1. Compensation and Benefits

Your employee handbook should explain the pay schedule, benefits package, overtime policy, review and salary increase information.  Try and be as direct and detailed in this as possible so that there will be fewer questions later.

If you don’t have an employee handbook for your company, then get that corrected quickly!  Set a goal and get one written.

Already have one?  Well pull it out, dust it off and see if these 7 “Must Haves” are in there.  A yearly revamp is a great idea to be sure that the handbook stays updated with the best info.

Take time right now to review your employee handbook is up to date. If you need any help or guidance, please let us know. We work in this area daily at The Lawton Group and we are Ready to Serve.

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

 

Written for us by our associate Gary Sorrell, Sorrell Associates, LLC. Copyright protected. All rights reserved worldwide.

Do your sales incentives help or hurt your organization?

September 29th, 2016

https://hbr.org/2016/09/wells-fargo-and-the-slippery-slope-of-sales-incentives

Reprint from the above….

Wells Fargo and the Slippery Slope of Sales Incentives

Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, Sally E. Lorimer

SEPTEMBER 20, 2016
In early September Wells Fargo agreed to pay a $185 million fine and return $5 million in fees wrongly charged to customers. The settlement stems from the bank’s employees allegedly opening more than 2 million bank and credit card accounts without customers’ permission. The CEO of Wells Fargo, John Stumpf, apologized in front of a congressional panel Tuesday, saying in a statement, “I accept full responsibility for all unethical sales practices.”

That speaks to why they did this in the first place: To meet sales quotas and earn incentives.

This is certainly not the first time that a high-profile sales scandal like this has hit the press. In the early 1990s Sears sought to restore its reputation with $46 million in coupons because some employees of its automotive repair division (who were paid a commission on sales of parts and services) had allegedly enticed customers into authorizing and paying for needless repairs. In 2005 the world’s largest insurance broker, Marsh Inc., paid $850 million in fines in the aftermath of accusations that it had received kickbacks from insurance companies for steering business their way — a scheme at odds with Marsh’s commitment to finding the best deal for customers.

Beyond the fines, Wells Fargo has fired at least 5,300 employees for “inappropriate sales conduct,” and the bank is making changes to its quota system. Stumpf said in an earlier statement: “We are eliminating product sales goals because we want to make certain our customers have full confidence that our retail bankers are always focused on the best interests of customers.” Politicians, predictably, have railed against the leadership at Wells Fargo and have called for Stumpf’s resignation. One of the intriguing facts to come to light is that the fraudulent account openings continued even after the bank was aware of it and had fired employees for it starting in 2011.

That suggests that firing employees was not enough to curb the actions. Will eliminating sales goals do it? Before answering this question, it is useful to understand why and how such sales practices begin and spread within an organization.

In these and many other similar (but often less high-profile) cases, much of the blame gets placed on the sales goals and incentives. Salespeople are offered a large monetary reward linked to the achievement of sales goals — goals that employees perceive as excessively high. Sales managers, too, are rewarded for goal achievement, so they put pressure on salespeople to deliver. Salespeople are enticed by the promise of the large reward, or perhaps they are fearful of losing their jobs. Either way, they do whatever it takes to make sales goals.

But large rewards tied to challenging sales goals do not have to be a deadly combination. Many companies have great success using incentives and stretch goals to motivate the sales force and drive revenue. The culture in such sales forces may be sales-oriented and even competitive, yet salespeople still behave ethically and remain focused on meeting customers’ needs.

What differentiates sales teams that play by the rules from those that break them?

Large-scale unethical sales practices often begin with minor ethical compromises. Things escalate and spread from there. Consider the following sequence:

A bank account manager, under pressure to make a sales goal, pushes a customer to add a credit card, even though the account manager knows it’s not in the customer’s interest
Still short of the goal, the account manager asks his friends and family to open accounts. (The accounts are to be closed shortly thereafter.)
With the goal still not achieved, the account manager opens accounts without asking customers and transfers a small amount of money. (The accounts are closed shortly thereafter and the money is transferred back.)
As soon as the account manager gets away with the first unethical act, it’s not a big step to the fraudulent ones. The justification moves from “it’s legal” to “no one is harmed” to “no one will notice.” When such practices are tolerated, they escalate in severity and spread throughout the organization.

To prevent that, the sales culture has to stop the first level of compromise, because the slippery slope begins there. As Wells Fargo has discovered in the last five years, even a strong compliance function — one that began firing people in 2011 — can’t counteract a compromised culture. When things escalate to such a scale, the problems won’t stop with salespeople. Managers and leaders may be looking the other way, or aiding and abetting the behaviors.
What’s most insidious is that managers and leaders may be engaging in similar behaviors in their spheres and domains — in how they deal with other people inside the company, with partners, and with suppliers. Often, bringing about change requires going right to the top of the sales organization and bringing in a new leader who isn’t connected to the history of what’s happened. This individual can build a new culture based on appropriate values and the right workstyle.

