Ideas from the bottom can sometimes
be lost, especially if no process is in place to facilitate communication from
all levels of an organization.
If that next great idea is destined
to spring from the lower levels of your organization, can you be sure it will
reach the proper destination?
Here are five strategies to take to make
certain bottom-up ideas can rise to the top:
1. Have the right process in place
If you don’t have somebody
assigned to respond to suggestions, typically an executive or a person
in a management or supervisory role, it can be harder to facilitate
conversations that will keep ideas moving up the chain of command.
Having a point person will minimize
costs of the program and avoid possible redundancies or confusion that might
occur with multiple persons involved. This person can then prioritize the ideas
and steer them to the appropriate departments.
Without an established process,
ideas from the lower levels of an organization can get lost. Employees may think,
“I have this idea, but I don’t know who to turn to.” If your company has a
hierarchical top-down structure, it might be difficult or intimidating for some
employees to proceed.
A company culture that supports
bottom-to-top ideas and innovations from front-line employees can help
facilitate the process for the good of the organization.
2. Seek feedback from the front lines
Suggestion boxes are a common, easy step
many companies have in place. If you’re looking to solve a problem or cultivate
ideas from a larger collective, it is best to seek out the advice and not just
wait for it to come to you.
Management may be removed from the issues
at lower levels and may not fully understand the people, processes or
technology involved. By taking the time to seek
out and place value upon employee input, you begin to foster an environment that
openly encourages suggestions and ideas that move the company forward.
When solving a problem, cast a wide net.
Increasing the diversity of the talent you ask for help will only increase your
chances of receiving an innovative solution.
While you want to hear all the ideas that
spring from the organization, it’s impractical to implement every suggestion.
It’s important for employees to understand
that their ideas are being taken seriously even if they are not implemented. Offer
appreciation for their effort in problem solving and moving the company
It is not a bad thing if the idea isn’t used, but you have to manage that two-way feedback mechanism, so it doesn’t feel like you’re not listening.
It’s a fine balance, but if you empower people, they will be more apt to utilize the system to the company’s advantage. And if a company doesn’t truly support empowerment it will most likely have a difficult time cultivating innovative ideas from its employees.
4. Make it part of the culture
will be turnover
within any organization over time, which makes it important to make sure the
process that facilitates bottom-up ideas remains in place.
The process should become a function of
the culture. It needs to be integrated within the organization and built into
the support system. If it becomes part of the culture of the organization, then
that process will stay in place through the inevitable transitions.
If it is ingrained, the process is less
likely to become isolated. As part of the norm, it can sustain the process and keep
innovative ideas flowing and enhancing the company’s prospects.
Google, for example, is very proactive in
soliciting ideas from across its 30,000-plus workforce. Employees are
encouraged to interact with management within or outside their specific areas
of expertise if they have ideas or suggestions. The system has produced
positive changes for the company and has been expanded in recent years as a
result of that success. Google also offers rewards for successful ideas.
5. Be prepared for setbacks
Sometimes ideas coming from lower levels
of the organization can backfire.
What may seem initially promising may
later prove to be unfeasible. For example, the costs of implementing the idea turn
out to be much more than originally estimated, then you have wasted resources.
Not every idea is going to pan out, but a
successful company will learn from mistakes and continue to encourage
innovation, empowerment and bottom-up ideas.
Potential of big benefits at a small cost
With the right program in place to
encourage bottom-up ideas your company can find ways to solve problems, cut
costs, improve productivity and foster
improved morale among employees who may otherwise feel isolated from the company’s big picture.
Employees already have a stake in the
company’s future. Further empowering them and encouraging greater involvement
can help the company grow.
And that is good for your business.
It’s proven that companies that listen to their employees tend to have happier, more productive employees. That often translates into higher profits for the company. If you’d like to know what else goes into a healthy company culture (and the benefits that go along with that), download our free magazine: The Insperity guide to company culture.
The more time you spend managing employee issues, the less time you have to run your business. But by ignoring your employer responsibilities to employees, you could cause a rift in your workforce and create potentially costly legal battles.
Here are seven scenarios where a PEO can come in handy.
1. Your simple employee relations issue just escalated.
You’ve mentioned several times in passing to Joe’s supervisor that Joe seems to be late to work often, and you’ve seen no improvement. Other employees are now complaining that Joe is very careless around equipment in the warehouse. You’re not sure what to do now to correct the situation and keep yourself out of legal hot water.
But disciplinary issues aren’t the only areas it can help you with. A PEO can help you limit your liability by making sure other employee-related concerns are handled properly, including:
Safety – From office safety and ergonomics to hazard identification that can reduce exposure and potential loss, the safety team can help you evaluate your current situation and offer practical solutions.
Workers’ compensation – These specialists will guide you through the process surrounding work-related injuries, including monitoring the claim and assisting injured workers return to work as quickly as possible.
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) – You can receive assistance with charges of discrimination and harassment, including drafting responses to government agencies, gathering the necessary information and deciding how each charge should be handled to minimize your financial risks and business liability.
2. An employee requests leave.
There is a myriad of leaves now available to employees and just as many laws and regulations that surround them. Before you deny a leave or decide this isn’t an issue you’ll ever deal with, you should be aware employees may be entitled to a leave under state or federal law involving:
And these are just a few of the current available leaves of absence, depending on state and federal laws and regulations. Fortunately, PEOs monitor available leaves of absence and the state and federal laws and regulations surrounding them. This increases compliance with applicable law and ensures employees receive what they are entitled.
Nowadays, many states and cities have specific paid sick leave laws in place to watch out. If your business is located in numerous places, a PEO can help you stay up to date on these regulations.
When you work with a PEO, you’ll have access to a leave specialist who will monitor the length of your employees’ leaves and the status of their return to work. This specialist is particularly valuable if you’re a multi-state employer. A PEO can help navigate multiple state and federal laws and regulations to keep you in compliance in every state where you have employees.
3. You need to track COBRA elections, eligibility and payments.
As an employer, you’re required to track whether your former employees or employees on an extended leave of absence, are making COBRA payments, to send written notice if payments are late or missed, and to stay informed on how long COBRA coverage continues for affected employees. We’ve found that these types of benefits are especially important for smaller companies.
Your PEO can help manage administration of COBRA benefits for employees who qualify. Moreover, they will help ensure compliance, saving you time, headaches and limiting potential liability.
4. You aren’t sure what background checks are permissible.
How familiar are you with laws and regulations surrounding background checks? Do you know if your state allows use of criminal checks, and for how many years previous to the check? Does your state allow you to look at a candidate’s credit and use that score in determining employability?
It’s common for some employers to pick and choose whose background they check with no rhyme or reason. It’s critical to be doing these in a consistent manner based on the type of position. But which positions? A PEO can help.
