Top 10 Employee Handbook Mistakes

An employee handbook sets expectations and standards for employees.

In fact, an employee handbook is one of the best ways to protect your business from employee lawsuits and clearly communicate your company policies. The absence of a formal handbook or policy manual, or a poorly drafted one, puts you at a disadvantage to defend yourself should your business face a lawsuit.

Policies that are too specific and rigid can potentially limit an employer’s flexibility when dealing with real issues. Conversely, policies that are too general make it difficult for employers to hold employees accountable for their actions and behavior.

So how does an employer find the right balance? The first step is to be aware of the potential pitfalls. Download CalChamber’s “Top 10 Employee Handbook Mistakes” white paper and learn what your company can do to avoid them.

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Brinker Ruling: 5 Lunchtime Takeaways for California Employers

On April 12, 2012, the California Supreme Court ruled in Brinker Restaurant Group v. Superior Court of San Diego that while employers are required to provide meal breaks to employees, they need not ensure that employees take them.

It’s a significant ruling for California employers because it clarifies the rules regarding rest and meal breaks. Equally important, it eases burdens by allowing employers to provide breaks on a schedule that meets their business needs.

For your reference, five takeaways from the Brinker decision:

1. “Early lunching” is permitted:

2. Employers must provide a second meal break after ten hours of work:

3. Employees are free to do what they want during their meal break:

4. Employers must provide both rest and meal breaks, but not in any particular order:

5. Employees must receive a rest period after 3.5 hours of work:

6. Bonus: Review your company’s meal and rest policies:

For more details click here

 The Brinker Decision Analysis and Guidance

The Social Recruiting Era: 79% of Jobs are Posted on Social Media

An Inside Look at Social Recruiting in the USA finds that LinkedIn is the most popular site for posting jobs with 77 percent of openings shared there. Twitter comes in second with 54 percent, followed by Facebook, which came in a distant third with just 25 percent. The report also found that the Northeast region is the most active in social recruiting and the Midwest is the least active region. In addition, the Northeast uses LinkedIn and Twitter most heavily while Facebook usage is heaviest in the West, including Alaska and Hawaii.

The report details findings from actual social network activity data pulled from the Bullhorn Reach user network of more than 77,500 recruiters. The goal of the report is to provide insight into which social platforms are leveraged the most to recruit candidates across various U.S. regions and industries.

Some additional interesting findings include:

 

  • 21 percent of jobs are posted to all three social networks;
  • 21 percent are not posted to social media sites at all;
  • 55 percent of U.S. jobs are posted to two or more social networks at a time; and
  • 24 percent are posted to only one network.

“While LinkedIn continues to hold its position as the most widely used social network for recruiting, the fact that a majority of jobs are posted to at least two channels reinforces the notion that social networking should never be overlooked in any candidate’s job search,” said Art Papas, president and CEO of Bullhorn. “We designed these reports to be a resource for recruiters and job seekers alike so they can determine the best ways to find talent and jobs based on their industries and geographies.”

The report also ranked the social recruiting activity among U.S. recruiters in all 50 states and determined that the top 10 most active states for posting jobs on social media include:

  1. Maine
  2. New Hampshire
  3. Mississippi
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Alabama
  7. Connecticut
  8. Oregon
  9. Ohio
  10. Rhode Island

While there is a wide variation of social recruiting activity across industries, the top 10 industries embracing the movement include:

  1. Restaurant
  2. Advertising/PR
  3. Nonprofit
  4. Fashion
  5. Healthcare
  6. Food service/Catering
  7. Technology
  8. Education
  9. Accounting
  10. Communications

The full report breaks down the usage of each social media network by region and by industry.

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Do you know what’s important in a Non-Disclosure Agreement?

Are you hoping to get someone to invest in your business? Or perhaps you’re thinking about working with a business partner in a collaboration arrangement or joint venture?

If you are, you are probably worried about how you will protect the confidential information about your business.

You’ve probably heard the terms “NDA” (short for Non-Disclosure Agreement) and Confidentiality Agreement. But how are these agreements relevant and what do you need to think about?

The first thing to say is that an NDA and a Confidentiality Agreement are just different names for what is the same type of agreement – that is, one that says information disclosed by one party to another must be kept secret and not disclosed to third parties.

You may be thinking that as an NDA/Confidentiality Agreement is a legal document, it will be expensive to put in place. And anyway, hasn’t someone told you that there is no point in having one because you won’t be able to afford to enforce it?

These are common misunderstandings. I want to make it clear that this is not the case and give you an idea of what are the key things that you need to know.