Though not a question for customers and regulators, companies such as Wells Fargo have to ask how they can succeed in a sales world without heavy reliance on goals and incentives.

In 2011, about the same time that Wells Fargo began firing employees for questionable sales practices, we wrote a piece for HBR.org addressing that very issue. We called it “Is Your Sales Force Addicted to Incentives?” As we wrote back then, the key to success will be a new culture built around a more balanced approach to managing sales. This new approach will require using tools other than incentives — for example, interesting work, enhanced processes for selecting salespeople and managers, training and coaching, information sharing, empowerment, teamwork, manager assistance and supervision, and improved performance management systems — to motivate salespeople and guide and control sales behaviors.

If the bank is successful in transforming to this balanced sales culture, then perhaps the money it once used for employee incentives can instead go to customer incentives — for example, a no-fee credit card or a better interest rate for opening a new high-balance account. Other companies would be wise to take the time to examine their own sales culture and ask whether incentives might be clouding otherwise good judgment.

Andris A. Zoltners is a professor emeritus at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois. He is also a cofounder of ZS Associates, a global business consulting firm headquartered in Evanston, and a coauthor of The Power of Sales Analytics.

PK Sinha is a founder and cochairman of ZS Associates, a global business consulting firm, and a coauthor of The Power of Sales Analytics.

Sally E. Lorimer is a marketing and sales consultant and a business writer based in Northville, Michigan. She is a coauthor of three books on sales force management.

Doing the Right Thing in an Irrational Economy

July 16th, 2016

How do we reflect and encourage a commitment to “do the right thing” despite daily pressures make regaining or sustaining profitability our top priority?

A leader can start by admitting mistakes and encouraging other to do the same. Hiding findings or blaming others very often comes from a very natural need to protect ourselves from harm. The best companies understand this and work hard to foster open communication and avoid the tendency to make issues more complex than they are. Very often all it takes is a “gut check.” Put more simply: doing good, feels good.

Sometimes a commitment to values comes at a high short-term cost (admitting mistakes and fixing them is almost never without cost to the client or stakeholders.) But living by a set of values that focus on doing good by employees and customers creates a stronger company over the long haul.

Developing–and living with–a set of principles that guide decision making throughout an organization is no simple task. It involves the kind of soul-searching that not all people are prepared to engage in, especially in difficult economic times.

The value of doing good
I feel fortunate to be in a business where we can do well by doing good. As a staffing firm, the work we do impacts the lives of the people we touch in a powerful way. We must be ever vigilant and mindful of this impact. What impact do you have on the lives of others? I suspect it’s more than you realize. If you are a manager, do your employees understand your values and commitment to doing the right thing? As an employee, do you feel empowered to do what’s right, and admit mistakes along the way? Or is your first thought about how to mitigate the cost before understanding the impact on the lives of others?

Balancing work and life

“Quality of life” issues, such as balancing one’s work and personal lives, are still thorny issues at many firms. Thirty years ago, if you’d talked about these issues, management would question your commitment, or even your sanity. But most people are trying to balance their business lives with their personal lives, their professional needs with their health, social, and spiritual needs.

In these difficult times, there is a lot of pressure to work harder and longer, for the very real fear of losing ones job. Good business leaders know, however, that squeezing as much out of workers as possible, may increase productivity for the short-term, but is not sustainable for the long-term. Long-term profitability is sustained when employees are motivated and committed out of a sense of loyalty.

Managing for the short term as well as the long
As much as leaders understand that we must manage for the long term and keep employees happy, we must be realists and manage for the short term, as well–and that’s tough in the current economic environment. Just as people must manage their personal and work responsibilities, so, too, must companies balance their priorities –all companies must manage for the short term to some degree. We all need to understand the tradeoffs.

Of course, we would all love to work for a company that only manages for the long term, but that is not a reality today. Cash reserves have dwindled, and funding sources have tightened or disappeared altogether. Many of us are simply trying to keep the wolves at bay, and must ask more of ourselves, our colleagues and our employees. But we must not let our fears cause us to lose sight of our values and our commitments to do the right thing!

Shannon Erdell is the President of TLC Staffing and author of “Temporary Sanity: Managing Today’s Flexible Workforce”, SOCAA Publishing 1995. Headquartered in San Diego, with offices in Southern California and North Carolina, TLC Staffing is a 24 year old, multi-disciplined temporary and permanent placement firm. Their specialty divisions include: Business Services, Accounting and Finance, Legal, Human Resources, Engineering and IT. www.tlcstaffing.com 858-569-6260

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