Also, if you’re moving people internally to a new position, you must know the roles in which people need background checks. For example, if someone is moving from an administrative assistant role to one that handles company cash, a background check should be performed if one wasn’t conducted when the assistant was originally hired.
PEOs usually employ recruiting and employment screening professionals who keep up on the ever-changing industry laws. They can provide you with the guidance you need to make your recruiting and pre-employment screening practices more proficient and cost effective.
5. You’re terminating an employee, and you don’t want to pay vacation hours.
Have you studied your state laws lately? Does your state consider vacation pay to be “wages” that must be paid to an employee upon separation from employment?
Do you know when you must pay an employee who has voluntarily left employment versus when an employee is involuntarily terminated?
6. Your managers aren’t following company policies or leading effectively.
All the policies you create for your company are for naught if your managers don’t follow them when conducting their daily responsibilities.
Managers are held to a higher standard and considered representatives for your company. They must understand your rationale for policies, their roles in policy administration and the consequences for failure to carry out those roles. Failure to do so creates the possibility of multiple liabilities, from employee complaints and dissatisfaction to lawsuits against your company.
When you work with a PEO, you get access to HR specialists who can help you train supervisors on key policy issues, such as sexual harassment awareness, anti-harassment policies, workplace violence prevention, interviewing techniques, performance appraisal skills, substance abuse prevention and effective employee counseling.
Develop your managers so they have the necessary skills to lead the operation, like engaging and effectively communicating with direct reports. A PEO may offer a learning and performance specialist who can help train, analyze and determine where gaps may exist. Then you can begin to bridge them.
7. You realize you need to know and understand your workforce.
This is simple. You must know who you’ve employed. Know your personnel.
For example, if you had to lay off staff, it’s important to understand your workforce. Analyze employee demographics and how layoff decisions affect them. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for lawsuits. You don’t want to accidentally find yourself in a situation where 90% of your layoff were people over the age of 50.
The solution is pinpointing the business case that justifies your actions and communicating that to the affected employees — before it becomes a misunderstanding.
Also, knowing your workforce is about assessing the costs of employee turnover. Many times a seemingly necessary termination leaves a void. Working with a PEO, they can assess where there’s opportunities to address those issues without moving forward with any terminations.
How do you double, triple or even quintuple the size of your
staff virtually overnight without making bad
hiring decisions? Whether you’re hiring for startups or recruiting
for a larger company expanding a burgeoning department, finding the right
people can make or break your business.
Time is of the essence, and there is little margin for
error. Hiring strong employees is a challenge under normal conditions, and it
only becomes exponentially more challenging when a business is scaling rapidly.
The following tips will help you efficiently and effectively
recruit, screen, hire and retain the people who will fuel your company’s
1. Begin at the end
It may sound simplistic, but to avoid wasting precious time,
you must know exactly who and what you’re looking for.
The foundation of any good business is a
strong company culture. This should be your guiding light for the
type of people you hire and how you intend them to interact with each other.
From there, work backward to identify what the ideal team
structure looks like. What are the key roles you absolutely must fill, and what
skills must an individual in each role possess? What positions, if any, are
secondary? Perhaps those roles can wait until a second wave of hiring.
It’s important to prioritize the required skills to identify what may be strict
requirements versus nice-to-haves. Must they hold certain certifications
or degrees? Is there a minimum years of experience required? Are you flexible
on these criteria?
This helps your company snag as many potential candidates as
possible for the initial screening, which hopefully brings more qualified
prospects to your door. Don’t drive away good candidates
by keeping non-essential requirements in your job listings.
Now go a step beyond the job description and think about how
the teams and team members will fit into your desired culture.
qualities do your top performers exhibit? Does your company adore
individuals who work well under tight deadlines with minimal supervision? Or, is
your company more team-oriented — with emphasis on collaboration and group decision
There are no right or wrong answers. What matters is
alignment with your corporate culture. Your goal here is to define success
based off your existing and desired employees. Then build a replicable and
scalable process for identifying individuals who fit your criteria.
Plus, if an employee works well in your environment, they’ll
tend to stay longer and grow with your company as your business needs change.
Finding and hiring more candidates, particularly if you’re searching
for in-demand tech workers, will likely require creativity from your hiring
team. Simply posting a job to your company site, Indeed or CareerBuilder won’t
be enough for high-volume hiring.
Employee referrals are a tried-and-true method for finding
good candidates. It’s not full-proof, but it is a good bet that your smartest,
hardest-working employees have like-minded friends and relatives.
Don’t just ask your top performers to refer their friends
and former colleagues. Encourage everyone in your company to become a recruiter
by offering a monetary reward. The amount of the reward should be large enough
to motivate your staff into action. That may mean you offer $250 for a cashier
job and $1,500 for a professional position if they’re still with your company
after 90 days.
Regularly remind employees of your referral program through
company-wide emails, flyers and in staff meetings.
3. Take a holistic view of hiring
Managers may develop tunnel vision when it comes to hiring
— particularly when a company is growing fast. Each director knows who they need
to hire but may forget about other departments and their hiring needs.
In the realm of a rising tide lifts all boats, make sure all
your hiring managers keep other departments in mind when screening and
interviewing candidates. For instance, an admin candidate may not be a good fit
for the accounting department but could be a strong fit for HR.
Considering all qualified candidates remains an excellent
way to scale staff in a short amount of time. Some managers may be drawn to
candidates who look and act like themselves or previously successful hires.
To give qualified candidates a chance, it’s important not to
about age, gender or disabilities.
Focus on the person’s skills, attitudes and whether they’re
well prepared for the interview. Are they committed to learning and growing in
their line of work? Will they add a positive disposition to the team? Do they have
all required certifications and experience?
If you and your hiring managers have preconceived ideas
about who is right for a job, you may very well miss an excellent candidate.
5. Try texting recruits
A text campaign can dramatically speed up the initial
screening process. To do this, rather than asking candidates to fill out a long
online form or to call a recruiter, list a number to text for more information.
Texting works well to vet a high volume of candidates when you need to screen them with simple questions such as:
Are you 18 or older?
Do you have a valid driver’s license?
Are you legally authorized to work in the U.S.?
Do you have a Microsoft Certified Solutions
Developer (MCSD) certification?
Some candidates prefer to communicate by text rather than calling or filling out a long online form. Once you’ve performed an initial screening, you can move on to a more in-depth telephone call later.
6. Revise processes as necessary
Fast-growth companies must streamline their recruiting
processes, invest in efficient HR
technology, make offers in a timely manner and focus on finding
people with the skills they most need.