1. Is it worth putting an NDA in place?

2. Where do I get an NDA and will it be expensive?

3. Who needs to be a party the Agreement?

4. Lots of NDAs look very different: are they really the same?

5. Extras: Bells, Whistles

6. Dragons!

7. Boilerplate

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Five Networking “Don’ts”

Networking requires s20MWctrategy, research and social grace. But as competition for jobs remains high, it’s easy to fumble.

“Remember that you have two ears and one mouth, and use them in proportion,” says Bobbi Moss, general manager at Govig & Associates, a Scottsdale, Ariz., recruiter.

Networking is about building relationships—not simply selling yourself.

“People have talked to me for only a few minutes, and then asked if they would be the right fit for a position. That’s too aggressive,” says Suki Shah, chief executive of GetHired.com, a jobs site based in Palo Alto, Calif.

Here are five networking “don’ts.”

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To Ignite Your Customers, Fire Up Your Employees

I’m one of those connected customers.  I scan QR codes.  I read product reviews.  I’m never without my phone and it is loaded and ready with Google Shopper, Red Laser and Barcode Hero.  I write reviews on Trip Advisor and Yelp!  I seek feedback about products  from my friends on Facebook and Twitter.

My son is an avid soccer player. He probably knows  as much about the merits of different products as most people who sell soccer products.  He’s a keeper and therefore his goalie gloves are superstitious item (I won’t even talk about his sock ritual!).  They have to be Reusche. Period.  If they are not, then his goalie mojo will evaporate.

In short, we are connected consumers who are crystal clear about what we want.

So why are we in the car on Saturday morning driving to a store 12 miles from our house when I could easily purchase what I want online?  One simple reason.  The employees at the Soccer Post.

If I’m being honest, I don’t usually like to talk to store clerks.  It’s not that I’m anti-social.  It is more that I really like to do things for myself.  I have all the information that I need at my fingertips.  What I want from them most times is to be courteous and let me settle my bill quickly.  So why is the Soccer Post different?  Because the employees are passionate.

It is clear they love what they are doing.  Their enthusiasm for the latest Joma shoe or ‘epic’ goalie jersey is contagious.  They know who has which patents on which type of finger saves in everyone of the goalie gloves they carry.  The truly understand the crazy sock ritual–something even I as the mother don’t get.

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14 Easy Ways to Get Insanely Motivated

Here are 14 quick strategies to get and keep yourself motivated:

1. Condition your mind. Train yourself to think positive thoughts while avoiding negative thoughts.

2. Condition your body. It takes physical energy to take action.  Get your food and exercise budget in place and follow it like a business plan.

3. Avoid negative people. They drain your energy and waste your time, so hanging with them is like shooting yourself in the foot.

4. Seek out the similarly motivated. Their positive energy will rub off on you and you can imitate their success strategies.

5. Have goals–but remain flexible. No plan should be cast in concrete, lest it become more important than achieving the goal.

6. Act with a higher purpose.  Any activity or action that doesn’t serve your higher goal is wasted effort–and should be avoided.

7. Take responsibility for your own results. If you blame (or credit) luck, fate or divine intervention, you’ll always have an excuse.

8. Stretch past your limits on a daily basis. Walking the old, familiar paths is how you grow old. Stretching makes you grow and evolve.

9. Don’t wait for perfection; do it now! Perfectionists are the losers in the game of life.  Strive for excellence rather than the unachievable.

10. Celebrate your failures. Your most important lessons in life will come from what you don’t achieve. Take time to understand where you fell short.

11. Don’t take success too seriously. Success can breed tomorrow’s failure if you use it as an excuse to become complacent.

12. Avoid weak goals.  Goals are the soul of achievement, so never begin them with “I’ll try …”  Always start with “I will” or “I must.”

13. Treat inaction as the only real failure.  If you don’t take action, you fail by default and can’t even learn from the experience.

14. Think before you speak.  Keep silent rather than express something that doesn’t serve your purpose.

Link to article

Business Etiquette: 5 Rules That Matter Now

The word “etiquette” gets a bad rap. For one thing, it sounds stodgy and pretentious. And rules that are socially or morally prescribed seem intrusive to our sense of individuality and freedom.

But the concept of etiquette is still essential, especially now—and particularly in business. New communication platforms, like Facebook and Linked In, have blurred the lines of appropriateness and we’re all left wondering how to navigate unchartered social territory.

Boil it down and etiquette is really all about making people feel good. It’s not about rules or telling people what to do, or not to do, it’s about ensuring some basic social comforts.

So here are a few business etiquette rules that matter now—whatever you want to call them.