Be open to adjusting your hiring processes as your company grows and as you collect candidate feedback. Some common areas where companies make mistakes include:
Requiring too long or too many interviews for
the position in question
Taking too long to make an offer
Demanding in-person interviews when a telephone
screening or video interview would suffice
Listing non-essential qualifications in job
Using cumbersome, out-of-date recruiting forms
You don’t want to miss hiring a good candidate because the
person grew tired of endless rounds of interviews or were unable to take half a
day from their current job to drive to your in-person screening interview.
7. Focus on retention
Even during hiring crunches, it’s essential your company
keep current employees satisfied and motivated. After all, these are the people
who’ve made your current success possible, and it will be a significant
challenge to grow if you’re busy replacing existing workers rather than focusing
on new hires.
To do this, make sure your onboarding
process creates a favorable early impression and helps new employees
settle in. Invest in the tools, training and development your staff needs to
help the company grow. Conduct regular climate surveys to find out what
employees think about the growth and whether your corporate culture is changing
in an unhelpful direction.
Nurturing current employees ultimately helps support
recruiting because happy employees share their experiences on social media and
in person with those in their community. This helps advertise your workplace
culture, which in turn lets your company become an employer of choice for
Your company has grown, welcome news to be sure. With that success comes the question: When should you hire a human resources (HR) manager? Or, should you even hire one at all?
It’s best to have a strong HR presence early in your company’s life to establish company mission, vision, values, culture and vital HR infrastructure, which can have a lasting impact on the success of your employees and your business. But that may not always be how business owners approach their business.
When your company is small, you might be able to get away with
an informal HR department – a non-expert tasked with HR-related
responsibilities in addition to their core expertise. But as your company
grows, so does your HR burden.
Around the time your company hits fifty employees, things
change, and there are regulations that you must comply with that weren’t
For instance, is your business FMLA compliant? Are you meeting all the regulations and requirements for documentation, insurance and more? Is your company meeting all the legal requirements as an employer?
This is often when businesses begin thinking seriously about
hiring an HR director and building out an in-house HR staff.
If HR was an afterthought at your business, it’s also around
this time that cracks may begin to show in your culture, recruiting, training
and retention strategies.
While it’s best to implement sound HR strategies at the outset
of your business, it’s at this time that HR infrastructure switches from highly
recommended to absolutely essential.
With such a wide range of issues, it can be difficult for business owners to know where to start.
Broadly speaking, there are three key options to choose from:
hire an HR director and build an in-house team; hire a small handful of HR
managers who utilize an array of HR technology tools; or outsource your HR
needs to a professional employer organization (PEO).
Here’s a look at the options, with the pros and cons for each.
The in-house team
Some companies opt to establish an in-house human resources team.
This typically involves a team responsible for people
up benefits and payroll, helping with the company’s culture and making sure compliance
is being met.
If the in-house team is large enough, you may have specialists for benefits and another for payroll. Or some may serve multiple functions within the structure. It all depends on the size of the human resources staff and your company’s budget and preferences.
in-house team can have intimate knowledge of the company culture, mission and
work directly with management. That may allow them to be nimble and adapt to
company needs on short notice.
Hiring, training and maintaining an in-house HR team is expensive.
Your company must negotiate its own medical and retirement benefits.
Expertise may be lacking in one or more critical areas of HR. Laws, regulations and best practices are ever-evolving. An in-house team must be diligent to stay abreast of changes.
All compliance, regulatory and other employer-related risks fall on the employer.
A large HR department, like any other growing department, must be managed to ensure it’s aligned with the company’s overall goals and strategies. There is risk that an in-house HR team’s goals diverge from that of the company, which could have broad impacts on other areas of the business.
This could mean software for payroll, time and attendance,
benefits administration or any number of other tasks.
A small team (or small company) can leverage these tools to make up for lack of expertise in certain areas of HR.
The employer has real-time access to employee data. Employees can also accomplish routine tasks themselves – clocking in or out, updating benefits, requesting PTO – anywhere with internet access.
Repetitive HR duties can be automated and streamlined, reducing the likelihood of human error.
The cost to maintain a small HR staff and a few HR tech tools may be favorable to the other options.
HR technology often offers additional materials that assist in educating employees. For example, there may be online leadership courses or videos that detail policies on workplace discrimination and sexual harassment.
The company must negotiate its own medical and retirement benefits.
All compliance, regulatory and other employer-related risks fall on the employer.
Cost could become an issue if too many different software services are used, which may have individual licensing, maintenance and other fees.
Various HR systems (created and maintained by different companies) may not be compatible with one another. This could cause more work for your HR team.
If you don’t continue to use the technology or if it becomes obsolete, what happens to that data? Is the third-party company responsible if that data is compromised?
Other factors should be considered, such as will the technology come with customer service, and if so, for how long?
When you hire a PEO, you enter a co-employment relationship
where the PEO takes on many of your employer-related responsibilities. You’ll
maintain management of your organizational structure and employees’ core job
functions and to-dos.
You will still need an in-house HR representative, but you’ll gain access to the PEO’s expertise, resources and benefits.
A PEO can provide access to specialists in payroll, recruiting, benefits and many other HR niches. This level of service and expertise is difficult to build and maintain in-house.
You gain access to plug-and-play HR infrastructure that scales and evolves alongside your business.
A PEO model provides group buying power for medical coverage and also offers additional advantages from a workers’ compensation standpoint.
A PEO assumes responsibility for certain employer-related risks.
A PEO will help instruct your company on how to stay compliant with all laws and regulations.
A PEO does not provide a workforce, but they can supply a level of responsibility that comes with all of the HR services and benefits an in-house staff may provide. Reputable PEOs focus on building strong company culture, which is the foundation for attracting and retaining employees
With a PEO, you won’t need to continually grow your human resources department as your company grows.
A PEO assumes certain employer-related risks, which disqualifies certain high-risk businesses.
The knowledge of the internal workings of the company, its strategies and big-picture goals may be harder for the PEO to ascertain.
A PEO may require a larger financial investment than other options.
No matter which option you choose, the goal is to grow your business by maximizing available resources. Sound human resources practices have proven to promote healthy, measurable growth in businesses, while treating employees with dignity and respect. The key to doing that is to understand your options and make smart decisions.
How to say no to your boss, an employee or a client can
be a task fraught with anxiety for some people. But there are times when saying
no is unavoidable.
Perhaps you are asked to do something illegal,
unethical or against company policy. Or, most common, you may have to say no
when the request is not possible to do for practical concerns such as lack of
time, resources or personnel.
When this situation arises it is important to address
it correctly, especially if ignoring the issue could hurt productivity and make the
There are right and wrong ways to say no.
Here are seven things to keep in mind when the
prospect of saying no is necessary.
1. Set priorities and expectations
priorities within an organization can undermine
employee productivity and time management. When this happens there are keys to properly
addressing these situations.
The first thing a manager should do is make sure those
orders are prioritized correctly and that employees are working on the things
that are most important to the department or organization.
Determine what is important and what is urgent. There
is a difference.
Urgent tasks can often take priority, but they might
not the most important in terms of the organization’s goals.
realistic expectations for what a team can
deliver. People sometimes say, “under promise and over deliver,” but setting
realistic expectations for what your team can deliver is the best way to avoid
2. Define success on new projects
Eliminate ambiguity when introducing new tasks.
There is a difference between saying I need you to do
X, Y and Z by this date and defining what a good X, Y and Z should look like.
There should be no misunderstanding.
For example, you might need an employee to produce a report
detailing an aspect of the company’s first quarter production by the end of the
day for inclusion in the quarterly report. The what, when and why is succinct
and makes it clear exactly what is expected.
If the employee or client clearly understands what your
plan is and why, then both sides are in a better position to give specific
feedback. Maybe one side won’t have to say no, or the other side will
understand why the initial request might not be feasible and readjust
3. Make your point without making an enemy
Many of us have heard the old maxim about the customer is
always right, even when they may be wrong. But sometimes saying no
is not no, but a not now, or not necessarily.
Explain what you can do for them, not what you can’t. There
may be limitations to what can be accomplished in a set time. For example,
rigorous laws or regulations may pose an unforeseen barrier to completion. Or
perhaps it’s simply a matter of available bandwidth.
If there are valid reasons why the answer is not a yes
at this time, people understand.
Maybe the project can be adjusted or postponed until a
later date. Explain what you think is achievable and offer a compromise that
might work well with clients, supervisors or employees.
There’s a right way to tactfully say no and still be
responsive to the individual. Be clear, but polite, in your explanation why
something may not work. It is okay to disagree, but it’s not okay to be disagreeable.
4. Lack of communication is a no-no
Just saying no without providing any rationale for
doing so isn’t going to help things. You don’t have to explain everything, but
it is important for people to understand why something doesn’t have to happen.
Another thing that is important is the tone of voice. How
you say something is just as important as what you say. When you are communicating
no, your tone of voice may determine how it is received by the employee, client
For instance, you might be the HR director submitting
a budget request to management.
If you present the best information possible, it’s
easier for management to make good decisions. It is not just a matter of
feeling strongly about something, but you must communicate your opinion in a
way that explains and justifies how it should be done or why it is necessary.
Remember: you’re a partner and not a problem in this
Help your audience understand your position from a
business perspective. It might just be the differentiator between getting your
budget approved or not.
6. When saying no is not an option
There will be times when tasks are ordered from the
top where practicality or time constraints are not fully understood by
management. Sometimes marching orders are just that – marching orders – and
must be complied with.
When a task must be completed under time duress, success can be challenging.
Start by reviewing the project with your team. Break
it down to manageable chunks and ensure everyone understands the various
deliverables and specifications.
Emergency situations happen. There are times when
things just have to get done. If people understand the why and the how, it
helps them overcome their objections and doubts.
7. Paint the big picture
One way to keep employees from getting inundated or
overwhelmed is to make certain everyone understands the big picture — the
organization’s mission and goals. If they understand that, they are better
equipped to understand when the answer is no.
Being told no without knowing why can anger or
frustrate people. So be as specific as you can be: Here’s the changes, here’s the
tools you need to adapt to those changes, and here’s what is expected of you
going forward. Seek clarity over confusion, and you will lessen potential
productivity road blocks.
About that big picture: It is best that someone high
up in the organization, and the higher up the better, does the explaining. That
allows an employee to be more fully engaged in the organization and that is
critical, because it makes it easier for those times when having to say no is
the best option.
Your ability to
manage difficult situations – like saying no to a client, boss or team member –
will play an integral role in the success of the business
spring, summer, fall and winter, an economic recession is a natural stage of an
(economic) life cycle. And much like how any season can produce extreme
weather, managing a business in a recession can present unique challenges for
business owners and employees.
The United States economy is complex and comprised of many
industries. Its growth is measured by a number called gross domestic product
(GDP). When all is going well, the overall economy expands, which means
businesses are making money, growing larger and hiring
people. Those people earn increasingly higher incomes (hopefully)
and purchase more products, which further drives economic expansion.
At some point, like a rubber band stretched to its limit,
those underlying economic factors begin to slow, reach a peak and then reverse.
When they decline for more than a few months consecutively, the economy is in a
There have been more than 40 recorded recessions in the
United States, and each is unique. Some last for months; others last years. The
Great Depression was the worst in U.S. history. The financial crisis of 2007-2009
was the worst of many of our lifetimes. Each happened for different reasons,
and the next recession will have a catalyst of its own.
It’s impossible to predict when a recession will happen or
what will cause it. But there are some common symptoms of a recessed economy
that impact businesses. Once you understand what they are, you can better
prepare your business and your workforce for an economic retraction.
Here are five
strategies for identifying how a recession might impact your business and how
to handle it.
1. Assess your business’s health
In the months leading up to a
recession, consumer spending and available capital can both decline, which can cause
a business to feel a pinch in their budgets.
This means some difficult
decisions may have to be made regarding product pricing, marketing initiatives,
hiring, benefits and even new launches. While each business will experience a
recession in unique ways, the most common challenges faced by companies of all
Temptation to cut
product size, quality and benefits – or raise prices. When lagging sales no
longer pay for the cost of doing business, businesses may look to products to
find wiggle room in the operating budget.
capital to pay employees. Companies may feel they can no longer pursue plans to
expand operations, pay bonuses or even keep the workers they have.
morale and productivity. Frequent layoffs
and employees asked to do more with less can lead to a culture of apprehension.
Productivity can suffer when employees feel uncertain and unmotivated by bad
Data is the best way to meet
these challenges head on. It’s vital to understand what the metrics say about your
day-to-day operations, even when they show that your company may be suffering.
Try to answer these questions:
Are there inefficiencies regarding your product
or service offerings?
How much talent can we afford right now? How far
can we really stretch people?
What resources do you need to maintain or exceed
2. Implement change
Now that you’ve identified the trouble areas of your
business, it’s time to make changes that will make your business more resilient
in this (and every) economic climate.
This could include:
Realigning your staff or restructuring your organizational chart
Evaluating products and services to ensure the market demands continue to be met for your clients
Readjusting benchmarks and projected growth targets
Not every problem can be solved at once. Prioritize issues
with the highest potential to damage to your customer satisfaction, business
culture and bottom line.
Actions to take:
Personnel: Can you consolidate redundancies? Can the job of two workers be performed by one? Is job-sharing an appropriate solution? Could the non-essential employee be moved to an area where talent is scarce? While layoffs are never ideal, struggling companies can’t afford to pay for repetitive processes.