1. Send a Thank You Note

I work at a paper company that manufactures stationery and I’m shocked at how infrequently people send thank you notes after interviewing with me. If you’re not sending a follow-up thank you note to Crane, you’re not sending it anywhere.

But the art of the thank you note should never die. If you have a job interview, or if you’re visiting clients or meeting new business partners—especially if you want the job, or the contract or deal—take the time to write a note. You’ll differentiate yourself by doing so and it will reflect well on your company too.

2. Know the Names

It’s just as important to know your peers or employees as it is to develop relationships with clients, vendors or management. Reach out to people in your company, regardless of their roles, and acknowledge what they do.

My great-grandfather ran a large manufacturing plant. He would take his daughter (my grandmother) through the plant; she recalled that he knew everyone’s name—his deputy, his workers, and the man who took out the trash.

We spend too much of our time these days looking up – impressing senior management. But it’s worth stepping back and acknowledging and getting to know all of the integral people who work hard to make your business run.

3. Observe the ‘Elevator Rule’

When meeting with clients or potential business partners off-site, don’t discuss your impressions of the meeting with your colleagues until the elevator has reached the bottom floor and you’re walking out of the building. That’s true even if you’re the only ones in the elevator.

Call it superstitious or call it polite—but either way, don’t risk damaging your reputation by rehashing the conversation as soon as you walk away.

4. Focus on the Face, Not the Screen

It’s hard not to be distracted these days. We have a plethora of devices to keep us occupied; emails and phone calls come through at all hours; and we all think we have to multitask to feel efficient and productive.

But that’s not true: When you’re in a meeting or listening to someone speak, turn off the phone. Don’t check your email. Pay attention and be present.

When I worked in news, everyone was attached to a BlackBerry, constantly checking the influx of alerts. But my executive producer rarely used hers—and for this reason, she stood out. She was present and was never distracted in editorial meetings or discussions with the staff. And it didn’t make her any less of a success.

5. Don’t Judge

We all have our vices—and we all have room for improvement. One of the most important parts of modern-day etiquette is not to criticize others.

You may disagree with how another person handles a specific situation, but rise above and recognize that everyone is trying their best. It’s not your duty to judge others based on what you feel is right. You are only responsible for yourself.

We live in a world where both people and businesses are concerned about brand awareness. Individuals want to stand out and be liked and accepted by their peers–both socially and professionally.

The digital landscape has made it even more difficult to know whether or not you’re crossing a line, but I think it’s simple. Etiquette is positive. It’s a way of being—not a set of rules or dos and don’ts.

So before you create that hashtag, post on someone’s Facebook page or text someone mid-meeting, remember the fundamentals: Will this make someone feel good?

And remember the elemental act of putting pen to paper and writing a note. You’ll make a lasting impression that a shout-out on Twitter or a Facebook wall mention can’t even touch.

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Thomas Jefferson School of Law Helping Cash-Strapped Small Businesses

Struggling small businesses and aspiring nonprofits can get a helping hand from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and its Small Business Law Center.

The clinic provides organizations that can’t afford legal counsel with transactional help – from drawing up contracts and lease arrangements to forming entities and navigating the regulatory process.

“There is a huge need,” said TJSL professor Luz Herrera, the director of the Small Business Law Center (SBLC). “We really looking at individuals barely making a living and who would not otherwise be able to set up a business or set up a nonprofit.”

The clinic is staffed by TJSL students, who are guided during representation by a licensed California attorney. The practical experience attained by law students is a sizable side benefit of the program.

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JOBS Act, will it help you?

Today, President Obama signs the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act into law. For those of you who haven’t been following the JOBS Act, it is a bill that will make it easier for startups and small businesses to raise funds, especially through online crowdfunding.

As an entrepreneur myself, I’ve been watching the evolution of the JOBS Act very closely. It passed Congress last week through a 73-26 Senate vote and a 380-41 House vote, including an amendment designed to protect crowdfund investors in order to make it easier for startups to access financing.

 

Both statistics and anecdotal evidence tell us entrepreneurship is the key to job creation. So, while the JOBS Act doesn’t relate to the job market per se, I asked a few crowdfunding experts how it might impact the unemployment rate.

“Simply, the JOBS Act will make funding more accessible for startups by allowing non-accredited investors to participate in the funding rounds, and this alone, I believe will be the main factor driving the increase in new companies being founded. And with new companies comes the need to hire staff. Without a doubt, this will help the current unemployment rate,” said Tanya Prive, founder of Rock The Post, a social networking platform for entrepreneurs to fund and swap resources.

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