Products and services: Consider reducing or eliminating products that don’t generate profits or with low profit margins. Look at the labor required for each product. If most of your employees’ time is spent on low-margin products, then perhaps their time can be better spent on your profit centers.
Tackle the issues head-on: Keeping the news private about layoffs or other changes
can do more harm than good. What you fail to tell your workers can end up
becoming a PR nightmare. Get ahead of rumors by having an honest dialogue with
your team. Be transparent by being honest about hard truths, and your employees
will respect you for it.
Don’t let work fall by the wayside: Be conscious
of the fact that changes to your workforce may make the business vulnerable to
inefficiencies. The impact of the recession should be mitigated so that the
customer doesn’t feel your internal strife.
Providing encouragement and reassurances to your existing leaders and staff
Identifying undiscovered leaders in your organization and calling on them to step up
Actions to take:
Rally the troops: Explain that while these may be tough times, the tide will change. If everyone bands together, the company will persevere. Remind them that their hard work is valued and does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Identify leaders: Ask your staff to help identify unrecognized natural leaders. Is there someone that everyone relies on during stressful times? Who is the person who answers questions, provides guidance and acts as a peer mentor without being asked? Once identified, encourage these high producers to take on more responsibility and fill in gaps.
Track everything: Use metrics to track and recognize core competencies. Understand who is on the bench and whether they can assume extra responsibility. That way you can begin to cross train team members.
Always listen: Regularly solicit feedback from your leaders, heavy hitters and regular employees. Their intimate knowledge of the company could inspire innovative solutions to problems both small and systemic. Having this type of buy-in can keep morale high and productivity consistent.
4. Meet the needs of your employees
A recession is hard on
everyone, and while it can have a damaging impact on morale, you need your employees
to be more efficient and productive than ever.
You achieve this by understanding
your employee’s personal needs.
Listen to your employees. If you experience
recession-induced stress in the workplace, it’s likely that employees are
suffering through financial, emotional or interpersonal strains at home, as
This is more important than ever during a recession,
especially with employees taking on extra responsibility.
Actions to consider:
Offer intangible perks: Knowing how to motivate employees outside of monetary compensation is essential. Flexible scheduling — allowing employees to take time off or work remotely — is one popular intangible perk. As you implement these changes, closely monitor productivity. Don’t let relaxed oversight lead to decreased employee output.
Make every manager an advocate for mental and emotional health: Educate employees on how mental health issues can affect the workplace. Ensure that managers are prepared to offer help, follow wise protocol and avoid developing stigmatizing prejudices.
Business owners who understand that recessions are normal and should be expected can prepare for them. Those who plan for all possible outcomes are best poised to survive.
Actions to take:
Think long-term: Planning can take much of the unknown out of the equation. Give leaders tools for training, productivity, communication and mitigation long before they need it.
Conduct regular checkups: Instead of entering crisis mode once a recession hits, use every opportunity to gauge the health of your business. Use data to guide how you build efficient teams, foster new leadership and support your employees’ well-being. Those that are proactive, rather than reactive, may get better results.
Recessions are unavoidable, but if you plan ahead, your
business can survive and grow stronger as a result.
Regularly assess the health of your business.
Readjust your products and services and the
resources required as necessary.
Build a lean, efficient team and remind them
that you appreciate them.
Listen to your employees’ needs, and they will
give discretionary effort for you.
Never stop thinking about how you can accomplish
numbers 1-4 better and more efficiently.
If you follow these strategies, your business will be better
prepared to survive any economic climate.
However, recession isn’t the only type of disaster that can
impact your business. Any number of outside variables could have adverse
effects if you’re not prepared. To learn more about how to protect your company
from any disaster situation, download our complimentary magazine: The
Insperity guide to crisis management.
Is your company taking advantage of top HR tech tools? If not, you might be missing out on opportunities to not only increase the efficiency and accuracy of your HR department, but also improve employee engagement.
In today’s fast-paced business environment, HR
professionals are being tasked with more and more duties – many of which are necessary
but time consuming.
While the list of HR responsibilities continues
to grow, employees are also becoming conditioned to expect more from their
employer. You want to do what’s right for your company, as well as your
employees. The good news is that there’s a solution for both sides of the
With the right integrated HR software and tech
tools, your HR department can turn repetitive, labor-intensive work into an
automated and coordinated process. As a result, your HR department can multiply
efficiencies, allowing for more time to explore new ways to align game-changing
projects with your organizational goals.
Let’s take a look at three top HR tech tools that can help you go from feeling like an office manager to being an enlightened business owner.
1. Benefits management software
Running a successful
business takes a competitive advantage. One way to achieve that is to offer the
best benefits you can to attract and retain top talent. The only problem is now
you have a host of benefits to maintain.
As an employer,
you’re probably looking to provide employee benefits beyond the bare minimum. Effectively
managing benefits and ensuring employees are offered the right coverage at the
right time is a complex and time-consuming task to manage. That’s just the tip
of the benefits iceberg.
Care Act folds in an additional layer of complexity. If you employed an average
of 50 or more full-time (or full-time equivalent) employees in the prior
calendar year, you could be subject to an IRS penalty if you don’t offer
medical coverage to your full-time employees. State and local health care mandates
may require you to offer additional coverage or benefits.
benefits like medical and dental coverage, to health care flexible spending
accounts and life insurance, the list of benefits you’ll have to manage can
grow quickly. That’s before you begin to include benefits such as:
Having a rich
benefits package is a healthy
way to attract top talent. But without the proper technology
infrastructure, you may be creating a nightmare for your HR department. Not to
mention that you may be offering benefits your employees don’t value.
benefits management software can help take the guess work out of your benefit
offerings and put powerful knowledge into the hands of your administrators,
drastically reducing the occurrence of eligibility oversight and improving
benefit usage rates.
Many top HR tech
tools in the benefits management realm offer dashboards for a quick glimpse
into benefits usage. Some offer the ability to dive into the analytics associated
with your employees’ benefits usage, so you explore whether you’re offering the
appropriate mix of benefits and begin to predict future costs to stabilize your
It should come
as no surprise that many
employee benefits are underutilized. Many times, the case is that
employees weren’t aware of the offering or didn’t know how to enroll. The right
HR technology can solve both problems, helping build stronger affinity toward
management system with integrated decision-making tools can provide
supplemental education to your employees so they can better understand and see
the value in their benefits choices, including the cost to them or their family.
You can also be
more proactive in alerting employees to key enrollment periods. Since life
events such as marriage and the birth of a child are the norm, easy access to
make changes through your benefits management system can provide simplicity
toward helping ensure your employees’ changing families are properly covered.
Add all this
together and employees can really begin to appreciate all your benefit offerings.
2. Learning management system
Unlike the complexities associated with
benefits management, the markers of undertrained employees can be harder to
spot. While indicators are less obvious, undertrained employees may still be
costing your business time and money.
It’s also important to mention that training extends beyond the nice-to-haves of career development into the more serious area of human relations training, including sexual harassment training and other areas. Employers in a growing number of jurisdictions are required or encouraged to provide sexual harassment training. A learning management system can help deliver training and document completion by employees.
From researching requirements and booking specialized instructors to scheduling training courses for employees, this responsibility can place a significant burden on your HR department. By providing top HR software and tools, you’ll provide your HR staff with new-found time, and the ability to focus on other pressing matters.
With e-learning becoming more common, there are many learning management systems available on the market to help your employees earn and renew certified credentials, and keep you compliant. Cloud-based learning management systems are also a boon to organizations with multiple office locations and a mobile workforce. Beyond accessibility, additional advantages over traditional training methods may include:
Progress and reporting
Real-time grading and
E-learning is certainly not a new phenomenon, but it’s becoming
increasingly popular among today’s workforce, and not just millennials. Workers
of all ages welcome the benefit of continuing their professional education.
Giving them access to the seemingly endless available content of a learning
management system together with the ability to learn at their own pace is a
3. Time and attendance software
A natural extension of automating many of your
company’s HR related tasks is implementing a time and attendance system.
This top HR tech tool will allow you to easily
monitor hours worked (hourly and salary) and paid time off, as well as help you
keep pace with strict labor laws regarding overtime pay.
There’s no need to complicate the process. If
your company is still manually tracking this sensitive employee data, you may
be exposing your company to the unnecessary risk of human error and incomplete
or inaccurate time cards.
In addition to calculating hours worked for
non-exempt employees, a time and attendance system can help you allocate your
company’s human capital more efficiently. As your company grows into new
locations, the challenge of confirming employees are working the hours they are
supposed to be working becomes more difficult.
If the absence is planned, such as vacation or
leave, it can reduce the impact. However, unplanned absences, such as sick
days, unforeseen extended leaves, late arrivals and early departures are harder
You want to make it as easy as possible for you
and your employees to manage this process. Believe it or not, an automated time
and attendance tracking system can add to employee satisfaction by simplifying the
process on the employee’s end, giving them one less thing to worry about.
By adding automated elements to your time
and attendance tracking, you can more easily view and plan around foreseeable
absences. And when they occur, you can turn to a system that houses this
information and perform proactive workforce planning.
Your key takeaway
What are your company goals this year? With
these three tech tools in place, your HR department can spend more time focused
on the human element of your organization. As much as software and top HR tech
tools can help your business run better, grow faster and make more money, it’s
the people who matter at the end of the day.
Most people recognize a good leader when they see one – especially if they motivate teams to exceed company goals and create a culture of accomplishment. Performance measurements and outcomes aside, are there routines that make someone more likely to be successful? What are the habits of effective leaders?
The world is awash with buzz-worthy tips for creating good
habits in one’s personal life, but creating the long-term foundations for
success in the office isn’t often as prominent.
What habits do good leaders follow daily that separate them
from lesser leaders? How important is each one to your overall career success?
While traits are often natural qualities of an individual,
habits are usually made with considerable
effort. It can require many tries to commit a habit to your daily routine. Only
after you’ve become accustomed to doing something regularly can it be
considered a habit.
Since it can take discipline, focus and (sometimes) a bit of
stretching outside your comfort zone, building healthy work habits should be managed one at a time. Only after you’ve
mastered your primary habit, should you then move on to the next one on your
Avoid buying into fad-based leadership myths, and start with these five habits of effective leaders that are making a difference in today’s workplaces.
1. Plan the night before
Effective leaders have set goals that are both short-term
and long-term. Being organized is an essential part of leading others, but it’s
not enough to simply have a plan for tackling the year or even month ahead.
Your weekly calendar may have meetings and must-dos planned, but revisiting the steps to
getting these done takes these goals from a plan to a reality.
To make this activity a habit, set aside a block of time to plan and adjust your schedule and goals to set yourself up for success in the morning. Then consistently do it each day. This could mean that you look over your planner for the next day right before you leave the office. Or it might mean planning your upcoming day the night before.
The key is to find time that fits your schedule and stick to
Successful leaders also take time out of the week to think
about medium- and long-term goals and the steps needed to achieve them.
Doing this while outside of the workplace has benefits, as
it is often easier to prioritize to-dos without the constant pull of office
Ask questions that clarify your next week’s goals, such as:
On what things do I need to focus?
What do I need to accomplish in the week ahead?
Is there anything that no longer makes sense to
What additional resources, if any, should I look
to procure before the week begins?
Rather than letting the current office situation dictate
what’s important, take a moment on the weekend before the workweek begins to
analyze what’s of highest priority.
Whether you reflect in
a café or while lounging in your home,
use this time to set the tone for when you return to the office.
2. Get to work early
There are many anecdotal reasons why coming to work early
works, but it’s strategically a good move for leaders who want to own their
time and get command of their day before
the rest of the workplace comes alive with activity.
Take a few precious minutes to double-check your schedule,
fill up that coffee mug and set up your workspace. It has immense psychological
It also shows those you manage that you take your role as a leader seriously. This time in the morning allows you to check your emails and voice messages to get on top of any developments in your staff, such as sick leave requests or family emergencies.
Some managers use it to approve budget issues, sign off on
paperwork and review employee surveys or feedback. The time alone is free from
distraction and is perfect for churning through short, menial tasks.
Making a habit out of showing up early is one of the best ways to inspire others to start doing it,
3. Move when possible
Leaders in every industry have touted exercise as a way to live healthier, but its role in the workplace has been more visible in recent years. With the embrace of standing desks, bike desks and corporate gyms, leaders now have permission to incorporate movement into their workday.
Make a habit of parking further from the front door or taking the stairs.
Better yet, hold one-on-ones with your workers while on a
walk around the building. Many of the casual discussions we hold in a
conference room could easily be done
outdoors. Change in environment can boost creativity and innovation. It’s a
Combine light exercise with business in a productive way to
reap the benefits of overcoming a sedentary lifestyle while still hitting your
4. Tackle the hard projects first
Handle the most challenging tasks early in the day, while
patience, focus and energy are at their peak.
Procrastination of the things that are least appealing, on
the other hand, can add to stress and preoccupy your attention until they are finally
Since you already have your day’s to-do list handy and
familiar, prioritize those monster projects, and stop carrying them over to the
next day – or even week.
Accomplishing these larger tasks first is a habit that rewards leaders. It builds momentum to tackle everything the day will throw at them and creates a culture of wins that others in the organization can see and be inspired to imitate.
This method is also known as “eating the frog” due to the concept that you get the big, ugly things out of the way before handling more pleasant tasks.
Snagging the latest best-selling book or watching a TED Talk
are popular and effective ways to add to your knowledge bank. Interpersonal relationships,
however, offer a wider range of opportunities
and take nothing from the training and development budget.
Gleaning wisdom and skills from your team can be as simple as
making sure every stakeholder at the table has a few minutes to add their input.
Or, it can also come in the form of mentorships where you aim to get as much
from your protégé as they do from you.
Listening, taking notes and asking probing questions of teams gives you practice in empathy and emotional intelligence (EQ) skills (highly valuable traits for leaders). Making a habit of doing this daily also grows your exposure to those new ideas that you can use to solve everyday problems and recognize the future leaders in your business.
Why good leadership really matters
The importance of effective leadership cannot be overemphasized. Costly employee turnover can usually be mitigated by decisions that managers are directly responsible for making.
Whether employees leave over lack of opportunity, conflict
with leadership or other interpersonal issues, effective leaders can change the
outcome and keep good employees from leaving.
Your all-star employee is mired in a rut. It’s a
common problem and many may not know how to get out of a work slump. What can
you do to mitigate this risk and how can you help?
A once-high performer turned underperforming
employee may be the result of many factors. Before you can help the employee
correct their situation, you must learn about your employee and work to identify
the underlying issues.
Here are seven steps to identify the underlying
problem and reinvigorate your newly underperforming employee.
1. Understand the problem
Even the most motivated employees can experience tough
times at work and can become disengaged.
Signs of a slump can take the form of customer complaints and partaking in unhealthy activities, such as frequent lateness, high levels of absenteeism or visible changes in attitude. Or simply that their work quality has fallen off noticeably.
Sometimes the reason is clear and other times it might not be so obvious. The causes could be vast, and you may never uncover the underlying catalysts. However, you can try to better understand the employee by encouraging them to be introspective.
It’s helpful to first understand the various stages of
2. The categories of employees
Employees typically fall into one of three categories:
The engaged: They are into their work and are jazzed about their company.
The not engaged: They show up and do their work, but they lack the passion and the energy to give discretionary effort. The silent majority are unengaged. They take up the largest percentage of the three groupings, according to several studies.
The actively disengaged: These individuals make up the smallest percentage of the three groupings. They are disinterested, distracted and perhaps looking to move on.
The goal is to identify where on the spectrum is your rutted
employee and begin to lead them on a path toward higher engagement.
Start by helping the employee remember why they are at the company and in what
ways their role forwards the organization. It’s easy to forget that people get
mired in their day-to-day responsibilities and can lose sight of why they
joined the organization in the first place.
Instead of thinking in terms of solely extrinsic motivators,
refocus more on intrinsic motivators and encourage them to reflect on their
Is there any project or new responsibility that will
allow them to reconnect with the larger why
they are with the company? That why
can intrinsically drive and motivate us to stay engaged in our day-to-day work.
Most people want somewhere to go, and they want to
grow. If they’re not getting that, it can harm productivity and cause an
employee to fall
into a rut.
Intrinsic motivation has a lot of contributing
factors. Does the individual have clear goals that push them slightly outside the
comfort zone of their skill set?
For the most part, people enjoy challenges and that leads to increased motivation, increased happiness and increased engagement. You want the goals to be reachable but cause them to stretch.
If someone’s challenge in their role is substantially larger than their skill set, it can be demoralizing and anxiety-provoking. And if the role is set too far below their skill set, it can lead to boredom and disengagement. Read Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s work on flow for more research on this topic.
3. Communicate regularly
communication may have contributed to the employee
falling into a rut and improving communication in the workplace is a key to reversing
A disillusioned employee may find it acceptable to let
down a boss if they feel like a pawn in a game. But when you show them that you
are partners and equals in the process, then you encourage employees to take
accountability in their roles.
It is important for the leader to have regular conversations
with the employee. It may be a quick five-minute chat or more formal sessions.
Once-a-year feedback does not cut it. There needs to
be regular feedback from both parties, feedback that is balanced with both
praise and constructive criticism. Are we moving the needle toward your goal?
Why or why not? What barriers can I remove or mitigate to better enable you to
meet these goals?
is key, because the old saying that no news is good news is demotivating and can be quite harmful in a
4. Make stress productive
A little bit of stress, i.e., eustress, supports
performance and stimulates productivity. Our brains are wired for negativity
for good reason: to ensure our survival. Then again, too much stress, i.e., distress,
If you don’t offer employees transparent, authentic feedback,
then you open the door to employees buying into secondhand negative information
and rumors, which can adversely feed productivity problems.
Having authentic discussions can help with appropriate
stress and getting all parties working toward a common goal. These conversations
can be uncomfortable, but people need direct feedback and they need
to hear the truth.
5. Don’t rely on rewards; feed needs
Practice empathy and compassion in order to cultivate transparency
and communication with your team.
People have a personal need to be heard and understood,
meaningfully involved and supported. They also have practical needs, for
example how to approach a task or project, or plan a change.
These needs are important. Research studies have shown
just giving rewards is not the only way
to solve the issue. People are much more likely to stay with a company when
they are intrinsically
motivated in their role. They are given some autonomy and have a
say, they are involved and they are trusted to run with their ideas.
6. Cultivate culture
At Google, engineers can devote up to 20 percent of their time to side projects not directly related to their role, which is one reason why it remains one of the most innovative companies in the world. This effort led to the creation of Gmail. The culture made this possible.
There is something self-satisfying about the desire for mastery of your situation. Intrinsic motivation is a powerful characteristic across all cultures and societies, and you can’t cultivate that motivation if you do not have an atmosphere of safety.
The Google engineers knew they were safe to pursue other projects. But if the atmosphere at your company is one that produces social pain, such as public rejection where a leader criticizes an employee in front of an entire team, that’s the wrong kind of culture, and it will have a negative impact on the entire group.
It compromises psychological safety, which has been shown to be the number one predictive indicator of high-performing teams.
In other words, members want to feel safe to take
risks and to be vulnerable in front of each other. They want to be able to say “Hey,
I have an idea” or “I don’t think that will work” without fear it will hurt their
career or tarnish relationships.
Psychological safety produces innovation and
creativity. If you don’t have that, people will be afraid to voice opinions.
Looking to stay safe, you’ll have crickets in meetings and people looking to leave
at 5 o’clock on the dot. And you’ll have people eventually falling into a rut.
7. Bottom line
If you want to elevate the engagement of employees, to get them out of their rut, intrinsic motivation is the answer. And it is an art, not a science.
People want to do things that matter, and if employees do not see how their role is connected to the high-level strategic objectives of the firm, it can lead to stagnation and allow the negativity bias to take over.
Transparency and authenticity are paramount in building trust between leadership and employees. Without that, the brain’s default negativity bias is bound to take over. Again, this is where communication is key. The common thread is having a two-way dialogue with employees. They should understand that you care and are invested in them.
You must also allow for some mistakes in the name of growth and development. If the person is making the same mistakes over and over, then that’s a different story. But show them you trust them, give them autonomy and they are less likely to stay in that rut.
Micromanaging elevates stress. In most cases, it
drives people crazy. The best employers get out of the way and let their people
What do you do when sponsoring a foreign national is your best — or only — option?
The process for a U.S. company sponsoring a foreign national is complex, and not knowing the rules and regulations could prove costly and time consuming.
not simply a matter of verifying a job candidate’s documentation and completing
an application. You must satisfy a number of government requirements before
sponsoring a foreign national to be employed in the United States.
type of documentation, the time and the resources involved vary depending on
the vacant position and the type of visa sought. Be
cautious that the requirements
can change as lawmakers update existing immigration-related laws and
regulations. Always review with legal counsel to oversee the process and
to answer any questions about foreign national sponsorship and the changing
laws that affect employment.
Given the time and monetary cost of obtaining a work visa, this may not be the most efficient avenue to pursue if local options are available. But if your recruiting efforts fail to produce a viable local candidate, then there are a number of variables to consider.
Visa categories cover a broad range of non-immigrant or temporary visas depending on the specific kind of work, but some of the most common are:
H-1B – Non-immigrant, employment-based visa for temporary workers
Duration: Starts off for up to three years but can be extended for an additional three years with the option to extend to temporary status if the company is willing to sponsor the employee’s citizenship.
J-1 – For researchers, scholars or student/exchange visitors
Duration: There are different types of J1 visas. The duration of each depends on the program. The work performed must be part of the participants approved program.
For example, a short-term scholar program may be granted six months, while a professor or research scholar may have a duration of five years.
F-1 – For students
Duration: The work visa will depend on form I-94 and I-20.
Grants permission to work part time on campus (20 hours or less per week) and are eligible to apply for off-campus employment – OPT (see below) – in their field of study.
OPT – Optional practical training is temporary employment directly related to a F-1 student’s area of study
Pre-completion OPT is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session. Post-completion OPT students may work full time.
Duration: Per authorization documents
Typically these are for students in certain science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, who may apply for a 24-month extension of OPT employment authorization following graduation if they meet certain conditions.
CPT – Curricular practical training or temporary authorized training
Duration: As directed by program and authorization documents
CPT is very similar to OPT, except CPT work can be either full-time or part-time, and a signed cooperative agreement or a letter from the employer is required.
OPT and CPT can later be transferred by the employer if the employer wants to sponsor these visa holders for H-1B visas.
H-4 – For the spouse or dependents of an H-1B visa holder
Duration: Generally, H-4 visas expire automatically if the associated H-1B expires or is not renewed.
H-4 visa holders may work full time if the associated H-1B is valid.
L-1 – Transfer of a foreign employee to work in an U.S. office of the same employer. For those in management, executive or specialized knowledge positions.
Duration: Starts off for three years and can be extendable to a maximum of five years
L-1 visa holders cannot transfer to another employer. If they resign or get fired, they must leave the country. If employed in a managerial or executive position for one continuous year in the preceding three years (in the U.S. or outside the U.S.), you can apply for green card in EB1C category immediately.
How do I sponsor a foreign national?
Follow these seven steps to successfully identify, recruit, vet and sponsor a non-U.S. citizen:
1. Determine what position the hire will fill
type of job will have a bearing on how much red tape
is involved and the type of visa
required by the employee.
decide what roles within the company you will fill with foreign nationals.
While there are dozens of possible fields, the majority of visas are granted to
applicants within six specific disciplines.
yearly data by the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) shows most of
the approved H1-B petitions went to computer-related occupations by a more than
4-to-1 margin over the next highest occupations of architecture, engineering
and surveying, education, administration and medicine/health.
2. Conduct recruiting process, background checks and verification of documentation
Determine the proper immigration
visa program (H-1B, L-1, etc.) for your recruiting needs. The most important
question: Will the employee become a permanent resident or is this a temporary
Conduct the same rigorous
recruiting process used to identify qualified domestic candidates.
Allot additional time for your international recruitment efforts, as it may
take longer to verify foreign college degrees and other documentation. This verification process can take weeks
to months, depending on the
An H-1B visa is the most common, often called a U.S. work visa. These are granted to eligible temporary workers with employer sponsorship. H-1B visa sponsorship cannot be offered until the candidate’s background check is complete.
U.S. companies may hire any foreign national as long as they are already in the country and are eligible and authorized to work in the United States. Federal law requires all employees complete an I-9 form for legal identification. All foreign hires must also have a valid work visa from the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services.
3. Apply for a work visa
Consult an immigration attorney.
visas are very popular because they allow the holder to live and work in the
U.S. while seeking permanent resident status. Historically, the quota has been
4. Obtain Department of Labor certification
formally applying for a candidate’s visa with the U.S. Customs and Immigration
Services (USCIS), your next step is obtaining a
certification from the US Department of Labor.
is a complex process. In a nutshell, requesting certification means that the employer has made
the case to the Dept. of Labor that all efforts to recruit a U.S. worker for
the position have been exhausted and that the identified candidate meets the
skills and qualifications required for the role.
required will depend on the type
of business, but typically takes eight to 12 weeks. Contact USCIS to verify
which certification will suit your needs.
of this step is the submission of a Labor Condition Applications by the
employer to the Department of Labor via Form 9035. The LCA details the
conditions employers must meet in the process.
5. Comply with insurance requirements
the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, there have been
significant changes to the health
and some of those changes affect H-1B visa holders.
nationals are not obligated to maintain coverage, but once they become a
“resident alien,” as defined by federal laws, H1-B visa holders are subject to
obligations are the responsibility of the employee, but companies may assist in
the process or offer company insurance.
6. Meet salary and benefit requirements
salary for an H-1B employee cannot be less than the typical wage for the
position or occupation. The employee must be given
the same benefits as other employees in a similar position at the company.
employer, not the employee, is responsible for all costs associated with filing
the application for an H-1B petition. The employer may not charge these costs
to the employee or seek reimbursement from the employee.
some of the fees for H-1B applications are standard, such as the basic filing
fee ($460) and fraud prevention and
detection fee ($500), others are
based on how many workers the filing company employs and can vary from hundreds
to several thousand dollars. Typically, the cost to an employer will run
between $2,500 and $7,000.
7. Cross your fingers
processing time for H-1B visas varies.
Applicants can seek an expedited decision by paying a $1,410 fee for premium processing and have a decision in approximately 15 calendar days for premium processing.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services had suspended this service for three months before announcing Feb. 19 it had resumed processing for petitions filed on or before Dec. 21, 2018.